This week, Kirk breaks Starfleet’s most well-known and revered regulation, and this time he can’t simply chalk it up to bad writing. But his senior officers insist that Starfleet doesn’t know the whole story, and they’re willing to punch admirals, serve jail time, and hijack Orion slave ships to prove their case. As the individual crew members converge on the blockaded world where it all went down, things indeed begin to smell fishy—or more accurately, mildewy. Is this an alternate continuity? Has Spock joined the DSA? Will Sulu ditch his friends and become a full-time pirate? It’s the book that’s infringing on your God-given right to lower gravity.
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This week, when the Enterprise answers a distress call, the attackers, a race called the Choraii, turn out to be the culprits behind one of the Federation’s worst massacres on record. They pick up an ambassador and his mysterious attaché, who can communicate with the Choraii via the almighty yazz flute. Now the crew has to carefully navigate the music of the spheres, and if they don’t C♯, they’ll B♭. Meanwhile, a band of farmers is on hand to complain about technology and flight delays. Is the group that shuns technology also too good for vowels? Which side of the sickbay bed did Dr. Crusher wake up on? How much of a bonus does an author get for including a saucer separation in their book? It’s The Children of Hamlin, the book that happens when a Jethro Tull album and a bottle of Mr. Bubble love each other very much.
This week, Spock is honored to host a delegation of scientists who are in the neighborhood for the Nobel/Z.Magnees Prize ceremonies. It’s not long, however, before he subsequently gets framed for their attempted murder. To clear his friend’s name, Kirk will have to work on the sly to avoid ninja Vulcans and a commodore who never met an insubordination charge she didn’t like. What’s with all the robots? How freaky is Pathfinder porn? It’s the book that still couldn’t manage to make Mira Romaine interesting.
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.
If you were to ask a fan of Star Trek what Star Trek is “about”, there are some standard answers you’d probably get. I personally would say it’s about tackling the Big Questions and solving problems through reason, diplomacy, intellect, and non-violence. Last week’s book, Triangle, certainly checked those boxes. Whatever flaws their stories may possess, no one can accuse Marshak and Culbreath of shying away from the Really Big Questions. But sometimes, Star Trek is about dumb crap like the Enterprise computer falling in love with Captain Kirk, and that’s peachy too.
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