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Reviews of ‘Star Trek’ Novel Adaptation & Audio Book + Limited Signed Hardcover Announced May 10, 2009

by TrekMovie.com Staff , Filed under: Books,Review,Star Trek (2009 film) , trackback

Today The Library Computer brings you two special (and somewhat opposing) reviews of Alan Dean Foster’s adaptation of the new Star Trek feature film. Firstly Robert Lyons reviews the novel itself, and then John Tenuto reviews the audiobook version (read by Zachary Quinto). We also have news and a first look at the limited edition signed hardcover edition.

 

REVIEW – ‘STAR TREK’ novel by Alan Dean Foster
(based on a screenplay by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman)

review by Robert Lyons

[Please Note: This Review Contains Spoilers]

Foster opens “Star Trek” with an amazingly reflective piece of sci-fi writing, one which you feel is a tone-setter for the entire work. It was the perfect opening for a new era of Star Trek. For a while, Foster’s adaptation goes strong – but when a post-pubescent James Kirk takes off for San Francisco on a recruit shuttle, the book begins a drop-off that it never recovers from.

Given the lateness of the announcement of the adaptation, much of the blandness of the latter two-thirds of the book can be written off to the haste with which the adaptation was prepared. Typos slipped through (‘manuel control’, anyone? I didn’t know that Andrew Sachs had a cameo aboard the Kelvin in the film!), some inexplicable goofs also passed (the emitter of the drill cannot be ‘thousands of kilometers’ above the surface of a planet if Kirk and Sulu are going to remove their helmets), and, unfortunately, it feels that there is little or no passion, urgency, or impetus to any of the situations in the book. This stands in stark contrast to the film, which is so packed with action that strong regard for what is going on is being thrown at you every minute.

Foster does include some interesting material in the novel that is not in the film. For example, an extended scene with young Jim Kirk and his brother is included that explains a lot of Jim’s motivations for becoming a carousing drunk by the time he would have been serving aboard the Farragut in the ‘Prime’ timeline (as well as explaining why he was in that Corvette). In general the novel does a better job than the film in explaining the back-stories of Kirk and Spock, where that part of the film was likely cut down due to time. Some of this will likely be available in the deleted scenes section of the film’s DVD, but will be welcomed in the novel format by those eager for more back-story or who are too impatient to wait for the home video release. In particular, the adaptation’s take on Kirk’s relationship with his stepfather and his brother provide a far better baseline for understanding Kirk than anything else, leading to mystification about why it would have been omitted in the film.

While Foster is to be commended for including these scenes in the adaptation, his choice to eliminate other scenes from the film – in particular a scene between Kirk and McCoy that sets up the Kobayashi Maru – leaves Kirk looking, on the eve of his graduation, like a impudent twit instead of a cadet deserving of a commission in Starfleet. At least in the film you have a deeper understanding of what is going on at this point in time and can relate a bit better – even if you find it to stretch credibility.

Nero, in the adaptation, is a wholly ineffective villain – not that he was much better in the film. Even having read the prequel comic, “Countdown”, the adaptation leaves me with no genuine reason to give a damn about him, and he comes across as a cardboard cut-out, hell-bent on rage and retribution. Khan had dimension. Chang had moxy. Nero has nothing, nor does Foster contribute anything to him that the film does not (except for his Romulan name). Other than coming to the obvious conclusion that the Narada is from the future, nothing is said of the ship’s origins; and, curiously, nothing substantial is added to our knowledge of the time between the destruction of the Kelvin and Nero’s re-emergence onto the galactic scene. The rest of the book seems to have plot-hole after plot-hole, and while the mind-meld sequence explaining the whole Nero and Spock Prime backstory works marginally better in the book than in the movie, it still leaves a lot to be desired.

Readers who are hungry for some Kirk and Spock back-story will find Foster’s “Trek” adaptation appealing, but those who want deeper insight into the nuTrek universe will be disappointed. Only McCoy and Spock Prime come across with any degree of depth to them, though Uhura has her moments (acting, as she does, as a barometer of Kirk). Pike, Nero, and Robau all come across entirely wooden, and Scotty fares little better – feeling like a parody of James Doohan’s worst moments. Quinto’s Spock is unique, and the book left me with no real strong feeling towards him either way. As far as Kirk goes, Foster leaves me asking – if I am an Enterprise crew member – for an immediate transfer to the next quadrant… I see in Kirk a man who is going to get me killed, and, to be honest, this isn’t the Kirk I would follow into battle… or anywhere else, for that matter. I certainly can’t see him as an explorer, unless you count exploring women’s bodies as exploration. This is a marked difference from the film, as you can begin to see something of the Kirk we remember develop over the course of the story.

“Star Trek” the adaptation was a severe disappointment to me. Having read all of the classic movie adaptations, this falls way short of those works. There is nothing extra (beyond deleted scenes) in this book that would fan the flames of anyone, or that would make this book worthwhile. Foster stayed pretty close to the script, and in doing so diminished the value and the potential of his own adaptation. Further, the on-screen execution of the script provided a more entertaining experience than most of the book, and given the choice between the two, I’ll take the on-screen version over the book any day. (This isn’t always the case with me; I preferred the novelizations of Star Trek II, III, and VI over the on-screen versions.)

While I held out a level of optimism that the theatrical version would be more engaging, my enthusiasm for the film dropped several notches in the wake of reading the book. I was all for a good reboot of the Star Trek universe, and while a reboot is defiantly what we get (at least from the time of the Kelvin on), I have to admit that I may just now be discovering how much of an Original Series purist I am.

The trade paperback of "Star Trek" is officially released on May 12th, but is already available in some book stores.

 
"Star Trek" available at Amazon May 12 (also on Kindle)

 

REVIEW – ‘Star Trek’ Audio book version

review by John Tenuto

Prologue – When thinking about whether an audio book of a feature film is successful it must be remembered that many people are responsible for the adaptation. There is the author of the novel itself. The author is not responsible for the overall story (unless it is an usual instance such as Gene Roddenberry who by all accounts actually did write the novel for Star Trek: The Motion Picture himself). That belongs to the teleplay or feature film writers. A good author should craft a narrative that takes advantage of the format of a novel providing insights into the motivations and experiences of the characters. This is accomplished by authors adding new scenes or lines which help the narrative in a way possible in the format of a novel. Films usually do not offer insights into the internal monologues of characters, yet novels definitely could. The fun of novelizations is that they also include scenes that were filmed yet not included in the final edit, also helping the enjoyment of the narrative. Then there is the narrator. The narrator must maintaining the interest of the listeners and provide distinct voices for each of the characters. Does the narrator of the audio book engage the theater of the imagination? Then there is the company that produces the audio book which is responsible for packaging and other quality control issues.

The Star Trek audio book is excellent, succeeding on almost all of these concerns.

The Adaptation by Alan Dean Foster

Alan Dean Foster has credentials as both a talented and prolific adaptor to Star Trek and a writer of original science fiction, plus he has his own contributions to the Trek universe (including story credit for The Motion Picture). Foster wrote the amazing adaptation to the first Star Wars film and started the entire Star Wars extended universe with his Splinter of the Mind’s Eye. These experiences and talents are clearly helpful to his adaptation of Star Trek. Foster’s adaptation provides expanded scenes and important character motivations that improve the experience of the film itself. For example, his adaptation of the bar scene between Pike and Kirk and the internal monologue of Kirk as he appreciates the manufacturing of the USS Enterprise provide much needed information. In the film, Pike merely mentions that Starfleet needs people with Kirk’s personality again. In the book, we get a discussion of the conflict between new Starfleet (educated and competent) and old Starfleet (mavericks and history makers) which is a real issue faced by many militaries today (and symbolized in the Star Trek-referencing film Crimson Tide). It is this that is really motivating Pike which is very reasonable. A good adaptation is both a good book in its own accord, yet also helps makes experiencing the film a better engagement and that occurs because of Foster’s text.

The Narration by Zachary Quinto

I cannot offer enough accolades to Zachary Quinto’s narration. He is simply the best audio book narrator in the history of Star Trek, and that is saying quite a great deal considering the formidable and venerable talents of George Takei and James Doohan. Yet, Quinto shows all his acting abilities in the audio adaptation and he has a thoughtful style as narrator. He performs Scotty and Chekov flawlessly (watch out Anton Yelchin!). He also has a subtly in his voice while performing Kirk that is very good and displays the assuredness of the character without being a parody. One of the fun things about listening to audio books is to hear how various narrators act out characters of the opposite sex (think William Shatner in "Turnabout Intruder"). Quinto does very good at hinting at the femininity of characters without lisping to exaggerations or stereotypical imitations. In the film, Eric Bana uses several voices as he performs Nero (compare his voices when welcoming back Spock with talking to Pike). Quinto does a very good job of staying consistent and sounding like Bana. Quinto is a true master of various accents.

As the generic narrator, Quinto also displays excellent qualities. His tonation and energy help maintain interest during the 8.5 hours of the audio book. His abilities as narrator and character actor are especially seen in the scenes on the USS Kelvin. With only his voice (no sound effects or music accompany his reading of the text), Quinto is able to convey all the sadness and tragedy of those moments. In fact, he is so good that as a father and fan, I am not embarrassed to say there were tears in my eyes while listening to Quinto’s heartbreaking reading of the scenes between Winona and George Kirk. That he is able to engender this kind of emotion in an audio book speaks volumes about Quinto’s talent.

The Production Value by Pocket Books

There are some problems with the production value by Pocket Books. The box art is great for the CD versions, yet the packaging is very flimsy (the internal packaging isn’t a jewel case but paper holders sure to be a problem no matter how careful the consumer is with the audio book). Also, it would have been nice to include some sound effects and music. However, Quinto is so talented that these are not as much of a concern. It is great though that the audio book is unabridged which was a good decision by Pocket Books and the audio adventure is an amazing 8.5 hours long. Because it is so good, it is hoped that Pocket Books continues to utilize Zachary Quinto and does indeed bring back the audio book to the world of Star Trek more often.

The audio version of Star Trek is very recommended and a welcomed addition to the library of Trek adventures. It is also available in some stores now, but will be in wide release (and at Amazon) on May 12th.


"Star Trek" audiobook available at Amazon May 12
 

LIMITED EDITION SIGNED HARD COVER COMING IN JUNE

Simon & Schuster has just worked out a deal with Premiere Collectibles to release a special limited edition hardcover version of the Star Trek adaptation. Coming June 11th, each one of the 5000 books will be signed by Alan Dean Foster and cost $25. They will be available for pre-order at premierecollectibles.com soon. TrekMovie has the first look at the cover.


Limited edition hardcover "Star Trek" (click to enlarge)
 

Comments

1. thorsten - May 10, 2009

mavericks and history makers… you got it!

