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Galactic Whirlpool (Star Trek: Adventures) Paperback – June 29, 1993
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From the Publisher
The Enterprise comes acrossa huge, antiquated vessel floating in space and carrying a colony of primitivehuman beings who have been lost in space. While the colonists are in perfecthealth, they must deal with the culture shock of learning that a world existsoutside of their spaceship. Their initial reaction is fear, as they believethe crew of the Enterprise to be "demons." And their fears are heightened withthe belief that Captain Kirk and his crew are unaware of an outside forcepulling them into a whirlpool of death. STAR TREK: 1997 Paramount Pictures.(TM), , 1997 Paramount Pictures. All rights reserved.U.S.S. Enterprise(TM) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Rather than seeing any additional info, I found no mention of the species.
I got good value for the price and David Gerrold is a good writer.
This one, somewhat surprisingly I think, has held up incredibly well. And I think this is largely due to philosophies that Gerrold explored in his book The World of Star Trek. While that book is about, of course, Star Trek, Gerrold gives some great insights into what made the show have legs as well as things that limited the potential of the show…and some of which were incorporated into ST:TNG.
The most visible, of course, is Kirk’s habit of beaming down to every planet. On a ship of 430+ people, is Kirk the only one who can go? Gerrold wrote that no, there should be initial teams made up of highly trained personnel, and the Captain should be staying on the ship. That and other philosophies of Gerrold are on full display in this book, and I have to say it creates a tight and solid read.
Gerrold does, however, tend to fall in love with his own writing from time to time. By that I mean he goes into extreme detail in certain parts for things that aren’t all that important. For example, when the Enterprise comes across the L5 ship, Kirk orders an intercept and Gerrold goes into detail on how Chekov would plot exactly that. Well, honestly I’m reading the book for a Star Trek story, not a base level understanding in astronavigation. And while we’re on the subject, there’s a lot of expository information given by Specks, the ships…librarian or something. He goes into a long lecture about what the L5 is as well as its history…so much so that I think Gerrold felt he had to have an in-story reference to the length of this lecture (Spock mentions that the lieutenant could have delivered this information with more brevity).
BUT, and this is a big one, the story works. It works well. I understand that this book started out as an outline for a Star Trek episode, but the story is far too ambitious for a 45 minute TV show. It reaches. It’s thoughtful (imagine the hesitancy of the ruling caste on the L5 in recognizing that their generations-long journey was in vain). In scenes where Riley is being questioned by the L5 rulers, you can really get the frustration Riley is feeling at trying to point out that the ruler’s worldview is based on faulty assumptions. I kind of like the largeish cast of characters, which is a departure from most ST novels. In sum, it’s an interesting story that is told quite well, expository scenes notwithstanding. It’s worth the buy.
It's actually a decent story, and full of wit as can be expected from a writing talent like Gerrold (who, like D.C. Fontana, was there in Trek's formative years), so there's no missed marks on on setting and character. However, I remember that when I did read this book I got a little confused on the geography and geometry of how the L-5 space city was laid out. And the resolution to the plot within the city was again done with Gerrold's witticisms in terms of how he presented the action.
I guess my one nitpick is that the book was more narrative than descriptive when it came to the big climactic scenes. I didn't get a sense of what things looked like or sounded like, so much as they were just fed to the reader in the "then this happens" writing style. It was still fun, but lacked texture in that regard.
All in all a long read, if fun at times. Characters are spot on, and otherwise it's a decent read.
The characterizations are excellent. When you are inside Kirk, Spock, Sulu, and Chekhov's heads, the characters feel like the ones you saw on the screen that you think you know. The novel expands the character of Kevin Riley, who appeared in a handful of first season episodes. There are some nice callbacks- one to A. E. Van Vogt, one to the animated series, several to people involved in the original series. There are also references to Gerrold's recurring philosopher, Solomon Short, who is referenced a lot in Gerrold's later Chtorr series ( which you should definitely read if you haven't.)
Some of the exposition is a bit heavy- handed. I felt like the ending did not quite gel for me. The Villain of the piece ( if he can be called that) seemed a bit cartoonish.
Despite that, I read the last 100 pages in one sitting, so that must mean something.