Retro-Books Review: The Yesterday Saga |
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Retro-Books Review: The Yesterday Saga August 10, 2011

by Robert Lyons , Filed under: Books,Review,TOS , trackback

Today TrekMovie begins a new series of periodic retro reviews of some classic Star Trek novels, so while we wait for the next new title we can look back on some of our favorites. The first entry will actually look at the two books of the "Yesterday Saga" by A.C. Crispin.    


RETRO REVIEW: The Yesterday Saga by A.C. Crispin

In the late 1970’s, when new Star Trek was hard to come by, one fan, A. C. Crispin, began a journey that lead to selling one of TrekLit’s most endearing works, “Yesterday’s Son” as her first professional novel. While hundreds of books have followed, “Yesterday’s Son” and its follow-up, “Time for Yesterday” are often mentioned with reverence in the hallowed halls of Trek literature. Together, the two books form The Yesterday Saga (so coined in the late 1990’s when Pocket went through a round of re-releasing classic Star Trek books).

“Yesterday’s Son”, published in 1983, tells the tale of Spock’s son, conceived with Zarabeth in the icy past of the planet Sarpedion (TOS: “All Our Yesterdays”). An ancient cave painting prompts Spock to visit the past of the now incinerated planet to bring his son (named Zar) to the present day. This transition, however, is not without its costs to Spock, who runs the risk of being an even greater outcast among his people. Zar also finds difficulties – making fast friends with many of Spock’s crewmates, but never being able to openly refer to Spock as his own father. Ultimately, Sarpedion’s records reveal that Zar must return to the planet in order to preserve the timeline, but the Romulans intervene (more on general principle than out of any care about Zar) and the Guardian’s true nature must be concealed at all costs.

Yesterday saga envisions that Spock and Zarabeth (from “All Our Yesterdays”) had a son

The sequel, “Time for Yesterday", published in 1988, moves substantially ahead in the lives of Zar and the Enterprise crew. Spock, once again, must make contact with his son, this time to settle the Guardian of Forever, which has been malfunctioning and which Zar, in the past, has shown an ability to easily mind-link with. We learn much about Zar’s life and times in Sarpedion’s past, while, at the same time, exploring who Spock became later in his ‘first’ life.

For the casual reader, some confusion exists, particularly when reading the first installment of the series, because the cover depicts Spock looking as he did in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. In fact, the story takes place about two years after Spock’s initial visit to Sarpedion, placing the story near the end of the five-year mission. This is essential information to have in place when reading the story, because if you fall into the trap (as I did when I first attempted to read the story at age 13) of thinking that this adventure takes place between The Motion Picture and The Wrath of Khan, you’ll discard the book immediately as being totally inconsistent with who Spock becomes as a result of his contact with V’ger. Instead, in “Yesterday’s Son” we see a Spock who is struggling with his logical and emotional reactions to the discovery of Zar’s existence, and who – ultimately – responds to Zar in a way that believably sets the stage for Spock’s pursuit of the Kholinar discipline at the conclusion of the Enterprise’s five year mission.

Original cover for "Yesterday’s Son" (1983) – but ignore Spock’s uniform

On the flipside, “Time for Yesterday” is intended to take place just prior to the events of Star Trek II (the historian’s note in the front of the book gives a vague pointing to the events being post-TMP, but the context of the novel actually leads right into the events of the second film). In this sense, it is a very heart-warming conclusion to the small lost era that a few other books (most notably Christopher L. Bennett’s “Ex Machina”) have filled.

“Time for Yesterday” gets off to a rather plodding start, and is definitely the weaker of the two books, though, as mentioned previously, the lead-ins to Star Trek II are most fitting and serve to soften some otherwise unforgiveable oddities in the opening of the book. “Yesterday’s Son” suffers from no such lack of acceleration… it is full-blast from beginning to end. However, to be honest, both stories must be read in order for the full story to have its most satisfying effect.

Of particular interest to those who enjoyed some of the early ‘semi-regular’ novel-only characters, “Time for Yesterday” borrows some of the early generation of novel-only guests (the Horta named Naraht being the most obvious example) and gives them some nods in its own pages.

While “Yesterday’s Son” is straight Trek, the sequel, at times, feels as much like a fantasy work set in a forgotten kingdom of Earth’s romanticized past… a kingdom which Kirk, Spock, and McCoy have a chance to quite thickly interact with during the story; just replace your horses with vykar’s and you’ll be all set.

While the success and positive regard surrounding these books has never died off, the plans once made to add some more tales surrounding Zar and his life did. For several years, the possibility of future books was public knowledge, but in 2002, the possibility was nixed and The Yesterday Saga was put to pasture. This is fitting, however, as the two tales that were published suffice to tell the story of Zar and his life, and I can imagine nothing that would possibly add to the sense of adventure and completion that both books managed to convey.

If you’re looking for some additional reading for the summer, or if you’re just feeling nostalgic for some good, old-fashioned Trek, The Yesterday Saga might be a fine pickup for your to-be-read pile.

Original cover for "Time for Yesterday" (1988)



1. davidfuchs - August 10, 2011

Thanks for the review, one I hadn’t read!

If you’re taking suggestions for other reviews, I’d be interested in hearing your takes on “Dreadnought” and “Battlestations” by Diane Carey–if I recall the books that sparked my interest in Star Trek novels.

2. Son of Sarek - August 10, 2011

Excellent review for these classic books!

3. ster j - August 10, 2011

Sadly, TPTB at Pocketbooks did not pick up Ann’s follow-up trilogy. Not formulaic enough, imho. They were story-driven (Gasp!) and not “Hero!Kirk saves the galaxy with little help from his 2 dimensional crew.”

I got to read the first draft of the first part of the trilogy and the outlines for books 2 & 3. It would have been a glorious, character-driven story.

4. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - August 10, 2011

Read these books and they were fantastic. At one point Spocks son ate mat in front of Spock and Kirk and MCCoy was not happy. Great writting and great story all together.

5. Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire - August 10, 2011

I meant. Spocks son ate meat.

6. Ensign RedShirt - August 10, 2011

Great review!

These and “The Entropy Effect” are still my fave Trek novels.

I never understood why more stories weren’t told in the post-TMP era. That part of the timeline is still ripe for exploration.

7. Pauln6 - August 10, 2011

In fact the post TMP novels are the only ones I buy. Given that there was a whole 5 year mission to explore and it was the only time that all the characters (including Chapel and Rand) were portrayed as being on board together I’m mystified as to why there weren’t more novels set in this period too. I really enjoyed these novels. It added a fabulous dimension to Spock and on some level it was comforting to know that Zarabeth’s existence wasn’t so lonely after all.

8. Jonboc - August 10, 2011

Yesterday’s Son is a great read, love to revisit it now and again.

9. HunterRex - August 10, 2011

It drives me crazy when most of the new ST novels and comics take place in “the last year of the five-year mission.” What about the other 20+ years after that?