2. Jake - May 10, 2009

The movie was incredible. My family and little brother and even my 6 yr old nephew liked it. And they usually couldnt sit through one episode of any star trek show with me. Wonderful story , great acting , and now i cant stop buying this stuff! But i love it. seen it twice ….and i know this is just the begining!

3. Jake - May 10, 2009

Just a note:
I dont like star gate, I dont like battle star galactica and I think star wars is..ok.

In fact the only show that ever appealed to me or captured my interests was Star Trek. And love them all. From the ST:OS, the movies , TNG, ..and I loved DS9, and through vogager and enterprise. I loved how this whole world fit together. Just how humanity is going foward with hope and optimism.

hands down

Star Trek is the greates franchise In History.

-Jake

4. Jake - May 10, 2009

p.s. That includes the Great New Movie!!

5. Jake - May 10, 2009

OH YEAH, That Out of any sci-fi shows and movies!!!

6. CJB - May 10, 2009

Who do we have to pressure to get a technical manual for this new Trek universe?

I think it would sell, especially since virtually nothing carries over from before.

7. Robert Saint John - May 10, 2009

“I preferred the novelizations of Star Trek II, III, and VI over the on-screen versions.”

With all due respect for your time and effort, Mr. Lyons, I’m not sure I can trust your review of the novel. I did like the manuel joke, though!

8. AJ - May 10, 2009

That’s a bummer about ADF’s novel. Like many of us, I used to look at the novelizations to ‘fill out’ the stories. I read all of his “LOG” books as a kid, and he was able to take a 20 minute Trek cartoon, and do it true sci-fi justice.

I think I may, on the strength of John’s review, pick up the ZQ reading. He’s a true talent.

The film is great anyway. Maybe Mr. Foster could go back and rewrite it without the disadvantage of what was an immediately looming deadline.

9. SirMartman - May 10, 2009

I wonder if its too soon to ask about any new news on the next Trek movie,,ST: ???

10. Rainbucket - May 10, 2009

Interesting that we got two reviews of Foster’s novelization, with differing conclusions. Good to get a broader perspective. But I’ll admit I now really want to hear Quinto’s storytelling.

11. TC - May 11, 2009

@ 6

I still haven’t been able to find anything remotely related to the new timeline in the form of anything technical, plan, schematic, or other…I really wish there were reference material available…it’s fun reading …at least a deckplan or two.

Even a PDF would work…something besides EPK photos.

TC

12. thorsten - May 11, 2009

@11…

It looks like there is a transporter room on the bridge deck…
two right and one left on the starboard side ;)

13. Valar1 - May 11, 2009

11

“still haven’t been able to find anything remotely related to the new timeline in the form of anything technical, plan, schematic, or other”

maybe you could look on the Budweiser site for their Van Nuys plant blueprints? lol

14. S. John Ross - May 11, 2009

I can’t hold it against Alan Dean Foster for not investing the material with urgency … onscreen, Abrams (and Daniel Mindel) achieved it by giving the movie such breakneck speed that there’s no time to reflect (not unlike a teenager with a fake ID flashing it so fast he hopes the bouncer won’t notice), and it worked big-time for the movie, but that gimmick won’t fly in a novel, leaving Foster with the task of working with the actual ideas, which were watery at best, and more often just so much vapor. With extra time to develop it, sure, but it sounds like he didn’t have that extra time.

So if the adaptation isn’t among his best, I can dig that.

15. yoyoyoyo - May 11, 2009

There’s some dialog in the book on p. 14 after Ayel has appeared on the view screen and ordered Robau to come aboard the Narada. George Kirk tells Robau that he thinks they’re Romulans and goes on to say “they’re the closest known genetic cousins of Vulcans”.

This kind of irked me because I thought we established in ‘Balance of Terror’ and ‘Enterprise’ that no human has seen a Romulan and wouldn’t know their relation to Vulcans. I thought the timeline only diverged at this point as a result of the Narada vs Kelvin confrontation.

So wouldn’t that mean that George Kirk would have no idea of their relation. I figure after the battle, startfleet would review the ‘black box’ and figure out their relation, so that by the time jim kirk is in starfleet it’s common knowledge.

Was this an error by the writer of the novel, or something plain I’m missing? Any clarification would be great. Thanks

16. wkiryn - May 11, 2009

15

“ST:Enterprise” and Balance of Terror aren’t exactly compatible for one thing.

Or there was a novel called I believe titled “Enterprise” where George Kirk under the command of Robert April discovers the Romulans secret and actually plays a trick on them inspiring Romulans to create cloaking devices. (Keep in mind this was back when Cloaking devices were brand new in TOS unlike the psuedoprequel ST:Enterprise where it’s fairly common technology)

The real answer is the creators of ST: Enterprise and ST:2009 (is this line only in the novel?) have a really hard time following the idea that there was a point where no one knew what romulans looked like. Maybe they aren’t talented enough to write within that boundary – or they think the audience won’t notice because they were raised on VOYAGER.

I don’t buy for a second that the split in continuity between TOS and ST:2009 happened with the Kelvin – the Romulan issue being one reason it seems. The Kelvin having the ST:2009 style ship design is another. Especially the deflecter dish makes it obvious. And it sounds like the prime characters understand the JJ-verse stardates.

17. Jim Smith - May 11, 2009

Okay, Nero is a good villain for this story because he’s an inversion of Kirk and Spock. Kirk is, like Nero, a blue collar kid who suffers unspeakably because of a catastrophe that is in no way his fault. Kirk (and later Spock) turn their lives around despite this; they create, they become positive, they put aside anger and save lives. Nero becomes selfishly obsessed with revenge, with deliberately doing to others what has been *accidentally* done to him. He’s thematically apt, just as the selfish Khan is, just as the Chang-as-mirror-of-Kirk is.

18. Jim Smith - May 11, 2009

@16 stardates have never been consistent; fans have rationalised them but there is no system. I don’t have an issue with that.

The thing about their being a time when no one knows what Romulans looked like only applies in ‘Balance of Terror’. Now I love ‘Balance of Terror’ but plenty of it has been ignored in the past. In it Spock only theorises that Romulans and Vulcans have a common ancestry. A couple of years later on TOS it’s an established fact that everyone knows. This kind of ‘information creep’ is common in franchises.

19. Jacob - May 11, 2009

Even if the efficacy of the novel could be maximized, this is one movie that would not make for a good novelization. Nothing could make up for watching the actual actors fill out their roles, especially since the movie is written to “reintroduce” the new actors and play off of audience expectations of this brand of reboot. I mean half the fun of this movie is in seeing the characters recast. That would totally be lost in a book.

20. Dyson Sphere - May 11, 2009

Sad to hear about the book. It might have been better to take time and flesh it out rather than rush things (like was done with the movie).

21. Carlos Teran - May 11, 2009

It wouldn’t be the first Alan Dean Foster novel to fall short on some subject or two. It’s sad, because I was looking forward to fill in some gaps in the movie, and flesh out the plot. I usually form my mental image of the movie using a blend of the movie itself and the book adaptation for the back story, but it seems I’m gonna be disappointing myself this time around.

Of course, I’m gonna read it, to form my own opinion, but I don’t think I’ll be that far away from Robert’s.

22. cap10kirk - May 11, 2009

its a shame they didn’t add much. it would have been a better movie if pike had told kirk to rejoin starfleet instead of join. this would have Salvaged the farragut story and Set up kirk returned to go to command school.

23. Randy H. - May 11, 2009

#16: I suspect that Nero and Spock Prime fell back not only in time but switched entire universes. Rather like the Defiant did in “In a Mirror, Darkly” from ST:ENT. That would account for the differences in Stardates and general starship design. It would also account for what are likely to be additional issues in future stories with differences from the Prime universe. (As in: “So what ever happened with Talos IV?” or “Funny that there’s ANOTHER Delta Vega out here”)

I suspect we should expect major differences in the universes from here on out, and should just reconcile it that way.

24. Salmakia - May 11, 2009

I wish this audiobook was released in Europe too, but – alas – no news yet

25. Randy H. - May 11, 2009

#16: Also, as to the Romulans, if I am right and this is an alternate universe then (a) the Earth/Romulan war may not have taken place, (b) the war may have taken place but Earth learned what Romulan’s looked like, or (whether a different universe or not) (c) the Kelvin incident had repercussions that drew the Romulans and the Federation into contact much earlier than in the Prime universe we know.

On cloaking technology, the way to force fit ENT and “Balance of Terror” together is to interpret Spock’s words (“Invisibility is theoretically possible, Captain– selectively bending light. But the power cost is enormous. They may have solved that.”) to mean that the Federation thought “invisibility” was impossible because all previous forms of cloaking had been penetrated and by that time were of no practical use.

26. Holger - May 11, 2009

I liked the novel. Much better than the movie, in fact. That’s because I absolutely can’t get along with JJ’s style of directing and Foster’s novel presents the story to me without me having to watch that unbearable movie.

27. thorsten - May 11, 2009

@23, 25…

Randy, if we follow Bob Orcis explanation, Nero and Spock travelled back in time in the Primeverse. Neros attack on the Kelvin and Georges death created the Orciverse. Spocks Jellyfish was quantum-entangled to the Narada by the red matter created black holes event horizon and ended up in the Orciverse 25 years after the Narada arrived.

28. Mike Ten - May 11, 2009

#23 I think the trek universe changed in the movie First Contact which altered the Enterprise TV show universe. Cochrane and Lillie saw the Enterprise-E and may have had a hand in the early design of the NX-01 which probably didn’t exist before First Contact.

In Star Trek The Motion Picture and the Next Generation the walls displaying past ships named Enterprise showed the space shuttle, old sail ships and the aircraft carriers Enterprise but no NX-01.

With First Contact changing the timeline first this explains the design of the Kelvin and Enterprise and the use of the delta on every uniform.
Nero changed the timeline even more or this is just another universe all together.

29. I am Kurok! - May 11, 2009

I can’t wait to get the novel.

The movie absolutely rocked! It took ST back into the Action/Adventure genre-as in the beginning, technology is used as a means to an end, and not the focus of the story, I think thats what turned the masses off to ST.

JJ and the gang brought it home again. They wove many elements of the series and movies into the story ( SPOILER ALERT-I loved Pike’s TMP-style Admiral’s uniform at the end of the movie) Spock prime is loveable as the “sentimental Vulcan,” giving credence to Kirk’s statement, “…of all the souls in the universe, his was the most…human.” Sure: there are some “literary licenses” i.e., everybody gets a ‘battlefield commission’ but if you look the other way for a moment, you realize that the seeds have been sown to what should become a great set of movies and stories for years to come.

Now we count down to the DVD/Blueray release!!!!!!!!!!!!

30. SaphronGirl - May 11, 2009

Okay, now I totally want to get the audiobook. I thought Quinto was the stand-out in the film, and I can’t wait to hear what he did with the narration.

31. Jim - May 11, 2009

#28 well put.

