“Shadow Lord ”: Star Trek Novel Vangie13 cbr #52

Imageby Laurence Yep

“I speak from experience,” Mr. Spock said coldly. People are continually asking me to play roles in petty emotional melodramas in which I have asked neither to be cast nor directed.”

Well, we go from the wonder and joy of “Uhura’s Song” to this. I don’t know what this is.

Prince Vikram, 9th in line to the throne of the planet Angira, was sent to the Federation to study and bring back new modernized ways to his planet. Spock and Sulu travel with him back to Angira, where the people are unhappy about the modernizations and are rebelling. They are swept up in the fighting and Vikram’s quest across the planet.

Random Thoughts Written Down as I Read:

I was wondering why the heck this is a Star Trek novel and I thought I’d figured it out when I read this about “Uhura’s Song:” “Timescape did not accept novels from previously-unpublished authors – but the Star Trek line did, and Hartwell suggested it as an avenue for qualifying as a published author.” However, Laurence Yep is a Newbery and Laura Ingalls Wilder -Medal winning author who was publishing a decade before the release of this novel. So I cannot explain this blemish on Yep or Star Trek.

Again, I don’t know who that is on the cover, since Prince Vikram is described as pear-shaped, furry, with extremely long legs and wearing henna in his facial fur and mascara on his eyes.  Not all Greatest-American-Hero-but-taller. He is also wearing only one boot on his leg. And thank goodness, because two boots on one leg would just look silly.

The prologue is 31 pages long.

Prince Vikram eats with his hands and seems rather effete. NTTAWWT. He offers to do Uhura’s hair, waggles his fingers, balances wineglasses on his fingertips, fluffs his own curls. I’m not sayin’ I’m just sayin.’

Angira is similar to Meiji Japan. Paperclips and carbon paper are high tech. So why has the Federation even made contact? What happened to the Prime Directive?

McCoy isn’t just cranky; he’s outright mean and bad-tempered. He bitches about fencing being a stupid sport. He tells Spock he is tactless. He calls Vikram a fop. But not to his face.

Spock is shirty. Is that the word? Prissy. Disdainful. He smiles.

Let’s go! Ready?

A false priest tries to kill Vikram! But it’s only the end of chapter 1 so I am not worried. BUT. Three warriors follow the priest! But it’s only the beginning of chapter 2 so I’m still not worried. BUT! Two more assassins follow the warriors! It’s like a clown car! But I’m still not worried. But wait! It’s a palace revolt so Vikram and company must flee!

They call on the Hounds for help. They were the Emperor’s guards, now disbanded and derelict. Think of The Three Musketeers. No really. Go read that instead of the crappy little retelling here.

Chapter 3 and we still haven’t escaped the palace. But we have spent 2 long paragraphs describing Sulu stabbing an opponent as we escape into the dungeons.

They travel the passageways for several hours and after an hour they begin to realize they are lost. They stumble upon a torture chamber, recently used, but currently unoccupied.

Except by a nest of giant beetles! They are trapped! The beetles look like earwigs and you must kill them to get them to release their pincers! They escape the chamber! But find themselves blocked by a fall of rubble! They dig themselves out! But are blocked by a locked door! I’m put in mind of the opening of “Get Smart!

Vikram likens himself to Hamlet. It is inapt.

Now we join Rahu, the Usurper! I don’t care!

We seem to have forgotten the Angirans are 8 feet tall and Sulu and Spock are not. I don’t care. No one else does.

Vikram’s party is set upon by bandits! They fight! They exchange witty banter! Spock is injured in the hip by a spear! They are saved by villagers! The villagers take them hostage! They are rescued by Bibil’s father! They finally treat Spock’s wound after eating dinner!

Lord Bhima finds the remains of the bandits from the above paragraph! I don’t care!

Vikram’s party is broken out of jail! They must leave Spock behind! They are caught as they leave! Probably because they stood around discussing how good-hearted everyone is! Vikram shows off his master swordsmanship! The militia runs away! They climb over the village wall! I still don’t care!

Vikram is unique (pronounced yoo-nee-kway). He references Camelot and says he is not Arthur. You’re telling me, brother.

They enter Kotah by the ‘back door,’ if you know what I mean, and if you do, don’t bother telling me because I just really don’t care.

They cross a rope bridge over a water-filled gorge! Lord Bhima traps them on the bridge! History is written by the winners! Lawyers quibble over words, not deeds! Sulu cuts a bridge cable! They swing down into the river! There is a large animal under water! Forget about it because the author does!

The plan to cut the cable is explained twice and it isn’t exciting either time. Also, it takes 4 pages to cut.

Urmi can’t swim! There is NO waterfall threatening our heroes! Wait…what?

Lord Bhima captures Spock! Nobody cares, least of all, me! Vikram speechifies about everyone being part of the same world! I guess he’s growing up but I don’t care!

Vikram and Sulu are taken into protective custody by the clan elders! Vikram’s old nursemaid shames the elders into releasing them! Vikram takes the elders into protective custody! I guess you had to be there!

Spock coughs because of his wound. The one in his hip. I think it means he’s dying. Why do dying people cough?

Vikram’s army of 6,000 marches! Rahu’s army of 30,000 go to meet them! 300! Sulu is Vikram’s bannerman! Oh! My! God! This is the most boring and repetitive battle ever! And I still don’t care!

Urmi shoots and kills an enemy soldier who is sobbing as he charges. That is sad and haunting and now I will have bad dreams but the author just moves on.

Rahu’s army retreats! Vikram’s army finds Rahu and Lord Bhima waiting for them with Spock tied to a chair bleeding from his chest wound which I thought was on his hip but I can’t be arsed to go back and look it up because I don’t care!

Vikram thinks it’s a rather ugly turn of events! They duel for possession of Spock and Angira! Oh dear, I wonder who will win? Oh yeah—I don’t care! Vikram wins by using the Kurosawa move so painstakingly described in the prologue/not prologue! Never saw that coming! Rahu breaks his word because he’s a villain that way! Bhima saves Vikram with his last breath!

