Book Report: Star Trek 7 by James Blish (1972)

Book coverSo, apparently, as I worked my way through this set of books eighteen years ago, my book report for Star Trek 7 was the first one where I enumerated the episodes that were included in the book. So I’ve already done that in a previous post, but I’m going to do it again.

I was speculating that the most popular and recognized episodes would be included in the first volumes of the series, as Blish was not working in series order but rather worked a bit off of what fans wanted. But in this seventh volume, we’re still getting recognizeable episodes. Well, episodes I recognize anyway.

The book contains:

  • “Who Mourns for Adonais?”, the one where a giant hand in space grabs the Enterprise, and they find an ancient Earth god who wants followers again and who woos a crewwoman. C’mon, man, that’s one you remember, ainna?
  • “The Changeling”, where an old lost and damaged probe merged with some alien technology and confused its programming to elimination of imperfect life. Kirk has to do one of his logic tricks to shut down the computer (which he also does in a Harry Mudd episode). You might recognize the plot because it was recycled into Star Trek: The Motion Picture (and a bit of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home). I’d like to point out it’s been a whole week since I’ve seen <an allusion to this episode elsewhere.
  • “The Paradise Syndrome”, another one of the Enterprise finds a simple native culture who needs help of a forgotten alien technology (very similar to “The Apple” in Star Trek 6). In this one, Kirk loses his memory after interacting with it and lives a bit of another life while the Enterprise limps back to the planet on impulse power.
  • “Metamorphosis”, where the Enterprise away team are brought to be companions of the lone survivor of a wreck who has befriended an alien intelligence that provides his needs–and when he said he needed companions, the alien brought the Enterprise. The character here is Zefrim Cochrane, who is seen again in Star Trek: First Contact.
  • “The Deadly Years”, where the Enterprise visits a planet where the young humans have aged–and the away team starts aging as well, just in time for a confrontation with Romulans. In 2005, I equated this episode with an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where this happens to Dr. Pulaski, but 18 years later, I cannot remember that episode. Which is a testament either to the staying power of the orginal series or to the fact that I periodically revisit it.
  • “Elaan of Troyius”, where the Enterprise is sent to pick up a woman who is to marry into the ruling family of a rival planet to end years of warfare, but she’s a brat, and the women’s tears enthrall men, and she enthralls Kirk, but his duty makes him stronger than her tears.

So a quick read, the book equivalent of catching one of these episodes (well, all of them, actually) on television and continuing to watch it. A bit like brief binge watching, I guess. I have a couple more of these on my to-read shelves, and by the time I finish them, I will have almost the full set (apparently, I lack 12). Maybe I will look to complete the set. Afterwards and into next year, perhaps I will get into Alan Dean Foster’s adaptations of the animated series. Or maybe it will be back to men’s adventure fiction. But for the nonce, the old school science fiction, including the Asimov and even the Bradbury are what I need right now.

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2 thoughts on “Book Report: Star Trek 7 by James Blish (1972)

  1. Gentlemen who at a certain age encountered Leslie Parrish wearing the gown Apollo created for her character will not soon forget “Who Mourns for Adonais?”

  2. I must have seen that episode before puberty, as the gown does not linger in my fond memories.

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