Since every time someone travels back, the universe is changed just by them being there, we can assume that every episode of trek that deals with time travel “changed” the timeline they lived in afterward. So the “Prime Universe” only ever existed in the first few episodes of TOS, until the first time travel episode. After that, it was altered several times.

32. Holger - May 11, 2009

31: That means we had The Cage plus five episodes of prime timeline before The Naked Time. Fascinating!
If we count by production order, that is, not by the chronology of first airings :-)

33. Duncan MacLeod - May 11, 2009

Lets remember that the Kelvin saw the Romulans on the screen and thus Spock knows what they look like from the Log Recorder jetissoned with the shuttles leading to balance of Terror NOT being the first to first face to face meeting…

I win.

34. Father Robert Lyons - May 11, 2009

16: The novel you are referring to is “Final Frontier”, in which an un-named prototype starship is taken out by Captain April and George Kirk on a rescue mission.

Rob+

35. Schiefy - May 11, 2009

I will undoubtedly purchase and read the novelization (and hope I can grab the audio as well–makes for great entertainement on the road when traveling with the family).

One of the joys of reading the Trek novels and stories is a chance to visualize the characters in more adventures (first, when there were no new film Treks between TOS and TMP except for the animated series; secondly, after each series ended and between the movies).

I can see the difficulty of having seen the movie with new actors portraying the characters and then reading the novel–it will be even more disconcerting because you as the reader need to decide which actor you see in your mind’s eye. Of course, all the Trek newbies because of the movie will have none of this difficulty.

I think it would be interesting to hear from someone who has yet to see the movie but decides to read the novelization first–will they see the story differently than Robert or will they confirm his observations?

Either way, I see this being an interesting turning point in Trek fiction both for the publishers and for us the readers as we debate whether it will be Shatner or Pine when reading Kirk on the page (or Kindle screen)? Of course, for now the other series are safe (too safe?) except for the crossovers with TOS/nuTrek so it will be interesting times….

36. James - May 11, 2009

Is there a forum were I can talk about the movie to people. It’s just that I live in Spain and I don’t have anyone to talk Trek to.

37. ster julie - May 11, 2009

Now I wished I had waited and purchased the audio book instead…

So, ZQ is a better narrator that Mark Lenard (in Sarek)? Mark’s work on that book was amazing, inho.

38. thorsten - May 11, 2009

@36…

where in Spain are you, James?
You can talk to us…

39. CaptainRickover - May 11, 2009

Hmmm…
Curious… I know I#m in the minority here, but IMO the movie IS EXACTLY like this review of the novelisation.

40. AJ - May 11, 2009

36:

James:

That’s the whole point of the site.

Welcome Aboard!

41. Father Robert Lyons - May 11, 2009

39 – The movie worked better than the book for me, and it was certainly extremely engaging to the non-fan (my wife actually scored it much better than I did), but the underlaying story just had too many issues for me to really embrace.

That being said, I expect the sequel will be far better. We don’t have to sit through the ‘getting to know you’ story again, and while there may be growing pains in the next film for the crew, they’ll be on their own adventure… one which I think will hold a lot of promise.

Thus, I accept “Star Trek” as a necessary evil to get to a good movie, and acknowledge that this story is a good summer action flick that will generate the cash necessary to ensure a bevvy of sequels. (I know that in spite of my lukewarm reception of the story, I’ll be back to see the film at least two more times in general release, a few times at the ‘dollar cinema’, and of course, on the day of it’s DVD release, I’ll be snatching it up – hopefully with a BluRay player!

Rob+

42. wkiryn - May 11, 2009

@25

In addition to Kirk pulling his hair out because this mystery ship turns invisible, has a super weapon he doesn’t even know they are Romulans. I believe he said it’s been a hundred years and the ship designs would have nothing in common – then it’s pointed out they would retain the warbird motif – which sure enough this mystery ship has.

Now in Enterprise not only do the Romulan ships already cloak, it looks virtually identical in general shape to the TOS warbird but we never see any painted warbird!

43. Tormentor - May 11, 2009

“The rest of the book seems to have plot-hole after plot-hole…”

The rest of the film seems to have plot hole after plot hole.

44. 750 Mang - May 11, 2009

A disappointing review of the novelization. I was looking forward to it.

45. Driver - May 11, 2009

I hope Paramount keeps a lid on salaries for the new crew, especially Pine & Quinto. High salaries contributed to less than epic Trek films.

46. neonknights - May 11, 2009

43: Yesss. The whole movie is full of plot holes, don’t blame the book alone.

And Scotty is a collection of Doohan’s worst parody moments in the movie too!

47. Mirror Jordan - May 11, 2009

I’m still getting the book anyway. The reviewer sounds too picky to me.

48. hmich176 - May 11, 2009

#28

Watch the Director’s Cut of The Motion Picture. They added the NX-01 to the images of ships (keeping the CV-960 or whatever that is as wel) because that came out right around the first season of Enterprise.

49. Closettrekker - May 11, 2009

#15—“…I thought we established in ‘Balance of Terror’ and ‘Enterprise’ that no human has seen a Romulan and wouldn’t know their relation to Vulcans. I thought the timeline only diverged at this point as a result of the Narada vs Kelvin confrontation.”

(and)

#16—“I don’t buy for a second that the split in continuity between TOS and ST:2009 happened with the Kelvin – the Romulan issue being one reason it seems.”

There is nothing onscreen which creates any “Romulan issue”. The novelizations have never been canon.

In the previous timeline (the one in which TOS exists), there is nearly a century in between the Earth-Romulan War and the attack upon the Earth outposts along the Neutral Zone established by the treaty which ended that war (the first known visual contact between humans and Romulans).

However, the timeline incursion of 2233 does indeed create a new thread.

The bridge crew of the USS Kelvin is aware of what their attackers look like, and only George Kirk does not escape. There is a 25 year period in which the Federation can piece together enough evidence to conclude that the crew of the Narada is indeed Romulan, and that Romulans are likely an offshoot of the Vulcan race.

First of all, the treaty to end the Earth-Romulan War was negotiated by subspace communication. Presumably, the Kelvin’s universal translator would have registered Ayel’s language as Romulan, and assuming the Kelvin’s communications officer was one of the survivors—that gives Starfleet a clear direction in which to take its investigation into the attack.

Furthermore, there would be debris in the area of the Kelvin’s collision with the Narada that might also provide evidence of something that identifies that technology/material as being Romulan in origin.

So even if you were to ignore all of the obvious holes in the dialogue of “Balance Of Terror” and accept it as a literal account of that 22nd Century conflict, there is still no canonical contradiction to that in ST09.

ENT did walk a fine line with it, but the Romulan possession of a cloaking device is never something made aware to Starfleet, and the one which they deploy against the Andorians/Tellarites, etc. is described as a “prototype” which has minimal capability (it is more of a “stealth” device). It can be assumed that it would be another 100 years before the Romulans can effectively utilize this technology on manned ships, and to the degree in which which see depicted in “Balance Of Terror”.

But consider this. If that is still too much for you to handle, you can always infer from the other events surrounding ENT (the “Temporal Cold War” and the discovery of Borg technology on Earth) that an alternate timeline has already been created—-either in the mid 21st Century or the mid 22nd.

We have been dancing around inconsistencies for decades as fans and manufacturing “fanon” explanations in such instances.

Why should it be anymore difficult now?

50. Elise - May 11, 2009

While I’m a little disappointed that the book falls flat, I am curious about Kirk’s back story… I’ll probably end up getting second hand. I DO want to hear Quinto read it so maybe not! I’m just so in love with this movie right now.

Wow. I still can’t quite believe we’re here already. It seems like it was only yesterday that we were all trying to make sense of blurry set pictures. I can’t wait to start it again with the sequel!

51. Closettrekker - May 11, 2009

I’m not surprised that the novelization is less than stellar. I remember thinking when it was announced that they were not giving Foster a whole lot of time.

Quite frankly, the only novelizations I have thoroughly enjoyed were the Vonda McIntyre works on TWOK, TSFS, and TVH.

The TMP novelization (although I am in the minority that really likes the film) was poorly written by Gene Roddenberry, the story in general in TFF just stinks, and I honestly cannot recall much about the novelization of TUC (so it obviously doesn’t stand out to me).

Since I never even bothered to see any of the TNG-era films in theaters, I certainly wasn’t about to read the books. Therefore I cannot comment on them.

52. sean - May 11, 2009

#16

“The real answer is the creators of ST: Enterprise and ST:2009 (is this line only in the novel?) have a really hard time following the idea that there was a point where no one knew what romulans looked like. Maybe they aren’t talented enough to write within that boundary – or they think the audience won’t notice because they were raised on VOYAGER.”

Or maybe they – like many fans – realized that the idea of a war between two galactic powers where neither knows what the other looks like as well as a universe where Vulcans & Romulans have warp technology for 2000 years yet fail to see each other or realize they’re related was a bit daft to begin with. It worked to great effect in a stand alone episode like BOT, but once you thought about it for a while you realized it just doesn’t make much sense. Highly unlikely, at the very least.

Still, I don’t recall anyone on the Kelvin identifying the Narada as Romulan on sight (in fact they all seemed quite mystified & in awe of the ship). However, once they left in the escape shuttles there would be nothing stopping them from sharing information with Starfleet about their attackers.

53. Jim Smith - May 11, 2009

@ 48, no they didn’t, they wanted to, but they didn’t.

@ 49 Closettrekker shows his working yet again, putting other fans’ ability to store and use information to shame. Your last two comments, particularly, are absolutely spot on.

54. Jim Smith - May 11, 2009

@46 Is the movie really full of plot holes? Or do you mean ‘continuity nit-picks of arguable validity’? There are certainly a lot of coincidences in the plotting (as opposed to the plot) but they don’t constitute holes, as such.

55. Closettrekker - May 11, 2009

#54—“…do you mean ‘continuity nit-picks of arguable validity’? There are certainly a lot of coincidences in the plotting (as opposed to the plot) but they don’t constitute holes, as such.”

Agreed—re: plot holes vs. coincidences…

Thye “conveniences” are really no more significant than those present in the plot of TWOK. Even the best Star Trek feature films have always been reliant upon them.

56. Josh - May 11, 2009

55 – Heck most FILMS are reliant on them, not just Star Trek.

57. Closettrekker - May 11, 2009

#53—Thanks, but by no means do I believe that I am the only one. There are plenty of intelligent and resourceful Trek fans out there, and there always have been.

58. AJ - May 11, 2009

Captain Robau clearly doesn’t recognize the Romulans. Their shaved heads and tattoos are not adequate disguises, given the Vulcanoid ears.

Also, the fact that they speak perfect English (a ‘Star Trek’ tradition) prevents Robau or his crew from using language to identify them.

We then learn years later that Nyota Uhura speaks “three dialects” of Romulan, and we hear, I believe, Pike, explaining to Nero that “Romulus is still out there.”

