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The Three-Minute Universe

(Star Trek: The Original Series #41)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  663 ratings  ·  34 reviews
The Sackers may be the most hated race in the galaxy, so repugnant that their mere appearance makes most Federation citizens ill. That hatred runs both ways, and now the Sackers have stolen a powerful new device that they use to imperil the rest of the universe. They've torn a hole in the fabric of spacetime, an expanding tear so that one universe is leaking into another, ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 265 pages
Published August 1st 1988 by Pocket Books
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Average rating 3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  663 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Aug 01, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: star-trek
Okay, not really a review, but one thing has bothered me about this book (which was decently fun otherwise) since I was a kid - it is stated in the book that you can see under the 'Sackers' skin little squiggly things sort of swimming around, which are supposed to be taking the place of the system of nerves like we have. So why don't they have, like, the worst reflexes in the history of intelligent life? At least they get your brain working harder than the typical Star Trek alien of the week, ...more
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
"The galaxy is on fire." With these words, James Kirk summarizes the latest threat the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise is forced to address: an expanding wave of heat that has already annihilated an entire solar system, including the home world of the Zirgosians. Their investigation takes them to the remaining Zirgosian colony, where they find a massive spaceship in orbit controlled by the "Sackers," a species so physically repulsive that sentient beings cannot stand to be in their presence. The ...more
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
As the National Library Service for the Blind is gradually converting Star Trek novels from cassette to digital format, I've begun working my way through books I haven't read since college. Three Minute Universe is one of the better original series novels because it doesn't take itself too seriously. It's funny and sometimes thought-provoking--a fun, light read.
Daniel Kukwa
May 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: star-trek
A game of two halves. Barbara Paul creates a fascinating alien race, both humorous and terrifying in equal measure. But the originality is mitigated by (1) some off-characters moments from Spock and Uhura that didn't quite work for me, and (2) a rip-in-the-universe plot that feels very awkward in its connection to the rest of the story. In fact, this last plot point all but disappears throughout much of the novel, and the book would have worked equally well without it. Overall, a bit ...more
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Enjoyed it quite a lot. The Enterprise contacts a race who is despised by all other races in the universe and now they want to get even. They do so by starting a big bang within our own universe, which threatens to wipe out everything. Good job with the characterization and the story was fun.
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Better than usual for this series.
Jan 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: star-trek
Some interesting ideas, the Sackers especially I thought were a creative alien race, but only an 'alright' read.
Enjoyed it while I read it, but I felt no urge to keep my copy.

Gary Fortuin
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I needed a change of pace from some of my other reading and grabbed a this from a bag of books in my basement. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the writing Anne how solid the plot was.
The author hits all the appropriate Trek notes from the original series. The characters are all easily identifiable. She takes it further and adds some realism to the story as well. The command crew doesn’t get to beam down to a dangerous situation alone in this story. They are accompanied by a
Nov 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Gary lent me this 1988 paperback (41st in a series). Took me about a year to finish, sometimes would read a chapter or two between other books. That wasn't a problem with the Three Minute Universe: the crew of the Enterprise and their perils are deeply familiar. Paul nails every story beat with skillful precision. Like commedia dell'arte or a Looney Tunes cartoon, there's a well-defined and comforting rhythm to the story, with the characters perfectly executing their roles. My sole ...more
Kieran McAndrew
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The sudden destruction of a planetary system coupled with the rise in the background temperature of surrounding space leads Captain Kirk into conflict with the Sackers, the most reviled race in the galaxy.

