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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. 

 

 

A Pair of Synners

12 Oct

October 12, 2019

 

This is Doctor Syn: A Smuggler Tale of Romney Marsh, written by Russell Thorndyke and published in 1915.

From Wikipedia, which can’t be wrong about a book this old, right?:

Doctor Syn: A Tale of the Romney Marsh is the first in the series of Doctor Syn novels by Russell Thorndike. In this story we are introduced to the complex Christopher Syn, the kindly vicar of the little town of Dymchurch. Syn seems pleasant but we soon learn that he has a sinister past. At one time he was the vicious pirate Captain Clegg and he is also the mysterious “Scarecrow of Romney Marsh”, masked leader of the local smugglers.

This was filmed a few times, first in 1937, then in 1962 as Captain Clegg starring Peter Cushing, and again in 1963 as Dr. Syn, alias The Scarecrow, part of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color TV series starring Patrick McGoohan. This version is hard to find as it had only a limited home video release and copies go for big bucks.

Luckily, the Disney version had a novel adaptation by prolific Disney author Vic Crume.

 

 

The novel was turned into a movie, and the movie turned back into a novel by a different author.

You have to admit that doesn’t happen too often.

So the plan is to read the original Russell Thorndyke novel and then the Disney novelization of the film, and see what the heck Disney did to it. To be fair, the Disney film is highly regarded. 

It’s a little like the old children’s game of telephone, where a short sentence is whispered to one child, then passed along from ear to ear, then finally getting to the last child in, usually, a phrase unrecognizable from the original. This is essentially a novel to film to novel game of telephone.

I’m very curious to see where this goes.

 

 

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