It’s clear that “Balance of Terror,” gem that it is, has to be a victim of this new universe. Ironic, as Bob Orci sites it as one of his faves. He does the Rommies justice in any case.

It’s clear that “Star Trek XI” creates first contact with Romulans at the Kelvin Incident, though I cannot recall if the invitation for Robau was sent “on screen” or “audio only.”

The incident at least put Romulus at the top of the Federation shit-list much earlier than before, and there’s maybe 25 or so years between Kelvin and Enterprise to throw in some good written fiction about the Empire.

59. Josh - May 11, 2009

58 – The invitation to Robau was sent on screen.

For the ears…I recall several species having “Vulanoid” like ears, so just the ears might not be enough, even though Vulcans are obviously the most well known species with such ears.

I’m not sure how people identified that Narada as Romulan unless it had some sort of markings that the crew of the Kelvin saw that we haven’t seen or noticed (or perhaps the visual log of the Kelvin was analyzed and eventually came to the conclusion that they were Romulan). I think it’s pretty obvious that the Federation had contact with the Romulans, if not even involved in open warfare with them (why had the Federation assembled a fleet out in space, anyway?) after the Narada attack.

60. Christopher Valin - May 11, 2009

I appreciate the review, Mr. Lyons, but if you’re going to point out typos getting through (and even make a joke about them), you should probably make sure there aren’t any in your own work (unless your story was re-typed by someone else). Or did you really mean that the reboot was defiant?

61. Mr. Anonymous - May 11, 2009

Aw, poor Nero. Thing is, I thought there was something rather haunting about his character in the film, even though he didn’t have very much screen time. Most villains in Star Trek, and in almost any story, really, are usually power-hungry madmen hell-bent on destroying so they can rule X. Nero’s an angry everyman who cared so much about his world and his wife that he’d kill an entire planet’s population just to try and even the pain swelling in his heart. A person who murders for such personal reasons, to me, is TERRIFYING, especially because it happens here every day.

Now, I’m not saying that makes him a better villain than Khan or anything, but in many ways, it makes him a much more RELATABLE villain than Khan. Just a thought I had as I read this. =)

62. Trekker chick - May 11, 2009

For some reason, I’m vaguely recalling something written (maybe in one of James Blish’s adaptations) about there having been a few bodies [“a few bloated bodies in space that were of Vulcanian appearance…” something like that] that attepted to bridge the problem.

Anyone else remembering that?

Too bad that ADF didn’t have the time or material to bring more to the story.

Oh, since there has been the complaint about the number of “coincidences”, perhaps we could look to the theory posited by the screenwriters, and suggest that there is a reality almost identical to the one shown … up to the point where Kirk and Spock Prime don’t cross paths on DV, least of all find Scott.. another where they do, but don’t find Scott..etc. And that this universe is the. ONE where these unlikely (small non-zero probabilites) happened to occur.

Let the flaming, and/or fanon’ing, Begin!

63. Forrest - May 11, 2009

“Spock only theorises that Romulans and Vulcans have a common ancestry. A couple of years later on TOS it’s an established fact that everyone knows. This kind of ‘information creep’ is common in franchises.”

In this case it’s reasonable, since at the end of the episode they have a body available for analysis.

64. Paul B. - May 11, 2009

The film IS filmed with terrible science, coincidences galore, basic time/distance confusion, etc., BUT it is unbelievably fun, and that makes up for most of the plot issues/mistakes/cheats in the film.

Remember, TOS was a show that had silly plots, good but sometimes cheesy effects and sets, 60s costumes, often silly villains, etc. TOS had bad science, inconsistent time/distance and other made-up science…

But TOS had characters we liked, little bits of character stuff in every episode that made the silly or dated stuff worth watching.

THIS film is like that, but sped up and turned to 11. I was a complainer about the presence of a Beastie Boys song in the movie, but when it happened, I was COMPLETELY sold on it.

To me, this was as close to TOS as we’ve ever had or ever will have again.

65. Matt Etter - May 11, 2009

thwe new movie was AMAZING . I saw it on thursday and saturday. The new “alternate timeline” was a stroke of genius. at first i was sceptical, but that movie blew me away. I mst ghave this movie when it comes out on dvd/blueray

can’t wait for the sequel in 2011!!!!!!!!!

66. Forrest - May 11, 2009

“BUT it is unbelievably fun, and that makes up for most of the plot issues/mistakes/cheats in the film.”

I find that the plot issues/mistakes/cheats make up for the content. I expected to hate the picture based on its body count, but the execution was such that in practice I didn’t care. (The rather similar INDEPENDENCE DAY still bothers me.)

67. Forrest - May 11, 2009

(^ Execution of the film, not the people.)

68. NCC-73515 - May 11, 2009

but in the end

!!!
[spoiler]
!!!
.
.
.
the beagle returns :D

69. Trekker chick - May 11, 2009

@64

You mean things like inconsistent makeup jobs on Klingons, the tetrilubisol being squirted into Riley’s milk via an obvious c.1960s dimestore squirt bottle, and the large chromed crescent wrench sitting on a table on the Engineering set? LOL

70. sean - May 11, 2009

#64

“To me, this was as close to TOS as we’ve ever had or ever will have again.”

Agreed! People forget that TOS was full of absurd plots and science that made absolutely no sense whatsoever (no matter how much some like to state otherwise). It was about the characters, and this movie nailed them.

71. Closettrekker - May 11, 2009

#58—“Captain Robau clearly doesn’t recognize the Romulans. Their shaved heads and tattoos are not adequate disguises, given the Vulcanoid ears.”

He shouldn’t recognize the Romulans at that point. There is no time given in the story for him or his crew to analyze or speculate. There is, however, more than two decades after the attack upon the USS Kelvin for the Federation to come to the conclusion that the villains were indeed Romulan, and that Romulans are an offshoot of the Vulcan race.

“Also, the fact that they speak perfect English (a ‘Star Trek’ tradition) prevents Robau or his crew from using language to identify them.”

I would think that the ship’s universal translator would automatically translate the language to English (nevermind that Ayel’s mouth is moving in cohesion to the English language—something we have always accepted as license). Starfleet would obviously have the Romulan language in its database, since BOT suggests that the treaty to end the Earth-Romulan War was verbally negotiated.

“We then learn years later that Nyota Uhura speaks “three dialects” of Romulan, and we hear, I believe, Pike, explaining to Nero that “Romulus is still out there.”

Since we do not know how many dialects Starfleet became familiar with in the Earth-Romulan War, this is never a problem to begin with.

I don’t think the film contradicts BOT at all. There is obviously a difference in the sequence of events from one timeline to another, but nothing in the film suggests that there is any difference in the Federation’s knowledge of the Romulans prior to 2233.

72. AJ - May 11, 2009

72: Closet:

I love it that you can take a leap of faith about the “Universal Translator.”

I do it, too. I was just throwing it out there.

But Robau, who JJ or Bob said is a smart Starfleet captain, hell 800 people, asks “Who are you people?” do you think he already knows? Has he perhaps not yet seen the dossier on the “Romulans?”

As a Starfleet Captain, he would know, no?

It’s a Trekker-only plothole that can be easily retconned by someone with ‘three-dimensional thinking.’

73. MARCO - May 11, 2009

Who care what that person thinks, there is only one opinion that counts to me….mine! I’m looking forward to reading this….ADF novelisation of ALIEN and STAR WARS are classics

74. screaming satellite - May 11, 2009

to TrekMovie.com Staff:

is there/will there be – a ‘MAKING OF’ book for the new film like there was for some of the previous ones? (I, II, V, VI, VII and IX)…ive checked amazon etc but cant find any – just the novel and Countdown

plus are gonna be any Tech Mannuals like there was for TOS, TOS movies (Mr Scots Guide) and TNG??

and what about the Comic Adaptaion? although i know Alex told me in a previous thread there were no plans…(im still shocked!….as i thought an adaptation of the new film would be a given what with the Countdown thing – like the way Superman Returns and T4 got prequel comics b4 the main comic of the movie….i hope we dont have another WOK comic scenario here)

75. screaming satellite - May 11, 2009

74 – sorry there wasnt a ‘making of’ for VII – i meant VIII

76. Closettrekker - May 11, 2009

#72—“But Robau, who JJ or Bob said is a smart Starfleet captain, hell 800 people, asks “Who are you people?” do you think he already knows? Has he perhaps not yet seen the dossier on the “Romulans?”

I don’t think he should be able to recognize them by their physical appearance. I think that “who are you people?” is perfectly legitimate.

All Starfleet captains would know that their is a race called the Romulans (and we have even seen a map in BOT which indicates where Romulus is), but given BOT, they wouldn’t recognize them as anything but a people who bear a remarkable resemblance to Vulcans. This ship appears to the Kelvin pretty much “out of nowhere”

I think the conclusion that the Narada was Romulan in origin would only be reached after an investigation of the attack on the part of Starfleet. I have an issue or two with the movie, but this certainly isn’t one of them. I thought the sequence plays out well.

Had the line (identifying them as Romulan) in the novelization been part of the onscreen story, then there would be a plot-hole. But it wasn’t, so there isn’t.

:)

77. Trekker chick - May 11, 2009

@76

…A black [plot] hole – there, but not visible except y its effects, IOW?

LOL

78. Closettrekker - May 11, 2009

#77—-Sorry. You lost me there. I can’t make sense of that.

79. SpocksinnerConflict - May 11, 2009

I”m getting a little tired of fans complaining about plot holes.

Trek has never been impervious to holes in it’s plot. In ever series, in every film, comics and books…tones of stuff that doesn’t make sense all over the place. In fact a lot of canon is just retroactively fixing plot holes from the past.

Since the new movie more and more people are forgetting how pulp and space opera influenced trek is. God, i watched Enemy Within last night and Kirk, in that wrap around tunic, looks just like Flash Gordon.

pulp can be thoughtful, like Trek. But just because it’s fictional science may not hold 100% doesn’t mean we should throw out the baby with the bathwater. If that were the case we’d have to start talking about some other old tv show.

80. screaming satellite - May 11, 2009

bear in mind ADF had this to write AND the novel for Terminator 4 AND Transformers 2!!

he mustve been swamped! high on coffee throughout Jan- about May

81. Closettrekker - May 11, 2009

#79—Let’s take a look at TWOK…

(A) Of all the people who could have beamed down to Ceti Alpha V, one of them had to be a former member of the Enterprise crew;

(B) Khan happens to escape exile and gain control of the USS Reliant at the same time that the very man he wishes to exact revenge upon (who has been bound to a desk job by the way) happens to board “the only ship in the quadrant” with all of the major characters from TOS (who all happen to be participating in the training mission);

(C) The creators of the Genesis device happen to be the former lover and illegitimate son of Jim Kirk;

(D) The Enterprise cannot simply set the transporter on “maximum dispersion” and beam the armed Genesis device as far away as possible to render it harmless (as it did with Nomad in “The Changeling”)?

