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

View Poll Results: Rate Doctor's Orders
Outstanding 7 31.82%
Above Average 11 50.00%
Average 4 18.18%
Below Average 0 0%
Poor 0 0%
Voters: 22. You may not vote on this poll

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Old July 22 2013, 11:53 AM   #1
Stoek
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TOS: Doctor's Orders by Diane Duane Review Thread (Spoilers!)



Doctor's Orders

When Dr. McCoy grumbles once too often about the way the U.S.S. Enterprise™ ought to be run, Captain Kirk decides to leave the doctor in command while he oversees a rountine diplomatic mission. Kirk beams down to a strange planet nicknamed "Flyspeck" to negotiate its admission into the Federation, leaving Dr. McCoy to enjoy his new authority.


However, the doctor soon learns that command is a double-edged sword when Kirk disappears without a trace. Desperately trying to locate his catain, McCoy comes under pressure from Starfleet to resolve the situation immediately. Matters go from bad to worsewhen the Klingons arrive and stake their own claim on Flyspeck


Then another, more deadly power threatens them all, and suddenly Dr. McCoy and the Starship Enterprise find themselves pitted against an alien fleet in a battle they have no hope of winning.
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Old July 22 2013, 11:57 AM   #2
F. King Daniel
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Re: TOS: Doctor's Orders by Diane Duane Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I remember being disappointed in this, after loving almost everything else Duane wrote in the Trekverse.
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Old July 22 2013, 12:52 PM   #3
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Re: TOS: Doctor's Orders by Diane Duane Review Thread (Spoilers!)

King Daniel Into Darkness wrote: View Post
I remember being disappointed in this, after loving almost everything else Duane wrote in the Trekverse.
Hmm. Interesting. I'd actually avoided it for years and then finally broke down and picked it up because it seemed like a nice complement to A Choice Of Catastrophes by Mollmann and Schuster.

There was a time when McCoy was... well he wasn't my least favorite TOS character by any means but well I'm a Spockhead and once upon a time if it wasn't fairly Spock-centric I was less than interested.

Having said that I'm so far enjoying it quite a bit. Duane has a knack for creating truly alien aliens, and giving a very "realistic" feeling to shipboard life.

She has a good grasp of the characters and the "sight" of McCoy playing good ol' boy to confound an unexpectedly arrived Klingon commander was so delicious that it made me wish they'd found an excuse to give McCoy command of the ship even if only for a few minutes in one of the movies. (And I know where he would have been perfectly placed. When they are planning the raid to rescue the hostages on Nimbus III, when asked if he was coming along McCoy could have proclaimed, "I'm a Doctor, not a commando." and then by way of "punishment" Kirk could have left him to play Captain in his absence.)
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Old July 22 2013, 03:54 PM   #4
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Re: TOS: Doctor's Orders by Diane Duane Review Thread (Spoilers!)

It's very good, but falls short of "Outstanding" because it was subject to Arnold-era continuity restrictions and thus Duane had to strip out references to her prior novel continuity and the alien crew she'd introduced (though they let her keep human characters like Lia Burke and Janice Kerasus). So it feels like a "Duaneverse lite" book, less than it could've been.
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Old July 22 2013, 03:59 PM   #5
Therin of Andor
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Re: TOS: Doctor's Orders by Diane Duane Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Stoek wrote: View Post
Duane has a knack for creating truly alien aliens
Most of the alien races encountered on Flyspeck, such as the Ornae, had their origin in the text-based computer game, "The Kobayashi Alternative", also written by Duane.
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Old July 22 2013, 04:27 PM   #6
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Re: TOS: Doctor's Orders by Diane Duane Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Loved this one! But then again, I've enjoyed everything of Diane Duane's that I've read.

Here's my review.
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Old July 22 2013, 04:27 PM   #7
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Re: TOS: Doctor's Orders by Diane Duane Review Thread (Spoilers!)

