the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘Star Trek

June, where did you go? Last I checked it was June 2nd, how is it already July??   I didn’t post many reviews in June, but I did get a lot of reading done.  Some of these I’ll write reviews for, some of them will get a capsule review in this post.  Here’s what I was up to this month:

 

I finished this fun little gem:

Spock Must Die is the famous novel where thanks to a transporter malfunction, the Enterprise now has two Spocks. Which one is the “real” one? What will they do with the other one? When war breaks out at the Klingon border, the importance of solving the mystery ratchets up. Even when Kirk is sure which Spock is the true, original Spock, he insists on calling his friend “Spock Two”. When questioned why, Kirk responds that by saying “two” every time he says his friend’s name, it forces him to remember how important it is to solve the problem at hand.  Fun little book, right around 200 pages.  Great beginning, satisfying end, a little slow in the middle.

 

then there was this other little gem:

Mightier than the Sword is the new novella out from K.J. Parker.  I’m not going to say much because I do plan to write a review, but it was fun, smart, snarky, and a joy to read. I’ve read it at least twice now, maybe three times?  I read these quick little novellas, and then I get ready to write a review, realize I don’t remember the details, so I read the whole thing again.  If you like Parker, you will love Mightier than the Sword.

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star-trek-vol-2-bookStar Trek Vol 2, by James Blish

published in 1968

where I got it: purchased used

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Don’t let the title of this book fool you, this is not a novelization of the second Star Trek movie. . . although this little volume is tangentially related to that movie.

I better start from the beginning. Starting in 1967, James Blish started adapting the Star Trek teleplays into short stories, printed as volumes that covered seven or eight tv episodes.  He’d adapt the teleplay before it was edited for television, before it was ever filmed. So the short stories do differ from the tv episode scripts a bit. Also? The short story adaptations skip all the filler junk, you get just the straight up story with none of the stuff needed to fill out a 48 minute tv show. Sometimes that means a tighter story,  sometimes it means the story feels very rushed.

This second volume of teleplay adaptations contains adaptations of the following season one episodes:

Arena

A Taste of Armageddon

Tomorrow is Yesterday

Errand of Mercy

Court Martial

Operation – Annihilate!

The City of the Edge of Forever

Space Seed

Some of you are saying “hey, those two are the famous episodes!” and to that, I respond “yes, they are!”

My favorite thing about these short stories is that they are short. In 13 to 15 pages I get a complete Star Trek adventure.  Sure, the long novels are fun and in depth, but these were fun little Star Trek capsules.   I should talk about the famous ones first, shouldn’t I?

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willful-childWillful Child, by Steven Erickson

published in 2014

where I got it: purchased new

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Are you a fan of the movie Galaxy Quest? Do you enjoy quoting Zapp Brannigan and quoting things he might say?  Are you a Star Trek fan who makes fun of the show in good fun and out of love?  If you answered Yes to any of those questions, Steven Erickson’s Willful Child is for you.

Like many original Star Trek episode scripts, Willfull Child is not as a whole what I would describe as a good book. The pacing is off, the characters are pretty flat, the dialog is stilted. And all of that is part of the joke.  Erikson is playing around with Star Trek tropes, science fiction tropes, humor tropes, and human exploration tropes and having buckets of fun with along the way.  Captain Hardrian Sawback is the bastard child of Zapp Brannigan and Eric Cartman, the Terran Space Fleet’s mission is to subjugate or maybe obliterate as many life forms as possible, and the further you get into this book, the more you’ll be laughing.   The country music programming joke is still my favorite.

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And Yes, this is the same Steven Erickson who is famous for his Malazan Book of the Fallen series. After writing that many heavy fantasy novels, I’d say he more than deserves a humorous palette cleanser of a novel.

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So, apparently I’m on a Star Trek kick?

ishmael-hamblyIshmael by Barbara Hambly

published in 1985

where I got it: purchased used

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When I saw this book at a used bookstore a while back, I  couldn’t say no. I mean come on – Spock playing what looks like chess in what looks like it could be the wild west? Also? Any Spock story is a good story. And Barbara Hambly? Shut up and take my two bucks.

