The Territory of Rigel

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Title: The Territory of Rigel
Creator: Dorothy Jones
Date(s): 1967
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek
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illo for 'The Territory of Rigel"
"The Territory of Rigel," from Spockanalia #1

"The Territory of Rigel" is a ni var song for two voices and Vulcan harp, written by Dorothy Jones Heydt. It appears in the 1967 zine Spockanalia, the first Star Trek zine, and is the first published ni var.

The work can also be found in its entirety in Verba's book [1]; it is also reprinted and discussed in Busse and Hellekson's Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet.

From Jones in "Spockanalia"

The author explains that the ni var was written by Spock as he stands watch over the bridge in the middle of "night cycle" when the area was relatively dark except for the light of the instrument panels, the faint light of stars and of Rigel, which was nearby. She writes that the contrast of light and dark appealed to the duality in Spock, and the ni var is an attempt to express it.

Jones writes:

The Dorothy Jones' footnote for The Territory of Rigel, the first published "ni var." It was printed in Spockanalia #1 in 1968.
This is a piece supposed to have been written by Spock, many years ago. The idea is that he was on watch aboard some ship or other, all alone on the bridge. It was in the middle of the "night" cycle and the bridge was relatively dark except for the instrument panels. Outside there was also darkness, except for the faint light of the stars and the brighter light of Rigel, which was nearby. The contrast of light and darkness appealed to the duality in Spock, and he attempted (no one being around to interfere) to express it in a Vulcan form called ni var.

Ni Var means literally "two form", and it is basically a piece comparing and contrasting two different things or two aspects of the same thing. (It need not be a literary work; a suitably-formed painting or sculpture or dance composition could be a ni var.) So in this piece there are two voices: one singing of light and the other of darkness; the little Vulcan harp accompanies them and plays short solo passages. The first voice is soprano and the second voice bass.

Although the ni var is a purely Vulcan form, Spock decided for reasons of his own to write the text in Terran. This was perhaps his undoing; Terran languages are by their nature more personal and less objective than Vulcan, and he found himself writing not only about the physical surroundings which he set out to describe, but also about himself - a totally unVulcan thing to do. He probably looked at the composition the next morning, blanched, and put the piece away, for thirty years. [2]

"The Territory of Rigel" and "Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock's Music from Outer Space"

From Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock's Music from Outer Space, comments by Dorothy Jones about "A Territory of Rigel" .

In January of this year I sent Mr. Nimoy a copy of "The Territory of Rigel," explaining that it was a song text but that the music was yet to come.

"This leads to another point," I continued; "does Spock sing? which is to say: do you? If so, what range?"

"I doubt that Mr. Spock will ever sing," he wrote back, "but Leonard Nimoy has on occasion. The range is very low, there have been some inquiries about the possibility of recording, and I frankly have not yet decided what to do about it."

It must have been only shortly thereafter that he did decide, and arranged to record with Dot Records. An album called Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock's Music from Outer Space has been out for three or four months; a single, The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins is about to be released. [3]


  1. Joan Verba, Boldly Writing (2nd edition, FTL Publications), p. 11, though Verba incorrectly describes it as a poem
  2. from Spockanalia #1
  3. from Spockanalia #1, Dorothy Jones