It's rare for Trek fluff to annoy me enough to drop a star (I never expect these to be Great Literature, after all), but this one managed it. Hints ofIt's rare for Trek fluff to annoy me enough to drop a star (I never expect these to be Great Literature, after all), but this one managed it. Hints of interesting ideas scattered throughout (such as the conflict between the Federations post-Khan "no genetic manipulation EVAR" mindset and a society where genetic manipulation for particular environments is commonplace), but marred with bad characterizations and characters both.
(Minor spoilers follow.)
One of the two primary antagonists is a high-level Federation administrator in charge of enforcing Prime Directive regulations, and simultaneously horribly xenophobic. While the book tries to explain it away (view spoiler)[(clumsily, in a few short sentences at the end) through nepotism and favoritism (hide spoiler)], it was too unrealistic that such a person could have been appointed to that position (let alone that (view spoiler)[Kirk would see her as a romantic interest immediately after she verbally abuses his bridge crew (hide spoiler)]). Definitely one of the least impressive Trek novels I've read.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Completely goofy: a fiction bomb goes off at a Shatner convention, bringing every version of Shatner ever (from Kirk to Denny Crane to his Priceline sCompletely goofy: a fiction bomb goes off at a Shatner convention, bringing every version of Shatner ever (from Kirk to Denny Crane to his Priceline shuckster to TJ Hooker and more…) into a battle royale to the death. Not exactly High Art, but definitely entertaining....more
As with the first, an absolutely mind-boggling amount of information and detail covering the creation of the second season of Star Trek's original serAs with the first, an absolutely mind-boggling amount of information and detail covering the creation of the second season of Star Trek's original series. If you're the kind of hardcore trek geek that might find this behind-the-scenes stuff interesting, these books are the top of the stack. Looking forward to the third volume when it's released. ...more
Beautiful retro-style art posters for each of the original series episodes. I've been admiring this series online for a while, and had just been temptBeautiful retro-style art posters for each of the original series episodes. I've been admiring this series online for a while, and had just been tempted by this book in a store (but resisted), so it was a treat to get this as a Christmas present from my parents. Gorgeous work. ...more
To borrow a familiar word: Fascinating. An _incredibly_ in-depth and copiously researched look into the creation and production of the original seriesTo borrow a familiar word: Fascinating. An _incredibly_ in-depth and copiously researched look into the creation and production of the original series. The sole problem is that it seems it could have used another editing pass or two, with numerous spelling or formatting errors, and occasional odd errors when venturing beyond the boundaries of the original series (the differing looks of Klingons over the years was not explained during _The Next Generation_, nor was it due to there being "different species" of Klingons). Still, even with that minor gripe, the amount of detail contained in this textbook-like tome, much of it sourced from original production documents given to the author by Gene Roddenberry himself in the 1980s, is wonderful for the die-hard fan. Looking forward to the coming volumes two and three, covering seasons two and three, respectively. ...more
Definitely one of the best Star Trek novels I've read. My one problem is the device used to kick everything off -- that the Federation uses it's leadeDefinitely one of the best Star Trek novels I've read. My one problem is the device used to kick everything off -- that the Federation uses it's leaders' children as "Warrantors of Peace" by implanting weapon launch codes in their hearts; the only way for a leader to launch an attack against another member of the Federation is to extract the codes by killing their child. This is a bizarre and very un-Federation method of ensuring peace, made all the more bizarre because it's portrayed as having been proposed by the Vulcans after having been used in the past on Vulcan to ensure peace among their tribes during their reformation.
However, and thankfully, that aspect of the story (though trumpeted on the back cover of the book, which initially gave me great doubts as to my expectations for the book) is actually only a very minor point, serving only as an excuse to initiate the hostage situation that forms the main thrust of the book.
The book itself is actually a thoughtful and beautifully written exploration of the bonds between two very different women, one Vulcan (and one unusually introverted and reserved, even for a Vulcan) and one human. Their relationship is explored both through the difficulties of their time in captivity and, through flashbacks, the time spent getting to know and learn about each other before their abduction.
Along with this comes a lot of exploration of the cultures of various Star Trek races, primarily Vulcan, Romulan, Deltan, and Klingon (roughly in descending order of how much is learned about each race). An obvious debt is owed (and acknowledged in the dedication) to Diane Duane and her Rihannsu books; I really find it more than a little disappointing that the Powers That Be decided to confine Duane's fleshing out of Romulan culture to the books and declined to incorporate it into canon Star Trek (as other aspects of the books were later incorporated into canon Trek mythology).
Though it seems (from reading other reviews here on Goodreads) many people have problems with how little the primary Trek personalities feature in the story, I didn't find this a problem at all. On the contrary, one of the strengths of the Trek novels is their ability to explore the Trek universe beyond presenting yet another "monster of the week" adventure for the Enterprise and her crew, and Crucible does a wonderful job of using new characters to explore and expand upon Trek concepts.
There are a few other somewhat problematic points -- there's a bit too much of Kirk ogling the just-rescued human abductee at the end, and some very Stockholm Syndrome moments between the human prisoner and her Klingon captor that, while possible, feel somewhat glossed over and handled somewhat clumsily. However, given the strength of the rest of the book, and that this book was published before there were more strict guidelines as to what could and could not happen within Trek books (which, to be honest, probably accounts for this book's strengths as much as its failures), I'm willing to accept these points. Without these concerns and the Warrantors of Peace idea, this would easily have been a five-star book (very rare among Trek novels); even with these concerns, though, I have no problems giving this a four-star rating....more
A serviceable, if uninspired, by-the-numbers adaptation, with very little deviation (good or bad) from the movie. Those few more interesting departureA serviceable, if uninspired, by-the-numbers adaptation, with very little deviation (good or bad) from the movie. Those few more interesting departures that I saw have been commented on in my progress updates as I read.
I don't know how restrictive Paramount et. al. are when it comes to modern adaptations, but I really do wish they'd go back and use Vonda McIntyre's adaptations of Star Trek II, III, and IV as examples of how to do it well. ...more