The Enterprise arrives back in system after it’s all over and McCoy treats Spock’s sucking hip wound and Vikram and Urmi are in love and we’re out.

WTF:

“Do you think sociology is [Spock’s] secret vice? Does he read it the way other people would read porn?”

Cannonball Read

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“Uhura’s Song ”: Star Trek Novel Vangie13 cbr #51

Imageby Janet Kagan

“Sivao, where the north star beat like the heart of a child…”

An insidious disease is ravaging the Federation. It began on Eeiauo and spread before it was known to be cross-species contagious.

On her first mission, Uhura befriended a diplomat/dancer/singer from Eeiauo. They exchanged taboo songs and promised to never tell a soul. Uhura believes these secret songs may hold clues to cure the epidemic. Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise must decipher the songs to cure the plague. It’s a coming-of-age journey with a first-contact, a mystery, and lots of songs.

Random Thoughts Written Down as I Read:

This is it. This is my favorite Star Trek book EVER, and one of my favorite all-time books of any genre. The philosophies, morals, behaviors, and beliefs discussed and displayed in this book and “The Wounded Sky” shaped who I am, how I behave, and what I believe today.

That being said, I realize others may not be as touched and enthusiastic as I am about “Uhura’s Song.”

I believe in ‘Geek Gifts.’ Geek gifts are things one geek gives to another because they love it so much they need to share it. My son ‘gave’ me “Spaced” in this way, and my guardian angel gave me “Firefly.” I give Geek Gifts too, but I’ve always been reluctant to share “Uhura’s Song” and “The Wounded Sky” because I can’t bear the idea that someone else might NOT find them so magical. My kids’ dad told me “Wounded Sky” was stupid. I never shared “Uhura’s Song” with him.

I’ll share a few special moments and ideas. And I’ll continue singing Uhura’s song.

Oh. That was so cheesy. I love this book.

Bozhe-moi.

McCoy calls the Eeiauoans ‘overgrown house cats’ but it’s obvious he loves them. He claims to cry because he has cat hair in his eyes.

Spock tells jokes but pretends he doesn’t understand that they are jokes.

Snnanagfashtalli is not Eeiauoan, but is mentioned. She is immune to ADF.

Uhura speaks Eeiauoan. Because she fuckin rocks at her job.

Dr. Evan Wilson (spoiler) is me when I was a young adult. But with blue eyes. Her explanations for her own behavior suit me to a T.

This is the first time Uhura’s first name is used: Nyota. A literal translation of her name? Star Freedom.

The Sivoans use their tails to communicate like my cat, Guildenstern. They corkscrew them, and straighten and whip them, lash and flick them—oh! I want a tail! The tails are also prehensile.

Chekov is so fun and young and useful and sweet!

Names have meaning.

Words have meaning.

There are all sorts of jokes and wonderful puns and sweet interactions.

QFT:

“Tell me how it happened.”

Cannonball Read

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“The Vulcan Academy Murders ”: Star Trek Novel Vangie13 cbr #50

Imageby Jean Lorrah

“If you cannot be logical, be silent.”

We open with a space battle between Enterprise and some Klingons. Chekov is injured. Spock quotes Hamlet. Crewman Remington is mortally injured, completely paralyzed from the skull down, but alive. McCoy can’t cure him, but Spock believes the doctors at the Vulcan Science Academy can.

You see, Spock’s mother Amanda has degenerative xenosis. It is like an allergy to living on an alien world and thought to be incurable. A team of doctors at the Academy is trying out a new cure on her and it may also help crewman Remington. Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and crewman Remington head for Vulcan on a shuttle leaving Enterprise and crew behind. Once they arrive at the Academy, they find the patients taking part in the new cure are being murdered one by one. Will they find the murderer before Amanda falls victim?  

Kirk has brought his jump to conclusions mat along with him to find the murderer and he suspects T’Pau, Sarek, Sorel, Corrigan, Sendet, and Eleyna. Using his mat, he eliminates suspects from the list one at a time.

Random Thoughts Written Down as I Read:

Sarek teaches at the Academy when he’s not Ambassadorring. Silly me, I thought either of those would be a full-time job. A great majority of his students are human, as is his teaching assistant Eleyna, who is single.

Sarek approves of Spock’s friends. Sarek tells jokes. Sarek has a heart-to-heart with a doctor whose wife is also being treated. Good to see Sarek got over being an ass.

Visiting Amanda’s sterile chamber requires Sarek to be barefoot? Forget about it—the author does.

The doctor Sarek commiserates with is Sorel. His partner is Daniel Corrigan and they made Spock.

Vulcan male names begin with S : Spock, Sarek, Sorel, Soton, Sendet, Soran, Senek, Storn, Spelak, Surak, Spet, Skep, Stonn, Sev, Suvel…

Vulcan female names begin with T’ : T’Mir, T’Par, T’Zan, T’Vel, T’Sel, T’Pau, T’Pree, T’Peyra, T’Pring, T’Sey, T’Ra, T’Vet, T’Par, T’Nie

I still don’t know what letter begins the names of Vulcans who are LBGTQ.

The Enterprise crew, Spock’s family, and the doctors all go to dinner together at Angelo’s. Yes. It is Italian. Yes, it is run by stereotype Italians.

All adult male Vulcans are married; they have to be. No Pon Farr outside of wedlock!

If a Vulcan’s mate dies, s/he will die too unless there is a relative to bond with them within an hour to help deal with the severing of the marital bond. It just doesn’t seem like a survival trait, y’know?

After Sarek’s heart surgery on Enterprise during “Journey to Babel,” Spock and Sarek joined a shipboard poker game. And won.

Dr. Corrigan uses a chronometer.

This is where we recruit Dr. M’Benga.

There’s a whole lotta mind-melding goin’ on up in here.

Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are guests at Sarek’s. Kirk sleeps in Spock’s old room, McCoy sleeps in the spare room and I don’t know where Spock sleeps or why it matters because we don’t explore the rooms and everyone uses the master bath.

There are no water showers on Enterprise, only sonic ones.

Kirk has a type: human, blond, petite, blue-eyed, soft, curvy, and intelligent. Eleyna is this type. He asks her out. She says no.

The 1st murder victim is Lady T’Zan, Dr. Sorel’s wife. Her funeral is held in an auditorium. Everyone who is anyone—and anyone who is not—goes. Sorel’s daughter T’Mire proposes to Dr. Corrigan. Never and always touching and touched.

T’Pau scorns humans.

All the Vulcans want everyone married and try to play matchmaker all the time.

Vulcans apparently don’t kiss or even embrace. Sex must be difficult.

Remember the injured Enterprise crewman, Remington? He’s murdered. I know you’re shocked that a brand new character is dead.

McCoy is a doctor, not an engineer.

Vulcan males cannot divorce. Vulcan females can opt out every seven years.

Kirk becomes Columbo. There is no crime on Vulcan, so there is no police force. The logical Vulcans neglect to account for insane Vulcans and the large population of alien immigrants on their world.

Sarek swears in Vulcan.

Eleyna has a dimple in her cheek which shows when she smiles. Kirk asks her out again. She accepts.

There is one old woman on Vulcan in charge of all supplies. Kirk checks out a tricorder from her.

A computer cannot lie. Mine sure can be an SOB, though. And I really don’t want to discuss printers.

James Kirk, boy detective!

M’Benga’s black, but McCoy can tell he’s exhausted.

There is a fire in the Academy! Amanda is in danger! Kirk, Spock, and Sarek fight the fire! The ceiling collapses! On Spock! Sarek tears down a wall to get to Amanda! Kirk collapses from smoke inhalation! Everyone is ok!

Kirk wonders who blabbed about Pon Farr. So it wasn’t him.

Eleyna visits Kirk in recovery and tells him he looks good in anything. She also expresses her admiration for Sarek.

Dr. Corrigan wonders if T’Mir wants to marry him just so she can escape Pon Farr. They discuss Pon Farr long and long and it begins to sound like marital rape. They mindmeld and this time it’s ok that it reads like sex because it is. Then they have sex.

Vulcan’s ‘moon’ T’Khut is explained for the first time in print.

Dr. Sorel must find a new wife before he goes into Pon Farr again in less than 5 years.

Sarek tells McCoy a very sweet story about meeting and courting Amanda.

Kirk and T’Pau bond over an ancient manuscript and he explains his actions in “Amok Time.”

Kirk sees T’Pring’s rejection of Spock as proof that Vulcans be illogical. I disagree. I feel she was coldly logical.

Vulcans try to breed lying out of their children. They do not lie. But if they do, it can be discovered by ‘Verification,’ which is a rapey mindmeld which can result in madness or death.

Vulcans just meld all over the place. All of the time. It’s kinda open. Swingy.

Eleyna takes Kirk on a picnic in the desert. While they make out, she trips and falls against him, pushing him down a canyon and breaking his ankle. She leaves him and goes for help. Kirk should stop kissing on first dates.

After 5 hours stranded in the moonless desert, Kirk begins to realize Sendet may not have been the killer. And maybe Eleyna pushed him on purpose. And maybe she left him to die. Or maybe! A le-matya ate her! He is attacked by a le-matya and passes out after killing it.

McCoy realizes Kirk’s I trouble and takes Sarek’s car out into the desert and finds him.

Sarek is teaching class when Amanda calls out to him mentally that she is danger. He RUNS. The power goes out and he can’t get to her, so he and Spock mindmeld with Amanda to save her.

Amanda tells Sarek she loves him. He calls her beloved.

As they leave Amanda’s room, Eleyna approaches and expresses sorrow over Amanda’s death. McCoy shouts that she’s the killer!

Sarek sees green. He asks her why she did it. It’s because she’s in love with Sarek. She killed T’Zan and Remington with bad aim, set the fire, tried to kill Kirk, and feels it is unfair that Amanda still lives.

‘Beloved’ is not a pet name. Amanda literally means beloved.

I have no idea what that creature on cover is or why it’s menacing Spock.

WTF:

Recover and enhance.”

Cannonball Read

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“The Glory of Living” A play script Vangie13 cbr #49

Imageby Rebecca Gilman

“They did. Because they’re of that type. It’s just a thing that happens to a type. And it woulda kept happenin’ forever.”

The Present. Rural deep South. Imagine a triangle, with the points being Murfreesboro, TN; Atlanta, GA; and Birmingham AL. Poverty. Poor education. Nothing to do.

Lisa is 15. Her mother is a prostitute and she entertains her clients behind a sheet in the living room of the trailer house where she lives with her kids. Lisa has literally seen it all. She elopes with Clint who she meets when he accompanies a friend to visit Lisa’s mother.

Three years later, they are married and have twins who live with either Lisa’s mom or Clint’s; they aren’t sure. Clint supports them with thievery and petty crimes and they live in cheap hotels.

Lisa and Clint kidnap, rape, torture, and murder 3 girls in succession (the final one escapes). After each incident, Lisa calls the police and reports the bodies. At the end of Act I, Clint and Lisa are arrested when the 3rd girl attempts to escape.

In Act II, Lisa is interviewed by her lawyer. He’s trying to keep her from being executed. She displays a flat affect, feels no remorse, and does not empathize with the victims. She doesn’t blame Clint, but doesn’t accept blame herself. She makes the point that the girls they killed, Clint, and she herself are not important. They are faceless people who don’t matter and won’t be missed. They are throw-away people. Nothing matters.

Lisa’s lawyer is devastated when they lose the trial and Lisa is sentenced to death. Lisa doesn’t care. The lawyer shows her how to play ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ on a toy piano and Lisa displays the very first spark of interest, emotion, connection. Lights down.

