Spock, Messiah!

The story was basically okay, but it was no Trek story. It was jarring to read. The characters really didn't act like themselves, and poor Ensign George rarely made any contribution that wasn't somehow sexual (Kirk actually refers to Ensign George as "our little sex machine"! Unbelievable.). And the authors didn't have the good grace to leave things to our imagination, either. They spend time enough describing her appearance and actions that there's no question but we're meant to take some voyeuristic pleasure in it.

Also, if the planet is so good at blocking radiation, couldn't they just hide the ship behind it? That's not the only plot-related problem. Everything was very convenient for the plot. The radiation conveniently prevents the transporter from being used reliably, and also serves as a ticking time-bomb. Spock--or, rather, the Messiah--conveniently disallows communication.

And then there's the lack of sense the characters show. Spock doesn't check in--and they already know the implants don't work quite correctly--but Kirk isn't terribly concerned. He puts off checking on Spock until it's had a chance to develop into a real problem. On being told that an army is forming, Kirk exclaims "We'd better send down an away team, quick!", and McCoy must explain to him why that wouldn't help. On the planet, McCoy gives himself a crash course in the alien biology, including basics like how many hearts they have. They have been studying these aliens for some time, have detailed physical and mental scans of them, and McCoy has a direct mental link to one, and he still doesn't know even the most basic information? And Scotty cannot conceive of a reason you might make a large wagon in two parts. And Chekhov is totally unprofessional.

Notes

  • Sulu born on Alpha Mensa Five
  • Richter Cultural Scale, "D+"
  • Scotty is a redhead
  • Kirk reads Xenophon's Anabasis, p. 7
  • Kirk's favorite drink: Canopian brandy, McCoy likes "green Saurian stuff"

"Oh, no," groaned Kirk. "Not another one! Why does nearly every woman assigned to the Enterprise set her cap for that walking computer? Doesn't she understand Vulcans?"

"If it were anyone else but our Vulcan friend, I'd guess he had a lassie down there and didna want us to ken where he was, during his more loving moments. It must be sair hard to mate once every seven years. Whatever his reasons were for his tinkering, if it was he, they weren't the usual ones."

  • Why would Spock dying break the locator?, p. 27

"And then again, it might not. I should give up trying to figure out what makes Spock tick, I've tried long enough. He's always taken care to keep the human side he inherited from his mother suppressed. It's true that he always acts logically, but it's usually such an alien logic that much of the time I don't understand why he does what he does--unless he cares to explain, that is. When he does, his actions always make perfect sense. When he doesn't, the man's an enigma. Maybe that's what makes him so attractive to women. They find him 'fascinating,'" McCoy finished.

  • The trilithium crystals? p. 31 [this is explained]
  • If the planet will block the radiation, why not just hide the ship in the planet's shadow?
  • Kirk refers to Sara as "our little sex machine"
  • In addition to making references to episodes (as adapted by Blish), this book cites the novel Spock Must Die! on p. 51
  • actinic?
  • [5-11]
  • "Feinberg panels"
Character Type
James T. Kirk Main
Leonard McCoy Main
Spock Main
Pavel Chekov Sub
Name Role
Charles A. Spano, Jr. Author
Theodore R. Cogswell Author