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McCoy: Provenance of Shadows by David R.…
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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This is the first five star rating I've ever given a Star Trek novel. Even though Dr McCoy has never been one of my favorite characters, this novel was well imagined and very satisfying. ( )
  Michael_Kellar | Feb 26, 2018 |
As usual, I rated this book as a Star Trek book, not in comparison to other sci-fi, or books in general. I've never been a big fan of Dr. McCoy, so I wouldn't normally have bought this book. However, I originally picked it up because I had been told on a message board that it explained how McCoy's going back in time and saving Edith Keeler in "City on the Edge of Forever" created the violent Mirror Universe in "Mirror, Mirror." There's actually no indication of this being true that I can see, although I can see how someone could extrapolate the story and come to their own conclusion.

It was interesting to see what happened to McCoy after saving Edith's life, and how that eventually led to a delay in the US entering WWII, although that timeline moved a little slow at times. I also thought it was interesting to see what was going on in McCoy's head during some pivotal moments from the Original Series and the films. I just wish the author had stuck to McCoy's POV during those scenes. I realize this is part of an interlocked trilogy, but since Kirk was a minor character here, it didn't make sense that we would occasionally see the story from his view (and others'), such as when he saved the whales from drowning in the Klingon ship at the end of STIV (especially since it basically just went through what we already saw in the movie). I would have much rather read what was going on with McCoy at that time, and stuck with the one perspective. Other than that, I don't have any complaints. I highly recommend this book to fans of TOS, especially if you like good doctor. ( )
  cvalin | Jan 24, 2016 |
Let me start by borrowing a few lines from Marty Robbins' song El Paso City (yes, I'm mixing country/western with scifi). "Could it be that man can disappear from life and live another time/ and does the mystery deepen cause you think that you yourself lived in that other time?" This is the basic premise of McCoy's installment of Crucible. Admittedly, it took a few chapters to adapt to the dual timeline, but it clearly develops one of the big principles of science fiction -- how will changing the past alter the future? I found the alternate timeline to be very compelling.
Some reviewers have stated that George's tying in TV / movie plots was overdone, but I found it refreshing since it had been several years since I had watched them. They helped the parallel stories mesh as you watched McCoy come to grips with his dual pasts.
I also found this novel to do something that most of the other novels in the various Star Trek series don't do -- significant character development. I gained a much deeper understanding of the man that was "Bones". I'm looking forward to the treatment of Spock in the next novel. ( )
  Hedgepeth | Aug 26, 2015 |
'Meandering' is the word to describe the McCoy instalment of David George's trilogy, I would say. Even my minor crush on 'Bones' couldn't prevent my eyes from crossing after 600 plus pages of recapping, overlapping and a heavy dose of amateur psychology.

The premise is fairly clever - a dual timeline following on from the first season episode, 'The City on the Edge of Forever' - but the laboured and piecemeal delivery sucks all the fun out of the story and the character. The key McCoy episodes from the original series are novelised, and on into the films, but in a plodding, cut and paste narrative which neither enlightens nor entertains. The twentieth century Earth 'alternate reality', wherein McCoy is trapped back in time after saving Edith Keeler's life, was original and therefore more engrossing, but the pacing was still off. The final chapters came across like a mishmash of The Bridges of Madison County and Pearl Harbor - great reading if you like that sort of thing, but not exactly Star Trek.

Did Bones survive George's treatment in a recognisable form? Yes, but barely. All the 'tortured hero' blather about running from the loss of his mother was overdone, but I enjoyed the scenes with Kirk, Spock and the rest of the Enterprise crew. McCoy was at heart a country doctor - hence the nickname - so his 'other life' in 1930-50s small town USA helped to preserve the humanity and compassion at the core of the doctor's personality. The key plot element of the second timeline - that Edith Keeler went on to keep America from fighting in the Second World War until it was too late to stop Hitler - was perhaps too adventurous, and lacked any real impact. And like a true epic romance, McCoy earns a happy ending in both realities.

I feel slightly guilty about being so negative, but honestly, my patience was stretched to the limit with David George's ambitious but drawn out narrative. Why regurgitate all the episodes and films? Surely any Star Trek fans reading a novel like this would already be familiar with the canon material. I get that a lot happened in between McCoy passing through the Guardian of Forever's portal and the TNG episode 'Encounter at Farpoint', which George also references, but there were too many plot synopses and not enough creative storytelling. McCoy's repetitive and self-destructive romances were also rather trying after a while - I have a hard time buying Bones in the role of a tortured ladykiller!

