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<!-- Created with AOLpress/2.0 --> <title>John M. Ford -
How Much for Just the Planet (a Star Trek novel)</title>
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| I told him so in
person, at least once.
This book was out of print for a while -- allegedly because the sort of
Trekkie Get-a-lifes so perfectly skewered in that "Saturday Night Live"
skit with Shatner rose up in arms and demanded to know how anyone dared
actually make funny jokes with ST characters.
There's an episode of the British teevee series "The Goodies" in which
the Goodies are on trial for violating the sacred boredom of a Welsh
folk music festival. "And what did they do?" demands the druid (played
by former "Dr Who" Jon Pertwee). "They set about to entertain us!"
Well, "Mike" Ford set
about to entertain us, succeeded brilliantly (if
you're not a humourless stuffed shirt) and didn't write another
"Star Trek" novel for the rest of his life, so far as i know.
(The fact that his only previous ST novel, The FInal Reflection, was
hugely popular and influential - and, unlike Planet, still in print - says
There may be a connection. Predictable mediocrity is apparently
preferable in the "Star Trek" franchise universe to lightning in a
bottle brilliance that requires thinking outside the box.
That said, writing a musical novel is rather a startling concept --
though several of the songs are excellent, particularly "In
Monochrome", the tribute to film noir in the sequence in which Uhura
and a Klingon junior officer (and fellow film buff) find themselves in
a noirish predicament.
This book also contains what may be the shortest "Dr Who" reference in
fiction -- watch for the Brigadier and the Sergeant-Major.
And one of the GREAT lines -- i can hear it in my mind -- and i
can perfectly visualise precisely what happens immediately afterward --
"Will someone please give the Captain a pie?"
((Incidentally -- should anyone question my credentials as a reviewer
of "Star Trek" material -- i was at the World Science Fiction
Convention at which "Star Trek" was previewed before it went on the
air. I was one of the crowd there who gave it a standing ovation. And i
have been a fan of the series -- though neither a "trekkie" nor a
"trekker" by any means -- ever since.))