Library Computer: “New Frontier: Treason” Review + “Star Trek” Ltd Edition Preview + “Trek Classic” Excerpt

Today we have a special Library Computer chock full of Star Trek book goodies. First John catches up with a review of the latest Peter David New Frontier novel, "Treason". Then we have a first look and more details on the limited edition hard cover from the Star Trek movie adaptation. Finally we have excerpts from Ed Gross’ reissue of "Trek Classic: The Unofficial Making of the Original Series,"

 

 

REVIEW: STAR TREK: NEW FRONTIER -TREASON by Peter David

[review contains spoilers for this and other past Star Trek books]

review by John Tenuto

The crew of the USS Excalibur faces challenges from within and without in the newest New Frontier adventure. On board, the once loyal Dr. Selar (from Star Trek: The Next Generation) has become desperate to save her son (who is half Hermat and half Vulcan) from his medical condition of aging too quickly. Selar betrays her crew and Starfleet by stealing a patient and Robin Lefler’s infant son Cwansi in what she believes is an attempt to help her own son. Meanwhile, the crew and its current and former shipmates deal with outside threats such as attempted assassination, treachery, aliens with a unique yet dangerous goal, and personal intrigue.

In sociology’s functional theory there are the notions of manifest (intended) consequences and latent (unintended) consequences. The idea is that social policies have a duality, intended effects and unintended effects. The same could be said of the New Frontier books by Peter David. They were intended to create a line of Star Trek books where there could be lasting consequences because it involved either minor characters from the television shows, or original characters such as Captain Mackenzie Calhoun. David would be freed from the constraints of resetting everything at the end of the book which was the norm for traditional Trek texts, at least until more recently. "Treason" shows this notion in abundance as there are lasting repercussions to the characters. One beloved character dies. Another original character from the novels dies and a well known TV show character is disfigured. Characters such as Robin Lefler and Selar experience conversions and changes to their
circumstances.

All of these repercussions are amid a good narrative which features both personal and galactic intrigue and has plenty of adventure and action. While Peter David has written what is my favorite Star Trek book of all time (Imzadi), his texts recently have shown a tendency for too much humor at inappropriate times. Frankly, some of the books have been almost self referential and congratulatory pats on the back (for example, the way Captain Kathryn Janeway’s death was treated by David in his book "Before Dishonor"). However, I am happy to report that none of this is present with Treason. It is David in perfect form and readers will laugh and cry as he takes them on an emotional adventure.

However, like everything, there are latent features to the New Frontier books, and that, too is true of "Treason." The New Frontier books, and especially "Treason," are more Star Wars than Star Trek. Calhoun is definitely Han Solo meets Starfleet (perhaps he should be renamed Calhan?). The banter between Kalinda and Calhoun’s smart alec pirate son is so reminiscent of Han and Leia that it is distracting. There is too much Obi Wan Kenobi type symbolism (including a character named Cwan…ObiCwan?). It isn’t that "Treason" is devoid of Star Trek themes or ideas. It is that characters talk and act as if they belong more to the universe of Lucas than Roddenberry. Somethings go well together, but Star Wars and Star Trek and not peanut butter and chocolate. This problem is abated somewhat by the fact that many of the characters are likeable despite their flaws and there are nods to Star Trek’s history.

All of that being said, "Treason" is definitely recommended as it is exciting and intriguing. Not to be proverbial, it is a book that is difficult to stop reading because of the way David weaves the narrative together. There is a very interesting conclusion to the book and there are threads here for good sequels. For those who have not read a New Frontier book before, there are enough "pointing arrows" to help navigate this unusual version of Star Trek, although you may want to engage the IDW New Frontier comic books to get visual references for some of these characters. It is a good book to read as a "first" in the line or for those who have been fans all along. In summary, David has shown again why he is arguably the best Star Trek author, even if his New Frontier world skews to the Force. This is a recommended title.


"New Frontier Treason" (available now)

SIGNED "STAR TREK" ADAPTATION BOOK & BOX AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER

In our ‘dueling reviews’ of the Alan Dean Fosters adaptation of the new Star Trek movie, we announced that a limited edition signed hard cover was coming out in June. Each book is signed by the author and comes in a leather box. All are numbered and have a letter of authenticity.


"Star Trek" collectors edition

The ‘collectors edition’ of "Star Trek" is available on June 8th and costs $35. You  can pre-order the book now at premierecollectibles.com.

 

EXCERPTS FROM "TREK CLASSIC" REISSUE

Also just released is the book "Trek Classic: The Unofficial Making of the Original Series," a revised edition written by TrekMovie.com contributor Edward Gross that goes behind the scenes of the ‘60s series. Excerpted and revised from the out-of-print Captains’ Logs, Trek Classic presents interviews with a wide variety of producers, directors and writers, among them Robert Justman, Joseph Pevney, David Gerrold, Dorothy Fontana, Norman Spinrad, Fred Freiberger, Stephen Kandel, friends and associates of Gene L. Coon, John D.F. Black and many more.

