The Winged Dreamers

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Star Trek Fanfiction
Title: The Winged Dreamers
Author(s): Jennifer Guttridge
Date(s): 1972, 1976
Length:
Genre: gen, though debatable
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series
External Links:

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The Winged Dreamers is a Star Trek: TOS story by Jennifer Guttridge.

It was discussed at length in Star Trek Lives! in 1975.

first page as it appeared in Tricoder Readings

Publishing History

It was drawerfic, unpublished, for a number of years before printed in a zine.

It was published in the print zine Tricorder Readings (July 1972).

It was printed in Star Trek: The New Voyages (1976) where it had an introduction by DeForest Kelley. It is unknown how the story differs in this pro book from its original zine printing.

From DeForest Kelley's introduction to Guttridge’s story: “When I think that this story comes from England, from a woman I have never met…and even if I never do, she clearly knows Kirk, Spock, and a certain McCoy as well as I do— I am left a little breathless.”

Plot

The story combines elements of "This Side of Paradise" with "The Cage" and "Shore Leave". On an idyllic, unexplored planet with presumably no intelligent life forms, members of Enterprise survey teams are affected by vivid, realistic hallucinations. Most of these experiences are benign, but when a biologist mysteriously dies, Kirk decides to call the exploration teams home. Spock is mostly immune to the illusions. He receives a severe head bashing by rebellious crewmen, but is able to convince Kirk and McCoy that whatever they're seeing isn't real, and he pilots the shuttlecraft back to the ship. Once back on the deserted bridge, Spock is overcome with his own illusion, of making a home on the planet with Kirk and "belonging" somewhere. The indigenous flying-squirrel-like life forms called "sailors" are suspected of projecting the illusions, but the culprit turns out to be huge flocks of scarlet butterflies. They are the dominant creature on this world and exist merely for living and telepathically sharing their own dreams. The human explorers simply picked up on the communal thought waves.

Excerpt

There is an excerpt from this story in The K/S Press #76 (January 2003), intended to illustrate that this is a crypto-K/S story. For the record, the passages usually cited by fans are as follows:

Kirk turned, beaming as he spread his arms. "It's all right, Mr. Spock, everything's all right. The crew are back!"

Spock ran down the steps to him, his face anxious. He looked around the bridge-nothing. "Jim,"-he took Kirk firmly by the arms-"you're imagining it. They're not here...they're really not here!" The smile faded from Kirk's face. He looked around the bridge incredulously. He could see his crew. He could hear the murmur of their voices. Tina Jones was close to him. He could smell her perfume, reach out and touch the smooth softness of her hair. He looked back at Spock and shook his head. "You're wrong, Mr. Spock. They are here. The sailors have let them go. Now we can stay and finish out the shore leave and-" "Jim!" Spock shook him so hard that his teeth rattled. "It's an illusion! Just another illusion!" Kirk looked at him and shook his head again. Not believing. Not wanting to believe. Spock stared into his face. "Jim, have I ever lied to you? Believe me! Now, of all times, believe me!"

Kirk gazed into the dark alien eyes. The Vulcan seemed to see into him, into his very soul, and the bond between the two men asserted itself. Kirk believed. He relaxed and let Spock go.
Spock reached for the computer, and then his hand hesitated. He turned in his seat and looked down at Kirk. In the depths of his eyes something was kindling. His face was intent with what was almost a dawning joy.

Kirk stared back at him with mild alarm. "Mr. Spock?"

"Jim," Spock said in a whisper, "why do we have to leave here? We can stay. Just you and I. We don't need those others."

"He's off his head." McCoy grunted. "He's finally cracked."

"No. The thing's finally got to him," Kirk said, climbing out of the command seat. "It's offering him the one thing..." He stopped abruptly, realizing that he was giving too much away. He ignored McCoy's startled look and went up to the Vulcan.

"Spock!"

"We can go down to the planet," Spock explained reasonably. "We can be together, always..."
"Jim, what was he saying about you and him on the bridge a while back?" Kirk didn't look at him as he started for the turbolift. "As I think you remarked, Bones, he was off his head."

Reactions and Reviews

1977

Last and just about least is The Winged Dreamers, a re-written This Side of Paradise. Go to the back of the class, Jennifer Guttridge, and turn in your gold stars. Plagiarism is an art and you have abused it. Over all, this story doesn't deserve more than a quick skimming. The introduction is by De Forest Kelley. [1]

1984

There were far too many things to reply to in the second issue [of Not Tonight Spock! #2] but the real delight was the article about Jennifer Guttridge. New Voyages and The Price of the Phoenix were the first books I read in Trek (hotly followed by Leslie Fish's "Shelter" and "Poses" - how can she claim not to write romance?). I think Marshak and Culbreath first sowed the seeds of K/S in my mind - and as we all know, they've subsequently chickened out - or at least, that's how I read it[2] - but Jennifer Guttridge confirmed it in "The Winged Dreamers". It has always been a great source of disappointment for me that I missed the inception of K/S but to find that she wrote one of the earliest K/S stories and that we can no longer get hold of it is frustrating in the extreme. I'm just grateful that we could share some of it. Can't anyone do a 'Jennifer Guttridge Collected'?? [3]

1995

[In it], the Enterprise crew was deluded into believing that the thing they wanted most in the world was within reach - for Kirk it was his ship, for Spock it was Kirk. K. stopped S. from revealing this by 'waking him up' from the delusion in the nick of time. Almost, but not quite slash. Sigh ... [4]
[It is] incredibly slashy. I was surprised at the time that they could get away with that -- there's a scene where Spock almost confesses his love for Kirk, but gets shushed. [5]

