From: firstname.lastname@example.org (ron c carman)
Subject: Star Trek Novels: The Year in Review 
Organization: University Of Kentucky, Dept. of Math Sciences
Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1993 07:31:44 GMT
This is a review of Pocket Books' Star Trek novels published
Ratings translate as follows:
5 SUPERIOR: Run out and buy this NOW
4 EXCELLENT: Make sure to buy this soon
3 AVERAGE: Purchase as funds allow
2 POOR: Wait for your tax refund
1 AWFUL: Avoid at ALL costs
Book # Title Date Published Rating / 5
TNG #4 Survivors January 1989 5-
TOS #44 Vulcan's Glory February 1989 5+
TNG #5 Strike Zone March 1989 4+
TOS #45 Double, Double April 1989 2+
TNG #6 Power Hungry May 1989 3+
TNG #7 Masks July 1989 5
TNG #8 The Captain's Honor September 1989 3+
TOS H2 The Lost Years October 1989 5+
TOS #46 The Cry of the Onlies October 1989 1+
TNG #9 A Call to Darkness November 1989 4
TOS #47 The Kobayashi Maru December 1989 4+
TNG Average: 4+
TOS Average: 4-
Year Average: 4
/* Not a bad year... */
Possible *SPOILERS* for Trek books released in '89.
>TNG #4 Survivors Copyright January 1989
>Author: Jean Lorrah
> Treva -- a human colony on the fringes of known space. Isolated from the
>rest of the galaxy, at last report they were on the verge of becoming a
>true interstellar community -- a full fledged member of the Federation. But
>now the Enterprise has received a distress signal. Treva is in the throes
>of a violent revolution led by a merciless warlord who has committed
>countless atrocities in the name of freedom.
> Data and Lt. Tasha Yar are dispatched to investigate. But once they
>reach Treva, they discover the truth, and any possible solution may be far
>more complex than a simple rebellion. For Treva's president wants more than
>Starfleet's good words in her fight against the rebels.
> She wants their weapons. And before the battle is over, she means to get
>them. Over Data and Yar's dead bodies, if necessary.
This novel fills the gap between 'The Arsenal of Freedom' and
'Skin of Evil'. Ms. Lorrah gives a fascinating look into Tasha
Yar's past, and invents fabulous characters which are so uncommon
in the rest of the series.
Dialogue, plot, and characterization are all excellent, and
the premise is quite sound..
Plot Handling: 4
Next: Vulcan's Glory
>TOS #44 Vulcan's Glory Copyright February 1989
>Author: D.C. Fontana
> Here is a very special STAR TREK novel -- from the woman consistently
>voted by the fans as their favorite writer from the original STAR TREK
> D.C. Fontana, writer of such classic STAR TREK episodes as "Journey
>to Babel" and "This Side of Paradise," here brings us the never-before-
>told story of a very young Mr. Spock, on his first mission aboard the
>U.S.S. Enterprise. You'll also meet Captain Christopher Pike and his
>enigmatic first officer "Number One" (previously seen only in the orig-
>inal STAR TREK pilot "The Cage"), as well as the ship's brand new
>engineering officer, Montgomery Scott.
> VULCAN'S GLORY is the tale of Spock's struggle to reconcile his many
>obligations -- those forced on him by his Vulcan heritage, and those
>chosen by him upon his elistment in Starfleet -- to balance the wishes
>of others against the desires of his own heart.
This is the kind of novel we could use more of. Something fresh
and inventive, and most especially, well written. D.C. Fontana has
written a fascinating tale about Spock's first adventure aboard the
The characters are alive and interesting, the plot is solid,
and the dialogue is more realistic than any I've seen in a Trek novel
in some time. This is a Must-Read(tm), folks.
Plot Handling: 4+
Next: Strike Zone
>TNG #5 Strike Zone Copyright March 1989
>Author: Peter David
> Deep in the uncharted regions of our galaxy, a primitive, warlike
>race -- the Kreel -- have stumbled upon weapons powerful beyond their
>wildest imaginings. The Kreel have used those weapons to attack their
>most bitter enemies -- the Klingons.
> Now Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise have
>been called in to mediate the dispute. The Enterprise will ferry diplomatic
>teams from the two warring races to the source of their conflict -- the
>mysterious planet where the weapons were discovered -- in an attempt to find
>a peaceful solution to the conflict, and discover the origins of the
> Before the galaxy erupts into full-scale war...
Peter David seems to have a magic touch when it comes to writing
Star Trek novels. This is an at-times humorous, adventuresome tale,
with a subtle, tongue-in-cheek condemnation of the arms-race.
The characters are vivid and real, and the plot rolls along
nicely, with no noticeable holes.
