Pretty Boys

But not always.

Samuel Vimes as he appears in The Pratchett Po...

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Not all my favorite characters, television show or otherwise, are attractive.

Sam Vimes up there, of course, is not supposed to be attractive. Terry Pratchett builds incredible ensemble casts of the most awesome characters ever, but Vimes steals the show even when it isn’t his book. Particularly in Monstrous Regiment.

Old Stoneface Vimes happens to be the main character of the Guards series, which is something that is a little unusual for me. Most of my favorite anythings feature an ensemble casts, but especially those one television. NCIS: Los Angeles, Criminal Minds, Warehouse 13, even Supernatural counts, though especially for the first season or so Dean and Sam were practically one character.

Now, my favorite characters in those shows are often the geeky and/or goofy one. Spencer Reid (CM), Pete (Warehouse), sort of Sam (S). Now, Castiel from Supernatural, like Sam Vimes transcends his genre into something of a pinnacle of, of…well, coolness, at the very least.

“The Voice says I’m almost out of minutes”

or

Hooray, hooray, it’s a wonderful day, for I have found my cow!

 

Oct.31:

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You know who fits this personal trope? Sherlock Holmes, from Sherlock. That has to be clarified to the BBC show, because in the 2009 movie, Watson definitely came out ahead. But, well, at least so far this season, I completely love Sherlock. While the dark curly hair definitely helps, it’s got to be his sheer obliviousness to, well, humanity; the intensity of his quirks, how they echo the original character; and his snark. I come from a sarcastic family, and all these British television shows make me want to live there.

So Benedict Cumberbatch has the best name I’ve ever heard, but is a little odd looking. His face is definitely dramatic—or maybe it’s just emphasized by the cinematography, which throws him into dramatic shadows at every possible opportunity.

And, rewatching the first episode (the only one I’ve seen) I must also say he (the actor) reminds me of Spock. Nimoy’s Spock. Who, considering that even in the original show, I would probably consider old—well, it is all relative! He’s definitely old now. But watching the original series of Star Trek, I confess I developed a bit of a crush. Only a little one, because he was old. Or seemed old.

Also, I’m just vulnerable to the smart types.

Going back to dear Sam Vimes, who does not consider himself intelligent at all, and really isn’t so much in the conventional IQ hierarchy of intelligence, but knows his city and its people. And has the best development of  any fictional character I’ve ever read—especially from a series character! Usually in long-lasting series, characters have to stay somewhat static so that the later books don’t leave the readers behind, so they know what to expect. Being that Pratchett writes satiric fantasy, I suppose the world has to develop

But I shouldn’t go on. Because I can. I love Terry Pratchett. If I had the stamina, I would totally have gone on to get my master’s and Ph.D. just to write a thesis and dissertation on his work. Because he is awesome.

Castiel (Supernatural)

(Castiel is played by Misha Collins, who is also awesome. In Supernatural‘s “The Rapture” he played two different Castiel’s. And overall, the character of Castiel (who is always an angel, but gets into different manifestations and alternate universes) and they are all so different, it’s amazing. Apparently his Twitter followers are called Misha’s minions. I am one. He is hilarious. And before I’d ever heard of him, I’d named my car Mesha…it’s fate! or I’m up too late.)

Help, I’m Trapped Online and I Can’t Get Off!

sleep disorder

Heh, it's called "Sleep Disorder"

So I’m up too late again, if only because I didn’t quite get enough sleep last night after watching Inception (after setting it up) but could only do so after going to play practice, and Inception is a very long movie. Once you get past the first hour and a half, it’s compelling, interesting story! And then I woke up too early after a fabulous dream, and although I might have been able get back to it enough to remember exactly why it was so fabulous, I was called in to sub for PE.

I remember I didn’t like PE in school. If I had to do high school over again knowing what I know now, I’d be much better at it, but I’d never be in that situation in the first place. I don’t have a high-school soul. Not like the Cullens.

Anyway, I got home. And subbing is always tired, I don’t know how teachers aren’t perpetually unconscious. So I got online, although only after finishing an art thing for my friend (yay me, I got something done!). Anyway, then I got online, and then I ended up on tvtropes.org, which just linked and linked and linked and now I have way too many tabs to catch up on when I’m not trying to write a blog post while falling asleep at the keyboard.

