define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', true ); Reading Star Trek

Review: Trek to Madworld by Stephen Goldin (1979)

Trek to Madworld

This book uses one of what would be a most overused trope in the series: transfer medicines to a sick colony. OK, I agree that writers need some type of reasons of urgency, especially one where every minute counts for numerous lives, but nobody seems to have kept check of how many times it has being used.

Another overused trope is the overwhelmingly powerful alien species. Science fiction can account for aliens having millenia of experience and technology, but extremely magical to the point of being super gods? The Organians is one of these which permeate the books, if only for their imposition of the Organian treaty. On this one the author even sets it up as a ‘mad’ and exiled Organian, as a way to force upon a moral issue. Again, this whole setup of a powerful being, gathering subjects for a test, experiment or fight, has also been used extensively already.

Pretty silly on it’s whole. The writing is direct, straight-forward focused on the action, which makes it much easier to read.

Review: The Starless World by Gordon Eklund (1978)

The Starless World

It seems this book should be read as a straight-forward adventure novel in the classical Star Trek style. Captain and crew encounter a strange planet, beam down and have your typical fights and encounters, complete with princess and gods. The eventually resolve the problem at the planet and then return back ship home. A light humorous style is used through-out, but as the plot doesn’t seem to have a central point and just rambles on, it becomes tedious after a while.

The only new point is that the planet is in a Dyson Sphere… but that only makes it VERY similar to an original episode.

Characterizations are ok, the plot and style are ok, but nothing really new or different is presented, a pretty mediocre effort, par for the course of these first novels.

The New Voyages 2 by Sondra Marshak & Myrna Culbreath (1978)

The New Voyages 2Ok, another collection from the hellish fans Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath. Taking in fact that they have been accused of hogging the initial fan-fiction publications for only them and their top vip convention friends, it’s clearer why this low-quality stories ever got published. There was an initial response to the unheard-of fanatical conventions, so getting ANY fiction at all published was a high priority.

This book is interesting because of the prologue, which documents the convention feeling of that time, and also because one story is preceded by a writing of a cast member.

Nichelle Nichols writes a preface on the awful “Suprise Story”, where they prepare a suprise birthday party to the captain. A typical fan-fiction piece, where they almost imagine themselves there in a silly situation. I absolutely hated it, especially the “getting out of the shower” bit.

Then there’s “Snake Pit”, an awful story, but this time where women are protagonist. I don’t mind women in the center stage, but not when that’s the only purpose of the whole piece.

As fan-fiction can be written in any way, the author of “The Patient Parasites” takes the liberty in writing it as a play. The story is a bit more typical “Star Trek”, but it’s very tedious even though the story is border-line interesting. One of the good ones of the bunch, but the play format does not help.

“In the Maze”, by another women author. Absolute tripe and boring.

And to keep it varied, they inserted a POEM, and written from Spock’s perspective. Also by a woman author. I’m not a poet expert, but I find it pointless, unless you adore and fantasize with Spock.

Then, ANOTHER story by Connie Faddis: “Marginal Existence”, a semi-interesting short story full with robots and computers… and of course natives. Very similar to some original episodes, from where the author did not diverge much.

“The Procrustean Petard”: Another fan-fiction fantasy: What if Kirk changed gender? Gruesome, and let’s leave it at that.

And “The Sleeping God”, by a NASA scientist. Not a bad piece, of novelette length, it were not another derivative of a common Star Trek theme: Fight against a sentient computer.

Taking in accounts that these WERE early stories, taken directly from fan-fiction scenes and barely cleaned up for publication, it’s a wonder that some are not at all that bad. Even so, the amateurish of the works pass through, and will dominate the Novels for quite some time.

Review: Vulcan! by Kathleen Sky (1978)

Vulcan! by Kathleen Sky

I have continued my reading, but have not been posting the reviews, so I’ll try to write up a few, although it’s harder when some time has passed and now I don’t remember all the details of the novels! Well, at least I’ll try to post my view as from whatever really impacted me.

This is one of another of the adoring-Spock novels. Even though he is not actually the center of the action, the supposedly central plot is that the protagonist is a very racist anti-Vulcanist. I don’t remember if there was a reason or not, it just seemed a silly way to focus on Spock’s Vulcan side.

Besides that, it’s just another space opera novel, go down, have some adventures, have some people in trouble and get them out of it. The main plot is trite, and ploddish to get through. I think I did speed-read my way through most of it.

Real unremarkable book, tries to explore a bit of bigotry in the Star Trek universe, but curiously, nobody even comments on it nor condemns or even tries to stop it, except of course to just try to get along. Skip it.

Review: Mudd’s Angels (1978)

Mudd’s Angels

I seem to have skipped this one due to it being part of Blish’s novelization series, but it actually contains one new story. As you should know, Blish died without completing the last batch of scripts. This included “Mudd’s Women” and “I, Mudd”. These were then completed by J. A. Lawrence, and to top the book off, included one new story, called “The Business, as Usual, During Altercations”.

