The Time of Surak

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Title: The Time of Surak
Publisher: Plak Tow / Dragonhold Press
Editor(s): Amy Falkowitz
Date(s): 1979
Medium: print zine
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links:
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The Time of Surak is a gen Star Trek: TOS 112-page anthology edited by Amy Falkowitz. It has a focus on Ancient Vulcan. Cover and back cover: Amy Falkowitz. Art and illustrations: Mary Stacy-Macdonald, Shona Jackson, Gayle F, Merle Decker, Susan Wyllie, Amy Falkowitz, Melody Frame, Edith Crowe, Pam Kowalski.

front cover by Amy Falkowitz
back cover by Amy Falkowitz
inside back cover, Gayle F
flyer, click to read

From the Editorial

The zine you now hold in your hand is the result of over two and a half years of thought, effort, fun and frustration. I think I've had the basic idea for this project in the back of my mind ever since I first saw "The Savage Curtain" back in '69 (one of the few ST episodes I saw in their first run or first repeat.) I never really liked that episode; it's certainly not one of the finer ones. But there was something special about Barry Atwater as Surak, Father of the Vulcan Logic Philosophy (or, to be more accurate, the "image" of Surak, and image that still managed to stir Spock.) Here was the personification of all that was dear to our favorite half-Vulcan's heart (or what he thought was so).

And then, of course, we had several other episodes that hinted at bits and pieces of that unspoken Vulcan heritage of barbarism. We have "Amok Time", with all its horrible savagery and pain, an inheritance that no Vulcan wants to admit. And in fandom there have been many debates as to "why the pon farr", where did it come from, how did it evolve, what purpose does it really serve, etc. etc. There are none of those really in here, though it is mentioned in passing in several pieces. And we have "Is There In Truth No Beauty?" with the IDIC, that symbol most revered by Vulcans. And "All Our Yesterdays" in which Spock reverts to his savage (and intriguing?) ancestors. But to me, it was Surak who was the most fascinating. Who and what was this man, who changed the entire culture of his world? How did he accomplish these changes, and why, really? What exactly was the culture like before, during, and immediately after Surak's lifetime? That period of Vulcan history has been touched upon only lightly by fandom,in comparison with other not-immediately-related-to-the-main-character areas. Maybe it's because we've only had that one small glimpse? And that one is not even accurate, since it is an image taken from Spock's mind, who is himself a product, how many thousands of years removed, from the actual changes wrought by Surak himself. We have series on the Klingons and several stories and articles on the Romulans and Andorians, among others. But no one has deeply explored the whole Pre-Logic and early Reform period of Vulcan history. (There has been one exception—the fanzine ERIDANI TRIAD, which ran several pieces on early Vulcan.) Anyway, I feel that THE TIME OF SURAK is fulfilling a need to explore ideas about that period of history. And since we have been given so very few hints concerning it, a zine with a variety of ideas presented seemed to me to be the best way of going about it. I began the actual work of putting the zine together sometime in '77, although I have had some of the material on my hands since before that time. Finally, late last year, things began to really come together. I got more artists, and a typist, and started looking at all that I did have in the way of submissions for the zine, and realized that it was finally going to work....

Due to various circumstances, partially related to the above paragraph, I can not publish in here Leslye Lilker's "He Who Was Close To Nature". I apologize to those of you who were hoping to read that. Maybe at some future date Leslye will do the rewrite she wanted, and it will be printed elsewhere.

I would also like to apologize at this point to Stephen O'Neil, who actually submitted his article on the origins of Kataytikhe power to me around the end of 1976. I had at one point considered it for my other zine, THE OTHER SIDE OF PARADISE, but decided I didn't want to run it there, and that in some ways it fit quite nicely in with my planned TIME OF SURAK. I'm sorry that the latter took so long, but here it is, at last. (For those of you who may not be familiar with it, the term "kataytikhe" is from Jacqueline Lichtenberg's KRAITH universe.)

Regarding "He Who is Close to Nature"

A Sahaj story, He Who is Close to Nature, was to have been published in this zine.

The story was first published as a standalone zine in 1977 as a supplement issue to IDIC, and in that zine, the author mentions it was to have been published in "The Time of Surak."

The editorial of "The Time of Surak" says that the story does not appear in the zine.

