The Logical Conclusion

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Star Trek Fanfiction
Title: The Logical Conclusion
Author(s): Paula Smith
Date(s): October 1975
Length: 45 pages
Genre: gen
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series
External Links: "The Logical Conclusion" is online here.

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flyer for this zine, printed in the New York Star Trek '76 convention program

The Logical Conclusion is a highly-controversial Star Trek: TOS story by Paula Smith in the zine Menagerie #7/8. It is also online on 1001 Trek Tales, where it's described: "Spock is captured by a group of Vulcan dissidents and convinced through brainwashing that both he and his life are illogical under Vulcan precepts. The logical conclusion -- he must die."[1]

The extensive art in the print version is by V.M. Wyman

This Fic's Inception

To tell the truth, it all started out as a parody. Becca Oroukin's comments about Spock Enslaved -- too much mush and not enough mangle -- and boojums Press' reputation for irreverence got us started and a boring evening completed the web. We wanted to write the "ultimate Get-Spock story". We weren't just going to let him suffer- we'd let him die — slowly. No, kill him more than once -- three times -- five times!!

Paula and I were taking money for the Men's Union Board showing of "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" at the University [University of Michigan in Kalamazoo]. There was a long-winded turkey working with us and partially to shut him up, we started outlining our "get-Spock" story and working over the grisly parts. It didn't shut him up but it got us going. We went back to my apartment and worked on the first outlines until 2AM. We were fascinated by the possibilities inherent in convincing Spock to kill himself - there was a sort of inexorable logic and flow to the first ideas. Steps carefully taken.

So here it is- the first outline/draft of The Logical Conclusion, "A little bit gory.." (Known as the Pink Draft because I typed it up on pink paper - mostly because I was supposed to write Death #4 and could barely decipher Paula's handwriting.) [2]

Notes and Outline

In 1976, Sharon Ferraro published the first issue of her perzine Turnabout! (April 1976) and included in it extensive notes from the story. She also included some personal background.

A few notes on background. Both Paula and myself were raised in the Catholic church, steeped in childhood from the time we could think, in the martyr tales of the Catholic church-sort of the Little Golden Books of Death. There were stories of saints tortured by Romans (St. Agnes) and by the Greeks and by slave traders. And tales of the Jesuits who tried to "save" the red man of North America and only ended up skinless for their efforts. (The Maryknoll Sisters had a delightful series out on the saints that went into painful detail in words an 8-year old could understand.) So we both had a lot of background knowledge on a very gut level, about dying in horrible ways. Paula began working on it (I was originally slated to write Scenes 2 and 4- Airlock and Home on Vulcan with the Folks) I procrastinated shamelessly and by ReKWest* Con Paula had a near-final draft ready. We both decided after she finished what is now the first third, that it was not a story. And besides, we both felt guilty about mangling Spock so badly and having it left unresolved. Mary Manchester contributed a lot of valid criticism into the wee hours of the morning of ReKWestCon.

In November 1975, The Logical Conclusion (aka TLC) hit the stands-we printed 400 copies and they are gone already. The second printing is waiting to be collated, folded and stapled as this is being typed. So there will be plenty more to go around. It was a very interesting process seeing this "Get-Spock" story evolve into much more than a simplistic tale. We hope you enjoyed...er..felt reading it was a worthwhile experience as much as we ...er.. felt challenged by putting it out.

Story Notes

Gallery of Art From the Zine

Parodies

"Abrasions & Contusions" was a parody of "The Logical Conclusion" which appeared in Pegasus in 1976. One LoCer wrote:
'Abrasions and Contusions' is a parody on a well-known, and largely disliked zine story whose initials do not stand for 'Tender Loving Care.' The author (listed as M. Octyme) I suspect of being very closely related to the author of the aforementioned piece. No matter what our attitude to the original, the parody is delicious." [3]

