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Doctor's Orders (Star Trek: The Original Series #50)
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Doctor's Orders

(Star Trek: The Original Series #50)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,906 ratings  ·  130 reviews
When Dr. McCoy grumbles once too often about the way the U.S.S. Enterprise™ ought to be run, Captain Kirk decides to leave the doctor in command while he oversees a rountine diplomatic mission. Kirk beams down to a strange planet nicknamed "Flyspeck" to negotiate its admission into the Federation, leaving Dr. McCoy to enjoy his new authority.

However, the doctor soon learns
Mass Market Paperback, 291 pages
Published June 1990 by Pocket Books
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  1,906 ratings  ·  130 reviews

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Dec 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Just what the doctor ordered!


This is a very entertaining novel.

Certain elements on the story are a bit forced to make the premise to work, but I am not complaining since the book offered just what I wanted to read...

...a story where Dr. McCoy is in command of the USS Enterprise!

"Bones" is now who gives the orders in the Starfleet's Flagship!


The Enterprise arrives to Muscae IV, a world who is nicknamed "Flyspeck".

Captain James T
Michael O'Brien
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
At first, I was skeptical that this book, given to me by a friend, would be worth the time, having been previously disappointed by other Star Trek novels. I also didn't think much of the idea of a medical doctor ending up in command --- didn't seem realistic, probably because of my prior experience in the military. However, this book was worth the time.

It really was a fun read. The seemingly unrealistic idea of how McCoy ends up in command of Enterprise is convincing, and this book, as its plot
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really can’t tell you how much in love with this book I am.

I just… totally am.

I don’t know the first thing about Diane Duane. I haven’t googled her (yet), I haven’t read any articles about her or “short cv’s” at the end of her books, but from what I got from her stories, she is – well, she must be – an avid McCoy fangirl (just like me).

Her McCoy is spot on. I can’t imagine how anyone else could have written him any better.

And in Doctor’s Orders we can even see him absolutely shine in a situa
Mike Crate
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: star-trek, scifi
Doctor's Orders is one of my all time favourite original series novels. The story works upon the premise that after a while everyone fancies a change in circumstance and in specific terms we have Kirk who is dealing with the demands of bureaucracy and Bones looking to get his hands "dirty" and less impressed by his Captain bemoaning his current situation.
We know in later series that the Captain in particular is reliant on his subordinates to have the "adventures" while he oversees and correlates
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
One of those instances where you have to be careful what you wish for. It’s billed as a simple survey mission and even a few snags don’t amount to much more than extra paperwork. So Kirk feels totally comfortable making McCoy put his money where his mouth is and leaves McCoy in command of the Enterprise. It’s meant to be an hour or two but Kirk disappears and then things get worse.

McCoy is out of his element but he does what he can. He relies on the expertise of his crew, and they support him, e
Mary JL
Mar 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: sf/Star Trek/Dr.cCoy fans
Recommended to Mary JL by: Was familiar with series
Diane Duane has a good feel for the Star Trek characters. This book is no exception.

When Dr. McCoy grumbles about something to Kirk, Kirk decides to leave McCoy in command as he goes down to the "routine" diplomatic mission.

As McCoy sits down in the command chair he mutters " I'll get you for this".

Of course, any reader can predict that the routine mission will be nothing but and it is soon up to McCoy to save's Kirk's neck! It is nice to have a Star Trek book with a good focus on someone beside
Jun 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hands down the best ST:TOS tie-in novel I've read so far. Not only are Diane Duane's characters perfectly in-character, the story itself is rather intriguing.

Dr. Leonard McCoy is entrusted the Enterprise temporarily and what should've been a boring day in the captain's chair turns out to be much more complicated. Now, he has to deal with three weird alien species, a missing Kirk, Starfleet bureaucrats, the Klingons and Orion pirates. I also loved Kirk and the ;At's discussions of the nature of r
Mae Crowe
May 28, 2019 rated it liked it
The premise of this one is just... It's such a Star Trek premise - that is, a premise that exists because these overprotective, certified-genius Starfleet officers are actual children without an ounce of common sense or self-preservation instincts.

