To Invite the Night

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Title: To Invite the Night
Publisher: Atavachron Press
Author(s): Linn O'Brien, partially edited by Lezlie Shell
Cover Artist(s): Barbara Walker
Illustrator(s): Barbara Walker
Date(s): July 1984
Medium: print zine, fanfic
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links:
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three-color cover by Barbara Walker

To Invite the Night is a slash 121-page novel by Linn O'Brien, one of the Houston crowd. It was edited by Barb Lewis. Cover & interior art by Barbara Walker. Perfect-bound, full-sized.

It won a 1985 K/Star Award.

The author's name is a pseud, see below.


Dedicated to those who waited patiently. But written for Lezlie Shell, who believed.

To Barbara Walker -- for her talent and ability to swiftly execute the impossible in spite of being left in the dark for months.

To Katharine Scarritt and Mary Lowe of Shoestring Press -- for not saying "Take this job and shove it."

To Elaine Hauptman -- for her judicious and timely prodding and for saying, "Binding? I can do that!"

And for the rest of the Houston WHIPS, (You know who you are and I'm not telling -- your good names are safe in my keeping!) -- for your unfailing, if teasing, support - and any other work I can get out of you!

Finally, to Kathy New -- who keeps convincing me that I have some redeeming qualities. Gracias, desde fondo de mi corazon.

About the Lateness of this Zine

To all who ordered 'To Invite the Night': it is finally in print, and all pre-orders were either picked up at Shore Leave or mailed in July/August... Now to the apologies: yes, I was over a year and four months late. Although there were a lot of reasons, there are no real excuses. I know a lot of you were unhappy, and I don't blame you... I can only hope the zine was good enough to make it worth your wait. I started this project with a lot of unrealistic expectations of my capabilities. Be assured that now I know better. I like to write stories. But I write slower, much slower, than I could have dreamed possible. And then, everything else takes time, too, which I hadn't much taken into account at all... The responsibility was and is only mine; please throw all brickbats at me. Lezlie Shell, and then Barb Lewis, only took on editing, not production, not record-keeping, not letter-writing, not getting the thing finished. Furthermore, when all orders for TITN are filled, and all other copies are sold, Atavachron Publications will be going out of business. There will be no reprints, no xeroxes, other projects, or sequels... Again, I apologize for my lateness, and have the absolute gall to request your reactions to the story. [1]

From the Editorial

What can I say? The title of this section should give you all the clue you need to the content. This zine is more than a year overdue - and it's no body's fault but mine. I could tell you about the reasons - the move, the writer's block, the hurricane, the writer's block - but no, I won't - it's just too painful. All I can offer is my sincere apologies to you all, and the promise that I won't ever, ever do it again. As a matter of fact, I'm planning to take up something less anxiety-provoking than writing - maybe skydiving or bomb demolition. Anyway, moving on to happier thoughts. You may have noticed that Lezlie Shell's name is not credited as editor, and that may have made you think that hey, something's going on - right? That it's all her fault? Right? Wrong. We're still friends, housemates, etc. - but you see, Lezlie's had to put up with this just as long as you - and it finally drove her right round the bend, and straight into another fandom. More in sorrow than anger, she informed me only weeks after the final words were on paper, that it was sort of hard to get into this K/S stuff when your hand was frozen on the VCR switch freeze-framing the gorgeous body of one Raymond Doyle. (Yes, it's The Professionals, watch for the virus in your neighborhood. I feel the chills coming on right now, myself- Bodie's got such blue, blue eyes!) So after many moons of suggestion, innuendo, and outright threats - she gave up the fight and abandoned ship. I would have gone with her, but she wouldn't let me.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I began to look speculatively at the person that months before had answered in the affirmative when I asked, "Barb, you type don't you?" Hadn't she said she was co-editing a zine called WHIPS AND CHAINS? [2] "Hey, Barb, you edit don't you?" I hear she's kinda fast with her fingers too — I could use a collator. I love somebody who can't say no. Finally, some words of advice. Never, never assume that because you're halfway through, or three-quarters through, or a page and a half from the end - that you'll be finished any day now. I found out it doesn't work that way. Thank you for waiting, I hope this gives you enough pleasure to make it worth it. Write soon, I'm dying to hear your opinions!