Both films are alot of fun, yet both suffer from certain all-too-convenient sequences of events in the plot…which seems to be the primary fanboy complaint about ST09.

82. Dunsel Report - May 11, 2009

#81: And we all love the Kobayashi Maru training scene, but does it make any sense that the Federation has a simulation room rigged with explosive charges and senior Starfleet officers available to pretend to die?

83. Shadowcat - May 11, 2009

I absolutely loved the movie! I have enjoyed many of Alan Dean Foster’s novelizations of Star Trek in the past. His adaptation of TAS are among my favorites. I am looking forward to this one. I pre-ordered my copy of the film adaptation from Amazon and it was shipped to me on Saturday. I can’t wait until it gets here. I plan to see the movie again.

84. thorsten - May 11, 2009

@81…

What I always wonder about TWOK is why Scotty comes up to the bridge with the injured kid in his arms after Khans first attack…

85. Closettrekker - May 11, 2009

#84—-Because it’s in the script!

:)

86. Dunsel Report - May 11, 2009

#84: I thought it was because he’s looking for McCoy, the best doctor on the ship. (Can’t remember if Bones is on the bridge)

87. thorsten - May 11, 2009

Right, thanks guys!
;))

88. Bill Lutz - May 11, 2009

The MOVIE was disappointing.

89. Closettrekker - May 11, 2009

#88—You can’t please everyone.

90. Knut - May 11, 2009

JJ Abrams and the twinwriter Orcikurtzman are murderers. The killed Star Trek and replaced it by an soulless, trivial actionmovie without canon, story and logic. The new “movie” is made for the “counter strike”-generation. Now I am watching the original series remastered and hope to forget, what the MI3-makers have done.

91. Josh - May 11, 2009

90- hyperbole much?

92. Closettrekker - May 11, 2009

#90—-Knut, you’re just as “nuts” as before the movie came out!

93. Thoughts on Star Trek - eclecticism - May 11, 2009

[…] The best ‘retconning’ I’ve found for this so far comes from ‘Closettrekker’ in comment #47 on this TrekMovie post: […]

94. Christine - May 11, 2009

Haha, I want the audiobook. Sounds fantasmatastic! :3

95. DGill - May 11, 2009

#92

What’s ironic is that I kind of feel the same way…and I was a big optimist before the movie came out.

96. Closettrekker - May 11, 2009

#95—Well, all I can say is that I feel sorry for you both.

I haven’t had this much fun with Trek since 1986.

97. U.F.P. - May 11, 2009

8.5 hours of new trek? with zack ? whos not going to buy this… i think ill pass on the book for now though. unnh yes i can read btw. just no good w/punctuation today.

98. MC1 Doug - May 11, 2009

#6: “Who do we have to pressure to get a technical manual for this new Trek universe?”

You want a tech manual that shows an engineering deck that is nothing more than a brewery???

That one production design element is the one thing I distinctly despise in the wildly entertaining film. With all due respect to the rest of the film’s look, you cannot tell me the production designer couldn’t do better.

Going from the high tech bridge, corridors, transporter room and sickbay we go to a look that would better fit in a 1900’s-era steamer, and with a 140 million dollar budget I expect better…

Even the TOS has a more believable engineering deck than the film. I sure hope they rectify this in the forthcoming sequels.

99. MC1 Doug - May 11, 2009

#8: “That’s a bummer about ADF’s novel. Like many of us, I used to look at the novelizations to ‘fill out’ the stories. I read all of his “LOG” books as a kid, and he was able to take a 20 minute Trek cartoon, and do it true sci-fi justice. I think I may, on the strength of John’s review, pick up the ZQ reading. He’s a true talent. The film is great anyway. Maybe Mr. Foster could go back and rewrite it without the disadvantage of what was an immediately looming deadline.”

You wouldn’t not go to a movie based on one negative review, would you?

Same goes with just one book review… I’ve been haunting Barnes & Nobles for weeks for the release of the novel (tomorrow, May 12 is the projected release date).

I sincerely doubt that ADF will get the opportunity, or have the desire, to do a rewrite of the novelization. If he did, I could just hear TREK fans screaming that Paramount is trying to milk the fans for multiple products (like they’ve been doing with the recent release of re-packaged TOS episodes and movies).

I did buy the movie soundtrack last Saturday. It is well done, though I do have to say there is nothing subtle about the piece that introduces the Romulans.

100. sean - May 11, 2009

#86

Nope, Bones ain’t on the Bridge in that scene. It was for dramatic effect, and it worked. Never mind the fact that it made no sense! :)

101. MC1 Doug - May 11, 2009

#28: “In Star Trek The Motion Picture and the Next Generation the walls displaying past ships named Enterprise showed the space shuttle, old sail ships and the aircraft carriers Enterprise but no NX-01.”

When the director’s edition of STTMP came out there was discussion of whether the display wall should be digitally revised. Wisely, (pardon the pun) they did not.

In DS9’s episode “Trials and Tribblations” Sisko said there have been six versions of the Enterprise (up to that time).

I don’t believe the events in FC altered the timeline, at least not based on your observations. You surely cannot hold previous films accountable for what has been filmed afterwards. Revisionism is just too dangerous a direction to be taking with the series.

Besides, it is JUST a film (or TV series).

102. Chondus - May 11, 2009

to Trekker Chick re comment 62, for the sake of completeness, james Blish’s short story balance of terror included this paragraph about the Romulans, published in his first volume of Star Trek short stories:

Nobody had ever seen a live Romulan. It was very certain that “Romulan” was not their name for themselves, for such fragmentary evidence as had been pieced together from wrecks, after they had erupted from the Romulus-Remus system so bloodily a good seventy-five years ago, suggested that they’d not even been native to the planet, let alone a race that could have shared Earthly conventions of nomenclature. A very few bloated bodies recovered from space during that war had proved to be humanoid, but of the hawklike Vulcanite type rather than the Earthly anthropoid. The experts had guessed that the Romulans might once have settled on their adopted planet as a splinter group from some mass migration, thrown off, rejected by their less militaristic fellows as they passed to some more peaceful settling, to some less demanding kind of new world. Neither Romulus nor Remus, twin planets whirling around a common center in a Trojan relationship to a white-dwarf sun, could have proved attractive to any race that did not love hardships for their own sakes.
But almost all this was guesswork, unsupported either by history or by interrogation. The Vulcanite races who were part of the Federation claimed to know nothing of the Romulans; and the Romulans themselves had never allowed any prisoners to be taken—suicide, apparently, was a part of their military tradition—nor had they ever taken any. All that was known for sure was that the Romulans had come boiling out of their crazy little planetary system on no apparent provocation, in primitive, clumsy cylindrical ships that should have been clay pigeons for the Federation’s navy and yet in fact took twenty-five years to drive back to their home world— twenty-five years of increasingly merciless slaughter on both sides.
The neutral zone, with its sphere of observer satellites, had been set up around the Romulus-Remus system after that, and for years had been policed with the utmost vigilance. But for fifty years nothing had come out of it—not even a signal, let alone a ship. Perhaps the Romulans were still nursing their wounds and perfecting their grievances and their weapons—or perhaps they had learned their lesson and given up—or perhaps they were just tired, or decadent….
Guesswork. One thing was certain now. Today, they had come out again—or one ship had.

103. Anthony Pascale - May 11, 2009

Knut
warning for trolling

find ways to convey your opinions without getting personal and using such inflammatory language please

104. screaming satellite - May 11, 2009

Anthony – any info on my post at 74?

thanks

105. Joe aka krayz - May 11, 2009

“Why should it be anymore difficult now?”

Maybe it’s because I’m currently watching ST Time Travel DVD’s so I’m thinking time travel, but IF all the Star Trek we knew and love is not part of THE MOVIE’S new timeline, that means that all the time travel stories that we knew and loved are not part of THE MOVIE’S new timeline.

So…

Kirk has not (yet) met Edith Keilor and has not gone back to the 1930’s,

Data’s head is not currently buried from the 1890’s,

First Contact hasn’t happened, so no Borg parts were left in the past, no future Enterprise got involved with Cocharns’ first warp flight,

No little Green men in the 1950’s.

No whales for/from the 1980’s,

and so on and so on.

So…

Spock Prime’s incursion into THE MOVIE’S time line is more massive than we think and can explain away more nits, with mine being that the maiden voyage of the Enterprise is THE MOVIE, so Spock never served on the Enterprise with Pike as the ship hadn’t been built yet (although he may have served with him on another ship (The Farregut?)), The Cage never happened, and whatever else rippled thoughout the timeline, resulted in the Enterprise (and her 11 sister ships?) to be built 5-10 years later than the orginal Star Trek timeline had them. And Kirk being anout 6 years younger than he was in the original timeline.

To quote our new chief engineer, “I’m gonna like this new timeline. It’s alota fun!”

106. Closettrekker - May 11, 2009

#101—“I don’t believe the events in FC altered the timeline, at least not based on your observations.”

Not based upon those observations alone, maybe, but there is certainly a vaild case that the timeline had already been altered prior to 2233, particularly with ENT now in retrospect.

Given everything we heard from Daniels about the “temporal cold war” and the NX-01’s place in the timeline, as well as the episode “Regeneration”, it is difficult to imagine that timeline would not have been altered. In fact, the only counter to that theory is the notion that all of it is part of some b.s. predestination paradox.

If this theory helps certain fans to reconcile the aesthetic differences from the time period—-what’s the harm? Personally, the only tool I need for reconciliation is my own imagination (which works just fine), but it is obvious that some other fans need more. Canonistas like me have always been willing to dip into the “fanon bucket” to explain the occasional inconsistency, and although visuals (like ridged Klingons, the appearance of the NX-01, etc.) have never needed to be a part of that for me, some fans view the set designs to be as much a part of canon as story and dialogue.

In any case, it doesn’t take much thought or effort to make all of this work, whether it is knowledge of the Romulans, delta logos, or hull designs. Fans have been doing this for decades. It has always been part of the fun of being a “fanatic”.

107. Closettrekker - May 11, 2009

#105—“I’m gonna like this new timeline. It’s alota fun!”

I agree. It’s exciting!

“Kirk has not (yet) met Edith Keilor and has not gone back to the 1930’s,

Data’s head is not currently buried from the 1890’s,

First Contact hasn’t happened, so no Borg parts were left in the past, no future Enterprise got involved with Cocharns’ first warp flight,

No little Green men in the 1950’s.

No whales for/from the 1980’s

and so on…”

Well, theoretically, some of that might be true and some of it not.

The Borg incursion in FC, for example, could be a part of this timeline—since the year 2233 that is depicted prior to the Narada’s appearance is presumably in the same timeline as ENT. If the Enterprise-E/Borg from the previous timeline actually caused the timeline to be altered in ENT (“Regeneration”), the effects of that would still be felt in ST09.