10. Jack - August 10, 2011

Met her at a convention (my only convention — I was still in high school) like 20 years ago. She was lovely.

11. Trek Lady - August 10, 2011

A lot of those early novels were written by actual “fans” of the series, and not just serial novelists enlisted by Pocket books and Paramount – and it shows. There is a love of the characters that I feel is missing in many of the later novels. This was also before there were so many “rules” about what authors could and could not include or do to the characters; thus there was more creativity allowed with canon. For the most part, my favorite TOS novels are all from the earlier books… I used to buy every single one, but later I found the novels much less character driven, and the characters became somewhat interchangeable. It became obvious the authors only had a rudimentary understanding of what made the characters tick. I stopped buying them.

12. 221b - August 10, 2011

Good old times! I remember these fondly. Also listened to the audio books many, many times.

How I miss good TOS standalone novels. There’s still so much room and time for adventures in that universe. All the x-overs and new book series’ with new characters totally don’t interest me. And everything has to be a trilogy these days. I don’t get it.

Also, the guidelines that the newer books were/are written under, have no room for boldness, for real character development or consequences that would change canon, even though the books aren’t considered such. I’ve always found that very frustrating.

And like #11 says… one could feel the love from the authors for the subject matter in the old school novels.

13. Pauln6 - August 10, 2011

I’ve tried writing a comic book story set in the TMP era after being inspired by Ex Machina and Traitor Winds. I think it’s quite hard to write characters correctly even if you are a fan of the show. They sound right in your head but other people probably don’t hear them in the same way. I was keen to set my story in that era because there seemed to be vast potential and more characters and alien races to play with. In particular, I wanted to make use of Janice Rand, Decker, and Ilia. Rand was a principle character in season one and I’m suprised that she’s been given so little ‘airtime’ in the novels. Decker & Ilia needed to be ‘resurrected’ (which they were going to do in Phase II anyway) but once that’s out of the way you can have lots of fun.

14. Mirror Jordan - August 10, 2011

Listened to the audio version of the first one. Read the second book a couple years ago. Fantastic listening and reading!

15. JackCum - August 10, 2011

Excellent new feature! Its always such a treat to find an old Trek novel in a used bookstore. Please keep these reviews coming!!

16. Father Robert Lyons - August 10, 2011

#1 – Actually, “Dreadnought!” *is* in my to-read pile at the moment, followed by “Battlestations!”, though my first priority will be current books. I imagine that the new novel will arrive for review in a few weeks, so we’ll just have to see how busy I am between now and then,. Like you, “Dreadnought!” was a book that really caught my attention as a kid, though it was not my first novel read (read the TMP novelization followed by TOS 48 “Rules of Engagement”).

#9 – I can forgive it here because “Yesterday’s Son” was one of the early TOS novels from Pocket.

17. HunterRex - August 10, 2011

#16 – I can forgive “Yesterday’s Son” being in this time period too. It’s only as times goes on that we keep getting more and more novels crammed into this time period that gets old to me. I think Christopher Bennett recently mentioned that there are enough stories during the five-year mission to fill up ten years.

I’m sure we get more five-year mission novels because this time period must sell better than the period between TMP and TWOK. A cover with Kirk in the classic yellow tunic is probably more attractive on the stand than the TMP uniform.

18. Remington Steele - August 10, 2011

I’m mad to start reading some of the trek books, any chance we could get a poll going for the best TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT books???

Would be a good starting place…

Although prime directive is hard to look past, brilliant book…

19. J.C. England, formerly Another Q - August 10, 2011

I read both these novels back in the day and
they are fantastic!

20. HunterRex - August 10, 2011

Both novels are excellent!

21. Robman007 - August 10, 2011

Cool review. I have a large, large collection of all the original Trek novels, and these were/are fun reads.

Note to remember, often times the covers are drawn to depict the characters looking a certain way, or the Enterprise to be the refit instead of the original and are off when you start reading the story. Just a thought to keep in mind.

22. Chris Dawson - August 10, 2011

Those were good novels, read them long ago and just listened to the audiobook version of both again recently – you can get many of them on Itunes. Love the Trek novels and how they add to our favorite universe. Reading Vanguard Open Secrets and The Pandora Principle (backstory of Saavik) right now and enjoying both.

Definitely recommend the novels to fans. You might find however, that sometimes these well known characters speak and act differently than you might expect, but the newer novels seem to really get it down.

Keep on Trekkin’

23. Father Robert Lyons - August 10, 2011

#21 – One of the craziest novel covers was “Web of the Romulans” where Spock and Kirk look like they came from the post TMP era, McCoy looks like he’s Edward G. Robinson, and nobody is wearing the right uniform! The covers were painted so the actors could be recognized and so people would want to pick up the books as ‘continuing voyages’.

#22 – It has been some time since I read “The Pandora Principle”, but I recall really liking it. I also recall being elated that Robin Curtis’ Saavik made the cover, as I far preferred her to Kirstie Alley (at that point in life, I had seen the occassional episode of Cheers, which I hated, and thus associated Saavik Mk. 1 with that show… not pleasant).

Your point is well taken about acting and speaking different. In the early days of Trek novels, there was no videotape. Some folks had 8 MM copies of episodes, but many people were writing from memory and doing their fair share of interpretation of the universe. I don’t say this as a bad thing… I quite enjoy some of the ‘oddities’ of the early books.

I preferred Diane Duane’s oddities most of all, I think. Shields flaring a specific color based on the vessel’s home port.. dipping colors… ‘mark me off the bridge, this star hour, Ms. Uhura’, etc… We got to know Harb Tanzer and the rec room, learned a ton of things, and even met the mile or two long destroyer Ianeu… crewed by Rigellians (or some such race).

I really do miss cracking open some of those early books… Blish’s readers at the local library were my way of ‘rewatching’ my favorite Treks between showings on my local TV show… I could just go on and on… and on.


24. "Check the Circuit!" - August 10, 2011

Two of my tabs. Especially Yesterday’s Son. She really captured the flavor of a “season 5″ episode of TOS. I remember reading the opening teaser chapter and “hearing” a classic Fred Steiner music cue as Spock sees the cave painting image of a young Vulcan for the first time. Chilling moment. Would have definitely read more books in the series had Pocket served them up.

25. Damian - August 10, 2011

I agree with Lyons that Yesterday’s Son was the better of the two. I’ve been buying the Pocketbook novels for about 25 years now (though I missed a number of the novels from the 90’s). Those novels did have great stories, but I guess I’m in the minority that likes the current continuing stories from the current novels. The one thing that used to drive me nuts with novels from back then was the inconsistencies and discontinuities of many of the novels. There was no attempt at that time to even try to keep any semblance of order. Stories could outright contradict one another. It always seemed like careless editing to me.

That being said, I’d have no problems with Pocketbooks publishing the occassional one off novel from the different series (similar to DS9’s Hollow Men) in addition to the relaunches. And the original series novels are largely single stories that have little to no connection with other stories.

