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Star Trek 6 by James Blish
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Close on the heels of his previous book, James Blish published another entry in his series of Trek novelizations, Star Trek 6. This one includes adaptations of "The Savage Curtain", "The Lights of Zetar", "The Apple", "By Any Other Name", "The Cloud Minders", and "The Mark of Gideon".

Blish's introduction to this volume is amusing; he reprints a substantial selection from a letter he received from a real Captain Kirk:

By an interesting coincidence I happen to be Captain [Pierre D.] Kirk. This being the case, the men of my last command built a rather elaborate "organization with an organization" based on the series. My jeep was slightly altered so that its registration numbers appeared as NCC-1701. Our weapons were referred to as phasers...

He goes on, recounting an interesting anecdote from his time in Vietnam.

As for the stories: they're the usual fare, I'm afraid. "The Savage Curtain", if you'll recall, involves simulacra of Abraham Lincoln and Surak fighting alongside Kirk and Spock for the entertainment and edification of some inscrutable alien species. Here was a great chance for Blish to elaborate on Kirk's identification with and admiration of Lincoln, or to give us more insight into Vulcan culture. Alas, he only wrote a straight adaptation of the script, and reading about Abraham Lincoln engaging in a wrestling match isn't as entertaining as seeing it happen.

"The Lights of Zetar" is simply not an interesting story. The most interesting thing about it is that it was co-written by Shari Lewis, famous puppeteer--and thus we learn that television writing is not her strong suit. It's all right; I still like Lamb Chop.

"The Apple", too, is as uninspiring as its counterpart on television. Here Blish might have considered in more detail whether Kirk really did right by essentially destroying a utopian society, but no. Best to rush back to the ship in time for the 'Spock looks like Satan' joke. A terrible pity.

"By Any Other Name" was fairly amusing on television. The short story suffers without James Doohan's very entertaining performance as Scotty trying to get an alien drunk--and succeeding, but being too drunk himself to do anything about it. This story has another example of Kirk's predisposition to solving every problem with alien women by kissing them. "Oh. You are trying to seduce me," says the woman in question. "Go on then," she does not say, but that's how it happens anyway. Kirk really only has one diplomatic skill. It's fortunate he rarely has to negotiate with men.

Both "The Cloud Minders" and "The Mark of Gideon" were stories with, I feel, a great deal of potential, but neither was explored in any real depth, so each ends up being fairly forgettable. The former addresses class issues, and the latter some tangle of overpopulation, birth control, and suicide. Plenty of room to tell interesting stories, but instead they just rush from scene to scene without wasting any time contemplating the issues at hand. It's a shame.

Star Trek 6 is another set of average adaptations of an average mix of episodes. If you particularly enjoyed "The Savage Curtain", it'd be worth a read, but that's really the only bright spot here. And to think, there are five more of these books! What horrors will the next volume unleash? ( )
  Sopoforic | Dec 3, 2015 |
"The Savage Curtain" S03E22
"The Lights of Zetar" S03E18
"The Apple" S02E05
"By Any Other Name" S02E22
"The Cloud Minders" S03E21
"The Mark of Gideon" S03E16
  schteve | Aug 24, 2015 |
This paperback was published in 1972 and contains 6 short stories of roughly 25 pages each plus a preface by Blish. Four of the stories are from the third and final season of the original Star Trek series and 2 are from the second season. These aired originally on television between 1967-1969. I was hoping for some light entertainment and this fit the bill. The stories all list the original screenwriters. From my rather dated memory of the episodes they also feel pretty authentic. The six stories included here are:

The Savage Curtain
The Lights of Zetar
The Apple
By Any Other Name
The Cloud Minders
The Mark of Gideon

In the preface Blish includes a rather entertaining letter received from a Captain Kirk serving in Vietnam. The outfit has gone to rather great lengths to personalize themselves along Star Trek lines. They fight as "The Enterprise." Trekkers were clearly a force to be reckoned with long ago. It has been quite a long while since I have watched any episodes of the original series and the stories in this book only brought forth vague memories of them, with the exception of "The Apple." That story is the one where a supercomputer "Vaal" runs a planet that at first glance resembles the garden of Eden. There is a small group of humans who feed Vaal. I recall the episode as one of the really lame ones but it doesn't come off too badly as a story. These really seemed like some of the lesser episodes from the series. Nevertheless they were enjoyable on a basic light entertainment level and I enjoyed reading them.

It was fun and I'll have to do another soon. ( )
  RBeffa | Mar 12, 2015 |
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novelisations of Star Trek episodes.
"The Savage Curtain" "The Lights of Zetar" "The Apple" "By Any Other Name" "The Cloud Minders" "The Mark of Gideon"
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