At least I’ve learned many interesting things.

For instance, that the only reason they could show her bellybutton was because Roddenberry got the censor drunk.

Still Killing Time, Actually Part 3

My schedule got pushed back a day, which seems appropriate for triviality like this. Also, I prefer posting on even days anyway.


Here in chapter five, we’ve fully moved to the alternate universe, where Christine Chapel holds the same function as in the original timeline, we have an awkward sparring scene between Chapel and the obligatory original character (OC) alien. We’ve not heard from Chapel before so it’s time for her POV and to hearken back to Thursday’s complaint about the twu-luv overcoming all other relationships, the alien S’Parva is physically sort-of canine (more on that later), but the awkwardness is that the encounter reads like fem-slash.

Poor S’Parva, by the way, whose alienness is completely random, gratuitous, token and makes no sense, who is introduced with this gem:

“A body like a goddess…and a face like an Irish setter.”

So it can be clarified that he’s not just being mean! she really is dog-like. Yeah. Uhura objects, laughingly, and says she knows the guy, Richardson, isn’t “a bigot or a xenophobiac” but doesn’t mention or object to the misogyny. She does put him down a few sentences later by calling McCoy to neuter the tomcat on the bridge. Which makes me feel a little better, however forced the banter.

The worst part of S’Parva’s ‘characterization’ is that she’s effectively human and doesn’t have any outsider perspective or observations on her situation or the rest of the crew—other than to bemoan how different she is, to let Richardson to flirt with her. Except Richardson is apparently the only guy to speak to her so she calls him her little brother or teacher or companion because this is a word that has more than one meaning and more than one interpretation! Of course. But still, one made-up word does not an alien make. A true TOS tradition regarding aliens, I suppose.

S’Parva is also described in canine terms, specifically as a quadruped. Which makes her different, you see. Except she really isn’t.

Already she had mastered walking upright—which, she realized, was actually quite convenient….She looked at her hands, at the fork she had learned to hold with some amount of practice. Three longer fingers and a thumb distinguishable from its human counterpart only by the soft fur. Yes, the rest would follow.

So I guess she’s really just a furry human with canine habits and a doglike face—so like TOS! Only she has one fewer finger…I guess that would make it harder to film.

It just really bothers me. Because apparently, with her arrive, the entire Enterprise, or at least her lab, is being retrofitted for quadrupeds. As another character says, this is a good thing and overdue if this made-up species isn’t the only four-legged intelligent creature* allowed to space travel with the Federation, but she isn’t a quadruped? And why didn’t she learn how to walk upright before if it’s so convenient, though her species has worked with Starfleet for years?

The easiest way to read this is through a laundry list of questions that as far as I can tell are never answered. Hence the need for a spork.

Oh, and because she’s OC she’s horribly self-conscious, even though she’s apparently physic enough to determine all the different species in a room just by their thoughts, but not enough to tell what they think of her—which, if she could, would naturally all be good (other than Richardson’s comments earlier)—because by golly, she was assigned a place on the Enterprise and is even the first of her species on a starship. Actually, though, I don’t think I’ll call her a Mary Sue though. This book jumps character’s heads so often we aren’t with her enough to make her that important. Now in Demons

Anyway.

Further on in the AU, S’Parva and Chapel are in exactly the same positions, with the same characters they had before. Other than to acknowledge Spock as captain, the situation may as well occur before. In fact, when I was looking it up again, I thought it did.

The scene, not even seven pages long, occurs because Chapel is out of shape, and so McCoy has told her that she needs to spar with S’Parva (of a much stronger race, from a planet with higher gravity) for S’Parva’s workout. Chapel does not do her research and so doesn’t know until the alien points it out to her. (She’s a nurse, how’d she plan on getting away with it if S’Parva were injured?) However, it’s the talk after the workout that bothers me (because this isn’t too bad until the characters are ‘reflecting’ on their emotions).

S’Parva’s whiskered brow rose onto a high canine forehead. “Oh?” she wondered, absently reaching out to massage the other woman’s tense neck muscles.

