The Shadows Between Us
|Title:||The Shadows Between Us|
|Cover Artist(s):||Anna Parrish|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: TOS|
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From Media Monitor: "Spock disappears from the Enterprise, and James Kirk is brought to trial for his rape. It is the story of desperation and love, ghosts and guardian angels, and shadows so thick and so dark, they can kill the soul. BE WARNED: This contains a graphic rape scene. It is a very harsh book and might offend some readers."
From The K/S Press #23: "The tests McCoy performs all say Spock is suffering from love-touch deficiency and will die unless he is forced to have sexual relations. Kirk rapes Spock to save his life. Then they discover the tests were wrong."
- The Shadows Between Us
- Going Fishing
- The Encounter
- That Naughty, Little Curl
- The Truth
Reactions and Reviews
This novel focuses on the well-worn theme of rape, but it does have a unique twist. Unfortunately, I found the twist so unbelievable that, for me, it underlined the entire story. The basis is that Kirk 'must' rape Spock in order to save Spock's life. This 'solution' is determined by McCoy who, based on the answers Spock gave to a test, diagnoses Spock as suffering from 'love-touch deficiency'. This means that Spock must receive love from the one special person in his life, or he will die. McCoy reasons that because of Spock's upbringing, Spock "needs that special someone to force him to accept that emotion [love]." (p. 3), the key word being "force". Kirk is appalled at McCoy's suggestion that he must rape Spock, so McCoy says, "Think of it as forcing him to consent to having sexual relations to you to ease his aind." (p. 6) and goes on to remind Kirk that, "The tests never lie." (p. 7). Granted, both McCoy and Kirk feel terrible about what must be done to "help" Spock, but I found it a outlandish idea that McCoy would even suggest rape — let alone Kirk agreeing to it — and neither ever question the validity of the tests (which is particularly out of character for McCoy, since he's never been one to put much faith in machines). I also found it unbelievable that McCoy never consults Spock about the test results; he simply makes up his own aind that the Vulcan will reject any attempts to solve the problem, so doesn't even bother. Not only do Kirk and McCoy collaborate on the details of the rape, but they discuss how Kirk is to restrain Spock so the Vulcan can't escape while being raped, and how Kirk is to inject Spock with a drug that prevents him from mentally escaping from what is happening. In short, it seemed the point of the whole situation was to torment Spock, and that it did indeed accomplish.
After returning to the Enterprise, Spock understandably tries to distance hiaself from Kirk, while Kirk's behavior is one of desperately trying to get Spock to talk to him. Since Kirk seems to understand why Spock wants nothing to do to him, I was puzzled as to why Kirk was so intent on making a nuisance of himself, badgering Spock by constantly insisting that "We need to talk." and even refers to "what happened below" while the two are on duty on the bridge. I was also puzzled as to why Kirk told Spock on page 32, "At least go to your cabin and use the healing trance." Spock's distress is clearly mental/emotional and I don't know how Kirk thought the healing trance was supposed to help. When poor Spock becomes so intent on keeping himself 'safe' that he becomes paranoid and turns to taking a Vulcan drug to get himself through each day, I was thankful that he found some truly caring friends in Uhura and M'Benga, though I wasn't able to figure out why M'Benga wasn't consulted in the first place about Spock's original problem. Also, once Spock resigns from Star Fleet and leaves the Enterprise, the fact that he turned to drugs is never again discussed or dealt with, and I thought it should have been.
I felt Spock's character was the most accurately presented, and it's unfortunate that aspect of the story couldn't have been used with a more valid plotline. The author never lets the reader forget how much Spock is suffering because of what Kirk did to him, so the reader agonizes along with him. I was impressed that he continually suffers fear of being touched and reacts with genuine terror whenever he is reminded of the rape. The stream of Spock's inner thoughts is powerfully presented. On the other hand, there comes a point where he is able to admit he loves Kirk, and I'm not quite sure when he decides his desire for his captain overcomes his horror at what happened. The one thing I am sure of is that Kirk didn't deserve his forgiveness. Though Kirk continues to agonize about what he did and feels bad about it — to the point of seeing a therapist — I found him to be a shallow, selfish person. He talks a lot about how much he loves Spock, but he never seems capable of demonstrating any genuine, warm feelings. Yet, he does point out to Spock how much he's suffering because of the guilt from what he did.
I felt McCoy was out of character through most of the novel. In addition to the points mentioned above, he's unbelievably baffled that Star Fleet wants to hold a hearing when they get wind of what happened. On page 64, he calls the hearing, "the dumbest thing I ever heard" and goes on to say to Kirk, "...for helping a friend, they're going to punish you?" I can't recall any point in the novel where Kirk or McCoy, despite their deep regret, acknowledge that raping Spock did not, in any. way, "help" him.
Thankfully, Spock gets help and a syapathetic ear from a character named James Kava, who is a true friend and refreshing break from Kirk and McCoy's unlikely behavior. Kava has some mysteries of his own that are nicely explained before the ending.Another aspect I appreciated about this novel, in addition to the intensity of Spock's reaction and Kava's character, is that it moved quickly. It also contained some occasional humor, such as Kirk receiving speeding tickets while on Earth. Unfortunately, for me, it needed much more than that to overcome its unbelievable premise. 
This novel was one of three used zines I recently picked up, and the first of the group that I read. Published in 1991, it‘s double spaced and easy on the eyes, which I appreciated. The opening premise seemed a bit over the top, but necessary to the story. I could buy the idea that Kirk might force Spock to have intercourse with him if Spock‘s life depended on it and that‘s the concept here, but the ―scientific proof‖ the act was needed was a bit weak. This lessened my expectations as I began to read, but I was soon pleasantly surprised.
The story is well-crafted, interesting, and has a very likeable and multi-dimensional new character. No way is this sort of confrontation between the two men going to be easy, and I think this author probably has a very good grasp on just how difficult it would be for Spock. It is rape, and this is how Spock perceives it. I was never quite certain whether it had been imperative in the first place, because only some tests run by McCoy supported that theory and even he didn‘t seem too sure of the results. Spock didn‘t appear to understand why Kirk was doing this to him and it was a horrible experience for the Vulcan, as it would be for anyone. No magical transmutation from violence to love took place here. Ms. Parrish does a masterful job of allowing us to see all this through Spock‘s eyes and it isn‘t pretty. After the rape, Spock slowly deteriorates, first refusing to sleep because of his fears and then turning to drugs to remain awake. He becomes a zombie, terrified of touch and having lost all hope of normalcy. He turns in his resignation and leaves for Vulcan, signing on at a spaceport as co-pilot with a very unlikely companion: a monk! This fellow, James Kava, is a delight – he‘s very compassionate but doesn‘t take himself too seriously.
This combination of humanity and blithe good humor is exactly what Spock needs. He begins to respond to Kava as they slowly learn bits and pieces about each other. You might say Kava is a godsend. As we might imagine, all this does not bode well for Kirk, who begins to realize just how much he has sacrificed in performing what he believed was a life- saving act. He has sacrificed the man he loves. Starfleet makes things worse by bringing him to trial for the rape. Having seen Spock‘s decline, we are also privy to the downhill slide in Kirk‘s life. In hopes that more of you can get your hands on this zine, I won‘t re-tell the story here, but it is very compelling and touching, never dull or ordinary. It was written with a great deal of love for both Spock and Kirk and a deep understanding of their characters and the trauma they‘ve endured.There‘s a neat twist you won‘t want to miss, either.