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

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Old August 26 2012, 06:58 PM   #31
CaptainSarine
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Re: The Great Star Trek Pocket Novel Reread

zarkon wrote: View Post
CaptainSarine wrote: View Post
Next up - The Entropy Effect
Heh, I'll join in when you hit The Klingon Gambit - I reread TEE recently, and I don't think I'll do it again. It's a favourite for quite a few people but sufficed to say I'm not one of them.
I'll look forward to it! I quite enjoyed TEE, but not a big fan of Gambit, though!
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Old August 26 2012, 06:59 PM   #32
Christopher
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Re: The Great Star Trek Pocket Novel Reread

zarkon wrote: View Post
Which of the other bantams would you recommend?
The only ones I think are really good are The Galactic Whirlpool by David Gerrold and Planet of Judgment by Joe Haldeman, although they both (particularly PoJ) offer rather idiosyncratic takes on the ST universe. TGW is Gerrold writing in a Heinleinian voice and fleshing out the Trek universe and its history in some very interesting ways that unfortunately don't mesh with later continuity. PoJ is Haldeman approaching an ST "powerful godlike aliens with illusion powers" story as filtered through his own military experience, so that the characters have equipment and protocols that they didn't have on the show but probably should have had, like body armor, predetermined search/rescue/survival strategies, and so on. Haldeman was clearly a fan, or at least did his research on the show thoroughly, since there's a lot of detail that he gets right, but he also adds a lot of his own that makes it feel different from what we're used to.

Spock Must Die! by James Blish is rather weird, as the first-ever original adult ST novel, but worth reading for its concepts. Haldeman's second book, World Without End, is decent and has some interesting worldbuilding, including a noteworthy effort to flesh out Klingon culture somewhat, which gives it sort of a "what might have been" quality, since of course it's different from later interpretations of the Klingons.
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Old August 26 2012, 07:21 PM   #33
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Re: The Great Star Trek Pocket Novel Reread

Cool, thanks for that, I've ordered them(except for Whirlpool which I have). POJ sounds quite interesting. I always did think redshirts should have had some kind of basic armour...

CaptainSarine wrote: View Post
I'll look forward to it! I quite enjoyed TEE, but not a big fan of Gambit, though!
Heh, I own it and I don't even remember it, not sure whether that's a good thing or not, but it's an ex-library copy so I'm guessing I haven't read it since I was a kid.
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Old August 26 2012, 09:13 PM   #34
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Re: The Great Star Trek Pocket Novel Reread

With so many people rereading older novels, this is a good opportunity to help fleshing out the corresponding Memory Beta articles...

Last edited by Markonian; August 27 2012 at 09:53 AM.
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Old August 27 2012, 05:34 AM   #35
JWD75
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Re: The Great Star Trek Pocket Novel Reread

If I remember correctly, the Motion Picture novelization established that Kirk was named after his mother's first 'love instructor' while ST09 established that Kirk was named after his maternal grandfather. Thank god the novel is not considered canon otherwise the implications would be disturbing.
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Old August 27 2012, 08:07 PM   #36
Dave Scarpa
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Re: The Great Star Trek Pocket Novel Reread

CaptainSarine wrote: View Post
Hi all,

I have decided to launch myself on a grand adventure - read or reread every single Star Trek book published by Pocket, starting with the Gene Roddenberry-penned novelization of The Motion Picture. I'll post a little review on here when I finish each one.

I have most of them already, those I don't have I will pick up as I go. I'm looking forward to this, especially as most of those published until the mid-nineties I have never read and even then it wasn't until the publication of Destiny in 2008 that I started reading them regularly.

The Destiny trilogy will be the cut-off point, though I have a hell of a lot of reading to do until then!

Anyone else ever tried something like this? Or interested in reading along?

Joel
You have alot more free time than I do.
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Old August 27 2012, 10:21 PM   #37
Garrovick
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Re: The Great Star Trek Pocket Novel Reread

Christopher wrote: View Post
zarkon wrote: View Post
Which of the other bantams would you recommend?
The only ones I think are really good are The Galactic Whirlpool by David Gerrold and Planet of Judgment by Joe Haldeman, although they both (particularly PoJ) offer rather idiosyncratic takes on the ST universe. TGW is Gerrold writing in a Heinleinian voice and fleshing out the Trek universe and its history in some very interesting ways that unfortunately don't mesh with later continuity. PoJ is Haldeman approaching an ST "powerful godlike aliens with illusion powers" story as filtered through his own military experience, so that the characters have equipment and protocols that they didn't have on the show but probably should have had, like body armor, predetermined search/rescue/survival strategies, and so on. Haldeman was clearly a fan, or at least did his research on the show thoroughly, since there's a lot of detail that he gets right, but he also adds a lot of his own that makes it feel different from what we're used to.

