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#097: Ice Trap (TOS #60)

A cold front moves in this week as the planet Nordstral faces a host of problems. Medical staff aboard an orbital pharmaceutical station have gone cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs; a team of researchers has been lost in a shuttle accident; and constant polarity reversals are turning the planet into the terraforming project from hell. While Kirk and Bones go 20,000 leagues under the sea and release the kraken, Uhura and Chekov run from a village chief whose city-slicker upbringing belies a dangerous mean streak. Is Chekov’s paranoia justified? What’s the straight dope on sugar-free lemon drops? And since when is Bones afraid of water? All this and more in Ice Trap, the book that’s all in on this exciting new field of study known as phrenology.

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#082: Renegade (TOS #55)

This week, some aliens want to see the manager, and unfortunately for Kirk, he’s the manager. But when Spock and McCoy go missing the second they beam down for negotiations, he has to figure out what’s causing his shields and sensors to go wee-wonky if he wants them back. Who wants revenge on Kirk this time? Do the Klingons know what they want? And how screwed would Starfleet officers be without tricorders? All this and more in Renegade, the book where nobody is who they seem.

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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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