Friday, May 8, 2015

Spock, Messiah!: Review


Spock, Messiah! by Theodore R. Cogswell and Charles A. Spano, Jr. is the all-time worst Star Trek novel that I've read. Previously that "honor" was held by The Prometheus Design (torture theme and Spock being extraordinarily un-Spock-like). This is another "let's make Spock [and all the other crew members of the Enterprise while we're at it] as unlike himself as we possibly can" story. It is also a very early Star Trek novel (the second original novel published) and, unfortunately, the authors seem to have a very tiny (Spock could give you the exact percentage--like maybe .0000000000000001%) understanding of the Star Trek world and characters. According to the blurb in the back of the first edition (which I just happen to have right here) Charles Spano, Jr. was "a devoted Star Trek follower and an authority on all the characters, events, and background of the series." If that was true (which I quite frankly doubt), then apparently Spock came back in time and did that whole Vulcan memory-wipe thing (like he did for Kirk when Rayna died) because he doesn't seem to use any of his Star Trek knowledge beyond the fact that he (and Cogswell) get character names right and they know they're aboard the Enterprise. For the record....Sulu was born in San Francisco not on "Alpha Mensa Five" (whatever the heck that is) and Scotty does NOT have red hair nor does Chekov have bushy black hair. 

Of course, little matters like getting the Trek world right isn't going to bother these guys. They've got more important things to take care of....like turning one of the female crew members into a "sexpot" stripper and having Kirk, McCoy and the rest of the men make lewd jokes about her. As far as I can tell the whole point of the plot was to make it possible for straight-laced Ensign George to implant herself with a hook-up to every straight man's fantasy--a beautiful woman who wants to dance naked and get it on with anybody who's willing (and they're all willing). Oh, sure, they say that the plot is all about how Spock gets implanted with a hook-up to a crazy guy with a Messiah complex--but that's just a cover for their teen-age boy fantasy fulfillment.

Maybe if I had read this when I first got it (back in the 80s) I might have appreciated just having a new Trek story to read and could have overlooked the incredibly bad characterizations and the sexism. Maybe. But I certainly can't now--there are too many good Trek stories out there. Take my advice and go read them (any of them--they're all better than this). If I could give less than a star on Goodreads and have it register I would. Here on the block...No stars. None.

7 comments:

Jacqueline Fiedler said...

When a book is this bad, do you always feel compelled to finish it?

Bev Hankins said...

Not always....but if I'm counting it for certain challenges, then I do. This one I "finished" which means I read a certain amount solid, skimmed for content, and then read the last two chapters for closure.

fredamans said...

You gave it no stars and I feel like I have to have it in my life... lol... Maybe it's just the Spock aspect now that Nimoy is past, I dunno, but I have to read it. :-)
Great, honest review!

John said...

My God, this sounds like the worst teenage horndog fantasy on paper. Almost like embarrassing slash fiction before such a thing existed. This kind of science fiction only reinforces the worst stereotypes of the geek/nerd fan.

Bev Hankins said...

John--you've said it. It left me with a pretty bad taste in my mouth.

pkay said...

It is terrible.

pkay said...

It is terrible.