Spock Must Die! by James Blish is rather weird, as the first-ever original adult ST novel, but worth reading for its concepts. Haldeman's second book, World Without End, is decent and has some interesting worldbuilding, including a noteworthy effort to flesh out Klingon culture somewhat, which gives it sort of a "what might have been" quality, since of course it's different from later interpretations of the Klingons.
I've always thought The Galactic Whirlpool was far and away the best of the Bantams, but I'd also recommend Death's Angel for what I consider to be a nice little whodunnit (although it's not without its flaws), and Trek to Madworld is also worthwhile. I also have to give a plug to Star Trek Log Ten which took "The Slaver Weapon" and expanded it to a full-length novel. The actual adaptation of the episode is actually a rather small part of the book, but it explains in detail (1) why Spock, Sulu, and Uhura were out there in a shuttle with their stasis box in the first place, and (2) where Kirk and the Enterprise were. There's also a fantastic subplot involving Lieutenant M'Ress and a few other Caitian crew members.

Oh, and I agree with Zarkon 100% about the Jawandas from Log Eight - they are awesome!
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Old August 27 2012, 10:36 PM   #38
Christopher
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Re: The Great Star Trek Pocket Novel Reread

Trek to Madworld is kinda fun in a goofy, "We're doing a comedy episode now" kind of way, and David Gerrold's introduction is a classic piece of absurdism. But Death's Angel? I couldn't recommend that. I can't recall the mystery well enough to know if it was any good, because I was too distracted by the ludicrous aliens (giant blue crocodile, giant cat whose name is Japanese for "cat," giant koala, actual vampire, actual mermaid, talking pyramid with Egyptian-sounding name, etc., etc.), the out-of-character portrayals of the main cast (especially Spock, though he was even more out of character in the author's previous novel Vulcan!), and the most blatant Mary Sue in the history of professionally published Trek literature (or at least tied with Sola Thane from Triangle).
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Old August 28 2012, 03:05 PM   #39
Therin of Andor
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Re: The Great Star Trek Pocket Novel Reread

Christopher wrote: View Post
Trek to Madworld is kinda fun in a goofy, "We're doing a comedy episode now" kind of way, and David Gerrold's introduction is a classic piece of absurdism. But Death's Angel? I couldn't recommend that. I can't recall the mystery well enough to know if it was any good, because I was too distracted by the ludicrous aliens (giant blue crocodile...)
I find there's something quirky/worthwhile with each of the Bantam novels. Agreed that "The Galactic Whirlpool" is the most enjoyable (the sample chapters in "Starlog" made it the one I waited for with great anticipation, having only become an avid ST fan with ST:TMP, and my memories of TAS).

As a TMP alien fanatic, I should have liked "Death's Angel" but, like you, the coincidental analogies to Earth creatures was annoying. But a new friend I met not long after it came out saw it as a comedy and he thoroughly enjoyed it. Here he is, in a Si-s-s-s (click) costume he created for a January 1982 ST convention:


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

The whodunnit aspect of DA was great; I didn't guess the antagonist and was surprised with whom the author chose.
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Old August 28 2012, 03:16 PM   #40
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Re: The Great Star Trek Pocket Novel Reread

I always thought the biggest "Mary Sue" in Trek literature was probably Jean Czerny from Pawns and Symbols, closely followed by Hunter and Mandala Flynn from The Entropy Effect. Sola Thane is a good choice too. I never thought Elizabeth Schaeffer was worse than those, but there's certainly room for different opinions in that area. Hmmm - might be an interesting excercise to do a poll of various Mary Sues in Trek-lit, if it hasn't been done already...
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Old August 28 2012, 04:39 PM   #41
Christopher
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Re: The Great Star Trek Pocket Novel Reread

^I'm not sure why you'd class those characters as Mary Sues. Remember: It wasn't unusual in '60s or '70s television to build an episode around a featured guest star, so just having someone come in and be the focus of attention for one installment doesn't make them a Mary Sue. A Mary Sue is a character who steals the spotlight without deserving to -- a character, usually a wish-fulfillment surrogate for the author, who is described as being a totally awesome and wonderful person who upstages and is adored by all the main characters, yet who has no actual qualities making them worthy of such admiration either by the characters or by the readers. Bonus Mary Sue points if the main characters all end up acting totally out of character in response to the featured guest. Schaeffer was a textbook Mary Sue in every respect -- she was this incredibly admired class of super-agent that had never been mentioned before, everyone fell in love with her and acted out of character, and she was supposed to be the toughest, smartest woman around, yet she melted when Kirk flirted with her in condescending baby talk that would've gotten him a trip to sickbay if she'd actually been the tough, liberated woman she was alleged to be.

