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Star Trek, The Animated Series: Logs Five and Six
Alan Dean Foster
Del Rey, 400 pages

Alan Dean Foster
Alan Dean Foster was born in New York City in 1946 and was raised in Los Angeles. He received a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and a Master of Fine Arts in Cinema from UCLA in 1968-69 and then spent two years as a copywriter for an advertising and public relations firm in Studio City, CA.

His first sale as a writer was a long Lovecraftian letter, purchased by August Derleth for the bi-annual magazine The Arkham Collector. His first novel, The Tar-Aiym Krang, was published by Ballantine Books in 1972. Many, many novels followed. Alan Dean Foster's correspondence and manuscripts are in the Special Collection of the Hayden Library of Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Foster and his wife live in Prescott, Arizona.

Alan Dean Foster Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Star Trek, The Animated Series: Logs Three and Four
SF Site Review: Star Trek, The Animated Series: Logs One and Two
SF Site Review: The Light-Years Beneath My Feet
SF Site Review: Sliding Scales
SF Site Review: Flinx's Folly
SF Site Review: The Mocking Program
SF Site Review: Dinotopia Lost
SF Site Review: Star Wars: The Approaching Storm
SF Site Review: Interlopers
SF Site Review: Phylogenesis
SF Site Review: Into the Thinking Kingdoms
SF Site Review: Carnivores of Light and Darkness

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steve Lazarowitz

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Star Trek, The Animated Series: Logs Five and Six A long time ago in a decade far, far away, Star Trek ruled the world of television science fiction. After three seasons of superb television (and yes, even the not-so-good third season was good television for 1968), the series was canceled to the outrage of millions of fans. Then the wait began. Years later, when the animated series first aired, some of us suffering Star Trek withdrawal watched it, not because it was great television, but because we loved the characters. When Alan Dean Foster was signed to write the Star Trek Logs, the adaptations of the animated series, fans were treated to what amounted to a new Star Trek. Needless to say, the books are infinitely better than the animated series.

Foster adds elements of introspection, scientific realism and continuity to the stories. As with previous volumes of Star Trek Logs, this book contains six stories (three per log) that have retained the flavor of the original series.

The first story, "The Ambergris Element," finds Kirk and Spock turned into water breathers on the planet Argo. This is the least believable story in the volume, and my least favorite.

In "Pirates of Orion," Spock contracts an illness deadly to Vulcans and the only supply of the serum needed to cure it has fallen into the hands of pirates. It's a race against time to save the first officer's life.

"Jihad" reads much like a dungeons and dragons game, without the dungeons or dragons. In other words, it's a quest to find an holy artifact. The Soul of Skorr has been stolen, and the now-peaceful warrior race of Skorr are ready to become violent once again and invade the universe if the Soul of Skorr is not returned. Kirk and Spock team up with a group of aliens to save it, including a terrified thief, a warrior woman and a giant reptilian creature. In fact, this episode would make a pretty good role-playing game, in and of itself.

Dr. McCoy finds himself charged with mass murder, in "Albatross." Has a nineteen-year-old mistake caught up with the good doctor, or will his name be cleared? On Draymia, justice is swift, and in this case, not necessarily unbiased. Can Kirk and Spock find the evidence to clear their friend before he's convicted?

"The Practical Joker" is my other least favorite story in this volume. To escape a Romulan trap, the Enterprise hides in a strange space cloud of unknown properties, after which the ship is beset by a number of practical jokes. Who (or what) is the responsible party? In general, I don't like stories where I'm smarter than the crew, and this is one of those stories where what's going on is obvious to everyone but them. As an interesting side note, a recreation room is introduced in this story that is very likely the forerunner of the holodeck which appeared in Star Trek the Next Generation.

The volume is rounded out by my favorite story, "How Sharper than a Serpent's Tooth," in which the Enterprise, following a strange alien transmission into unexplored space, encounters a neurotic ancient Mayan god. Okay, it's not great literature, but it's fun, and I happen to like mythology.

In all, this is my least favorite of the logs so far. I probably shouldn't mention this in advance, but they're about to get a lot better. This is the last of the logs with three stories per log (or six for the double log set). In the next volume of the series, each log is one story, and so contains more depth and complexity. After three books of short stories that have to be resolved fairly quickly, I'm looking forward to it.

In the meantime, this volume is still enjoyable, even if it isn't as good as the first two in the series. It's worth a read, for the same reason the not-as-good third season of the original series is worth watching. It's Star Trek much like having old friends come to your house, without the hassle of having to feed them.

Copyright © 2007 Steve Lazarowitz

Steve Lazarowitz is a speculative fiction writer, an editor, a father, a husband, an animal lover and a heck of a nice guy (not necessarily in that order). Steve lives in Moonah, Tasmania with his family and four giant spiny leaf insects. You can check out his work at http://www.dream-sequence.net.


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