In other words, the timeline we see in the opening scenes of ST09 had already been altered prior to the attack upon the Kelvin—-if you believe that those events (FC/ENT) actually caused any changes to begin with.

Of course, these theories should come with a warning label: overthinking may cause head explosions.

108. KMKProd - May 11, 2009

I think it is somewhat dangerous for Trek fans to accept the new movie and give it a pass on all of its issues, simply because it is “fun”, “amazing”, “the best ever!” It has always been a staple of Trekkers that we were discerning and intelligent people who looked at our favorite show and expected quality writing and attention to detail to be of paramount (pardon the pun) importance. All I am reading here is what seems to be nothing more than fanboy joygasms that the movie is shiney and sparkles with lots of neat stuff and cool gadgets… kind of like a Star Wars movie. Has Star Trek now been reduced to the loosely written flash in the pan movie that is only made to “shock and awe” the masses and dazzle.

I was hoping this new movie would take the best parts of TOS and combine it with consistency and better attention to detail–so as not to suffer from the same mistakes of TOS–the cheese, or the crazy plots. Some serious Sci-Fi, not brainless fireworks.

Don’t get me wrong; the movie was a lot of fun and was exciting and enjoyable! I did like it as a movie. However I left with a feeling I can only sum up in this way: it is like I have been watching my favorite Broadway show for years with quality actors and story, and now I have seen it off Broadway, put on with a new style, budget and core of actors. Yes it is good, but it seems like more of a tribute, or loosely based homage to Star Trek, than the real thing. The liberties taken here are very much like a super-expensive, well-funded fan film.

I feel like we have traded what made Star Trek special, for what makes other movies so ordinary.

109. DGill - May 11, 2009

#96

What the hell is there to feel sorry for? I didn’t like it and I have a right not to. That doesn’t make me (or anyone else) pitiful.

110. JohnWA - May 11, 2009

108-

I certainly wouldn’t call this movie the “best ever.” This version of Star Trek certainly lacks the psychological depth of The Wrath of Khan and the political thrills of The Undiscovered Country. But it is also light years better than pretentious disasters like Nemesis and The Final Frontier.

Star Trek 2009 knows exactly what it is. And it doesn’t purport to go beyond its programming or pretend that there’s a deeper intellectual meaning where none exists. There is some truth in advertising here. And I find that quite refreshing.

Abrams didn’t promise anything experimental. In fact, he explicitly stated this would be a summer action movie in the Star Wars tradition very early in the process. If we judge the film based on what it says it is (rather than what we would’ve wanted it to be), then this isn’t a bad movie. To the extent that it a Star Wars clone, it is a pretty convincing one.

111. MC1 Doug - May 11, 2009

#99: ” sincerely doubt that ADF will get the opportunity, or have the desire, to do a rewrite of the novelization. If he did, I could just hear TREK fans screaming that Paramount is trying to milk the fans for multiple products (like they’ve been doing with the recent release of re-packaged TOS episodes and movies).”

Clarifying my point here: I meant to say that fans have been decrying that Paramount is milking us fans with multiple versions of the same product.

Paramount would be foolish not to update their products as technological advances are made.

And while I suppose some might construe this as gouging us fans. My counter to that is that no one is twisting said fans’ arms to go out and buy the latest and greatest product.

112. MJ - May 12, 2009

#109 said “What the hell is there to feel sorry for? I didn’t like it and I have a right not to. That doesn’t make me (or anyone else) pitiful.”

Dude, I fell sorry for you as well!

113. Holger - May 12, 2009

109: Well said!

It seems that whenever someone points out aspects of the movie he or she doesn’t like, someone else comes up and says: ignore it and enjoy the movie instead, because it’s so fun and amazing!
Speaking for myself: The movie has so many aspects which suck for me that I am unable to enjoy it however hard I may try. Digital explosions, martial arts, Kirk saying ‘bullshit’, and bras alone are not sufficiently entertaining to me!
I liked the characters of Spock, Kirk, Bones, Pike and Spock prime, even if Pine was over the top, the scenes on Vulcan, that we were briefly shown the silence of space, and that the timetravel plot basically works. Everything else totally sucks IMO.
I don’t enjoy movies which present so many letdowns to me, and that’s the reason why I am, frankly speaking, a little bit pissed about the whole project.

However, I appreciate it that this forum exists where I can let off steam and discuss the issues I have with the movie with my fellow Trekkers.
And without all the information and discussion this site here has provided for two years, I would have experienced the biggest Trek-related disappointment of my life watching the movie.

114. Adam Cohen - May 12, 2009

Robert-

Thank you for a very in-depth review of the book. I was planning on buying it, but I think I will pass based on your comments. I miss J.M. Dillard’s adaptations- they were always insightful and they added a lot to the moviegoing experience– especially her work on Star Trek V and her definitive take on Sybok.

115. Father Robert Lyons - May 12, 2009

113 – I wouldn’t say that this film is my biggest Trek related disappointment in my life (that crowning jewel goes to Star Trek: Voyager’s TV run), but neither the book nor the film lived up to my expectations. Sure, I’ll see it many times (its new Trek!) but the story could have been so much more.

Glad, though, that we can provide a place here at TM.com for you to air your greviances… gee, is it Festivus already?!?!?!

Rob+

116. Holger - May 12, 2009

115: Yeah, the movie is definitely better than the VOY show. Thanks for bringing this to my attention, this should pick me up a little. Maybe I’ll watch some Voyager next weekend and then go watch the movie again :-)

117. Closettrekker - May 12, 2009

#109—“What the hell is there to feel sorry for?”

I thought it was pretty clear.

I am sorry for anyone who didn’t enjoy the experience as much as I did. I’m not sure why you seem to take offense to that.

118. Closettrekker - May 12, 2009

I still have some complaints about the film, and they are really centered around James T. Kirk.

I didn’t care for the rapid ascension of Kirk from cadet to captain. That totally stretches the bounds of believability. I also felt it was unnecessary to the story. Everything in the story could have been accomplished by these young characters without promoting him to captain in 2258. Even if the writers had wanted to end the story with Kirk and everyone else in their familiar positions on the bridge, this could have been done with a leap forward in time at the end.

Also, I would rather have seen Kirk grow a bit more in between his behavior on the KM test and taking over the center seat aboard the Enterprise. Unfortunately, Kirk is nothing but vindicated for all of his behavior—which not only encompasses cheating, but disrespecting superior officers, both in a formal hearing on his behavior and on the bridge of a starship (where he displays nothing short of a total lack of respect for authority and chain of command). Everyone around Kirk is humbled, yet he is never humbled himself (which is something I believe would only have endeared him more to the audience).

The rest of the film is absolutely terrific, in my opinion. I have no problem with the contrivances and coincidences in the plot. After all, this is a Star Trek movie, and this is something that even the best of them have traditionally been reliant upon.

I thoroughly enjoyed the film.

119. Alan Dean Foster - May 12, 2009

Some of you liked the film, some did not. Naturally, some will like the book and some will not. So far, a great many more seem to fall into the “like” category. As regards the novelization….

As I always do, I tried to expand on the existing story and situations and to add as much as I possibly could in the time available. There is never as much time as the writer wishes to have for such extrapolation (it’s called a publishing date), just as there are never as many resources available to the screenwriters, director, and producer as they would like to have for their film. It’s impossible to say which will produce the best results: endless resources or a definitive schedule. Look what von Stroheim did with GREED (well, we can’t, really). That might be nice to do with ST as well, but it’s not going to happen…in this time line, anyway.

The writer who correctly pointed out the error involving the drilling platform being “thousands of kilometers” above Vulcan (and I’m sure many others caught it as well) was quite correct. It should have read “thousands of meters”. Interestingly, the proofreader for the Italian edition caught the error in time to fix it.

There is always more one would like to put in the book. For example, the possibility that starships are first assembled in Iowa in order to ensure that all the parts fit together and that everything works because it would be far cheaper to fix problems on the ground (and ship in new replacement parts) than to do so in orbit. Once the ship has been checked out on the surface, it’s disassembled and reassembled in space. Or maybe not.

As far as further developing the characters, there’s never enough time, either in the book or the film. But there will be more of both. Wait for the French version, where the characters sit around in a room on the ship smoking future cancer-free Galouises debating the state of the universe, talking about their personal problems,…and doing nothing else.

120. Forrest - May 12, 2009

#119: How about STAR TREK: MY DINNER WITH ANDRE BORMANIS?

121. Der Roman zum Film - Logiklcher ad? - SciFi-Forum - May 13, 2009

[…] darstellt als wir es im Film gesehen haben. Eine ausfhrliche Review zum Roman findet man hier auf trekmovie.com Allerdings schafft es der Roman, den Film nachvollziehbarer zu machen. Klar wird auch auf die […]

122. MC1 Doug - May 13, 2009

#119: Thanks, ADF!!! I’ve been a fan of yours since I was in high school (eeeek, more years ago than I’d like to think about).

Your comments about the rigors of writing a film adaptation are insightful.

I just bought your book and the book-on-DVD today and cannot wait to go through them.

123. Holger - May 13, 2009

119: The movie gets better and better. At first I thought ‘At least it’s better than Nemesis.’ Then I was reminded by Rob that it’s better than Voyager, and now I know from ADF that it’s better than the French version!

124. Holger - May 13, 2009

118: “I have no problem with the contrivances and coincidences in the plot. After all, this is a Star Trek movie, and this is something that even the best of them have traditionally been reliant upon.”

Good for you. I felt that there were a great deal more coincidences and contrivances than in any other Trek movie – too much is too much.

125. Closettrekker - May 13, 2009

#124—-“I felt that there were a great deal more coincidences and contrivances than in any other Trek movie…”

Interesting.

I actually feel that TWOK had quite a few more.

(A) Of all the people who could have beamed down to Ceti Alpha V, one of them had to be a former member of the Enterprise crew

(B) Khan just so happens to escape exile and gain control of the USS Reliant at the same time that the very man he wishes to exact revenge upon (who has been bound to a desk job by the way) happens to board “the only ship in the quadrant” with all of the major characters from TOS (all of whom just happen to be participating in the training mission)

(C) The creators of the Genesis device happen to be the former lover and illegitimate son of Jim Kirk

(D) The Enterprise cannot set the transporter on “maximum dispersion” and beam the armed Genesis device as far away as possible to render it harmless (despite doing that very thing with Nomad in “The Changeling”)?

(E) Scotty carries the severely injured Peter Preston to the bridge instead of sickbay

(F) Khan has aged quite normally on Ceti Alpha V (despite being costumed like a 1980’s rockstar), while his people appear quite youthful—even moreso than in “Space Seed”

Of course, it’s a matter of opinion, but I’m hard-pressed to see how the same type of issues are any worse in ST09—-or even any more numerous.