Act I is gruesome and graphic.

Act II is amazing, touching, frightening.

Random Thoughts Written Down as I Read:

I detested Gilman’s “Boy Gets Girl.” In all fairness, it may have been the production. In even more fairness, it may have been the horrible costumes.

I am intrigued by Gilman’s “Crime of the Century.”

There are many trigger words. Implied sex. Implied rape. Implied murder. A girl handcuffed to a bed. Graphic descriptions of childbirth, murder, sex. Domestic violence. Nudity.

You have to have the gruesomeness of the 1st act for the 2nd act to work. But will people come back after intermission to see the 2nd act? Act I is brutal, graphic, exhausting.

Based on the case of Alvin and Judith Neelley, convicted of murder in 1983.

WTF:

I learned how ta read people and I became people’s friend. I smiled all the time, like I do now, ya see? I smiled.”

Cannonball Read

 

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“Hush” A play script Vangie13 cbr #48

Imageby April de Angelis

“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” — Macbeth Act 5, Scene 5”

Hush is set on a dismal beach a year after Jo has mysteriously disappeared. It is about the effects that the disappearance is having on those she left behind. Or else it’s about socialism and the failure of the left. Or it’s about failure to communicate.

Rosa, Jo’s indifferent/depressed 15-year-old daughter, has been having sex on the beach with a disturbed homeless boy called Dogboy, who acts like a dog and spends most of his time naked. Louise, Jo’s sister and Rosa’s guardian, is arguing with her mediocre novelist boyfriend Tony. Denise, the housecleaner, daydreams of going to Tibet. Then Colin comes in and tells everyone that Jo held strong beliefs, was at Greenham Common, wouldn’t drink coffee because of the oppression of the coffee workers, and we have a brief argument about the failures of society and where Rosa belongs.

There is loads of angst dripped and spattered and poured all over the place. The debates are clumsy and unsupported, overly emotional and come out of nowhere.

Rosa realizes she is pregnant by Dogboy, who is likely insane and may have killed her mother. She begins to punch herself in the uterus and bleed out as the play ends.

Random Thoughts Written Down as I Read:

The language is stilted, juvenile, pretentious.

Cole’s monologues are stilted and disjointed.

The emotions are exaggerated, but I don’t care about these people or anything that’s going on.

Why does Colin even think for one instant he has any claim on his dead former lover’s teenage daughter? He’s just here to suddenly rant about communism, socialism, coffee boycotts, neofascism, the proletariat, and the working class.

And then we are back to doing nothing.

The characters wait for something that never happens. They take no actions.

Only Beckett can do Beckett.

WTF:

The difficulty is that at the moment there is not an accepted way of looking at the world if you are a left-wing writer.”—April de Angelis, about “Hush.”

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“The Tears of the Singers”: Star Trek Novel Vangie13 cbr #47

Imageby Melinda Snodgrass

“Tension was turning (Spock’s) head and neck into a mass of pain, and he bitterly regretted the series of circumstances which had left him trapped helplessly here on the planet’s surface while far overhead, in the frigid darkness of space, his captain battled for his life.”

Ok, I’m done with my Vulcan/Romulan sidetrack. I can now get back to my chronological journey through Star Trek Novels. Top of the list is another novel I remember being a favorite. Let’s see if it holds up.

In the Taygeta system, a time/space warp has swallowed a starship. The fate of the universe hangs in the balance! The inhabitants of Taygeta V are a seal-like species hunted for their tears secreted at the moment of death. The tears immediately harden into highly coveted gems. The inhabitants are classified as non-sentient. They sing without cease, so they are called Singers.

Based on Spock’s conjecture that the anomaly and the song are connected, Kirk conscripts Guy Maslin, the ‘rock star’ of the classical musician world to help translate the song and make contact. Maslin and Uhura fall in love as the Enterprise crew attempts to stop the anomaly from spreading.

This novel led to Snodgrass writing for Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Random Thoughts Written Down as I Read:

Uhura is wearing pants on the cover! Hooray for a reasonable uniform choice! She’s still wearing heels, though. *sigh*

Is Guy Maslin an avatar for Harlan Ellison? He is a very short, dark-haired, fair-skinned, genius with a bad attitude.

Riley mans the helm. Kirk ogles a female engineering lieutenant.

Scotty has an accent…which may be Cockney. He comes to the bridge to bitch about the ship inspector and display his accent. He leaves immediately.

The Klingon homeworld is named Klinzhai. I wish that was canon.

Sulu enters the bridge after having lots of sex with a woman.

The Singers’ song sounds like that of the extinct humpback whale. (Two years before the release of ST: IV.)

Chekov has an accent and I’ve already discussed how stupid it is to have him switch his Vs and Ws.

The Commander of the Klingon task force is our old friend Kor. Officers under his command include Kandi, Karsul, and Kaandal, and Kor’s wife, Kali.

Uhura tells Maslin that sex and love are 2 separate things. Yeah, Uhura!

They land on the planet and set up a base camp. I hope it’s not pointless.

Whoa! Here’s a Klingon named Jennas! How did he get in here?

The Enterprise crew is going to try to use a synthesizer to communicate with the Singers, like in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”

Scotty tries to speak to the Singer cubs using his bagpipes. It’s earnest and not comic.

Uhura wants to eventually command her own ship, but she can’t be a wife, mother, and captain. Boo, Uhura!

Kali, the Klingon woman, is a damsel in distress. She flits. She nips. She flirts. She stands by her man. I know she was written before the NextGen Klingons, but she’s really freaking me out.

After Maslin collapses because of his illness, Kirk wants to send him back to the planet to continue his work. Uhura resigns in protest. Maslin says he wants to go back. Uhura unresigns.

The Klingon crew is on the verge of mutiny, so Captain Kor physically leaves his ship and goes to visit Kirk on Enterprise. Guess what happens?

McCoy hopes Spock gets shot. It’s supposed to be part of their friendly banter, but it just seems unnecessarily mean.

