Spoilers TOS #5 The Prometheus Design by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by tomswift2002, Apr 30, 2017.

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Rate The Prometheus Design

  1. Outstanding

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Above Average

    6.3%
  3. Average

    18.8%
  4. Below Average

    18.8%
  5. Poor

    56.3%
  1. E-DUB

    E-DUB Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    TomSwift2002 wrote: "or else Pocket figure people had better eyesight in February 1982." I know I did.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, the average age for Trek fans was probably somewhat lower then...
     
  3. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

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    I'm almost done this book, and I'm giving it an Average rating. It was better than The Price of The Phoenix, but just like most Bantam and Pocket books of the era it was more like reading a script for a stage play or TV show. The bare details were there, but there was no expansion. I guess the best way to describe it is like the old commercial for Wendy's where it asks the question "Where's The Beef?"
     
  4. ClayinCA

    ClayinCA Commodore Commodore

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    What I have always loved about Star Trek is the characters. And this book contained no Star Trek characters that I recognized.
     
  5. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I've never read Marshak and Culbreath's books, and I doubt I ever will. Their ultra-pretentious descriptions of their own work in Voyages of Imagination put me off them and their work, and dumb character names like "Savaj" don't really help, either.

    Also not helping: One of them cornering David Gerrold and having the audacity to tell him: "What you Star Trek writers don't understand is that Kirk secretly wants to be raped by Spock."
     
  6. Sybok Was Wrong

    Sybok Was Wrong Commander Red Shirt

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    I'm 105 pages in, and this book is absurd!

    - Savaj ("Savage"- get it?) the Vulcan boards, and immediately makes Kirk Science officer & Spock, captain? In what scenario would this ever happen!? "Mr. Kirk" is some fantasy scenario by the authors;

    -Vulcans apparently have an internal switch to go into a state of "Vulcan Command Mode"?

    -Why is Spock naked twice in scenes within the first 100 pages? More author fantasy;

    Now, This really is dumb:

    -Every other page has- footnotes! Footnotes- in a trash "Star Trek" novel!

    Too funny- if the authors aren't footnoting a TOS episode, they're referencing their own works, as if to put their bizarro ideas on the "same level" of classic episodes!! Please!

    Also, does referencing old episodes constantly somehow make your book more legit? Plus, how often do these characters have to reminisce about the vampire cloud from "Obsession"???

    Other musings-

    -The writing style is really creepy. I feel like the psychology and singular perverted viewpoint of the writers toward the Star Trek series and the characters is NOT what the rest of US see when we watch Star Trek. I don't know what these authors are watching!


    I thought it would be fun this summer to read the old novels- the fun is the perspective of time, and how bad "The Prometheus Design" (and "Covenant of the Crown" for that matter) are. Trek novels can be the SCI FI novel equivelant of Harlequin Romance novels.

    From the authors of "Shatner: Where no Man", of course.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017
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  7. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    I've been re-reading the Bantams. Currently gagging down The Galactic Whirlpool, which is startlingly bad, because I like a lot of Gerrold's stuff.

    The Haldemans and Eklunds were ok.

    I'm saving Marshak/Culbreath and Sky for "later".
     
  8. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

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    I know I found those kind of weird. But with the Vulcan Command mode, I thought they were just building off of 'The Immunity Syndrome' where the Intrepid was mentioned as being an all-Vulcan ship.

    It's not the only novel to have footnotes. "Star Trek The Motion Picture" contained footnotes.


    It was creepy, but it was also similar to the other Trek novels of the era for writing.
     
  9. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It's a Myrshak/Culbreath novel - of course it's creepy. :shrug:
     
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  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That doesn't follow, though. Okay, there could be a Vulcan command mode, but this particular portrayal of such a thing is bizarrely un-Vulcan. It's not a logical, analytical process of problem-solving, it's a brute-force macho dominance game like just about everything else in M&C's novels. It might've been a plausible Vulcan command mode 2000 years ago, but Surak should've put an end to such nonsense.
     
