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Uhura's Song

(Star Trek: The Original Series #21)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  2,249 ratings  ·  174 reviews
Years ago, Lieutenant Uhura befriended a diplomat from Eeiauo, a land of graceful, catlike beings. The two women exchanged forbidden songs and promised never to reveal their secret. Now the Starship Enterprise must race to save the Eeiauoans before a deadly plague destroys them all. Uhura's secret songs may hold the key to a cure, but the clues are veiled in layers of myst ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published August 1st 2000 by Pocket Books (first published January 1985)
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rivka Yes, I think so. One of the pivotal Enterprise characters (in addition to the aliens on both planets) is one who appears only in this book and was cre…moreYes, I think so. One of the pivotal Enterprise characters (in addition to the aliens on both planets) is one who appears only in this book and was created by Kagan. Knowledge of the show is nice, but I don't think necessary, to enjoy this wonderful book.(less)

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This hardcover is one of nine titles Gregg Press published.

They are:

"The Abode of Life" by Lee Correy 1986
"The Covenant of the Crown" by Howard Weinstein 1985
"Corona" by Greg Bear 1985
"Mutiny on the Enterprise" by Robert E Vardeman 1985
"Black Fire" by Sonni Cooper 1986
"The Tears of the Singers" by Melinda Snodgrass 1986
"Uhura's Song" by Janet Kagan 1985
"The Final Reflection" by John M Ford 1985
"Triangle" by Sondra Marshak and Mynra Culbreath 1986

Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
Rating-- 2.5
I picked this book up after I watched a round table discussion of Urban Fantasy writers that included Jim Butcher. One of the authors, I can't remember who now, mentioned this book in response to a question about enjoyable debut novels for authors they loved now. I had never read any Star Trek extended universe novels, so I figured it would be fun.

And it was. Reading characters you know so well from the TV Series was a lot fun, I could hear Dr. McCoy, Spock, and Checov's voices in m
Mikael Kuoppala
May 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Anthropological sci-fi is often excellent, and "Uhura's Song" is no exception. Solid, real characters and a fascinating imaginary culture studied in a deep probing way. Janet Kagan has managed to capture the characters in an innovative and extremely complex story that she manages to hold together only by uniquely talented writing and insightful characterization.

The premise of the story is simple enough: the planet Eeiauo is devastated by a plaque that hits its feline inhabitants once every few d
Bill Lynas
In the opening three chapters of this Star Trek novel author Janet Kagan achieves quite a lot. She sets up the plot & even moves it along at a cracking pace. In addition to this she quickly establishes Star Trek characters we know & love & entertains us with some wonderfully fun dialogue that ranks with the best in the TV series.
I wondered what else she could do after cramming so much into just a few chapters. Sadly, the answer is not much. There are still some good things along the way, but it
Christopher Rush
So Janet Kagan's a cat person, then. I had not read any Star Trek books in a while, so I picked up where I left off with this. Despite the overwhelming goofiness of this book, it did not make me regret my decision to read it or get back into Star Trek books. The book is a great example of the freedom and, again, goofiness of the early '80s numbered series era, in which authors could create new characters and do bizarre things provided they didn't change the "status quo" of the Star Trek universe ...more
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
I don’t think anyone who has watched The Original Series can forget the moment in “Charlie X” when Uhura is singing in the rec room while accompanied by Spock on the Vulcan lyrette. Her voice and songs are a reminder of beauty in an environment built for functionality and protocol. It is no surprise then, that a tie-in novel focuses on the power of Uhura’s songs and features worlds and aliens of equal power and beauty.

The Enterprise is orbiting Eeiauo (I pronounce this in my head like meow minus
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: a-star-trek
Excellent. Strikes a nice balance between being a story that needs the familiar characters to exhibit their familiar attitudes and behaviors (that is to say, to be a Star Trek story) and a story that could have been successful with original creators (that is to say, to be a traditional SF story.)

Love that there are no bad guys, no interplanetary/empire politics or shoot-em-ups. One new Starfleet character only. Humor & wit.

