Friday, November 8, 2013

Star Trek: Ishmael - Barbara Hambly (Pocket - May 1985)

Series: Star Trek (Book 23)

The Enterprise is on a peaceful mission at Starbase 12 when a bizarre cosmic phenomenon causes a Klingon ship to suddenly vanish--with Spock aboard for the ride. Spock's last message from the Klingon ship is cryptic and frightening. The Klingons are traveling into the past, searching for the one man who holds a vital key to the future. If they can kill that man, the course of history will be changed--and the Federation will be destroyed!

This is a really fun book combining two 1960s TV shows - Star Trek and Here Come the Brides.  It starts with the Enterprise at a Starbase when Spock becomes suspicious of some Klingon activity.  He has snuck aboard their ship to investigate when the ship leaves and then vanishes, right after the Enterprise receives a puzzling transmission from him.  The next time we see Spock he is in 1867 Seattle badly injured, with no memory and no idea how he got there.  Spock is rescued and nursed back to health by Aaron Stemple, a local mill owner.  Aaron quickly realizes that Spock is not of the Earth but it doesn't seem to make any difference to him.  Once Spock has recovered, Aaron gives him the name Ishmael, an identity as his nephew, and a job as his accountant.  Spock, as Ishmael, begins to get acquainted with the townspeople and build a life.  He gets occasional flashes of memory and feels that there is something important that he is supposed to do.  I loved seeing Spock's human side come out, as he didn't know to repress it.  There is enough of his true self there that his logical mannerisms and speech are evident and create some very humorous moments.  One of my favorites is when he and Josh are engaged in a mock battle involving spoons, catapults, tea cups and a lump of sugar.  Spock's mental comment to himself is:  “and besides, he had no intention of allowing a human to win at this game…

The setting is Seattle during the time of Here Come the Brides and the characters are all recognizable from the show.  The Bolt brothers, some of the women such as Candy, Lottie and Biddy, and Aaron himself.  I really enjoyed seeing Spock's unintended influence on them as he simply accepts things that are foreign ideas to them.  I loved his complete acceptance of the idea of a woman doctor when it was something nearly unheard of to them, yet his attitude influenced their changing perceptions.  His biggest influence ends up being on Aaron himself, who finds himself changing thanks to Spock.  There is also an interesting connection between Spock and one of the residents of Seattle.

There is some time spent with the crew of the Enterprise as they work feverishly to figure out what the Klingons are up to and where Spock is.  Kirk's worry about his friend and fears that he is dead are a prime motivator for him.  His connections enable him to find people/beings who are able to assist him in his search.  He is assisted by Bones, Uhura and Sulu as they skate along the edges of the rules.  As is usual, they prevail just in the nick of time.

An interesting bit of trivia:  In the TV show Here Come the Brides, Aaron Stemple is played by Mark Lenard, the same actor who portrays Spock's father in the TV show and Star Trek movies.

No comments:

Post a Comment