Star Trek IV: The Voyage Homeby Vonda N. McIntyre
But their trip is interrupted by the appearance of a mysterious, all-powerful alien space probe. Suddenly, Kirk, Spock, McCoy/i>
Admiral James T. Kirk is charged by the Klingon Empire for the comandeering of a Klingon starship. The Federation honors the Klingon demands for extradition, and Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise are drawn back to Earth.
But their trip is interrupted by the appearance of a mysterious, all-powerful alien space probe. Suddenly, Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the rest of the crew must journey back through time to twentieth-century Earth to solve the mystery of the probe.\
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This novelization honors the movie, and expands it nicely. This book tells more about the probe than the movie did. The probe is known as "The Traveler". It had traveled the stars for eons. It's moves from the center of the galaxy to the rim and back again. It's immune to energy and matter. The only thing that harms the traveler is the loss of an intelligent species it had contact with. Even from a stellar distance it still heard the songs of the whales. The songs were a treasure to The Traveler. When they cried out in despair it came. It's journey distorted space time. 3 centuries to Earth was only a short time to the Traveler. On arrival it sensed the silence of the Whales. Grieving it headed for Earth. If it couldn't find the whales, it was determined to sterilize the planet, to destroy what had caused their extinction. This brings the audience into the thoughts of the newly resurrected Spock. How his mind was recovering from the experience, and some of his childhood memories. This gives an extended version Jim, Spock and Bones considering the possibilities after analizing the probe's call. They considered cloning a whale. The problem was that a clone wouldn't have any survival skills, language or memory of the specie's history. A clone whale lonely and terrified wouldn't have appeased the probe. That was a nice addition, and it answered a plot hole. Two whale could carry the species language and be the beginning of a thresh start, but wouldn't be enough for a healthy gene pool. Presumably, after this book, cloned whales were introduced to George and Gracie's family.
Why did I enjoy this more than any of the other Star Trek movies? Probably because it's got all of the elements I love. Kirk and McCoy trying to relate to Spock, and Spock too puzzled by his Human half to help them much - if at all. Humor. A feisty, intelligent 'love interest' who actually has a key plot-driving role, in Dr. Gillian Taylor. Sarek. And, at the end...oh, never mind. Just in case there's someone left who may want to read the book, or see the film, without already knowing the ending - no, I wouldn't spoil it for worlds. So the science doesn't make a lot of sense. It often didn't in the original Trek, on TV. The plot premise and execution worked well enough to let me temporarily suspend my disbelief when I first saw 'The Voyage Home' on the big screen, and I found that unchanged when I finally read the novelization. So the humor's lame at times. It still felt to me like a visit with old friends, and that's really what I'm looking for in a Star Trek story. On screen, or between book covers.
This was Vonda McIntyre's third and thankfully last Star Trek film novelization. It's not that she's a bad writer, (she's not) she merely forced her own religious beliefs and apochryphal Star Trek fiction on readers who were only interested in reading a novelization of what was on the screen. Through all three of her film adaptations, she continued characters from the Entropy Effect, and changed the established characters' religious beliefs to polytheistic ones. The editors at Simon and Schuster should never have permitted this. In Star Trek IV, she also added elements of Enterprise, the First Adventure. Through all three of her adaptations, the seams show, and her self-promotion breaks the flow of the books. This was not the way that such a fine original story should have been treated.