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arbieroo

Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Ursula K. Le Guin: Hainish Novels and Stories, Vol. 1: Rocannon's World / Planet of Exile / City of Illusions / The Left Hand of Darkness / The Dispossessed / Stories (The Library of America)
Brian Attebery, Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 87/1100 pages
Life and Letters of Charles Darwin - Volume 1: By Charles Darwin - Illustrated
Charles Darwin
Progress: 195/346 pages
Basics of Plasma Astrophysics
Claudio Chiuderi, Marco Velli
Progress: 3/250 pages
Ursula K. Le Guin: The Complete Orsinia: Malafrena / Stories and Songs (The Library of America)
Brian Attebery, Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 359/700 pages
Selected Short Stories - Conrad (Wordsworth Classics)
Keith Carabine, Joseph Conrad
Progress: 236/272 pages
A Student's Guide to Lagrangians and Hamiltonians
Patrick Hamill
Progress: 7/180 pages
Complete Poems, 1904-1962
E.E. Cummings
Progress: 108/1102 pages
The Complete Plays and Poems
E.D. Pendry, J.C. Maxwell, Christopher Marlowe
She Stoops to Conquer and Other Comedies (Oxford World's Classics)
Henry Fielding, David Garrick, Oliver Goldsmith
Progress: 76/448 pages
Gravitation (Physics Series)
Kip Thorne;Kip S. Thorne;Charles W. Misner;John Archibald Wheeler;John Wheeler
Progress: 48/1215 pages
Spock Must Die! - James Blish OK - the first Star Trek story not based on a shooting script, requested by popular demand (fan mail to the author, from readers of his script adaptations.)

What would you do with that opportunity? Let's just say I am unsurprised that Blish's story revolves round a transporter accident. The technology raises heaps of questions in the minds of anyone with the slightest philosophical bent - and any decent SF writer fits in that category. Also, at the time, most of those obvious ideas hadn't already been used three times each...

The book opens with Bones waxing metaphysical with Scotty and Kirk being surprisingly willingly dragged into the debate. Not long after, a transporter accident makes the theoretical discussion all too real, and threatens the very existence of the Federation, to boot. A good deal of care was put into developing a story that fits the characters and background of the TV show. Indeed, in an utterly non-preachy way, Blish pushes the values of equality and non-prejudice espoused by the Federation even further than the broadcasts did, by giving Uhura much more prominence and effective input.

I can't help feeling that Blish had his tongue in his cheek, affectionately, too, though: mastery of James Joyce helps in the field of practical cryptology and Scott's accent varies from barely comprehensible Glaswegian to completely neutral, depending on his stress-level, as if Blish is taking the mick out of James Doohan's portrayal...

(Anybody who knows Blish's work well will recognise that James Joyce was something of an obsession of the author.)

It's an easy, entertaining book that Blish manages to turn into a good opportunity to examine ideas that interested him and I therefore strongly recommend it to Blish fans who might feel reluctant to read a "tie-in" novel. It's not first-rate, but it's worthwhile.