At Starbase 12, Kirk and Spock observe a Klingon transport ship behaving rather oddly. Spock manages to get aboard, and the next thing everyone knows, the ship has entered the mysterious storms of the nearby Tau Eridani Cloud and disappeared. Kirk blames himself for Spock’s disappearance and fears the worst.

Suffering from amnesia, Spock wakes up in the woods under the blue sky of a planet. The year is 1867 and he’s in Seattle, which is a muddy logging town on the frontier. Injured and weak, Spock is taken in and nursed back to health by Aaron Stemple. Nicknamed Ishmael, and introduced around as Stemple’s nephew, Spock’s memories very slowly return to him. He knows his homeworld is elsewhere, he has bits and pieces of memories of technology. Meanwhile, Stemple give Ishmael a job at his mill, and helps him learn about the politics of the Seattle community. The story rambles a  bit, with Ishmael sharing his contemporary and progressive worldview, and inadvertently widening the worldview of those he befriends in Seattle. It doesn’t matter what Spock is doing, it’s always fun to watch him interact with humans who act impulsively and irrationally. And of course, I heard every line in my head in Leonard Nimoy’s voice.

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Every Star Trek fan worth their weight in Romulan Ale remembers Voyager.  So many firsts in this show – first female captain,  first ST adventures solidly outside the Federation,  first crew that wasn’t solid star fleet (or even academy graduates!),   and I’d tell you about some other firsts, but they are late season spoilers so I ain’t telling.  After a wide ranging Star Trek chat with a friend recently, I decided to give the series another go.

 

Voyager originally aired from 1995 until 2001.  I was in high school in 1995 which means I watched the first three seasons religiously, and then who knows after that, because college.  I vaguely know what happens at the end of the series, or at least I think I do, but once I get to the last season I’ll be coming across episodes I’ve never seen before.

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Like all Star Trek shows, Voyager has great episodes, good episodes, and downright boring episodes.  I’m using the Watch/Skip guide over at Liz Tells Frank so I can skip the boring episodes. In her spoiler-free rundown of each season, Liz lets you know which episodes are must watch for the over arching story line, and which can be skipped. Netflix numbers the 2-part pilot as 1 full episode, and Liz numbers the pilot as 2 episodes, so the numbering is off if you watch on Netflix, but the episode titles are correct. Here are my thoughts on the Season 1 episodes I’ve watched so far.

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on Friday July 22nd, if you live in Southwestern Michigan, you can hear an edited version of our Star Trek chat on 102.1FM at 7:50am, 11:50am and 4:20pm.  Or just click here to listen to us talk on and on and on and on.

 

http://wmuk.org/post/why-star-trek-endures

 

 

vulcan Kathleen SkyVulcan! by Kathleen Sky

published in 1978

where I got it: purchased used

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Ahh, Star Trek. I grew up with you, I watched all your spin offs, I learned all about diplomacy and crazy hairstyles from you, I’ve even transferred my school girl crush on Shatner’s Kirk to Vic Mignogna’s Kirk. But in all these years, I’ve never read a Star Trek tie in novel. Until now.  Browsing at a bookstore with some friends,   Vulcan! by Kathleen Sky was pushed into my hands. ok sure, why not?

 

You know sometimes you just need a fun, brain-candy kind of book? Something that is sure to entertain but doesn’t require your brain to do any back-flips? This was one of the books, and the timing couldn’t have been better, because boy was I in the mood for some easy to read candy.

 

The premise is that the Neutral Zone between Federation space and Romulan space is shifting, and a solar system that had always been on the Federation side will soon be on the Romulan side. The Enterprise’s mission is to visit the planet and determine if the life forms there are intelligent or not. On the way, they pick up the Federation’s preeminent expert on zenobiology, Dr. Katalya Tremain. Kirk has been warned that she’s got a difficult personality, but he figures he’ll put on the charm, and she’ll be like putty in his hands. Dr. Tremain beams aboard, sees Spock standing in the transporter room, and freaks the hell out.  Apparently “difficult personality” was subtle talk for she’s happily vocal about her bigoted hatred for all Vulcans.

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.