The statement from He Who is Close to Nature's editorial: "'He Who Is Close To Nature' is a supplementary publication of the fanzine, IDIC. This short story was written for a pre-reformation 'zine called 'The Time of Surak' which will go into production in the summer of '77, but a limited number of copies of Nature' have been printed for the Sahaj fans."

The statement from "The Time of Surak"'s editorial: "Due to various circumstances, partially related to the above paragraph in the editorial], I can not publish in here Leslye Lilker's "He Who Was Close To Nature". I apologize to those of you who were hoping to read that. Maybe at some future date Leslye will do the rewrite she wanted, and it will be printed elsewhere."

One might assume that a number of things may have happened which caused "He Who is Close to Nature" to not be in "The Time of Surak." These reasons may have something to do with the several year time period between when the story was promised for the second zine -- differences of opinion in fanon, editorial opinions regarding the rewrite, a lack of interest and momentum, and any, all, or none of the above.


Some of the summaries below are from the Zinedex.


  • Bred to Peace by April Valentine p. 11-12
  • The First Questions by Susan Wyllie, p. 53
  • Dragonmaster by Randy William Ash, p. 66
  • Time of Surak by Randy William Ash, p. 112

About the Art

The editor writes in the zine:
A couple oh notes I forgot to mention in the editorial: I meant to make, a comment on the "feel" on some of the artwork and stories. In one case, it was because of the artist's personal interests and backgrounds, In the others, I don't know if it was accidental or designed. But in one look at the art, one can see the influence oh Amerindian art/design; of the Scots tribe [or Clans), and, what I really liked, in Virginia Smith's "translation", a feel like that of the Anglo-Saxon epic. She used the "alliterative mode", and that's why I did that title page, for "The Death of Samendar" the way I did. I think it's a fascinating aspect oh the various responces concerning Pre-Logic Vulcan.


This zine has extensive art. Below is a sample.

Reactions and Reviews

  • Homestead of Death... In the framework of a teacher relating the story to a group of boys preparing for Kahswan, we follow a Warrior who is unable to accept the changes wrought on his society by the teachings of Surak. Warrior Stim is serving his term as a mediator. When the new teachings force him to give a ruling against a warrior - and his own preference - ut us the last straw, and he joins a warrior rebellion, becoming their leader. His wife, a true convert to Surak, follows him hoping to bring him back to the fold, but sends their son off to learn the way of Surak. Hi kills her in a rage, and eventually maims himself impatiently trying to concoct a devastating chemical weapon. He is left wandering the ruins of his fortress homestead, insanely leading his phantom army against the followers of Surak. Interesting vision, nicely told...
  • Doubts... A young follower of the ways of peace struggles with his mission (assigned at birth) to leave the desert household in which he has grown up and serve as a messenger to the city-dwellers, touching their hate-filled minds to spread the word.
  • A Lesson in Pain... Very nicely written exploration of Surak's teaching methods, through one newly converted warrior's experience. Surak takes the converts on a "Lessoning Hunt" to experience the fear and death of their prey. When Sokif is eventually captured by a warrior clan, he clings to the new ways through tauntings and forced viewings of torture to others. When he finally breaks down, he mind-attacks his captors, pouring the lessoning hunt experience into their minds. He escapes and returns to Surak, begging to be killed as he cannot live with this mis-deed. Surak dims the memory for him so that he can live - but the great teacher is left to struggle with his own doubts of his methods...
  • Not Quite the Way History Recalls It... A wittily-told tale with a rather refreshingly novel take on Surak.Two warring Vulcan civilizations have each developed the atomic bomb and are nearing Mutual Assured Destruction. Bygallium sends its forces out to attack Sallingal, and nothing has been heard since. Surak arrives and turns out to be the sole survivor after the attacking force sabotaged a lab in which a deadly virus had been engineered. Surak has also predicted the logical outcome of informing the Bygallium leader - that he would suffer a fatal heart attack - and calmly takes over the throne.
  • Starships of the Eldar? A Tale of Irreverent Origins... An amusing and convoluted history that binds Vulcan and Middle Earth - and accounts for some of the characteristics of our own favorite Vulcans. [1]


  1. ^ from Halliday's Zinedex