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review 2018-07-21 00:45
Evil under the Vulcan sun
The Vulcan Academy Murders - Jean Lorrah

After a crewmember is crippled in a battle with the Klingons Captain James Kirk takes the Enterprise to Vulcan, where an experimental treatment under development at the Vulcan Academy of Science promises to return him to health. Also undergoing the treatment is Spock's mother Amanda, who is suffering from a degenerative nerve disease that threatens to end her life. As Kirk, Spock, and Leonard McCoy settle in for an extended stay on Spock's homeworld, an catastrophic failure kills one of the subjects undergoing the treatment. Then a second patient dies, raising an unthinkable question — could there be a murderer on Vulcan?

Jean Lorrah's novel, her first of several contributions to the Star Trek universe, is unusual in several respects. One is its setting, as it is the first to be set on Vulcan. This gives Lorrah an opportunity to offer readers an extended look at life on Vulcan, and it is to her credit that she does not overdo it by making the novel about the arcana of one of the most popular cultures of the Star Trek universe. Given the location, it might be expected that Spock would take center stage in the novel, yet Lorrah surprises once again by making his father Sarek the primary Vulcan in the storyline. This further adds to the novel's appeal, as it gives readers an extended look at a beloved character who had yet to receive the extended focus he would in subsequent novels and TV episodes.

 

Finally there is the plot of Lorrah's novel, which is a rare bird indeed among Star Trek novels: a murder mystery. Here she develops her setting by introducing several new characters (perfectly understandable, as nobody is going to buy a murderer being one of the familiar faces of the bridge crew) and lets the plot unfold while developing them. This she does over the course of the first half of the book, letting suspects accumulate as the murders take place and the motivations are established. Yet all of this is ruined at the halfway point of the novel, when she tips her hand as to the identify of the murderer, after which the rest of the book lapses into a mundane pattern of chasing red herrings and identifying the guilty party at the very end. It's a disappointing ending for a novel that throughout much of its first half offered an engaging tale of mystery in an unlikely place.

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text 2018-07-21 00:03
Reading progress update: I've read 280 out of 280 pages.
The Vulcan Academy Murders - Jean Lorrah

Yup, she telegraphed who the culprit was.

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text 2018-07-20 21:27
Reading progress update: I've read 213 out of 280 pages.
The Vulcan Academy Murders - Jean Lorrah

When I was collecting the early Pocket Books Star Trek novels a couple of months ago, there was one that I just couldn't find no matter where I looked: Jean Lorrah's The Vulcan Academy Murders. As time went along and I plowed through my stack the book became something of a white whale. After all, if it wasn't turning up on the shelves of used bookstores, there had to be a reason, right?

 

After I returned from Texas without encountering it at the stores I visited, I broke down and ordered a copy from an online seller. I'm reading it now, and it's proving very entertaining. In effect it's a Star Trek murder mystery — as far as I can ascertain, the first one in the novels. And for the first 150 or so pages the mystery developed quite nicely as there was a good variety of plausible suspects. But I think Lorrah tipped her hand around that point, and since then I've been reading mainly to confirm whether I'm correct in my supposition. If I am then it will likely detract from my final rating, as the mystery was pretty good until that point.

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text 2016-07-28 20:39
I just found out about this
Hidden Universe Travel Guide: Star Trek: Vulcan - Dayton Ward

And I kinda want it!

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review 2016-03-08 19:29
So it wasn't Nero after all! (Trekkies will get this.)
The Hunt for Vulcan: . . . And How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the Universe - Thomas Levenson

One of my favorite things about libraries is that you stand a very good chance of just happening upon an interesting book. Over the weekend, I stopped into the library so that a friend could drop off a DVD. Another friend pointed out a book that spelled out Vulcan proudly on its cover. And just like that I had checked it out and stowed it away in my bag. The book was The Hunt for Vulcan:...And How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the Universe by Thomas Levenson. I have to applaud them for the gorgeous cover which not only loudly proclaims the home planet of some super rad aliens but features our galaxy and the elliptical paths of our planets. It's the kind of cover I'd love to have as decoration on my wall. Levenson takes the reader on an historical journey through physics, cosmology, and mathematics. From Newton to Einstein, a detailed exploration is made explaining why scientists from the past believed that a small planet named Vulcan caused Mercury to bend near the Sun and deform its elliptical orbit. He talks about the scientific method and how science is so unique because it is a system of theories and hypotheses which is constantly changing. Scientists seek to shed light on the mysteries of the universe and to do so means that there will inevitably be errors that must be corrected over time as instruments improve and knowledge expands. Einstein's theory of relativity and the relationship of gravity between the planets threw Newton's theories for a loop (I hope that planet joke went down well for you) and changed the way we see the cosmos. It's a really great little book that I think all science nerds can appreciate. (It was super quick also!)

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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