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Spock Must Die! (Star Trek Adventures, #1)
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Spock Must Die!

(Star Trek Adventures #1)

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  1,575 ratings  ·  137 reviews
When a transporter experiment goes horribly awry, suddenly there are two Mr. Spocks! One is the true First Officer of the Enterprise. The other is his complete opposite, a traitor whose very existence poses a grave threat to the crew, the ship, and the Federation itself. One of the Spocks must die. But which one ... ?
Paperback, 128 pages
Published March 1st 1985 by Spectra Books (first published February 1970)
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Average rating 3.46  · 
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 ·  1,575 ratings  ·  137 reviews

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Start your review of Spock Must Die! (Star Trek Adventures, #1)
Common opinion seems to hold that being a Star Trek fan is akin to declaring a form of voluntary abstinence in this sexual age:

I find that perception to be a serious boat miss. I am a Trekker...not an in garb convention going, mind-meld teaching, Klingonese poetry writing disciple of the Church of Roddenberry (for which its worth, I worship Cthulhu who reigns supreme over all). However, I am a big fan of the universe, the stories and the can do and can do the right way attitude that the
Apr 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
OK - the first Star Trek story not based on a shooting script, requested by popular demand (fan mail to the author, from readers of his script adaptations.)

What would you do with that opportunity? Let's just say I am unsurprised that Blish's story revolves round a transporter accident. The technology raises heaps of questions in the minds of anyone with the slightest philosophical bent - and any decent SF writer fits in that category. Also, at the time, most of those obvious ideas hadn't already
Michael Jandrok
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
DISCLAIMER: This review assumes that you have a good working knowledge of Star Trek and its universe, especially the classic original series Trek from the 1960s. If all you know of Star Trek is the lens-flare movie reboots, then this isnt really the place to be. If youre a Star Wars fan, fuggedaboutit. Me, I like em both, and I snort Melange, too, so there. Its a niiiiice spice.

In 1967, noted science-fiction author James Blish was commissioned by Bantam Books to write a series of adaptations of
One of the first original Star Trek novels written, "Spock Must Die" is a product of an entirely different era in Trek publishing. Veteran sci-fi writer James Blish famously adapted most of the original 79 episodes of classic Trek as short stories in a series of 12 collections. (For many fans, like myself, these collections were an essential part of our discovery of the original series in the days before we could watch any episode we wanted any time we wanted via video-tapes, DVD collections or ...more
Nov 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
In this existential treatise on the philosophy of self, James Blish attempts to resolve the infamous "McCoy's Paradox" regarding the continuity of essentia through the medium of a Star Trek: The Original Series novel. As you do.

McCoy's paradox is of course well known to anyone who has even walked past a bookshop that contains philosophy texts, but for completeness I'll recapitulate it here in Blish's terms. The transporters of Star Trek can be (erroneously) thought of as working by converting
Mar 29, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I shoplifted this from Eastlawn Pharmacy in Midland MI somewhere around 1972. Can't remember a damn thing about it other than everybody wanted Spock dead. Including me.
Nice, quick read that could as well have been an episode of the original series.
I liked the format of every chapter beginning as a captain's log, the writing style was a good fit for the story and the plot was quite intriguing. I was positively surprised that the conversation from the beginning not only had impact on the plot but also came back at the end.
It was of course not perfect: Spocks unnatural behavior had to be explained away at the end and I don't know how realistic the whole thing
Spock must die! Say it isnt so. But it is. In James Blishs 1970 novel, Spock Must Die!, the crew of the Enterprise is confronted with a dilemma that can only be solved by Spocks death. This is a more intellectual, science-heavy novel, and suspense builds as you try to solve the Spock problem along with the rest of the crew.

The novel opens with a philosophical discussion between Scotty and Dr. McCoy that Captain Kirk is (unwittingly) pulled into. McCoy (as fans know) has no love for the
Dec 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
While rating this, I have to confess that I am a huge Star Trek nerd. This was my first time reading any of the novels and I thought the writing was very neat. Neat= full of scientific explanations for absolutely everything going on! I realize that the scientific conjectures in this book might be completely unfounded and downright silly to a scientist, but I'm just happy to stumble across a SF book series that attempts to involve the scientific method and other reasoning processes. There really ...more
Tracy Poff
This review also appears on my blog.

