Book Report: Star Trek 6 by James Blish (1972, 1975)

Book coverYou know, I had almost forgotten that I was working my way through these books earlier this year. So when I was looking at the to-read books in the hallway, I thought, Oh, yeah, and this book provided just what I was looking for: A quick and pleasant read. I mean, I have to get my stats up. I’m only in the 40s in the books read in 2022 list, and it’s almost August. And I’m not sure we’ll have the football package this year for me to browse monographs and chapbooks.

So we’re about half way through the book series which ultimately will include most, if not all, of the episodes of the original Star Trek series turned into short stories by a British author who has presumably seen some of the series even though he had not when he began writing the books–which was about the time the show was on, but this book first appeared in 1972, when the show had been off the air for a couple of years. One has to wonder if the popularity of these books (this 1975 edition was the 10th printing already).

But because we’re halfway through the series, we’re starting to get to the more obscure episodes. This one includes:

  • “The Savage Curtain”, wherein an alien race, hoping to learn more about good and evil, pits crewmembers from the Enterprise, Abraham Lincoln, and other notables against Ghengis Khan and some other violent people.
  • “The Lights of Zetar”, wherein an interstellar brain containing the minds of the survivors of a long-dead alien race seek a human host to live in the real world again.
  • “The Apple”, wherein a paradise-like planet is run by a giant computer whom the child-like natives think is a god.
  • “By Any Other Name”, wherein aliens from a distant galaxy lure the Enterprise to their rescue; they hope to take over the Enterprise and to use it to return home in several hundred years’ travel, but they find that their presence in humanoid bodies gives them humanoid appetites and emotions.
  • “The Cloud Minders”, wherein the Enterprise is sent on an emergency run to a planet that is the sole source for a needed material, only to find that the society is bifurcated between the people who live in the cloud city and the miners who do the work.
  • “The Mark of Gideon”, wherein the Enterprise visits a planet that had avoided contact. Kirk apparently beams to an empty Enterprise that only contains one of the natives, and she’s trying to get infected with a disease that almost killed Kirk in the past because her planet has no germs and the population has remarkable healing powers–so that overpopulation has overcrowded the place, and Kirk’s infected blood can help people die.

I only kind of remembered “The Apple” from my viewing days. Still, a quick, pleasant read with characters I know.

But more interesting is that I am this book’s second owner.

And the original owner did not finish it, as the bookmark was not far into the book.

A couple of order forms for The Peoples Almanac, a book by the authors of The Book of Lists and the original sales receipt.

Given their placement in the book together, it’s entirely possible that they were not book marks at all, but rather were tucked in there by the bookseller at the purchase.

Which was when I was three years old.


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