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Strangers from the Sky (Star Trek: The Original Series)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,187 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
In the twenty-first centruy humanity has united after countless years of warfare, and turns toward the stars. But when an alien spacecraft crashlands in the South Pacific bearing visitors from another world, the Vulcans, Earth must decide whether to extend the hand of friendship, or the fist of war. In the distant future, horrible dreams torment Admiral James T. Kirk, drea ...more
Paperback, 402 pages
Published November 1st 1990 by Pocket Books (first published 1987)
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Longer and more complex than the standard ST novel, Strangers from the Sky is literally a novel within a novel; that is, Strangers from the Sky is also the title of a work of purported non-fiction concerning the first contact of Vulcan and Earth. The reading of this text triggers suppressed memories in Kirk and leads to the narration of a framed time-travel narrative. And then there are also the points of view of other individuals who lived in the earlier era which the imaginary non-fiction work ...more
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing

This is an oldie but a goody. It was first published in 1987 and then reissued here as a special edition to celebrate Star Trek's 40th anniversary. This special edition has a new forward by Margaret Wander Bonanno where she clarifies a few time line issues for die hard ST fans. However, you don't need to be a fan to enjoy this can stand alone as a good First Contact Science Fiction book.

Ms Bonanno is an excellent writer. Here, she demonstrates her unerring ability to capture the voice
May 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: star-trek, 1987
[These notes were made in 1987:]. One of the better Star Trek books I've read, this is an ambitious tome of over 400 pages. It covers three times in the ST universe: mid twenty-first century, just before first contact was made with the Vulcans; early in the career of Kirk and Spock, just before the edge of the universe episode; and in the fullness of their friendship, after V'ger. It consists literally in a double flashback -- Kirk and Spock, both troubled by dreams, discover that in the earlier ...more
Lauren Donoho
Oct 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So here's the thing about Star Trek tie ins - most of them are precisely what they sound like, which is fairly entertaining Star Trek adventure stories with really uneven writing quality. And then there are Star Trek books like Strangers from the Sky, which is basically an interesting, original science fiction novel about first contact, with Spock, Kirk, and McCoy as bizarrely epic guest stars. And time-travel, which I unabashedly love as a plot device, so...

Basically, I read this book a lot of
Jul 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: every ST fan
Shelves: startrek, favorites
An intriguing book-within-a-book interspersed with scenes from two different ST eras. The "frame" story is set after ST:TMP, and the flashbacks are set just shortly before "Where No Man Has Gone Before". The contrast between the Kirk, Spock, and others in the two eras is well-handled. So are all the original characters -- and there are quite a few, each unique and vibrant. There's even a brief appearance from our old friends from Dwellers in the Crucible.

One of my favorite ST novels, which I hav
Mar 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first story was good; the second, not so much.
Mike Crate
Jul 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi, star-trek
Imagine an Earth still recovering from the Third World War and Eugenic wars looking into the vastness of space and its first contact with an alien life form is through the eyes of the mass media itself peering through a lens obstructed by political and military cover ups. A blood on the walls scenario in every definition, this is the memory/dream which plagues Captain Kirk after reading a scholarly work from a human with access to information long held within Vulcan archives. Many consider it a ...more
Aug 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked Faces of Fire a bit more, but if only a few things were different, then Strangers from the sky would be the best Star Trek novel of all time. It felt like Carl Sagan's Contact meets that great Trek episode, "City on the Edge of Forever". It had a great story to tell, something that rivals the greatest of the Trek movies. My only complaint, and the reason Faces of Fire was better, was because Bonanno stretched out a great plot into something a little unrealistic. In addition, the introduc ...more
Drake Tungsten
This was a good "what if aliens were stranded on Earth before first contact" scenario. Very well written too. I believe this premise was revisited in the "Carbon Creek" episode of "Star Trek: Enterprise".
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are so many “what if” scenarios in history, that we often wonder what might have gone differently if some seemingly seminal event had transpired differently, or not at all. Of course, in real life, this is just conjecture on all of our parts. The idea of taking a fictional world, using a “what if” scenario and writing with (relatively) free reign, is gratifying in ways that such real-life “what if” questions can not be, for it allows us to answer this question.

