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Ishmael (Star Trek, No 23) Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 1991
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Top Customer Reviews
The other reviewers have mentioned amnesiac Spock, but one of the great pleasures of this book is the people left behind, struggling to find him. Kirk, McCoy, even Uhura and Sulu are all exactly as we wish them to be. This is one of the top five Star Trek tie-ins for any of the series.
I read the book and it was like eating a wine-seasoned savory stew, something to eat slooooooooooowwwwwwwly and without discussion until you had eaten every bit and licked the last drop from the plate. I loved the mood, the mist-laden dark woods, the constant patter of rain, the sombre, slightly menacing Aaron Stemple, the delightful Drelb Aurelia. The combined pain and angst--and very deft comedy of the Enterprise crew left "behind" in the future who set out to find their friend.
I had never watched "Here Come the Brides," and it wasn't until my husband finally read the book and I heard him laughing that I learned it was a crossover novel. I had appreciated it solely on its own merit: the characterizations, the atmosphere. Later I learned there were many "private jokes" and cameo appearances tucked away in the book and that made me smile, because I do the same thing in my own writing. It only works if you can do it without detracting or distracting from the story; Hambly's jokes add to it.
After about 5 years and 7 or 8 complete read-throughs of the book, I chanced upon "Here Come the Brides" and watched, delighted to see the best joke of all: that Aaron Stemple was played by Mark Lenard, who also played Spock's father. I liked the show well enough, but I always winced on the few occasions when it didn't fit into my -- Hambly's -- universe.
It's been about 23 years since I first read the book and out of all the Star Trek (TOS, TNG, DS9 -- those are MY treks) books out there, there are only three or four that I go back to again and again. This is the main one, and it's as fresh as it was the first time. I can smell the pine and feel the mud and drenching rain...and I've never even been to Seattle.
The basic plot premise is this: During an espionage mission against the Klingons, Spock is captured and interrogated with the notorious Mind-Sifter, which gives him a case of total amnesia. Before his capture, however, he manages to send two very short, cryptic messages about what the Klingons are up to. The Enterprise crew receives the messages, but it takes a while to decode them.
Meanwhile, Spock somehow ends up in the woods outside in 1860s Seattle, with no idea who he is or how he got there. He is eventually found, wounded and unconscious, by Aaron Stemple (the lumber baron in the "Brides" series), who hides him in a remote cabin until he has recovered, then passes him off as his cousin Ishmael Marx. ("Ishmael" gets shortened to "Ish" -- which just happens to mean "male human being" in Hebrew. Nice touch!) Aaron knows that "Ishmael" is an alien, having seen his pointed ears and green blood, and expresses curiousity about where he came from. But Spock does not remember, not even his own name. Bits and pieces of images from his past crop up in his mind, but have no contextual meaning. He accepts that he in a stranger in a strange land who is not likely to be rescued, and decides to pass for Human in order to survive.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I first read this in paperback back when it first came out and it remains one of my favorite Star Trek novels. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Ranuel
This is one of my favorite Star Trek novels and IMO one of the best or maybe the best one ever written. It's definitely an enjoyable read. I have read it several times. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Sherry Mc
Ishmael takes Commander Spock back into Earth's past to save the future from a Klingon plot. It is crossed over with Here Comes the Brides tv show. Read morePublished 5 months ago by 9Jessie
To me this in one of the BEST Star Trek novels ever written as it takes place here in the USA in and around Seattle,Washington in the late 1800. Read morePublished 7 months ago by chondroman
After watching,"Here Come the Brides", this was a wonderful book to read. I could hear the character's voices and see every scene! Add to that my love for Star Trek... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Jim Wright
This was a good Spock story. We know that Spock tolerates living among humans, but in this book hes living in 1860s Seattle with amnesia, and a nice plot twist at the end!Published 9 months ago by Chet M. Bush
This is one of the best TOS novels written. I read it years ago, and then within the past couple of years replaced it with another PB edition. Read morePublished 10 months ago by edgfld