Whaaat? Now I’m doing book reviews? Well, this is a special case. You see, this is a Star Trek novel, and if you’re a Spirk shipper, an absolute must read.
Killing Time is a short novel by Della Van Hise, originally published in 1985. When Pocket Books first put it out, apparently it was so gay that Paramount Pictures requested that the slashier parts be taken out. That didn’t end up happening due to a screw-up in editing, and the book was published as is. At least, until Gene Roddenberry read it and made the publisher recall it. PB had to put out a new, less gay version of the story.
I’m pretty sure the version I read was the censored edition, but even then, it’s still really gay. Let me show you what I mean.
To summarize, KT is about Kirk having strange dreams about being an ensign on a starship in an alternate universe, serving under Captain Spock. It turns out that Spock and several other members of the Enterprise, including one Jerry Richardson, are having similar dreams.
However, the dream soon becomes reality, and the Enterprise has been replaced with the starship Shi’Khar. No one remembers the other reality. In the new reality, the Federation was created not by mankind, but by the Vulcans. Kirk was wrongly accused of murder and offered a station on the starship as an alternative to prison. In addition, he’s also got PTSD connected with some disciplinary mental torture device they used on him in order to get a confession out of him, and his cabinmate keeps beating the shit out of him. This universe is not nice to our Jimmy. 😢
It’s soon established that the Romulans have a device they’ve used to pervert history so that humanity never formed the Federation. The leader of the Romulans, who happens to be a character we’ve met before – Thea, from “The Enterprise Incident” – is behind it all, wanting revenge on Spock for spurning and humiliating her. A big part of her plot is separating him from Kirk, since she knows they’re totally t’hy’la, so she can claim Spock as her consort.
Luckily, it doesn’t work, and Kirk, Spock, and Richardson finally realize the Romulans have changed history. They all work together to fix it, knowing that they and their reality will disappear if they set time right again. The three sacrifice their lives to undo the history-change, and Kirk wakes up in the right reality, once again Captain of the Enterprise, with Spock as his right hand man, with the other reality remembered vaguely as a bad dream.
This book is a Kirk/Spock goldmine. For one thing, it is established very clearly that Kirk and Spock are t’hy’la (duh), and they have a mental bond! (In Vulcan culture, mental bonds are developed between married couple. Hmmm…)
The first few chapters talk a lot about the close, personal “friendship” between Spock and Kirk, and they are very tender with each other. There’s even a part where Spock lays his hand on Kirk’s shoulder and Kirk covers it with his own (gee, good thing Vulcans don’t kiss with their hands or anything…oh, wait). Also, Spock muses several times on Kirk’s looks: “firm features, tanned flesh, expressive hazel eyes, and a compelling human grin. Single lock of gold-bronze hair falling to the middle of a high forehead.” Geez, Spock, we all know Kirk is a dreamboat, but come on.
Even when time is changed and they don’t know each other, Spock and Kirk yearn for each other’s company. Kirk wakes up from a bad dream and immediately calls out for Spock; Spock has a vision of Kirk and wonders possibly if this is his t’hy’la. You know…the Vulcan equivalent of soulmate.
Not to mention, due to the time corruption, Spock goes into pon farr (because no Spirk fic is complete without the ritual Vulcan mating frenzy!), and he dreams longingly about Kirk! (Unfortunately he ends up banging the Romulan chick out of desperation. She kind of takes advantage of his needy state. It’s a little on the squickish side.)
But the homoerotic subtext doesn’t end with the space husbands! There’s also some flirting between Kirk and Richardson, who calls Kirk “Juliet”. When Richardson dies, Kirk sadly calls him “Romeo”. I am not making this up. Also, there’s a romance between Richardson and this alien chick who works on the Enterprise/Shi’Khar named S’Parva, and they perfectly parallel Kirk and Spock!!!!