(1) Some areas I’d like to see novels cover include some of the period between Enterprise and the original series (I’d love a prime universe USS Kelvin series–what happened to the Kelvin in the prime universe with no Nero incursion).

(2) TMP to TWOK period

(3) How about more stories between Star Trek V and VI. There was about a 7 year gap of voyages of the Enterprise-A. There have been a few stories, but not many.

(4) More Lost Era stories between the intro to Generations and TNG. More books about the voyages of the Enterprise-B and C, the Excelsior. How about a continuation of the Stargazer series.

There are a number of periods of Star Trek history that have plenty or room for more stories. If I were Pocketbooks, I’d look for stories in these eras.

26. Steve T. in NY - August 10, 2011

My favorite Star Trek novel from the early days is definately Web of the Romulans. It was a great read and really got me into the books in a big way. I had lost my copy sometime in the late 1990’s but found a worn copy a few years ago in a comic book store that also had some old novels sitting in a rack. By far a great tale of war, distrust, and ultimately comeraderis and friendship.. this novel was just amazing for me as a kid and still holds up well when i read it as an adult all these years later. I’d love to know what anyone else thinks

27. Let Them Eat Plomeek Soup - August 10, 2011

I found a very beat-up copy of “Yesterday’s Son” in the public library a few weeks ago…I would go back and get it, but for the fact that the Trek Fiction section is right next to the romance novel section, and the people around me start getting the wrong ideas.

Either way, I’ll have to read this real soon. The only Trek stories I’ve ever read through are the adaptations by James Blish (which are great), so this should be fun.

28. Tony Whitehead - August 10, 2011

1. davidfuchs – August 10, 2011

16. Father Robert Lyons – August 10, 2011

Loved both of those books, but my sentimental favorite is still Diane Carey’s “Final Frontier.” I really enjoyed the story of Kirk’s dad and the first voyage of the big E. I highly recommend it.

29. John in Canada, eh? - August 10, 2011

Great books. The first one was a little uneven, I thought, but the second one was great and had an “epic” feel. Her novelization of the “V” mini-series, though, is a wonderful, detailed classic.

On an unrelated note – I recently found my old box of Bantam novels. I think I have all of their Trek novels, include James Blish “Spock Must Die” (first original ST novel) and the novelizations of the original episodes. Any idea if they’re worth anything?

30. John in Canada, eh? - August 10, 2011

#23 – I think the weirdest cover is “The Romulan Way”, which has what must be a Colonial viper from “Battlestar: Galactica” flying on it! (A small rendition, true, but I’m surprised Universal didn’t sue Paramount over it.)

31. Valar1 - August 10, 2011

I’ve read all the old star trek novels, and the ones by AC Crispin, Diane Carey and John Ford are the only ones I revisit. Good review.

32. Canadianknight - August 10, 2011

Still a couple of my favs… along with Entropy Effect and several of Diane Carey’s and Diane Duane’s books. Love ’em all!

I remember meeting Ann Crispin years ago… still have my signed copy of Yesterday’s Son. :D

33. kmart - August 10, 2011


Lots of idiotic stuff in those early Pocket covers. One of them, don’t know if it was TRELLISANE or earlier (probably around #5 or so), had the guys armed with car timing light guns (sort of like what they had in the MOONRAKER movie, but without the cladding!)

Some of the least favorite authors of that period could REALLY get the actor’s deliveries into their dialog. Try reading Kirk speeches from M&C’s PROMETHEUS DESIGN … you can easily imagine Shatner voicing those lines (considering he consulted on their Bantam novels, it isn’t outside the realm of possibility that he came up with some of these speeches!)

I really like Duane’s first two takes on Trek universe and people, along with the Reeves-Stevens TOS efforts (their Trek nonfic leaves MUCH to be desired, however.) Ford’s FINAL REFLECTION is pretty damned amazing too.

I have always been interested in the Lost Years TOS/TMP period and TMP/TWOK, but my favorite unexplored era is the decade or so post-TUC.
I see that as Frontier’s End, when Starfleet got very 70s-era paranoid and the whole thing somehow changed,leading to the boring 24th century (except the good parts of DS9.) I think the unused Sowards notion for TWOK, that Starfleet abandoned its exploration and concentrated on preserving what it had, is an INCREDIBLE premise to delve into, because it would be psychologically devastating for true believers. And it falls into the ‘end of era’ thing I like, where you have stories like MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS and THE WILD BUNCH, with the folks of one era struggling to understand and survive in a new era. But you have to do it without character assassination, so TUC doesn’t really count, since they have to trash Kirk and Spock characterization wise to get it in place there.

34. Daniel W. Ring - August 11, 2011

The best two Star Trek novels were The Final Reflection and How Much For Just The Planet? by John Ford. Both would make good movies.

35. Pah Wraith - August 11, 2011

Trully a great new feature. I love it!
Could anyone recommend the best non Pocket Trek-books published? I can get many of them really cheap, so if they make a good read – that’s a bargain. So far I’ve compiled the list from the above comments:

Yesterday’s Son
The Entropy Effect
Ex Machina
Traitor Winds
The Pandora Principle
Final Reflection
How Much For Just The Planet?

36. DJT - August 11, 2011

I loved “Yesterday’s Son” and “Time For Yesterday” as a kid.

After I watched TOS on TV, way back then, I was left with a hunger for more Trek, and back in the day BOOKS were it. No Blu-rays. No streaming. Books. Books like these helped fuel my lifetime of love for Trek and its characters.

If you have never read a Trek book, I would highly recommend both of these two books.

I wonder if Bob Orci has read either these two? I got a feeling he has.

37. P Technobabble - August 11, 2011

I used to read Trek novels -starting with the Blish adaptations – and kept reading up until I realized I wasn’t reading the entire books, and I decided they weren’t as good as they used to be. At this point, I can’t really say when I stopped buying them, but there did seem to be a noticable deterioration in the quality of the stories and characterizations. And I also realized there was never going to be an end to Trek novels and I couldn’t see myself buying them when their numbers exceeded 10,000. Personally, I think it’s ludicrous to have so many Trek books saturating the market – there’s nothing special about them, they seem to come off an assembly line. And I don’t know about your local bookstores, but around here, you’re lucky to find 4 or 5 titles on the shelf at Barnes & Noble (same with Borders, but why bother talking about them anymore?).
“Yesterday’s Son,” however, was one of the best Trek novels to come along in those days. Those who haven’t read it definitely should – it’s classic Star Trek.

38. AJ - August 11, 2011

Crispin truly grasped the spirit of TOS, and her novels worked.

I dare Mr. Lyons to pull out some of the Sondra Marshak/Myrna Culbreath novels from the early days and try to explain where they were coming from!

39. OLLEY OLLEY OLLEY - August 11, 2011

LOL, I wouldn’t suggest anyone takes the cover of a ST Pocket Book as an accurate guide to when the story is set.

