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

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Old September 12 2008, 04:54 PM   #1
J. Allen
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Abode of Life

The Abode of Life by Lee Correy.
It was the first non numerical paperback Star Trek book that I've read. In fact, it's got the Timescape logo at the top, which makes it quite old in the realm of Trek literature. The book is 26 years old, almost as old as me.

Anyway, I loved the book. Someone once told me that the non-numerical Trek books were the best books, and while I have a great many numbered Trek books I enjoy, The Abode of Life was a fascinating read.

If you'll recall, it was about the Mercans, a people who lived on the sole planet that orbited a G Class star that had long since found itself isolated and far outside explored space. The Enterprise becomes damaged by some kind of stellar anomaly and flung far out into this area of space, and must break the Prime Directive and get help to repair the ailing Enterprise, or spend the rest of their lives limping back to Federation space.

If you haven't read the book, I highly recommend it. It is definitely more in line with the ST:TMP era of Trek (taking place before Star Trek II as far as I can tell). To me the book hit all of the right notes. Diplomacy first, force when absolutely necessary, but well done when necessary.

Does anyone else remember this book?
What did you think of it?

J.
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Old September 12 2008, 05:05 PM   #2
Dayton Ward
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Re: Abode of Life

It's probably worth noting that The Abode of Life was retroactively assigned #6 in the numbering scheme for TOS books, which didn't actually start until number 16 or so. So...you ended up getting NumberCooties on you, anyway

As for the book itself, I don't honestly recall that much about it.
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Old September 12 2008, 06:11 PM   #3
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Re: Abode of Life

J. Allen wrote: View Post
Someone once told me that the non-numerical Trek books were the best books...
Which is a meaningless and grossly unfair generalization. It's true that the period when Trek novels were generally the weakest (due to the restrictions from the licensing regime at the time) was during the period when they were numbered, but there were quite a few numbered books before and after that period, including many of the finest and most acclaimed Trek novels ever written.

So it isn't the numbers on the covers that matter. It's the words in between them.


The Abode of Life had some interesting ideas, but it could've stood tighter editing. I remember there being an interminable, rambling Captain's Log entry at the start of practically every chapter. And "Lee Correy" (a pseudonym for the late science writer G. Harry Stine) didn't exactly have a fluid writing style or a naturalistic approach to dialogue.

By the way, The Abode of Life has two very loose sequels by Gene DeWeese, Chain of Attack and The Final Nexus. They take the spatial rift from TAoL and reveal it's just a small part of a much larger phenomenon.
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Old September 12 2008, 09:14 PM   #4
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Re: Abode of Life

I loved "The Abode of Life"... found it to be one of those genuinely 'strange new world' experiences. The aliens themselves were a very interesting idea, and for some reason (and it's been a while since I read it) when I think of them they remind me a little bit of the Moties from "The Mote in God's Eye"

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Old September 13 2008, 12:47 AM   #5
BaloksPuppet
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Re: Abode of Life

I read it back when it first came out and at the time I thought it was excellent. But I haven't read it since, so I wonder if I'd still have the same opinion now. It's on my list of definite re-reads once I get caught up with the ones I haven't read yet, which I'm still on track to accomplishing by the end of the year.
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Old September 13 2008, 01:33 AM   #6
J. Allen
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Re: Abode of Life

Dayton Ward wrote: View Post
It's probably worth noting that The Abode of Life was retroactively assigned #6 in the numbering scheme for TOS books, which didn't actually start until number 16 or so. So...you ended up getting NumberCooties on you, anyway

As for the book itself, I don't honestly recall that much about it.
Ah, numbercooties.
It's a terrific book. Plus, one of my all time favorite books is a numbered book, that being "Shell Game, #63 by Melissa Crandall".

Christopher wrote: View Post
J. Allen wrote: View Post
Someone once told me that the non-numerical Trek books were the best books...
Which is a meaningless and grossly unfair generalization. It's true that the period when Trek novels were generally the weakest (due to the restrictions from the licensing regime at the time) was during the period when they were numbered, but there were quite a few numbered books before and after that period, including many of the finest and most acclaimed Trek novels ever written.

So it isn't the numbers on the covers that matter. It's the words in between them.


The Abode of Life had some interesting ideas, but it could've stood tighter editing. I remember there being an interminable, rambling Captain's Log entry at the start of practically every chapter. And "Lee Correy" (a pseudonym for the late science writer G. Harry Stine) didn't exactly have a fluid writing style or a naturalistic approach to dialogue.

By the way, The Abode of Life has two very loose sequels by Gene DeWeese, Chain of Attack and The Final Nexus. They take the spatial rift from TAoL and reveal it's just a small part of a much larger phenomenon.
Ooh. I'll check those out. I do agree that sometimes the writing wandered off, but I just liked the overall feel of the novel.


FatherRob wrote: View Post
I loved "The Abode of Life"... found it to be one of those genuinely 'strange new world' experiences. The aliens themselves were a very interesting idea, and for some reason (and it's been a while since I read it) when I think of them they remind me a little bit of the Moties from "The Mote in God's Eye"

Rob+
Oh yes, I liked the idea of exploring this planet way out in the Sagittarius Arm that believes they're the only life in the entire universe. I liked the approach of the Traveler system as well. Interesting to see physical properties overshadow communications. These people didn't mind getting around.

BaloksPuppet wrote: View Post
I read it back when it first came out and at the time I thought it was excellent. But I haven't read it since, so I wonder if I'd still have the same opinion now. It's on my list of definite re-reads once I get caught up with the ones I haven't read yet, which I'm still on track to accomplishing by the end of the year.