Reactions and Reviews

1975

This is an attractively printed issue, different in format from earlier Menageries. The print is offset, and large enough to read comfortable. The illustrations, all by V.M. Wyman, are plentiful and very attractive, and enhance the story immensely. In this novel, Spock is abducted by a group of renegade Vulcans on the planet Harimon led by a Nietzsche-type elder who wants Vulcan to renounce Surak's reforms. He argues that Vulcans, by their natural superiority, should rule the other races of the Federation. After being subjected to a particularly hideous type of Vulcan-brainwashing (described in gory detail), Spock survives, barely, convinced that he must die, by logical necessity. The rest of the story details the efforts of Kirk, McCoy and a team consisting of one Vulcan and one Terran psychiatrist, to cure him of his death wish. This story is so well written, I wish I could say that I liked it. But I didn't enjoy reading it. For one thing, no one -- Spock, Kirk, or the other characters' attempts to refute Sidil's (the Neitzsche-type elder) outrageous arguments. They all become strangely tongue-tied before his supposedly superior logic. This isn't the Kirk or Spock that we know, who could out-argue any human, alien, or computer the producers could throw at them. And I can't believe that Dr. McCoy would give up so easily on Spock and turn his case over to a couple of other doctors, especially when they weren't having much luck either. The ending, while plausible, doesn't leave one feeling very good about either the human race or the Vulcans. The basic optimism that made aired ST so popular is completely lacking in this story. Still, it is too well written to ignore; this story, in a different way, could manage to stir up as much controversy as the Kraith series. [4]
Paula Smith has at last found the proper focus for her sado-masochistic fantasies. In "The Logical Conclusion," the bitter frustration that is Smith's trademark has a logical reason for being: the plot is precipitated by the mental torture of Spock by Sidil, a renegade Vulcan who is outcast from his home planet becsuse he has logically deduced that because Vulcans are superior to all other Federation races, Vulcan ought to embark upon a campaign to conquer and rule the Federation. To this end, he must get rid of Spock, who is a symblo of Vulcan-Federation unity, being the only Vulcan/human hybrid to survive to maturity. As he cannot kill Spock out-right... Sidhil and a group of his followers kidnap Spock and subject him to a series of fantasy experiences in each of which he is encouraged to give up his life by some sort of father-figure. When he is rescued by the Enterprise crew, he is suicidal. Take it from me that when you read "The Logical Conclusion," you will find this acceptable, if you can accept Smith's false premise... That premise is that Spock, when Sidil demands, 'What is the highest good of the universe,' replies, 'Logic." We know that Spock knows that logic is a means, not an end, but there is the suggestion that Spock has been drugged and perhaps reprogrammed with that answer. From that point on, every thing is hideously logical. That is the first third of the novel. What happens from then on is a study in turning Gene Roddenberry back upon himself -- or rather, carrying the Creator's premises to THEIR logical conclusion!... There is a great deal more to this novel. It is another example of Spock's finding his identity -- but Kirk also goes through an identity crisis. Suggestions of an unhealthy relationship between Kirk and Spock are there, subtly handled and solved realistically. Smith has tone under control at last; she moves from bitterness to maudlin self-pity (the characters, not the author) to hilarity with none of the disruptions that are usually felt in her work. This is a mature novel on a mature theme. Congratulations, Paula Smith! Go thou forth and do it again! [5]
I'd heard about this through fandom's underground... It indeed be the ultimate get Spock story... The 'Logical Conclusion' works in some side plots that are actually more intriguing than the main one: the inevitable promotions and transfers of most of the Enterprise crew as the six (1) year mission winds down...; an intimate and devastating and believable look at Kirk as he tries to deal with the end of the mission, the new direction of his career, and the disintegration of his best friend's personality; some remarkable and convoluted arguments about the role of Logic in Vulcan culture and especially in the life of the Vulcan-human hybrid; some sobering glimpses of Starfleet as an institution and political hierarchy... Without any doubt of all, this novel is one of the best-executed and most unusual works of fan fiction... For all that, I personally hate the thing. I cannot, in my own mind, conceive of the post-third-season Spock as the emotional infant and masochist that he is painted, and I frankly do not like stories that deal with the end of the ship's mission and dispersal of its personnel, valid as though they may be. This is not an entertaining zine on any level, yet I couldn't put it down once started. It fascinates in the same way that a coiled snake two inches from your are ankle would fascinate. [6]

First off, I am generally impressed with MENAGERIE 7/8.