Christine nodded, meeting the Katellan’s confused expression, enjoying the warmth of the hands which were experts in the art of massage.

That’s not the full passage, but I had to quote it because it reminded me of why I thought fem-slash. Then I had to stop myself quoting because we jump right into Chapel’s crush on Spock, which was transported whole-cloth from the old universe.  And it’s also used so that we can confirm the One True Pairing (OTP) of Spock and Kirk in the original universe as with this one. Hence why I know it’s the same “relationship”. So I feel perfectly comfortable dragging it into my discussion of why that storyline bothered me in TOS.

Back in conversation, Chapel says that if McCoy had being trying to “get” her, he would have made her spar with Spock, who would have gone along for the benefit of a random nurse, why? But “Chris” says McCoy wouldn’t have done so anyway (maybe because Captain Spock wouldn’t have?).  And the doctor wouldn’t have done so because…shocker…Chapel admits she had a crush on the Captain!

The only difference in this universe is that Spock is Captain, and Chapel’s shown to get over it. I would say good for her, but…

At least it didn’t hurt anymore. If she’d once felt something for the Vulcan which she’d labeled as love, that misplaced emotion had been replaced with respect—and the knowledge that whatever fantasies she hand once entertained were not only illogical, but also impossible.

The last whole post was about how much I hate this much emphasis on this trope, and I think some of this will be too, because the entire point of the conversation is to make clear no one will be sad when Kirk and Spock are finally united into their OTP. But I really want to quote the whole thing, because it is soooo stilted, and so entirely geared towards that point.

So yes, the entire point of the conversation is to show how Christine Chapel can acknowledge that she had ‘feelings’ for Spock that weren’t returned. She naturally sensed the “loneliness” in him, but all along knew in her heart that he was looking for that Special Someone and she sincerely hopes he will be happy.

  1. I never liked the ‘Chapel crushes on Spock’ storylines in TOS in the first place because she came across like a stalker—why is it supposed to be funny and why didn’t anyone do anything? The situation makes them both uncomfortable and she’s pathetic.** I hate saying it, because as a nurse on the flagship of Starfleet she ought to be a strong, competent character. But instead, as a recurring female character she is forced into a ‘comedic’ role of the lovesick girl. I know I’m supposed to wholeheartedly support and justify my gender no matter what they do, but why couldn’t Uhura pull her aside and tell her to get some self respect!?
  2. Isn’t there such a thing as friendship anymore?

No, no there isn’t. This seems to be a fanon idea—or ideal?—

“I thought I sensed a loneliness in Spock.” She laughed wistfully. “And maybe I was naïve enough to believe I was the cure.” She shrugged, not looking at the other woman. “But when I finally understood what it means to be a Vulcan…that’s when I understood that Spock can’t allow himself to become too close to anyone.”

But she wondered if that was really the answer. There had been moments when the Vulcan had been tender, even warm with her. But she consigned those times back into the past as the barely readable smile returned.

So even though she recognizes Spock’s affection for her, he still can’t be too close to anyone. Ever. Even though he’s been wandering across the galaxy hoping to find his One True Love and his father’s disowned him, and she doesn’t have feel ‘that way’ for him anymore she sure isn’t going to lend him a shoulder to cry on. If it isn’t romantic than you don’t have a true relationship, so there’s just no point.

Somewhat justified as in this universe he’s captain, and there’s lots of theories that the captain can’t socialize with the crew, but Jim still had Bones (as well as Spock) in TOS, so why, in this AU, can’t Spock talk to anyone? Because for an example of a captain who doesn’t seem to have had any true confidants? Like Pike, who had a Vulcan to drag him off to a forbidden planet to act out pure fantasies never contacting reality again—because once the Enterprise left, he’s still effectively broken and alone. Wait! There’s a pretty lady there too, even though he doesn’t actually know her. I’m sorry, romantic love does not heal all wounds, it really doesn’t. It reduces the complexity that original works (and sometimes great fanfic) allow.

Effectively the entire seven pages is devoted to nothing more than Chapel blessing this union.