Spock wonders bitterly. Isn’t bitterness an emotion? And why is he so suddenly bitter?

Kirk leads the attacking Klingon cruisers into the anomaly. It’s like a bad trip. Or maybe a good one. I wouldn’t know.

Maslin proposes to Uhura. She accepts. She sings for him and he realizes the synthesizer is the problem: The singers don’t recognize it as a talking machine. So the landing party composes a song for Uhura to sing. I don’t understand music. I have no idea what’s going on here.

They make contact. Spock calls the Singers’ song “a racket.” He’s quite testy in this book.

A Klingon named Korax is executed for leading the mutiny.

A Singer explains the Great Song: it protects Taygeta from a supernova that occurred long ago. The Singers don’t realize the danger passed 3,000 years ago, or that what is now a religious practice was once a purposeful action. But now the missing voices of those Singers killed by the hunters has created the anomaly so they must stop singing or destroy themselves and possibly the universe.

The Singers stop singing.

Maslin dies in Uhura’s arms.

Three singers return as ambassadors to the Federation.

Kirk likes Klingons. Spock dislikes them.

Kirk basically tells Uhura to get over it and we fly off into the sunset.

WTF:

“But do I want to become a lesbian? (Uhura) thought rebelliously. Devoting my life to a mass of circuits and metal that by some ironic quirk of phraseology has been designated a she?”

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“Vulcan’s Heart”: Star Trek Novel Vangie13 cbr #46

Imageby Josepha Sherman & Susan Schwartz

“Encountered warbird. Sank same.”

Spock and Saavik have been betrothed and mind-bonded. The Romulan Praetor plans to use the Klingons to spark a dishonorable war with the Federation in order to make money for the Romulan Star Empire and cover himself with glory. Even though Spock betrayed her and almost caused her to be executed years ago, the Romulan Commander Charvanek reaches out to Spock to help her restore honor to her Empire.

Spock must go on an unapproved, covert mission to Romulus to… I don’t know—start reunification and foment unrest, which will lead to the overthrow of the current Romulan government? Seems very U.S.A. of him. Anyway, while he is there and unable to reach Saavik, they enter pon farr. Can he complete his mission and get back to pon farr Saavik before he dies? It is illogical to believe otherwise.

Random Thoughts Written Down as I Read:

Lt. Jean-Luc Picard attends Spock and Saavik’s bonding. Vulcan rites and rituals are just open for everyone to come observe. Like a zoo.

I’m still wondering which Saavik? My vote is Kirstie Alley. Beautiful with a perfect understanding of the role.

On the planet Oriki, in the city of Kikitik, Spock speaks to the diplomat Rakirit. I’m glad Terrans don’t follow similar naming practices. Anyway, it doesn’t matter because we move on and never come back.

Romulus is Best Korea.

It is illogical to worry.

It is illogical to think of Saavik.

It is illogical to be impatient.

Fury is illogical.

Relief is illogical.

It is illogical to flinch.

Guilt is illogical.

It is illogical for Charvanek and Spock to behave as if they are merely old acquaintances.

The need to concentrate is illogical.

Embarrassment is illogical.

Page 64: Comma overload achieved.

Hope is illogical.

It is illogical to complain of being overly successful.

It is illogical to think that Spock was set up. (What does that even mean? How is that illogical? Do you even know what logic is?)

It is illogical to feel triumph.

It is illogical to never think of Romulan soldiers as having families.

Jealousy is illogical.

Blame is illogical.

The odds of being reported are logically low.

It is illogical to have romantic thoughts.

Shouting in rage is illogical.

You know what? Screw it. I’m just gonna tally the use of the word ‘logic’ in all its variations starting on page 124. There are 378 pages in the book. In the remaining 254 pages, I count 139 uses of the word logic, illogic, logical, illogical, logically, illogically, etc. That’s 1.8 uses per page. I may have missed some, as I am not logically minded.

Meanwhile, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.

Spock and Saavik are parted and never parted, never and always touching and touched.

Their eyes are flame. Their blood is flame.

Vulcans cannot lie.

Pon farr is an open secret since Spock’s Enterprise pon farr. Seriously, WHO BLABBED?

Pon farr. Pon farr. Pon farr. Ponfarr. Ponfarr. Ponfarrponfarrponfarrrrrr.

We all rush to the Battle of Narendra III.

Say, if combat can ‘cure’ pon farr, why not fight someone if your mate is not available?

We witness the capture and rape of Tasha Yar from Enterprise-C. Eww.

Spock and Saavik are reunited just in time. McCoy visits their destroyed honeymoon suite the next day. Ewww.

Saavik looks radiant. Spock looks weary. Ewwww.

WTF:

“Her execution would be finite. No matter how agonizing, no matter how drawn out and humiliating, it would, at last, be over. She would, one way or another, die free. ”

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“Vulcan’s Forge”: Star Trek Novel Vangie13 cbr #44

Imageby Josepha Sherman & Susan Schwartz

“Romulans do many things no sane Vulcan would do.”

Star Trek meets Lawrence of Arabia in a long, derivative, repetitive, imitative novel.

A year after Captain Kirk is lost to the Nexus, Captain Spock and the crew of Intrepid II are called to Obsidian to help Spock’s childhood friend Captain David Rabin with a diplomatic mission. The story takes place in the past on Vulcan and in the ‘present’ on Obsidian.

Years ago, during the ceremony celebrating the Kahs-wan of Spock and his age-mates, a mad Vulcan interrupts. He kidnaps several of the participants including Spock and David Rabin. Spock and Rabin become close friends during their kidnapping, escape, and rescue.

Now, Spock and Rabin must again join forces to prevent the Romulans from taking over Obsidian.

Random Thoughts Written Down as I Read:

What do you call it when someone quotes an original work until it loses its magic?

I talk to myself in my own head all the time. But I don’t constantly remind myself I am a female, an atheist, an American, a human… Why do the Vulcans do it when we listen in on their thoughts?

