Review: The Lost Years

The Lost Years
The Lost Years by J.M. Dillard
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Lost Years is one of the first Star Trek novels to address the murky period between the end of the original series and Star Trek: The Motion Picture. People at Paramount must’ve liked it, since J.M. Dillard replaced Vonda McIntyre at the helm of the prose adaptations of the movies. While it has it’s moments, and has a lot of action, it doesn’t compare to other examinations of the same period (like the first two books of the Crucible series).

The coup for me in this book was bringing back Kevin Riley, a featured player on two of the original series episodes (“The Naked Time” and “Conscience of the King”), but he’s brought back as such a simpering wretch, you’d almost rather the author hadn’t bothered. We also have Spock’s father, Sarek, and are introduced to a number of new characters that sort of meld into the background like furniture, no matter if Kirk is having sex with them or not. Spock’s characterization is completely off in this one, as he comes off annoyed, miffed, and even pissed at Kirk. So much for all that Vulcan training and such controlling his emotions.

And the antagonist in this one is basically a super-villain; he has amazing, deadly powers that he uses to kill creatures all over the place. Give him a fancy costume and he could fight the X-Men; it was a bit too four-color for a proper Star Trek adventure.

While it was an interesting effort, the whole equation adds up to a lackluster Star Trek novel.

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Review: The Belly of the Beast

The Belly of the Beast
The Belly of the Beast by Dean Wesley Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The first book in the SCE/COE series is a wonderful melange of TOS/TNG and the novels from both series. We’re introduced to the USS Da Vinci, commanded by a friend of Jean-Luc Picard’s, the flagship of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers, of which Captain Montgomery Scott is the main liaison with Starfleet proper. Georgi LaForge joins the crew to investigate a mysterious and powerful alien ship that the Enterprise-D just barely defeated.

The Da Vinci’s crew includes former Enterprise Ensign Selina Gomez, along with a pair of the computer-minded Bynars. A couple of new alien races round things out, in a very well-written book. Definitely looking forward to the next book in the series!

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Review: The IDIC Epidemic

The IDIC Epidemic
The IDIC Epidemic by Jean Lorrah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The IDIC Epidemic is a bit misleading for a title; the story refers to a perversion of the Vulcan concept rather than the actual philosophy. Still, this was an interesting novel. And it weaves in an explanation for why Klingons look different in the original TV series and the movies. Until Enterprise, it was the only real explanation we had.

The book is a pseudo-sequel to Jean Lorrah’s previous Trek entry, the superb Vulcan Academy Murders, though it is really connected only by a tangent – Sulu is injured before the story begins and needs to use the healing chamber developed in the previous book. Unfortunately, there’s this planet and Romulans and a lack of dilithium to contend with first…

Excellent new characters on board the Enterprise again (Lt. Offer, Ensign LaPierre) make things more interesting. This is a well-written novel with a lot of action and spot-on characterization. Definitely recommended!

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Review: Marvel Masterworks: The Sub-Mariner, Vol. 1

Marvel Masterworks: The Sub-Mariner, Vol. 1
Marvel Masterworks: The Sub-Mariner, Vol. 1 by Stan Lee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An excellent volume in the Marvel Masterworks series, but probably not for everyone. Besides brief appearances by Iron Man and Daredevil, there’s not a lot of connection to the regular Marvel Universe. And there’s a lot of reading – you know, actual reading – so that might be off-putting to a lot of modern readers.

Great stories and some fantastic artwork by Gene Colan and Bill Everett, including Everett inking Colan. Unfortunately, most of the first few stories are inked by Vince Colletta, completely destroying Colan’s moody artwork. Colletta can do some good work, but he wrecks detailed pencils with his speed.

The stories pretty much show Namor reclaiming his kingdom, finding Neptune’s trident to cement his rule, all amidst the machinations of Warlord Krang. Interesting, near-Shakespearean dialogue highlights these wonderful old tales! Recommended!

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Review: The Wounded Sky

The Wounded Sky
The Wounded Sky by Diane Duane
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Probably my favorite Star Trek novel of all time, The Wounded Sky is full of action, good characterization. and a lot of physics and metaphysics. The Enterprise truly goes where no one has gone before in this one.

It is also that rare beast in which Paramount allowed the author to develop some great new characters and a couple new alien races I wish were in the Star Trek canon. Especially recreations officer Harb Tanzer, who is perhaps the best “created” crew member in the extended mythos of the Star Trek novels.

As I said, this is my personal favorite Trek novel, and I definitely recommend it to any and everyone!

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Review: Its Hour Come Round

Its Hour Come Round
Its Hour Come Round by Margaret Wander Bonanno
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

What a letdown! The final book of the up-til-now excellent Mere Anarchy series doesn’t resolve much of anything. It retreads several plots from the original series and the movies, but ends so precipitiously, I thought I was missing the last chapter. Apparently, the author thought that since Kirk was dead (as of this book, which takes place after the events of Star Trek Generations), why bother finishing this story?

I can understand in some ways keeping the ending as nebulous as it was, but after five good novels/novellas, readers want a final conclusion, no matter which way it goes! The story has some dubious characterization as well, and I’ll more than likely avoid books by this author in the future.

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