To all of the many Kraith Fans who have asked for the works of the Kraith series between two covers: I am relieved to be able to put these volumes in your hands.
Yes, relieved---your many letters, each in its own way demonstrating eagerness, have made me feel as if my inability to provide copies for you were a failure of shameful magnitude. You have brought me to understand how very much you have wanted Kraith to be collected. Now, we may all thank our editors, publishers, and devoted Kraith Creators for making this volume available.
However, due to the size of the Kraith Series, and due to the fact that the Series isn't yet complete, what you hold in your hands is only the beginning of Kraith Collected. Future volumes will bring you both stories which occur later in the Series, and stories which occur between the stories in this volume.
For those of you who are not familiar with the many scattered pieces of the Kraith Series, I will attempt to summarize the history and underlying substance of the Series.
Ostensibly, the Kraith Series is just another Spock-gets-married Series. In actual fact, this aspect of the plot is only incidental (an important incident, but only incidental).
I began REMOTE CONTROL in 1968 . . . but I got pregnant, so it wasn't finished until December of 1969. By the time it was finished, there was no serious market, so I submitted it to Ruth Berman's T-Negative. She liked the story enough to xerox herself a copy and she returned it to me with a request that I rewrite it into narrative. I refused on the grounds that the story was structured for video and could not make a satisfactory narrative. However, I had been deeply entertained by T-Negative all during my incapacitation and I wanted to contribute. I was afraid that cancellation would cause T-Negative and all the other fanzines to fold.
Therefore, I decided to pull out some of my script outlines and see if I could rework them into narrative. It would be about the same amount of work as was necessary to convert REMOTE CONTROL into narrative . . . and there was no more market for scripts.
I cast about and discovered that I had now gained the freedom to use some really radical ideas about Vulcan in narrative form. I had developed these ideas privately over the past seasons but felt that they were not potentially commercial despite their obvious truth. I had some misgivings about whether fandom would be able to accept anything so radical, but I judged that, if there were to be no more new shows, it was time to infuse some new blood into fanzines. I resolved to use some of my tame, commercial ideas mixed with some wild surmises that I felt had dramatic presence enough to be interesting.
I had been reading a great deal in STrekzines that supported notions in sharp opposition to my conceptions. I resolved to make my story into a counter statement, proving once and for all that the johnny-one-notes of fandom had been blind to reality. If my story served no other purpose, it would stir up enough controversy to spark some original thinking which had been conspicuously absent.
Therefore, with the zeal of a true crusader, I set about constructing my single story which was to be my only contribution to STrekdom. I pulled out a set of index cards headed The Kraith Chalice." I had done this outline with commercial script writing in mind. It dated from just after I had seen AMOK TIME and incorporated only a few vague ideas and very little that was new or startling. I then cast around for supporting detail. I pulled out the cards stapled to that card, shuffled them around, and a story began to take shape. The original script had been planned as a three-part episode of deep drama. My story would center on the middle of those three parts. The working title was THE AFFIRMATION.
I set to work outlining and drafting. It took only a few weeks and by the next time I heard from Ruth, I had the thing nearly done. Shortly after that, I mailed it off, certain it would never be accepted because it was so far out. Ruth, however, liked it enough to publish it.
But then I began thinking . . . now what am I going to do? This story will be published and people will be losing sleep over what happened to Sarek?" I re-read AFFIRMATION and stewed and stewed. There was no overt clue in AFFIRMATION about what would happen to Sarek. I'd meant the story to give enough basic information for any intelligent reader to figure out all the rest of the Series . . . that way I wouldn't have to bother writing it.
But my conscience wouldn't let me rest. So, one night, I sat down and pulled out the old outlines and constructed MISSION. I decided to re- title THE AFFIRMATION, SPOCK'S AFFIRMATION. Then SPOCK'S MISSION would be number two in the series and the other stories will all be titled SPOCK'S somethingorother, if Ruth didn't think that was too cutie-cute. Ruth liked the idea and the convention was established.
However, as I finished MISSION, I began to realize that it wasn't possible to say in a few words enough to tie down my whole concept of what Vulcans are. I knew what I wanted to say, but the readers wouldn't. I had raised questions that I hadn't even hinted at the answers to. I knew
the answers, but a reader might develop his own very different answers and spoil the whole Kraith idea for himself. My text books insisted that unanswered questions were dirty pool.