The 2 desert journeys are basically the same story told twice.

You know what I hated about “Enterprise?” The endless retconning. You thought Kirk and co. were the first to encounter the Tholians? Forget it. Archer did it first. Thought Picard and crew were the first to deal with Ferengi? Archer did it first. Well, remember how Kirk was Spock’s first human friend? Forget it. David Rabin was there first.

When I was a kid, my friends and I used to play “Star Trek” like other kids played House. If it was your turn to play Spock, all you had to do was say everything was illogical, nerve pinch the bad guys, and quote the odds. I’m not saying this was lazy characterization. I mean, we were just grade-schoolers. But you know? It’s lazy characterization.

Vulcan, 2247

Sarek invites Sered to his home so we can meet him and hear Sered’s xenophobic views and desire for reunification with the Sundered who the Vulcans don’t know are the Romulans.

Sarek is an ass.

It is illogical to assume all eyes are upon you.

Why are ‘outworlders’ observing the Vulcan bar-mitzvah ceremony?

The air is the air.

Spock and Stonn have disliked one another since childhood. Contempt is an emotion.

Jealousy is an emotion.

As it was in the beginning…

As it was in the beginning…

Fools!

Fool!

Spock and Rabin must journey across the Womb of Fire in order to get help for the kidnapped group.

It is illogical to be afraid.

It is illogical to weep.

It is illogical to worry about human emotion.

There is no fear of infection in the desert; the desert is clean. I don’t think that’s how germs work.

Rabin suggests Spock join Starfleet.

It is illogical to worry.

Hmm. This hallucinogenic lichen is everywhere. Wonder if we’ll need it for the denouement?

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” is a ridiculous reason to release all but one of the hostages. Sered already has ALL of them. Nothing is gained by letting all but one go. The quote doesn’t even make any sense in the situation. But let’s not pass up an opportunity to say it. Again.

Did you know T’Pau turned down a seat on the Federation Council? She did.

The Lady Amanda is not allowed to go anywhere unescorted. How modern of them.

Shame is an emotion.

It is illogical to wish to change the past.

Revenge is illogical.

Obsidian, 2296

Intrepid II? What happened to A, B, C…?

“Someone’s poisoning the wells!” is Rabin’s code for danger. Clever. No one will ever guess what it means.

Spock hasn’t slept for 10 days because he’s been worrying about the message he doesn’t even know he’s about to receive from Rabin.

Someone on Obsidian is too old for Blood Fever. Yet his blood is fire, his eyes are fire. I bet it’s Sered. If you repeat lyrical words enough, do they lose their lyricism?

They will meet at the appointed place. Seriously, is repeating lines from the TV show and movies laziness? Lack of creativity? Over-reverence?

The Master’s eyes are fire, his blood is fire.

People keep observing that the planet Obsidian is well-named. I doubt that is the native’s name for it.

Fools!

Rabin’s crew all seem to be Middle Eastern. NTTAWWT

Uhura, in command of Intrepid II, has a lot of self-doubt. She snaps at her crew.

Rabin and his crew constantly exchange witty banter that really isn’t.

After a shuttle crash lands (of course) the group of 6 manages to lose McCoy in a sandstorm, even after they buddy up.

Spock and Rabin must journey across the Golden Hell in order to help McCoy.

One of McCoy’s guards is Ruanek who we will meet again in the Vulcan’s Soul trilogy.

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” I watched the clip from “The Wrath of Khan” where this phrase was introduced. Spock doesn’t present it as a Vulcan philosophy, but merely as a debate point.

Spock has lost his captain and his friend. I am sick of line readings from the movies and TV shows.

Worry is an emotion.

It is illogical to worry.

A Yellow Alert occurs for several hours on Intrepid II. The lights flash and the computer says, “yellow alert” the entire time. No wonder Uhura snaps at her crew.

Starfleet communicators have really crappy batteries.

The Master wants McCoy to talk (I don’t know what about) so in a scene lifted from Diane Duane’s “The Romulan Way,” he filibusters. Right of Statement! Right of Statement! Even traitor Vulcans must stop to listen.

We peek in on the self-doubt of Lt. Albright, who leads the search for Spock (I had to) and his missing shuttle crew. Like Uhura, she snaps at her underlings. We never visit with her again.

To make sure we understand that these stories are reminiscent of “Lawrence of Arabia,” we keep referencing “Lawrence of Arabia.” Lawrence of Arabia.

Spock and Rabin discover McCoy’s kidnapper, the Master, is Sered. What? Whoa! Wow! The only real surprise is that it took Spock 257 pages to get here.

You are Spock!” “Yes, I am.”

Uhura purrs. She grows weary of the debate.

Fools!

Similar to the Romulans and the Right of Statement, when Vulcans are issued a challenge they must accept it. Sered challenges Spock and he accepts. They battle in their undies.

T’Pau is still alive, over 200 years old. She is all of Vulcan in one package. Did you know she refused a seat on the Federation Council? ‘Cause she did.

Impatience is illogical.

Spock considers becoming a diplomat.

Hey, did you know T’Pau refused a seat on the Federation Council? It’s totally true!

Envy is an emotion.

It is illogical to bet on sure things.

There is no logic in giving McCoy satisfaction.

There is no logic in giving McCoy a chance to nag.

Spock and Sarek are STILL arguing about Spock’s decision to join Starfleet.

It is illogical to argue about the past.

“There is no honor in expressing the truth.” So I guess we should lie. It’s only logical.

It is illogical to be afraid.

It is illogical to weep.

It is illogical to worry about human emotion.

WTF:

“My wife, you use logic as a weapon. That is a human trait. ”

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“Sarek”: Star Trek Novel Vangie13 cbr #43

Imageby A. C. Crispin

“Kirk lives still, and I have no peace!”

Ambassadors Sarek’s 2nd wife (if you accept STV: The Final Frontier as canon or even admit its existence) the Lady Amanda is dying, suffering from old age and Ryerson’s Disease. Spock returns home to attend her in her final days. McCoy accompanies him.

