define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', true ); Review: 1977 The Price of the Phoenix by Marshak and Culbreath » Reading Star Trek

Review: 1977 The Price of the Phoenix by Marshak and Culbreath

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Oh God! This is the most horribly written novel I have seen in quite a while. It has all the bad habits and tendencies of poorly written fan fiction, while prolonging the torture in drawn-out dialogues and angst reflections. It could even be considered a “slash”, a homosexual take on the characters. (This occurs frequently on fan fiction, as writers ‘dream’ of strange romances) Most of the time this is only implied in the ‘Spock-Kirk’ friendship, but in several places it’s disgustingly obvious:

“Sleeping beauty,” Omne said. “You may perform the awakening–in the traditional manner, if you like.”

I absolutely hate the dialogues. They tend to be repetitive, speaking out the obvious, and in large parts “confrontational”, like bad fighting speeches. The writers like putting words in the mouths of the characters, and they drone on and on, most of the time getting nowhere, just talking of what they would do or not do, or challenging stupidly their adversary. This slows a lot the action on the book, and the pages go on and on while little is actually happening.

“Where I come from,” he said, “and in the civilized world, the custom is to ask permission to enter.”

“One does not ask permission of property,” Omne said.

“We have had that argument before.”

Omne smiled. “You lost.”

“Force is not an answer to argument”

“It is the last answer.”

Kirk shook his head, not deigning to answer.

The first time I could not even read it straight, I could not even comprehend how this was even published, or worse still, how Roddenberry himself read it and did not veto it.

 A very excellent plot synopsis and character analysis is available at Wikipedia, so I won’t recreate it.

There are also other comments how Omne is one of the greatest adversaries the Enterprise has encountered, but if you analyze it closely, there’s really no big merit on this character’s creation. He has no personality per se, he’s just a sounding board where the characters get to voice off. He’s over-simplified, and the planet he created is absolutely ridiculous. The planet is “westernized”, with guns provided, but this is not touched nor used later, it’s just the backdrop. The Romulan commander is also present, but besides being a plot device, it’s totally out-of-character and illogical why it’s there and why she acts that way.

There are lot of big holes in the premise, in the action, in the characters actions, in the theme, in the plot, the descriptions, etc. I won’t go further in trying to describe more of the awful problems this book has, it simply was written by worse than amateurs, in a horrible way. I hated it all the way, I can’t stand this type of careless writing or the style it’s written in. The closest I could compare it to would be to a romance pulp novel, but I have not read too many of those either. Maybe a romance-pulp-reader would like it more, or there’s something in there that I’m not getting, but I highly doubt it.

I would recommend that you skip this book. The plots are not even that interesting, and are nothing like what normal Trek is about. Better yet, skip the whole series, or anything written by these authors; there are lots of much better (or at least mediocre, but interesting) books out there.

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