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Ishmael (Star Trek: The Original Series #23)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  1,111 ratings  ·  64 reviews
The Enterprise is on a peaceful mission at Starbase 12, and Spock is visiting aboard a Klingon vessel, when a mysterious phenomenon causes the Klingon ship to vanish. Spock's last message from the ship is cryptic, but frightening. It suggests that the Klingons are traveling into the past, hoping to kill one man who was decisive in the course of history, and thereby change ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 1st 1991 by Pocket Books (first published March 2nd 1985)
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Imzadi by Peter DavidSpock's World by Diane DuaneUhura's Song by Janet KaganYesterday's Son by A.C. CrispinEnterprise by Vonda N. McIntyre
Best Star Trek Books
10th out of 224 books — 158 voters
The Vulcan Academy Murders by Jean LorrahUhura's Song by Janet KaganSpock's World by Diane DuaneYesterday's Son by A.C. CrispinDoctor's Orders by Diane Duane
Best Star Trek The Original Series Books
6th out of 62 books — 43 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,659)
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One of my favorite ST novels, it was also my introduction to Barbara Hambly, who is a marvelous writer with absolutely lyrical turns of phrase. Not to mention very amusing.

Ishmael waited politely for a continuation of the sentence. When none seemed forthcoming, he said, "'Dammit, Ishmael' does not seem to be an argument remarkable for its cogency, Aaron."


". . . Well, there might be talk."
"And talk, I suppose, is more to be dreaded than pneumonia?"
"Oh, yes! You can always get over pneumonia."

David Monroe
I still re-read this book occasionally. It remains a sentimental favorite. I grew up watching 60s westerns in re-runs in the 70s. In this book, Barbara Hambly did a wonderful job of tying together ST:TOS and "Here Comes the Brides".

Spock plays chess with Paladin from the TV series Have Gun Will Travel. Doctor Who is referenced four times. Little Joe and his brother "Hoss" Cartwright from Bonanza show up. One of the Maverick brothers is there. Matt Dillon (Gunsmoke), Lucas McCain (The Rifleman),
Mar 21, 2008 Curtiss rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Curtiss by: No one, just keeping up with my enthusiasm for all things Star T
One of my favorite Star Trek novels; which, as it happens, features the cast of the contemporaneous TV series, "Here Come the Brides." The story switches scenes back and forth between the final frontier in the 23rd Century and America’s western frontier in the 19th century.

At a space station near Klingon space, Kirk and McCoy try to decipher a cryptic message from Spock who has been apprehended aboard a Klingon ship which has departed into Earth's past to sabotage the Federation before it is eve
Tracey, librarian on strike
When I was 16, I discovered Star Trek, and wanting more than the 79 episodes I sought out the novels - soon discovering that quality varied wildly, from dead-on characterizations and very good writing to really bad generic sci fi novels couched in ST to make an extra buck. One of the good ones, one of the really, really good ones was by Barbara Hambly - talk about your excellent fanfic! Ishmael is, though I had no idea when I first read it or for a long time after, a crossover story, in which Sp ...more
This is a really fun book combining two 1960s TV shows - Star Trek and Here Come the Brides. It starts with the Enterprise at a Starbase when Spock becomes suspicious of some Klingon activity. He has snuck aboard their ship to investigate when the ship leaves and then vanishes, right after the Enterprise receives a puzzling transmission from him. The next time we see Spock he is in 1867 Seattle badly injured, with no memory and no idea how he got there. Spock is rescued and nursed back to healt ...more
It sounds like a soap-opera plot combined with fan-fiction: Spock loses his memory, and winds up in frontier-era earth, caught up in a scheme to find marriageable lads for a group of hopeful brides. Silly, but all around fun. Apparently the story jumps back and forth from the past to the rescue mission in the future, but I have next to no memory of anything about Kirk and the rest of the crew in this story; all the interesting parts revolve around Spock. The amnesia means he fits in much more co ...more
A sentimental favorite. When I was in college, there was this girl who was at least as big a Star Trek fan as I was, and our mutual friends (including our respective significant others) kept pushing us at each other. One of us had just finished reading this book (I don't remember who, but I think it was me), and loaned it to the other. The inevitable discussion of the book, and of Star Trek in general followed. Long story short, we were married about a year and a half later, and will celebrate o ...more
One of my favorite Star Trek book.
I am glad I reread it... It's one of those timewarp books where Spock goes back to the wild wild West where he meets his great great great times forever grand father. He has lost his memory and doesn't know why he is on earth but he somehow blends in and becomes one of the community. I love the way how the stranger in the strange land story develops and we get to see Spock without the strict "I am a Vulcan therefore I must be logical" face.