In 1968, James Blish wrote in the introduction to Star Trek 3 that he would be writing an original Star Trek novel, the popularity of the television series warranting such an effort. By the time that book was published, in April 1969, Star Trek had already been cancelled, with only its final episode, "Turnabout Intruder", yet to air. Finally, in February 1970, Bantam published Blish's (sole) original Trek novel: Spock Must Die!

The Enterprise is mapping out a
Andrew Bass
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read Spock Must Die! for basically one reason: That it is the first standalone Star Trek novel. Most of the reviews are basically neutral; indeed it seems that there are a lot of 3-star ho-hum reviews. I was a bit surprised then at how much I enjoyed this short novel. the story is heavy on dialogue, which may have turned some readers off. It is also short and to the point. The focal characters are Kirk, Spock (obviously), Scotty, and McCoy. And that's good.

I was hooked from the start when
Leila Anani
This is the first original Star Trek novel - the previous Star Trek books all being novelisations based on shooting scripts.

Its actually not bad if a little clunky and science & philosophy heavy. We begin with Bones, Scotty and Kirk discussing the nature of the transporter and whether or not the reconstructed 'you' retains a soul - and we get into solipsism and logical positivism debates with no real answer. Scotty takes the matter to heart and comes up with a solution - the person being
Jan 02, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-series
James Blish wrote a lot for Bantam's Star Trek books, including most of the 12 collections that covered each episode of the original series. His stories went into more depth than the episode, but usually not in the direction of the character. This book, one of the first original tales published, fits that mold quite well.

McCoy doesn't like the transporter, Scotty loves to talk about the technology, and Kirk must agonize over the decisions. In this case, the decision is which Spock must die,
Apr 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I'm suddenly on a Star Trek kick, maybe due to the upcoming release of the new Trek movie. I really enjoyed this book a lot, and it actually had a couple of elements that surprised me. The plot was quite derivative of the original episode of "The Enemy Within," combined with the genie battle from The Arabian Nights, but it was enjoyable for all that.
Hannah Givens
This was utterly terrible and I quite enjoyed it. ;)
May 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review originally appeared on my blog, Shared Universe Reviews.

Regular readers of Shared Universe Reviews will know that Ive read and reviewed a few Star Wars books and Ive also started an ongoing project to read more fantasy novels. Thats a lot to have on ones plate but I dont seem to care since Ive started to read Star Trek novels. Why am I doing this all of a sudden? There are a few answers and one of them is simply, why not? I havent read any before. I like Star Trek. I dont love it
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Enjoyable, brisk read. Some cool concepts and call backs to classic episodes.
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While engaged in a surveying mission light years from Federation territory, the starship Enterprise receives word that the Organians the advanced beings who enforce peace between the Federation and the Klingon Empire have suddenly vanished. As the begin the months-long journey back through Klingon space to investigate, Scotty develops a new version of the transporter, one designed to teleport a person across the galaxy instantaneously. When it is used to send Spock to the Organian homeworld, ...more
G.K. Hunter
Jul 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any sci fi fans, you don't need to be a Trekkie to read this one
If Gene Roddenberry was the heart of Star Trek, then you can consider James Blish one of its lungs, pumping life into the lovable Sci Fi dynasty. As much as I enjoyed the Next Generation TV show and some of the movies, I don't consider myself a Trekkie on account that I don't own any Star Trek figures and merchandise, nor have I ever dressed up in a Star Fleet uniform to go to a conference. But I have perfected the Vulcan hand gesture that goes along with the phrase, live long and prosper. I ...more
Andrew Swanson
I may be biased because I love Spock and, really, the entire TOS crew. In Spock Must Die!, Dr. McCoy is puzzling over the spiritual ethics of the use of the transporter. These musings prompt an alteration of the transporter room to send a duplicate to the planet, with the benefit of being able to transport over longer distance, which is important because the Klingons have just violated the Treaty of Organia and now nobody's sure if Organia still exists. Rather than fly for six months to reach ...more
Mike McDevitt
Jul 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
Never going to be a favorite. I need to make every effort not to judge early Trek fiction too harshly, but... sigh.

McCoy's fear that the transporter routinely murders the people who go through it and replaces them with identical (soulless) copies: I've never understood this- the device (impossible I know) turns matter into energy and back. It's not DESTROYING anything.

