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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 17, 2006
This is #5 in the classic Star Trek tie-in series and one of the weakest of the lot. It demonstrates all the worst aspects of tie-in novels.

The basic premise is that Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise are 'alien abductees', being taken by unknown powerful aliens to be used as unwilling experimental subjects. As a result of this Kirk is deemed unfit for command and Spock is named captain in his stead. The idea is not bad in itself and was used to much better effect elsewhere (The Next Generation).

The problems here are in the protrayals of the main characters, Spock and Kirk would never behave as these authors have them doing. Also the action, such as it is, drags along, interrupted by long, pointless, impassioned speeches, lots of drivel about 'Vulcan Command Mode' and many trips down memory lane recalling previous events - which are fully footnoted.

There are many novels in this series and just about any one of the others would be a better choice than this one.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2001
I'm not a Trekkie, Trekker, or whatever. I have not seen every episode of all the various series. That said I have enjoyed some of the books written about the Star Trek Universe. The trouble with a multi-authored series though is the uneveness one finds in the mix. From what I remember of the original series, (and Next Generation and the new series) is the sense of wonder, a feeling of joy and camaraderie between the main characters. The authors of this book suck that joy and wonder out of everything and write a soulless gloomy novel that bears no resemblance to the Star Trek phenomenon. It is a novel of despair with not one refreshing moment. To me, the novels should reflect the spirit of the series or it's just a bad science fiction novel with characters named after the members of the Trek universe.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The galaxy is in danger of being destroyed and the crew of the Enterprise is trying to prevent it. A race of beings is performing scientific experiments on humans and other creatures and James Kirk is one of their prime subjects. He is still under their influence, so his command judgment is suspect.

Savaj is an elderly Vulcan who is an Admiral in Star Fleet, a legend for many other accomplishments and also aboard the Enterprise. Kirk is relieved of his command with Spock taking over. There is a great deal of philosophical debate between Spock, Savaj and Kirk over whether the superior intellect of Vulcans means that they should never be subservient in the chain of command. To further demonstrate the inferiority of humans, Spock and Savaj engage in a series of Vulcan combat calisthenics and Kirk understands that his level of accomplishment is that of a mere child. A demonstration with Kirk is done in front of several of the crew, further humiliating Kirk.

Even though he has been relieved of his command and must obey Spock, Kirk sometimes fails to follow those orders, sometimes for benefit and other times with negative consequences. In the end, they learn that the danger to the galaxy is due to the callous way in which experiments have been carried out on living creatures. For centuries, humans have been torturing small animals in the name of medical research, but without regard to how much they have suffered.