I have an idea for a third book tho.

SPOCK PRIME is taking to Spock jr
“If your ever visit a planet called Sarpedion make sure you take this”
PRIME reaches into the folds of his robe and pulls out a small square package.
SOCK JR “What is it” asks Junior, eyebrow cocked
Prime ” Humans call it a rubber”

The End

40. Daoud - August 11, 2011

@38 K/S. Most definitely.

41. Nuallain - August 11, 2011

Here’s hoping for a How Much for Just the Planet? review soon. Star Trek’s comedic side was rarely tackled well in print, but that book’s just a marvellous encapsulation of them. So many wonderful images — Scotty playing a round of golf against Klingons… with grenades for balls, the cameo by Neil Gaiman of all people, the pie fight, Kirk meeting an ‘Imperial’ (ie bumpy headed) Klingon for the first time and being non-plussed and tongue tied as he tells himself not to stare, the song “Monochrome”.

Great stuff.

42. Planet Pandro - August 11, 2011

#28. Agreed! I loved FF. One of my first Tek novels. Why wasn’t THAT made into a prequel movie?? Get Chris Hemsworth back as George Kirk (prime timeline, why not?), maybe Gary Oldman or David Thewlis as Robert April, and we may have something here. AND, if we start now, we’ll have it done before the next Star Trek film!!!!

43. Planet Pandro - August 11, 2011

Oops! “Trek” novel, not “Tek”. Tek novels are a whole different beast…

44. Martin Pollard - August 11, 2011

One series that absolutely has to be looked at is Diane Duane’s Romulan saga, a series that fleshed out the Romulans (“Rihannsu”) in a way that none of the various TV series or movies ever did. The story of the main protagonist, Commander Ael t’Rllallieu of the Romulan warbird Bloodwing, is very compelling, and Ael is a more complex, three-dimensional character than any Romulan we’ve ever seen on the screen. And the side-story of Arrhae, a Federation deep-cover operative (a surgically altered human female) on Romulus, is also very interesting, especially when her life is complicated by a certain irascible country doctor. :-) The final book in the series (“The Empty Chair”) even tries to reconcile Duane’s Romulans with the ones we’re re-introduced to in TNG and beyond, with varying degrees of success. I’d love to see Mr. Lyons’ take on the saga.

BTW… for anyone who’s read the series, if these books were ever adapted to live action (not likely, admittedly, but interesting to think about), who would you see playing Ael? For my money, it’s Cote de Pablo, aka Ziva David on “NCIS”. Give Ziva some pointed ears and a Romulan disruptor and you’ve got Ael down to a “T”. :-)

45. John in Canada, eh? - August 11, 2011

#35 – I’d add to that list the great novelizations by Vonda N. McIntyre. She wrote “Entropy Effect” (which gave Sulu his first name), “Enterprise: The First Adventure” (the first ‘giant’ novel), and the novelizations of the Treks 2, 3 and 4. I don’t think there’s another book that has greater characterizations than Treks 3 and 4 – simply amazing.

“Memory Prime” and “Prime Directive” are classics from Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens.

Bear in mind that “Traitor Winds” is the 3rd book in the 4-part ‘Lost Years’ stories, linking the end of the original 5 – year mission to TMP. So, “Traitor Winds” works better when read with “The Lost Years”, “A Flag Full of Stars”, and “Recovery”.

46. Robman007 - August 11, 2011

for those folks who like the inaccurate covers, look at the novel “How Much for Just the Planet?” and it shows TOS Kirk with the Klingon Kruge. It makes ya think that Kirk faced off with Kruge sometime ago, but nope, it is some other Klingon.

47. Father Robert Lyons - August 11, 2011

Hi everyone… more later, but just wanted to pitch in another screwy cover. TOS 48: “Rules of Engagement” features Kirk, a Klingon who looks like Kruge, and the Klingon superstarship… Excelsior!

48. Sebastian S. - August 11, 2011

Ann Crispin’s “Yesterday” books are great. They were my first real taste of ST fiction many years ago. I re-read “Yesterday’s Son” a few years ago and it still held up well (Zar was a strongly written, well-defined character). Too bad these aren’t ‘official’ canon (in my mind, they are!).

I wasn’t as much a fan of the sequel, but it was still a brisk, interesting read. Her adaptation of the first two “V” miniseries (into a single volume paperback) was also interesting as well (filled in a few blanks from the aired screenplay).

49. Father Robert Lyons - August 11, 2011

#30 – I doubt your collection is worth much. Perhaps if they are all first editions, but the various Star Trek books can be found easily at your local Half Price or other used bookstore, so I wouldn’t think they were terribly valuable.

#35 – I may have misunderstood your comment, so if I have, I do apologize; the books you listed are all Pocket publications. Bantam held the novel license back in the 70’s, and began their run with “Spock Must Die!” by James Blish. Much of what is present in that novel is totally out of sync with what Star Trek developed into, but it fits well with his adaptations of the TOS episodes. It’s worth a read. David Gerrold’s “The Galactic Whirlpool” was arguably Bantam’s best outing, and I would highly recommend it. Keep in mind, with anything put out by Bantam, that you are getting a 1970’s Trek, unformed by TMP and what came beyond.

#41 – Oddly, though “How Much for Just the Planet” is so highly regarded, and while I recall finding it quite funny, I don’t recall liking it from a Trek perspective. However, it’s been on my eventual ‘to-be-reread’ list for a while, so I’ll probably hit it up sometime in the next few years, together with Ford’s other book, “The FInal Reflection” which I never really got into the first time I tried to read it .

#44 – “My Enemy, My Ally”, the first book of the Rihannsu series, is my favorite piece of Trek lit ever. It is an annual re-read of mine. I now have it in the omnibus edition with “The Romulan Way” (which I read many years ago) and “The Empty Chair” (which I never read). I am planning to read the entire omnibus when I do my annual re-read of “My Enemy, My Ally” later in the year, so you can be assured of some perspective on the series then.

50. Bob Tompkins - August 11, 2011

Bantam held the rights to Star Trek novelizations early on and I rather liked the ‘Phoenix’ series, especially the villain Omnedon. It brought the normally dormant warrior physicality of the Vulcan race to the fore. Spock’s physical strength was always downplayed in the series, although we always knew it was there. This series brought it front and center, something I’d like to see in the next movie since they are ignoring most of Spock’s established backstory anyway.

51. Bob Tompkins - August 11, 2011

addendum: Most of the Bantam novels were horrors.

52. Martin Pollard - August 11, 2011

#49 – Great to hear! I also have the “Rihannsu: The Bloodwing Voyages” omnibus, which has every novel except “The Empty Chair” (had to order it used from, and pull it out every once in a while when I need a good Trek novel fix. I also liked how Duane carried over many of the elements of Vulcan’s past she invented for “The Romulan Way” into “Spock’s World” (which used the same “alternate chapter” framing to depict Vulcan’s history). Hell, Duane’s entire Trek universe is fun to read, going all the way back to “The Wounded Sky” (which I’m not sure I even have anymore, sad to say; it was also a big favorite of mine), even though much of “official” canon has long since contradicted it (particularly the history of Vulcan, as seen in ST:E).

