Type ShortStory
Date 1971-01
Series Star Trek fanfiction
Tags original characters, romance, female protagonist

Variation On An Unoriginal Theme

A Vulcan woman, T'Prais, transfers aboard the Enterprise. A man, Lieutenant Richards, becomes obsessed with her, transfers her under his command, and generally harasses her and won't leave her alone. This is all apparently very romantic, because the story ends with him asserting that she is going to marry him whether she likes it or not and forcing a kiss on her which was "apparently, perfectly acceptable". Ugh.

From the editorial in Masiform D #2, it seems that at least some readers at the time felt the same way I do:

We got quite a bit of flak about the main story in our-lastish, most of it accusing us of being sexist. This produces a problem. VARIATION is a funny, well-written story, with a rather woman's magazine orientation. It's a perfect example of the kind of writing that people sigh over every day, except, of course, that the heroine is a Vulcan.

VARIATION was written, accepted, and illustrated more than two years ago. I thought that it was a good story then, and I still feel that it's a good story. Perhaps if it were submitted to me now, I might feel a little more worried about the "attitude." Perhaps not. However, having accepted such a story, I most certainly would not send it back after holding it for two years, because I'd become "liberated." That is crude.

Despite the cries from a few of our readers, VARIATION is still a good story, still well-written, and still funny. I just don't quite agree with it anymore. And that, as everyone knows, doesn't really count. The editors need not necessarily agree with everything they print. (Now I'd like Barbara to write us another story, this time....)

Name Role
Barbara Wenk Author

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