The novelizations of the episodes are up to par, nice to read if you don’t remember them, but tedious if you do. The new story is also nice, tries to be somewhat humorous and entertaining, but I find it to be just a forceful re-hash of the Mudd character. I think that you might as well write up a new character than just keep bringing him on and on. You might remember he was used in two TOS episodes as well as in an Animated one.

Or well, if you find the Mudd character enthralling, this might be just it for you. At least the cover of the book is great!

Review: Star Trek II: Distress Call! (1982)

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As a children’s book, the writing is as expected, childish in some parts, with referenes to Disney, Dungeons & Dragons and Alice in Wonderland; but even so the writing in general has not been dumbed down. Characterizations are very basic, and uses some nice non-canon officers to help around, which give it enough flavor to spice up the general action and adventure.

The plot options are nicely done and very varied, but one whole plot can be read in a few minutes. For a young child this is great, as the stories are not very long, from 6 to 11 pages long in total, with some drawings to help along.

Most options DO affect how the story turns out, or which story is played out, but this book is not read as other books in this style, it’s not a ‘game’ to see if you can defeat it, but instead on what view of the action you would like to see. It’s a bit frustrating to see that the choices are arbitrary and your choices do not affect the “success” or not of the mission.
Mostly a curiousity, they must not have had much success as there are only two Trek books of this type.

CHRONOLOGY:

STARDATE: 8001.4
COURSE: Routine Patrol
EVENT: Received distress call from Luna University archeologists

COURSE: Varda III
EVENT: Stopped Rogue Klingon Mind-Spore attack.
EVENT: Archeologists rescued

COURSE: Starbase 6

CREW:
 MEDIC: Narva Moktar
COMPUTER EXPERT: Lt. Castora
SECURITY: Lt. Lex Nakashima
SECURITY: Ensign Lydia Gottlieb
 COMMANDER: Larek
ALIEN: “Plantlike” Phylon
ALIEN: Dohlmen
ALIEN: Argelian
ALIEN: Thrix

ALIEN POWER: Restorative health machine/technology
ALIEN POWER: Illusion machine
ALIEN POWER: “Anti-bodies” building protector
ALIEN POWER: A.I. Protection Machine with “mind blasts”

Review: Star Trek in Joe 90 – Top Secret #2

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Another “Star Trek” comics filler… so “unimportant” it doesn’t even feature in the cover!

I guess the easiest plots to make in these first comics was a sense of urgency when the planets are about to explode… but in this case TWO unrelated planets are about to blow up! If you thought the plots in Star Trek novels were hacks, this comics take it to the extreme…

I can give them points for the wonderful detail of the humanoid aliens, but I’ve also subtract quite a few for the unnecesary ‘savage’ humanoids and the trivial plot.

CHRONOLOGY:

CREW:
CREWMAN:
HURST
SECURITY (?): BRIGGS

COURSE: Unknown exploding Planet.
ALIEN TECH/POWER: Pollen from extinct planet causes humans to defy authority.

COURSE: Unknown exploding Planet
EXPLORATION: First contact with new sub-warp and savage humanoid species

Review: Star Trek in Joe 90 – Top Secret #1

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STARDATE: 24.09.45-24.10.57-24.14.21
Now: Trek comics from a weird magazine, that obviously appealed to youngsters fans of TV shows. These barely pay attention to the show, and the writer seems to have only seen one episode, “The Corbomite Maneuver”, due to the fact that Bailey is the navigator. Also, the captain is written as Captain “Kurt”!
The story is ok, a planet inhabited by robots, which of course, tried to capture the crew. “Kurt” is extremely defiant against “robot life” and manages to clear away the whole planet, and dismisses writing everything on the log, so there.

DATE: 2266
CREW: BAILEY
  ENGINEERING: JACKSON

Chronologies: TOS 8: “Charlie X”

STARDATE: 1533.6
CREW: 428

SHIP COURSE: Colony Alpha Five
CREW: YEOMAN RAND
YEOMAN 3rd CLASS: Tina Lawton

REFERENCE: Aliens: Thasians. Thasus
ALIEN POWER: transmute objects or render substances invisible

You can read “Charlie X” transcript here.

Chronologies: TOS 7: “The Naked Time”

DATE: 2266
STARDATE: 1704.2
POSITION: Planet Psi 2000

ALIEN TECH/POWER: Water’s changed to a complex chain of molecules. It passes from man to man through perspiration. Once in the bloodstream, it acts like alcohol, depresses the centres of judgment and self-control.

EXPLORATION:
  Desintegrating planet analysis.
CREW: (-1)
 SCIENCE OFFICER: JOE TORMOLEN (+)
  NAVIGATOR: KEVIN RILEY
  HELMSMAN: CLIFFORD BRENT
  LT: HADLEY
  LT: HARRISON
  CREWMAN: MOODY
  CREWMAN: RYAN

EXPLORATION: Found technique to travel through time

REFERENCE: Observation station founded: ULAPG42821DB

You can read “The Naked” transcript here.