Also? She’s entirely selfish. Dragging the scene back into the plot, Chapel swoons to an echo of the original universe. Which most of the characters have. And S’Parva recognizes it as such. She reminds Chapel that this could be a bad thing. It’s happening to others in the crew, maybe we can figure it out!

And despite the fact that S’Parva was right, the though of four medical department heads—and the captain—psychoanalyzing her subconscious images caused her skin to crawl. Nothing incriminating, she thought. Just damned embarrassing! Images, yes. But…of what? First Officer Spock? She shivered. Easily enough explained—at least in her own case. Straight out of the textbooks. Knock him down in rank a few points. Make him easier to attain. The red heat crawled higher into her cheeks. No point dredging up restless—and unreachable—spirits. And the dizziness came again, refusing to leave her alone. She smiled to herself. It would be her secret…no matter what.

But instead: We could save the ship! but I’ve had embarrassing thoughts that are already totally obvious to the rest of the ship! No—let the ship burn!

Urg.

*Should this be creäture? ‘Cause this is English, I’m pretty sure, and English has used creature for a good long time.

**I have this problem with most of the canon characters fan fiction writers use as pairings for Spock, and for that matter, canon parings. During the original series almost all of his “love interests” occurred when he was somehow impaired. Spores=date rape drugs? This is disturbing subtext.

Only a Little Link Happy in Justification: Part 2

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.

Plato's Stepchildren

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?

***And was totally involved in the fandom wank that I mentioned in my very first post!

Brothers-in-Arms: or, Your Definition is Different than Mine

The Star Trek fanzine Spockanalia contained th...

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That missing date of the 3rd from my update schedule will haunt me for the rest of my days. Or at least what days I actually see the update calendar on my main page of that month. And assuming I can keep my posting on-track otherwise. But, hey, fell asleep before I could even write my post; there was nothing to be done.

Now:

The Real Part 1 of the Killing Time review, spork, or whatever this actually is, because I don’t know what to call it. “Random-thoughts-and-notes-taken-during-the-reading-of-the-book-which-may-or-not-be-relevant-or true-but-drive-me-nuts-nevertheless” perhaps.

I started rereading this today, because I hadn’t picked the thing up since I made my original notes (but I had to because it’s very hard to finish ‘reviewing’ a book that you haven’t actually read), but had to start from the beginning to, well, get back in the spirit if you will. And promptly made more notes. One-and-a-half, actually. Although at least they are in cursive, and I have very large handwriting in cursive. For instance, I found quotes like this, from page 3 (remember, the first printing):

[Kirk] felt the familiar telepathic door swing open between himself and the Vulcan. It was something which had formed between them over the years, something which had saved their lives countless times and made them brothers.

Firstly, that “telepathic door”. Does that bother anyone else? It’s just such a…dull, but stupid, image. Too physical a metaphor for the situation perhaps: suddenly I realize I’ve never actually minded the “silver thread” of mindlinks before—although talking to a friend who actually reads much more fantasy than I do, this appears to be a fanon thing for Star Wars than fantasy itself. And why is the door telepathic, and how does that help Kirk? Talk to the doooor, Spock….

Also, those “which”s should be “that”s. Or something.

This does however lead me to the two points that I really wanted to make in this part one. Actually, first I only had one, which relates to the title, but the second is also important, and leads to the first. So I suppose it should be first anyway.

So. One thing that really stood out to me on second reading—which was actually, I think, the reason I was so bothered in the first place to start this project—was the characterizations of the characters. Now, this may be somewhat silly of me, but I have higher standards for franchise-published stories pulled from existing canon, and actual fan fiction, which doesn’t really have to hold to any standards, primarily because it’s completely unauthorized. At least the published stuff is reviewed by ‘officials’.

Not that I’m objecting to fan fiction. For one, I read an awful lot of it, and fortunately have a clear distinction between what I can expect there as, well, practically a media in itself, versus other my other reading, even in genre fiction.