Sarek must leave for at least 2 weeks to prevent a war. On Earth, the Keep Earth Human League is gaining power and Sarek discovers its leaders are being mentally influenced by the Freelans, a race that wears masks, body-hiding robes, and voice synthesizers. The Freelan homeworld is within the Romulan Neutral Zone. Sarek has no proof outside his suspicions and an accidental mindmeld and so cannot tell anybody and must go on a covert mission. The Lady Amanda dies during Sarek’s absence.

Captain Kirk’s nephew Peter is a 32-year-old Starfleet cadet who is kidnapped by the Klingons in revenge for the death of Kruge. Kirk must rescue him, aided by Spock, Sarek, and McCoy after Amanda’s death.

Random Thoughts Written Down as I Read:

The Freelans have no space travel, but they do have a space station, which I don’t know how they built since they have no space travel.

Savel is a Vulcan aide to the Freelan envoy. She looks a LOT like Valeris.

On page 24, I begin to feel the effects of a comma overdose.

On page 26, we recap ST VI.

Kirk’s nephew Peter is accidentally involved in a KEHL riot. The members immediately trust him enough to give him access to their computers.

The comma overdose is being exacerbated by ellipsis spiking.

Ambassador Kamarag is an anti-Federation misogynist. As such, he wishes to overthrow Azetbur.

I seriously doubt Spock’s mother’s name is Amanda Grayson Sarek. In “Journey to Babel,” she tells Kirk that her married name was usually unpronounceable by Humans, although she could do it.

Sarek smiles at Amanda. That is nice and real and appropriate.

Peter finds himself falling in love with the KEHL bigot, Lisa.

Spock’s brother Sybok was conceived during Sarek’s first Pon Farr. His first wife T’Rea never told him she was pregnant and divorced him 2 years later.

Why does everyone use ‘chronos’ instead of watches or clocks? It’s a silly affectation used in many Star Trek books.

Peter constantly compares himself to his Uncle Jim and always comes up lacking.

McCoy seems to have misplaced all the Gs that belong at the end of his words.

Spock feels his mother die and cries for her.

Maybe we should just try NOT describing Mind Melds. It always sounds like soft-core porn.

After Sarek and Amanda are married, he tells her about his first wife and son. And Pon Farr. Seems like a sexual madness might be something you mention to your intended BEFORE tying the knot…

BTW, Vulcans ARE capable of mating outside Pon Farr.

Peter beats up two Klingon warriors and temporarily escapes captivity. He is put in the custody of Kamarag’s niece Valdyr.

WWJKD? What Would James Kirk Do?

WWSD? What Would Sarek Do?

Apparently Peter speaks Klingon.

I still don’t believe Amanda’s last name is Sarek.

Sarek won’t got to the UFP President about the Freelans without proof. Why not? Why can’t you express your well-grounded suspicions and ask for help?

It takes Starfleet a day to track down Enterprise, berthed at Vulcan for the funeral of the wife of the Vulcan Ambassador to Earth.

Vulcan newborns only cry for a reason: hunger or discomfort. As opposed to human newborns, who cry out of… spite?

Sarek chooses to bond Spock over Amanda’s objections. Sarek chooses T’Pring over Amanda’s objections. Sarek truly comes off as an ass. Why does Amanda like him?

The Freelans have mentally influenced Kamarag, Chang, Kruge, and KEHL. Surprise! They are Romulans! This plan has been in motion for 75 years.

Peter finds himself falling in love with his Klingon guard, Valdyr.

Sarek has no proof of the Freelan’s plot. No proof! So nothing can be done.

Since Sarek suspects the truth, he must be killed before he finds proof.

Sarek tells young Spock he cannot serve in Starfleet because 1) his lack of control will disgrace the Vulcans and 2) the humans will contaminate him. So Sarek is a hypocritical ass.

Kirk, Spock, and McCoy go to Qo’noS to rescue Peter. They crash land their shuttle on the planet, but not because they are detected in any way by Klingon security.

Valdyr breaks Peter out of jail. They are almost caught because the Klingons can smell humans. Peter thinks Valdyr smells like apricots. He teaches her how to kiss and they have sex.

The Federation has technology to make anything except for spectacles.

Peter and Valdyr run into Kirk, Spock, and McCoy and they attempt to steal a Klingon Warbird.

Peter makes a Kirk speech, but Valdyr is stabbed in the stomach by her (ex)fiancé. But McCoy has studied Klingon anatomy since ST V and saves her.

They return to Enterprise and I have no idea who was in charge while they were gone.

A cloaked ship tries to lure them into the Neutral Zone. It’s like a game. Like a game. A game of…chess, Sarek realizes. The exact game he played with the Freelan envoy. Like, move for move. How stupid on the part of the envoy. It makes him ridiculously easy to predict. Which Sarek does.

Also, how can you replicate a game ‘move for move’ if only one side knows you’re playing and so the other side can’t make the ‘correct’ responding moves?

They beam Sarek and Spock to the bridge of the cloaked ship. Does NO ONE use shields any more? They record the ensuing conversation so they finally have PROOF of the Freelan plan. Proof!

Sarek and the Freelan envoy battle for the young kidnapped and brainwashed Vulcans that make up the crew of the cloaked ship. I mean they PHYSICALLY BATTLE. On the bridge.

Sarek wins. The envoy self-destructs his ship. We replay the “Journey to Babel” surgery scene. General Korrd rides to the rescue. Azetbur offers to train Valdyr as a diplomat. Peter and Valdyr decide on a long distance relationship. Really, really long distance. The kidnapped Vulcans are returned to Vulcan. The Freelan envoy’s Vulcan aide is bonded to Sarek’s aide. The Enterprise crew acts as Peter’s crew for his Kobayashi Maru. Peter beats the Kobayashi Maru without cheating. He quits command track and chooses to train as a diplomat. KEHL members are arrested. Senator Pardek and Spock meet at a conference. Spock begins to consider Reunification.

