Star Trek: The Fate of the Phoenix by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath (1979)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Damian, Jan 28, 2019.

  1. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    Granted, although Hotep seemed to be rather an exception. And eleven new sentient species in one novel is a record that might still stand today. A lot of the business with the species resembling Earth critters, and the ship's vet being pressed into service treating them (not to mention the rather punning names for the individuals, their species, and their planets of origin) seemed to be for comic relief.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
  2. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The Death's Angel aliens were cheesy as hell - but I thought it was delicious cheese.
     
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  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Not at all. A pyramid-shaped alien named Hotep? Probably inspired by the "pyramid power" New Agey pseudoscience crap that was trendy in the '70s, and named for an Egyptian word commonly found in the names of pharaohs and the famous pyramid architect Imhotep. That's just as derivative of Earth mythology as the vampire and the mermaid.


    I think I've broken that record more than once.
     
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  4. GNDN18

    GNDN18 270 Commodore

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    I don't know if it was the laziest way possible....
    Untitled.png
    ETA: Yes, I'm aware that "prose" was clearly specified.
     
  5. trynda1701

    trynda1701 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    "Price of the Phoenix" was the first Trek novel I bought. My Dad had bought me the first six Blish adaptions.

    Even back then, I thought the violence was over the top. I didn't know what 'slash ' fiction was though.

    As I read "The Procustrean Petard" after the Phoenix novels, I thought it was how Spock was more violent in the novels due to the extra chromosome!

    I have a copy of "Killing Time". I read it, enjoyed it. How do you know if you have the original unedited version?
     
  6. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    I think you've summed it up perfectly.

    And yes, Hotep was a sentient pyramid with limited shapeshifting ability, and yes, his name, and the name of his homeworld, and one of the first line he uttered (introducing himself by saying "I'm Hotep," an obvious groaner on Imhotep) were puns on his shape, but he wasn't simply a sentient version of a critter from Earth zoology, Earth mythology, or Earth literature.

    And Mr. Bennett, in what single ST novel(s) did you manage to introduce as many as eleven never-seen-before nonhumanoid sentient species?
     
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  7. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    I cannot emphasise how much I hate "Death's Angel". Which considering my other taste in books might be a recommendation to some. ;)

    Was this the book where McCoy kept telling his non-human patients that they needed a veterinarian or was it some other book? Because I hate that whatever book it was in. It makes McCoy out to be speciest or racist even if he were doing his best to look after the 'pets'.
    I like that there were a lot of different species but I felt that they were just there for some cheap laughs. To me they all seemed a bit silly. Maybe their depiction improved later in the novel.
    I hate the twist as mentioned in the spoiler - another cheap trick.

    Agreed, It didn't make sense for all aliens to be from Earth mythology.

    The major reason I hate this novel more than any other in the Star Trek universe is because everyone is out of character. It makes the M&C books look like a documentary. Kirk, Spock, Sarek.

    If you think M&C appears weak in Pheonix then you should see him in Death's Angel.
    He just rolls over for the beautiful and talented Mary Sue. Spock also yields to the logic of her greatness.
     
  8. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    If your copy of Killing Time has the book’s title in embossed gold foil letters on the cover, or if it’s the Canadian printing (has a maple leaf on the cover) or if it’s the Gregg Press hardcover reprint, it’s the naughty version. Every other US printing, as well as the UK Titan edition, is the cleaned-up version.

    Yes, I have examined copies of every printing, and wrote a short article about it. Which languishes on my computer’s hard drive.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^And the differences between the two editions are far more trivial than the hype would suggest.
     
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  10. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    On that, at least, we can agree.
     
  11. trynda1701

    trynda1701 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm away from my books at present, but I might have a gold embossed title copy. But quite a few of the Trek novels from that period had that style. I'll check.

    What's the overall page count difference between the two versions?

    EDIT: Oops, didn't see Chrisophers post, doesn't sound like it might make an actual page count! :)
     
  12. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    No change in page count, because, as Christopher says, the changes were minor. A sentence here, a paragraph there. Probably no more than a few hundred words removed, all told.

    Also, back in that era, the first printing of a title was something like 100,000 copies. Subsequent printings were based on how many orders came in once the stock was exhausted, and were a lot smaller. I’ve documented another 6 printings (2-7) which, even if they were reprinting 10,000 at a time, still total fewer than the initial run. The cleaned-up version is actually rarer than the naughty version.

    EBay bears this out: there are more copies of the first printing on sale than there are of subsequent printings.
     
  13. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    https://lexx-the-flex.livejournal.com/877.html

    The link above gives you the differences between the unaltered and the altered version, including where they can be found. That'll tell you which version you have.

    I too think the whole Killing Time 'controversy' was overblown. If I read my copy and never knew a thing about it I wouldn't have probably even noticed the homoeroticism in it to be honest.

    The Price of the Phoenix is way more salacious then Killing Time when it comes to slash elements.
     
  14. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That's starting to sound like Warlords of Ka'a. Or possibly three-player chess. :lol:

    From James Blish through the TWOK era, I religiously bought and read almost every Star Trek book there was (I missed Mission to Horatius). I remember disliking the sexual themes in the Phoenix novels, but they came at a time when finding any ST book was still an event in my life, so they got a pass.

    Also, some of it went over my head at the time, if the long and horrible excerpts above are any indication. Non-consensual and nasty. One of their later books, I think it was The Prometheus Design, was wrapped up in clinical depression, and once again undermining the Kirk character. It's like the authors had "issues," and when they opened up their imaginations to write fiction, the issues spilled out unbidden.
     
  15. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Unless they included an image of the copyright page, I don't think you can use eBay auctions as a reliable source. In my experience, most sellers see "First Printing, MMMM yyyy" and think they have a first printing, ignoring the number strip completely.
     
  16. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    Oh yeah, I pay very little attention to what is claimed about a particular printing, and rely on either a photo of the copyright page, or just a photo of the front & back covers. Running changes to the front cover design, SRP, and the ISBN are pretty much definitive tells as to which printing is being sold.

    Except for online retailers that use a generic picture, rather than a photo of the actual item offered for sale. I ignore their listings.
     
  17. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    A friend was excited by this one and was shocked when I didn't rave about it. "But you like aliens!"

    But there were too many cutsie names (esp. the pyramid alien, "Hotep"), for a start. Although I did laugh when someone thought he was an hors d'oeuvre on the buffet table.

    My friend even created a "Death's Angel" costume for his first convention:

    [​IMG]
    Si-s-s-s (click) from "Death's Angel"
    by Ian McLean, on Flickr
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
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  18. marlboro

    marlboro Guest

    That costume is awesome.
     
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  19. Andrew Myers

    Andrew Myers Cadet Newbie

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    I read this disaster waaay back in Jr. High School (so somewhere between 1979 and 1981) and I was really looking forward to it because I loved "Price" so much, but it only left me bewildered. At the time I chalked it up to just being over my head as a young reader. Never went back to read it again. So glad to find out that others were just as confused as I was. Honestly it has been nagging me for going on 40 years.
     
  20. dupersuper

    dupersuper Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I've never read the sequel, but I've read Price. That was A LOT of naked Kirk and Spock running around together. It read very much like fan fiction.
     
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