I gave in gracefully to the inevitable. I sat down and mapped out the entire series to Kraith VI . . . and eventually decided that I'd have to end the monster . . . so to Kraith VIII. Since the main series would never cover everything I had in mind, I decided that Mark Twain had had the right idea. I made room in the series for the subordinate stories: IA, etc., IIA etc.. It took several months to tie down all the major decision- points and finalize my master plan for the series. In fact, it still isn't absolutely immutable. If another Kraith Creator comes up with a better idea than I've been using, and it isn't too late, then I can still make some changes to accommodate these ideas.
I don't feel that this method of sneaking Kraith into the literature is terribly underhanded. The concepts are radical and very strange. Not one in five hundred would be able to accept them. I feel there is justification for holding back information until the groundwork has been laid. This accomplishes not only the gentle introduction, but it also increases the value of your fanzine. STrekzines cost too much. If you can get nine hours of entertainment by rereading a fanzine several times, and if each rereading is more entertaining than the last (instead of less), is that not sound economics? I feel that television should try to use this method to beat the squeeze. Since every series must make fewer episodes, make each episode designed to be reviewed in the same way that Kraith is designed to be reread.
One of my primary objections to the way the Star Trek script writers worked pertains to the disconnected, or episodic," format. Since each episode had to be complete in itself, and since it was not supposed to matter in what order they were seen, the writers were limited to a simple I came, I saw, I conquered sequence wherein the Enterprise blunders into a situation, sizes it up for two acts, and then solves it in the final act. Kraith departs from this by deepening the significance of every detail.
In this effort, Kraith is not entirely successful. The Kraith critics complain constantly about many aspects of Kraith, but they are only groping blindly after the reasons for their own dislike of the series. Perhaps the real, primary objection of those who dislike Kraith is simply that the Kraith Series tries to do too much, and in doing so becomes very difficult to understand.
For this reason, we have included in this volume some of the supplementary non-fiction which pertains to those stories in this volume. (Space limitations forced us to cut out much of this. See the Kraith Creator's Manual and the bibliography for more information. Ed.) By careful reading of this non-fiction, and by careful thought about the correlations between the fiction and the non-fiction, the reader will be able to discern the overall direction of the series.
The Kraith critics complain that the Kraith Spock differs far too much from the aired Spock. Kraith fans claim that the Kraith Spock is closer to their own conception of Spock than any other fannish Spock. Before Kraith, these two types of fans did not know that their concepts of Spock differed so very much, and they did not know in what way their concepts differed.
Now we have several very good writers engaged in the probing of the differences between the Kraith conception of Spock and their own conceptions of him. Gradually, the areas of disagreement are becoming more and more clearly defined. If Kraith does nothing else, it has served its purpose.
But there is one more thing that Kraith might succeed in doing. And that is to point out a choice which the creators of aired-Star Trek apparently didn't realize they had. Star Trek was created to be the vehicle of real science fiction before the mass audience. To do this Star Trek drew upon the entire body of science fiction, extracting a theme here, a character there, an idea somewhere else, and blending them all into a very unoriginal yet new whole. But aired-Star Trek did not go far enough in doing this.
Kraith tries to take another step along this road. Kraith draws upon the entire body of science fiction, and applies certain basic principles to Star Trek in order to discuss in the science fiction mode many of the very crucial questions of today.
The creators of aired-Star Trek may not have realized they could have used Star Trek to tell a much larger story than they did tell. Kraith chooses to tell such a story, and in doing so, Kraith departs somewhat from the established format. But also, it blazes a trail for future fan-series authors because, by merely altering the chosen ingredients, other equally significant stories can be told.
For the purposes of Kraith, I chose to tell a story on a galactic scale--a story of heroes, of love, of friendship, and of vast sweeping events of galactic politics set against an intercultural clash, the echoes of which will take centuries to die down.
The essence of the drama unfolding before the Kraith reader is the disruptive collision between the pre-Federation Vulcan culture and the human- dominated Federation culture. Before the reader's eye, these two cultures are brought into direct conflict. But then, the sub-plots begin to unfold, and other conflicts take shape. The conflict between modern Vulcan culture and the Federation-polluted Vulcan culture erupts in Kraith III, SPOCK'S ARGUMENT.
