There is sabotage aboard the Enterprise, and Spock's investigation leads him into defiance of the Federation and a bizarre alliance with the Romulan and Klingon Empires against the bloodthirsty Tomarii -- a savage race for whom war and battle are life itself.
Now Spock has been declared a traitor and condemned to the shame of the Federation's highest security prison. And now Captain James Kirk must face the toughest decision of his command, while a lifelong friendship and the destiny of the free universe hang in the balance!
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Black Fire (Star Trek : The Original Series, book 8) by Sonni Cooper
The Covenant of the Crown. Howard Weinstein. Jean Lorrah. The Abode of Life. Read my review to find out! Get your brain bleach ready; this one's a trip. You get to support online longform writing and you put yourself in the running for some potential fun down the road. Become a patron today! I've decided to take Deep Space Spines to Patreon. Nothing too crazy: it's still just a humble little website after all. A few bucks here and there would do wonders for it though. From Friday: Ishmael TOS 23 , a book that crosses over with an extremely obscure sitcom and contains so many references and cameos from other works of pop culture that it could never be published today.
I haven't posted in a while because the last couple have been mediocre both the books and the reviews, tbh. But this one is great! Witness one author's valiant attempt to create Klingon culture out of thin air, before there was ever a Klingon language or dictionary or episodes that gave a crap about exploring them in any depth at all whatsoever. All things considered, he did pretty well! The Enterprise rescues a mysterious woman with advanced powers of persuasion from a derelict ship en route to a diplomatic mission. But even her alien powers would be stretched to the limit trying to convince anyone that there's anything good about this book.
Spock uses the Guardian of Forever to bring the son he just learned he had while trapped in the past in Sarpeidon's ice age to the present. Finally, an honest-to-goodness good one of these books! Can Kirk ward off the advances of a computer with a crush before a trigger-happy admiral triggers intergalactic war? The zine, Infinite Diversity 5, was published in Then you will want a copy of ID5.
But the real surprise came when I opened ID 5 and found the very illo that the artist Donna Banzhof had sent me - a haunting study of Spock as Blackfire. My bifurcate taste was starkly evident as I read cut scenes from the first half of the novel. Oddly enough, even without rereading the novel, the cut scenes track very well - the editor is due applause for this feat. I enjoyed reading the bits, getting the grand, fulfilled feeling I usually get from 'zines, while at the same time the trained writer in me was going, "good cut" - "well cut" -"perfectly cut" - "pity that had to go, but it didn't belong there" - "what a shame but I'd have cut it too," - and so on to the end.
Any aspiring novelist would do well to study the novel, the "out-takes" in ID Black Fire not only has space pirates galore, but Spock actually becomes one! What was your inspiration for all the romantic criminal activity? Gene never mentioned his negative feelings about pirates in the series to me. Of course, Black Fire was never meant to be on TV. It would have been too expensive to produce for television. A week later I was having lunch with Gene Roddenberry and saw the manuscript on his desk.
When I asked how he got [it] so quickly, he told me they had sent it for his immediate approval. That was a celebratory lunch! It was pure fun fiction for me. Before its publication I handed the manuscript to Theodore Sturgeon, who was a house guest at the time. I was thrilled when he said he loved it and thought it was publishable. He promised to write the introduction when the book was published and, true to his word, he did.
I had always admired his writing, and considered it a great honor. How could anyone not feel that way? Spock always denied his human side and sublimated it as much as he could. It seemed right, and ultimately amusing, to make him an object of sexual interest and therefore even more uncomfortable about dealing with his duality.
The hardest thing I found to write was the bad poetry addressed to Spock by his women admirers. I think you capture Spock so well. Do you think the dearly-departed Leonard Nimoy would have dug this book? Did he read it? When they arrived seven days later I went into Shock. After a long and Painful Association with the Post Office , I had not expected them for several weeks. Having sufficiently recovered I began with mounting enthusiasm to unwrap my parcel.
After several abortive attempts I began to wonder if it was supposed to be opened at all! However, persist, nee eventually paid off and I settled down to read "Blackfire". There are humorous twists and turns to the plot to ensure that the Reader is never Bored. Now don't get the wrong idea. It is not a jumbled affair. It's extremely well-written. Sonni Cooper enables you the Reader to leave the Realm of your Reality and enter another one which is set around Spock, Kirk, Romulans, Klingons and the new and often puzzling Tomarri.
Cooper explores further into the Vulcan character than any other novelist I have so far encountered. She shows expertly Spock's Vulcan side which is softened and this made easier to comprehend by his Human Emotions, which she effortless shows does exist. You experience the same feelings of frustration, anger, disillusionment that Jim Kirk feels when he finds out that Spock and Scotty have taken off for parts unknown.
