The Spock Charisma Effect

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Title: Spock Charisma Effect
Creator: Jacqueline Lichtenberg
Date(s): 1975
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Topic: Spock
External Links:
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The Spock Charisma Effect is a chapter in Star Trek Lives!. It is by Jacqueline Lichtenberg.

From the book: "Spock is said to have a number of sub-effects on viewers. He is a sexy ("The Sex Effect"), ethical ("The Admiration Effect"), appealing ("The Psychological Visibility Effect") character. He shows us that the future, while daunting, is not as intimidating as it might be and that we'll find ways to cope ("The Future Shock Effect"). And while he is different ("The Half-Breed Effect"), he is not as lonely and isolated as he might appear, because of his friendship ("The Friend Effect") with Kirk."

Fandom Use

Despite robust attempts by Lichtenberg in interviews, LoCs, and zine reviews to make the term into a widely-accepted one in fandom, only Lichtenberg appears to use it.

Also see Demanding Fantasy, Intimate Adventure, Alien Romance, and Tailored Effect, other little-used terms coined by Lichtenberg.

Another fan-created genre that was heavily promoted by its creator, one which did take on wings of its own, is Paula Smith's term Mary Sue.

From the Author

I had already begun publishing in the Sime series before I got involved in writing Star Trek fiction, the Kraith series. And I then realized that Star Trek had been cancelled and I realized that fandom was not dying and being as my family has BEEN in the news game all my life, and I can recognize a news story when I see one, I knew that I had a big one on my hands. I wanted to write a newspaper article about it for our local paper, and I started out to write the article, and you need to know who, what, when, where, how, how many, you know the basics . . . That research took 5 years. And in the process, the book turned into Star Trek Lives! It turned into a whole book instead of an article.

While we were writing Star Trek Lives! we were using the responses to the Kraith series as research material to discover why it is that people like Star Trek and what it is that they see in Star Trek. And we came up with a theory in Star Trek Lives! called "The Tailored Effect". At that time it was just a wild hypothesis.

Now, what I did was, in order to turn a hypothesis into a theory, you have to run at least one experiment. I took 3 of the 7 Tailored Effects that composed "Spock Charisma Effect" and I constructed a novel in my pre-existing Sime series universe around those three Tailored Effects, and I sold the novel to Doubleday. And that $6.00 hardcover book I sold on a moneyback guarantee, personally autographed, to those 3/7ths of the Spock fans who liked Spock for the particular reasons that I liked Spock. [1]

Reactions and Reviews

This article was sparked off by the excellent new book "Star Trek Lives" by Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Sondra Marshak and Joan Winston, and more particularly by Chapter 4 - The Spock Charisma Effect. It is one of the best accounts of Spock, and Spock's sexual attraction, that I have ever read, and yet for me it was somehow incomplete. I have seen many good articles on this subject, but I have never seen an article expressing the reasons for Spock's non-attraction which, after all, equally says something about the character. And I am sure that there must be many others who like me are not sexually turned on by Spock… [2]

The "Spock Charisma Effect" is responsible for the remarkable appeal of Mr. Spock, the half-human, half-alien officer of the starship Enterprise. Several aspects of this appeal are discussed as separate "effects," which include the "Psychological Visibility Effect" (the viewer is favored with an opportunity to understand Spock's personality better than any of the show's characters do), the "Sex Effect" (which has a unique aspect because Spock's alien biology results in his experiencing powerful sex drives only once every seven years), and the "Friend Effect" (Spock's close friendship with his superior officer, Captain Kirk), among others. [3]