From the author: "A story of alienation, pain, and final triumph."

From the author's ad: "Kirk returns to the Enterprise thinking all is well: he has regained his ship and crew; what else could he want? His feelings for Spock soon complicate the situation, and when he is captured by Romulans, the truth of his problems suddenly becomes too painful to bear. A novel expressing feelings too long repressed. (Linn O'Brien, while a pseudonym, is not Pamela Rose, Lezlie Shell, or anyone else you passionate K/S fans know and love. People who must know the wretched name O'Brien was born with can SASE her for her reluctant answer." [3]

Summary from an ebay seller in 2007: "Kirk returns to his ship after his return from a special mission not at all the same man he was when he left. He's jumpy, prone to terrifying nightmares, and seems extremely uncomfortable around his Vulcan 1st officer. Meanwhile, in Kirk's absence, Spock has come to terms with his feelings for his human friend & is profoundly disturbed by Jim's behavior. What happened to Jim Kirk soon effects both of their lives profoundly."

From Gilda F: "Kirk jumps at the chance to volunteer for a covert mission as he runs from his feelings for Spock, but once back the trauma he endured as a Romulan prisoner threatens to tear them apart forever."

From The K/S Zine: The Time of the Beginning 1976-1985: "Kirk accepts that what he truly wants is to be Spock’s lover, after Spock’s return during the V’ger mission. Afraid of Spock’s rejection, and desperately needing time away from his first officer, Kirk takes on a mission for Starfleet that eventually goes horribly awry. Captured by the Romulans, Kirk is made to pay for his “lack of honor” in choosing life over death."


"He was shivering now, although the room was uncomfortably warm. The Romulan viewed him with clinical indifference. 'He seems fit enough, why isn't he with the others?' The guard answered in a carefully neutral tone, 'The Praetor says that since this one is an... Admiral... he is to be reserved...'"


Reactions and Reviews

As they say, "if you like this sort of thing, this is the kind of thing you'll like." In this case, what we have is your basic 'Kirk's been captured, tortured, rescued, and is back on the Enterprise still scarred from his ordeal but unable to talk about it, which causes all sorts of unlikely soap opera-ish complications with his K/S-style relationship with Spock' story. So right off we aren't giving out any gold stars for originality. In fact, once the reader gets past the truly odd scene where the good captain more or less deliberately falls off a mountain to avoid Spock, she could almost write it herself. (Though it isn't as stupid an act as in a story I read a few years, and a few fandoms, ago where Hutch, mistakenly convinced that he had killed Starsky, ran off to be a forest ranger. In fan fic, logic seldom raises its ugly head.) In fact, the basic problem with this type of story is that if anyone involved simply acted like a rational human being, there wouldn't be a story. In this one, even Starfleet Command has slipped a cog or two, especially regarding cause for a war with the Romulans. But taking the plot as a given, this version of it is quite well done. The author has a flair for dialogue, her minor characters are nicely drawn, and Spock comes off as a person really trying to come to a decision about what he wants to be when he grows up. (The time frame for this is after the first movie, but the characters are wearing ST:WK-style uniforms.) However, the sex scenes are fairly explicit, and the word 'cock' is used way too often. The torture scenes are graphic, but since Kirk has to be traumatized by it all, the way it's handled doesn't come off as overly exploitive. The artwork is adequate. My favorite illo is one of Kirk in civilian clothes where he looks exactly like T.J. Hooker. All in all, for the hard-core (excuse the expression) K/S fan, probable enjoyment. For anyone else, it's probably not worth the money. [4]
Kirk returns from a secret mission, ordered by Nogura. He was hurt, but is back on duty. now. Not even McCoy or Spock knows what has happened to him. When he returns aboard the Enterprise he behaves differently. He is withdrawn and depressed. He avoids Spock and puts the two of them on different shifts.

While on a mission on the surface of a planet Kirk goes for a walk in the mountains and Spock goes after him. When Kirk discovers Spock approaching him he steps back and falls from the edge. During his stay in Sickbay Kirk has dreams about what happened to him during his mission for Nogura: The Vessel he was traveling on was attacked by Romulans and he and his assistant Zimmer were made prisoner. The rest of the crew dies. Because they are captured and so lost their honor the Romulans degrade their bodies, too. Both Zimmer and Kirk are raped and tortured by the Romulans because they are now less than nothing to them„ Zimmer becomes insane. At last they are released and given back to the Federation. Kirk comes in a hospital and is treated for his physical wounds. When a psychiatrist begins working on his psychic trauma, he is ordered back aboard, not at all psychically fit.