It's impressive looking for one thing. Good layout, print job, fascinating illos7 if not always reminiscent of the characters they were based on--but somehow, I liked them better because of that. They were obviously charactures and not the usual sketch from a photo that you find most often in fanzines. Secondly, I admire the whole endeavor. A whole novel. Gor Blimey. And it all fits together. Terrific...

Your main problem, I feel, was that the story was a bit too drawn out. It lost a lot of intensity because of this. Many scenes could have been pruned, especially in the middle section...

Your characterizations were, for the most part, well drawn, especially the two shrinks. But I can see Spock thrown into a deep depression with a traumatizing child hood like his, but I think the reader needed more insight into his mind and emotions, rather than doing a large portion of enlightening the audience through the opinions of all the folks around him. Spock seemed wooden and un real to me; I don't think this was just because of his condition. And if Spock was underplayed, he found his counterpart in Kirk, who was a bit overplayed...

Because of these "flaws," I found several sections of the story melodramatic and rather annoying. I was quite pleased with the ending, which after much meandering, snapped back to your usual sharp, concise style. Hooray too for being brave enough to not put everyone back on the Enterprise happily ever after.

It occurs to me, after all this, that it would be just like you to write the whole story as a put on of fanzines in general, in which case I feel like a fool criticizing it. ((Aw, ya guessed.:—ps)) Oh well, as my friend Maude says, "Everyone's entitled to make an ass of themselves. You can't let the world judge you too much." [7]

Speaking of great ST epics, I read The Logical Conclsion last night. Overall, I'd say your reputation as a mistress of the language arts is untouched. Ah, but what is a LoC without some quibbles? There's something pretty fishy about Sidil's logic. However, I guess the fact that we can see something funny in it and Spock cannot is the wnole point of the story. A plus is that Spock starts out saying that he can't accept Sidil's logic, then goes to a point where he accepts it, and finally ends up not accep ting it at all ( but for different reasons).

I suppose you couldn't resis putting in the section where you mention that Spock was an experiment. Butyou showed good sportsmanship in giving equal time to my side.[8]

You can't make me believe that Spock won't manage to serve with Kirk again someday. What! you mean you'd let Donny go berserk? You are hard on your favorite characters.

I can't get over it--the logic paragraphs are so neat I'd almost take a logic course, except that I've seen the metaphysical gibberish they leave on the blackboard when my Math class comes in. Wow, I'd expect something like Kraith, which was interesting, but unappealing if you know what I mean, but this has actually made me enjoy boojums Press' straight literature, upon which I had looked as an inevitable side dish to the fantastic parodies. The idea of Vulcan logic being a destroying sword instead of a neatening razor--that I can see! Shiver! [9]
Now you've gone and made me dispirited Cor a whole day. I just read The Logical Conclusion and I give you credit for turning my stomach and depressing me...An interesting point was raised, one that most of us are aware of, but one that we really haven't given much thought to. That idea is that given false assumptions, anything can be developed to its logical end and can be done flawlessly. The key to any logical argument lies in its assumptions. [10]
About The Logical Conclusion: I hardly know where to start, The only criticisms I can think of to offer have been said already by fans who know much more about writing than I. ..But on the whole I loved it. Certain parts in particular were so right. The section that comes to mind just now is Spock's reaction when the Vulcan part of his personality is blocked. All through the dialogue between the therapists discussing that treatment, I was mentally screaming, "No, he can't take it! Don't do it!!"...The break-up of the Enterprise crew seems justified to me. People have to be considered as individuals first and as part of a team second. I felt good about those very deserving people moving on to something more. [11]
You probably had a lot of comment on the way characters are treated in MENAGERIE. What you allowed to be done to Dorth and to Spock-Kirk et. al. is even worse than what Shirley Maiewski did to Kirk in ALTERNATE UNIVERSE 4. In fact the feeling was quite similar. Placing characters under conditions that strain them to the breaking point in such a sadistic manner can only be justified by a very deep understanding of the characters and the internal strengths that allow them to survive and eventually function--and by writing that conveys this to the reader. It is a very difficult style and can be quite powerful if used well--or incredibly demaaning if used badly. To plumb the depths of another's soul (if you will) is to tread dangerous ground, even if the characters are fictional, Oh, yes, you did it well and added to the understanding of Kirk-Spock, Spock-Kirk at a very basic level. Thank you. [12]
MEN 7/8 was beautiful! Has anyone nominated Paula Smith for a fan Hugo yet? There was only one idea in the story I'm wary of: that Spock would be taken off active duty because he had been mentally ill. If his doctors said he was well -- stronger, even, he should have been cleared. As it was pre ented, one might as well expect Kirk to be deactivated because he'd had choriomenengitis. Dammit, I'd hope 200-odd years could free us of the stigma attached to recovered mental patients. [13]