126. Closettrekker - May 13, 2009

And then there is the small matter of an entire planet (Ceti Alpha VI) exploding and that fact having gone completely unnoticed prior to Khan explaining it to Terrell and Chekov…

127. Alan Dean Foster - May 13, 2009

In re disappearing planets: unable to rationalize Spock looking up from Delta Vega and seeing Vulcan being destroyed (astronomically inaccurate…plus, at that range, the black hole would inhale Delta Vega as well), I simply didn’t describe it in the book. I think the scene as it finally appears in the film more likely a matter of directoral choice and time constraints than writing. There were other possible ways to show it.

1) We see a sleeping or unconscious Spock and Nero has the sequence projected into his mind.
2) It is presented as an unconnected montage (Vulcan collapsing, Spock undergoing mental reaction).
3) When Nero maroons Spock, a drifting aerogel-like screen remains always above him but out of reach, constantly tracking him, and is only activated when the time arrives for Vulcan’s destruction to be shown. That would have allowed the use of Spock’s upward glance to actually see Vulcan’s destruction, nor need the transmission have taken place in real time.

Why are none of these possibilities utilized in the book? Because while as novelizer I am allowed considerable leeway to expand the story, inserting too many scenes that directly contradict what is shown on screen is verboten.

128. Holger - May 13, 2009

127: Good choice to skip it.

129. Daddy Todd - May 13, 2009

The limited hardcover is available for preorder on the Premiere Collectibles website as of May 13th. The price is actually $35, NOT $25.

130. Holger - May 13, 2009

125: It’s always been a mystery to me why so many of the movies, including the new one, were so carelessly written. It would seem to the layman that you’re taking greater care in a movie production than in TV.
OK, so here are the major contrivances of ST09:

(1) Spock’s involved in actions which lead up to an accidental space-time-jump to – of all the places and times to go to in a largely empty universe – the ship Kirk’s father serves on.

(2) Nero destroys the Kelvin, but otherwise the Narada remains dormant for two decades, but this suffices to change history on a large scale:
-different ship designs
-different equipment
-different uniforms
-different birthdates (obviously Pike and Chekov, at least)
-different launch date of Enterprise
-San Francisco grown into a megacity
-Spock’s now ready to engage in a romantic relationship before his days on the Enterprise, unlike what was implied in This Side of Paradise. Uhura happens to be his love interest.
-Enterprise now built in Iowa

(3) Pike, Uhura and Bones are all around in Iowa, Kirk’s home.

(4) Spock maroons Kirk (Very drastic! Why didn’t he throw him in the brig?) on Delta Vega, the very same planet Spock was marooned on by Nero. (And why was he marooned and not kept prisoner? This way Nero could ‘enjoy’ Spock’s pain.)

(5) Scotty also happens to be there.

(6) Scotty happens to have had business with Admiral Archer.

(7) The Kobayashi Maru test was devised by Spock.

(8) Vulcan and Earth, two of the UFP’s core planets, seem to rely solely on Starships for their defense, and there are not too many around.
Even if the Narada is from the future, it’s still only a mining vessel and one would expect Earth and Vulcan to feature some heavy duty planetary phaser batteries.

(9) As you have already complained, Kirk is fresh out of the Academy and under charges and is appointed second in command of Starfleet’s newest starship.

(10) Except Pike there seem to be no senior or experienced officers on the E.

(11) The (technologically completely unbelievable) machinery inside the Enterprise includes a water shredding machine.

And as for the story leading up to the time jump:

(12) The Romulan Star Empire is powerful and technologically advanced, like the Federation, and yet the help of one man from the Federation, Spock, seems to be essential to the rescue of Romulus.

(13) There were no other Romulan ships around after the destruction of Romulus, only one returning mining vessel. Shouldn’t there be a whole evacuation fleet around?

So yes, I believe there was an unusually large number of contrivances in the new movie. IMO comparable only to Nemesis and the movie you affectionately dub the great turd of ’89.
But I guess how much the contrivances annoy you depends on how much you like a movie overall. TWOK has some gaping holes which can hardly be overlooked, but somehow the charm and the dynamic of the movie lets me forgive that.

131. Holger - May 13, 2009

It also matters whether the contrivances are carrying the story or not.

132. Closettrekker - May 13, 2009

#130—-“Nero destroys the Kelvin, but otherwise the Narada remains dormant for two decades, but this suffices to change history on a large scale”

As Bob Orci has suggested, the survivors of the Kelvin attack would have been carrying telemetry recorded from the encounter with the Narada, exposing Starfleet to more advanced technology.

The Kelvin’s universal translator would have identified Ayel’s language as Romulan, and coupled with first hand accounts of their physical appearance, the Romulans would be identified as being (once again) a dangerous threat. Presumably, Starfleet would have different motivations going forward from 2233, possibly more defense-oriented as a result.

(imagine how different our world would be right now if not for the events of a single day—Sept. 11th, 2001)

I don’t see that as a contrivance. It seems a logical course of development to me.

“Enterprise now built in Iowa”

The explanation is in the film, but subtle. The Riverside Shipyards are erected in tribute to the heroic actions of George Kirk, hence the “USS Kelvin salt-shakers”. It is contrived, but the scene works well.

“The Kobayashi Maru test was devised by Spock.”

No. He was simply the caretaker of it. Nowhere in the dialogue does it suggest that he created it.

“Vulcan and Earth, two of the UFP’s core planets, seem to rely solely on Starships for their defense, and there are not too many around.”

That consistent, isn’t it? How is that then a contrivance?

“Except Pike there seem to be no senior or experienced officers on the E.”

Spock is a Commander, and several officers (including the CMO for one) are killed.

“The Romulan Star Empire is powerful and technologically advanced, like the Federation, and yet the help of one man from the Federation, Spock, seems to be essential to the rescue of Romulus.”

The Romulans simply do not believe Nero and Spock as to the severity of the threat until it is too late. It is not that they are incompetent—-just untrusting. That is consistent with how Romulans have usually been portrayed (the Romulan Commander in TEI being the notable exception).

“There were no other Romulan ships around after the destruction of Romulus, only one returning mining vessel. Shouldn’t there be a whole evacuation fleet around?”

There is (in the future), but only the Narada and Spock’s ship are pulled into the singularity.

It doesn’t sound as if you read Countdown. Did you not?

There are contrivances in the film, but you are quite a bit more liberal with that term than I am.

133. Alan Dean Foster - May 13, 2009

*sigh*…It all boils down to the unavoidable fact that neither Star Trek nor Star Wars nor Alien nor just about anything in the realm of cinematic science-fiction qualifies as “hard” SF. Such universes and tropes have to be largely accepted as is and for what they are, or they would cease to exist.

Black holes aren’t bus stops. FTL travel is unlikely at best, and surely not with the tiny engine systems shown in big budget SF films. Artificial gravity as portrayed in all SF films is presented without explanation and is pretty nonsensical. Ships would not “bank” in space, be they Starfleet cruisers or X-wing fighters (nothing to bank against). Aliens boasting disparate origins, even if you can make a case for the parallel evolution of bisymmetrical humanoid species, would be unlikely to successfully interbreed. Life-supporting planets are likely too rare and precious to go around blowing up, even for the bad guys. It’s cheaper to find substitutes or synthetics for practically any mined material than to go digging it up in another star system to ship it all the way across light years.

In the first showings of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (I saw it the second day it was out) the fatal spacewalk goes on for about twenty minutes and the soundtrack, appropriately, features nothing but the astronaut’s heavy breathing. The audience was about to start screaming. Scientifically accurate, but….

And I’m just talking the science here. As has frequently been pointed out, it would be illogical and in contravention of military regulations, not to mention common sense, for a ship’s two top-ranking officers to place themselves in a dangerous off-ship situation at the same time. How many episodes of the original Star Trek series would that caveat have killed?

Here is something to always remember: in the great majority of films, from the Edison silents to Lawrence of Arabia to present day, story-telling will triumph logic and science every time. That is, if you want your film to make money.

134. Closettrekker - May 13, 2009

#133—-“Here is something to always remember: in the great majority of films, from the Edison silents to Lawrence of Arabia to present day, story-telling will triumph logic and science every time. That is, if you want your film to make money.”

100% agreed.

I cannot speak for anyone else, but it should be noted that the only reason I am even here discussing any of this is the fact that I enjoyed the story enough to sit and think about it days later.

And I am looking forward to your adaptation.

135. Tony Whitehead - May 13, 2009

Alan Dean Foster.

A simple “thank you” to you for all the years of high adventure and thought-provoking prose you have given us all.

An admiring fan.

136. Holger - May 14, 2009

133 Alan Dean Foster: I agree. However, I see this exchange between Closettrekker and me more as a friendly battle of wits, I attack the movie in the ‘contest’ and Closettrekker defends. And in the end we both win, hopefully, because we have looked at the movie from several different angles. At least that’s how our discussions have worked for me in the past.

But still, I think the very best of the movies combine good story-telling with sound logic, and maybe even – in the case of SF – with sound science. You named 2001. Alien (the first movie) is another example where the logic works, I think. (Do you know that one? ;-)

137. Closettrekker - May 14, 2009

#136—“You named 2001.”

Snoozefest….puts me to sleep everytime.

“Alien (the first movie) is another example where the logic works, I think.”

Definitely a whole lot closer to “hard sci-fi” than Star Trek has ever been.

“I think the very best of the movies combine good story-telling with sound logic, and maybe even – in the case of SF – with sound science.”

I disagree. Good storytelling trumps “sound science” (or even logic) every time for me.

I think that ‘Alien’ combines both better than most, but I don’t think that makes it a better movie. As much as I enjoy that film (and ADF’s novelization), I don’t have the urge to rewatch it anywhere near as often as I screen TMP or the TWOK-TSFS-TVH story arc.

‘Jaws’ (which is about as plausible as Moses literally parting the Red Sea) comes to mind….Even though I know that the premise is utterly absurd, it is a dead-stopper when channel-surfing for me. I can’t help it. No matter how far along the movie is, I will pick it up there and watch it to its admittedly ridiculous conclusion every time.

A good movie is just a good movie. There is no quantifying what makes it such for me.

138. Holger - May 14, 2009

132 Closettrekker:

Narada telemetry:
How would telemetry data of the USS Gerald Ford change technological development if received by the Yamato in World War II?
I know, such comparisons always come with a grain of salt (or maybe with pounds of salt), but still, I find the explanation unconvincing.

Riverside Shipyards:
I thought about that, but it still seems quite contrived to me that the location for a Starship-Yard is chosen in honor of a single heroic officer.
Given the enormous heroics and exploits of Archer, everything Starfleet should be located in Upstate New York according to this rationale.
ADF’s novel explains why Iowa is a very good location for a Shipyard, so, yes, that in combination with honoring Kirk sen. would make sense.