But in fan fiction there’s a curious thing that develops called “fanon”. It’s like canon, which is to say, the information from, in this case Star Trek: TOS. Fandom, however, takes from these facts and builds on them, and since there wouldn’t be a name for fan fiction unless it’s shared, fans themselves create information to, usually, fill in gaps. For instance, I’ve heard that Uhura was never given a first name by the show, but somehow, because so many fans use “Nyota”, official Trek eventually used in a movie—thereby making ‘fanon’, canon. But fan-made-facts don’t become canon unless it becomes accepted by a significant portion of fandom. After which point, most newer/younger/less dedicated fans may not even realize it isn’t canon, but have made it part of their experience of canon. (Writing this paragraph has made me feel like such a geek.)

The most blatant version of this in my experience is in the fanfiction.net (known for its total lack of quality control) section for Lord of the Rings. Naturally, the place got a huge boost when the movies came out, and as I was reading in high school—forgive me! I’d seen the movies maybe once, and never quite finished the trilogy, no matter how much I loved The Hobbit in fourth grade. Frankly, many characters are, well, not resembling any character of the original books, nor, particularly the characters in the movies. Especially the elven twins Elladan and Elrohir (do I actually remember that?). They aren’t in the movies, and have the tiniest part in the books as I recall, but in the stories I followed they were joke-y like the Weasley’s and great friends with Legolas—who had naturally been bestest of best friends with Aragorn for some unspecified length of time. And many of those stories were pretty good. But totally, completely, fanon.

Killing Time uses heavily ‘fanon’ versions of both Kirk and Spock.

They’re positively cuddly, for one, although I can hardly count that as it was supposed to be edited out (although I don’t know how far). But mainly, it’s the feeling of the characters. Neither acts like the Kirk or Spock who you see on the show: for instance “[Kirk] reached across the table…’I know it’s an inconvenience to your Vulcan logic to have this link with a human, but just tell me!’ But the gentle smile robbed the words of any harsh implications.” That might not be the best example, mostly because it’s such an over-arching issue, but it does get across how blatant the author wanted to make their relationship, any relationship. No subtlety here.

But because of the fanon ‘slash’ version of this relationship, the overtness is taken for granted. That doesn’t mean the author doesn’t try to show how close they are through other words, however. Like in other slash fandoms, the insistence in calling them brothers.

Back up to that first quote, paraphrased “the door that made them brothers. Or years, whatever. Why do so many slash writers, especially those transforming close friends into couples, insist on describing them like brothers? Or as close as brothers? Now, maybe it’s because I have two brothers that it bugs the heck out of me. Because I know what interactions these stories draw from: the good-natured squabbling, similar tastes, and in-jokes. My brothers do that. So yeah, creepy. Why don’t they ever think of the to-be significant other as “a spouse, but without the nagging”? Which, sexist, yeah, but not so creepy.

Other characters will also comment on the brotherly love going on, in this case, McCoy.

“When you go to sleep, the little boy in you needs someone to relate to—and that little boy automatically chooses Spock—sort of a big-brother figure for your dreams.”

Now, a sophisticated argument might say that such other characters can’t see past their assumptions to the true UST and are making excuses for the characters’ closeness, or falsely identifying the relationship. I’m not seeing much an argument from that, though we’ve only seen McCoy this once. And a threesome would be too much, so I think we can safely conclude that the primary reason for this Freudian metaphor is to ‘prove’ how much they love each other.

Which, no. As soon as you call them ‘like brothers’. Yeech. Is it something to do with maybe people having fewer siblings anymore? Is it because families no longer stay together as adults—you grow up and move out and therefore are only supposed to see your siblings no more than to stay a week every couple years if they’re far away, or drop by for dinner every couple weeks if close? I don’t know, but this trend is disturbing, and not even the same way as deliberate incest or twincest or Wincest or any of the other disturbing combinations that such fans have come up with. At least they know what they’re doing.

Killing Time. Literally. Introduction

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.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

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.

Some people see it...

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.

Don’t Tell Me You Started That Today

….well, yeah.

“That” was actually one of those Star Trek books, can’t remember which, and my brother asked yesterday because he caught me about 3/4 through. And I did not answer “well, yeah” even though I wanted to.

