^Spock smiled in "The Cage," and when Uhura was singing to him in "Charlie X." And given his emotional epiphany in TMP, Spock smiling in the movie era isn't really out of character. The Fearful Summons
has many, err, issues, but I wouldn't call that one of them.
I thought that everything after TOS was post-5YM. Sorry I didn't realise thats the terminology for the TMP era.
Well, sure, in the sense that the Internet age is post-WWII -- it's technically accurate to call it that, but too broad to be informative. Think about it: from "Turnabout Intruder" to ST:TMP is about four years. From TMP to The Undiscovered Country
is twenty years. So a book like Ex Machina
or The Covenant of the Crown
is 4-5 times closer to the 5YM era than it is to a book like The Fearful Summons
. "Post-5YM" covers an enormous span of time, and it should go without saying that a book set after TUC, with Kirk around 60 years old, Sulu off on his own command, the Enterprise
decommissioned, Spock exploring a diplomatic career, and the crew having gone their separate ways except for occasional special missions, is not the same sort of tale as one set in the mission right after TMP, with Kirk just over 40 and the crew still pretty much the same as before except that Chekov's the security chief, Chapel's a doctor, and Spock has gained more balance between logic and emotion.
Not to mention that the relatively small number of books set in the movie era have been written by many different people over the course of more than three decades, so it would make no sense to expect any uniformity among them. You can't judge an entire era based on a single entry -- especially not The Fearful Summons
, which... well, let's just say it doesn't have many fans.