Plot Handling: 4
Next: Double, Double
>TOS #45 Double, Double Copyright April 1989
>Author: Michael Jan Friedman
> On a routine exploratory mission, the Starship U.S.S. Hood picks up
>a distress signal from a research expedition thought lost long ago --
>the expedition of Dr. Roger Korby, one of the centuries' greatest
>scientific minds. Korby himself is dead, it seems, but his colleagues
>have made a most incredible discovery -- a discovery they insist the
>Hood's captain see for himself. Reluctantly, the captain agrees to
> Meanwhile, the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise begins long-overdue
>shore leave on Tranquility Seven. James T. Kirk is looking forward
>to a few days of rest and relaxation... until what seems like a
>bizarre case of mistaken identity plunges Kirk into a whirlpool of
>mayhem and murder.
> And puts an inhuman stranger with his memories and abilities in
>command of the Enterprise.
For an author who has done such generally *good* work as Michael
Jan Friedman, this is an incredibly pitiful novel. It seems almost
like (dare I say it?) *plagiarism*.
This one is a decent adventure story, in a way. Someone who has
never seen "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" might indeed enjoy it.
But I found it to be consistently predictable, and at times, even
*boring*. I find there's very little to recommend this novel.
Plot Handling: 2
Next: Power Hungry
>TNG #6 Power Hungry Copyright May 1989
>Author: Howard Weinstein
> Sent to deliver emergency famine relief to the planet Thiopa -- the
>Federation's only allies in a critically important sector of space -- the
>crew finds a brutal dictatorship -- one more concerned with preserving its
>own powers that protecting its citizens, or the world they all share.
>Captain Picard is hesitant about turning over the supplies to the
>corrupt government: he fears they may never reach their intended
>destination. But can he convince the ruling council to change their
>ways, before it is too late -- for the government, and Thiopa itself?
Weinstein delivers a thoroughly enjoyable, if not thoroughly
solid piece. The dialogue and characterization are a bit shaky,
but the plot holds them up nicely.
Plot Handling: 4
>TNG #7 Masks Copyright July 1989
>Author: John Vornholt
> The Enterprise journeys to Lorca, a beautiful world with a feudal
>culture where the inhabitants wear masks to show their rank and
>station. There, Captain Picard and an away team don masks of their own
>to begin a quest for the planet's ruler and the great Wisdom Mask that
>the leader traditionally wears. Their mission: to establish diplomatic
> But shortly after transporting, Picard and his party lose contact with
>the ship, and Commander Riker leads a search party down to the planet to
> Both men, however, are unaware that their searches -- indeed, the ship's
>entire mission -- are part of a madman's plan. A madman who is setting the
>stage for a trap that will ensnare both Enterprise landing parties, and
>leave him poised to seize control of the awesome Wisdom Mask...
> And the planet Lorca itself.
Unlike some of his most recent work, _Masks_ is an absolutely
great piece of work. Mr. Vornholt creates a splendid culture for
the people of the planet Lorca -- a medieval society where one's
mask determines one's status...
Characterization is right on target, and the plot couldn't
possibly get any better.
Plot Handling: 5
Next: The Captain's Honor
>TNG #8 The Captain's Honor Copyright September 1989
>Authors: David and Daniel Dvorkin
> A series of vicious attacks by the enigmatic M'Dok Empire has devastated
>the planet Tenara -- bringing the Enterprise and another Federation
>starship, the Centurion, to the planet's aid. The Centurion's captain is
>Lucius Sejanus -- a powerful magnetic man who favors taking a far stronger
>stance against the M'Dok than Captain Picard. And as the conflict
>escalates, Sejanus's instincts seem to be correct... for it appears only
>extreme measures can stop the murderous raids on Tenara.
> Now the people of Tenara must decide which path they will follow -- the
>way of peace, or the road to war. But unknown to any, one of the
>Centurion's officers has made that decision for them -- and plans to
>provide a full-scale ware between the Federation and the M'Dok Empire!
This novel relies heavily on the Starfleet-officer-gone-bad schtick,
and sours about half way through. The characters aren't quite right,
and the plot is slow as molasses at points where it shouldn't be.
Even for all that, this is still your average adventure story.
[The Captain's Honor]
Plot Handling: 3
Next: The Lost Years
>TOS H2 The Lost Years Copyright October 1989
>Author: J.M. Dillard
> What exactly happened to the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise after
>the end of their five-year mission? How did that mission end? What
>did they do before they were reunited for the STAR TREK films? Even
>the casual STAR TREK fan finds him/herself asking these questions
>from time to time...
> Here at last, is the book that provides the answers to those
>questions -- a book as anticipated, in its own way, as SPOCK'S WORLD
>was and one that promises to equal its New York Times bestseller
> THE LOST YEARS tells the story of Captain Kirk's final hours in
>command of the U.S.S. Enterprise, and how he, Mr. Spock, and Dr. McCoy
>struggle to establish new lives apart from each other and the starship.
