Other Stuff Exists

Don't get too comfortable with the familiar–other stuff exists, so go explore!

Posts Tagged ‘Star Trek: The Animated Series’

Star Trek Log Six by Alan Dean Foster

Posted by Tracy Poff on September 27, 2017

In February 1976 was published Star Trek Log Six, another entry in Alan Dean Foster’s series of adaptations of Star Trek: The Animated Series.

This would be the last book in the series to adapt three episodes; the remaining four episodes would be expanded to fill an entire book each. I anticipate that those books will be more interesting, but time will tell. For now, let’s look at the three stories in this book: “Albatross”, “The Practical Joker”, and “How Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tooth”.

Albatross

On a routine diplomatic mission, Dr. McCoy is unexpectedly arrested. The charge: genocide. He is accused of causing a plague on Dramia II, either through incompetence or malice. His shipmates must try to find proof of his innocence before it’s too late.

This is an entertaining enough read, but it’s got a few flaws. The biggest is this: Spock arranges for the ship to self-destruct in order to prevent the spread of the plague, and then beams down to Draymia to effect a jail-break. The plague is almost invariably fatal, appears to kill within hours of infection, and has not been cured in decades of research, but he is prepared to gamble that Dr. McCoy will be able to manage a cure in the few hours before the entire planet’s population is killed? When McCoy calls attention to this, Spock replies that he “felt justified in taking a calculated risk.” Inconceivable! Besides that, every doctor that ever worked on curing the plague must have been carrying the idiot ball, since they somehow failed to discover the its cause, which McCoy managed by simply asking the computer what could have caused most of its symptoms.

The Practical Joker

The ship’s computer gets ‘sick’ from passing through a weird energy field, and starts playing increasingly dangerous practical jokes on the crew. Meanwhile, some Romulans intend to capture the Enterprise.

The most interesting parts of this dull story are the unimportant bits thrown in to give it some color.

As an aside, my copy of this book also has an astounding misprint–an entire line printed on the wrong page. The quality of editing in these books is pretty bad, to begin with, but this is a new low.

How Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tooth

Kukulkan, a winged snake, kidnaps Kirk, McCoy, Scotty, and Ensign Walking Bear, and intends to destroy them–and the remainder of the Enterprise crew–if they cannot satisfy him. He is revealed to have visited Earth many years ago, giving Mayans their famous calendar, and similarly influencing other cultures. He wishes for humans to worship him, and in return he will guide them, but it is not to be. As Kirk says, “you cannot have intelligent slaves”. They will not stand for it.

A mediocre story. Essentially not so different from “Who Mourns for Adonais?”, which revealed that the Greek gods were aliens, and a similar concept was on display in “The Magicks of Megas-tu”. This story doesn’t really do anything with the premise, though; Kukulkan is just a generic threat to the Enterprise, and he gets perhaps a page of characterization before the story ends. Kirk and the others get a chance to show–again very briefly–that humanity has moved beyond its savage past, but little is made of it. If Kukulkan really was instrumental in shaping the fate of humanity, why didn’t that get some focus? Disappointing.

In summary

All the stories are competently done, but they don’t offer anything substantial to keep the reader’s attention–no new insights or interestingly different takes on the episodes. It makes me long for the previous book: “The Ambergris Element” opened with a look at M’ress as she decided to enter Starfleet and moved up through the ranks, and it was wonderful. We need more of that! I’m hoping that we’ll get a lot more such asides in the remaining books in the series, since much more material must be created to expand the episodes into novel-length stories. This is another book that is probably of interest only to completionists.

Advertisements

Posted in Book, Review | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »