Tag Archives: Star Trek: Enterprise

Book Review: The Vulcan Academy Murders by Jean Lorrah

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Guess who’s back…. (Cue the eerie music.)

Yep, your humble blogging host is once again at work providing you with entertainment, readers! August was a busy month, so forgive me if I seem a little out of practice here. It should clear up once I get rolling.…. 🙂

All right, today’s focus is The Vulcan Academy Murders, by Jean Lorrah. Before I describe this story, I have to tell you that one of the things readers of Star Trek fiction should keep in mind is that most of it is non-canon. Part of this is due to the fact that those who write novels for ST can never seem to get on board with each other to figure out where they can slip their stories into the official timeline. Some write stories set in the exact same time periods; others create stories set in wildly different decades or eras. It can be a little confusing to the uninitiated at first, and it can be irritating to the more experienced readers as time goes on. (I speak from experience. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing in these fictional quarters!)

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The other reason is that, unlike Star Wars, Star Trek’s timeline is rather skeletal. Chronologically, you have Star Trek: Enterprise, followed by the original series, followed by the original films I-VI, followed by The Next Generation. Then they’re all capped off with Star Trek: Voyager – or they were, last I checked. So while there’s a lot of room for stuff to happen in between these different stories, since no one has bothered to define the cut off limits or to explain how many years have elapsed, authors who are Star Trek fans just shoot darts at the timeline trying to hit it. L. A. Graf generally sticks the landing, as mentioned in this review here, but others tend to throw wide of the mark.

Jean Lorrah is one of these authors. While she is clearly a passionate Trek fan who greatly admires the Vulcans, her grasp of the timeline appears to be a bit… vague. At the very least, she didn’t give readers much of a hint as to when her story was set; all I can say for sure is that it takes place before we see Doctor M’Benga aboard the Enterprise. Her writing style also left something to be desired. Don’t get me wrong – she doesn’t write badly. But she could definitely have been clearer in her descriptions.

Okay, now we can discuss the story. The Vulcan Academy Murders starts out with the Enterprise battling a Klingon warship, which does not survive the fight. But before it is destroyed, it does inflict some serious damage on Kirk’s vessel, specifically the Auxiliary Control for the photon torpedoes. The two officers on duty there – Pavel Chekov and Carl Remington – manage to fire the kill shots before succumbing to a gas leak caused by a lucky hit from the Klingons.

Chekov is fortunate in that he comes through the battle ill but intact. Remington, on the other hand, is in serious trouble. Though McCoy manages to save his life, the boy’s voluntary nervous system is completely paralyzed. He can’t move – not even to open his eyes. McCoy fears that, even if Remington pulls through this initial battle, he may remain paralyzed and in bed for the rest of his life.

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Spock’s mother, Amanda

With no other way to confirm his mental health, Spock performs a mindmeld to see if Remington is still self-aware. Confirming that the boy is indeed conscious and able to reason, he explains that there might be a viable treatment which will save Remington’s life and sanity. Spock’s own mother is undergoing the same experimental cure on Vulcan; as it turns out, she was suffering from a degenerative disease that occurs in humans when they have lived in alien environments for long periods of time.

Up until now, there has been no means of curing the disease. But a human doctor on Vulcan who had this illness developed a treatment for himself that saved his life. It’s working on Amanda now, and it should be able to cure Remington, too. Since Enterprise is in need of repair, Spock invites Kirk and McCoy to come to Vulcan with him and Remington for “shore leave.”

Once there, they learn that a Vulcan woman is undergoing the same treatment after an regrettable accident with some machinery. Leaving all three patients in their force-field encapsulated regenerative tanks, Spock, Kirk, McCoy, Sarek, and the two doctors in charge of the project go out to dinner. One of these doctors is the human who invented the cure, Dr. Daniel Corrigan. The other is his Vulcan partner and friend, Sorel.

Dinner is a fine affair, but just as they’re about to pay the bill and head home, Sorel stiffens and clutches his chest. He can sense that his wife, T’Zan, is in danger of death. Rushing back to the Vulcan Academy, despite their best efforts the guys are not able to save Sorel’s wife. She dies in the medical room.

Though Corrigan immediately blames himself for this, Kirk openly suspects foul play. Over the next few days, he begins investigating the matter, believing that someone wants to sabotage the cure. When Remington dies as well and a fire is set in the Academy, Kirk’s suspicion that a murderer is loose becomes the only logical explaination for the cascading disasters….

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…And that’s all the spoilers you’re going to get, folks! 😉 My lips are now sealed – though I will add that, when researching this book to see if it was something I would enjoy, one of the reviews I read was written by a woman who said she had figured out the villain by page fifty. This blogger was hoping to beat that record when she started reading, and she did. I fingered the killer on page 49 and, despite a period of doubt, was proved right by the end. Haha! 😉

While I liked The Vulcan Academy Murders, as I said above, I did have a few problems with it. The writing style isn’t my favorite, and though it became tolerable after awhile, it still grated on my nerves from time to time. I must say that the method by which the author described Vulcan telepathy and how they form romantic, psychic connections was done well. It was entirely plausible and believable.

But I really didn’t like the way she handled Kirk. In some scenes he was fine, but in others Lorrah seemed to be actively dumbing him down. That was annoying; I like Kirk. He’s the best of Star Trek’s captains, and anyone who disrespects him in a major way (such as by poor writing) gets on my bad side. So long as he is portrayed well by an actor or a writer, I’m happy. But if the writers make him less than he is, as Lorrah did on a couple of occasions here, that leads me to give the book an automatic demerit.

Despite these objections, The Vulcan Academy Murders is a good story. If ST fiction isn’t your thing, or if my minor problems with this tale have convinced you that you would not enjoy the story, then you will probably want to avoid the book. But if you like Star Trek, a good mystery, and want to see Kirk look somewhat stupid, then this book might appeal to you.

Until next time, readers: “Second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning!”

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More Favorite TV Themes

Many a tale can be found in old television series which is better than those found in a current series.   Below are some introductory themes from some favorite television shows of mine. They may be a bit old, by the standards of certain people, but whoever says what is old is useless needs their brain examined.

Enjoy!

The Mithril Guardian

(I have not seen Airwolf, but I have researched it a little. Wheresyourcave was kind enough to remind me to include it in my next TV intro theme post, and here it is!)

Airwolf

Happy Days

Family Matters

Bonanza

Gilligan’s Island

Get Smart

Star Trek (Original Series)

Daniel Boone

The Big Valley

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys

Psych

Monk

Star Trek: Enterprise

Some of the Best TV Themes Ever Heard

Almost everyone has a favorite TV series which they enjoy watching. Some have more than one. People pay a great deal of attention to the introductory theme music for their favorite shows. Having more preferred TV shows than I can count, I also have a fondness for their individual introductory themes. Today, I thought that I would list some of my favorite TV show ‘intros.’ The first such introduction music belongs to a show I watched faithfully while it was still being filmed, Stargate SG-1:

I know that some people do not care to have scenes flash by while the theme music is playing, especially when the scenes belong to a show they may never have seen before. But it drives me crazy to have nothing to look at while my favorite theme music is playing. At least, it does when I am listening to music on the computer. Other times I can listen to music without any such problems.

The second theme I wanted to bring up is from SG-1’s spinoff series, Stargate Atlantis:

Below I have also included a song performed by one of Atlantis’ lead actresses, Rachel Luttrell. In the video, Miss Luttrell is portraying one of the series’ lead characters – Teyla Emmagan – and is singing a song of good-bye for her character’s tribe’s wise woman. The ‘dead’ lady was the oldest woman of the tribe and Teyla’s mother figure.

The video I have selected is a ‘tribute’ video, a video put together by a fan of Rachel Luttrell’s character. As such, it includes footage of Teyla that is out of sync with the episode in which Miss Luttrell performed the song.   Originally trained as a singer by her father, Miss Luttrell performs the song to perfection. I lack words to express how the song and the music affect me. Perhaps by listening to it you, too, will feel the way I do when I hear it. The song is called “Beyond the Night.” My one regret is that the song is so short!!!

