Saturday, May 25, 2013

Trek Novels - Star Trek: Spock's World

This installment of Trek Novels is brought to you by the Vulcan Tourism Agency.

Come to Vulcan. It has everything from Mount Seleya to the Vulcan Science Academy. Come to learn about  the beginnings of Surak and about the way of logic. It is the logical thing to do.

Well, it's been fun reading novels for this month. I know that I have some more Trek novels (and some non-Trek novels) that I want to someday talk about. Today's book is called Star Trek: Spock's World. I picked this up at the book store for $.50, I believe. The things that caught my attention were the cover which looks cool and the little blurb on the back. Of all of the books I have... this one took me a long time to read. The reasons vary from school to other reasons that  I'll list below. The book is written by Diane Duane and I hear that she is no stranger to Star Trek. She has written a lot of Trek novels, some comic books, and she even co-wrote an episode of TNG. Well, with that out of the way, let's see what this book has to offer.

When the planet Vulcan threatens to secede from the Federation, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are called in to keep Vulcan from leaving the Federation. The book also delves into the history of Vulcan.

The overall book is split up into two parts: Enterprise and Vulcan. The Enterprise parts are the whole secession plot while the Vulcan parts take place at different points of the planet's history.

The book starts out with Sarek on Earth on some planet. He gets a message from Vulcan telling him to return immediately.  We then cut to the Enterprise at Earth undergoing a refit. Captain Kirk and most of the crew is on shore leave. It's actually unclear when this takes place. By looking online, it's supposed to take place sometime after the first movie and before the second movie. Anyway, Sarek contacts Spock and tells him that the Vulcan council also wants him to come back to Vulcan to speak. It turns out that Kirk and McCoy are also being called by the Council to speak on behalf the Federation. When everyone is on board, the Enterprise heads to Vulcan. On the way to Vulcan, everything about the Vulcan's secession is laid out in detail.

The Enterprise then takes on a couple of important passengers: Sarek and Amanda, Spock's parents. Sarek has been called and he will actually side on the secessionists' part because he's obligated to. The Enterprise makes it to Vulcan. Kirk and the others beam down to get ready for this big meeting. Kirk and McCoy face a little xenophobia from one Vulcan named Shath (Dang Right! John Shath!). They also learn a lot about Vulcan's different ideologies from Spock and Sarek. Kirk also gets to meet T'Pau again.

McCoy is the first one who notices that something isn't right about this whole thing. He does some research and it is revealed that the main contributor to the whole secession cause is T'Pring... ah, T'Pring... I believe the Vulcan translation for "cold-blooded hussie" is T'Pring. The testifying begins on Vulcan and we see a couple of folk speak for and against secession. Later, Spock goes to his former fiance and finds out that her husband, Stonn, died a while back and she is doing this to get back at Spock and Kirk... Women.

We then see McCoy speak in the hearings. Afterwards, Sarek speaks for the secession but afterwards he steps down as Ambassador because of his personal business. If secession does happen, he would either have to leave Vulcan forever or stay on Vulcan and be separated from Amanda. After Sarek's speech, McCoy reveals that he has evidence of bad money going on between the Vulcan government and the secessionists. While the evidence may not help them, Sarek leaves to take this evidence to T'Pau. We then see Kirk give his speech against the secession. Afterwards, Sarek comes to Kirk and tells him that T'Pau is dying.

They go to T'Pau's side. She's basically dying of old age. She passes away after she tells Sarek to release the evidence McCoy provided and gives her katra to Amanda. Afterwards, we see Spock speak against the secession. After his speech, voting starts and it's decided that Vulcan should not leave the Federation. T'Pring  and her conspirators are arrested. This plot ends with the three guys seeing T'Pring for one last time and then leaving Vulcan and Kirk having a funny conversation with a computer.