I also reread the "s
Ann aka Iftcan
I loved this book. But then again, I like time-travel and Star Trek, and this book has both.

In this book Spock winds up back in Seattle, Washington in 1867. While there he interacts with the various characters from the old tv show Here Come the Brides. ( and check out the stars) This TV show was actually based on a historical event in Seattle's history. The characters in the show did not exist, but the EVENT did. In addition to this show, Hambly also pays
Don't stop reading, but the best description of this novel for those of us old enough to remember Star Trek the original series first run, is Mr. Spock meets 'Here Come the Brides.' As I read this novel twenty-five years ago (this review is being written in March 2011), I remember figuring this out and thinking that the author couldn't pull it off. What an absurd idea. I also remember finishing the novel and thinking, "By George, she did it!" It is a wonderful extravaganga through television mem ...more
I hadn't re-read this for a while and was happy to find that I still really liked it. The Star Trek novels are very mixed quality, but Barbara Hambly is a great author and I can hear the actors' voices in the characters (which isn't always the case with these novels).

My favorite line is (view spoiler)

I never saw Here Come the Brides, but would be curious to watch that show based o
Christine Reynolds
I know I'm prejudiced on many levels, but I think this is the best Star Trek novel ever written. My copy is battered--and I'm one of the most anal folks ever about keeping books pristine--because I've read it so many times. After the recent movie, when I felt the need for Trek-fic, this is the book I came to. It's Star Trek meets Here Come the Brides, with amazingly awesome results. There's so much right about this book that I don't know what else to say except go read it!
This is the very first Star Trek book I ever read. Someone told me about it after they found out I had been a huge fan of Bobby Sherman & the TV show Here Come the Brides when I was a kid. This was so much fun! An amnesiac Spock in Old West Seattle dealing with the likes of Aaron Stempel (played by the late Mark Lenard, who also played Spock's father, Sarek) and Jason Bolt. Have gone back and reread this book a couple of times in recent years, just for the grins it gives me!
Hands down my favorite ST:TOS novel. I still re-read this every few years. You wouldn't think Star Trek could meet Here Comes the Brides successfully, but this ties the two together well. Such a treat for those of us raised on TV westerns AND Star Trek!
One of my all time favorite S.T. paperbacks...Love the crossover between Trek and Here Come's the Brides. It's so clever, and she obvioulsy know all these series intimately. :)
Elizabeth Krall
I admit to a sneaking enjoyment of the Original Series paperbacks, and this one is my favourite. There are some lovely descriptive passages.
Remember all the times you thought, "I'd pay to read fanfic like [insert plot of your heart here]?" You could try to win an author in an auction, or you could just pick up this book. Unapologetic crossover fanfic that hits just about every major trope, from time travel to sekrit identities to unexpected familial connections, Ishmael has it all. The only thing that's missing is mpreg, but I guess that would've been hard to get away with even back when this was published.

Still, an entertaining re
Jay Daze
A wonderful, well written, subversive western-romance story nestled, in all places, the Star Trek universe. If you are a hard-core, action adventure Trekker, this isn't the book for you. Kirk and McCoy are stuck going through piles of those annoying plastic faxes in the future present, while Spock is abducted and ends up in the past an amnesiac in the middle of a "Here Comes the Brides" episode.

Many thanks to Amy H. Sturgis of Star Ship Sofa for sending to me to this truly unique little bit of
I like the show Star Trek, but I don't read many Star Trek novels. I'm just not that interested in reading the further adventures of the Federation in Federation space. But if an author I like writes a Star Trek novel I will certainly take a look. Barbara Hambly has written several books I have enjoyed, so I was glad to give her take on Star Trek a try.