Another piece of television music I enjoy is this military theme for the series someone once dubbed “Just Another Goofy.” In reality, the show was a crime series centering on Navy lawyers, those officers who serve in the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, or JAG:

Before and after Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, JAG was the go-to TV show. It has been off the air for a very long time now. One can hardly find the reruns for it playing anymore. I miss it.

Fortunately, the saga of JAG continues with its spinoff series NCIS. NCIS is a show revolving around the detectives for the U.S. Navy. These detectives hunt down criminals who kill or harm U.S. naval personnel, active or retired. The letters NCIS stand for Naval Criminal Investigative Services:

There are other videos tied to NCIS, but for now I will just put this one up. The others are funny scenes’ montages, so they can wait for another day.

A series I watched when I was small was only run intermittently. Its day had long ago come and gone, but that did not lessen the entertainment I got out of it one iota. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the introduction to that “crack commando unit,” The A-Team!

This is an old show today. Another ‘old’ favorite TV theme from my youth was this music, which accompanied the introduction to MacGyver:

One series I remember well was wont to be rerun on February 29th – when that day came around, of course. That series was Quantum Leap:

Another that caught my attention, many moons ago now, was the Canadian crime series Due South:

My one regret about this introduction video is that it is not from the first or second season of the series, but from the third or fourth seasons of the show. Still, the music is correct. Nothing else matters except for that.

Also on the Canadian television series’ front, there is this newest gem that only recently came to my attention. Based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character Sherlock Holmes (as far as I can tell), this series is known as Murdoch’s Mysteries in Canada. Stateside, the series is called The Artful Detective:

Many a soul has been touched by some television series bearing the Star Trek brand. My first encounter with the story was, appropriately enough, the original series with William Shatner and the first Enterprise cast. But the theme for that series does not replay in my head with the same regularity as the theme for the sequel series Star Trek: Enterprise:

All right, now to the last music theme I have for this post.

The theme for my final pick is short. In my opinion it is far, far, too short. Much like the series this theme introduced, the song was a song of defiance. And for that defiance, perhaps, both the show and the song were canceled before they could spin their story into a long series. Here, therefore, is the theme for Firefly:

Until next time!

The Mithril Guardian

Faith of the Heart

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Hi, Giselle!

Whew, have I had a week!  Don’t ask, it was hectic; I don’t really want to think about it.  So today I thought I’d write you about one of my favorite songs attached to one of my favorite television shows, Star Trek: Enterprise.  The song is called Faith of the Heart and you can find it right here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ex144AvK00.  I’m fairly sure that the video that comes with this song is from an extended opening credits scene.  If it’s not, well, then it’s not!

Still, I have to thank whoever put it together.  They did a good job.

The song was, as far as I can discover, first performed by Rod Stewart.  It is a very uplifting song, but there are parts of the video that are a little confusing at first.  Every new verse after the refrain has the Enterprise in a firefight with alien ships – or getting blasted into dust by them.  I think this is to match the verses. 

As an example, here’s the last verse: “I’ve known a wind so cold/I’ve seen the darkest days/ But now the winds I feel/Are only winds of change/ I’ve been through the fire/And I’ve been through the rain/But I’ll be back again!”

Throughout this last verse, the Enterprise is shown in battle and, a couple of times, it is shown being destroyed.  But immediately afterwards, during the refrain: “’Cause I’ve got faith of the heart/I’m goin’ where my heart will take me/etc,” the Enterprise is shown flying peacefully through space on its mission of exploration as this part of the song plays out.

So why set the video up like this?  Well, I think that it’s to show that the spirit of the Enterprise cannot be permanently defeated.  Yes, the ship is blown to bits several times throughout the video (and the series) but it always comes back.  The crew always finds a way home with their ‘enterprising’ attitude.  After all, necessity is the mother of invention, right?  Well, enterprise is the spirit that makes the invention.  There’s no better impetus for that than having several people pounding on the door (or the ship’s thrusters) trying to get to the crew and kill them, a situation every crew of every Star Trek ship named Enterprise has faced countless times.  So the Enterprise never dies because it’s always going to be needed.

Make sure you watch the ending closely, too, Giselle.  I think it’s the most uplifting part of the video.  I’d tell you more about it, but then I’d spoil it for you!!!

Time to shut down.  Write you again!

Later,

Mithril