The book not only provides a look at the making of the show in general, but it goes behind the scenes on each episode of its three-season run. For example:

On "Where No Man Has Gone Before"
Associate Producer Robert Justman: “Gene Roddenberry was very happy to get Bill Shatner, who was highly thought of in the industry… The network seemed to feel that Jeff Hunter was rather wooden. He was a nice person, everyone liked him, but he didn’t run he gamut of emotions that Bill Shatner could do….”

Director James Goldstone: “This one just seemed to have the potential to establish those characters on a human level. The only gimmick is the mutation forward, the silvering of Gary Mitchell’s eyes, and it works because it’s simple, as opposed to the growing of horns or something. Ours was a human science fiction concept, perhaps cerebral and certainly emotional.”

Writer Samuel Peeples: "Gene and I were trying to avoid the space cadet cliché. We were both very concerned about it being an adult show. One thing, as later episodes proved, was the problem which never should have existed: the bug eyed monsters. We both discouraged the idea, believing that we should keep things as realistic as possible. If a person was different physically, then explain the reason for that difference. In a particular atmosphere, he might have a larger lung. If it was a planet with an extraordinarily bright sun, he would have different eyes. We were actually trying to project reality against an unfamiliar background. In other words, we would deal with reality according to the environmental background we encountered."

On "Balance of Terror"
Writer Paul Schneider: “Creating the Romulans was a matter of developing a good Romanesque set of admirable antagonists that were worthy of Kirk. I came up with the concept of the Romulans, which was an extension of the Roman civilization to the point of space travel, and it turned out quite well. It holds up remarkably well. I had the concept of this battle in space and this battle over a neutral zone, and I sat there with Gene and developed it with him. Gene said, ‘Take it this way, that way,’ I added my bit and a story came out of it. I’ve forgotten how many times I revised the story, but I think a couple of times before it went into teleplay."

Director Vincent McEveety: "They were very heroic characters pitted one against the other, and it dealt with the length to which people would go for their honor. It was a morality fantasy play, but terribly gripping. I thought that Mark Lenard’s performance was brilliant, as was Bill Shatner’s. It was a two-people show that I felt was real strong. I had, incidentally, seen THE ENEMY BELOW, but I didn’t notice the similarity until later, when somebody told me about it. Obviously it’s the same story."

Story Editor John D.F. Black: “I remember that one was tough… We were dealing with the Romulans and the Spock relationship to them, and that was something that needed very special handling, as was the case any time Spock met with aliens. It was important not to blow the Spock character and not to equate him to somebody who sucks salt out of somebody else’s body. We had to keep him Spock. Then it became a habit and subsequently when I saw the episodes I wasn’t involved with, Leonard, by the time I was gone, already had a lock on what he wanted to play as Spock and he was right. He made Spock his own character and so he survived that way. I don’t think he ever said an out of character line on the show. At the very beginning it was because of care on our side, and then it became Leonard protecting the character. If you notice the takeoffs, the comics are never able to pull off a spoof of him. They can use what became the clichés of the character, but they can’t catch Spock.
Leonard had him, and the character just somehow survived from script to script."


"Trek Classic: The Unoficial Making of the Original Series" is back

The book costs $15 and is highly recommended for any fan who wants to know the inside scoop on the making of Star Trek The Original Series. It is a great companion for those who are reviewing TOS again on Blu-ray this year. You can order it directly from the Media Geek Store.

 

COMING NEXT
Reviews from for the next month from TrekMovie include the upcoming TOS novel “Troublesome Minds,” by Dave Galanter and we also need to catch up with a review of the already released TOS ebook novella anthology "Mere Anarchy".

 
Available for pre-order for May: "Troublesome Minds"
"Star Trek: Mere Anarchy"

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Cool! I love novels. :3

raveoned

Pre-ordered the Foster signed novelization. Looks like a nice package for the money!

John

The autographed Star Trek book will go nicely with my autographed Star Trek CD.

Crazy Trek Girl!

Like fan fiction, but profesh! I’m excited!

The Gorn Identity

Trek Classic looks like a great read! I’ll need to check it out.

ster julie

You can put a mink coat on a pig and it’s still a pig. I am disappointed in the book and will not shell out more money for the collector’s copy. There were obviously changes made in the script while filming (writer’s strike or no!) that aren’t in the book, so those lines that I couldn’t hear I’ll never know–at least until some court-reporter type can make a transcript of what is on the screen.

