Thursday, November 25, 2021

Review of "Spock Must Die!," by James Blish

 Review of

Spock Must Die!, by James Blish

Four out of five stars

A significant first, although not great

 While this novel does not have a stellar plot, it occupies a significant role in the Star Trek saga. After the original series was over, Blish wrote a series of paperback adaptations of the episodes of the original series. This was the first original novel in what was to become a major series of books starring the characters of the original series. It was also the first step in several lines of original material in the Star Trek genre.

 The plot is based on a continuation of the original series episode, “Errand of Mercy.” It introduced the Organians, powerful creatures that put a stop to the war between the Klingon Empire and the Federation. It also was the first episode where the Klingons appeared.

 In this case, the Klingons have somehow managed to neutralize the Organians and launched a war against the Federation. It is a brutal conflict, so in an attempt to stop it quickly, the crew of the Enterprise tries to overcome that neutralization so that the Organians can out a stop to the war. There is an attempt to beam Spock through the interference to planet of Organia. What happens is that Spock is duplicated, but not a complete good twin/bad twin split like that in the original series episode “The Enemy Within.” The duplicate in this case retains Spock’s full intellect while plotting to do evil.

 Kirk and the other members of the crew must continue to press their attempt to defeat the Klingons while simultaneously relying on Spock for his aid while making sure that neither one is given the opportunity to commit malfeasance.

 The plot is weak, other than the first one (The Enemy Within), plots based on transporter accidents must be very good or they fail. It is hard to believe that such errors could take place in a device so heavily used. While this is not a great novel, the fact that it started something great will forever place it on the pedestal of breakthroughs.

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