^ That's interesting. Is the game worth checking out?
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Old July 22 2013, 04:35 PM   #8
Pavonis
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Re: TOS: Doctor's Orders by Diane Duane Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Never read it, but I've heard of it often. Is there any justification for leaving McCoy in command when the situation goes south? Are Spock and Scotty still aboard during the Klingon confrontation?
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Old July 22 2013, 04:39 PM   #9
Kertrats47
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Re: TOS: Doctor's Orders by Diane Duane Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Pavonis wrote: View Post
Never read it, but I've heard of it often. Is there any justification for leaving McCoy in command when the situation goes south? Are Spock and Scotty still aboard during the Klingon confrontation?
They are, but according to the novel, McCoy can't turn over command to them until he is relieved by the officer who assigned him command in the first place (Kirk). A bit of a stretch, in my opinion, but it moves the plot along!
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Old July 22 2013, 04:40 PM   #10
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Re: TOS: Doctor's Orders by Diane Duane Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Sho wrote: View Post
^ That's interesting. Is the game worth checking out?
Do you have a computer with a drive for 5 1/4-inch floppy disks? The game came in that format and had copy protection that wouldn't allow it to be run from anything but the primary floppy drive. I imagine people have probably hacked and copied the game by now, but there was also a printed booklet that you needed. Well, there's probably a PDF of that by now too.
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Old July 22 2013, 04:51 PM   #11
Pavonis
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Re: TOS: Doctor's Orders by Diane Duane Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Kertrats47 wrote: View Post
Pavonis wrote: View Post
Never read it, but I've heard of it often. Is there any justification for leaving McCoy in command when the situation goes south? Are Spock and Scotty still aboard during the Klingon confrontation?
They are, but according to the novel, McCoy can't turn over command to them until he is relieved by the officer who assigned him command in the first place (Kirk). A bit of a stretch, in my opinion, but it moves the plot along!
So the confrontation with the Klingons can't be that serious, else the needs for a competent commander in charge would surely trump all other orders, especially frivolous orders meant to teach McCoy a lesson. Oh well.
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Old July 22 2013, 04:56 PM   #12
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Re: TOS: Doctor's Orders by Diane Duane Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I liked this novel it's been a long time since I read it.
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Old July 22 2013, 05:29 PM   #13
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Re: TOS: Doctor's Orders by Diane Duane Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I enjoyed it a lot because it is about McCoy (who is my favorite) and it is a very fun McCoy. I really liked his interaction with the Klingon captain the best. I also really loved the aliens in this one.

However I did have some issues with it. Obviously to enjoy the story you have to accept the contrivance of the plot, that Kirk can just give up command to McCoy who is not a line officer and if there was some crises he could not give it up to Spock.

Also in general while I think Duane got McCoy's voice down really well, she did have him say "boy" and "son" way more than I ever recall him using these words in the actual show. I still could definitely hear De's voice in my head while reading though.

However, in the end I feel while this was a fun book I think it missed a great opportunity to really explore what makes McCoy well McCoy. In many ways I felt the McCoy command style in this book wasn't all that different from Kirk's (maybe with a bit more bluster). It would have been interesting to see him struggle more with his own morals and emotional side in the way lets say Spock struggled a bit with his logical side in Galilelo 7.

Speaking of Spock, he was also way too easy on McCoy in this book. For all the times, McCoy gave him a hard time when he was in command I wanted to see Spock disagreeing with McCoy's choices here as well. I personally think Spock and McCoy are best written when they disagree at first but then come to an understanding and work together, so this was another missed opportunity for me.

Hence in the end I can only give it an above average rating.
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Old July 22 2013, 06:13 PM   #14
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Re: TOS: Doctor's Orders by Diane Duane Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Pavonis wrote: View Post
Kertrats47 wrote: View Post
They are, but according to the novel, McCoy can't turn over command to them until he is relieved by the officer who assigned him command in the first place (Kirk). A bit of a stretch, in my opinion, but it moves the plot along!
So the confrontation with the Klingons can't be that serious, else the needs for a competent commander in charge would surely trump all other orders, especially frivolous orders meant to teach McCoy a lesson. Oh well.
Wrong. The premise of the book is that only Kirk has the legal authority to relieve McCoy of command; he'd happily turn it over to Spock or Scott, but with Kirk absent, there's no recourse for that. It's contrived and procedurally questionable, yes, but the book does not treat it as something that's only being maintained for frivolous reasons.
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Old July 22 2013, 06:24 PM   #15
Pavonis
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Re: TOS: Doctor's Orders by Diane Duane Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I meant that Kirk put McCoy in charge frivolously, since he had no reason to think anything dangerous would occur with the inexperienced McCoy in "command". But having not read it, I have no opinion on the quality of the story. If I read it, I might enjoy it immensely. But the premise turns me off, and there are so many other books for me to read first, that I won't be forming an informed opinion on this novel any time soon.

ETA - I just can't help thinking that there must be a recourse for relieving an officer from command in situations where the commanding officer is out of communication. If only Kirk could relieve McCoy, and Kirk is out of communication, then I'm supposed to believe that McCoy remains in command until Kirk returns? OK, I understand that that is the premise of the story, that it is what drives it forward. But what if Kirk were dead? Would that then mean McCoy stays in command forever, because a dead Kirk can't relieve him? Surely Starfleet has a regulation that would deal with a commanding officer that's indisposed in some way, to allow for the next ranking officer to take command.

Oh, well, I'm probably just overthinking a book that I won't be reading soon. I have no wish to antagonize anyone who enjoys it, and who knows, maybe I'll get around to reading it someday.
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