This is part of why I, and s
Brett Thomasson
May 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Margaret Wander Bonanno's Strangers From the Sky doesn't vary much from the official Star Trek canon; tweak its version of the first official meeting between humans and Vulcans and it rests comfortably within established continuity.

That's because it's the story of an earlier unofficial meeting between the two races, which happens when a Vulcan scout ship crashes in the Pacific Ocean in the mid 2040s. Earth, still recovering from a series of wars, revolutions and upheavals, is thought not to be r
The Fizza
Weird, interesting and way better than it has any rights to be.
Dec 23, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Star Trek: Strangers From The Sky by Margaret Wander Bonanno, "the second giant Star Trek novel" is not so good. A time-travel story about Vulcans arriving on Earth 20 years too early and the Enterprise crew's attempts to set the timeline straight, this novel is profoundly mediocre. The characterizations are flat; big and important story elements happen in a cursory way, often 'off-screen'; and large portions of the tale read like a tepid, weak, Cold-War-era spy novel. Containing little vim, lit ...more
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
One for the files of "oh, what harm every came from opening a book?" LOTS apparently! And I'm sure this is the last time Kirk ever takes a book recommendation from McCoy.

Kirk is reading a book, a sensational bit of 'history' called "Strangers from the Sky" challenging about when exactly first contact with Vulcans happened. Kirk begins having really, really indepth and odd nightmares about the book and it changing history. Spock, on assignment with the Enterprise, has similar nightmares and there
So this audio book was read by both George Takei and Leonard Nimoy who are both, of course, wonderful. And while I didn't hate the story or anything most of this one I was just confused and lost through it. I don't know if its just better if I was reading it myself (I'm a much more visual person) or if it was badly edited because I couldn't tell always when the story changed perspectives or maybe my copy of it was just done badly or something.

It seemed to be a fairly interesting story about a bo
Feb 17, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
At first, I didn't know what to think do the book. I didn't like the format (switching from excerpts from the novel to reality) and the characters really weren't that engaging. However, when I was about 50-75 pages in, I started to appreciate the novel for what it was. I feel as though the author accurately portrays a variety of ways how humans would react at the first meeting of extraterrestrials. (Accurate, that is, as far as how closely the portrayals fit my own speculations. But that's besid ...more
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: star-trek, audiobooks
In the "Star Trek" novel "Strangers From the Sky", Margaret Wander Bonanno demonstrates what so many Star Trek novelists have not -- her ability to capture the voices of the characters we love. Additionally, she successfully brings out the magic of their relationships. So many of the shorter S-T novels jump right into the plot, ignoring character development and the "painting" of the scenery.

"Star Trek" may get a bit confused because as the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" movie "First Contact"
The other John
Nov 25, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: braincandy, sf
This is one of those rare times when I pull a beloved book off my shelf and end up thinking less of the tome than I did on my previous readings. Strangers is a Star Trek novel, telling of a first contact between Vulcans and Humans. (This was written before the movie Star Trek: First Contact, so now we know that this story never really happened.)(Well, you know what I mean.) Like the movie, it wasn't enough to simply present the tale of this event. The author also had to include time travelling m ...more
Jonathan S. Harbour
This is IMO one of the top five of the Star Trek Pocket Books (the old numbered series). Margaret Bonanno was not credited for the premise of this story in the screenplay of the film, Star Trek: First Contact (TNG cast), wherein, as you know, two Vulcans land on Earth after noting the warp signature of Zephram Cochran's prototype ship. This story sends the Vulcans on an adventure of intrigue and danger on Earth, whereas the film simply presented them as guests for a few minutes at the end of the ...more
Sep 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A history book all the rage. Something is disturbing Kirk as he reads. That same something is disturbing Spock, even though he is on the Enterprise at some distance away. Spock comes to Kirk. A mind meld. The truth.

I am reminded of the Star Trek: Enterprise episode in which the ancestor of the Vulcan officer lives incognito on earth a long time before the historical "First Contact." How I wanted to know more of the stories of what happened to that ancestor. I felt that Pocket Books could have do
Jul 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, ipad-books
I've recently rediscovered a bunch of these old Star Trek books as ebooks, and they're a BLAST rereading years later. I particularly dug STRANGERS IN THE SKY from way back when not only because the book was awesome but also remembering fondly George Takei's reading of the audiobook version.