>We see the newly-promoted Admiral Kirk, in charge of a specially-
>created Starfleet division, as he attempts to defuse a critical hostage
>situation; Mr. Spock, who in the midst of a teaching assignment on
>Vulcan, finds the one thing he least expected; and Dr. McCoy, whose
>unerring instinct for trouble lands him smack in the middle of an
>incident that could trigger an interstellar bloodbath....
> In THE LOST YEARS, J.M. Dillard, author of the STAR TREK V: THE
>FINAL FRONTIER novelization, has written her best book to date --
>and has bridged a gap in STAR TREK history in a manner sure to
>excite and delight STAR TREK fans everywhere.
I have to agree with the publishers about this novel. Ms. Dillard
has novel easily equal to _Spock's_World_. This is a truly great story,
with solid plot, and interesting characters.
I had a slight problem with the apparent ease with which Kirk was
talked into accepting promotion into the Admiralty, but that's a small
One more book which can be called a Must-Read(tm).
[The Lost Years]
Plot Handling: 5
Next: The Cry of the Onlies
>TOS #46 The Cry of the Onlies Copyright October 1989
>Author: Judy Klass
>Historian's Note: This adventure takes place during the U.S.S. Enterprise's
> initial five-year mission, sometime after the events chron-
> icled in the television episodes "Miri" and "Requiem for
> Methuselah". The reader may wish to consult those episodes
> as referents.
> Boaco Six -- a once-tranquil Federation colony, now caught up in the
>throes of revolution. The Enterprise's mission: re-establish contact
>with the planet, and determine whether or not formal ties between the
>Federation and Boaco Six should be strengthened.
> Negotiations between Captain Kirk and the planet's ruling Council of
>Youngers are proceeding smoothly, until the atmosphere of goodwill is
>shattered by the sudden destruction of a Boacan ship -- at the hands
>of an experimental Starfleet vessel!
> Now, in order to prevent full-scale war from breaking out, the
>Enterprise must recapture the stolen Starfleet vessel and its abductors.
>A mission that will require the aid of the galaxy's most reclusive
>genius -- and bring Captain Kirk face-to-face with the long-buried
>secrets of his past...
This one goes into my top five *worst* Star Trek novels of all
time... (It makes the top *three* worst TOS novels.)
The author seems to have the idea that tossing in a few familiar
characters (Flint, Pal, Jahn, etc...) will make for a great story.
But she's just proved herself wrong, as this never even approaches
The narration is heavy-handed, the dialogue is strained and
out of character, and the plot moves along like a drunken mime.
This book, overall, is just plain *TEDIOUS* (I barely forced myself
to finish reading it), and that's a pretty sad statement.
[The Cry of the Onlies]
Plot Handling: 1
Next: A Call to Darkness
>TNG #9 A Call to Darkness Copyright November 1989
>Author: Michael Jan Friedman
> The Enterprise discovers a lifeless Federation research vessel, orbiting
>a planet hidden behind a mysterious energy shield. Over the strong
>objections of his senior officers, Captain Picard and an away team beam
>over in search of the missing crew --
> And Vanish.
> But soon his captain's disappearance is not the only problem facing
>Commander Riker. For a mysterious disease has begun, ravaging the
>Enterprise crew. Now Riker must unravel the secrets of the planet below
>in order to rescue Picard -- and prevent the starship's destruction...
This is a good novel. It is unique in one respect: it is the one and
only time that the character of Dr. Katherine Pulaski aspires to be anything
more than a McCoy-clone.
[A Call to Darkness]
Plot Handling: 4
Next: The Kobayashi Maru
>TOS #47 The Kobayashi Maru Copyright December 1989
>Author: Julia Ecklar
>Historian's Note: This adventure takes place shortly after events
> chronicled in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
> A freak shuttlecraft accident -- and suddenly Captain Kirk and
>most of his senior officers find themselves adrift in space, with
>no hope of rescue, no hope of repairing their craft, or restoring
>communications -- with nothing, in short, but time on their hands.
> Time enough for each to tell the story of the Kobayashi Maru
>-- the Starfleet Academy test given to command cadets. Nominally
>a tactical exercise, the Kobayashi Maru is in fact a test of char-
>acter revealed in the choices each man makes -- and does not make.
> Discover now how Starfleet Cadets Kirk, Chekov, Scotty, and
>Sulu each faced the Kobayashi Maru... and became in turn Starfleet
This novel is thoroughly enjoyable; it's a fine accounting
of some of our heroes' antics during their Academy days, centered
around the Kobayashi Maru scenario...
The plot is solid, the characterization well done... I can't
find much room to fault this one. High marks.
[The Kobayashi Maru]
Plot Handling: 4
| Ron C. Carman || Quantum physicists get all the girls. |
| email@example.com || Al. Is he live, or is he a hologram? |