Of course the solution is found and Kirk is restored to command of the Enterprise. Spock even concedes that Kirk is the superior commander. I found the book often dull, it moves much slower than almost all of the other Star Trek novels that I have read. While the philosophical arguments are interesting, they go on so long that my interest waned.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2003
This story moves along incredibly slow to the point of becoming boring. This was a book I couldn't wait to finish and put in the worst ST books pile. I enjoy unusual character developments, if it is done nicely. Here it wasn't. Spock completely disses Kirk in all respects to force the alien influence from him. No second-guessing or regrets from Spock. This not Spock! It ruins the rest of the story.
Not a good read...
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2003
Seemingly omnipotent aliens are conducting dreadful experiments and hastening the demise of the galaxy in an effort to solve the age old �Promethean� question of good v/s evil. This story has its moments but in the end it tends to confuse more than enlighten or even entertain. The character of the Vulcan Admiral Savaj has tremendous potential and the insights into Vulcan culture are interesting however the interplay between Kirk and Spock is rather bizarre even taking into consideration the role reversal that they undergo. I also find it hard to believe that Vulcans would ever actually behave as prejudiced, arrogant and condescending as they are portrayed here. It just isn�t logical.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2014
I will give it to you that the book could come off as a fan fiction, but I found the ideas that it brought up pretty thought provoking. The idea that we human beings are small and unintelligent in compared to something else in the universe that see us as nothing more than common rats. And though these rats can speak and tell you the pains they are in, the experimenters will not stop because what is the life of a rat when it can save another "superior being?" And does that rat have the right to bring in moral obligations when the rat itself has done same things to what it considered smaller and inferior to it? I got two very good quotes from this book. A species first obligation is to survive no matter what. The other is "Even a rose screams". I found the book to knock me down a few notches and put my life in perspective to another life. When does a life become worth more than another? My only complaint about the book is that I wish it gave some more descriptions about the torture that they saw the fight sequences. That could have been written better. As for other reviews that said Spock and Kirk weren't in character, I disagree. Kirk is known to have problems giving up command as shown in the first star trek movie and Spock has been acting extremely cold since the first movie, so I found it to be quite adequate portrayal. Then again I've read a lot of fan fiction so maybe my view is off. You'll have to see it for yourself.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2011
Marshak and Culbreath are two of the absolute worst authors that have ever attempted to write for Star Trek. They have everybody completely out of character and they write dialog that goes on and on and on and says absolutely nothing! Theirs are the worst excuses for Star Trek Novels to come along. Get a good novel by someone like Peter David, Diane Duane, Margaret Wander Bonanno, Vonda N. McIntyre, Diane Carey, Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, or Michael Jan Friedman just to name a few. These are authors that truly capture the essence of the Star Trek Universe. Don't waste your time or money on anything written by Marshak and Culbreath. They shouldn't even be allowed to publish their books! If there was a rating lower than 1 star I would give it. -5 would be more accurate! I think Peter David is the BEST!)
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on November 19, 2014
Yet another Star Trek novel I really didn't enjoy at all. The fact that it was "Star Trek" is the only reason it gets one extra star. The Characters are not at all like the characters we are so familiar with in the Star Trek universe, with the possible exception of the irrepressible Dr. McCoy. The premise behind the story is that some super-being race has abducted people (and been doing so since time immemorial apparently) and using them as little more than laboratory rats. Kirk becomes an abductee and feels horribly violated when he transports back to the Enterprise. Some new Vulcan Admiral shows up and transfers captaincy of the Enterprise to Spock--from there the action really deteriorates. You get the notion that the writer(s) are moralizing on human use of animals for various experiments as they incessantly throw at you how the poor little critters we experimented on by blinding them, and by doing lots of other unsavory things to them that I won't mention here but the authors feel compelled to mention in their story, were no less hideous than abducting sentient beings and treating them with the same levels of "callousness" which becomes a buzzword by the end of the book. I love Star Trek novels if for no better reason then that it's like the TV series never ended. I get to watch my favorite characters from Scotty, to McCoy, Chekov, Uhura, Yeoman Rand, Kirk, Spock, Sulu, et.al. in my mind's eye--and it's like the age of the TV show never ended for me. But I do NOT like it when I sense that any author is taking their moralizing to me like a bludgeon and pounding on me the length of the book. All authors do their own moralizing to some degree--it's inevitable (I know as I've written books myself); but this one goes over the edge. If you want a rather uncharacteristic Star Trek episode--go for it; but I can't give this one my whole-hearted recommendation. Here's hoping the "next voyage" will be better than this one has been.
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on July 9, 2014
I have just read this title (hardcover, Gregg Press) and I have to begin by saying that it takes alot for me not to like a Star Trek anything. There appear to be at least three concepts mish-mashed in this book: 1) The myth of Prometheus who stole fire from the Gods and was punished by eternally being chained to a rock and vultures eating his liver. At its basic - stealing from a higher power to help the underdog is the classic "no good deed goes unpunished". Plenty of examples in today's heated, political atmosphere... 2) The ethics of experimenting on animals and 3) The challenge of breaking out of established patterns and embracing new ideas.

This is all good and well except that this book would have us believe all three are related somehow. Now I am a teacher and consider myself to be a pretty, bright guy but I can not see the correlations or relationships the authors tried to establish. Judging by the reviews left by others - I am not alone. Any enlightenment would be welcome...

The Vulcans were very prejudiced in this book - making the Vulcan High Command of the Enterprise series look like lovable teddy bears in comparison. The authors tried to use Kohlinahr as an excuse but recall that Spock failed at it and his experience with Vger showed him that logic is sterile so he would not have acted like he did (even under alien influence). Overall, this story was forced and not what Star Trek is. I have to work up my courage to read their other novel "Triangle"...
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2008
This book I thought was acceptable. At times, it was interesting, but overall it was just average.

The story basically revolves around the Krik losing his command to Spock (temporarily) on the order of a well-respected Vulcan, who happens to believe that humans contaminate Vulcans. While in command, Spock is pretty emotional and seems to delight in knocking Kirk down a few pegs. Finally, the story reaches its climax when Spock, Kirk, McCoy and the other Vulcan are taken captive by very-powerful aliens who are basically using them as science experiments, much as animals are sometimes used for testing. In the end, they escape the aliens because Kirk is able to accept Spock as captain, then when they get back on the Enterprise, Kirk is given command again.

I think that this story could have been told better, with less emphasis on Vulcan command procedures and Vulcan superiority. It was not very fast-paced or exciting, just a good way to spend a few hours in mindless entertainment.
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