Interesting that it deals so familiarly (presciently) with a plague. Asym
I hadn't reread this book in many years and wondered how well it would hold up. Happily, it holds up well. Kagan wove an engrossing story about cultural change, shame, expectations, societal attitudes, ecology and climate change, and wrapped it up in humor, cleverness, and adventure. Most of the ST 7 get a chance to shine with guest appearances by Nurse Chapel and Doctor M'Benga. Kagan's original characters, and species, are delightful. I'm sorry we never got another story with Tail-Kinker to-En ...more
Daniel Kukwa
Feb 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: star-trek
I can describe this in two ways. The first is "Star Trek does Lord of the Rings...with cats!" The second is "Roddenberry-esque". This is "Star Trek's" vision of peaceful first contact & exploration, captured to near perfection. A damning snub to anyone who thinks we will only believe in a dystopian future...and a reminder of why we all fell in love with "Star Trek" in the first place. The detail is exquisite, the regulars are expertly characterized, and the plot is breathtaking. In the spirit of ...more
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I quite enjoyed this focus on one of the more minor characters of the Star Trek TOS universe, and it makes me happy that she was such an integral part of the story. The action picked up from the first page, and while I seriously question some of the timing involved -- it seemed to move at the speed of the plot, not by any actual proper means, I could get past it. The plot twists came thick and fast, and I enjoyed the climax, but I would have preferred a little more resolution.
This combines pretty much everything I want and expect from a Star Trek book/story: spending time with the characters I know and like, some interpersonal stuff, getting to know another alien culture and a conflict that feels serious enough without making you feel uneasy.
A lot of time is spend getting to know the culture of this feline species, and that´s just the way I like it. Maybe it harms the sense of urgency a little, but I don´t mind.
The familiar characters were behaving in-character and t
My rating for this book was tricky to settle on. On the one hand, this book has so many great qualities that outnumber my complaints. On the other hand, my complaints hold more emotional and logical—I’d say—weight.

First, the good stuff:
The places they boldly go. Kagan writes wonderful anthropologic world-building of Eeiauo and Sivoa. Oh, how I adore these cat people! Sivoan culture takes center stage most of the novel, and it’s delightful seeing Uhura successfully making first, significant con
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
So many Star Trek novels are more about epic battles than great stories. This novel is a delightful exception. The story line broadens the characters of Uhura and Chekov, allows delightful Spock insights, and introduces new characters that grab attention in all the right ways.

When I finished this book I knew I would miss all my friends in this story. I immediately went online to see if this author had penned other ST stories. Alas, she did not. However, it was interesting to see that many peopl
Aug 05, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: sff
Um, it has cat people and serious Mary Sue problem. It also has some nifty world-building and anthropology going on, which TOS novels tend to kind of ignore. That being said, the author flails around a lot when it comes to lingustics (we have a universal translator! But that's a really stupid idea! So umm... it doesn't always work! Except when it does! Which doesn't necessarily have to do with how linguistically complicated a given thing is!)
Also, Uhura gets to do stuff (although it's annoying
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book once before, 25 years ago, when I was a sophomore in high school. I remembered it as a decent story, and with it, one girl in my history class who saw the cover when the book fell out of my book bag as I was pulling out my notebook and pen, and classmate laughing at the cover.

Reading it through this time, though, with adult eyes... I'm impressed with the detailed world building contained therein. I understand much more of the science presented in the text. I appreciate the feli
Benjamin Plume
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: star-trek, sci-fi
OK, I get it... not all alien worlds would be easily pronounceable (or easily rendered) in English. You didn’t need to make me pronounce “Eeiauo” in my head over and over to make that point.

Now that that’s out of the way... this was one of the best “numbered” Star Trek novels I have come across yet. It had an entertaining setup and was a nice investigation of two cultures from the same alien race. The characterizations of the main crew as well as the original characters was very good.
Derek Moreland
Call it 2.5. It starts strong and there's a *wonderful* moment of Kirk-as-diplomat that hit me quite strongly, but I feel like Kagan flubs the ending. And for a genuinely well-written story, it's just a SLOG to get through. ...more
Mar 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Star Trek fans
4.5 stars. This is one of the best Star Trek books I have read, interesting and engaging from beginning to end. I would love to watch an entire series about the inventive new species explored in these pages!

The only downside to the book is that the slight "mystery" surrounding a prominent original character, which is maintained at a low level and referred to regularly throughout the book, turns out to be incredibly lame. It added nothing at all to the story and caused it to end on an eye-rolling
Tasha Robinson
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
As many people have noted in reviews, this book is just the apotheosis of Mary Sue-dom. You could literally hand this book to a fandom newbie to explain the Mary Sue / Gary Stu phenomenon to them. While many of the Star Trek original-series characters (especially Kirk, Spock, Uhura, and Chekov) get plenty of face-time here, the center of the narrative is new character Evan Wilson, a brilliant doctor who's also a talented hand-to-hand fighter, an inspired anthropologist and first-contact expert, ...more
Mike Crate
May 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, star-trek
A plague is running rampant through the felinoid population of Eeiauo and the Federation has sent the Enterprise to aid in treatment and research along with Dr Evan Wilson to handle shipboard duties while McCoy goes planet side. The virus then jumps species and a galactic pandemic is nigh but maybe there is hope as Uhura knows some old songs of the Eeiauoan people one of which tells of a disease very much like the "long death" but the final verses are missing. When the song is investigated the E ...more
Feb 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Star Trekkies, cat lovers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: original Star Trek fans
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 23, 2015 rated it liked it
I understand why this one's a favorite amongst fans.

