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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

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Old June 6 2014, 02:55 PM   #16
Therin of Andor
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Re: Best of Bantam?

King Daniel Into Darkness wrote: View Post
I have a soft spot for Death's Angel, although it's a blatant Mary Sue story. If ultra-cheesy aliens turn you off (think bipedal crocodiles that talk...)
I was a bit disappointed with "Death's Angel", which I pounced upon the moment it hit Australian bookshop shelves (a three-month boat ride for all imports in those days). But a friend loved it, and saw it only as parody. He created this costume for a convention just a few weeks later, and won:


Si-s-s-s (click) by Therin of Andor, on Flickr

As for the "Phoenix" novels, I found and read "Fate" first, frustrated in my long quest to find the first book in any condition. I enjoyed them, but had little to compare them to. It certainly helped reading Sondra Marshak's contributions to "Star Trek Lives!" around the same time.

"The Galactic Whirlpool" was wonderful, again partly because I has so few other Trek reading experiences to compare it to. "Starlog" magazine had promoted the novel with an advance excerpt. I was hooked!
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Old June 6 2014, 03:37 PM   #17
E-DUB
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Re: Best of Bantam?

I kind of dug "Spock: Messiah". I note no one has mentioned "Entropy Effect". Not sure of publication dates and all that, but if it qualifies as "Bantam", it gets my vote as one of, if not the, best.

I also misread the thread title as "Batman" at first, but I think the earlier poster was pulling our collective leg.
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Old June 6 2014, 05:02 PM   #18
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Re: Best of Bantam?

The Entropy Effect was the first original novel published by Pocket. In fact, its publication had to be delayed until Bantam had finished publishing the remaining novels under its contract, which was why there was a 2-year gap between Pocket's publication of the ST:TMP novelization and its publication of The Entropy Effect.

I was going to link to Curt Danheuser's page about the Bantam novels, but I get a 404 Not Found. Is that site defunct?
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Old June 7 2014, 08:49 AM   #19
Defcon
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Re: Best of Bantam?

Christopher wrote: View Post
I was going to link to Curt Danheuser's page about the Bantam novels, but I get a 404 Not Found. Is that site defunct?
Do you mean this one: http://www.danhausertrek.com/Novels/Main_x.html
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Old June 7 2014, 01:25 PM   #20
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Re: Best of Bantam?

^Thanks. I've updated my bookmarks.
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Old June 7 2014, 09:29 PM   #21
USS Intrepid
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Re: Best of Bantam?

I still have a very soft spot for Gordon Eklund's two entries, The Starless World and Devil World.
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Old June 8 2014, 12:48 AM   #22
Therin of Andor
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Re: Best of Bantam?

E-DUB wrote: View Post
I note no one has mentioned "Entropy Effect". Not sure of publication dates and all that, but if it qualifies as "Bantam".
"The Entropy Effect" was a wonderful novel to kick off Pocket's original Trek fiction line, which continues to this day. It created a lot of fan controversy when promoted with an extract in "Starlog" magazine because fans were outraged that someone would dare to kill off Kirk, even when reassured that the story occurred before the events of "The Motion Picture".

To do a quick check, type the title of a book plus the descriptor "Memory Beta" and you'll get a page dedicated to each novel.
eg. http://memory-beta.wikia.com/wiki/The_Entropy_Effect
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Old June 8 2014, 04:47 PM   #23
E-DUB
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Re: Best of Bantam?

One aspect of "Death's Angel" that I recall was the Croc-alien's interest in Sherlock Holmes. Kind of presages Data's later behavior in early TNG.
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Old June 8 2014, 10:03 PM   #24
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Re: Best of Bantam?

Mysterion wrote: View Post
I agree with Chrstopher about The Galactic Whirlpool. Gerrold at his quirky best and a darned good Star Trek story, too. Have always enjoyed the bit about the would-be galactic emporer and his very short reign.
You could have tied The Billion Year Voyage to that--with something done to the black hole duo.. Shades of Kapp
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Old June 13 2014, 07:53 AM   #25
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Re: Best of Bantam?

Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
Spock Messiah! is nothing short of awesome. It is lurid. It is trashy. When you're nine years old and you think Barsoom is the place you want most to visit in all the universe, this is the Star Trek novel you want. I love it unreservedly.
^This.
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Old June 15 2014, 04:01 PM   #26
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Re: Best of Bantam?