I have just received and read The Logical Conclusion. Certainly one could nitpick over technicalities, but to what end? I have always accepted an author's creation as it is and judged it by what it lead me to experience. If to say that I enjoyed this story is to say that I am a masochistic, emotional being--so be it. As a physician I have studied psychic pain; as a person experienced it--and you did create it very well. The gore was really necessary and, I might add, very effective. Stef was really interesting. I especially liked the scene where he agrees to kill Spock, then "logics" him out of it. Certainly he was both self-less and compassionate.

The only scene that did not ring true was the Kirk-McCoy chess game and dialog. I can understand why something was needed to "space" the story, though--I was too driven to find out what happened to read the moves.

Re the mind-meld, the free form verse was beautiful imagery; and the sweeping scene with the regret--poignant. The ending was certainly restrained and sad but feasible. [14]
I must say, when Paula Smith takes on Star Trek characters they don't stand still and stagnate--they change, they travel forward, and the whole concept of the overworked original gets a new burst of life. You went right into Spock--hit him from every side--and came out with a much rounder character than the show ever portrayed. Bones too.[15]

Got MENAGERIE 7/8 the other day. Terrific. Wonder if I might beg some flyers for it off you? I do want to put it on my recommended list as I can see it is going to be rather popular.

I must say that I read it with absorption, coming back to it after every interruption--wanting to prolong the enjoyment. And I was disappointed when it ended--it wasn't, if you'll pardon the criticism, such a wonderfully definite ending that I felt the story was over. And I wanted to read more.

There were some touches of marvelous humor. Oh, and I must say the opening was outstanding--openings are per haps the hardest part of a story to write, and this one works very very well. In fact, it is one which I have long wanted to write and have never done quite so well. Kirk is handled with a distant kind of amusement which I think Shatner could: have played very well.

Now to the nitty gritty. I personally find your vision of what Vulcans would find logical to be--hmm, well, highly illogical. Your Vulcans are just too HUMAN, they strike me as implausible. But I believe that will virtually guarantee their popularity.

The story premise is terrific, of course. In fact, the premise would make a dandy novel or movie script. But not quite the way you've done it here. As you point out you are aware--it is still, despite its high spots, some what contrived. I don't know whether further work would remove that or not, but just starting with the idea of renegade Vulcans driving Spock to believe he ought to die and then having Spock cured--well, I could go a lot of interesting places with that idea, and I'm sure many others will find this story sending them off to write stories of their own.

One thing I did find you managed very well--I somehow pulled out of the story along the way there and said, "Hey, you know, this is really an ALIEN form of psychotherapy!" You managed -to give the feeling of that procedure very well.

I'm sure many fans will tell you they think McCoy and Scotty would have begged Kirk to take them with him to the planet. And that Kirk would have gone stir crazy in that place.

I think your ending is starkly plausible, but emo tionally unsatisfying to me individually--as art. Compare the ending to LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS. There it was like wise not the way I'd have liked it to be, but the handling of it was such that the emotional BLOW left one so drained, it was artistically satisfying--it held an inevitability ingrained within the characters themselves --almost it was their karma. Wheras, not WHAT happens but how it is presented, maked your ending less than totally effective. Perhaps you feel it unfair of me to compare you to Ursula LeGuinn ((who, me?—ps)) but let me just say that you have improved fantastically over the last couple of years.

