On Spock, and the First Vulcan in Starfleet

I’ve been thinking this one through. And I’m going to stand on the issue of Spock being the first Vulcan in Starfleet where I always have before: the concept is plainly lacking on its face. However, there wouldn’t be the mass delusion about Spock being the first Vulcan unless it had some backing somewhere.

In the interests of discovering the truth, I booted up Microsoft Word and went spelunking in the James Dixon chronology. Say what you will about James Dixon but he documents damn near everything. Comics he doesn’t do, the latest role-playing games he doesn’t do, the newest video and computer games he doesn’t do. But everything else, that he does.

From the 13th edition of his chronology:

Xtmprszntwlfd S’chn T’gai Spock is born in ShiKahr, Sas-a-Shar, Vulcan. He is (officially) the first product of genetic manipulation between two different hominid beings, Sarek of Vulcan and Amanda Grayson of Earth. He will become the first Vulcan to voluntarily serve aboard an integrated-species Star Fleet ship. Note that he will henceforth be known as Spock, for by at least the 2290’s clan name subdivisions will no longer be Vulcan custom [EOM, KA, TOS #23, TOS #5, GN 28].

What do we have here? Other than Spock’s full name, that is.

Dixon makes a fairly significant distinction here. He says “first Vulcan to voluntarily serve aboard an integrated-species Star Fleet ship.” That doesn’t mean first Vulcan in the fleet. But is it canon?

Let’s look at Dixon’s documentation.

  • EOM. This is the USS Enterprise Officers Manual. Name sounds familiar, think it’s a book. Have to check Steve Roby’s website. Not canon.
  • KA. This is The Kobayashi Alternative, a computer game. Think I found this on an abandonware site for download recently. Hmm, hmm, let me check. Hmm, so I did. But not canon.
  • TOS #23. This is Ishmael, by Barbara Hambly. Not canon.
  • TOS #5. This is The Prometheus Design, by two really whacked out authors. Smoking crack, I’ll bet. Not canon, and thank goodness for that!
  • GN 28. This is Vulcan’s Forge, by Josepha Sherman and Susan Shwartz. Not canon.

So, for this one paragraph, Dixon gives us five sources for the information contained therein. All of them non-canon. What does our next search bring up?

Spock follows through with his decision to enroll in the Star Fleet Academy. According to some sources, Spock will be the first Vulcan to ever enter Star Fleet [EOM, TOS #75, TOS #79].

  • EOM. We’ve covered that, the Officers Manual.
  • TOS #75. First Frontier, by Diane Carey and James Kirkwood. Not canon.
  • TOS #79. Invasion! First Strike, again by Diane Carey. Nope, that’s not canon, either.

So, three more documented sources, and none of them canon.

Interesting, though, that Diane Carey uses the Spock-as-first-Vulcan-in-Starfleet concept in two of her books. I thought I’d seen it in one of her Classic Trek novels, but couldn’t say one way or the other. Hmm, almost interesting, that.

What was I saying?

I’m going out on a limb, but I’m guessing no canonical evidence exists for the theory about Spock and Vulcans. My guess is that it’s a part of fan lore that’s become so widely spread that it’s accepted as being true without any thought given to it. Such as the notion that Andor and Tellar are founding members of the Federation, along with Earth, Vulcan, and Alpha Centauri. Strictly speaking, we don’t know that any of these worlds were founding members of the Federation, but it’s been asserted for thirty-plus years and so widely believed that to challenge the notion would be tantamount to claiming the moon is made of swiss cheese.

And does anyone other than me think the female Bajoran on the covers for the Rebels trilogy looks exactly like Kelli Williams from The Practice? Nothing to do with Spock, but the third Rebels book happened to be sitting on my desk….

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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