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Spock's struggle to save the past

Ishmael - Barbara Hambly

During a layover at Starbase Twelve the Enterprise crew investigates suspicious activity surrounding a Klingon ore freighter which seems to be more than it appears. As they follow it into the Tau Eridani Cloud, the Klingon ship suddenly vanishes . . . with Spock still on board. And on Earth in 1867, a frontier businessman encounters an amnesiac stranger in the woods — one with pointed ears and green blood coming from his wounds.

 

Barbara Hambly's book is unique among the many novels in the Star Trek Pocket Book series. Unlike the others set in the Star Trek universe, Hambly situates many of the events in a different fictional world, that of the ABC television show Here Come the Brides which ran for two seasons in the late 1960s. To be honest I'm not a fan of such a conceit (and Hambly's insertion of thinly-veiled characters and references from other television shows and sci-fi franchises didn't help), but Hambly makes it work here, thanks to the strength of her characterization and her storytelling skills. There's also an underlying joke in her use of the series that proved rather clever once I understood what it was, and which highlighted the amount of work she put into realizing it. The overall result is somewhat different from most other Star Trek novels, yet it is that difference which makes it such a fresh and enjoyable read.