Tuesday 15 October 2019

Star Trek: Ghost-Walker - Barbara Hambly

Title: Ghost-Walker
Author: Barbara Hambly
Published: 1991
Chronological Period: 2268

Available at:
Amazon UK

In "Ghost-Walker" by Barbara Hambly follows the crew of the Enterprise as they visit the planet Elcidar Beta III as the Federation look to ratify its inhabitants (Midgwins) as sentient beings. When Kirk returned from the planet having seemingly persuaded the Midgwins that they are there to help he begins to act in a strange manner. I can't say much more than this without giving away the story but you can be assured that you find out what is wrong with Kirk very quickly!

Whilst the writing itself was quite good, I just didn't like the plot at all and the twist about what is wrong with Kirk is actually revealed far too quickly. That in itself isn't always an issue with a novel but Hambly doesn't build any real tension out of it. The story just plods along for quite a while with the reader knowing what is wrong whilst the crew is unable to realise the issue. Simply put, I found it rather boring and would rather have discovered the truth at the same time as the crew.

Overall whilst Hambly is without doubt a decent writer and the plot does feel like something I have come to expect from Trek, I just didn't like the execution. I struggled to work through the book which didn't keep me entertained due to the pondering pace.

Friday 11 October 2019

Star Trek: He Walked Among Us - Norman Spinrad

Title: He Walked Among Us
Author: Norman Spinrad
Published: 2012
Chronological Period: 2268

“He Walked Among Us” was an unused screenplay written by Norman Spinrad in 1967 which was rediscovered by him in 2012 when a fan asked him to sign a rather faded copy of the manuscript. For a short period of time Spinrad released it on Amazon and other online retailers but due to legal discussions with CBS the script was soon pulled and is now unfortunately no longer available and hasn’t been for quite a long time. What is really confusing about the whole thing is that Spinrad actually released a novel unrelated to Star Trek with the same name. I have no idea how many poor souls have accidentally bought the wrong thing!

However, I did get a copy at the time so thought I would still review it as it was for a short period part of the Star Trek literature world! Anyway, the premise of the story is pretty standard for the Original Series with a renegade citizen of the Federation installing himself as a god over a primitive civilization. This ruler named Theodore Bayne has managed to increase food production and brought peace but some of his decrees have caused social unrest and malnourishment. This leads to the crew of the Enterprise trying to remove Theodore but it isn’t that easy to do without causing the society to completely collapse.

The formatting of the ebook itself wasn’t that great which wasn’t much of a surprise due to it basically being developed from a scan of the original document. However, the story itself was actually very interesting with some pretty intelligent and intriguing dialogue. I suspect it could have been one of the best episodes of the series and in a way I am glad that Spinrad supposedly managed to persuade the production team to ditch the script entirely rather than turn it into a more comic storyline.

Maybe one day the script will be re-released in a more polished manner or even turned into an actual episode but for now I’m afraid that only the lucky few like me who grabbed it during the few months it was available will get to enjoy what was an enjoyable Trek adventure.