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March 23, 1984 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-03-23
Note:
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t

Star
treckin'
The Trellisane Confrontation
By David Dvorkin
Pocket Books
$2.95
By Laurie Ochsner
T HE TRELLISANE Confrontation,
by David Dvorkin, is Pocket Books'
most recent entry in its line of Star Trek
books. These novels feature the
characters from the original T.V. series
in newly-written, book-length stories.
This book, although it has a few good
moments, suffers from many of the
problems that its predecessors have.
Star Trek books began with SF author
James Blish's first adaptations of the
T.V. episodes 15 years ago. Blish pen-
ned the first Star Trek novel-the im-
mortal work Spock Must Die!-which
was followed in 1976 and '77 by Star
Trek: The New Voyages I & II (collec-
tions of surprisingly good short fiction
by fans). A flurry of -Star Trek fiction
followed rapidly, published at first by
Bantam and now by Pocket Books, as
its commercial potential was realized.
The list of original Star Trek fiction
now comes to approximately 30 titles.
But this figure doesn't include Blish's 12
books of episode adaptations, Alan
Dean Foster's nine Star Trek logs, Ban-
tam's many foto-novelizations of series'
episodes, the myriad "Making of...
World of'. .. ", "Letters to . . . " Star
Trek books, the I anr not
Spock/Chekov's Enterprise line of spin-
offs; or the Starfleet Technical
Manual/Star Trek Concordance series
of books. . . the list is endless.
What sets Star Trek novels apart
from the other Star Trek books is that
they are, ideally, accessible to the
general reader who is not a devoted
Star Trek fan. This presents a problem.
to Star Trek novelists which often goes
unresolved. A good Star Trek novel
should show a thorough understanding
on the author's part of the characters
and their backgrounds, for the fans who
expect three-dimensional characters
who will respond in expected ways in
certain situations. At the same time,
the novel should have a plot that is in-
teresting and fresh enough to stand on
its own apart from its characters, and
should avoid the excessive references
to past adventures which lose the less
ardent Star Trek reader.
There are quite a few Star .Trek
novels which do this-which manage
plot and character development well,
while telling the story in an interesting
way. The Trellisane Confrontation is
not one of them. Kirk, Spock, and Mc-
Coy are little more than wooden exten-
sions of the characters in the
series;- the most mediocre television
episodes gave them more depth of
character than this book does.
Dvorkin is one of those unfortunate
authors who is totally ignorant of what
has come before him. His main connec-
tion with Star Trek seems to be the
signature on his contract with Pocket
Books. Dvorkin shows no evidence
anywhere in The Trellisane Confron-

tation of having read any of the other
Star Trek books or of having seen either
movie or even an old episode recently.
His attempts at developing the
characters of Ensign Chekov'and Nurse
Chapel (yes, they're still 'Ensign' and
'Nurse' to Dvorkin) are the only glim-
mers of light in an otherwise dismal
lack of character development, and
these are as unconnected from the
existing body of Star Trek lore as the
rest of the book.
It really is quite sad, in a way, that
Dvorkin managed to drown his in-
triguing story premise. In The
Trellisane Confrontation, the Enter-
prise rushes to the aid of the planet
Trellisane, which has broadcast a weak
and garbled distress signal. It seems
that the Klingons have been helping-
Trellisan's neighbors to attack
Trellisane. Trellisane is located in a
very strategic spot-right at the point
where the Klingon, Romulan, and
Federation territories intersect, and
the Federation had been hoping that
Trellisane would choose to join in.
I won't spoil the fun of those of you
who might actually choose to read this
book by giving away any more of the
plot. (You'll be able to guess
everything for yourself 10 pages before
it happens). But I will use one example
to illustrate the fine artistry with which
Dvorkin has crafted this book. The
planet which neighbors Trellisane, and
which is attacking it, is inhabited by an
aquatic race. Dvorkin's description of .
this race makes them sound as though
they look like sea lions. Guess what the
planet is called-Sealon! It's
inhabitants are called Sealons! What a
leap of the imagination it must have
taken to come up with those names.
If you've never read a Star Trek
novel before, then you might enjoy The
Trellisane Confrontation. But if you're
into Star Trek at all, there are other
books which you would probably enjoy
much more. Sondra Marshak and
Myrna Culbreath, two fans-turned-pro-
author, have written four excellent Star
Trek novels-The Price of the Phoenix,
The Fate of the Phoenix, The
Prometheus Design, and Triangle. The
last two fall slightly prey to the "Lt.
Mary Lou Syndrome" (thesyndrome in
which a spunky, attractive young
woman comes aboard the ship), has

Trellisane Confrontation: Treckless trash
eveyone fall in love with her (including
Spock), and single-handedly saves the
entire ship from destruction, but are
still very much worthreading.
Vonda McIntyre, winner of the Hugo
and Nebula awards, has also written
two good Star Trek novels-The En-
tropy Effect, and the novelization of
The Wrath of Khan. The Wrath of Khan
covers a lot of background material
that isn't in the movie, and is a must-
read for those of you who are waiting
for The Search For Spock to open on
June 1sts t

Mm

Coming attractions
Warday, written by Whitley are: "The European nationp
Strieber (The Hunger, The Wolfen) were spared any damage, as
and James Kunetka, is a fact-based Japanese. The British Re
account of a limited nuclear exchange become a fact of American li f
between the U.S.. and U.S.S.R. The the increasing economic cont
war starts when American Japanese, leading to chare
deployment of an anti-missile defense America is being colonized."
satellite in 1988 provokes the Soviets (To be published by Holt,
into shooting down the Space Shuttle and Winston on April 16.)
Enterprise. Some of the startling -Mar
events that take place after the war

,is powers
s were the
4elief has
ife; as has
itrol of the
rges that
Rinehart
rrk Kulkis

a

U I

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12 Weekend/Friday, March 23, 1984

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