53. Patrice - August 11, 2011

The Yesterday series are cool books. “Yesterday’s Son” is my favorite. The author really nails down the characters. Seeing how this author portrays Spock’s conflict with his son, brings to mind Sarek’s relationship with him.

It’s very well written.

54. kmart - August 11, 2011

You mean Kathleen Sky, right?

The PHOENIX writers get a bad rap for looking too deeply at the characters, but I’ve always been impressed by those books, and their PROMETHEUS DESIGN (though not TRIANGLE, which went more than a bridge too far for me.)

55. Martin Pollard - August 11, 2011

#54 – Actually, Marshak & Culbreath get a bad rep (and justifiably so) because they were reading a LOT more into the relationship between Kirk and Spock than was actually there. As I recall, and as David Gerrold pointed out in “The World of Star Trek,” their stories directly inspired much of the Kirk/Spock “slash” fiction that came out back in the 70’s. In fact, I remember reading one of their short stories that was published in one of the “Best of TREK” novels — something about a planetary trap, and a machine that switched the genders of everyone except the strongest person in the crew (who got an extra chromosome that made them stronger and more aggressive; Spock, of course) — and to quote Irwin Fletcher, “It didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure it out. Larry Holmes could’ve done it.”

56. kmart - August 11, 2011

They were taking input from Shat into their writing (at least that is the impression given in their old SHATNER WHERE NO MAN bio), and I think there is subtext in the onscreen TOS stuff that suggests a lot, even if I don’t find it sexual at all. I had read the first Phoenix book several times when I first came across a reference to Kirk’s defeat at Omne’s hands as being something akin to forced oral copulation, and I have to say, it just never occurred to me. If you’ve ever seen the otherwise forgettable movie GETTING STRAIGHT (it is a film that is DRUNK with rack-focus razzmatazz, pretty hard on the eyes, but even so nowhere near as obnoxious as the Abrams lens flares), there is a moment when Elliot Gould’s college prof is up for tenure and the folks quizzing him ask about the implied homosexual feel Nick has for Gatsby and his jaw practically drops on the floor – that’s probably close to the expression I had when I first read such an opinion about PHOENIX. M&C really DO push their themes a bit too hard and too far, but there ARE ideas in there, as opposed to just our characters carrying the plot along. I still hold with Shat’s view that PRICE OF THE PHOENIX could have made a terrific and startling first TREK feature … it would have been inexpensive, with the big IF? being who the hell you could cast as Omne (I’d guess back then it would have had to be James Earl Jones – who the hell else had the stature?) But Nimoy in a big fight scene … that would have required really good doubles, because the guy almost always looks slow and uncoordinated when he moves.

57. Trek Lady - August 11, 2011

#55 “As I recall, and as David Gerrold pointed out in “The World of Star Trek,” their stories directly inspired much of the Kirk/Spock “slash” fiction that came out back in the 70’s.”

I wouldn’t say they “inspired” the slash writers. They WERE slash writers, but slash was being written long before their books were professionally published.

58. Martin Pollard - August 11, 2011

#57 – You’re probably right; it’s been a long time since I read TWOST, I’ll admit. What I do remember clearly, though, was Gerrold saying that a footnote was specifically put into the novelization of TMP to address these… rather imaginative people. (I remember reading it in the novelization and wondering why it was even there; little did I know…)

59. Sebastian S. - August 11, 2011

Also enjoyed Crispin’s ST novel, “Sarek.”
Reading Amanda’s death scene was genuinely painful. And the new rift it opened in Spock and Sarek’s relationship was dramatic a gold mine. I wasn’t crazy about Sarek’s fight scene near the end (it felt out of character, somehow), but overall it was a great read.

She is one of the really great writers of ST novels (a realm that doesn’t get a lot of respect in the literary world, sadly) One day I plan to delve into her non-ST works. She’s a genuinely talented lady.

I’d love to see her input into a ST screenplay….

60. Canadianknight - August 11, 2011

Oh man… Yeah.. Duane’s Romulan books were BRILLIANT!

Damn.. now I gotta go root through the library and find ’em again. (Think I still have ’em all… including “Empty Chair”)

61. Jack - August 12, 2011

Hmmm, and when asked about Trek 09, Crispin said:

“I’m going to be honest about that film. I saw it one time, and one time only,
because it annoyed me. The acting was good. All of the young actors tapped to portray our heroes did a fine job. But the writing of the film seemed as though the screenplay writers had never seen the original Star Trek and had no idea what the characters portrayed by – especially — Nichelle Nichols and Leonard Nimoy were all about. I found it completely unbelievable that Mr. Spock would have an affair with a junior office who was one of his students. That’s completely outside all military protocol and professionalism. I also didn’t believe that Uhura would throw herself at a superior officer like that.

The “science” depicted in the film was silly, too. Why dig a hole in Vulcan to plant “red matter” when any matter even denser than dark matter, when dropped into a planet’s atmosphere, would immediately sink to its core? That made me roll my eyes, frankly. That film played so fast and loose with Trek continuity, and it seemed as though the writers were enjoying thumbing their noses at the universe and characters we’d loved for so many decades. As I watched, I envisioned plotting sessions with the writers, and comments like: “Hey, I’ve got a great idea. Kirk’s supposed to be the horndog, so let’s turn it on his head and have Spock being the one that gets laid, and Kirk can’t get to first base. Won’t that be hilarious?” Well, no. It wasn’t. At least, not to me. I know I’m in the minority about this. Everyone was applauding at the end of the film. My husband and I looked at each other and said, “Did they see the same movie we just saw?” But, as they say, different strokes, and all that.”

PS. And that’s exactly what that Uhura/Spock stuff felt like: “wouldn’t it be f*ck with the fans if…” Yes, I’ve defended it elsewhere, saying the characters were a lot younger, etc. and they’re as free to love as, er, everybody else… and that’s all true… but still, it’s exactly what that scene felt like (and I think this has been confirmed by Orci and company).

59. I’ll have to read Sarek. I missed it somehow.
60, 41. I especially liked My Enemy, My Ally — I really wish TNG would have embraced some of her ideas about Romulan culture (its Romulans were kind of ridiculous). I still think that book would have made a decent TNG movie.
41. I haven’t read “How much…” since it first came out, but I remember, back then, thinking it felt kind of like a Hitchhiker’s Guide ripoff.

I think I was too young (11 or so) for the Marshak/Culbreath stuff — it really creeped me out and didn’t feel like Star Trek to me.

