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review 2018-05-17 21:11
The very model of a modern Star Trek novel
The Entropy Effect (Star Trek: The Original Series #2) - Vonda N. McIntyre

When it was originally published in the summer of 1981 Vonda McIntyre's book represented something of a new frontier (if you'll forgive my use of the phrase) in the Star Trek franchise. Though the second entry in Pocket Books's series of Star Trek novels, it was the first original story they published (the first book in the series was the novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture). As such, it represented an effort to develop the franchise, rather than the more half-hearted adaptations of the Bantam Books series in the 1970s.


If the series's editors wanted to use the first original novel to set expectations, it is difficult to imagine choosing a better book than this one. McIntyre's novel opens by setting the stakes, as while studying a naked singularity that suddenly appeared in a warp lane, Spock discovers that the universe has only a century remaining before its demise. Before he can verify his data, the Enterprise is summoned to a nearby planet to transport a dangerous prisoner for rehabilitation. The prisoner turns out to be Spock's old physics instructor, Georges Mordreaux, who was convicted of murder after the disappearance of several people, all of whom Mordreaux claims had been sent back into the past. Though skeptical of Mordreaux's claims, Spock investigates Mordreauxs claim after the physicist suddenly appears on the bridge and kills Captain Kirk all while supposedly detained in a guarded and shielded room on the ship.


As this description illustrates, McIntyre's novel is not short on plot. Yet it is her characterization that is the strongest part of the book, as she develops both the familiar figures from the show (most notably Hikaru Sulu, which started a welcome and long-overdue trend of giving the secondary characters background and depth and even first names!) and and her original creations into plausible and well-rounded people. The mystery itself adds to the book, as it helps keep the reader engaged until its last pages. And while some of the logic in the story may not hold up well, the book overall makes for a great read, one that set a high bar for the novels in the series that followed.

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text 2018-05-17 15:48
Reading progress update: I've read 83 out of 224 pages.
The Entropy Effect (Star Trek: The Original Series #2) - Vonda N. McIntyre

Just reached a Kirk death scene that was better than any Shatner could have pulled off.

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review 2018-05-15 20:54
Rip Your Heart Out
Rip Your Heart Out (A Ripple Effect Mystery, Book 4) - Alice Duncan,Jeanne Glidewell

I'm a bit late to the Ripple Effect series, this is the fourth book but only the first I've read and I can safely say this can be read as a introduction to the series or as a standalone. Following the adventures of retired couple Rapella and her husband, Rip, as they travel around the US in their RV, they find themselves in the middle of a mystery wherever they go. Rapella, a charmingly naive chatterbox, made for an entertaining sleuth (and I enjoyed Itsy as the sidekick!) and I was drooling over the beautiful scenery on their cruise. Add in a mouthy cockatoo, a sweet St Bernard and a zippy, lively plot and there was a lot to like!


The plot, surrounnding an anonymous tip that a local woman's death was not due to natural causes and is later determined to be murder. Suspicion is thrown onto Sydney, one of Rip's cardiac nurses and the niece of the recently decesased woman. There were many facets to the plot, from the seemingly "haunted" house to the squabbling siblings to the possible cache of missing gold and I was sucked in from the start. From the breathtaking scenery on the cruise that made me drool to the many lovable (and not so lovable) characters that jumped off the page and the hijinks that Rapella got into had me chuckling (especially the Uber part!) While I read a lot of cozy mysteries, there have been few that were as fun as this and and I'm definitely going to read the other books in the series.


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text 2018-05-13 06:11
Going back to basics!
The Entropy Effect - Vonda N. McIntyre

I'm still chewing my recent experience with reading a Star Trek novel over in my head. the reason, I suspect, was a combination of disappointment with the book and the sense that this was because of the heavy burden imposed by the author of dealing with over a half-century of accumulated backstory. Perhaps this is unfair to Dayton Ward, considering that it was the very idea of a Star Trek novel set in its universe's past that drew me to it in the first place. Yet I can't help but think that Ward over-egged the pudding, at the expense of the story.


In that respect Ward's novel differed from what I remember about the other Star Trek novels I've read in the past. They seemed so much simpler than Ward's book, with the focus on their focus on the things that matter most in a novel, namely characters and plot. They may not have been on the level of Tolstoy, but they certainly were a cut above Ward's effort.


It was while contemplating this a realization dawned on me: I should go back and read the original Star Trek novels. I remember vividly the Pocket Books series they published when I was growing up, and while I didn't read most of them the ones I did I enjoyed. Whether nostalgia is tingeing this is an open question, and one that I suspect will be answered easily enough once I delve into them, but I suspect not. The early novels were written by SF writers who knew their trade well, and who also had the advantage of writing something that was truly fresh in terms of something for Star Trek. Tomorrow I will make a stop at my local used bookstore and see which books in the series they have on their shelves. It should be a fun exercise!

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review 2018-04-28 18:35
THE ROSIE EFFECT by Graeme Simsion
The Rosie Effect: A Novel - Graeme Simsion
  This is the sequel to The Rosie Project. Now Don and Rosie are married, living in New Year, and pregnant. Don has many unusual ways to learn about pregnancy and how he'll be as a father. Unfortunately he and Rosie are not communicating well with each other and havoc ensues.

I love this couple! Don is so literal about everything and Rosie does not want to hear it. She's studying and working on her thesis and does not want to be distracted. Don wants to make sure Rosie is not stressed so he keeps secrets which he has not done before. It blows up in Don's face and he almost loses all that is important to him.

There are the returning characters--Gene, Claudia, and their children. There are new characters--Sonia, Dave, George, the 3 B's, Lydia, and others--that Don has to learn to work with or around. I had to laugh as Don plows right through. I'm going to miss these characters. Don and Rosie were fun!
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