  11. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    As I recall (and it's been quite a few years since I read this, and I don't remember how this whole "Admiral Savaj" thing tied into the business of being some superbeing's lab animals), the authors attempted to justify this with the premise that a Vulcan crew would be able to follow their commander's chain of reasoning in a split second, with no need for explanation, and would likely have anticipated it.

    Didn't do much for me, either, Mr. Bennett.:shrug:

    And "Daddy Todd," I'm doubly surprised at your reactions: I found the Haldeman and Eklund novels to be extremely formulaic, little more than trite variations on the "Kirk sticks the Enterprise's nose someplace it isn't wanted, and the entire crew gets their ass kicked by a superbeing beyond their understanding" idea. Conversely, I found Gerrold's opus (and anybody who has read his memoir on how "The Trouble with Tribbles" made it on the air will recognize it as being based on the very first spec outline he pitched) to be one of the better books from the Bantam era.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    If so, I don't buy it. It's the nature of rational beings to disagree, to have different perspectives and debate the best approach. The idea that all logical beings would automatically think in lockstep is, well, illogical.


    I quite liked Planet of Judgment. It may have used the "superbeing" trope again, but it did so in a very original way, and it was the first novel that really tried to delve into the characters' backstories and psychology. It was also intriguing to see Haldeman bring his military background to bear and depict how landing party and security procedures probably should have operated, as opposed to what we actually got onscreen.
     
  13. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Like I said, M&C's justification didn't do a whole lot for me, either. (I even changed "justified" to "attempted to justify" just before clicking "Post.") I also seem to recall (going back to M&C's "Phoenix" novels) that Omne had a take on libertarianism (to the general effect that freedom is meaningless unless it extends to the freedom to go to Hell in a handbasket, even if it isn't your own Hell, or your own handbasket, and even if you take unwilling others along for the ride) that makes Diane Carey seem quite moderate and reasonable, by comparison.

    And yes, I'd say that PofJ was certainly better than a lot of what came after (and before, for that matter) during the Bantam era. I know I re-read PofJ more times than I re-read The Price of the Phoenix.

    I forget: was it PofJ or SMD that had McCoy dozing off and dreaming about variations on the old "Fat-assed German" mnemonic from medical school? Oh, yes. It was PofJ -- somebody posted the text online.
     
  14. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    Well, I was as surprised as you. My memory was quite positive, but in the 30 years since I last read it, it has been visited by the Suck Fairy. I won't go into it at length here, maybe I'll start a review thread once I get to the end.
     
  15. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Digressing once again to the least-formulaic Haldeman opus, I'll also say that Haldeman's aliens kind of reminded me of the ones from Pournelle and Niven's The Mote in God's Eye (I read it once, and eventually either sold or gave away my copy; I found it long-winded and a bit dystopian for my taste.)
     
  16. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  17. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    It's not the kewl science that puts me off, it's the boring, pedantic infodumps and weird digressions and incessant quotes from Solomon Short (Gerrold's riff on RAH's Lazarus Long).

    Tedious.
     
  18. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I never read The Galactic Whirlpool, but after reading Gerrold's The Involuntary Human, I concluded that if I went my whole life without reading another Solomon Short "witticism," it wouldn't be long enough.
     
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  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The weird digressions were my favorite parts. It gave the novel a unique voice, and it was really interesting and unprecedented at the time to see a Trek novel delve into so much worldbuilding about the larger universe. And I didn't find the sidebars boring, since they were pretty funny.

    Of course, in retrospect, it's weird that I liked TGW so much, since I now know that it was Gerrold's attempt to riff on Heinlein, and I've never been a fan of Heinlein's work. But it was my favorite Bantam novel, and I was actually a bit disappointed upon reading Gerrold's original novels to find that they weren't more like TGW in style.

    (By the way, I got a nice surprise yesterday when David Gerrold quoted something I said on Facebook, although he had heard it at second or third hand from someone else.)
     
  20. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'd rather write than be President.