62. Pauln6 - August 12, 2011

Lol – I agree with some of that criticism. The silly thing is that a few minor tweaks here and there could have rectified most of the worst stuff. It was disappointing to see Kirk reduced from a multi-layered, flawed herod to a teen badboy characature but to Pine’s credit, he masterfully displayed a few glimpses of old Kirk in there. Spock’s relationship with Uhura was fine to me but he would have had to step aside as her tutor. He had influence over her posting purely because of a sudden emergency. The biggest problems I had with suspension of disbelief were his promotion for succeeding with what were essentially REALLY bad tactics (his early desire to pursue the Narada was wrong and only became right after he was in possession of the additional information from Spock Prime; his decision to just beam himself and Spock over to the Narada was bonkers – the 23rd century Enterprise can detect incoming transports so the Narada, with its superior future tech is clearly going to have that ability too. Sending only two people who then had to split up dramatically reduced the likelihood of the mission succeeding. They should have sent a full landing party including at least 2 security guards (one for each team), a linguist (such as Uhura so both teams can read Romulan) and a medical technician to treat Pike. Increasing transporter range by so much was insane and the decision to summarily execute Nero at the end when he was no longer a threat was just plain nasty. It does make you wish that they would develop some of the old novels as movie scripts instead…

63. Martin Pollard - August 12, 2011

#61 – Crispin is free to form her own opinions, of course, but she’s also making the same fundamental mistake that more than a few other Trek fans have made: namely, expecting that Trek’09 would be an exact copy of TOS. I can’t count the number of times it’s been said that Trek’09 is essentially an alternate universe: similar to the one we know in many respects, but still different thanks to the timeline change. All of the old rules are now out the window, and anything goes. (And the old timeline is still there, in another quantum reality; TNG’s “Parallels” established that concept. So anyone claiming that the old timeline “no longer exists” is talking out of his… er, hat.)

What I think she fails (or is unwilling) to understand is that people were applauding *the film they just saw*, not the film she wanted and expected it to be (and didn’t get). Yes, a lot of the science in the film was hokey and unbelievable — black hole-generating “red matter” and a galaxy-eating supernova are at the top of the list — and those are valid criticisms, but to essentially look down on fans because they didn’t agree with her negative feelings about the film seems pretty childish to me. She writes well, but maybe she should just stick to writing her books and stay behind the scenes…

64. James - August 12, 2011

I’m looking forward to reading more of you Reto-Book Reviews in the future!

65. Keachick (rose pinenut) - August 13, 2011

Kirk could have ordered the Enterprise to leave immediately but he did not. Instead he offered Nero refuge but Nero refused, arguing that he would rather see Romulus destroyed 1000 times than be rescued by Kirk and the Enterprise. It was Kirk who gave the order to fire on the Narada and it was not like he had a lot of time to spare to argue the point with either Nero or Spock.

66. Pauln6 - August 13, 2011

Kirk assumed that Nero spoke for all of his crew but he hadn’t established that or whether there were any civilians or prisoners on board. Nero’s shields must have been down for Kirk and Pike to be beamed off – why does he need permission to extract the Romulans who were guilty of many crimes. Spending precious seconds saving lives (even criminals) is laudible but spending precious seconds firing on a ship that was already being destroyed from close range instead of getting to a safe distance was foolhardy and vindictive. During WWII British and German ships would rescue emeny combatants from sinking ships. Hitler ordered the Nazis to kill survivors only when he started losing the war. Generally, Hitler’s behaviour is not viewed favourably. Not the behaviour that I would expect from Starfleet captain material.

67. spock - August 14, 2011

Some of my favorite old novels… My Enemy, My Ally. Black Fire, Abode of Life, Galactic Whirlpool, Killing Time, Covenant of the Crown.

68. spock - August 14, 2011

If I had to pick a book from back in the day I wanted to see as a movie, My Enemy, My Ally would be it. Great character elements, the Enterprise captured, the crew attempting to rescue another starship, and take out a research project at a Romulan base. The book would even work if they re-wrote the story for TNG, and use Tamalok as the Romulan Commander. One story thread of the story is very much like the Romulan in the defector.

69. Father Robert Lyons - August 14, 2011

#68 – I actually think that “My Enemy, My Ally” would make a great NuTrek film. It would be quite dramatically important, a race that is struggling for survival has some of its best and brightest stolen for a top-secret project. I know that, unfortunately, some will be soured on the idea because of the use of the Anear in a similar capacity in Enterprise, but, while I prefer to think of the original crew in MEMA, I think it would make a totally awesome film.


70. kmart - August 14, 2011

Ive always assumed Ron Moore lifted heavily from MEMA, at the time I remember coming up with over a dozen points of similiarity.

71. Gary - August 14, 2011

The first 20 or so Pocket books and a few other that were not numbered complemented TOS. There was one book that was a sequel to “What Are Little Girls Made of?” There were origin of the Federation stories, etc. that filled in the blanks in the Star Trek world that I really enjoyed.

I bought and read these books religiously. Then one day, when the Internet was relatively new, I read on the Pocket books website the rules for writing a Star Trek novel: every story must feature Kirk, Spock and McCoy, no changing the characters, etc. I realized the books had became cookie-cutter. About the same time, Harlan Ellison on a show called SciFi Buzz encouraged viewers to stop reading this stuff and read other novels. My literary sophistication grew. That’s when I stopped buying Star Trek books.

The Yesterday Sage would never have been published if it were written later than it was.

72. Jack - August 14, 2011

69… Agreed.

73. Jack - August 14, 2011

66. Good points. It did feel wrong… I’d thought that maybe they wanted to make sure that Nero didn’t go back in time again — even though it wouldn’t affect their timeline, it would still mean he could hurt a lot of people wherever he landed (although all the red matter was presumably gone). And Spock’s “no, not really…” although pretty funny, seemed a little off for the character…but yeah, beaming the crew aboard seems more in character (along with sending a whole team over… the not wanting to risk his crew is laudable, but not when billions of lives are at stake).

63. i do agree that it worked as a film, period.

74. Pauln6 - August 14, 2011

#73 I also enjoyed the movie tremendously. This is why I say that it would only have taken a few relatively minor tweaks to improve. An acknowledgment in dialogue that the gravitational distortions are too strong to beam anyone off and that they cannot take the risk that Nero’s ship might survive another trip through time would have been all it took to justify their actions and remove any elements of spite and vengeance. The scary thing is that the tactics used by Kirk in just beaming himself and Spock across are similar to Troi’s when she kept failing her commanders exams! With billions of lives at stake Kirk should have been hurling redshirts at those Romulans like Zack Brannigan! Novelisations do have the luxury of more time to spend on characterisation and the benefit of the characters’ inner voices to help explain their motivations. It’s interesting to see how for the modern Kirk they focused on the his hyped reputation (particularly as a womaniser) rather than the more rounded character we saw in TOS (where he was most often seen using charm to get information or assistance as part of the mission). In how many of the early novels did Kirk put it about?

