Thursday 29 January 2015

Star Trek 2 - James Blish

Title: Star Trek 2
Author: James Blish
Published: 1968
Chronological Period: 2267

Available at:
Amazon UK

“Star Trek 2” by James Blish was the 2nd in his series of short story collections which brings together adaptations of Star Trek Original Series scripts. The eight stories included in this collection are all from season one and are as follows:

A Taste of Armageddon
Tomorrow Is Yesterday
Errand of Mercy
Court Martial
The City on the Edge of Forever
Space Seed

This is actually quite a decent set of stories, which include the introduction of Khan, the Guardian of Forever and the Klingon-Federation peace treaty. It has probably been my favourite Blish collection so far but this just reinforces my belief that these books largely succeed or fail based on the quality of the episodes themselves.

On the whole, the stories are similar to the episode with minor differences that mainly occur I suspect due the fact that Blish tended to be writing from earlier versions of the scripts. It was “Operation-Annihilate!” which had the largest collection of differences with an altered ending involving the destruction of the creatures’ home planet rather than the blinding of Spock that we originally saw. Unfortunately, this version has had some important elements cut as well as Kirk’s brother and family were no longer included in the story which I felt reduced the drama.

Overall, Blish has done another competent job at adapting the various episodes and anyone looking for a bit of nostalgia probably won’t be disappointed.

Thursday 15 January 2015

Star Trek: Sacrifices of War (Errand of Fury Book 3) - Kevin Ryan

Title: Sacrifices of War (Errand of Fury Book 3)
Author: Kevin Ryan
Published: 2008
Chronological Period: 2267

Available at:
The Book Depository
Amazon UK

"Sacrifices of War" is the final novel in Kevin Ryan’s “Errand of Fury” Trilogy, which in itself was a sequel to his earlier “Errand of Vengeance” Trilogy. In this novel, we see that time has finally run out and both the Federation & Klingon Empire are truly teetering on the brink of war. The story is split into two parts with the first section following a Kirk led mission to destroy a Klingon weapon stash to ensure it cannot be used against the Federation. In addition, we get to see some more about Lieutenant Leslie Parrish who is traveling back to Earth aboard a cargo ship which is soon attacked by a Klingon raider. The final element of the novel is a novelization of the “Errand of Mercy” TV episode in which war finally breaks out and Kirk must try and persuade the peaceful Organians to try and resist the Klingon Empire’s advances.

To be honest, I was a little bit disappointed in this novel, it felt very schizophrenic with the first half of the novel continuing to utilise Ryan’s original ‘lower deck’ characters, before then abandoning them with a faithful adaptation of the “Errand of Mercy” episode. Don’t get me wrong, it was a very competent and well written novelization but I think I would have preferred to have seen that story told from an original point of view as it was this fresh look at the Original Series that had kept me entertained throughout the previous five novels.

My favourite bit of the novel had to be in relation to the story around Leslie Parrish and her time spent trying to fight off a Klingon attack on the cargo ship Antares. In this section, we get to see her trying to contend with a civilian crew, dated equipment and her own pregnancy, whilst trying to get everyone to safety. I particularly loved seeing how she manages to persuade some of Antares’ crew assist her in killing Klingon’s resulting in an opportunity to explore the morality of the individual involved. It was very unexpected and interesting to see as normally the characters just dispatch enemies such as the Klingon’s without much thought or remorse.

Overall, this was probably an average conclusion to Ryan’s series, let down in my opinion by the decision to tack on a novelization of “Errand of Mercy” at the end. If Ryan had continued to concentrate on his original characters we may have gotten some new insights into what occurred at the time but unfortunately we just get to see something we already know. For anyone who has read the previous novels, it is really a no brainer about reading this to conclude the series but it is probably my least favourite of the six.