FEDERATION CENTENNIAL begins to reveal the state of the whole Federation with regard to changing cultural standards. Here the line is drawn between the humans and the non-humans with the Vulcans caught in the middle--for it will be on Vulcan that the drama ultimately works itself out. In this story we encounter our first Vulcan defector--but he is certainly not the only Vulcan who sees the situation differently from the majority of Vulcans.
Ruth Berman's character, S'Darmeg, is another example of a Vulcan of the Kraith universe who is prepared to step far outside of the Tradition to accomplish his ends. He is not alone. And his like will become more frequent as the whole situation ferments.
Ruth was the first to sum up the essence of the Kraith Series with the observation that the real hero of these stories is not Spock, but the Vulcan culture. It isn't the modern Vulcan culture, the Reform culture, that is the hero of the series, rather it is what this culture ought to become that is the hero. And the Vulcan culture is only one of the protagonists of the series.
Many people have said that I, personally, like the Reform Vulcan Culture of Surak's Construct. I don't believe this is so. If it were, why would I go to such lengths to change it? In Kraith, this artificial culture is brought into sharp conflict with a) the human-dominated Federation Culture, b) the Romulan Culture (Kraith VII), c) the Elloq Culture (Kraith VI and VII)--and ultimately with itself. Each collision changes the values of the Reform Culture so that we have sub-conflicts raging between various segments of Vulcan Culture itself.
In fictional terms, this translates into a conflict between Spock and McCoy, between Spock and Kirk, and between a changed (or slowly evolving) Spock and various segments of Vulcan culture as it too changes (such as S'Darmeg). The questions always before the reader of the Kraith Series is, Is this right? Or should another path be chosen?" That is an uncomfortable question, a question which drives down deep to the very fundament of our own ethical structure--and that kind of question can make people acutely uncomfortable, and violently opposed to any story that asks it. That, more than anything, may be the source of the discomfort which some readers feel with the Kraith Spock.
Kraith critics claim that the Kraith Spock is not the aired Spock which they saw with their own eyes. When the Kraith Spock says or does something uncharacteristic," the tendency is to reject the Kraith Spock as invalid. That is the easy way out of a moral dilemma of staggering proportions. The more intensely one dislikes Kraith, the more interesting the series should become, at least until an exact definition of the reasons why one dislikes Kraith can be formulated.
For those Kraith critics who can produce such a formulation, we offer these pages as a platform for discussion from which all of us will benefit. Kraith Collected is intended to gather all the views of Kraith. None who can meet the standards of craftsmanship will be barred from expressing their views--in whatever form they choose. Ruth Berman has chosen to criticize Kraith in fictional form, and the adventures (or mis-adventures) of her character, S'Darmeg, have already contributed to and changed the Kraith Series by being incorporated into the canon.
Joyce Yasner has chosen to criticize Kraith by attacking it via its literary merits, and we sincerely hope to bring you her article in the next volume. She and Devra Langsam have formulated several ideas about the nature of the differences between the Kraith Spock and the aired Spock which they believe account for the dislike of the Kraith Spock among some readers. Devra says, among other things, that the more Spock triumphs, the less interesting he is.
Obviously, some readers do not react this way. In fact, some of the reactions are the exact opposite. Perhaps some of the magnetism of the Kraith Spock lies in the fact that Kraith allows some of his greatness to be realized while at the same time frustrating other aspects of his abilities. Could it be that some readers find exhilaration in watching a Spock meeting challenges which match his abilities, while other readers prefer to watch a Spock who is never called upon to stretch to the ultimate of his capabilities?
That seems possible. But it is more likely that the two groups of readers merely interpret Kraith differently. The blame for the ambiguity, of course, lies solely with me. Kraith is exceedingly difficult to understand. If I were doing it over from scratch, I would do it somewhat differently. The reader reaction to Kraith has taught me a great deal about the writing profession. Yet there remains much more to learn.
I hope that each reader of this collection will write me a letter of comment detailing his positive, and especially negative, reactions to each facet of the series. I may not be able to answer each one individually, but I never fail to learn from such criticism. I am always glad to help with the details of a Kraith story in the making, and to review the final manuscript.
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