75. Pauln6 - August 14, 2011

Although thinking about it, in some dialogue that was removed from the script, Kirk was using Gaila to hack into the Kobayashi Maru program so maybe it was consistent after all!

76. Robman007 - August 15, 2011

@ 66/73: This part of the film has been explained a MILLION times. Bob Orci and others explained the reason why the Enterprise destroyed the Narada after Nero refused to surrender. It makes sense. It was not an illogical action nor was it out of SPITE! It’s also something that ShatKirk would have done too (following a Needs of the many mantra..yes, by destroying the Narada, Kirk put the Enterprise at risk, but had he not and the Narada slipped into the black hole, it would have reappeared and caused much more damage to others.)

The Narada was NOT being destroyed by the red matter hole (go back and look, it was very much intact, just minus shields and weapon systems). The ship was damaged, but not badly. It was just unable to escape the gravimetic pull of the black hole. Kirk, from talking with the older Spock, knew what would happen if the Narada fell into this hole. Nero would come out in some other time period, possibly distant past, and would continue with his little rampage and cause more death and destruction. So, logically, Kirk destroyed the ship to prevent Nero from causing more mayhem. It was not VINDICTIVE or foolhardy. It was the correct action to take to prevent this extremely powerful (as well as self repairing) vessel and its insane captain from causing more damage to billions of others in some other time (perhaps way, way back in the past, with no NCC-1701 to stop them). Kirk gave him his chance to surrender and live, but pay a legal price for his crimes.

Also, quite a fitting end to someone who committed mass Genocide. I appladed Kirk for that alone.

77. Robman007 - August 15, 2011

Also, yes, it was a bit unrealistic for Kirk and Spock to beam over the Narada all alone, but it did fit in with TOS lore. Kirk and Spock ALWAYS went into crazy situation with nobody else, except maybe Dr McCoy and a redshirt who died in seconds upon beaming.

I don’t understand all the folks who do nothing but complain about this film. It brought Star Trek back and in an amazing way. It gave Trek a kick in the pants that was way past due and much needed. Trek had become way too bogged down with Cannon, technobabble and was way too Politically Correct. The new film may have been faster, and less intelligent in some ways, but it was a great ride that resurrected Star Trek and in a great way. It also brought the masses (non fans) into the mix, and Star Trek needs the masses coming in theaters to keep this franchise alive. Fans alone cannot get these films the money needed to continue forth.

78. Nuallain - August 15, 2011

#49 – How Much? is an unusual Trek book but perfect Trek in the wider context. The way I’d encourage people to look at it is that while most TOS novels strive to be, say, a Space Seed or a The Changeling, very few of the novels try to be a prose equivalent of, say, Shore Leave — a type of episode every bit as important to Trek’s appeal.

That’s what How Much for Just the Planet tries to be — the novel equivalent of the Trek comedy episodes– and it’s absolutely brilliant at being that.

79. Pauln6 - August 15, 2011

@76 & 77 – I certainly don’t ‘do nothing but complain’ about the movie, that’s why I said I enjoyed it before going on to critique it. My issue is that none of the ‘excuses’ were made explicit in the movie while the reactions of the characters we do see on screen imply other motivations. Still, if you’re applauding Nero’s death that explains why you missed my point! Kirk and Spock beaming down alone does indeed play into the old TOS dynamic but it is the dynamic that was more often used in the later episodes after they cut the budget and used cheesier stories. I’d much rather they referred to earlier episodes for inspiration. Actually, I really enjoy novels that don’t just focus on Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. It’s one of the reasons why I enjoyed Traitor Winds so much.

I haven’t read How Much for Just the Planet but it seems to be getting a reasonable endorsement. Maybe I should!

80. Jack - August 15, 2011

79. It’s a fine balance between common sense (what should be done in this situation) and what works for the story (see: Patrick Stewart having nothing to do up on the Enterprise while away teams were busy down on the surface, for the first two seasons). Heck, Kirk beamed just two people, and Saavik insisted she join, to Regula I in TWOK (a movie which had its share of plot points and details that tested fan rationalizations). But, yes, ‘because Kirk always does this’ isn’t a great reason for anything.

Heck, in some ways – twok was a refresh (it ignored visual continuity, it gave the characters new dimensions, it grounded Trek more in our world, visually at least, and it required nearly no knowledge of TOS — it’s tough to imagine that this world is directly connected to the garish 60s-ness of TOS) and it
was also faithful to the spirit of the characters.

I’d love to see the next one do this. I wonder if Bob Orci reads these non-movie threads.

81. Robman007 - August 15, 2011

@79: Actually it was more of a dynamic used in Season One of TOS. Example being Errand of Mercy. Just Kirk and Spock. Season 2-3 really went the path of Kirk/Spock/McCoy and Red shirt #153. It was TOS and great, camp fun. It’s all good in Trek, because in reality, the captain, first officer, chief medical officer, chief engineer and such would NEVER go on a mission like that. That is what the spec, lower level officers are for.

I did understand what you meant by “asking” Nero for permission instead of using those late 24th Century enhanced Transporter systems to just beam them up and get the crap outta dodge. That would have been a logical choice, but I did applaud that some effort was made to make Kirk and Spock more human (no offense to Spock) and prone to the same fallible choices based on emotion that all of us are prone too. It may not have been 24th Century evolved sensabilities, but it was human.

Remember, Kirk gave Kruge a chance at life. He could have kept dragging Kruge up even after Kruge tried to kill him, but he..had..enough..of him. I often looked at his offer to Nero as the same sorta offer he gave Kruge.

If we take the lame crappy fan pandering excuse that this is an alternate reality, then it’s all good, but really, this new Trek is new…nothing after happens, the past has been changed. These characters are not our ShatKirk/NimoySpock. The alternate reality is just pandering to those fans who would boycott a altered time line and new canon start. So, based on past Trek episodes and movies time travel causing real damage, Nero cost these two individuals ALOT. Kirk was (potentially, yet to be seen) robbed of his future life as well as not growing up with the influence of his father, while Spock lost his people (billions worth), planet, mother, and possible life altering brother relationship with Kirk/McCoy, all to this one crazy individual. Not a stretch to believe that they would be down with blowing him out of the sky. Personally, I’d probably do the same. We all saw signs that this Spock will differ in that he will listen to his human side a bit more, especially after Sarak’s admission of love for his wife….so, not at all out of character of THIS Spock.

Yes, Kirk did know of all that was lost to him (and Spock) thru the elder spock and the mind meld. I think he even made mention of the going back in time and changing history changed their lives….(another piece of evidence that showed the “alternate reality” was not a planned plot point, but put in at some higher level request as to not piss off trek fans by “erasing” their large collection of DVD’s, toys, models, books and roleplaying games…)

One thing I have always loved about Kirk/Spock and the others was that thye were written very human. They made mistakes, had prejudice thoughts and opinions. Very real

As for the film, I do wish they would have notated that the Narada was part Borg and self regenerating instead of leaving it to a comic book and blu-ray bonus features (which do list the Narada as having the above listed background and features). Would have given Kirks decision to blow up the Narada as a logical choice instead of one made with vengance in mind…even if he would have spelt that out to Spock and the others that you gotta blow the Narada up or else it would just go back in time and cause more havor. I think the novel spells that out too.