To set the scene:
- New planet with three species that aren't quite understood yet
- Federation wants them to join up, sends Enterprise
- Jim isn't supposed to go down, despite REALLY wanting too
- Linguistics, Sciences, and Medical have a LOT of work to d
Brayden Raymond
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: star-trek
Please tell me in an alternate universe somewhere McCoy gets his own ship for more than two days. If only he was in a command track. He would work wonders from the chair. He was one thing leaders should be: uncomfortable. Leading isn't easy and it shouldn't be, but lead he did. He knew how to take advice and knew when to take action. This book was absolutely thrilling in that regard. one might even say it was "nuts" .. On another note the story itself surrounding Flyspeck is also well crafted an ...more
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Always a treat - not sure how many times I've read this, but it made for a great read while visiting WDW! ...more
Apr 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review was originally posted here at Anime Radius.

There are benefits, of course, to being a writer of tie-in novels for a science-fiction series. You get to play with your favorite characters in a story that is of your own creation, for one. There is also no limitation on what kind of scenarios you can dream of as opposed to in the show – which means no budget limitations, so the planets and aliens and other myriad things can be as fantastic and expensive-looking as you can muster them to b
Miles Atkinson
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
When McCoy whinges once too often about how tough his job is, Kirk leaves him in command of the Enterprise during one of the crew's more interesting and challenging First Contact missions. When the Klingons and the Orion pirates turn up, the good doctor is forced to readjust his comfort zone. The way in which he does so makes for a light but extremely amusing read. ...more
May 14, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: star-trek-tos
Just the thought of "Captain Bones" brings a smirk, and there were several nice comic moments in the story, in particular when dealing with the Klingon Captain. When they asked about where the legendary Kirk was, McCoy just hinted that he'd taken over command - which gave him more respect from the Klingons.

One of the key elements of the story proved to be a major sticking point for me however. When Spock returned and McCoy tried to turn command over to him, Spock indicated that it was not possi
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is my favourite Star Trek novel to date and not just because McCoy is my favourite (if anything, it makes me harder to please than your average reader). It’s a pretty simple story but I prefer that to having too many plot twists and turns just for the sake of filling pages. McCoy is very much in character and it’s such an enjoyable read that I’m sure I’ll be reading it again.
Jul 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book has an excellent plot, and writing that captures the idiosyncrasies of the main Star Trek characters as well as the quirks of their relationships. Definitely worth reading for any fan of the original series.
Mar 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Diane Duane is my favorite Star Trek author. Hands down. And a novel that focuses on Dr. McCoy--what could be better? Anytime my favorite character gets the spotlight I'm happy. ...more
Probably the best Star Trek book I've read. Great and BELIEVABLE characterization, good plot, and the science wasn't complete tech-babble. What more do you want? More Diane Duane plz. ...more
Feb 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellent TOS book! Diane Duane nailed the Spock/McCoy interaction spot on! Very intriguing story centering mostly around McCoy. This would have been a great episode! 4.5/5
Katie Dimick
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
McCoy finally gets the conn and it’s amazing!

Honestly I think this is my favorite of the TOS Star Trek novels so far, though, admittedly I haven’t read very many. And McCoy is my all-time favorite trek character so I can’t pretend that I’m not biased here. Just the fact that Bones gets a starring role was enough to get me excited. Mix that with some fascinating sci-fi world building, A+ humor, and flawlessly in-character dialogue and you’ve got a damn good Trek novel!

As silly as the circumstanc
Jan 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: space-opera
Found this when sorting through the boxes retrieved from Mom's attic.

It's a solid book, but not as good as Duane's best work in the Trek universe. She's got a fine grasp of the "Enterprise Seven" (Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Uhura, Sulu, and Chekov) but this time out there's not enough going on with the full bridge crew and it's a shame.

The Klingon-baiting is a lot of fun, and the dialogue is still snappy as ever. To the good, Duane also brings back in some of her supporting crew from other Trek
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: star-trek-novels
If you like McCoy you will probably enjoy this book. It focuses on McCoy and to a lesser extent Kirk, Spock is active in the story, but not the central focus. It was so interesting to see McCoy in a leadership position outside of a medical situation, and considering his lack of experience he did a pretty good job. I also liked how they showed the rest of the crew rally around him to ensure he would be successful. The only thing I might have liked was an outside perspective on McCoy in command. T ...more
Patrick Hayes
Jun 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: star-trek
A first contact mission on a world that has three surprisingly different species living in harmony has Kirk going to the planet and leaving McCoy in command of the Enterprise, since the doctor has always busted the captain's chops. Something happens to Kirk and McCoy finds himself dealing not only with his captain's disappearance, but an enemy ship, which evolves into several vessels, and an even larger threat.

