Monday, May 28, 2012

STAR TREK: LOG TWO by Alan Dean Foster

Star Trek: Log Two (1974) contains three TV-script-to-novella adaptations by Alan Dean Foster based on episodes of Star Trek: The Animated Series: “The Survivor,” “The Lorelei Signal,” and “The Infinite Vulcan.” Here, the Enterprise rescues a long-lost celebrity humanitarian and travels to a planet that ensnares all the men, and Spock gets abducted by plant people who want to make a giant clone of him.

None of these stories is a world-beater, unfortunately, and they’re fairly predictable. “The Lorelei Signal” is particularly weak, and has little going for it other than a rare instance of Uhura in command. “The Infinite Vulcan” (screenplay by Walter “Chekov” Koenig), which bears a strong resemblance to the terrible TOS episode “Spock’s Brain,” was unimpressive as a cartoon; it’s much better here, due in large part to Foster’s excellent and imaginative portrayal of the setting and creatures. As in Log One, each novella is about sixty pages, and the length and pacing are strengths.

Foster is a good writer, and he does a solid job with weaker material here. However, some of what he does may cause the reader to wonder if he ever actually watched Star Trek. Most egregiously, he gets the Romulan personality (and more) completely wrong, and Scotty’s trademark repair time exaggerations are explicitly contradicted. As in Log One, Foster’s lighter moments don’t work as well as his cosmic reflections, as the interplay and jokes tend to be pretty lame.   

All told, Star Trek: Log Two is decent enough to carry the reader through it, but there are a hundred better Star Trek books out there.