Because that was actually the third such book I’d started that day. Over the past week or so, when my fandom mind switched back to Star Trek from, I think, Sherlock Holmes, I have reread about eight Star Trek: TOS novels. And my reply to my brother when he asked was not sarcastic because, though I read them quickly, I’ve read them all before. Yes I read fast, but I admit in this case I’ve been skimming some…especially in Demons, which has a monstrous Mary Sue character–McCoy’s in love with her and Spock mind-melds with her, AND she has wild red hair and is a super genius. Yeah, I think I only picked it up again because, well, because I’d forgotten how bad she was. There were a few acceptable peril situations however…

Where was I going with this again?

Ah yes. I used to read lots. And then I got trapped by fan fiction, and probably read much less–this was, believe it or not, me be geeky, and more being burned out with college classes and assigned readings. While not as much, such reading is much more exhausting, and I think I was simply burned out for a while, even following graduation.

After graduation comes no job, and me volunteering at the library. So there are lots of books for me to read–including a rather large pile from a buying ‘spree’ a few months back when I did have a little extra money: some, well, now as I try to count them there are almost twenty. Plus the eight books I have yet to finish from the library (I’ve started three).  I do pretty well in keeping up though, at least until my fandom brain takes over–hence the Star Trek. But fandom, at least, is fast reading. When you’re talking series books that don’t have to build characterizations or mostly even worlds, they can go much more quickly. Well. That doesn’t actually count if they don’t get the characterizations right, which is very much a subjective thing now that I think about it. Let’s just go with: they read faster.

In seventh grade, I had a teacher, Mr. Prim, who had some one-page project to measure our reading speeds. I tested at 1200 wpm. The text, I distinctly remember, was from Huckleberry Finn. And I’d read it before. Even then, I remembered that passage. The other passage was from The Prince and the Pauper. I’d read that too. So, I’m not sure how accurate a measure that was.

Although I suppose I can use it to argue that even then I could be called fairly well read (though I couldn’t say that now). Even in fourth grade I’d tested with an ability to parse sentences and paragraphs at above a 12th grade reading level. See, our school had a program called “AR” reading (Accelerated Reader), and after you read a book, you would take a test, and that test would tell you how well you comprehended the test. I scored badly on Les Miserable only because I though, ooh, it’s a hard book, I should make sure I internalize it, and forgot the specific eye colors involved. Also, 1984 changes entirely from middle school to college. That’s a simple example, but you have to realize a program is flawed when it classifies Hemingway at a 4th grade reading level. Whatever “interest level” you give it.

Sans second digression, though I don’t know my “true” reading speed, although one interest test called it 700 wpm, I do read faster than the general population. Which is something like 200 wpm and really, really slow. To me. Poor general population, no wonder you can only read seven books a year. I can’t keep up.

Reading quickly of course has much more to do with general reading habits. And in my case especially, interest in the material. Because novels I can power through in, oh, four hours on average. Or three maybe? Time flies, anyway, so I start reading and them I’m done and depressed because it was over all-too-quickly. When I was rereading the first two Rogue Agent books before reading the third when it came out, I finished all three in one day, two? because I kept putting them down. Stopping takes up plenty of time, no matter how engaging the story.

Non-fiction books take longer.

Which is really hard for me to accept because I love them. I love checking them out. I love buying them. But they just take so long to read. And unlike fiction books, for me, harder to give up. There’s always the chance I will grow out of my fiction books, especially since I love those in series: like Rogue Agent, or Robert Asprin’s Myth books. Actually, those are still going strong, and you’ll pry my Terry Pratchett paperbacks from my cold dead hands (I’m taking the hardcovers with me), but I just managed to give up my Dorothy Cannells and Aunt Dimitys from middle school. But though nonfiction books may become outdated, they never lose information. Even if it’s just historical value.

Like my weird attraction to science books. The Fly in the Cathedral, books like that. I rarely, rarely read them, but I love to have them for when I want to read them. And I will eventually. I really will.

So between reading too quickly, and having an active fandom attraction, I both gather too many books, and don’t read enough. Fortunately, books last. Maybe not hundreds of years, but long enough for me to get around to them. Or maybe my theoretical kids, that I’m not sure I want, but at least I have an excuse for those Hardy Boys and John Bellairs (<–he’s awesome, look him up!).