I've never subscribed to this attitude that McCoy has metaphyscial fears about the bloody thing: only that (like all modes of
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
I'm a Star Trek fan, but I've never delved much into the spin-off novels. However, I'm also an admirer of Blish's SF, so it was inevitable that I would read this at some point.

For such a short novel (118 pages in this edition) it packs in a lot of good and some bad; an clever concept based around transporter technology, questions about the nature of identity, ethical quandaries, a mysterious vanishing planet and some exciting battle maneuvers. Unfortunately, it also manages to be rather talky
David Palazzolo
May 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Saw it at a used bookstore and could not resist.

Now at the half-way point of the book I have to say I'm sorry Blish apparently wasn't given a higher page count to fill. He has crammed the book full of unexpected tidbits like a discussion of James Joyce and philosophical debate on whether if anyone who has ever used the transporter device is truly alive. Unfortunately, all these extras are painfully brief, as we have less than 130 pages to tell the whole story.

Characterizaton is also very sparse.
Oct 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any fans of TOS.
Shelves: science-fiction
Published immediately after the show's cancellation, the resolution guarantees it will never fit within the Star Trek cannon developed in subsequent shows and books.

Nevertheless, it is an intelligent and quick read. The dialogue is crisp and intelligent and the action is fast-paced. At only 118 pages, there is nothing wasted here.

Loved it.
An established sci-fi author + a really interesting premise. It could have been an enjoyable read if only the characterizations weren't totally off. One of the ingredients that made Star Trek such a great show was the friendship between Kirk, Spock & McCoy. If I didn't know otherwise after reading this book I would think that they are mere acquaintances.
Willow H. Wood
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Very enjoyable adventure with the Enterprise crew, even if Chapter Twelve turned into an acid trip. Scotty had me in fits of giggles, as per, and Spock's logic broke my brain, also as per, but perhaps doubly so. 5* for an afternoon well spent reading.
Katy Sue
Jul 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Amazing - will read again for sure! Could have finished it in one day, however, I wanted it to last as long as possible. :)
Ilsa Bonaparte
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
Okay. I liked it when I read it, which is when I was something like eight years old. It was my first Star Trek novel, and I thought it was awesome. Looking back on it, though, it sucked.
Randy Mcdonald
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
I first encountered British-American science fiction writer James Blish through his involvement in Trek, specifically through his TOS novelizations. One Christmas when I was very young, I got for a present Bantam Books' 1991 three-volume republication of his novelizations, one thick paperback per season. Those novelizations were my first systematic exposure to TOS, occasional Sunday afternoon reruns notwithstanding. It makes it all the more surprising that it's only in this past week that I've ...more
Nov 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: star-trek
An enjoyable, interesting read, mostly by virtue of the science-oriented plot and writing style (I had to drag out a dictionary half a dozen times, but I like new words). A decent sci-fi story. However, it lacks the heart and strong character work that makes TOS so great.

It poses an intriguing question: is the man that goes into a transport beam the same one that comes out? Or is every transport the murder of one man and the birth of one similar, but distinctly different? McCoy, Scotty, and
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Spock Must Die! 1 25 Feb 23, 2010 12:24PM  

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James Benjamin Blish (East Orange, New Jersey, May 23, 1921 Henley-on-Thames, July 30, 1975) was an American author of fantasy and science fiction. Blish also wrote literary criticism of science fiction using the pen-name William Atheling Jr.

In the late 1930's to the early 1940's, Blish was a member of the Futurians.

Blish trained as a biologist at Rutgers and Columbia University, and spent 1942

Other books in the series

Star Trek Adventures (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • Star Trek: The New Voyages (Star Trek Adventures, #2)
  • Spock, Messiah! (Star Trek Adventures, #3)
  • The Price of the Phoenix (Star Trek Adventures, #4)
  • Planet of Judgment (Star Trek Adventures, #5)
  • Star Trek: The New Voyages, 2 (Star Trek Adventures, #6)
  • Vulcan! (Star Trek Adventures, #7)
  • The Starless World (Star Trek Adventures, #8)
  • Trek To Madworld (Star Trek Adventures, #9)
  • World Without End (Star Trek Adventures, #10)
  • The Fate Of The Phoenix (Star Trek Adventures, #11)

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