1998

The first time fan writing was published professionally was in 2 books edited by (surprise!) Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath. If you ever get a hold of these, you'll see they are VERY different kinds of stories than what Pocket Books put out this summer-- "By the fans, for the fans!". Yeah. Whatever. More on that in a minute. But there are a couple of the old stories that stand out, both in the first New Voyages. One is "The Winged Dreamers" by Claire Gabriel and the other is "Mind Sifter" by Shirley Maiewski of the now defunct Welcommittee. Both are stories that touch on this relationship in ways that make us smile. [6]
[regarding the version printed in Star Trek: The New Voyages ]: I especially remember a surprisingly K/S passage in "Winged Dreamers," where Spock says something like, "Jim, it's what we've always wanted." Even way back then, I thought, "What editor was asleep at the wheel when this went out?" [7]
...wierd alien critters that make you see your dreams coming true -- some folks die, some have a lovely time, but everyone's too fucked up to get them outta there -- except Spock. He alone can resist it, and successfully helps them escape.. Then there's a neat little scene where they finally get to him, and he's muttering about how he and Jim can be together, they don't need this ship and all these other people... Lucky for him only Kirk and McCoy hear it, and K reminds McCoy that he was under the influence, as it were. But it was fun!! [8]

1999

Holy potatoes! Quel slash-o-rama! [9]

2008

A typical alien-on-planet interacts weirdly with the ship’s crew, which will later be beaten to death over and over… An interesting selection of weird it-was-there-all-along alien selection, but it suffers from the fan-fic dialogue problem. [10]

2009

This piece was quite definitely better than most in this collection in terms of writing, and the characterisation is great as well. It's an interesting, authentic story as well, where most of the Enterprise's crew are 'trapped' on a planet by the realisation of their own greatest desires.

Of course, that's not the reason I liked it. This is the reason I like it:

"Kirk looked at him and shook his head again. Not believing. Not wanting to believe.

Spock stared into his face. "Jim, have I ever lied to you? Believe me! Now, of all times, believe me!"

Kirk gazed into the dark alien eyes. The Vulcan seemed to see into him, into his very soul, and the bond between the two men asserted itself. Kirk believed. He relaxed and let Spock go."

And this is the reason I love it:

"Spock reached for the computer, and then his hand hesitated. He turned in his seat and looked down at Kirk. In the depths of his eyes something was kindling. His face was intent with what was almost a dawning joy.

Kirk stared back at him with mild alarm. "Mr. Spock?"

"Jim," Spock said in a whisper, "why do we have to leave here? We can stay. Just you and I. We don't need those others."

"He's off his head." McCoy grunted. "He's finally cracked."

"No. The thing's finally got to him," Kirk said, climbing out of the command seat. "It's offering him the one thing..." He stopped abruptly, realizing that he was giving too much away. He ignored McCoy's startled look and went up to the Vulcan.

"Spock!"

"We can go down to the planet," Spock explained reasonably. "We can be together, always..."

There's also a scene in which Jim's hallucinated nightmare involves Spock dying. And this is an official, published novel. Oh fandom ♥ [11]
Winged Dreamers by Jennifer Guttridge was a pleasant surprise because I did not expect any slash from it, but there was a niiiiiiiice surprise near the end :-D. [12]
Oh yes, Winged Dreamers. Sometimes I just re-read that passage and the one at the end where McCoy is like "What up with Spock?" [13]
...I have observed over the decades that it's common for slash fans (particularly slash-only fans) to have a tendency to read gen stories of a certain type (heavy in "the good stuff" relationship-wise) as pre-slash, regardless of the author's intentions. It just seems to be the way they are hard-wired. On the other side of the coin, relationship-oriented gen fans are just as capable of reading a story that has only subtle hints of slash (even if intended by the author) and being completely oblivious to the slash possibilities. I think that may have been the case with "Winged Dreamer." The author was a Brit writer of popular gen stories, which is how most fans knew her and how they thought of her stories. So gen readers saw this only as gen. Interestingly, however, some slash fans said later that particular story of hers is what gave them the idea of K/S. And that likely was not an accident on the part of the author, because Guttridge was one of the earliest writers of K/S "drawerfic" (stories being circulated among fans underground, as slash was not yet accepted in zines). Her story, "Ring of Soshern," considered by many to be a classic in the genre, did eventually achieve zine publication, in "Alien Brothers." [14]

References

  1. from Horta #4 (1977)
  2. This was published in 1984, after (according to David Gerrold) Marshak and Culbreath were apparently "barred from the lot and from the offices of those who produce Star Trek, having "managed to alienate — and offend — 3 publishers, several members of the Star Trek cast & production crew, & Paramount Pictures legal department."
  3. from Not Tonight Spock! #3, May 1984.
  4. comment on Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (November 16, 1995)
  5. comment by Jan Levine on Virgule-L, quoted with permission (November 27, 1995)
  6. comment by Susie Bowers at alt.startrek.creative.erotica.moderated
  7. comment by Jungle Kitty at alt.startrek.creative.erotica.moderated
  8. comments by Greywolf the Wanderer, November 1, 1998 at alt.startrek.creative.erotica.moderated
  9. comment on a mailing list, quoted anonymously (February 22, 1999)
  10. Sergio: Reading Star Trek
  11. BOOK: STAR TREK: THE NEW VOYAGES; archive link by Tara Fleur, August 8, 2009
  12. from marymonroe in 2009 at Spock Shaped Snickerdoodles
  13. from delmarsdoll in 2009 at Spock Shaped Snickerdoodles
  14. from klangley56 in 2009 at Spock Shaped Snickerdoodles