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Star Trek: The Entropy Effect

7 Jun

June 7, 2020

I’ve been reading a lot lately. With all the things going on the world, I wanted the book equivalent of comfort food. I decided to read an old Star Trek novel. It has been many years since I read one. I gave up on this type of fanfic sometime ago, but over the last couple of years my attitude has been slowly coming around. Truthfully, I was a being a snob about it.

So I picked The Entropy Effect by Vonda N. McIntyre. I read it may years ago, when it first came out and I remembered liking it, so I decided to give it another read. In fact, it was re-released ten years ago as part of Star Trek’s 40th anniversary celebration. 

This is the current cover.

That’s a pretty nice cover. Here’s the description from Wikipedia (their motto: we are constantly asking you to give us money although the work is all written and edited for free by you.):

The Entropy Effect is a novel by Vonda N. McIntyre set in the fictional Star Trek Universe. It was originally published in 1981 by Pocket Books and is the second in its long-running series of Star Trek novels (and the first original novel in that series; the first of the series is the novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture). It is also the first source to give Sulu and Uhura first names later made canon, Hikaru (in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) and Nyota (in Star Trek).

Despite this book being nearly 40 years old, I’ll avoid spoilers and tell you only that it involves time travel shenanigans and the death of Captain Kirk. (What’s that you say? I said I’d avoid spoilers and then go right ahead and tell you that Kirk dies? Look, you know he’s alive at the end of the book. Give me a break.) 

As I said, that’s a pretty nice cover. Let’s see the original cover.

 

Not quite as interesting. It also has a few problems. As this came out in the wake of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, it shows the crew in the new movie uniforms and the movie version of the ship. (Note that the reissue has Spock in a TV series uniform.) This was common with the first few books in the series. Despite the story being set in the TV era, the new novels all have movie uniforms worn on the cover. I get it, that’s a Trekkie/nerd thing. But as a former Trekkie/nerd I spent a lot of time reading that book trying to figure out when it took place. 

That’s not the weird thing about the cover. That would be Sulu. On the cover he has very long hair and a mustache.

Kirk looks like he just showed up at a party wearing a pumpkin costume, not realizing that it was a formal dinner party. 

In the novel, Sulu had been letting his hair grow for six weeks, That looks like a lot more than 6 weeks growth to me, and I should know, having just gone about 16 weeks without a haircut.

Sulu’s hair growth is not something you would know until you read the book, so seeing him on the cover that way made no sense to me, back in 1981. I still clearly remember looking at the cover and being sure that someone had defaced it and drew on that hair and mustache with a pen. I actually tried to wipe it off.

The book is a good read and I do recommend it. But get the original cover. Not only is it funnier, a used copy can be gotten a lot cheaper than the reissue. 

 

 

He’s A Nasty Man, Charlie Brown

25 Oct

October 25, 2019

This Halloween, just one post, but it’s my favorite Halloween post. Enjoy my take on a true Halloween classic.

From October 22, 2016

It’s the fiftieth anniversary of the classic It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. For decades, poor Charlie Brown has been getting rocks instead of candy. But did you ever wonder why the adults on his street would give a little boy rocks on Halloween? Read on for one man’s story.

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The Time: Halloween 1966
The Place: The home of Burt and Luann Smith, just down the block from Charlie Brown’s house

BURT: (Looking out window) Hey Luann, it’s getting dark. Those trick-or-treaters are coming down the block.

LUANN: (Calling out from the kitchen) I’ve got a bowl of candy near the door, Honey. Don’t give them too much, just a couple of pieces each.

BURT: (Muttering) I’m keeping the Kit Kats for myself.

From outside, the distant sounds of children trick-or-treating can be heard.

BURT: (Still at the window) Aw Jeez Luann, that kid with the messed up head and the blanket is squatting in the Jackson’s pumpkin patch. What’s wrong with him? (Burt squints, looks closely) I think he’s got that little Sally Brown with him. (Muttering again) I bet the coyotes get her first.

LUANN: (Still in kitchen) What did you say dear?

BURT: Nothing, dear, nothing dear (bell rings) Uh, got to get the door.

Burt opens the front door. A group of kids in homemade costumes yells “trick or treat!” Burt gives them some candy, pocketing the Kit Kats for himself. They leave but before he closes the door, he looks down the block.
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BURT: Luann, I’ll be back in a second. I just have to run out back for a minute. (Burt runs out the back door.)

LUANN: (Enters the living room) What? Where are you?

BURT: (Comes back) OK Hon, I’m back.

Burt puts a pile of rocks on the table near the bowl of candy.

LUANN: What are you doing with those rocks?

BURT: That Brown kid is coming down the street. He’s such a blockhead, his costume has about 50 extra holes in it. Match the ones in his head.

LUANN: Burt! He’s such a sweet little boy!

BURT: Yeah, such a sweet little boy. When’s the last time he cleaned up after his dog? That damn beagle keeps leaving piles in the front yard. And how did a dog get those goggles and that scarf anyway?

Burt opens the door a crack and peeks out.

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BURT: Yeah, yeah, here he comes. You want a trick or treat? I got a trick for ya. (Quickly shuts the door.)

LUANN: Burt, really!

BURT: Shhh shhh here they come! (Bell rings)

Burt opens the door and a group of kids, including Charlie Brown, yell trick or treat.

BURT: Here you are, you cute little goblins! (He gives each in turn a piece of candy, except for Charlie Brown, who gets a rock.)

Burt closes the door, smiling a nasty grin.

LUANN: Burt! That was horrible! He’s just a little boy!

BURT: He’s lucky I gave him a rock and not one of his dog’s turds. I’ve got a dozen of them on the lawn.

Burt goes to the window, sees the kids comparing their candy and opens it a crack, just in time to hear Charlie Brown say “I got a rock.”

BURT: Serves you right, you little bald blockhead.

THE END

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