This was a slow read. It took eighty pages to set up the premise and then there was n
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’m pretty sure I picked this up because it’s on the list of “Best Star Trek Novels” floating around somewhere on the internet. But I was surprised that it was really, really good! I usually enjoy most of the Star Trek novels I read, but they’re pretty bad on the whole--not this one! The worldbuilding is great! It features three really distinct races that were far too creative to have ever been shown on the show. I loved the way they touched on linguistic difficulties and they way each of them t ...more
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: star-trek
Despite the small scope of the story, this is a solid novel with powerful worldbuilding and several great character moments. My favorite part of "Doctor's Orders" is that "Flyspeck" culture is portrayed as truly /alien/ and interesting, and that it requires genuine effort to bridge the cultural gap between the predominantly human crew of the Enterprise and the three sentient alien species. Duane also nails down the characters. We get to see McCoy being his grumpy but compassionate self, struggli ...more
Oct 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this ebook cheaply (I vaguely remembered that Diane Duane wrote good books) and it certainly was a trip down memory lane. I started reading Star Trek books in the 1980s and they were my entry into science fiction. I have an entire 6’ bookcase filled with ST books (and when I checked to see if I had it, it was there and the May 1990 receipt from Walden’s Books as well!). This is the original ST, and the Enterprise is sent to a distant world to follow up on a first contact which found ...more
Dr McCoy complains one too many times to the Captain about running the Enterprise, so Kirk leaves him in charge, then promptly goes missing while during a simple landing party mission. Kirk speaks with the planet leaders, while McCoy's irascabile personality introduces him to a new friend on a Klingon vessel. In the meantime, there are possible punitive orders almost coming through from Starfleet, and an Orion pirate zooms in to lay ground fire on the helpless natives of the planet Kirk disappea ...more
Frisco Del Rosario
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There are about 2,300 Star Trek novels, short stories, comics, and ebooks in circulation. Not every one of them will strike your fancy; Diane Duane's "Doctor's Orders" (1990, Pocket Books #50) made the top of my list for touching on several favorite themes.

McCoy is the character I liked most on the original TV series, and "Doctor's Orders" put him in the spotlight, in command of the Enterprise while the Klingons arrived, followed by an even bigger bad.

The battle ahead employed chess metaphors th
Robert Bryant
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
A much better than average Star Trek book. Duane comes up with an interesting story, unique races, and delivers on the action when it matters. Most importantly, I think she does the best job with the Three Big Characters in the series. She's perfect with McCoy and Kirk but nails Spock. Other writers seemed to make him a bit TOO much the brunt of jokes by making him somewhat of a naif, but Duane balances him much more strongly, knowing that the humor lies in the interplay between Spock and McCoy, ...more
Kaja Šmidová
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Well this was lovely. Bones' POV was very interesting to read, mainly when he was thrown into the deep end of the pool. The aliens and the method how everyone tried to understand them was incredibly interesting to me, and I would love to read more about the philosophy that comes out of a being whose perception of the world is this fundamentally different. The novel kept with the ideas behind Starfleet and I would have loved if we, the people nowadays, managed to get behind all that as well. ...more
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Diane Duane has been a writer of science fiction, fantasy, TV and film for more than forty years.

Besides the 1980's creation of the Young Wizards fantasy series for which she's best known, the "Middle Kingdoms" epic fantasy series, and numerous stand-alone fantasy or science fiction novels, her career has included extensive work in the Star Trek TM universe, and many scripts for live-action and an

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29 likes · 2 comments
“Doctors couldn't be everywhere, so the Lord invented Vulcans. I thought you knew.” 8 likes
“One of the creatures in the front circle shook itself all over and, still shaking, moved very, very slowly toward Spock. He didn't move a muscle. The creature put out a long slender pseudopod, gleaming in the sunshine like suddenly blown glass, and poked Spock's boot with it. Then it made the scratchy sound again, more laughter, and said a word: "Gotcha!" It jumped back into place. All the other creatures began to echo the scratch-laughter. Spock looked around him in mild bemusement. "Captain," he said, "I suspect we have found a kindergarten...” 5 likes
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