Toward the end after they’ve saved the universe, Spock is dying from a poison bullet wound, and the second reality is collapsing. And Kirk and Spock decide to die holding each other????? While melding their minds one last time????????? What kind of old-couple-cuddling-each-other-as-the-Titantic-is-sinking romantic tripe is this?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Here are some lines that made me fangirl squee with joy:
Surely, he told himself, there would be someone with whom the Vulcan could bond, someone who could walk the path with him, balance him, love him. For a long time, Kirk considered that. (just platonically pondering whether or not your bro will have a life partner)
…when he opened his eyes again, it was to see Spock still standing, looking down at him questioningly. There was concern–and possibly Vulcan worry–written in the black eyes. Kirk held the penetrating gaze for a moment, then managed a smile when he saw the Vulcan soften. (And then he drags Spock off to the ship’s garden for a date I MEAN manly stroll.)
Absently, he reached out to touch the human’s cheek for confirmation, but stopped when Kirk’s eyes widened fearfully. (So Captain Spock notices a bruise on Kirk’s cheek and just casually reaches out to caress his face. #JustBroThings)
For an illogical moment, he found himself thinking of the future–with Kirk at his side. . . (THIS SPOCK BARELY KNOWS THIS KIRK AND HE WANTS TO SPEND THE REST OF HIS LIFE WITH HIM WHAT THE HELL)
The images whisper-walked through his mind. Blue and gold. Warmth and companionship. Stolen moments when the firm Vulcan mask did not have to fit so tightly. (I’M ABOUT TO EXPLODE I SWEAR TO SURAK)
He glanced up, meeting the Vulcan’s eyes. Somehow, shirtless, and with hair slightly dishelved, the Shi’Kahr’s legendary captain seemed almost vulnerable in the dim lighting… almost reachable. (Kirk checkin’ out Spock’s hot Vulcan bod, hell yeah.)
“Kidnap James Kirk, keep him from the Vulcan long enough … and Spock will do anything in his power to get him back safely, Sarela.” (Damn, Thea knows EXACTLY what Spock’s weak spot is.)
…what is dearest to him in all the combined universes… (This is what Kirk is to Spock, according to Thea. I MEAN)
…Spock knew he must be there when his companion awakened… (So Kirk and this other crew member were in danger and Spock only had time to save one of them, and of course he picked his darling Kirky! Now Kirk is knocked out in sick bay, and Spock is longing to be at his bedside, calling Kirk his companion. Again, HE BARELY KNOWS KIRK.)
In seven years as command of the Shi’Kahr, he had never met a human who could arouse such forbidden feelings, who could wrestle emotion from him as easily as turning on the light. (*me, screaming* Also, they’re sexy anger-wrestling right now.)
“I need you. The Empire needs you. . . . What more can there be?” “James Kirk,” the Vulcan murmured without hesitation. (Lady, you just got REJECTED.)
“Can he be worth what you are doing, Spock? Can any one man be worth an entire universe?” The Vulcan’s response was direct and without hesitation. “Yes.” (JIM IS WORTH THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE TO SPOCK I CAN’T)
Kirk smiled wistfully, then reached out to touch the Vulcan’s arm reassuringly as he remembered the mind-fever he’d felt himself. Without explanation, it had vanished … and as he glanced at Thea, the reason became clearer. “As long as you’re alive,” he said quietly, absently projecting a warmth into his companion’s mind. (Kirk is “wistful” that Spock had sex with Thea. That’s not something I made up.)
He is even deeper in your blood than Vulcan. It was, he realized, a very simple truth. (*more screaming*
“Perhaps it would be wise to discuss the matter in more detail later this evening,” he suggested. “Since we are both due on the bridge …” He let the sentence trail off, unfinished. (DID SPOCK JUST INVITE KIRK TO HAVE SEXY TIME LATER??????)
In the Vulcan’s quarters, Kirk sat slowly on the ornate meditation pillows (OH YEAH THEY DEFINITELY DID THE NASTY)
Remembering an ancient human proverb, he found some small comfort in the knowledge that Kirk was obviously laughing to keep from crying. (Again, they’re talking about Spock hooking up with Thea and Jim has laugh to keep from crying???????)
This novel is so perfect. ~TRL