WTF:

“Do not worry, my targhoy. There is beauty in you. With the flowering of your womanhood, it will come, Valdyr-oy. When you are my wife, your beauty will blossom like chal flowers in the spring.”

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“Under the Banner of Heaven”: Vangie13 cbr #42

Imageby Jon Krakauer

“I was doing God’s will, which is not a crime.”

And now for something completely different. I needed a break from Romulans, Remans, and Vulcans (oh my!). I’ve been wanting to read this, so here’s my break.

In 1984, Dan Lafferty used a knife to slit the throat of his 15-month-old niece Erica in her crib. Then he and his brother Ron brutally beat to death Erica’s mother, 24-year-old Brenda. She was their youngest brother’s wife. The brothers claimed God told them to do it. What caused these men to murder their sister-in-law and her innocent child? The five Lafferty brothers are fundamentalist Mormons. Jon Krakauer examines how religion can lead people to commit atrocities.

Random Thoughts Written Down as I Read:

Many of these are quotes from the book. Please do not cite me as the creator of any of these thoughts.

“Under the Banner of Heaven” is not an anti-Mormon diatribe. But hey, I’m an atheist. I’m opposed to all religions.

Faith is the antithesis of reason. Common sense is no match for the voice of God.

“Perfect obedience produces perfect faith.”

Most Fundamentalist Mormon sects practice Celestial Marriage: polygamy. A man needs at least 3 wives to gain exaltation in the afterlife.

The punishment for homosexuality and miscegenation is immediate death.

HERE are the GOP’s ‘welfare queens.’ Since polygamy is illegal, there are many ‘single mothers’ collecting welfare. THERE’s your fraud, a$$holes: old white guys using their child brides and resulting children to acquire more than $6,000,000/year in public funds.

In Colorado City, Utah/Hildale, Arizona 78% of the town’s residents are on food stamps. It’s called “Bleeding the Beast,’ and it’s considered a virtuous act. The area also has the world’s highest incidence of fumarase deficiency, also known as “Polygamist Down’s.

Many compounds practice incest to keep the bloodlines pure. Birth defects are rampant and considered punishment for the mothers’ sinful behavior.

The men in the enclaves divorce and remarry, basically moving the women around among them at whim.

LDS is responsible for the movements against the ERA and Prop8.

Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped by an excommunicated fundamentalist Mormon.

The Garden of Eden was not located in the Middle East, but near Independence, Missouri, USA. Well, I’ll be!

The Mormon Church has been treated violently in the past. They were chased out of MO through murder, theft, rape, incarceration, and harassment.

Nauvoo, Illinois became the promised land circa 1840. Joseph Smith moved his followers to Nauvoo and anointed himself “King, Priest, and Ruler over Israel on Earth.”

He ran for President of the United States in 1844.

In 1843, God revealed to Smith the new and everlasting covenant of Spiritual Wivery, also known as Celestial Marriage, Plural Marriage, and polygamy. He had already been practicing it for at least a decade.

The revelation was not acknowledged until 1852, 8 years after Smith died. By the time of his death, Smith had married around 40 women and girls. His first wife left him over the issue.

Smith was killed by an anti-Mormon mob after being arrested for treason and promised safety.

The revelations of God given to the Lafferty brothers seem overly concerned with the brothers’ seed.

God told the Lafferty brothers to gamble instead of getting jobs. He told them to bet on the wrong horse. Literally.

Nine people were told of the ‘removal revelation’ which told Dan to kill Brenda, Erica, and two others. Three of them agreed with the revelation; six disagreed. None of them told the authorities or the people who were to be ‘removed.’ One of those people was Allen Lafferty, Brenda’s husband and Erica’s father.

The brothers’ mother was also eventually told and knitted while it was being discussed.

After Joseph Smith’s murder, Brigham Young became the Mormon’s 2nd president. Once again, the Mormons were harassed, burned out, killed, until they fled to Utah territory. They came to believe in blood atonement.

They became vindictive, inclusive, untrusting. In 1857, they committed the Mountain Meadows Massacre, attacking and killing all but 17 of the Baker-Fancher wagon train, about 120 men, women, and children. They blamed the attack on local natives, divided up the spoils, and covered up all the evidence they could.

Brigham Young’s Mormons were murdering thieves, liars for the Lord, bribers, betrayers…

In 1890, the President of the Church repudiated plural marriage. By 1920 most Mormons had renounced it. Celestial Marriage was Church Practice for less than 50 years, yet the fundamentalist split-offs from the main church insist upon it.

Looking beyond the pedophilia, incest, wife-swapping, and misogyny engendered by plural marriage (difficult), it seems such a stupid thing to be insistent upon. Their god changes his mind often. Why not accept this decision as well?

The Manson Family killed 11 people. Fundamentalist Mormons go around massacring people, including their own parents, siblings, children, wives. They resort to violence to settle things very easily.

They have no problem marrying step-relatives, adopted children, even their own daughters. They are physically violent to their families.

They claim plural marriage prevents adultery. They claim it is a religious freedom.

Dan Lafferty became interested in Fundamentalism and was ex-communicated from the LDS as a result of his views. When he insisted on a plural marriage, his wife left him and took the kids with her. His sister-in-law Brenda helped his wife when she decided to leave. Brenda refused to let her own husband practice polygamy and wanted him to stop associating with his brothers. Dan received a revelation from God that told him to ‘remove’ Brenda, her daughter, and 2 other people who had helped his wife leave. Dan convinced his brother Ron the revelation was true, and Ron slit his niece’s throat while she stood in her crib. The two brothers then beat Brenda, strangled her, and slit her throat.

Revelation from God? Revenge? Spite? Delusion?

WTF:

God is greater than the United States, and when the Government conflicts with heaven, we will be ranged under the banner of heaven against the Government. The United States says we cannot marry more than one wife. God says different.

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