Star Trek: The Fate of the Phoenix by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath (1979)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Damian, Jan 28, 2019.

  1. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Vanguard goes to some pretty dark, adult places (it even features one of the first pre-Discovery uses of the f-word in Trek) and most people love it, so I can't see that being the issue.
     
  2. ClayinCA

    ClayinCA Commodore Commodore

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    What was the big deal about "Where No Man..."?
     
  3. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    Yeah, this is it right there. I’ve read a lot of K/S, and, as a gay man, it makes me alternate between ROFL and steam-out-of-my-ears anger. It’s no more about gay men than girl-on-girl porn is about lesbians. And, like the porn, it’s for straights (women, in this case) to wank to (is there a better word than that? “Jilling Off”?)

    And yeah, Omne is just a rapist. No more “interesting” or “compelling” than Weinstein, Cosby or Louis CK.
     
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  4. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    I did a brief flip-through, and it’s like everything! is! turned! up! to! eleven!

    I still remember a passage that goes on and on and ON about how amazing Shatner’s ass is. I wish I could find it.

    But all I can find is stuff about how his marriage to Marcy “Chief DiFalco” Lafferty is literally the romance of the century, how it defines the new, post-women’s lib standard for marriage, how much it’s a marriage of equals, how Marcy is not just a pretty face, but Bill’s equal (not judging by her acting, apparently.)

    Anyway, if you’ve read Price and Fate, you have an idea. Just turn it up to 11, and you have Shatner: Where No Man...
     
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  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yeah, it's weird how hagiographic M&C were toward Shatner in the biography, considering how much they liked writing stories where Kirk was humiliated, dominated, and forced into submission.
     
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  6. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Sure, that sound like appropriate material for a biography. :rolleyes:
     
  7. TheAlmanac

    TheAlmanac Writer Captain

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    What seems most ironic now about such a portrayal is that (based on her Twitter account) Lafferty has become a boisterous supporter of the current Republican administration in the US.
     
  8. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    Where did he rape anyone? Is it the between the lines stuff I'm just not seeing? I'm definitely going have to re-read those books with a more suspicious mind. Perhaps I'm just stupid and its obvious to everyone else.
     
  9. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    I think it's more figuratively. Esp. in Price how he was shown as the dominating male, and as someone noted forcing Kirk to kneel in front of him in a, um, suggestive pose. Things of that nature. I didn't see any actual rape in the literal sense.

    I get Daddy Todd's point that the book isn't any support of gay pride, things of that nature. I think he hit it on the head that it was to satisfy the writer's fetish and straight women who feel similarly. And to me it felt unnatural as the characters they depicted in their little fantasies were straight characters. And it goes back to my argument that just because two people have a close, even intimate friendship, it doesn't always mean there is something sexual involved. Kirk and Spock's relationship always felt more familial, very much like brothers--which makes it even weirder to read their portrayal in M/S stories. It's like seeing two brothers (or any siblings) lust for one another :ack:
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
  10. Skipper

    Skipper Commodore Commodore

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    Price of the Phoenix was the '70s equivalent of a yaoi manga.

    Omne grinned. “Good! That also I wanted to learn. Yes, I’ll have you, fighting—and I want that. You will learn to acknowledge me as your natural master. You’ll learn to bend your stiff neck. You will be my final hostage against Spock, and he against you.” He moved closer. You are on your knees, but not to me. You will kneel and bow and beg for Spock.”

    Kirk rose to his knees without a word, finding his face too close to the big man, but arching back a little and bowing his head. I beg for Spock,” he said easily, stressing the ease.
    The gloved hands clenched into his hair, jerking his head up, pulling his chest against the corded thighs, his face almost against the great body.
    Omne’s face was the face of the wolf, the beast—the face of jungle and night “Now beg for yourself. I am alpha here, and you will—now—yield.”
    One big hand twisted his head down and forward and the other ran down the back of his neck, feeling it cord and crackle with the resistance.
    “Yield,” the low voice snarled. “Let it happen.”

    Spock “took Kirk’s face in his hands, not asking this time a permission which had always been granted…Kirk’s hands reached to ease the shoulders and to draw him surprisingly close…Spock slipped in easily at the level of warmth. He had been there before. It knew how to accept him…A shudder, caught and held to stillness…Cheeks moving to swallow. Jaw firming…reaching deep, quickly, deeper than ever, a swift agony of barriers to be broken, reaching through to layers and levels and hidden places which wanted and did not want to be touched, gathering up gossamer strands of the link into a slender, dissoluble thread…The Human gasped and sagged against the Vulcan.”


