by John Vornholt

After the horrible writing I suffered through on the last book, I needed something reliable. As expected, this was a good Star Trek story and the writing (and/or editing) was well done. The book takes place shortly after Undiscovered Country and features Spock, his niece, and the beginnings of the Romulan reunification movement.


by Diane Duane

As I read more and more of the old Star Trek books, I have come to realize that anything written by Diane Duane is going to be a winner. This book is no exception. She is able to present the family aspect of the Enterprise crew much better than most. In this story, the command structure is much more apparent than in other stories, due largely in part by the plot device of leaving McCoy in command of the Enterprise. The Doctor handles it well and with good humor. As with Duane’s other Star Trek books, linguistics plays a significant role in the story line. I really should read some of her non-commissioned work.


Wow. It’s been well over a month since I last read a book. I am so far behind on this fifty book challenge!

I knew I needed to read something the other evening, so I selected something relatively short and entertaining. Crisis on Centaurus by Brad Ferguson fit the bill. It’s a Star Trek novel set in the original series. I found the 1960s/1980s perspective on computers to be quite amusing. The Enterprise computer has experienced a malfunction that causes problems all over the ship. Before they are able to go to a starbase for repairs, they are sent to Centaurus to aid in the recovery from a huge matter/anti-matter explosion that wiped out the capital city and killed thousands of people. The tension builds steadily throughout the story, but the resolution is abrupt and unsatisfying. It seemed to me that the author had a much fuller story that got cut down in the editorial process. Too bad, because he had some interesting subtext with some of the minor characters like Chekov and Sulu.


If the Lord of the Rings movies hadn’t done so well, I doubt this book would have made it onto the New York Times best seller list, much less reach number one.

My sister gave me a copy of Eragon by Christopher Paolini for Christmas this past year, and last night I finally finished reading it. I’d picked it up a copy while at a friend’s house earlier this month and read the first few chapters, but then life got in the way of finishing it. Last night I decided to read a few more chapters before going to bed (early). Sigh. I finished it at one this morning, and I am still ticked with the author.

This book is a part of a series. At no point must you think that most of the mysteries will be revealed by the end; nor must you think that any conflicts will be resolved, either. Personally, I think it’s cruel to leave a cliffhanger at the end of 508 pages. This is yet another way that the author has poorly ripped off Tolkein. His depiction of Elven and Dwarf societies are very Tolkein-esque, his map of Alaga

there and back again: part two

Despite getting a decent night’s sleep, I woke up a bit groggy the next morning. But I manged to find some espresso and a muffin and went to learn about herbology. Unfortunately, the herbalist was late, so most of the session was lead by the pharmaceutical expert.

Continue reading “there and back again: part two”

there and back again: part one

This past weekend I did something that I’ve wanted to do ever since I was a geeky teenager. I attended a science fiction convention, or con as it’s more commonly known. I’m sure you’re all conjuring up visions of storm troopers and Klingons, and while there were a few of the latter, they were more of a minority. In fact, it seemed like there were multiple cons happening all at the same time.

Continue reading “there and back again: part one”


I’ve been coming to terms with my inner Trekkie lately. It all started when I began reading Wil Wheaton’s blog on a regular basis. He writes more about his family and poker obsession than about Trek, but it began reminding me of my absolute fanaticism as a teenager. I picked up a couple of lots of old paperbacks (TOS and TNG) on eBay last fall, and as my reading log shows, I’ve been steadily making my way through them. It’s been fun to re-connect with the characters, and to appreciate the abilities of some fine science fiction writers. I spent most of the past two years on cozy murder mysteries, and it was refreshing to have something different for a change.

I also bought and read Wheaton’s book, Just a Geek. In the book, Wheaton writes about his struggle with coming to terms with Trek and what it means for his life and career. In reading his acceptance of Star Trek in his life, it helped me embrace my own geeky love for the television show. It’s okay to be a Trek fan.

A few weeks ago, I decided to give Netflix a whirl. I loaded up my queue with the entire seventh season of TNG and began making up for lost time. I missed most of that season while I was in college, and I haven’t had television consistently enough since then to catch the re-runs. It’s been like reuniting with old friends, and even more so since the seventh season episodes seem to focus more on individual character development in a bittersweet-this-is-the-last-season kind of way.

There’s a documentary of Star Trek fans called Trekkies, and it’s hosted by Denise Crosby, who played Tasha Yar on TNG. Tasha was my first serious TV character crush, even to the point of creating a little shrine to her on my dresser in the height of my fanaticism. So, not only is it a documentary about people like me, but the actress playing my favorite character is the host. Of course, I had to watch it, and into the Netflix queue it went.

The DVD arrived today, and I watched it this evening. It was the reality check I needed. I expected that the documentary would focus on the more extreme fans, and it did, with some coverage of the average types. After watching it, I realized that even though I may have been obsessed with Star Trek fifteen years ago, I’m not quite so much anymore. I’m a fan, sure, but not a fanatic. It’s one part of my own geekiness, but I’ll never live and breathe it like I once did.

star trek is dead

Orson Scott Card writes, “So they’ve gone and killed “Star Trek.” And it’s about time.” As long as it’s the twisted wreck of Star Trek that Rick Berman is creating, I agree whole-heartedly with him. However, I am still mourning the end of Star Trek: the Next Generation — the only Gene Roddenberry version that was allowed to grow and develop over time.

As Card points out in his commentary, TOS was hampered by television convention of its time, and the characters were never able to truly develop in the show, although I would argue that the published book series provided ample opportunity for that to happen. I will also concede that TOS was not necessarily good science fiction, particularly compared to what was being written at the time. However, Roddenberry never intended to be a science fiction writer. His experience was with the Western genre. As it has been quoted many times, Star Trek was meant to be a “Wagon Train to the stars.”

Twenty-odd years later, Star Trek fans were given a new generation of characters and plot lines. I grew up watching re-runs of TOS, but I wasn’t a fan until I saw TNG. Back in 1988, I was a geeky junior high kid with few friends and too much time for watching TV, but I found solace in this vision of the future presented to me by Roddenberry and the script writers for TNG. It was my interest in this television show that introduced me to the science fiction genre. I would not have read any of Clark’s books had I not first come to love Picard, Data, Yar, and all of the rest of the ST:TNG characters.

So I say to you, Mr. Clark, do not look down your nose and scoff at the demise of the Star Trek universe. Be grateful to it for making science fiction accessible to the general public, and for paving the path to those series that you deem to be good science fiction.

Thanks to Bookslut for the heads-up.

get your geek on

TV Guide Online is running a Star Trek poll and Wil Wheaton would be very happy if you could help keep Wesley Crusher from being voted the most annoying character.

I know, it’s hard to believe it, especially when we consider that Wesley was given lines such as, “We’re from Starfleet! We don’t lie!” and “I feel strange, but also good!” and the ever-popular “Course laid in, sir.” But it’s true. And so very, very sad.

Not that I care about this sort of thing . . . but actually, I do. I’m really tired of wearing that “Annoying Character” albatross around my neck, and if Wesley is voted most annoying in TV Guide’s big old Farewell to Star Trek issue, I don’t think I’ll ever hear the end of it.

Oh, and if you’re not already reading Wil’s blog then you’re missing out on some great writing.


A valiant first effort at fiction writing by technical author Clint Smith, but it falls short of its promise.

Infusion by Clint Smith

Infusion is a valiant first effort at fiction writing by technical author Clint Smith, but it falls short of its promise. The plot concept is sound, and makes interesting parallels with the conflicts between economics and ecology, but the actual story-telling could use a bit more work, or at least a better editor. The first half of the book left me cringing quite often, but the pace and the writing pick up in the last third of the book.

Continue reading “infusion”