Let me introduce Killing Time. Since I fell into watching Star Trek: TOS (I almost said, fell into the fandom, but that’s not really what happened) I’ve been picking up the old series of books about those characters written in the eighties. About a year ago I joined Bookmooch, which is a website that allows you to give books away, and request books from others. That gave me a cheap way to get a hold of cheap, old paperbacks. Like this one:
In which there is an alternate universe (so unique in Star Trek ‘verse!) wherein Spock is captain of well, not the Enterprise, but an equivalent starship, and Kirk is a random, drug-addicted, convicted-murderer, draftee ensign.
So Killing Time had pretty good reviews on Amazon, by well-spoken reviewers (uh, well-articulated? I think I’m just getting worse). Anyway, because though most of the reviews were short one liners, one of the positive was three paragraphs and well-written. Generally that’s good enough.
When he mentioned that it was renounced by Gene Roddenberry, it merely provoked a slight curiosity.
It should have been more a warning for further research. See, I have been under the impression—I’m not sure how, or how long, or why—that Roddenberry is, well, just a little crazy. At least after Star Trek became famous. I still don’t know much about him, but after I heard he disowned the fifth movie from canon, because it wasn’t “plausible” I kinda disowned him. Because seriously? You made the movie. It’s official whether you like it or not. Even if it wasn’t approved by him in the first place, he’s irrelevant. As soon as it became a television show, it wasn’t strictly his creation anymore. And anyway, Star Trek was never plausible, so I don’t know what he was thinking.
Like when my brother made fun of me for getting mad at current fantasy movies for explaining their ‘magic’ systems through science.
I don’t call Star Trek’s effects science. I call it the parameters given by the show as to what they were able to do. It never really was consistent, and routinely changed per plot demands. While that might bother me in a serious show, Star Trek: TOS is, frankly, campy. Again, the episode “Spock’s Brain”. Indeed, my favorite fan fiction turned the events into an April Fool’s Day joke on Spock.
Anyway, Killing Time. So the throwaway line of the Amazon review eventually got me hunting for the whole story. Far too late to do any good, of course…
Turns out, whether or not Roddenberry dismissed it, the real problem came when the publisher used the wrong manuscript in the first printing. Della Van Hise was a slash fic writer! Who used her position in writing an “official” fanfic to try to advance the slashers’ cause. And had the manuscript sent back for rewriting, only to have the slashy one published. Yeah. That’s the one I got.
Actually, at first I didn’t think this would be a problem for me. I like my fan fiction gen, so I’m in such a minority, I have learned to read even fics labeled “pre-slash” as gen. I keep my eyes as open as possible (many fics are labeled ‘slash if you squint’).
Killing Time is a little slashy, as far as I’ve read.
Its problems are so much worse.
For the first thirty pages are so, I just powered through. It’s not like I would have expected great literature even if I hadn’t known the story. But right after Kirk referred to his connection to Spock as, first, a literal thread. And second, no less than a “silver thread.” I had to write down my one question:
Why are mental connections always silver?
And then I kept writing, and between page 33 and page 83, I took three pages of notes. Just notes—and almost 1200 words.
As my brother called it: my most epic blog post ever.
Well, at least epically long.