I’ve had it.
Seriously. I have to draw the line somewhere, and this is it.
One of my guilty pleasures, along with cheesy ’70s horror movies and comic book superheroes, has been Star Trek. All things Star Trek.
I attended the 2nd ever Star Trek convention in NYC in 1974.
I saved all my magazines and comics and posters.
I read and collected all the books, from the first tv show adaptation —
— to the first original Trek novel —
— to the first original Trek novel (1981) after Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released in 1978 —
— to the 1979 limited edition of the movie’s novelization, signed and numbered by Gene Roddenberry (although the real writer was Alan Dean Foster, uncredited).
In all that time, decades of Trekking, never ONCE have I loved a Star Trek novel. Never once have I sat back and said, “Damn, that was a good book.”
But I have, on occasion, kicked a Star Trek novel across the room because it was so bad. And I have, in the past, told myself that I will never buy a Trek novel again because they are never any good. They’re not even fun any more. The worst are tedious and dull. The best are…tedious and dull, because there is no best.
But, because I’m innately optimistic, because I’m a born reader, and because I am a Trek guy in my soul, I have held out a hope, a glimmer of optimism, that a good novel would come along and surprise me.
I hereby, officially, pronounce that that sense of hope is dead, killed by phaser fire while wearing a classic red shirt.
A paperback just came out that gave me hope — a story about the early years, classic Kirk, Spock and McCoy. I read the first paragrahs and skimmed the first chapter…and I gave it a chance.
It toyed with me. And now I hate it. It tasks me, and vengeance will be mine.
I recommend A Choice of Catastrophes in order for anyone even remotely interested in either science fiction or Star Trek to read, read the whole thing, devour the brain-dead son of a bitch, and learn — learn exactly how good science fiction and good Star Trek stories can be absolutely ruined by dull writing and by padding — that is, stretching a story out interminably with the literary equivalent of bullshit.
I gave it a shot. I read the whole damn, misbegotten thing.
And it has moved me.
This, I swear: I WILL NEVER BUY A STAR TREK NOVEL EVER AGAIN.
Now, of course, if Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Neil Gaiman, Jack McDevitt or any single good writer were to write a Trek novel — if you could reanimate the corpses of Hemingway and Steinbeck and Fitzgerald and Asimov and Burroughs and Heinlein and get their zombified husks behind a keyboard —
I WOULD NOT BUY IT. Now, I might borrow it, get it from a library, or even steal the thing from Barnes & Noble after I rip the magnetic strip out, and then ask it to do it’s magic on me; and if any of those writers were to write a Trek story, I can guarantee you it would fill your mind with the wonders and magic of a night sky in the spring, no moonlight, just a velvet drape of darkness filled with tiny pinpoints of light, around which circle an infinite number of worlds where people like us could be looking at our own little star, dreaming…
Pocket Books, do you understand?
You have screwed a Trek lover, a Trek loyalist, for the last time. You have given us dreck, you have given us formula, you have given us endless exposition and mind-numbing, repetitive space opera that has no worth, no merit.
My phaser is on kill, and I’m aiming for the Trek shelves.
Star Trek novels must die!