Triangle by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath (Star Trek #9, 1983)This marks the second Pocket-published Star Trek novel by the team of Marshak and Culbreath, their fourth fiction outing on the series overall. This book, like their others, is more psychological novel than science fiction. It is also, as far as I can determine, their last published work.The story proceeds from an idea thrown out by Gene Roddenberry (or perhaps Alan Dean Foster, whispered to have ghosted the book) in the novelization of the first movie, about a group of "New Humans," a humanistic group that is opposed to Starfleet purposes and seeks a higher plane of existence. In the book, Decker is a member of this group, and this is his motivation for joining with V'Ger, as opposed to love for Ilia. Marshak and Culbreath take that further, and posit the New Humans as a group mind, and also invent another group mind that opposes them, while both oppose Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise. They also invent a new position of Federation Free Agent, something like the Federation's James Bond, 007 agents commissioned to act individually for the good of all.Despite this wide swath of new and potentially interesting plotlines, little is done with them. A good writer could have taken any of these setups and turned in an interesting story, but the authors are caught up in their usual alpha-male gobbledygook with Spock in the role of Superman and Kirk cast as the Lois Lane captain-in-distress. This time, Federation Free Agent Sola Thane falls in love with both of them, made more complex as Spock enters the Vulcan mating cycle of <i>pon far</i>, rendering him conveniently interested and available. This is one "triangle" as mentioned in the title.Read more ›
This novel had a hint of an interesting idea behind it; unfortunately it handled that idea so badly that it almost overshadowed how badly the characterizations of Kirk and Spock were handled.To give just a hint of what I'm referring to, the "Triangle" referred to in the title refers to two things; one of them is a plot point in which two competing "totalities" (i.e. telepathic multiperson unities) are competing against each other, as well as against the "individualists" like Kirk and the rest of the members of Starfleet. I could have tolerated this plot point if it had been handled better, although I must say that I find the whole "oneness-totality" concept rather new-agey. But the other referent to the title is the romantic triangle in which Kirk and Spock fall in love with the same woman. (Yes, Spock falls in love.) This should give some idea of just how badly the established characterizations were abused in this book. Further, not only do the authors show a distinct lack of understanding of the characters they are writing about, they also show a distinct lack of understanding about the subject that they are writing about: love. For both Kirk and Spock, and for the woman at the center of the triangle, it is love at first sight. They meet, speak a few words together, and immediately fall in love. As anyone over the age of 15 knows (or ought to), love just doesn't work that way. Kirk might temporarily delude himself into believing that such a thing was love and not lust; Spock certainly wouldn't. In any case, neither would have a true emotional tie with the woman at that point.Read more ›
I never thought there would be a Trek book soooo bad that when given a choice between reading it and staring at a blank wall, I'd choose the wall every time.What is so terrible about this one? "Farcical melodrama" truly sums it up. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy meet a Starfleet secret agent. Kirk, Spock, and the agent fall madly, deeply, passionately in love - in less than five minutes. And, my friends, this is a love without boundaries, destined for each from years back. The agent was fated for Kirk, but Spock needs a lover to survive pon farr, but Spock is conflicted because she's Kirk's woman, but Kirk is willing to sacrifice her for Spock, and oh my God it just goes on and on like that, enough to nauseate even those with the strongest stomachs. And keep in mind that this one takes place shortly after V-ger; so the reader is stuck with a mental image of Bad Hair Kirk playing the seducer. Yuck and double yuck.As if that wasn't enough, we are forced to deal with the same hyperbolic descriptions of Kirk and Spock we got in the authors' Phoenix series. Spock is the Supreme Vulcan Male, you see, and while Kirk is Supreme Human Male, he must still be tenderly protected by Spock from the Big Bad Universe. This melodrama was, somehow, tolerable in the Phoenix novels. After less than a hundred pages of this one, though, my eyeballs hurt so much from all the rolling that I had to take an Advil.You'll notice I haven't even tried to talk about the primary plot involving pathetic "one-minders."Avoid this one at all costs. If you want a Trek love Triangle, stick to Peter David's Imzadi II.