Ishmael is decidedly not a typical Star Trek novel. The alien Spock has amnesia and spends most of the book in nineteenth century Seattle, not kn
[These notes were made in 1985:]. This one had its roots in fannery, it is fairly clear - Spock fannery. But it's not bad; the plot is clear and, if you can stretch your conception of Spock's character so far, fairly plausible. Spock is captured by the Klingons while on a spy mission; induces catatonia and amnesia in himself to avoid spilling secrets, and wakes up on Earth in the late nineteenth century, near Seattle; with, apparently, his human component well to the fore and ready to be develop ...more
Cathrine Bonham
Apr 29, 2010 Cathrine Bonham rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Here Come the Brides/Star Treck fans
I really enjoyed reading this book but had to give it 4 stars because many of the facts didn't match up with the TV Show.

No I don't refer to Star Trek. In fact if all you know of the Trek universe is the 2009 Movie then you will probably be alright. The TV show I am talking about is the 1969 Series called "Here Come the Brides." The Characters from "Here Come the Brides" are the colorful citizens of Seattle, WA (Cica 1867)who embrace the Alien and amnesiatic Spock.

The Characters for the most pa
Stephen Fender
So, Spok is transported back to the 1800's. Okay, I get that. This was a VERY well written novel (the only reason it gets four stars). Firmly 80% of this book takes place in the 1800's, where Spock has lost his memory and is now going by the name Ismael. So, it goes without saying that a vast majority of this book has little to do with 'Star Trek' at all. Spock doesn't even go by 'Spock' during this time. He pod through a few months in Seattle, talking to lots of people on the way, and goes abou ...more
Reread this one for the umpteenth time. I think I enjoy it more every time I read it.

For those of you who don't know, the author combines Star Trek with another TV show from the 60's, "Here Come the Brides" She possibly got the inspiration to do this because the actor, Mark Lenard, played Spock's father, Sarek, in Star Trek and Aaron Stemple in "Here Come the Brides".

I just found out that "Here Come the Brides" was based on a real event: http://en.wikipedia
Spock meets the Mercer Girls in 1860 something Seattle. A local mill owner, Aaron Stemple, finds Spock injured, amnesiac, & lost in the wood. Spock has no memory of his spy mission aboard a Klingon's vessel, his subsequent capture, torture, or his escape so he doesn't know he is also not in his own time. This is a fish out of water story but one where the fish doesn't know it is a fish.
The book has a delightful time travel twist that allows Spock to save Stemple and in turn protect the man w
I loved this book, from the Doctor Who references to Spock becoming more human than he would've ever let himself. This book got me laughing and smiling so much, perhaps one of the top books to do so.
Scott Yelton
An amazing book. Took concepts and thoughts I've had rattling around my head for years and laid them out nice and concise into a work of fiction. A must read.
I have read this book about four times now! It is the only Star Trek book I have read more than once! I will start exploring Barbara Hambly's other books.
Mike McDevitt
It's better than I remembered. First of all, I had never heard of the tv show 'Here Come The Brides'. I vaguely remembered it as that one where Amnesia Spock counts cards and that only because of the cover. Second, I react badly to things like the Kharsids' historical conquering of the Klingons, because I have nothing on screen to back that up.

The three Doctor Who shout-outs are cute. (The fourth and second Doctors are described leaving bars just as Trek characters arrive. Also, Kirk has heard l
I'm a fan of Star Trek, not "Here Come the Brides." Given that this is billed as a ST novel, I'd say it's a big old fail. It's like a bit of romantic fan-fiction. Chapter after chapter of San Fransisco in 18dickety-two with the innumerable and indistinguishable "J" brothers is not what I signed up for here. Hambly suckers you in with an opening scene on the Enterprise, then follows it up with a bunch of Oregon Trail shit. This was the first Trek novel I've attempted and as it's roundly considere ...more
This is the most amazing Star Trek novel I have read so far...Fact.
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aka Barbara Hamilton

Ranging from fantasy to historical fiction, Barbara Hambly has a masterful way of spinning a story. Her twisty plots involve memorable characters, lavish descriptions, scads of novel words, and interesting devices. Her work spans the Star Wars universe, antebellum New Orleans, and various fantasy worlds, sometimes linked with our own.

"I always wanted to be a writer but everyone
More about Barbara Hambly...
Children of the Jedi (Star Wars) Dragonsbane (Winterlands #1) The Time of the Dark (Darwath, #1) Those Who Hunt the Night (James Asher, #1) The Armies of Daylight (Darwath, #3)

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