     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I see what you mean (in terms of an unrealistic portrayal of implicit same-sex male attraction catering to female audiences' fantasies), but I gather that yaoi tends to feminize its male leads and play up their androgynous beauty (bishonen), whereas Marshak & Culbreath liked their male leads (besides Kirk) to be hypermasculine, aggressive, dominating brutes, with Omne being the ultimate example.
     
  12. Skipper

    Skipper Commodore Commodore

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    You are right, probably the right term should be gachimuchi, but I used yaoi because it's better known :)
     
  13. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah, I have to agree with you there. I can't help but think some editor told them to tone it down with Fate of the Phoenix because in that book there was none of the above scene. They seemed to have substituted some female domination of men with the Doyen and the Commander....and Omne was still the 'alpha' in the room as far as the book went. But there were no scenes that I recall that approached what was noted in Skipper's post. Fate I thought was bad because you're left with a meandering plot that was hard to follow and confusing, and worse, I stopped caring what happened.

    And that scene is so unlike Captain Kirk. He may get on his knees to live another day to fight, or to save the life of his crew. But he would never submit, never surrender in that fashion. It was an issue I picked up in both books, that Kirk is some weakling. He would never have become captain if he were that person. His docile self from "The Enemy Within" could beat that Kirk. That and Spock's characterizations was way off base as well.

    Omne could have been a great villain in some ways. There were little bits M/S threw out there that had they been developed better he could have been a stronger character. There were little bits about his history before becoming dark Omne they failed to develop. Also what were his motivations? I got the impression it was more than simple power. But again, you're left guessing. Instead you're left with a bad guy that likes to bully people and assault people. And the whole Phoenix affair left a bad taste in my mouth.
     
  14. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    Man, I must be out of the loop. I had to look up both terms to see what they meant. But after looking them up I think the gachimuchi description is probably more accurate.

    I remember when I read Price for the first time, I wasn't familiar with M/S style. I read their one Pocketbook release years ago and have long since forgotten it.

    I read Price thinking something's wrong here. This doesn't feel right, WTF is wrong with Kirk and Spock. And I was wondering if I was misunderstanding the slash elements. When I posted my thoughts here, most people seemed to feel much the same way (so at least I didn't feel off base).

    I had a first edition copy of "Killing Time" that I acquired a while back---I'm amused at that book's reputation after reading Price, as Killing Time has nothing on Price as far as slash elements go. If I read Killing Time without knowing anything about it, I probably wouldn't have even picked up on most of it (a lot of Kirk's odd behavior there I probably would have attributed to it being an alternate universe).
     
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  15. DrCorby

    DrCorby Captain Captain

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    I'd seen that autobiography mentioned in their books, but I didn't realize it had actually been released. From the descriptions, I'm glad I missed it...
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I used to have a copy, back when I was young enough to take its claims at face value.
     
  17. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    M&C announced and promoted other books that never happened: Uhura! (to be co-authored with guess who) The New Voyages 3 (for which they apparently bought some stories) and Mr. Spock's Guide to Vulcan. I'd love to know how far along any of those projects got, and why they were killed. I have a convention flyer from around 1979 in which Marshak was scheduled to read excerpts from the first two, so they must have had something.
     
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  18. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Wasn't that Uhura book supposed to alternate between the Trekverse and the (then) current, and a real-life astronaut they were going to tie into Uhura's family history?
     
  19. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    Really? I've always had a soft spot for that, mainly because of the variety of non-humanoid species depicted.
    Even if M'Benga, against all that had been established about him previously, turned out to be the killer.
    That reminds me of the first time I read David Gerrold's When HARLIE Was One. I was a freshman or sophomore in high school. And I read it for a book report. And I was prepared for neither Gerrold's vision of a future in which marijuana was not only completely legal, but commercialized (with brands like "Highmaster"), nor his depictions of sex between two of the protagonists.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That was one of the main things I disliked about Death's Angel, because the "aliens" were so unimaginative, all just oversized Earth animals or mythological creatures like vampires and mermaids. Given the freedom of prose to create any aliens imaginable, that was the laziest possible way to do it.