On the other hand, I think I should have held out for the audio version. Last week’s review of ZQ’s narration really made me rue the fact that Ihad pre-ordered the book.

The above looks good…. I do have a question for the TrekMovie community… Does anyone know if you can get a CD of the Animated Trek series soundtrack????

Thomas Jensen

I had previously ordered Trek Classic and have ordered the signed Star Tek Adaptation book and have attributed the SIGNED “STAR TREK” ADAPTATION BOOK to my visit to this site. It’s the least I can do.

RD

#7. Shame on you. What kind of Trek fan are you? The only way to get more Star Trek is to pay through the nose for it. Heck don’t just buy one, buy two and keep one in mylar for posterity.

John Sullivan

When’s Alan Dean Foster’s book comming out? It’s usually sort of senseless to release a novel after the film comes out, but I’m still curious about some of the missing footage … like how the hell did they get that 2,500 foot long skyscraper into orbit … what’s that canyon doing in Iowa? A Xindi attack? Did Pike end up giving away the Federation’s border frequencies? Even so, why didn’t surface ships all over the world take out Nero’s ship? How can NERO’s ship in low Earth orbit where lateral momentum is required to keep it from crashing straight down by gravity (lower than Geosyncrohous orbit of 22,500 miles high) can hover over a single spot on Earth, and to make it worse, in a place so far away from the Equator? I’m just getting started, but I’m sure Alan Dean Foster will at least answer some of these things. And I REALLY want the cut footage from Spock’s very early years put into the DVD … if only because everyone I’ve talked to that’s seen the greenscreen early dailies say that we were really robbed of Wynona Rider’s best work in the film.

Simon

10 – “When’s Alan Dean Foster’s book comming out?”

Never. Books don’t “comme” out.

Sci-Fi Bri

i read the first four new frontier books and didn’t care for the characters, and since there is _no_ science fiction in the first four books, i stopped reading.

Tthe rock man seems too much like worf for my taste. the engineer reminded me too much of a hobbit from the LOTR movies, just there for comic relief. and the author’s vulcans behave too unvulcanly imo.

anyone know if books five and on are worth reading? is there any real sci-fi to read here?

ety3

Any word on companion books to the movie? (Not adaptation.) Like an “Art of …” or “Visual Companion …” or “Behind the Scenes …”

I really would like to see production sketches, set details and what not.

Sxottlan

Treason was pretty bad. New Frontier is wildly inconsistent. Every couple books, there’s a good one.

The rest of the time, the series is just awful.

screaming satellite

13 – yeah i thought that too

plus – any word on a comic adaptation?

Covus

Cool cover for “Troublesome Minds”

10-

The novel released this past Tuesday and should, therefore, be available now.

The book does not tell us about how the Enterprise got to orbit.

The canyon is actually a quarry, and as my in-laws live in Iowa, I can tell you there are actually quarries there.

I don’t think any of your other questions will be answered any better by the book than by the movie.

13-

No word on an art of, BTS, or other book of the sort, though a recent announcement went out that Haynes (yes, the folks who make the car manuals apparently!) is doing a Technical Manual for the new Abrams Enterprise. It is due to be released next year.

Fanboys and Fangirls rejoice!

Rob+

trekologist

Does anyone know if Shatner is going to follow up his academy book and when it might be released?

James

On new books, if kirk is present, who will it be? Shatner or Pine?

thanks for any help

Dom

19. James

Good question.

I’m actually very surprised more tie-in media hasn’t been organised for ST09. I would have thought a comic book, a cartoon series and novels (a novelisation of Countdown for example) would have been in the works well before the film’s release, especially with the six-month delay on the release date.

EXCERPTS FROM “TREK CLASSIC” REISSUE

That is very interesting reading, I’ll have to get that book. Reading the thought they put into those extraordinary episodes makes it so clear as to why they were so ahead of their time and enduring classics. To me, Boborci and co have totally successfully latched on to this way of thinking about the writing, going back to the basics of why Trek can be so brilliant, as is evident in the new film.
Trek is great again.

Have enjoyed Peter David’s work. Let’s see him do the Gary Seven character – and not just a guest star with Khan or whoever. Let’s have the whole treatment….David style.

saint-antoine

Yeah… classic trek is back… none of that “Starfleet troopers” crap now in theater…

Captain Ken

@#6
“There were obviously changes made in the script while filming (writer’s strike or no!) that aren’t in the book, so those lines that I couldn’t hear I’ll never know–at least until some court-reporter type can make a transcript of what is on the screen.”

Om…..It is called the Editing Room…..it is where they get rid of things with out changing the script….

#24 – Actually, Pine and Quinto said in an interview that the “Get out of the chair” line came about on the set. But I guess if the actors are improvising, it doesn’t count as breaking the writer’s strike (like it would if J.J. Abrams had written the line).