“Tension was turning (Spock’s) head and neck into a mass of pain, and he bitterly regretted the series of circumstances which had left him trapped helplessly here on the planet’s surface while far overhead, in the frigid darkness of space, his captain battled for his life.”
Ok, I’m done with my Vulcan/Romulan sidetrack. I can now get back to my chronological journey through Star Trek Novels. Top of the list is another novel I remember being a favorite. Let’s see if it holds up.
In the Taygeta system, a time/space warp has swallowed a starship. The fate of the universe hangs in the balance! The inhabitants of Taygeta V are a seal-like species hunted for their tears secreted at the moment of death. The tears immediately harden into highly coveted gems. The inhabitants are classified as non-sentient. They sing without cease, so they are called Singers.
Based on Spock’s conjecture that the anomaly and the song are connected, Kirk conscripts Guy Maslin, the ‘rock star’ of the classical musician world to help translate the song and make contact. Maslin and Uhura fall in love as the Enterprise crew attempts to stop the anomaly from spreading.
This novel led to Snodgrass writing for Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Random Thoughts Written Down as I Read:
Uhura is wearing pants on the cover! Hooray for a reasonable uniform choice! She’s still wearing heels, though. *sigh*
Riley mans the helm. Kirk ogles a female engineering lieutenant.
Scotty has an accent…which may be Cockney. He comes to the bridge to bitch about the ship inspector and display his accent. He leaves immediately.
The Klingon homeworld is named Klinzhai. I wish that was canon.
The Singers’ song sounds like that of the extinct humpback whale. (Two years before the release of ST: IV.)
Chekov has an accent and I’ve already discussed how stupid it is to have him switch his Vs and Ws.
The Commander of the Klingon task force is our old friend Kor. Officers under his command include Kandi, Karsul, and Kaandal, and Kor’s wife, Kali.
Uhura tells Maslin that sex and love are 2 separate things. Yeah, Uhura!
They land on the planet and set up a base camp. I hope it’s not pointless.
Whoa! Here’s a Klingon named Jennas! How did he get in here?
The Enterprise crew is going to try to use a synthesizer to communicate with the Singers, like in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”
Scotty tries to speak to the Singer cubs using his bagpipes. It’s earnest and not comic.
Uhura wants to eventually command her own ship, but she can’t be a wife, mother, and captain. Boo, Uhura!
Kali, the Klingon woman, is a damsel in distress. She flits. She nips. She flirts. She stands by her man. I know she was written before the NextGen Klingons, but she’s really freaking me out.
After Maslin collapses because of his illness, Kirk wants to send him back to the planet to continue his work. Uhura resigns in protest. Maslin says he wants to go back. Uhura unresigns.
The Klingon crew is on the verge of mutiny, so Captain Kor physically leaves his ship and goes to visit Kirk on Enterprise. Guess what happens?
McCoy hopes Spock gets shot. It’s supposed to be part of their friendly banter, but it just seems unnecessarily mean.
Spock wonders bitterly. Isn’t bitterness an emotion? And why is he so suddenly bitter?
Kirk leads the attacking Klingon cruisers into the anomaly. It’s like a bad trip. Or maybe a good one. I wouldn’t know.
Maslin proposes to Uhura. She accepts. She sings for him and he realizes the synthesizer is the problem: The singers don’t recognize it as a talking machine. So the landing party composes a song for Uhura to sing. I don’t understand music. I have no idea what’s going on here.
They make contact. Spock calls the Singers’ song “a racket.” He’s quite testy in this book.
A Klingon named Korax is executed for leading the mutiny.
A Singer explains the Great Song: it protects Taygeta from a supernova that occurred long ago. The Singers don’t realize the danger passed 3,000 years ago, or that what is now a religious practice was once a purposeful action. But now the missing voices of those Singers killed by the hunters has created the anomaly so they must stop singing or destroy themselves and possibly the universe.
The Singers stop singing.
Maslin dies in Uhura’s arms.
Three singers return as ambassadors to the Federation.
Kirk likes Klingons. Spock dislikes them.
Kirk basically tells Uhura to get over it and we fly off into the sunset.
“But do I want to become a lesbian? (Uhura) thought rebelliously. Devoting my life to a mass of circuits and metal that by some ironic quirk of phraseology has been designated a she?”