Paul's novel creates a wonderful alien race, making them and their interactions with Kirk both believable and understandable.
Corie Holland
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an entertaining read, especially on a long travel day. There were a lot of twists- I thought it would explore the new universe (extremely dangerous but not unknown to the Star Trek series), then there was the build-up of the "suddenly vicious" Sackers. Everything came together in a wonderfully awkward way. I still would've liked to see more about the new universe directly, but the interaction between the crew (especially Chekhov) and the Sackers more than made up for that.
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Re-read of an old favorite - still a good story, although less polished than I remembered.
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good read!
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent classic trek book. It’s good to see a bit more of the crew, especially Chekov and Uhura and the plot is a good one.
Don Incognito
Mar 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Obviously a Star Dreck novel written for humor, with aliens bearing nicknames such as Mistermaam, Commander Babe, and Greatgreenblitherinblob. I remember finding it hilarious.
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was everything I want from a Star Trek novel!
Jul 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: pulp
Originally I gave this book 4 stars, but on re-reading it a good twenty-five years later, I cannot say it stands up to the test of time quite as well as I had hoped. To be sure, it is a Star Trek book, and expectations should not be too high, but I remembered it as being a lot more hilarious than it was.

On the good side, it is funny. There are a fair few laughs in the book, and there is a bit of character exploration for Uhura, as well as the usual appearances by the crew favourites.

On the down
Mike Crate
Aug 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
A threat to the entire universe reveals itself and the Enterprise is sent to investigate, they determine a huge energy source is expanding into our reality and already the Zirgosian system has been wiped out but perhaps for once they are hoping it was engineered because it was then there may be a way to stop it. Enterprise visits the only colony world of the Zirgosian people and finds a strange and powerful starship in orbit, could these be the people responsible for the energy wave or are they ...more
The Fizza
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
I'd have to give this 2 Stars - It's a fun little read with some very interesting and creative ideas, such as the 'Sacker' aliens and the Three Minute Universe Weapon itself.

That being said the idea that any Space Fleet would let someone with documented psychological issues with fire into it's service is criminally ridiculous. It might, and I emphasize might, have some value in setting up tension but the evidence for that is dubious at best.

Trek fans may enjoy this one, if they're not too
Rich Meyer
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2015
The Three Minute Universe is one of the better Star Trek novels I've read. It's got all the elan of the original series, along with the expansive view of one of the movies. Well written, we get introduced to an interesting new race, the Sackers, and get immersed in a bit of a mystery and an intergalactic calamity. Fast-paced, great characterizations, this is definitely recommended reading!
Erin Edgar
What would happen if another universe started to bleed into our own? This book speculates on some of the effects. In addition, the author plays with an idea of an alien race that offends all of the 5 human senses. The book follows the general paradigm of a Star Trek novel, an entertaining good guys versus bad guys read.
Oct 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: star-trek
One of my favorite ST books, no matter how many times I read this book, it's still wonderful. From the piles and piles of ST books I have in my collection, this on of the few I return to. I would really love to see Sackers on my screen in canon that's for sure. I would really like to read a sequel for this one. It's really good.
Heather Domin
Mar 16, 2011 rated it liked it
This wasn't what I thought it would be - the cover blurb and the story inside don't match up that well. It was entertaining, though a few plot elements felt tacked on; I thought the concept of the Sackers was intriguing enough on its own not to need the rip-in-space bit.
Andrew Beet
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i liked this book the idea of another universe leaking into ours intrigued me and the idea that the sackers are children and they have to continue the violence that their elders started in the first place but yep good book the author got the characters spot on
Dennis Smith
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorites of the pocketbooks collection. It's funny and quite entertaining. Even has some semi-scary moments. It's a great book to start with if you're not sure which Star Trek book you want to read first.
Jul 11, 2011 marked it as to-read
99 cents at Goodwill.
Apr 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The book that started it all. Read it when I was 12 and haven't stopped reading Star Trek books since then. I now have 300 and counting...
David Campbell
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was one of my favorite star trek novels back when I started reading science fiction. It stands out from the rest of the dozens of trek books I've read.
Dec 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Pretty good story. Definitely a keeper. =)
Apr 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Interesting story idea let down by poor quality writing.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads database.

Barbara Paul is an American writer of detective stories and science fiction. She was born in Maysville, Kentucky, in 1931 and was educated, inter alia, at Bowling Green State University and the University of Pittsburgh.

A number of her novels feature in-jokes: for example Full Frontal Murder borrows various names

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