I think you've finally grasped the knack of working a story to its natural length. You've DEVELOPED this story fully, and it makes it a fine story. There's also a resistence on your part to the temptation to run off down interesting but essentially irrelevant byways. You've stuck pretty close to your story line. That's a professional discipline.[16]
I think you have finally hit a balance between your sado-masochistic tendencies and the nasty old gray world we live in. You certainly have learned to control your tone; The Logical Conclusion is a study in controlled tone...Just a couple of negative points about your writing. The two-page description of the Rigel system which opens the third and crucial chapter goes on far too long. And, of course, the major problem: few fen will be able to accept the Spock you have used. That is first-season Spock. But we all saw three seasons of Star Trek; the man who had been through Pon Farr, who had been reconciled with his father, who had come to know love--that Spock we cannot accept as falling into Sidil's trap. That Spock would have answered "life," not "logic" to the question, "What is the highest good in the universe?" [17]
The Logical Conclusion was illogical to me. I find it difficult to believe Spock would remain suicidal for an extended period of time. He has a strong belief in his self-value. He has showed deepest concern for all sentient life, even apparently irrevocably hostile forms. I know he has risked his life many times, but I don't interpret this as a suicidal tendency; it is merely the scientist's compulsion to know, regardless of the risks. Parts of it were very good. I think it would have been more effective if it had been about half as long. The artwork was unusually good. I don't want to discourage Paula; she's a marvelous writer, and I hope she writes many more long stories (less gruesome ones, I trust). Also, I am hopelessly sentimental. I would like to believe that Kirk and his crew continue to man the Enterprise forever.[18]
There are a lot of fans out there who ought to know better who cannot seem to accept what a small part of Kirk-Spock-McCoy's lives four years really are. They just picture the E warping majestically into a convenient nova some twenty or thirty years hence, the triad intact; the same old crew at their stations. Illogical. People grow and change. They move on. No sequels, please. Make your readers take Spock on his pilgrimage of self-discovery; make them staff and fly the Heritage; make them untangle poor Bones from the red tape pulling out of that Caduceus berth is going to entail...There is a reality to what you've created, whether they want to accept it or not.[19]
When you say 'gory,' you mean it, but it was not gore without purpose. You have done what few ST fan writers have done, and none so logically, gently--you have admitted that the Kirk-Spock-McCoy triad was temporary. It was not a situation, an association, that could endure. They are friends, true. But they are also professionals--commander, scientists, doctor. To cling together was to deny growth, change, their individuality. It had to end sometime, and you ended it very...logically.[20]
I liked your story, The Logical Conclusion. I said so when I renewed -- although I refuse to accept that Spock is the only Vulcan/Human cross, since it would eliminate most of my stories. I also hope that this doesn't mean the end of "normal" ST stories! [21]
I spent most of this evening devouring MENAGERIE and savoring each page. Of course, being a bit on the sentimental side, I was hoping for a big get-together at the end (even tho its faults were gone over before). Now you're wide open for sequels--and I'm looking forward to them. The overall strength and impact of most the passages still overwhelms me so that all criticism has been driven from my mind. Not perfection, but the seeking is all the fun, right?[22]
Congratulations on stirring up a royal shit- storm with TLC. Everyone I know who's read it has broken his/her jaw trying to retch and cry "gosh-wow!" at the same time. It is, no doubt at all in my mind, a masterful piece of writing. It also SUCKS. Maybe I'm just tired ST Spock's identity crisis. If so, it's a good thing you wrote TLC, because it's probably the "last" word on the theme for a while.[23]