After this self disintegration Kirk is now very afraid of losing Spock. because he realizes he loves him and thinks Spock will leave him when he finds out what has been done to him. He recovers from his fall and McCoy wants to have a talk with him but he refuses and hits the doctor. Somehow McCoy gets him in telling how he can get Kirk's secret medical files from his psychiatrist. Kirk becomes more depressed and his dreams continues. He still avoids Spock. He takes leave on a planet, alone, to find some time to think, without telling Spock or McCoy where he is going. Spock finds out that something has happened to Kirk and goes after him.

When Spock finds Kirk they have a big argue. Finally. Kirk confesses his love for Spock, Spock is stunned for a moment and Kirk leaves. Spock goes after him and tells him that he feels the same. Then they make love and sleep. Next Kirk is awakening from a nightmare, and, thinking Spock is the hated Romulan who molested him, he attacks Spock. Spock triggers accidentally the mindmeld and is stunned with the rage and madness he finds in Kirk's mind, and blacks out. Kirk rapes the unconscious body, as the Romulan has raped him. When he comes to his senses and sees what he has done, he is desperate.

Later, confronted by Spock he knows now he doesn't have to tell what has happened to him: Spock knows, and Kirk says to him " When I needed you to know you were not there."

Spock knows that he must force Kirk to see his own anger and rage and sitting at a campfire they talk. Spock confronts Kirk with his anger and his feelings and his dreams and at last they make love and Kirk can leave his pain behind.

In the epilogue it turns out that all this was a part of Nogura's plan to groom Kirk as his successor. An interesting story, with a lot of angst and 'blackness' in it. From my humble pov I found the characterization of Kirk. Spock and McCoy rather good. All the angst and disgust Kirk is going through, his friends and shipmates trying to help him, not knowing what exactly happens to him is very realistically pictured . Not a story that makes you cheerful or to give you a feeling of happiness. All is rather dark and sinister, just as the title says; To invite the night.

The colored cover is nice, it gives the zine the look from an old magazine from about 40 years ago. [5]
We have have coaxed, we have begged, we have teased, we have pleaded, and finally, To Invite the Night has come. And, as the actress said to the bishop, it was worth the wait. but with sex added to the relationship. In still other compartments I can deal with mirror/alternate universes and other situations. I could tell you the plot - and I will - but that is not really where the action is. The place where all the truly interesting, exciting, and erotic things are happening is in the minds of the people involved, and it is the realm of the mind that is author O'Brien's playground. Kirk's and Spock's minds, of course; McCoy's, Scotty's, and even a brief, intriguing glimpse into Admiral Nogura's, are laid (pun intended) out for us by this talented and insightful new novelist. Oh, yes, the plot. Kirk is captured and tortured - this time by Romulans - and must come to terras with the experience before he can pursue a relationship with his First Officer that he both desires and fears. And, yes, it's been done. But never better! Except for the cover, Barbara Walker's drawings are very fine and illustrate the story beautifully. The chapter headings - quotes from one of my own favorite poets, Edna St. Vincent Millay - are uniquely fitting. I have but one niggling complaint - the sad lack of ethnic diversity among the supporting cast. Almost all the new people we meet - doctors, nurses, Starfleet personnel, distressed tourists, even smugglers - seem to be bland and boring WASP's. I personally prefer a bit more spice to my soup. It is, of course, a fairly common tendency, and one that far more experienced and highly-paid writers than this one have fallen in with. Perhaps it is petty of me to fret over the seasoning when the feast itself is as sumptuous as this one is! [6]


  1. ^ from a personal statement in Universal Translator #24 and Not Tonight, Spock #5
  2. ^ "Whips and Chains" was a proposed zine that didn't make it off the ground.
  3. ^ from Universal Translator #18
  4. ^ from Universal Translator #29
  5. ^ review from an unknown zine
  6. ^ from Not Tonight, Spock! #6