My self-imposed challenge for Cannonball Read VI is to read all the Star Trek original novels from the first one ever published (in 1970) to the most current. Realizing this is likely to take years (and several Cannonball Reads!), I set up some parameters for myself: only original, full-length novels licensed and published by a professional publishing house. No short-story collections, no manuals, no novelizations. I only want to consider original works by professional writers.
Which brings us to “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” ‘A Novel By Star Trek’s Creator Gene Roddenberry (based on the screenplay by Harold Livingston and the story by Alan Dean Foster)’. Original Story? Novelization? Another case of Mr. Roddenberry finding a way to make money off of someone else’s ideas? The story is extremely similar to the plotline of the Original Series episode “The Changeling,” written by John Meredyth Lucas, so the actual authorship is pretty murky.
To read, or not to read. Ultimately I decided to read. This is the only novel written by the Great Bird of the Galaxy.
“My name is James Tiberius Kirk. Kirk because my father and his male forbears followed the old custom of passing along a family identity name. I received James because it was both the name of my father’s beloved brother as well as my mother’s first love instructor. Tiberius, as I am forever tired of explaining, was the Roman emperor whose life for some unfathomable reason fascinated my grandfather Samuel.”
A giant (82 AUs in diameter) ‘thing’ is heading for Earth, destroying everything in its path. Admiral Kirk commandeers Enterprise, recalls Dr. McCoy, and goes to confront it with Enterprise’s former captain now acting as executive officer. Spock joins them along the way, reuniting the entire crew.
There are some very Roddenberry touches added into what is basically the script of the movie in prose form. The novel is set up as having been authored by Cpt. Kirk with the aid of a ghostwriter and final publishing approval of Spock, McCoy, Scott, Uhura, Sulu, Chekov—and Rand! I guess Chapel didn’t get approval.
Random Thoughts Written Down as I Read:
Why does Spock want to exorcise his human half?
Kirk and Spock are not lovers. Kirk loves women, plus Everybody Knows Vulcans only have sex every seven years.
Roddenberry loves to describe unknowns as hyphen-things. Cloud-thing. Plasma energy-thing. Gigantic alien child-thing. Alien machine-thing. Did you know he tried to write a movie/book prior to this? The title was “The God Thing.” True story.
‘Shit’ is an expression a young James Kirk learned from his grandfather.
Earth’s moon was once a base for aliens who genetically modified Earth life.
Sulu is an Asian romantic.
Chekov is a fully grown man.
Yeoman Janice Rand is now Transporter Chief Rand, and she lets Kirk take over the controls during a transport malfunction. I don’t want to crap all over her promotion, but is Rand an engineer? Shouldn’t she be? This is a really intricate piece of machinery; I think I’d like my Chief to be able to take it apart and put it back together and understand the theory behind it. Maybe if Rand hadn’t been promoted into a job she’s not qualified for, she would have tested the transporter before using it on living beings and causing them to die very gruesome and painful deaths. Let’s move on. Everyone else does.
Christine Chapel is now a Medical Doctor, Enterprise’s Chief Medical Officer. She lets McCoy take over her position without complaint. She is STILL in love with Spock. Worse, EVERYONE in the entire Federation knows it. Can we give her something else to do? Please? At least give her publishing approval rights along with everyone else so her secret crush isn’t exposed to the galaxy?
And while we’re at it, can we discuss Pon Farr? Spock is ashamed to speak of it in “Amok Time.” It is a secret known only to Vulcans (and I guess Spock’s mom) and McCoy and Kirk promise not to tell. So how does EVERYONE in the entire Federation know about it now? Who blabbed?
Kirk programs clothing for the naked Ilia-probe. A micro-mini so micro it barely qualifies as a shirt, and high heels. Functional.
Ilia is lovely in her Deltan nakedness! Her impossibly lovely, hard-tipped breasts swing around to point directly at Kirk!
Kirk thinks his greater sexual experience makes him the better choice to engage Ilia. Decker thinks so, too. But it’s not about technique; it’s about love!
A fucking headband? A SEX headband? A loveband?
Vejur enters earth orbit. Can it? I’m no scientist, but can something that is 82 times the size of the distance from the earth to the sun orbit the earth without…well, really fucking up the solar system?
Seven minutes from Earth, Vejur stops. It will destroy the infestation (humans) in 29 minutes. Kirk asks Scotty to set a self-destruct to activate one minute before this event. Hope everybody’s watches keep the same time…
22 minutes until Vejur opens fire.
21 minutes. Decker is a hell of a fine captain.
19 minutes until self-destruct.
15 minutes. Uhura notices the view is lovely.
10 minutes. The Enterprise is impossibly lovely.
7 minutes. Kirk is comforted when Spock calls him Jim. Lovely.
4 minutes. No—3! A lovely thing with spiraling brilliant colors appears.
Decker and Ilia join. There is breathtaking beauty. It was becoming all beauty, they were hearing beauty—and feeling beauty too. It shimmers into lovely patterns, too lovely to comprehend. And it’s gone. All that lovely beauty.
And then they basically hi-jack Enterprise and live happily ever after.
“Kirk was surprised to find his attention wandering, as if these images were some fictional adventure he had seen once too often.”