1976

I must say, when Paula Smith takes on Star Trek characters they don't stand still and stagnate-they change, they travel forward, and the overworked original gets a new burst of life. You went right into Spock-hit him from every side-and came out with a much rounder character than the show ever portrayed. Bones too. [24]
I must say that I read it with absorption, coming back to it after every interruption-wanting to prolong the enjoyment. . . . And I wanted to read more. [25]
I spent most of this evening devouring MENAGERIE and savoring each page. . . . The overall strength and impact of most of the passages still overwhelms me so that all criticism has been driven from my mind. [26]
The story started out as a parody of all the get-Spock stories...Along the way she lost interest in the parody and instead tried to see if torture fantasies could be made into part of a serious artwork. . . [W]hat follows from the first section-the slow process of Spock's return to sanity, Kirk's loyalty to friendship... all that is excellently and movingly described. . . . I think "The Logical Conclusion" one of the finest ST stories written. Fine artwork by V.M. Wyman, too. [27]
Congratulations on stirring up a royal shit-storm with TLC. Everyone I know who's read it has broken his/her jaw trying to retch and cry 'gosh-wow!' at the same time. It is, no doubt at all in my mind, a masterful piece of writing. It also SUCKS. Maybe I'm just getting tired of Spock's identity crisis. If so, it's a good thing you wrote TLC, because it's probably the 'last' word on the the theme for a while. [28]
TLC was illogical to me. I find it difficult to believe that Spock would remain suicidal for an extended period of time. He has a strong belief in self-value... Parts of it were very good. I think it would have been more effective if it had been about half as long. The artwork is unusually good. i don't want to discourage Paula; she's a marvelous writer, and I hope she writes many more long stories (less gruesome ones, I trust). Also, I'm hopefully sentimental. I would like to believe that Kirk and his crew continue the man the Enterprise forever. [29]
When you say 'gory,' you mean it, but it was not gore without a purpose. You have done what few ST fan writers have done, and none so illogically, gently -- you have admitted that the Kirk-Spock-McCoy triad was temporary. It was not a situation, an association, that could endure. They are friends, true. But they are also professionals -- commander, scientists, doctor. To cling together was to deny growth, change, their individuality. It had to end sometime, and you ended it very... illogically. [30]

On first reading, several well-known, fan-written ST stories appear to be abnormally morbid or sadistic.

In Paula Smith's novel, The Logical Conclusion, Spock is mind-raped by a misguided Vulcan cult-figure, Sidil, who convinces Spock that Spock's death is desirable and necessary. He gener ously shows the Science Officer several efficient ways of doing away with himself... The first part of Paula's novel originally intended to parody the "get-em" genre by simple excess. The rest of the novel deals with the consequences of the mind-rape and Spock's eventual reintegration of his personality, and justifies the excesses, for they are no longer gore for gore's sake. The changes within the main character leave no one untouched... Many "get-em" stories have elements of such heroism, but perhaps the most satisfying one is The Logical Conclusion. Spock's eventual triumph over his terrible mental disintegration, as well as Kirk's successful adaptation to a life without the Enterprise, exemplify a quieter but equally admirable side of heroism. [31]

The thought just struck me that Paula Smith's novelette, vrhich comprises MENAGERIE 7/8, is Gene Roddenberry's original proposed STAR TREK movie script! Much improved and carried, if you will pardon the expression, to 'the logical conclusion.' What with Kirk's transfer and the Enterprise's crewmembers' promotions, and Spock's removal from Starfleet service, I wonder whether GR or PS had the idea first? Paula, however, showed (rare) good taste in not converting Dr. McCoy to veterinarian-ism. (And this is not a slur on the profession— I once aimed for such a career myself.)

As for the story itself, I love it! I can accept the inevitable, and overdue, break-up of the Enterprise crew while admitting that I still prefer to think of the Enterprise crew held in the stasis of familiarity thet we still watch in re-run after re-run after re-run on the tube. Paula's universe is an interesting and plausible one. Her character ization of Kirk is consistent, and is one of the best-written Kirks In fan fiction. I found myself sympathizing with Kirk— something I very seldom do— and loved his problems with 'Donald Duck.' Paula's protagonists were solid, satisfying, believable characters. Nasty, nasty Sidil! And even Chekov came off as a half-way intelligent guy.

Especially interesting— the first mention any where that I've seen— is Paula's digression on the history and make-up of the Rigel system and its discovery by Zoom Ludington.

Ahem. The 'get-Spock' segments. Ick, poo. Such graphic, nasty, bloody, gory descriptions, all copiously illustrated! Speck dying in full detail- not once, not twice, but four (I think) times! Perversely, I loved it; boy, did I feel for Spockl Kudos to Smith— I love your work. Send more of it to WARPED SPACE!