You try, along with Kirk, to rationalise and explain Spock's actions but all you can do at this point is keep reading. When Spock, Scotty, the Romulans and Klingons are captured and taken prisoner on Tomarii and when the Tomariian Begum Ilsa falls for Spock without realising it inflicts humiliation after humiliation on Spock, you want to take her by the shoulders and shake her and scream, "You can't do this to a Vulcan! You can't do this to Spock! The ending, I'm pleased to report, doesn't leave you high dry with a lot of questions and queries.
Everything is full explained and you wonder why you couldn't work it out for yourself! The title refers to an alias devised by Spock when he supposedly leaves Starfleet in disgrace and hooks up with some not-too- goodniks. In reality, of course, it is all a ploy, and Spock is still a good guy.
The book does have some interesting aspects. During the course of the story, several changes take place that happened between the series and the first movie, For example, it is during this tale that Chekov becomes a lieutenant. The characterizations are excellent and the old rapport is still there. Spock goes through just about everything in this - injury, humiliation, court martial, convicted as a traitor, imprisonment, escape, a stint as a Romulan pirate, and even serves as an officer in the Romulan fleet!
Out of character? Well, yes, although there are always reasons for his actions, and there is a denouement at the end which explains all, but alas, I was not convinced. Perhaps it might, have worked better for me if the reader had been in on the secret right from the start, Sonni Cooper's style of writing is too superficial for my taste. Although I don't look for long descriptive passages in ST novels, the description in this is so cursory as to be near non-existent, and I got little sense of atmospheres in the various scenarios.
The complex plot is well thought out however, but Spook's behaviour stretched my credulity beyond breaking point - especially in the earlier chapters when he stoically suppressed pain from an injury.
During this time he is held captive in Spartan conditions and refuses to eat because only meat is available. Consequently he is reduced to a pathetic condition, twice attempting suicide! Where is the logic in refusing food on purely ethical grounds when this results in his abilities being impaired and the success of the mission being endangered? This jars, especially as he acquiesces to sleeping with his fellow prisoner, a female Romulan for warmth!
Really, you can't have it all ways, Ms Cooper! The whole story suffers from this kind of contrived behaviour on Speck's part and I was much happier with the passages concerning Kirk, especially his reaction to losing Spock as a convicted traitor, and later meeting up with him in his various new "jobs".
Even so, more emotional mileage could have been had from this situation, particularly from Spock's viewpoint, though since none of the Spock portrayal really worked well for me this additional disappointment was only to be expected. Star Trek novels have been written for many years. An oldie but goodie is Black Fire by Sonni Cooper published nearly 10 years ago. This novel is good sci fi, good fiction and good Star Trek.
Black Fire begins with a bang. An explosion on the bridge injures all the bridge crew and disables the Enterprise. Captain Kirk is seriously injured and unconscious. Spock postpones surgery to remove schrapnal near his spine in order to take command of the Enterprise as she limps into star base for repairs. Spock and Scotty then leave for an unauthorized investigation of who caused the explosion. They encounter Klingons, Romulans and a new enemy of the Federation, the Tomariians.
Eventually Spock and Scott are held captive by the Tomariians. Kirk recovers from his injuries and successfully finds and rescues Spock and Scott. Spock, instead of being praised for exposing the Tomariians, is sentenced to prison for leading an unauthorized search. Soon Spock escapes from prison, making himself one of the Federation's most wanted. Meanwhile, Kirk and the rest of the Enterprise crew are being kept busy trying to capture a notorious space pirate Black Fire.
The surprise ending of this novel leads the Enterprise back to the Tomariians, a confrontation with Romulans, whom Spock may be associated with and a final resolution that unwinds the many twists. Their hopes were dashed with a number of Star Trek novels, but most aggregiously by this particular tome. In a word, it's terrible. The story construction is convoluted in the extreme, and a number of coincidences arise to make it implausible.
Black Fire Star Trek #8
It fails to understand that space is three dimensional, fails to comprehend the true nature of stars and their planets, and in all honesty, fails in its writing style juvenile, multiple shifts of perspective even in mid-paragraph, poor paragraph structure. The story itself begins with a bang as a saboteur destroys the bridge of the Enterprise with an explosive device.
With Kirk in the hospital, Spock who is in need of surgery and Scotty set out to follow a series of clues that lead them to a hostile alien planet. The population of this planet are an aggressive hirsute race with designs on galactic conquest even though they themselves have no technology other than that which they've stolen from other races. Spock and Scotty are quickly captured, and undergo a lengthy imprisonment during which time the queen of the alien race falls in love with Spock as does a fellow Romulan commander.
During an escape attempt, the Romulan Commander is killed, and Spock is incapacitated by his heretofore ignored injury.