Shore Leave #09: Obscure Horns Edition

Shore Leave is the non-Trek culture arm of the Deep Space Spines website, posted every other Tuesday and made possible by donations to the site’s Patreon.


I’ve gotten far enough ahead on Star Trek reading to feel comfortable checking out some other stuff, and first up came Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller. It’s the future, and climate change has wrecked most of the continents, so now people live on these island cities in the Arctic powered by geothermal energy, such as the one in this story, called Qaanaaq. Of course, it’s the same tune with a different beat—there are still those who are obscenely wealthy and those who are unbelievably destitute doing anything they can to scrape by. But then a woman who can step to all comers shows up riding a killer while and shakes up the social order, and several characters from wildly different walks of life find a connection they never realized they had.

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#043: The IDIC Epidemic (TOS #38)

This week, a Vulcan science colony gets rocked by a plague that threatens to flush its reputation for diversity down the sonic toilet. But that’s not all: the local hydroelectric plant is short-staffed and falling apart, and if they don’t get it up to code before the spring thaw, the snowflakes could trigger a flood that will have everyone frantically searching for a safe space. Can Drs. McCoy and M’Benga and some old friends find a cure-all that will cure all? It’s The IDIC Epidemic, the book that makes a Benetton ad look like a Klan rally.

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#042: Final Frontier (TOS event novel)

This week, the longest Star Trek novel to date takes us once more back to the pre-TOS past to fill in some of the history of Daddy Kirk, a.k.a. George Samuel Kirk. He’s the first first officer of some new high-tech doodad called a … star … ship? But on a goodwill mission to save some families trapped in an ion storm, they overshoot their destination and end up smack dab in the middle of Romulan space. As they try to figure out how to get home without dying, Robert April and George Kirk butt heads over the best approach to commanding a ship. Is April the time of the season, or does father know best? Is it a little weird how many decent Romulans there are in the books? How empty, on a scale from very to extremely, is James Kirk’s threat to quit Starfleet? It’s Final Frontier, or, The Last Book to Have That Ugly Slanted Font Thing Going On on the Cover.

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Shore Leave #08: Better World Books

Shore Leave is the non-Trek culture arm of the Deep Space Spines website, posted every other Tuesday and made possible by donations to the site’s Patreon.


Well, Spiners—can I call my readers Spiners? Don’t answer that, it was rhetorical—we’re due for another round of Shore Leave, and I haven’t done any of the sort of sort of new and exciting (or even new and boring) thing at any point during the last two weeks that would normally populate this biweekly space. So this week, I’m taking a different tack.

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#041: Bloodthirst (TOS #37)

The last time J.M Dillard tried to mix Star Trek with horror, it didn’t turn out so hot. The idea scored some points for novelty, but the execution was lacking. But if at first you don’t succeed, so the saying try again, and in this case, the second time’s the charm. Now, just in time for Christmas ’87 comes a good old-fashioned Halloween yarn. Though the premise—”what if vampires, but Star Trek”—could have easily succumbed to risible goofiness, Dillard never allowed it to dominate the story and fortified it with some of her best character work yet. This week, we check out Bloodthirst, or, Porphyria and Loathing in Las Tanis.

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