V.M. Wyman's artwork. Here's that word again— I love the style. Especially enjoyed the illos on pages 2, 18, 33 and 34. Thought the Soock on p. 36 showed the most resemblance to LN. Artwork throughout was perhaps a shade too cartoonish (innocent, unportraitish) for Paula's predominantly grim tale, but enjoyed it nonetheless. [32]
... I'd been putting off reading the "The Logical Conclusion" for quite a while. I'd read an earlier draft of the opening section, admired the writing, disliked the story intensely, and had talked a bit with Paula about what she was doing with it and why... I disagreed then and disagree now, but the novel as a whole is immensely engrossing -- and likable, too. The story started out as a parody of all the get-Spock stories. This was going to be the ultimate in torture-Spock. Along the way, she lost interest in the parody and instead tried to see if torture fantasies could be made into part of a serious artwork. Maybe they can... Anyhow, within the context of 'The Logical Conclusion.' the fantasies of dying are necessary to the plot, but I'm not convinced that either Sidil or a distraught Spock would drag out the imagined deaths and turn them into such slow and painful deaths. Artistically, the impact of the torture scenes as torture scenes is so heavy that what should be the emotional climax -- the crucifixion (with an exceedingly clever double illustration of Spock and Kirk in a pieta) becomes instead an anti-climax. As [two other reviewers in HC #13] have pointed out, the arguments setting up the first section of the story are not really believable. Sidil's arguments are not all that unassailable. No one's arguments can be -- there would be more questioning of the premises, no matter how logical the conclusions drawn from the premises. But what follows from the first section -- the slow process of Spock's return to sanity, Kirk's loyalty to friendship, the break-up of the Enterprise crew as the normal progress of military careers (which the story assumes to have been halted by Kirk's excessive attachment to his position as Captain of the Enterprise) is resumed and accelerated precisely by Kirk's loyalty to his friend, so that in the end, Kirk is deprived of the physical presence of his friends and left only with the knowledge of that friendship as his support in trying to build a new life... -- all that is excellently and movingly described. It's interesting to image sequels... I suspect that Kirk and McCoy, precisely because of their friendship with Spock, have become so knowledgeable in matters Vulcan that eventually all three men will find themselves drawn together as Vulcan/Terran liaison officers in some section of Star Fleet top levels of office, by which time Kirk and Spock would have to cope with the frustration of being old while their friend is still middle-aged and possibly all three would have acquired families would would have to learn to adjust to each other... In short, I think 'The Logical Conclusion' is one of the finest ST stories written. [33]
Now you've gone and made me dispirited for a whole day... I give you credit for turning my stomach and depressing me... An interesting point was raised, one that most of us are aware of, but one that we really haven't given much thought to. That idea is that given false assumptions, anything can be developed to its logical end and can be done flawlessly. The key to any logical argument lies in its assumptions. [34]

An old and venerated mast logician, Sidil, heads a cult of other Vulcans who are convinced of the superiority of Vultan over the rest of the races in the Federation. Spock represents the juxtaposition of inferior and superior (Vulcan) because of his hybrid nature. And his destruction would be a symbolic victory for Sidil. Sidil tricks Spock into his clutches where he and his followers utilizes Pre-Construct method of mind melding/hypnotism to convince Spock that he must die. Spock is led through many horrible dream sequences where he dies painfully and slowly in each. These sequences are fully detailed and not the the faint of heart. Spock is rescued, but recovers from his ordeal still convinced he must die. Sidil had woven a torturous path of logic in Spock's mind that, in true Socratic fashion, led Spock to demand his own death as the logical thing to do.

This double issue is a full-fledged novel. Paula Smith is very good in this demanding display of her talents. Miss Vyman's art is original and charming. Overall, it's a very handsome production, typed in two columns to make it very readable, and the illos are masterfully laid out. A bargain, and destined to become a much-talked-about collector's item. [35]

1977

The Logical Conclusion could probably win an award for the best ST novel yet to be written, and it would be well deserved, for TLC proves something I've thought for sometime, that Paula Smith is the best ST writer around. Finally, perhaps, she will receive the recognition long overdue her.

The quality or style of art has great bearing on the impression a story will give the reader. And this is certainly true with TLC. Although V. M. Wyman's illustrations were of excellent quality, especially after you consider the quantity of them, their characature [sic] style tended to detract from the mood of the story in Several places. I would have much rather seen Signe Landon or Connie Faddis do the art.

