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#070: Doctor’s Orders (TOS #50)

This week, the Enterprise is making first contact with a world where three distinct species evolved from a common ancestor and peaceably coexist, and Starfleet is keen to get all of them on board for Federation admission. Kirk gives McCoy the conn for laffs, but when he disappears shortly after going planetside, it’s not so funny all of a sudden. Before he knows it, Bones has Starfleet and the Klingons, among other threats, breathing down his neck. What’s the most alien-sounding Earth language? Is Dr. McCoy a closet capitalist? When Naraht’s not on-screen, should everyone be asking, “Where’s Naraht?” It’s the book that reminds us that the universal translator wasn’t built in a day.

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#062: The Lost Years (TOS event novel)

This week, the Enterprise returns home from its successful five-year tour of the galaxy. They’ve played a lot of legendary shows and sold a ton of merch, and now they’re ready to live off the royalties. But there’s another rock god waiting in the wings to do some distressingly literal face-melting of his own. Meanwhile, Kirk reluctantly settles into the desk jockey phase of his career, Spock falls back on teaching, and Bones tries freelancing, but everyone knows the universe can’t keep these three separated for too long. What’s Kevin Riley up to these days? What happens when pulling rank goes wrong? Should McCoy try to get that subspace phone call fee waived? It’s the book that believes in the heart of the cards.

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#038: The Romulan Way (TOS #35)

You ever get to a point with food where you’re just completely over it? Like, nothing you can imagine sounds less appealing than eating or looking at food or thinking about food? That’s where I was with Romulans in Star Trek novels for a while. In the wake of Diane Duane’s first Rihannsu novel, a glut of stories featuring Romulans as the villains jammed up the publishing schedule—at one point, they figured into three of the four then-most recent stories—and though for the most part they acquitted themselves well enough, they just couldn’t hold a candle to Duane’s singular approach. (Though to be fair, not much can.) And now, just as I can feel my appetite for them returning, along comes Rihannsu number two—and it’s a meal fit for a Praetor.

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#036: Dreams of the Raven (TOS #34)

This week, we’re taking a look at Carmen Carter’s debut Dreams of the Raven, which is in fact a Star Trek novel and not a Sting album (I double-checked). The Enterprise answers a distress call that turns out to be a trap, and the stress of both the resulting casualties and a letter that dredges up some unpleasant feelings drives McCoy to drink. Before you know it, Bones falls down and breaks his crown, and the ship comes tumbling after. Will Kirk get back his trusted friend and adviser? How will the junior medical officer who is a highly conspicuous stand-in for the author fare in his place? And will we see this book in our dreams, or will we put it back on the shelf and say “Nevermore”?

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#030: Demons (TOS #30)

This week, almost everyone on the Enterprise and most of the population of Vulcan fall prey to energy-based brain parasites that take over their minds, and it looks like the only cure is fresh air and exorcise. Will Spock, Bones, and the New Girl of the Week tell the parasites “Get behind me, Satan”, or will they succumb to the temptation to let them take over the galaxy? It’s J.M. Dillard’s Demons, or, Possession Is Nine-Tenths of the Crew.

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