I guess I can kind of see how Flynn and Hunter would qualify. Flynn was a new character added to the main cast and given an important role as a member of the group, and Hunter did kind of fit the "more awesome than the heroes" model. But they were both reasonably well-drawn characters who were actually interesting and worthwhile. And honestly, given that the TOS cast was overwhelmingly male, it's not surprising that so many authors in the '70s and '80s would try to balance that somewhat by adding a new prominent woman (and Phase II intended to do the same by adding Ilia, by the way). As long as the character in question is actually engaging, I don't have a problem with it.

As for Jean Czerny, I don't remember that book too well, but I don't see it. As I recall, she engaged mainly with Kang, and served as a viewpoint character for a journey into Klingon culture. I guess she did end up being widely admired and impressive to the Klingons or some such thing, but it wouldn't have been much of a story if she hadn't caught the interest of the Klingon characters to a sufficient degree that she could get to know them and be a participant in their lives. Maybe not a Mary Sue so much as an analogue for Kevin Costner in Dances With Wolves or Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai -- the "one of us" who gets immersed in the exotic foreign culture and serves as our viewpoint figure in it.
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Old August 28 2012, 05:14 PM   #42
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Re: The Great Star Trek Pocket Novel Reread

^ Where do you stand on LCDR Piper from the Dreadnought! and Battlestations! novels by Diane Carey. Mary Sue?
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Old August 28 2012, 06:03 PM   #43
Christopher
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Re: The Great Star Trek Pocket Novel Reread

Use of Time wrote: View Post
^ Where do you stand on LCDR Piper from the Dreadnought! and Battlestations! novels by Diane Carey. Mary Sue?
Not really. Those books were basically an attempt to do a "Lower Decks"-style spinoff focusing on a younger cast who paralleled the main characters. It wasn't having a guest character come in and overshadow the heroes; it was an experiment in telling a Star Trek story from a different perspective than we were used to, to show how Kirk, Spock, and McCoy were perceived by their crew. In a way, you could say that Dreadnought! is to TOS as the Young Justice TV series is to the Justice League.

It was also, I suppose, somewhat in the style of a Heinlein juvenile novel, a coming-of-age story for a young hero with a lot to learn. Piper, Sarda, Merete, and Scanner are the young surrogates of Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Scott, and they have to learn how to function as an effective team following their elders' example, yet Piper is two or three steps behind Kirk every step of the way, and while she and her friends are wrestling with their own problems which are often the result of their own mistakes, Kirk and his command crew are doing their usual thing largely off-camera, orchestrating their own master plan that Piper and her friends get caught up with and are ultimately able to contribute to.

At least, that's where Dreadnought! is concerned. I do think that Battlestations! drifts into Mary Sue territory, by having Piper swiftly promoted in rank, welcomed into Kirk's inner circle of friends, and playing a pivotal role in saving the Federation from a heinous internal conspiracy for the second time in as many months.
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Old August 28 2012, 08:17 PM   #44
CaptainSarine
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Re: The Great Star Trek Pocket Novel Reread

Wow, some amazing discussions going on here. Having read Entropy Effect, I tend to agree with Christopher ie Hunter and Flynn - they served a purpose in the story and had interesting and fleshed out story lines interacting with the other characters. It was nice seeing them referenced again in McIntyre's Wrath of Khan and Search for Spock novelisations.

Hopefully I'll have another review up by tomorrow.
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Old August 30 2012, 04:05 PM   #45
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Re: The Great Star Trek Pocket Novel Reread

Tv tropes has good Mary Sue content

- Mary Sue as Protagonist You Don't Like
- Mary Sue as Poorly Written Character
- Mary Sue as Clichéd character
- Mary Sue as Author Avatar
- Mary Sue as Idealized Character- Mary Sue as Power Fantasy


[etc]
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