Oh god… we enter “Marshak and Culbreath” territory, someone save us… Fortunately, this were not actually written by them, just gathered by. Unfortunately, they have absolutely no idea of what’s good literature. They were actually fans, recollecting fiction made by fans, so technically this is just published Fan Fiction!
Ugh, and I hate fan fiction! Why? Because they linger and describe all the wrong things, describing long and lovingly their favorite characters, they put them up in all type of weird situations that are not proper to the series, or to the genre. And the dialogues, ugh! They overuse and overextend the dialogues horribly, repeating and reiterating the same things over and over. Well, to put it succintly, fans do not make the best writers.
But publishers had began to notice the Star Trek publishing phenomenon, so they were really short on stories, so they published this horrible stuff. Well, on the other hand, we have a collection of really different stories, in a very different format. Let’s see:
Well, for starters, it’s nice to have an introduction by Leonard Nimoy, which tries to explain Spocks duality and just further messes up the issue.
Here, Spock is separated in two by a crazy scientist (oh god, the clichés!), and as you might have guessed, one is totally logical by his Vulcan side, and the other is emotional, by his duh!-you-know-what side. The story then tries to examine how each Spock react and delve into his thoughts and feelings… ugh… banal and overdone…
This one is not that bad. It captures the adventure and the action part of Star Trek, focusing a bit more on Scotty’s character.
The ship somewhat manages to get stuck into a weird singularity-time-space-distortion, and is in grave danger, so someone must fix it out…
Short and to the point, it could have been made longer, but as it’s a short story format, it fits exactly as it should. Even so, you still feel something was a bit missing, like why go to all this trouble to just say “Whew, that was a close one”…
The Enchanted Pool
Here we go… un-educated readers might jump and shout with glee about it’s “originality”, but this is what I would call a “forced-motif”, forcing a story to fit into another totally different theme, and this is totally out-of-the-water and it feels so.
This is a story about the fabled Arthurian Excalibur sword forced to match up in a Star Trek storyline. Serious science fiction editors reject this type of stories almost immediately.
Visit to a Weird Planet Revisited
A “Meta” story, breaks out of the whole fiction universe entirely. It’s a fan fiction dream: “Oh! What would happen, if, like, the actors, were, like, transported, and like, were taken, and be like, Captain Kirk, and Spock, and be on the real Enterprise?”
Nice as a fan-fiction story, not as good as an actual Star Trek story… At least it’s short.
(Yeah, this was actually the whole plot in the “Galaxy Quest” spoof movie, but that was well done…)
The face on the Barroom floor
A so-so story, about what goes on during shore leave… not very memorable.
Spock and McCoy go on shore leave and some of Spock’s weird vulcan ways puts them in trouble. Nice exploration in character bonding, but not much else.
The Winged Dreamers
A typical alien-on-planet interacts weirdly with the ship’s crew, which will later be beaten to death over and over… An interesting selection of weird it-was-there-all-along alien selection, but it suffers from the fan-fic dialogue problem.
Weirdly, the best of the bunch and the best of a lot of stories in a while. It has all the elements, time-travel, mind-psyched-out, adventure, action and a big emotional involvement. I do highly recommend this story ven if the rest of the bunch are not that good.
So well, just the last story barely makes it up for the whole book. It would look nice to have different styles of all type of different stories, but it does make it long and tired at the middle of most stories.
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