There is still so much more to come from Killing Time! I mean, I only just got through two issues, and about 30 pages.
But then I realized that it looks like all I do with my time is read bad Trek publications and read TOS fanfic. Which is so not the truth. I’m still reading Spies (the first person manages to be convincing from both the adult and child perspectives), mentioned in an earlier post, and of course the topic of said post, The City of Falling Angels. And because that couldn’t possibly be enough, I’m also reading The Nobility of Failure (about the tradition of Japanese heroes and tragedy, published in ’75 and drawing maybe too heavily from Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, but still fascinating and eminently readable for its genre); I’m also working on two “literary” novels: Clover, which I want to write a blog about, because so far I’m finding myself disappointed, and Separation, a French novel that is beautifully written and personally challenging, and will likely also get its own blog post. Assuming, of course, that I can finish Killing Time before it kills me.
Those last four books are library books, by the way. After I’m done with those, I still have The Biography of a Cathedral and The Lost Girls. And it looks like I still have Deadheads checked out for my eventual post on Reginald Hill even though I’ve finished it, and If You were a Tadpole and I was a Fish, which I think I’m just going to turn in. It was a fun read though.
And then I have a whole slew of other books I want to check out from the library once I get those returned, including Rebels Against the Future, An Uncommon Friendship, and The Music Room*. Volunteering at the library means that I’m the one who gets to do the grunt work like shifting the fiction and history sections, which means I come out with huge long lists of random books to read (or rather lots of little lists written on post-its folded into tiny square and littered all over my desk). Lately though, anytime I read anything I’ve been wondering what to say about it. But I have piles of unread books I own (so much easier to put off when I don’t have to give them back). And I want to read City of Bones or Twilight**. Well, the last two only because I see so much making fun of the second, and the first because the author used to write Harry Potter fan fiction*** and the trilogy, I’ve heard, draws heavily from her experience. So I’d maybe pick on them a little as I’m doing here. (Or find value, as the case may be.)
Reminding me I have a purpose in this post, which is to say:
I do not understand!
See, in Killing Time, the alternate universe (AU) is one that the Romulans created through, well, let’s not get into that for now. But in the AU, apparently, the Vulcans are in charge, and earth people (Terrans?) are inferior. At least I think so. The universe is rather confused.
In the Rogue Agent series, I loved Mills leaving out any treatise on the set up of the world, but here it just doesn’t work. Mostly because it is based off of an already defined world (or galaxy, I suppose) and the alternate world isn’t familiar. Now, Van Hise does successfully make her alternate universe distinct from the original, but fails in giving it any internal logic of its own. Yes, the Vulcans are in charge, and the Enterprise now has the Vulcan name ShiKahr and apparently Vulcan labels:
Instead of the Vulcan inscriptions denoting deck levels and instructions, Terran English swam before his eyes.
(He’s undergoing the transition between worlds, because they first thought the alternate universe was a dream, and now the opposite. I haven’t yet gotten to how that works either, though based on the Romulan plot, it still makes no sense).
Having shown that the Vulcans, for whatever reason, are in charge in this AU, Spock almost immediately reflects on how he was disowned by his father for accepting the captainship of the ShiKahr. Why? As far as I can tell, because he was disowned in the original series for joining Star Fleet. But here, the Vulcans are in charge, and I can’t see any reason for his Vulcan father to object to his half-Vulcan son joining a Vulcan career. And doing well at it. Sarek (the father, disowned his son for becoming the captain. So if he’d stayed a druggie ensign like Kirk, it’d be okay?
If I read an explanation for this, I will bring this all up again. Since I’m writing as I go along, I’m completely willing to be shown wrong.
Although as he’s being disowned, Sarek reminds Spock that he will be “alone.” There is lots of emphasis on his being alone. Spock does not want to be alone. That’s a bad thing. In fact, he remembers T’Pring (his fiancée equivalent, which in canon didn’t end so well). And…I’m not sure what’s happening when he thinks of her:
Vulcan. T’Pring. Home and wife and family and expectations: gone. What remained? The stars—something T’Pring would have forbidden. Space—freedom. Isolation—acceptable…for a Vulcan. And Command—a different type of home altogether.
So, I’ll admit this isn’t badly written. And I think I’d enjoy reading it as a commentary on a closer world to canon that this, but I’m not sure how it’s supposed to work here. Did Sarek break off the engagement after disowning his son? I don’t see why he would, because I can’t imagine how it’d be the ‘logical’ thing to do. T’Pring doesn’t seem to have had anything to do with it. If she would have “forbidden” space, and he’s been in space for years, it must have been over a long time ago. I can see this being included as a shout-out to the original series, but I don’t know why it would be necessary. You don’t read novelization spin-offs from a TV series unless you’re already familiar with it.
But you know, it’s really the ‘alone’ thing that gets me. Spock, in the earlier quote says isolation is acceptable for a Vulcan (except that if he doesn’t have a wife, it’s only acceptable for a couple of years) but the page before we got this:
Somehow, whatever companion he’d once envisioned finding among the stars had escaped him.
In other words, his father disowned him for being so completely illogical as to go to space to hopefully just stumble across some random, drugged out ensign who would not only be a lifelong companion but soul mate. Just like that. Now this right here is, when only an implicit theme, drives me nuts (and Killing Time is more than willing to keep beating me over the head with it for the foreseeable future, as much of it as I’ve read). True love? Okay, I can live with that, or at least I’ve learned given that it’s become such an ingrained focus of the cultural lexicon. But a true love that is simply the only one ever and there is no other even unto there never even being allowed any other significant relationship of any kind at all. So, so wrong.
T’hy’la? Spock thinks. He wondered briefly if this human could be the companion, the friend, the brother. But…no. Images received during periods of physical—or mental—illness could not be considered accurate.
You came so close, Spock! Of course, he’s hallucinating Kirk at this point, who is “the” companion. And what really bugs me here is that Spock is not looking for a companion. No, he’s just hoping to randomly stumble across one. In space.
Ah, if only he took seriously the mental illness theory…
And here I give up because, yay! it’s page 37. Out of 311.
*This is not the memoir by William Fiennes, which I found in looking for the link, and also sounds interesting. Sigh.
**Is this inflammatory?