Kudos for squeezing in a 'I'm a doctor, not a - ' line, and the technobabble is impressive, but I think I'll stick to the DVDs. ( )
  AdonisGuilfoyle | Feb 23, 2013 |
*drums fingers on desk* I've mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed reading it very much (and even though I joked that at 624 pages it wins the Interminable Star Trek Book award, I'm sorry to leave George's interpretation of these characters), but I spent the first 550 pages trying to figure out What Was Going On only to realize that the book was doing what it said on the tin all along. Ruminate whilst I illuminate. (Spoilers ahead.)

The Crucible series contains three books, each one dealing with one member of the triumvirate of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy and all hinging on that most fateful of TOS episodes "The City on the Edge of Forever." "City" strands McCoy in Earth's past, where he does something to change the course of history, thus also stranding fellow crew members Kirk, Spock, Scotty, Uhura, and some redshirts on the Guardian planet because the altered history means the Enterprise is no longer orbiting that world (and probably doesn't exist at all). Kirk and Spock follow him back in time to figure out what he did and stop it, thus restoring the time line. They are successful. Provenance of Shadows follows two story lines--one begins with the successful conclusion of Kirk and Spock's mission to restore the time line and continues from there through the next one hundred or so years, focusing primarily on McCoy. The other follows McCoy in the past, where, unlike in the events of "City," he remains stranded in 1930s New York. This story line continues to follow McCoy in the past for about twenty-five years.

Now, seeing this set-up, I'm thinking, "Okay, what weird time-travel shenanigans has altered the time line again, preventing Kirk and Spock from going back and getting McCoy, and how is it going to get sorted?" I persist with this thinking nearly to the end of the book, where it is revealed that the time line in the past really happened, as did the restored time line. Thus: If Kirk and the landing party could experience, even briefly, the altered time line resulting from McCoy's trip to the past (i.e. the Enterprise doesn't exist), that means that McCoy lived out a life in the past. In fact, the whole 330 years between 1930 and the present of the episode played out. Then Kirk and Spock went back in time to stop those events (which had already happened in the future in their past) from happening. McCoy, who comes back with them once the time line is restored, distantly remembers those events and relives them through nightmares.

The point of all of this double time line wickety-wonk is to provide us with a sort of biography-like exploration of McCoy and his pervasive loneliness. This the book does very well. George does a great job illustrating how McCoy put together a new life in Earth's past (and the unfolding alternate time line, which (of course) involves Germany winning World War II, is appropriately chilling) and an admirable job weaving together the threads of McCoy's life in the restored time line using events established by Star Trek canon (though I will say that at times the restored time line story line felt a bit like Guess Which Episode I'm Cleverly Summarizing for My Own Purposes Now). Eventually, the two story lines work together to provide a portrait of McCoy's life and character. Which, in retrospect, is exactly what the book seems to have intended to do. Short of putting a sticker on the front what says "No really! No big sci-fi devilry waiting in the wings!" I don't know how the book could have indicated that this was the case, but I think I would have been happier with it if I had not been expecting the Science-y Revelation that Makes It All Clear for so long. (M'Benga Numbers? Hellooo, MacGuffin.) Not getting that revelation felt a bit like an anti-climax, but that's probably because I picked up a box of Shredded Wheat and expected to find Lucky Charms inside. Can't blame the Shredded Wheat for that. ( )
2 vote lycomayflower | Aug 16, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743491688, Mass Market Paperback)

David R. George's Crucible Trilogy explores the legacy of one pivotal, crucial moment in the lives of the men at the heart of Star Trek - what led them to it, and to each other, and how their destinies were intertwined. For Doctor Leonard McCoy, life takes two paradoxically divergent paths. In one, displaced in time, he saves a woman from dying in a traffice accident, and in doing so alters Earth's history. Stranded in the past, he struggles to find a way back to his own century. But living an existence he was not meant to, he will eventually have to move on, and ultimately face the shadows born of his lost life. In the other, he is prevented from saving the woman's life, allowing Earth's history to remain unchanged. Returning to the present, he is nonetheless haunted by the echoes of an existence he never lived, and by fears which will bring him full circle to the shadows he never faced.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:29 -0400)

Three men once came together to destroy the world - and then restore it. One isolated moment on the edge of forever, the echoes of which will inform the rest of their lives. David R. George's 'Crucible' trilogy explores that pivotal, crucial moment in the lives of the men at the heart of 'Star Trek'.… (more)

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