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review 2018-08-08 12:11
Star Trek 1, James Blish
Star Trek 1 - James Blish Star Trek 1 - James Blish

Well, that's it! I've now read every book Blish published.

 

Really not much different from the other ten volumes of adaptations Blish did (don't ask how I ended up reading the first one last - I don't know myself) except for the lack of a foreword. It was the release of this volume that created a deluge of fan mail that Blish would address in his forewords to subsequent volumes.

 

As usual the quality varies with the quality of the adapted original script. Interesting to note that the iconic image of Sulu brandishing a fencing foil has him wearing an undershirt here- he's famously bare chested in the episode. There's another go round for the Shakespeare inspired trope, along with the child with god-like powers.

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text 2018-08-07 23:27
Reading progress update: I've read 91 out of 136 pages.
Star Trek 1 - James Blish Star Trek 1 - James Blish

Sulu goes crazy with a fencing foil!

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text 2018-08-07 00:13
Reading progress update: I've read 23 out of 136 pages.
Star Trek 1 - James Blish Star Trek 1 - James Blish

Here we go again with the morally/emotionally child-like being with  god-like powers. This one actually is a human child. Unfortunately the resolution by way of the "parents" turning up and taking the child in hand also appears, instead of the Enterprise crew figuring a way out of the mess themselves. Why was Original Trek so obsessed with this trope?  TNG kinda had it with Q - those episodes always annoyed me, too.

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review 2018-07-26 18:20
The android invasion of Starfleet!
Double, Double - Michael Jan Friedman

On the cold, dead planet Exo III, an android returns from an exploration mission to find that his creator Roger Korby is dead and his fellow androids destroyed. Deciding to continue his master's mission, the android creates a new duplicate of James T. Kirk, the starship captain who was to be Korby's means of carrying out his plan on replacing humanity with android duplicates. The new android Kirk soon lures a starship to his planet, where he begins the process of infiltrating Starfleet — with his next target the U.S.S. Enterprise.

 

Michael Jan Friedman is a prolific author of Star Trek franchise novels. This book was his first, and after reading it it's easy to see why he is such a popular contributor to the series. Reaching all the way back to one of the very first episodes of the original show, he details how the threat posed by Korby's androids might have developed. What makes it work as well as it does is Friedman's fidelity to the source material, with the androids exhibiting the same developmental issues that played such an important role in the resolution of the episode.

 

Yet Friedman's fealty is just one factor in the novel's success. Another is his primary antagonist, which is one of the most formidable threats ever encountered by the Enterprise crew. For Friedman's android Kirk is not the maniacal accident from "The Enemy Within" or the scheming thug from "Mirror, Mirror," but a Kirk who is every bit the calm, calculating strategist. Much of Friedman's novel is devoted to detailing the enactment of his strategy, one that enjoys considerable success before it is finally stopped. Here Friedman delivers as well, providing readers with highly entertaining combination of action and suspense as his characters work towards the story's resolution. Taken together, it makes for one of the best contributions to Star Trek's Pocket Books series, one the left me looking forward to reading Friedman's subsequent contributions to it.

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review 2018-07-23 02:39
A Star Trek adventure by a master of the genre
Planet of Judgment - Joe Haldeman

While transporting an esteemed Starfleet scientist to his new posting, the U.S.S. Enterprise encounters a situation seemingly in defiance of the laws of science: an M-class planet orbited by a tiny black hole. As the crew proceeds to investigate the implausibilities of the new planet quickly mount: teleporting down to the planet via transporter is impossible, shuttlecraft no longer function after landing, and phasers can be used to stun the aggressive fauna but will not function when set to kill. Soon the crew of the Enterprise encounter the reason for the mystery and in the process discover a threat to the existence of the entire Federation.

 

Regarded today as one of the giants of the genre, Joe Haldeman was just beginning his career as a science fiction author when he was approached by Bantam to write for their series of Star Trek novels in the 1970s. This, the first of two he would write, demonstrates all of his skills as an author: gripping action, interesting scientific ideas, and a plot that engages the reader throughout its length. Like many an episode what starts as a puzzle becomes a problem, then a challenge that threatens like lives of the Enterprise crew. Though Haldeman incorporates a trope from the original series, his employment in it is done in a way that is both fresh and with real consequences for the story. All of this makes for a delightful novel that shows the possibilities inherent in the series in the hands of a true master of the craft.

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