It's got space cat people.

It's got space ebola.

It's got some neat world building and problem solving.

But I gave the book 3 stars instead of 4 because of the Mary Sue that basically takes over the book, pushing Uhura right on out of her own story.

Now, before I keep going, I have to say I like Mary Sue characters. A cool, brilliant woman character is awesome and frankly, if she's Janet Kagan's author avatar then Janet Kagan is a pretty cool perso
Heather Domin
Apr 30, 2010 rated it liked it
I'm having a hard time with this review; I'm still not sure how I feel about this book. I was really looking forward to an Uhura-centric story, and I absolutely loved her in this, on her own right and also in her interactions with Spock. (By comparison, I found the human OC kind of annoying. She was a little too...something.) And I enjoyed how thoroughly the author created her world, with a complex culture and interesting philosophical points - but I agree with the other reviewer that it got a l ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a Star Trek pro work that is the favorite of many a fan in that it finally allowed Uhura to shine and to actually be an expert in language and other forms of communication (including using her talent for music) not a telephone operator. Perhaps even more important, this has the "feel" of the series at its best, with the Federation officers trying to understand a culture on its own terms. And you know something's good when years later you can remember scenes, even lines, from a book. I lo ...more
I dearly loved this book. It has a compelling plot, great pace, equal parts adventure, drama with adorable funny moments. The characterisation is remarkable, especially for the Enterprise members se get to see more of. I especially love how the author wrote the friendship and team work between Uhura and Spock, and Kirk and Spock. The alien races are a blast. If I absolutely had to complain about something, I'd say the Enterprise original character took up a bit too much "screen time". Other than ...more
Kieran McAndrew
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The people of Eeiauo are dying of a hideous plague which soon crosses species boundaries, threatening everyone in the Federation. Deep in their half forgotten lore is a mystery which may prove the key to their salvation.

Uhura must decode their ancestral songs to uncover their shameful secrets and save a planet from disaster.

Kagan focuses on Uhura, but creates a wonderful civilisation for readers to explore as the Away Team searches for a cure.
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is an old friend. I have read it several times and it never fails to charm. I know how it is going to end. But once again it pull in with its sharp kitty claws and I finished the book on a Saturday staying up to midnight to make sure it all ended right.

A plague has struck a world of cat people. Our heroes discover that this is not their homeworld and based off a song the cure might be . I like this book. It gives me warm fuzzies. It has action, humor, kindness and more.
Jun 29, 2011 added it
Probably one of the most Mary Sue of all Star Trek novels (the author even wrote in engineering terms named after her real last name, and one main character is obviously her Mary Sue counterpart) and yet it's one of my favorite TOS novels of all times. It's a fun adventure, it has prehensile-tailed cats, and a good storyline. I've read this one several times, much to my shame. ...more
Nov 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was one of my favorite books in high school, and upon a more mature reading of it, I still adore it. Sure, you've got to like Star Trek and cats to enjoy it, but if you do, Kagan soundly deposits you into an interesting world with your favorite ST characters. Worth a read on a rainy day! ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Additional information 2 13 Feb 10, 2020 03:02PM  
Star Trek Reads: Uhura's Song 7 25 May 11, 2017 07:16AM  
Women At Warp Boo...: Uhura's Song - General Thoughts 8 53 Nov 23, 2015 09:35AM  
Women At Warp Boo...: Ending - What Did You Think? 5 39 May 26, 2015 05:55AM  

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“so who's more adult- somebody who works like mad to avoid a problem or somebody who works like mad to solve it?” 40 likes
“we're looking for a planeet on the strength of a song. it's crazy I know, but its the only chance we have to do something useful." ...Evan Wilson said gravely "I think you're as crazy as Heinrich Schliemann - and you know what happened to him!"
"What" ...
"you don't know what happened to him?" she asked her blue eyes widening in astonishment."Ever read Homer's Iliad, Captain?" ...
"I don't know what translation you read Doctor, but there was no Heinrich Schliemann in mine - or in the Odyssey."
"That depends on how you look at it." smiling she settled back into her chair and went on,"Heinrich Schliemann was from Earth, pre-federation days, and he read Homer too. No, not just read him, believed him. So he set out at his own expense-mind you, I doubt he could have found anyone else to fund such a crazy endeavor - to find Troy, a city that most of the educated people of his time considered pure invention on Homer's part."
"And he found it. Next time you're on earth, stop by the Troy Museum. the artifacts are magnificent, and every one of them was found on the strength of a song.”
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