The story is particularly fun because of its nonlinear pace, jumping back to a pre- "Where No Man Has Gone Before" era where Gary Mitchell and Lee Kelso are major characters on Kirk's Enterprise. Bonanno - a
Jay Daze
Aug 23, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, adventure
The time travel plot didn't work. There wasn't much tension or meaningful action for the characters to do. For a book that wants to argue that individuals can make a different, the story leans exactly the other way. All the events in the book are fixed and everyone just plays their part. The novel ably juggled a book-within-a-book and three time periods without confusing me. I did enjoy young Kirk and company, as well as the new characters. Though I do think the military duo, Nyere and Sawyer, s ...more
Oct 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: star-trek, audiobook
Golden Age Trek

There's a window in time when the Trek novels were more unencumbered by editorial oversight, story arcs and trying to be more canonical - and this is a novel from that era. Really kind of quirky in many ways (there's magic, for one!), but still a fun story. [Not a complaint about the current state of Trek literature - just an observation.]

I'd read this long ago, but picked up the abridged audio version with great voice work from George Takei and Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock. There's
Daniel Kukwa
Jan 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: star-trek
Another novel where events have been sidetracked by info presented in later TV episodes and films. But put that aside...and you have an astonishingly well-written & groundbreaking adventure, with three separate stories that eventually collide explosively & magnificently. It also allows for some solid wish fulfillment by acting as not one but TWO prequels: (1) a story setting up the crew we see in "Where No Man Has Gone Before" -- making that episode's outcome all the more tragic; (2) a s ...more
Well, since I was on a Star Trek kick, I wandered down to the library to see what they had on the original series. This book was an interesting take on the series. The book is set during the time after Star Trek The Movie. A best selling book (of the same name) has become very popular. Bones encourages Kirk to read the book. After he starts reading it, Kirk starts having dreams about the people in the book. Spock has dreams too, and he hasn't even read the book. What's the book about? That Vulca ...more
Phillip Lemons
Another fantastic performance by George Takei in reading the script for this abridged novel. Still, I had difficulty keeping my mind on the story. Although i went back and listened to some parts as many as the times, there are parts of the story I don't recall and are unclear. This is due in part to the fact that my mind tends to wander while listening to audiobooks.

Based on my experience, I give the story two stars. The premise is interesting to me. Perhaps reading the unabridged novel would b
Apr 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: star-trek, sci-fi
This book was a little inconsistent with the Star Trek timeline, but since this is a canon, I can forgive it. The book was very interesting, and kept my interest throughout the entire book.

I think the story line I liked the most was the supposed "first time" Vulcans interacted with humans. The Spock/Kirk story line was interesting and sweet, with lots of friendship and loyalty, but the real action happens in the other story line.

I think it's definitely worth reading. I watch Star Trek and read
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the context of Star Trek novels I have to give this one a 5 star rating because from the Trek books I've read so far this one is hands down the best.

If I rated this novel on its own I would most likely give it 4 stars: it is a great read but the story is not flawless (I'd personally take the terrorists out of it completely) and it would need to be a bit tighter to deserve a rave review.

But since I always rate Trek books in their context, Strangers deserve the same - as well as my first 5 star
Nov 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Very serviceable original crew story that was notable for a few reasons:

1. It fleshed out the pre-history between our time and classic Trek.

2. It took place in three different periods; The first crew just after the first movie, The original series in the first season, and the mid twenty- first century.

3. Spock got to spend a lot of "quality-time" with his human grand-father... notable since the "human-ness of Spock is often down-played.

4. It incorporated minor characters from the original ser
Ronald Wilcox
Interesting premise and engaging storyline but at times the writing gets muddled. A book that is all the rage in Kirk's time, Strangers from the Sky, tells of an encounter with Vulcans on Earth about 20 years before the known first contact in the historical record. For some reason the book triggers dreams and possible memories in Kirk and Spock. The explanation is somewhat intricate and a little far fetched but the book was definitely enjoyable.
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Margaret Wander Bonanno is a science fiction author with over twenty novels to her credit, including several set in the Star Trek universe.
More about Margaret Wander Bonanno...

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