One of the better ST serializations. Hambly is remarkably good at creating believable, if not always likable, characters that raise what would be otheOne of the better ST serializations. Hambly is remarkably good at creating believable, if not always likable, characters that raise what would be otherwise cliched plots above the average....more
As "Balance of Terror" is one of my favorite Star Trek episodes, in my youth I followed Diane Duane's collection of novels avidly as they explored whoAs "Balance of Terror" is one of my favorite Star Trek episodes, in my youth I followed Diane Duane's collection of novels avidly as they explored who and what the Romulans really were.
I do not "agree" with her version of the Romulans (I have my own "private" Star Trek universe with my own take on these Vulcan offshoots; you can see some of it on my blog: http://spocksbro.blogspot.com/).
Ms. Duane is, nevertheless, a pretty good author and I like the character of Ael. I'm not so taken with Duane's rather simplistic view of "good," "evil" and "honor" but this isn't a likely prospect for a new Western Literary Canon, it's just good, solid, escapist fun....more
Easily, hands-down, the worst Star Trek novel ever written (though, granted, I stopped reading the serializations about 10 years ago and it's conceiEasily, hands-down, the worst Star Trek novel ever written (though, granted, I stopped reading the serializations about 10 years ago and it's conceivable something as bad - but not worse, trust me - has come out).
Just two things that were soooo wrong about this dreck:
1. It takes Enterprise, moving at high warp speed, three days to circle around a star (THREE DAYS!!!).
2. Spock infiltrates the Romulan fleet and almost immediately is put in charge of a ship. This despite the fact that "The Enterprise Incident" established that he is not the most trustworthy of turncoats.
It's been over 20 years since I've read this book and it still exercises me....more
As is my habit, I lull myself to sleep reading various short-story collections and other miscellanea that I keep by the bed for such occasions. And soAs is my habit, I lull myself to sleep reading various short-story collections and other miscellanea that I keep by the bed for such occasions. And so it was last night (the 8th) that I found myself reading James Blish's adaptations of the original ST's episodes (I had just come off of watching "The Ultimate Computer," "Assignment: Earth" and "Spectre of the Gun" so I was in a Trekking mood).
In this case, I was reading his adaptation of "The Balance of Terror," which holds a place in my personal top 5 Trek episodes. One of the interesting things about Blish's adaptations is that he was often working from the rawest of story treatments and, at times, doesn't appear to have seen the finished episode. On occasion it results in a more logical, coherent story (though I would challenge anybody to salvage "Spock's Brain"); on other occasions, the finished product was definitely superior.
In this case, "Balance" falls into the latter category. Most to its detriment, it lacks the interaction between Kirk and the Romulan commander that makes the TV episode so good. And the interactions between Spock and the rest of the crew is jarring - many in the crew actively dislike him: "The meeting in the briefing room was still going on when Spock was called out to the lab section. Once he was gone, the atmosphere promptly became more informal; neither Scott nor McCoy liked the Vulcanite, and Kirk, much though he valued his First Officer, was not entirely comfortable in his presence" (p. 50). I'm reminded of a similarly jarring note in reading "Friday's Child" (in volume 1): In Blish's adaptation, Elean is viciously cut down at the end and Kirk's reaction is (essentially) "she was a bitch and deserved it."
On the other hand, there were some variations that should have survived the editing process. First of all, the entire concept of the Neutral Zone. In the TV episode it is a zone in space monitored by a double handful of stations along a decidedly two-dimensional border; in the book, it's a zone surrounding the system of Romulus/Remus and far more believable as a sphere of monitoring satellites. Also, while both retain the idea that the Romulans and Federation never had direct communications during the war, recovered bodies did reveal enough to show that the Romulans were vulcanoid, and were probably the result of prehistoric colonization efforts. And, finally, there's no nonsense about "running silent, running deep." The idea of adapting the problems of submarine warfare to the episode is a good one but the literalness of the adoption in the TV episode is it's weakest point....more
This day (Nov 22, 2008), I picked up all four volumes of Blish's adaptations of the "real" Star Trek's episodes for $20 (which I consider a bargain, sThis day (Nov 22, 2008), I picked up all four volumes of Blish's adaptations of the "real" Star Trek's episodes for $20 (which I consider a bargain, so please don't comment on the mint-condition set you picked up at the swap meet for $2 :-)
I've never quite followed how Blish came to write these versions but in some cases they veered far from what found its way to the TV screen. Another thing I find attractive about this series is that Blish is a serious writer who gave some effort to making these stories good and readable....more