Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Doctor's Orders (Star Trek, #50)” as Want to Read:
Doctor's Orders (Star Trek, #50)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,549 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews

Doctor's Orders

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, th
ebook, 291 pages
Published September 22nd 2000 by Pocket Books/Star Trek (first published June 1990)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Doctor's Orders, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Doctor's Orders

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
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. Kirk
Mike Crate
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, star-trek
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
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Star Trek novel with my favorite character as the unlikely commander of the Enterprise - Dr. McCoy. I remember reading this one as a kid, but I barely remembered it. Now that I've been collecting these old used Trek novels like mad, I thought it'd be fun to reread the few I read years ago and forgot...

So, this is a good book that's got a little pace problem but a ton of action and humor to make up for the slow bits. The Enterprise finds a new planet they're interested to bring into the Federat
Mary JL
Mar 01, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sarah Hayes
Apr 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Frisco Del Rosario
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
Toushiro Hitsugaya
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am very grateful to Diane Duane for one of the favourite books of my childhood. It happened to be So You Want to Be a Wizard (I read it in Russian, of course). The whole series was not available to me, but this first volume I reread many times. I remember there were some references to Star Wars which I did not really appreciate then, the universe being quite unknown to me. It still is, in fact, but I came to be really fond of Star Trek, so one fine day the book cover with familiar images of Mr ...more
Jul 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: star-trek, sci-fi
I am a new Star Trek reader, but am a seasoned reader in general over many genres. I know a good plot when I see one and this plot came almost up to par, but not quite.

The planet The Enterprise is investigating itself is very well constructed and thought out, bringing the creatures to life like many other books (including Star Trek books) sometimes don't. Of the three species, only two are really thoroughly explained which was a bit of a disappointment, but I understand it was more about getting
Mar 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To me, the strength of Star Trek has always been the power of the characters. The personalities in the original series were all strong, even to the point of being overplayed. One of the advantages of the subsequent series of novels is that we get to see these characters expanded and learn more about their pasts as well as their personalities. In this novel, the grumpy, emotional Doctor McCoy is left in command by Captain Kirk in circumstances that seem very routine and as a consequence of Kirk ...more
Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like to slip in some of my old Star Trek books from when I was a kid between books and this one was always one of my favorites.

The Enterprise is on a scientific mission to explore a strange alien world and take readings on 3 indigenous alien life forms- the Ornae, who are friendly small gelatinous type creatures, the Lathi-- who resemble trees and the ;AT, who are the initial mystery of the planet but not for long as we learn.

Kirk hands Bones the conn and heads down but disappears without a tr
May 14, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 28, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as apart of my plan to read all the higher rated, well critiqued (according to goodreads) trek books regardless of publication date. Even though this book is really popular i was just a little let down. I think it was a pretty well written, but i learned that i'm just not that fond of McCoy outside of the Kirk/Spock/McCoy dynamic (which i love.) But overall i still enjoyed the book because i really like Diane Duane's writing. Her attention to detail & ability to write about ...more
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: star-trek, tos, e-books
While the story is not nearly as broad in scope as her critically-acclaimed Rihannsu series, Doctor's Orders is certainly a very well-written and interesting story by Diane Duane. The inhabitants of Flyspeck are interesting, and their world and way of life go far beyond what we are used to in the "planet-of-the-week" world of televised Star Trek. The characterizations, especially of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are spot-on, and Duane is truly able to capture the voices of the characters. Secondary cha ...more
Oct 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was fun. :)

That's really all there is to say.

Well, okay, two more things:

1) Some of the parts with Kirk talking to the ;At were weird, and I really didn't get the point of that stuff.

2) The ending was kind of rushed.

But who cares? McCoy as captain? How can that not be fun! Especially with Spock there to disapprove over his shoulder!

