I noticed no additional scenes in the novelization that were not in the movie. But I did notice that one scene from the movie was not included in the novelization—maybe because it was added at the last minute or something—the brief scene when Kirk awakes in his bed with two cat-like aliens. And I guess it is too bad the scene wasn’t in the novelization because many people have been debating over whether these women were Caitians (like M’Ress on TAS) or a completely new race to cannon, which the novelization could have helped with.
Also, the line in the movie [spoken by Sulu in a voice-over where his mouth does not appear on screen] about the unarmed civilian ship being from the “Mudd Incident” is missing from the novelization. I can see how that was also because of it being a last-minute addition to link up with Countdown to Darkness
. The novelization does nothing to help us understand the references to the ship being “K’normian”, as referenced in other lines in the movie and novelization.
The novelization did not explain or really reference the fact that Praxis was in pieces. In fact, the novelization seemed to indicate that Praxis was fine and that there were just tons of other moons around Qo’noS.
I didn’t like all the extra details about the area of Qo’noS were Harrison went to hide and why it was deserted. But I must admit that this was mostly just because I didn’t like the “medical plague” excuse that was used. I would much preferred if they had stated that that region of Qo’noS had to be evacuated because of radiation or poisoning caused by debris from the explosion of Praxis. That would have been more compelling to me.
I generally liked the added dialog and extended scenes that the novelization added to the movie. But there were a few places where I didn’t like it, or I felt the movie actually did it better:
The scene where Kirk and Spock discuss the plan for Kirk to take Khan over to the Vengeance. In the movie this plays out pretty well, with Kirk saying “I don’t know what I should do; I only know what I can do.” I feel the movie portrayed Kirk in the scene with just the right amount of desperation and inspired leadership. In the novelization the conversation is a little longer and more fully—too fully—portrays Kirk as being absolutely clueless
, which I don’t think works for his character. I think it’s better to let the audience continue to think that he just has a brilliant plan, versus a crazy one.
The scene on the bridge of the Vengeance when Admiral Marcus is trying to convince Kirk that Section 31 is right and that Marcus needs to be in charge when the Klingons attack. The extended version of this conversation between Marcus and Kirk spends a lot of time with Marcus’s incorrect “logic trains” about how the Klingons will react. Marcus is trying to “blow smoke” and Kirk easily sees through it in the novelization. I felt it was better to just cut those parts out like the movie did, so that Admiral Marcus doesn’t seem like an idiot who is obviously wrong. The movie version helps the audience believe that Marcus may actually know what he’s talking about. And that ambiguity is much more interested. [Of course, the movie then totally forgets about that very interesting ambiguity seconds later when Marcus is killed and the plot goes back to less–interesting Khan focus.]
There was an extended scene in the novelization where McCoy explains to Kirk exactly how he made “fake” bodies to go inside the torpedoes. This explained how even though Khan did purposely scan the torpedoes to ensure his crew was in them—which he did in the novelization [a big improvement over the movie]—the scans showed the crew was there even though they weren’t. Don’t get me wrong, I did like the fact that the explanation existed in the novelization, but I felt it took way too much time to explain. Remember, this scene is happening as the Enterprise is falling to Earth
. I don’t think there was much time to jibber-jabber. I think it would have been better if McCoy just thought about all the stuff he had done—so that we readers had the info—but didn’t take the full time to explain it all to Kirk at the time.