82. Pauln6 - August 15, 2011

I think there is a difference between a personal choice to kill a man who is trying to kill you and destroying 20+ people on a defencless ship. Now what would have been really cool was if Nero rejected Kirk’s offer of help and then tried to destroy the Enterprise, destroying himself when the gravity of the singularity sucked his torpedoes back in. The symbolism – hate will destroy you – would feel more TOS than, “America, f### yeah!”

The novels and indeed episodes have more time and opportunity to explore themes and supporting characters. Some novels spend a lot of time focusing on guest characters when none of the main characters are even around. My favourite episodes are always the ones with landing parties featuring more than just the big 3. It’s unlikely that they will be able to squeeze that into a movie franchise but I thought they did well with what they had overall. If they had skipped the silly lifepod scene and transported Kirk to the outpost brig with Rand as a guard, they would have covered all the bases for me.

83. Jack - August 15, 2011

The alternate reality is just pandering to those fans who would boycott a altered time line and new canon start. So, based on past Trek episodes and movies time travel causing real damage, Nero cost these two individuals ALOT. Kirk was (potentially, yet to be seen) robbed of his future life as well as not growing up with the influence of his father, while Spock lost his people (billions worth), planet, mother, and possible life altering brother relationship with Kirk/McCoy, all to this one crazy individual.

Yep about the damage Nero did to these two (I wish his motivations had been more understandable, but, heck, real life atrocities [some recent] have happened because of even sketchier motivations — I think, ‘he’s crazy and wants revenge’ is enough.). I still think the new reality stuff makes sense, intuitively…

“I think he even made mention of the going back in time and changing history changed their lives….(another piece of evidence that showed the “alternate reality” was not a planned plot point, but put in at some higher level request as to not piss off trek fans by “erasing” their large collection of DVD’s, toys, models, books and roleplaying games…)”

Heh. Yep, the DVDs won’t magically erase themselves… yet. But, mentioning going back in time and changing all their lives is still, I’d geekily
argue, consistent with the alternate reality (i.e. a new reality that branched off the second Nero got there and screwed with things) — their lives aren’t what they would have been if Nero hadn’t come back in time and attacked the Kelvin, etc. If that change hadn’t happened, they would have been Prime Kirk, Spock and, er, all the rest.

And, alas, that Prime Universe past, up to the point Spock and Nero left, wasn’t erased (but instead, a new branch was created) because, if it had been erased, Spock and Nero wouldn’t have traveled through time in the first place….? I know, our buddy the grandfather paradox. But the new stream in time makes a strange kind of sense — even if it’s scientifically nonsensical (I don’t know if it is or not — and it doesn’t really matter either way… although, the idea of a brand new universe being created is, well, incredibly awesome… it’s clearly a big deal). And, the alternate reality stuff is there in the dialogue — along with ‘our destinies have changed,’ or something.

84. Robman007 - August 15, 2011

lol, great example of that was The Apple. Landing party is Kirk, Spock, McCoy, 3-4 redshirts, Chekov and his girlfriend. All the redshirts die too, which was a hoot, but Kirk and Spock figured out the problem like always.

I agree with that point. It kinda could have been a cool deal if the Narada had even gone a tractor beam route and tried to take the Enterprise with them. That particular scene has always been a hot debat topic amonst most fans I talk with. The whole climax end scene seemed a bit rushed, as if they were shoe horned into getting done in 2 hours (trek is 2hr 6 min from beginning to end credits) because of Abrams dislike of movies that 2.5/3 hours long. Could have used another 30 to not rush the climax of the film.

It is a shame that the novels are not canon and that TNG did so much to screw up the accepted canon of the novels and FASA roleplay system (Human fusion Klingons for the win!)

85. Robman007 - August 15, 2011

@83…yeah, time travel is a tricky one. You just gotta sit back and let it happen. My annoyance with the Alternate Reality is just that is goes against the plots of so many trek episodes and a movie (FC) that deal with stopping some mad man or group of idiots who went back in time from doing damage to the present. If going back and changing things would just create a new reality, then why bother following the Borg back to the 21st Century and repairing whatever damage they may have done. I’d say let them go effect on us, so why bother, it’ll just create an alternate reality.

86. Pauln6 - August 15, 2011

I wonder, if they are exploring NuTOS episodes in the upcoming comic presumably they are prepared to pay royalties to whoever owns the rights to the original scripts. I wonder if they might following up on some of the novel ideas. That would be cool. He and Uhura could have that whole, “I was 30,000 years in the past and we were on a break. Your emotional reaction to my illegitimate son is most illogical. She wore a fur bikini – I am only Vulcan after all…” thing going on.

87. Nick Cook - August 16, 2011

I adored a lot of those early novels. A particular favourite was Gene Deweese’s Chain of Attack and its sequel, The Final Nexus.

Gordon Eklund’s two novels were also favourites.

88. Martin Pollard - August 16, 2011

#83 & 85 – Yeah, the alternate reality/time travel stuff makes your head hurt, but the whole “alternate reality branched off after this decision was made” thing is already established in Trek lore (see: TNG’s “Parallels”). Therefore, there’s no inconsistency WITHIN TREK LORE to say that Trek’09 is an alternate reality, one that is running parallel to the “prime” reality.

Of course, the Treknobabble would come into play if they tried to describe WHY you couldn’t move from one reality to another. Not even “Doctor Who” really tried all that hard to explain it. :-)

89. Laura - August 16, 2011

Great new feature! I loved those old novels when I was a teenager and they were the only Trek I had to look forward to between movies. The two Yesterday novels were particular favorites, as I was/am a Spock Girl through and through.

I’ve also seen some of my other faves mentioned here, but to reiterate:
Spock’s World
How Much for Just the Planet?
My Enemy, My Ally
Killing Time (the original, unexpurgated printing, of course!)
The Covenant of the Crown
Doctor’s Orders
Black Fire
The Wounded Sky
The Entropy Effect
Uhura’s Song
Federation — my all-time Trek favorite, and one of my favorite novels, period.

I stopped reading the Trek novels in the mid-90s. They started to be too formulaic and plot-driven, without any real delving to the depths of the characters. I found myself not caring about these characters I’d previously cared about, just because they were written so superficially. They stopped being people to me and just became cardboard cutouts named Kirk, Spock and McCoy.

On the plus side, the purchase of a replacement copy of Spock’s World led me to meet my husband in a crowded bookstore. So even though I haven’t read a Trek novel in years, it all worked out in the end anyway.

Looking forward to more reviews! I might even re-read a couple!
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