Each part in the Vulcan sections takes place at one point of Vulcan's history. The first part takes place during Vulcan's birth. The second part takes place during the early caveman times of Vulcan. The third section looks at a certain tribe during Vulcan's early years, The Eye. In these early sections, we also see the beginnings of the Vulcan's telepathic abilities like mind melds. We also see the the turmoil Vulcan was in because of those abilities. The fourth section talks about one Vulcan woman who went psycho on the High House, a big family on the planet. We also see arranged marriages taking place in the early sections.

The fifth section looks at the Vulcans as they look scour their area of space and look for different resources to use. It also looks at one of the wars that took place on Vulcan. The sixth part  gets a little familiar as it looks at the life of Surak, Vulcan's version of "Moses." It was his teachings that ended the hostilities on the planet and brought its people to adopt their pacifistic and logical ways. We also see the birth of the Romulans, Vulcans who didn't adhere to Surak's teachings and left the planet. The final section looks at Sarek's life. We see how he ended up going to Earth and becoming an ambassador between Vulcan and Earth. We also see how he met and married Amanda and the work they went through with birthing Spock.

And that's the end of the book. So, what do I think of the book? It's fine. It's not bad but at the same time it's not really good. I guess I'll start out with my gripes about it. First, if you're looking for the further adventures of the Enterprise, be ready for some disappointment. The book is pretty light on Kirk, Spock and McCoy. Half of the book is devoted to them trying to stop the secession from happening and it's really light on action. It essentially a lot of talking. Now, I'm not saying that it's a bad thing. I liked their plot overall, but it still feels a little lacking.

Another major gripe I have is with the Vulcan parts. The only ones that I really found interesting were the third, sixth, and seventh sections. While the rest do fill in information about Vulcan, they're not really that engaging. I also felt that the way the two plots were spaced out was weird. First, you would be a chapter in  the Present. Then, the next chapter was one on Vulcan's past. It didn't feel like the two plots met and gelled at times. Both plots are pretty much mutually exclusive from one another. I also didn't really care about most of the characters in the Vulcan sections. The only ones I really paid attention to were Surak and Sarek and their chapters were probably the best out of the Vulcan sections.

Other than those things and a couple of other small gripes (When did McCoy turn into Sherlock Holmes?), I did like the book. I liked both plots with the Enterprise plot being the better of the two. I liked the detail that went into making Present day Vulcan. It looked how I thought it would look and it also felt diverse. I also thought the different philosophies that were talked about made Vulcan seem more interesting. The characters in the Enterprise plot worked well. It was cool to see T'Pau, Sarek, Amanda, and even the "hussie," T'Pring, again.We even get some interesting aliens here as well. We actually have a Horta serving on the Enterprise. A Horta?!?!?!! How does that even work? We also have an alien who is essentially a walking talking spider and that's kinda cool.

While I didn't enjoy all of the Vulcan parts, they were interesting. It was cool to see where most of the tropes like mind melds and the Vulcan neck pinch originated from. I especially liked Surak's chapter and Sarek's chapter. I don't know crap about Surak except that he can die pretty easily (See "The Savage Curtain" for that).  This does shed some light on what he had to go through in uniting Vulcan. He's basically the Vulcan's version of Moses since he came up with the creed that a lot of Vulcans came to accept. I also liked that we got to see Sarek's origin. While Spock has the number one spot of Awesome Vulcans, Sarek is probably number two or three. I like the character and it's cool to see how he became an  ambassador and a husband to Amanda.

Do I recommend the book? I do recommend it with a couple of reservations.  It's not bad by any means, but I do think it's made for the people who are interested in Vulcan. While I'm not one of those people, I still do like it. I do suggest that you read the Enterprise sections all at once and then read the Vulcan sections. It just made it easier for me to read it that way.

Well, I'm out. I got one more post to do and it may be the toughest one to do: ranking all of the Star Trek movies. Peace and God Bless.

 And to any Wanna-be Vulcans out there: Peace and Long Life.

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