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Review: 1968 Star Trek 2 by James Blish

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Blish seems to be getting the hang of translating the scripts action into a bit more descriptive texts... for example on the classic Arena episode:

There was a sharp hiss, and then the clear sound of the Gorn's claws, coming at a run up the gully. Kirk had mis-calculated. The creature was closer than he had thought--and faster. Frantically he struggled to align the clumsy bamboo tube.

The Gorn leapt into view, its obsidian knife raised. Kirk slapped the burning piece of clothes against the touchhole, and the makeshift cannon went off with a splintering roar. The concussion knocked Kirk down; the semicave was filled with acrid smoke.

He groped to his feet again. As the smoke cleared, he saw the Gorn, slumped against the other wall of the gully. The diamond egg had smashed its right shoulder; but it was bleeding from half a dozen other places too, where diamond chips had flown out of the cannon instead of igniting.

Even so, the stories continue to be rushed, reduced to the simplest terms of the story, something that won't be fixed in any of the Blish novels.

For a quick Star Trek fix, or to refresh what happened on the episodes, this novelizations might help. But a lot is lost in this novelizations.

The stories in this volume are:

- Arena:
Quick Gorn description:

"It was a biped, a reptile, a lizard that walked like a man. It stood about six feet four, with tremendous musculature, dully gleaming skin, a ridge of hard plate running down its back, and a strong, thick tail. The tail did not look prehensile; rather, it seemed to be a balancing organ, suggesting that the creature could run very fast indeed if it wished. The head was equipped with two tiny earholes and a wide mouth full of sharp teeth."
... and that's it... Kinda kills the whole 'menacing alien' thing...

- A Taste of Armageddon

"Kirk fired. The key computer burst. A string of minor explosions seemed to run from it along the main computer bank-and then they were no longer minor. Hast-ily, Kirk herded everyone out into the corridor. They huddled against the wall, while the floor shook, and bil-lows of smoke surged out of the door of the Council room.
It took a long time. At last, Kirk said, "Well--that's it"
And with that, Kirk solves a 500 year war.

- Tomorrow is Yesterday
The whole beam down, hide from military action is suppressed... Finishes the story much faster and easier.

- Errand of Mercy
A full treaty in about 3 sentences, keep it moving people...

- Court Martial
Characterizations are also done fast, no time for lot of descriptions. It's quite a shame, considering the Cogley character:

It was on her advice that Kirk had retained Samuel T. Cogley, a spry old eccentric who put his trust not in computers, but in books. He did not inspire much confidence, though Kirk was convinced that Areel had meant well.

- Operation--Annihilate
Another dialogue heavy episode, most was transcripted, but I do not remember enough to tell how much.

- The City on the Edge of Forever
I think it sacrilege to take any other script other than Ellison's original... or let Harlan expand it to a full novel... This fails miserably to justify the scripts potential... let's just leave it at that.

- Space Seed
I'm sorry, I have Montalban's acting so deeply ingrained, I do not know what I'm reading here, but it's certainly a bare shadow of the episode.

Don't even bother with this one...

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