I read this long before I read any Wodehouse, but now that I have, this particular book reminds me of the Jeeves books. Bertie is stuck being captain and mucking
Deranged Pegasus
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 28, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
This is the first Star Trek novel I've ever read. It's #50 in the series of books based on the characters and events of The Original Series. All-in-all it was OK. The writing was good. Well-paced and structured. The author demonstrated a good grasp of linguistics, astronomy, biology and physics. The space battles kept within the guidelines of actual mechanics, which was very refreshing. There was some play with time travel which was an interesting twist, but it was confusing and I found myself l ...more
I wasn't sure what to expect with this one, as I generally avoid these sorts of franchised novels (having Diane Duane as the author was a good selling point, though), but it was surprisingly great. The story focuses on a character worthy of a little extra attention, the side characters all have their moments (and are treated with more respect than they ever got in the canon media), and nothing about this story screams non-canon, as I have often found with this sort of work before. It fits within ...more
My brother is a huge Trek fan and has many of their books. I have never read one before so I thought I would ask him what his two favorite books were. He gave me this one as his second favorite so I thought I would read this one first.

I thought this was just like watching an old Star Trek episode. i had watched the old ones before and I do like them so I knew each character and how they talk so it was easy to get into and I could actually make them act better in my head. Not a bad read and a goo
Daniel Kukwa
Feb 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: star-trek
Absolutely lovely. First, we have a beautiful exploration of a new planet and new cultures, living out the "Star Trek" philosophy of boldly going to explore strange new worlds. Then we get the twist of something never done before with a particular member of the Enterprise crew. Finally, we get an exciting & action-packed diversion with the Klingons and the Orions. It's all tied together with first-rate character work, from Captain James Kirk, all the way down to the lowliest ensign. Complete ...more
Jeremiah Murphy
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this quite a few years ago and remember being a little disappointed, but thought the premise of Captain McCoy was good. I'm glad I re-read it. I really enjoyed reading it again twenty years later. I love the cosmic weirdness of the planet, McCoy being thrust into the Captain's chair, and the tense space battles. This is a great Star Trek book. I love how the aliens aren't humanoid. I give this four bottles of Romulan Ale! I wish this one was a movie.
Nov 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: star-trek
An absolute must for fans of Bones. Stuck in command, its great to see how he copes with morale on the bridge and in turn how all the crew support and respect him. The relationship with Spock is also present and there's no doubt that they rely on each other despite their bickering. Its also a delight to see him deal with the Klingons. All without losing sight of the fact that he is still primarily a doctor.
Gayle Hill
Jan 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the book I was keeping by my bed to read in case I couldn't find anything to read. I've had this book for a very long. And yes my pile of books is tall and still in boxes.

Great book, as long as you like Star Trek books. The thought of Dr. McCoy being in charge of the Enterprise, scariest thing in the world, sorry.

I loved how McCoy kept trying to give the command chair to anyone who walked onto the bridge(if a dog come on, he would tried giving it to the dog. LOL!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Vulcan Academy Murders
  • Enemy Unseen
  • The Pandora Principle
  • The Final Nexus
  • Uhura's Song
  • The Kobayashi Maru
  • Rules of Engagement
  • Dreams of the Raven (Star Trek #34)
  • A Flag Full of Stars (Star Trek: The Lost Years, #2)
  • The Rift
  • Legacy
  • Battlestations! (Star Trek: Fortunes Of War, #2)
  • The Entropy Effect (Star Trek TOS #2)
  • Vulcan's Glory
  • Crossroad
  • Deep Domain
  • Time for Yesterday (Star Trek: The Yesterday Saga, #2)
  • Sanctuary
Diane Duane has been a writer of science fiction, fantasy, TV and film for more than thirty 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 a
More about Diane Duane...

Other Books in the Series

Star Trek: The Original Series (1 - 10 of 113 books)
  • Star Trek I: The Motion Picture (Star Trek TOS: Movie Novelizations, #1)
  • The Entropy Effect (Star Trek TOS #2)
  • The Klingon Gambit
  • The Covenant of the Crown
  • The Prometheus Design
  • The Abode of Life
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (Star Trek TOS: Movie Novelizations, #2)
  • Black Fire
  • Triangle
  • Web of the Romulans
“Doctors couldn't be everywhere, so the Lord invented Vulcans. I thought you knew.” 7 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
More quotes…