Spock and Kobayashi Maru:
You’re right, it isn’t said that Spock created the test. I don’t remember the exact dialogue, but at least it was said by the test supervisors that Spock had worked very long and hard on (further?) developing the test and his reactions imply to me that Spock considers the test his baby. Still a remarkable coincidence that he’s in charge when Kirk takes the test, I think. Similar to the fact that the Genesis device was developed by Kirk’s ex-girlfriend.

There was a CMO, and there’s Spock and Pike, and any other senior or experienced officer between those and Sulu and the obviously inexperienced Chekov was killed. Yes, could be, but seems contrived. A construction to put Kirk in the chair.

As for Countdown, you’re right. I ordered the one-volume issue but Amazon hasn’t shipped yet. I know that background material and the movie novelizations have sometimes explained some of the problematic stuff seen on screen, given rationalizations etc. I remember for example that the TUC novel gave some reason why Spock had this signal patch handy on the bridge right before Kirk left. But the question remains, I believe, why the Romulans are not able to see for themselves that a supernova is going to destroy Romulus. I mean that’s basic astrophysics and should be available to the Romulans.

Earth & Vulcan defense:
It’s consistent with the only-ship-in-the-sector plot device. But TMP mentioned a planetary defense grid on Earth, didn’t it?

133 Alan Dean Foster: I think we need to distinguish two questions:
– Does a piece of (science) fiction make sense *given* its established (though unreal or unbelievable) premises?
– Do these premises make sense.
As for the second question, I totally agree that next to nothing on TV and on the big screen qualifies as hard SF concerning its premises.
But I think as for the first question, Star Trek and the other stuff leaves room for worthwhile and entertaining discussion.

139. Closettrekker - May 14, 2009

#138—-“How would telemetry data of the USS Gerald Ford change technological development if received by the Yamato in World War II?”

It wouldn’t, but I accept that mid-23rd Century Starfleet has the capability to do quite a bit more with it than Imperial Japan would have.

“Still a remarkable coincidence that he’s in charge when Kirk takes the test, I think. Similar to the fact that the Genesis device was developed by Kirk’s ex-girlfriend.”

Agreed.

“But the question remains, I believe, why the Romulans are not able to see for themselves that a supernova is going to destroy Romulus. I mean that’s basic astrophysics and should be available to the Romulans.”

I suppose for the same reasons that the rest of the academics on Krypton do not concur with Jor’El that the planet is facing imminent disaster (and I mention that because Abrams has a great affinity for Richard Donner’s ‘Superman: The Movie’)—only in this instance—the xenophobia and distrust of everyone inherent in Romulan society makes them even more skeptical, and IMO, makes their reaction consistent with how Romulan society is portrayed in Star Trek. They eventually accept it—-but of course, it is too late.

“But TMP mentioned a planetary defense grid on Earth, didn’t it?”

Yes, but the V’Ger incident occurs in the early 2272-2273, and the assault upon Earth in ST09 takes place in 2258. In fairness, we do not know when the “planetary defense grid” mentioned in TMP is put in service—or for that matter—-what the hell it is.

“There was a CMO, and there’s Spock and Pike, and any other senior or experienced officer between those and Sulu and the obviously inexperienced Chekov was killed. Yes, could be, but seems contrived. ”

I don’t think it is meant to be construed that there are no other seemingly more qualified personnel on board. Otherwise, why would Spock react by asking if Pike’s order is some kind of prank? Obviously, Spock found his decision as ridiculous as you and I do.

But it is Pike’s perogative, as commanding officer, to select whomever he wants to serve as first officer to the acting captain in his absence (this is, in fact, consistent with modern naval tradition and practice). And it should be noted that the Enterprise is departing to deal with crisis with an inordinate amount of cadets aboard for a reason. It’s clear that this is not standard policy in Starfleet. Just as in TMP, TWOK, TFF, and GEN, a ship named Enterprise is appropriately handicapped by a circumstantial plot device before being called to deal with an emergency (TSFS and TVH have “built-in” handicaps for the heroes).

140. Holger - May 15, 2009

139: “But it is Pike’s perogative, as commanding officer, to select whomever he wants to serve as first officer to the acting captain in his absence (this is, in fact, consistent with modern naval tradition and practice).”

I didn’t know that. So the skipper can theoretically select the ship’s cook as acting captain? But I guess the skipper will have to take responsibility for his choices after the mission.

The planetary defense grid was mentioned much later, sure. I just think it would make a lot of sense to have one at any time after ENT, where Earth learned that not everyone out there is as friendly as the Vulcans.

USS Ford and the Japanese: Agreed, in those days there was not much telemetry beyond simple radar. I guess I should have said: what if the Japanese had some partial construction plans of the USS Ford? Most of the innovations, maybe all of them, would have been beyond anyone to reconstruct in the 40s. On the other hand it might have directed research in certain directions, agreed.

Comparing Superman and Trek: Hm! There is that analogy with Krypton. Also the multiple universes concept has been used by DC comics to fix continuity in. But I feel a little uneasy with the comparison, I always thought Trek had somewhat higher standards of plausibility than superhero comicbooks. Don’t the blatant logic gaps belong to the fun of reading comicbooks?

141. Holger - May 15, 2009

Please delete the ‘in’ after ‘continuity’.

142. Closettrekker - May 15, 2009

#140—“So the skipper can theoretically select the ship’s cook as acting captain? But I guess the skipper will have to take responsibility for his choices after the mission. ”

That is essentially correct.

“The planetary defense grid was mentioned much later, sure. I just think it would make a lot of sense to have one at any time after ENT, where Earth learned that not everyone out there is as friendly as the Vulcans.”

Agreed. And Star Trek has always treated this issue somewhat questionably.

“I always thought Trek had somewhat higher standards of plausibility than superhero comicbooks.Don’t the blatant logic gaps belong to the fun of reading comicbooks?”

I think if you take a good, hard, and honest look back—-they belong to the history of Star Trek movies as well….just not quite to the same degree.

Even some of the more basic elements to buying into the ST Universe are rather implausible (FTL travel, transporters). And the list of “logic gaps” in some of our favorite ST movies is as long as the Queen’s dining table.

This film provides some tremendous WTF moments for sure, but IMO, no more so than the rest of them.

“Most of the innovations, maybe all of them, would have been beyond anyone to reconstruct in the 40s. On the other hand it might have directed research in certain directions, agreed.”

Motivation is another element to consider. Think of the advances in technology caused by the chain of catalystic events which caused the Second World War in our own history—-atomic energy, ballistic missiles, jet aircraft, etc.—-all of which were sped tremendously along by the existence of an exterior threat perceived by any number of significant nations in the 1930’s-40’s.

Even just in the United States, the attack upon Pearl Harbor compelled Americans as a whole to become more productive between 1941-45 than probably any other point in history.

The appearance of the Narada in 2233 would certainly present a threat which was not present in the original timeline. Starfleet’s priorities would likely have been changed as a result. Consider how much different our world would be in 2009 were it not for the events that occurred on a single day back in September of 2001—-the point being that a single event can alter an entire society’s priorities for better or worse.

The potential result of 22 years (from the Kelvin incident to the time in which we first see the Enterprise) of Starfleet’s mindset focusing in another direction relative to what took place in the original timeline shouldn’t be dismissed or even merely underestimated.

But again, even beyond all of this, I have to think that even the possession of a hull fragment (or something like that) from the Narada could easily have significant impact. Just discovering the composition of some of that enhanced 24th Century material could send some science (particularly engineering fields) in another direction.

I think it is far less likely that technology would not be different, than vice-versa.

143. Dom - May 15, 2009

Robert Lyons: ‘I’ll take the on-screen version over the book any day. (This isn’t always the case with me; I preferred the novelizations of Star Trek II, III, and VI over the on-screen versions.)’

Yeah, I loved the novelisations of those movies. I was really disappointed as a child with STIII when I saw it on video in the mid-80s (didn’t see it in the cinema, because TWOK wasn’t available on VHS then and I knew it was a sequel to that film).

I mean, the movie starts something like 80 pages into the novel!

144. Dom - May 15, 2009

142. Closettrekker

Funnily enough, Alastair Reynolds’s novel Century Rain looks at a version of Earth where WWII petered out early on. By 1959, their technology is closer to that of the 1930s!

145. Closettrekker - May 15, 2009

#144—-Which is probably realistic.

What if Hitler had listened to his military advisors and not poured so many of Germany’s resources into the development of V-1 and V-2 rockets, or the ME262 jet fighter and its predecessors?

Would the Soviets (and their captured German scientists) still have been able to launch a satellite into space as early as 1957?

What if the Nazis had never enacted a series of anti-semetic policies and caused some of its best scientists to want to leave in the early-mid 30’s?

What if “The Manhattan Project” had never been given such high priority in the United States due to the absence of such great (perceived) threat across the Atlantic?

146. Gul B. - May 17, 2009

If I buy a novelization, I’m looking for two things: an exploration of the feelings and thoughts of the film characters and/or some interesting subplots and additional scenes to enhance the movie plot.
I have already read the book (the German translation, which is already out) and am sad to say that I’m “underwhelmed” by it – it didn’t have much of what I was looking for, it was “by the numbers”.
If ADF cites time constraints, that’s really a shame, because the movie’s release date was pushed back 6 months – so there was poor planning on Paramount’s side. Still, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Alan.

There is a scene in the novelization that I hope wasn’t simply deleted from the film, but never shot: It states that Little Jimmy stole the car to get away from his stepfather Frank (and the hitch hiking boy on the road is his older brother, just running away from home). I really hope this is never mentioned again, because it makes Winona Kirk look incredibly bad: not long after she lost the heroic, likeable husband she loved, she went and married a total a-hole …

2 other things:
Why is the spaceport in Iowa?
Here Alan wrote a very simple, logical explanation – because it is a thinly populated area, if there is an accident, there aren’t too many potential evacuees or buildings in danger.

Why doesn’t the Kelvin crew immediately recognize that Nero is a Romulan?
The Narada crew, with their tattoos and shaved heads, doesn’t look like any other Romulans we ever met! (In the “Countdown” comic we are told that this is a Romulan mourning costum)

147. Shadowcat - May 18, 2009

To Alan Dean Foster:

I have been a fan of your books for many years.

I received my copy of the novelization in the mail from Amazon.com on Saturday. I read it in one sitting. I thought the novel was very good. No, I did not think Scotty was a buffoon in the novel or in the movie for that matter. He came across as brilliant and perhaps a bit eccentric. Oh, and I loved the part where Admiral Archer’s beagle showed up at the end! I enjoyed your take on these iconic characters.

Keep up the good work.

148. Randy Pausch, the Star Trek Movie, and Getting in Touch with My Inner Fangirl « I Am the Lizard Queen! - May 20, 2009

[…] Egads — I just may buy the novelization! […]

149. Andavar - May 22, 2009

Great job! But the music and effects that have accompanied Trek audiobooks in the past would have been great…

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