Well, just from this first time reader's point of view, this 26 year old book was fun, exciting, and I'm going to find the sequel books to read them, too.


Oh, I've moved on to my next book: Crisis on Centaurus by Brad Ferguson. This one is actually taking some effort for me to read, because there are too many pop culture references. VISA, Coca Cola, a Tellarite with an American Express card?! It almost feels like a commercially sponsored Trek novel. At this point I'm halfway along, and I guess maybe it's just me, but I don't like how everyone seems to come from Centaurus or has some kind of stake there (Kirk's cabin for one). Hopefully it gets better.

J.
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Old September 13 2008, 04:51 PM   #7
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Re: Abode of Life

J. Allen wrote: View Post

Oh, I've moved on to my next book: Crisis on Centaurus by Brad Ferguson. This one is actually taking some effort for me to read, because there are too many pop culture references. VISA, Coca Cola, a Tellarite with an American Express card?! It almost feels like a commercially sponsored Trek novel. At this point I'm halfway along, and I guess maybe it's just me, but I don't like how everyone seems to come from Centaurus or has some kind of stake there (Kirk's cabin for one). Hopefully it gets better.

J.
I liked that Crisis on Centaurus gave the crew background info not related to Earth. I was disappointed that Kirk's cabin in Generations wasn't the one he had in Garrovick Valley on Centaurus. Idaho! So pedestrian.
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Old September 13 2008, 05:32 PM   #8
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Re: Abode of Life

HIj'Qa wrote: View Post
I liked that Crisis on Centaurus gave the crew background info not related to Earth. I was disappointed that Kirk's cabin in Generations wasn't the one he had in Garrovick Valley on Centaurus. Idaho! So pedestrian.
Kirk's cabin was never asserted to be in Idaho. The ranch where he met Antonia two years earlier was. The actual shooting location was in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California, and I cited that as the location of Kirk's cabin in Mere Anarchy 4: The Darkness Drops Again.
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Old September 13 2008, 07:01 PM   #9
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Re: Abode of Life

The Abode of Life was my first Trek novel and my first novel. I begged my mom to buy it for me at the tender age of five at the Walden's in our local mall after just seeing TWOK. I still have it for sentimental reasons and haven't looked at it in years.

The cover with its strange version of Kirk and Spock crouched down with Buck Roger's pistols on a cliff's edge is what attracted me to the book. Even though I was fully reading at five, I recall not being able to get some of the stuff in the book or even the meaning of the "abode" in the title. Well, that is until I asked my dad to look it up in a dictionary for me.

I tried reading it again in junior high, only to be disappointed with the writing for the same reasons Christopher points out. But it will always hold a special place in my heart as being my first real book.
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Old September 13 2008, 08:25 PM   #10
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Re: Abode of Life

^ Which is why "Shell Game" will always be so special to me. It was my very first Star Trek book. I even remember looking at it and being amazed, thinking that any time I wanted, I could just pick up this book and be transported into the Star Trek universe.

I love books.

J.
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Old September 15 2008, 05:43 AM   #11
Mike Farley
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Re: Abode of Life

The Abode of Life along with The Klingon Gambit and the TWOK novelization were there first Trek books I owned. I read all of them over and over again. And yet now, years later, I cannot for the life of me remember what either of the two original novels were about!
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Old September 15 2008, 06:29 AM   #12
J. Allen
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Re: Abode of Life

HIj'Qa wrote: View Post
J. Allen wrote: View Post

Oh, I've moved on to my next book: Crisis on Centaurus by Brad Ferguson. This one is actually taking some effort for me to read, because there are too many pop culture references. VISA, Coca Cola, a Tellarite with an American Express card?! It almost feels like a commercially sponsored Trek novel. At this point I'm halfway along, and I guess maybe it's just me, but I don't like how everyone seems to come from Centaurus or has some kind of stake there (Kirk's cabin for one). Hopefully it gets better.

J.
I liked that Crisis on Centaurus gave the crew background info not related to Earth. I was disappointed that Kirk's cabin in Generations wasn't the one he had in Garrovick Valley on Centaurus. Idaho! So pedestrian.
Well, I finished the book last night and I have to say I enjoyed it, although I winced at seeing "Sears & Roebuck" still existing on Centaurus. That being said, the book got much better past the halfway point. This afternoon (because our power was out thanks to Ike) I read "The Starless World" by Gordon Eklund, and rather enjoyed it. It was interesting to read about Dyson spheres existing in Trek before TNG's "Relics".

This evening I started reading a TNG novel "Masks" by John Vornholt. It should be interesting.

J.
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Old September 15 2008, 07:20 AM   #13
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Re: Abode of Life

J. Allen wrote: View Post
This evening I started reading a TNG novel "Masks" by John Vornholt. It should be interesting.
Masks has always been one of my favorites. I particularly find the culture of the Lorcans interesting.
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Old September 15 2008, 06:51 PM   #14
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Re: Abode of Life

Is Masks the one that contains a reference to "J.G. Worf," as though the author thought those were Worf's initials and not part of his rank? That cracked me up....
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Old September 15 2008, 07:11 PM   #15
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Re: Abode of Life

Good book. It shows Kirk in his best role ever of negotiator and mediator when he basically helps the three sides on the planet hammer out a constitution.

Also, features Janice Rand in perhaps her largest book role ever.

The two books addressing the anomaly "Chain of Attack" and "The Final Nexus" were poor at best.
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