Quickly, the story deals with the capture of Spock by the renegade Vulcan Sidil, and the brain washing of Spock by Sidil to the point where is intent on committing suicide. The rest of the story deals with the attempts of McCoy, Kirk, Stef, and Dr. Jason Swindoe to cure Spock. TLC, in my opinion, is the first ST novel (amature) [sic] that isn't overly drawn out, or has tones of pervertion [sic], and I salute you Paula on a job-well done!

A must for every fan. [36]
Issues 7 & 8 are combined for Paula Smith's Spock novel, "The Logical Conclusion." This is possibly the ultimate Spock story — the beginning torture sequence is lovingly descriptive. I couldn't put this down once I started, hated every minute of it, disagreed violently, and it is one fine story. [37]

1979

I found Christopher Randolph's "The Many Faces of Fan Fiction" the most interesting as an intro for new readers, though I was incredulous that a writer could consider "Get 'Em" stories (one of the Big Three put through painful experiences) without once mentioning the definitive "Logical Conclusion" by Paula Smith (printed in MENAGERIE 7/8). [38]

1996

This was an extreme example of what was dubbed a get 'em story. In this case, it was a 'get-Spock' story. Such stories put the character through all sorts of trials and tribulations. (The story also had elements of the hurt-comfort story, mentioned earlier.) In this story, a mad Vulcan tortures Spock until Spock is mentally unbalanced. Then the psychiatric section of Starfleet helps him regain his sanity. I read this story in an earlier form, and I know that at least one other fan, Connie Faddis, did too. (Fans would often give a story to other fans for their reactions before publishing it in a fanzine.) The story generated a lot of comments. Most focused on the ending, in which Starfleet will not take Spock back into the service because of his mental breakdown, despite his recovery. Many fans thought Starfleet would have a more civilized reaction to mental illness in the 23rd century. [39]

References

  1. from Paula Smith's section on trektales.com.
  2. from Sharon Ferraro in her perzine Turnabout #1 (April 1976)
  3. from The Halkan Council #23
  4. from The Halkan Council #13 (November 1975)
  5. from The Halkan Council #13 (November 1975)
  6. from Interphase #2 (November 1975)
  7. from Paula Block in "Menagerie" #9
  8. from Joan Verba in "Menagerie" #9
  9. from Amy Hartman in "Menagerie" #9
  10. from Vivian Sheffield in "Menagerie" #9
  11. from Amanda Ruffian in "Menagerie" #9
  12. from Nancy Van Zwol in "Menagerie" #9
  13. from Jan Rigby in "Menagerie" #9
  14. from Michael N. Amsden, M.D. in "Menagerie" #9
  15. from Joan Holly in "Menagerie" #9
  16. from Jacqueline Lichtenberg in "Menagerie" #9
  17. from Jean Lorrah in "Menagerie" #9
  18. from Paula Casey in "Menagerie" #9
  19. from Mary Manchester in "Menagerie" #9
  20. from Anna Mary Hall in "Menagerie" #9
  21. from Vivian Bregman in "Menagerie" #9
  22. from Jeanne Nora in "Menagerie" #9
  23. from Connie Faddis in "Menagerie" #9
  24. from a LoC in Menagerie #9
  25. from a LoC by Jacqueline Lichtenberg in Menagerie #9
  26. from a LoC in Menagerie #9
  27. from Ruth Berman in Halkan Council #14
  28. from a LoC by Connie Faddis in Menagerie #9
  29. from a LoC in Menagerie #9
  30. from a LoC in Menagerie #9
  31. from To Slay or Not to Slay: Why We Write 'Get-em' Stories -- & Love 'em! (1976)
  32. review by Lori Chapek in Warped Space #14
  33. from The Halkan Council #14: (January 1976)
  34. from a LoC in Menagerie #9
  35. from Stardate #8 (1976)
  36. from Sehlat's Roar #2 (1977)
  37. from Gerry Downes in Stardate Unknown #1
  38. from Dixie Owen in The Clipper Trade Ship #24 (1979)
  39. from Boldly Writing