I remember picking up some of the Bantam novels when I was early in my teens and not initially understanding why the covers looked so different from the Pocket novels I already had.

Over time I've read them all except for Spock: Messiah!. None of them are particularly good, especially in relation to what Pocket has built over time (there are some horrible Pocket entries as well). But at the time I initially read them, they were fascinating to me, especially in how my mind conjured this entirely different Star Trek universe that was wholly incompatible with what I had seen on-screen (most of TOS and the first three movies) to fit these books into.

However, many of them were enjoyable, even though not great. My two favorites of the line were Vulcan! and Death's Angel, the latter having the distinction of being the first novel I ever read cover to cover in one sitting—a cold, blustery evening when I lived in Berlin in the mid-80s. I sat next to a radiator under a blanket and read and read.

But, even though those two are my favorites, they all have their charms and individual quirkiness.
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Old June 16 2014, 09:52 PM   #27
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Re: Best of Bantam?

Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
Spock Messiah! is nothing short of awesome. It is lurid. It is trashy. When you're nine years old and you think Barsoom is the place you want most to visit in all the universe, this is the Star Trek novel you want. I love it unreservedly.
I remember enjoying it a lot, but being completely perplexed at the description of a red-haired Scotty.

Aside from James Blish's adaptations, which IMO are gems that became overlooked with the advent of the VCR, Haldeman's Planet of Judgement and the New Voyages collections were tops. Following up, The Galactic Whirlpool.
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Old June 20 2014, 01:13 AM   #28
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Re: Best of Bantam?

Just re-found my copy of The New Voyages and have to say that I still get a thrill reading the story "Visit to a Weird Planet Revisited."
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Old June 20 2014, 05:52 PM   #29
hbquikcomjamesl
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Re: Best of Bantam?

Actually, anybody who read Gerrold's two nonfiction works for Ballantine (The World of Star Trek and The Trouble with Tribbles) instantly recognized exactly what The Galactic Whirlpool is: it's a reworking of the very first spec outline he pitched to Star Trek, originally titled "Tomorrow Was Yesterday," with the title plot element added in order to provide the story with some much-needed jeopardy.

As to The Starless World, World Without End, the ever-popular Devil World, and Perry's Planet, I've always regarded them as the least-worthwhile of the Bantam ST novels, all of them variations on the "Kirk & Co. get themselves in trouble with an alien civilization that turns out to be entirely different from what it seems" cliche.

I liked Death's Angel, with its comic-relief ambassador names and its "Special Security Division" (which anticipates Section 31, among other things). And Trek to Madworld was a comic romp of the sort we wouldn't see again until How Much for Just the Planet.

I'd say that the two "Phoenix" books' biggest fault wasn't the K/S elements, but the fact that they were so damned confusing.

All in all, I find the best of the Bantam novels to be better than a lot of the first dozen or so Pocket novels.

And I've never gotten rid of a Star Trek novel unless I somehow acquired two of the same title.
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Old June 23 2014, 02:14 AM   #30
Steve Roby
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Re: Best of Bantam?

hbquikcomjamesl wrote: View Post
Actually, anybody who read Gerrold's two nonfiction works for Ballantine (The World of Star Trek and The Trouble with Tribbles) instantly recognized exactly what The Galactic Whirlpool is: it's a reworking of the very first spec outline he pitched to Star Trek, originally titled "Tomorrow Was Yesterday," with the title plot element added in order to provide the story with some much-needed jeopardy.
My regrettably moribund website has an old feature article on Gerrold's Trek stuff. On Galactic Whirlpool:




There are no brilliant classics in the Bantam line, but they're entertaining in their own ways. No one had really decided what a Star Trek novel was yet, and there was nothing more than TOS and TAS to work with. They're historically interesting, just like Mack Reynolds's Mission to Horatius.

Back in the 70s I liked Spock, Messiah for having one or two interesting ideas and for showing signs of having read the Star Fleet Technical Manual; the two Star Trek: The New Voyages books for presenting a variety of story styles; Joe Haldeman's first book for doing some good flashback stuff for McCoy; Gordon Eklund's Starless World for introducing the Dyson Sphere concept to the Star Trek universe; and Gerrold's Galactic Whirlpool because the opportunity meant something to Gerrold and he ran with it, if not always successfully (see the spoiler coded stuff for some commentary).

I won't argue that they're essential in a literary sense, but I tend to consider them essential as a part of Trek literary history -- that is, if you're seriously interested in Star Trek books, you should be familiar with these ones.
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