About the Author:
Vonda Neel McIntyre was born in Louisville, Kentucky on the 28th of August 1948. She died of pancreatic cancer on the 1st April 2019, at the age of 70.
AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
2.5 out of 5
Star Trek III: The Search For Spock
The novelisation of the third Star Trek movie, originally written by Harve Bennett. In the aftermath of 'The Wrath of Khan', the Enterprise is badly damaged and its crew are reeling from numerous casualties, Captain Spock among them. Returning to Earth they discover that their involvement with Project Genesis has made them pariahs and earmarked the Enterprise for decomissioning. However, when the needs of Doctor McCoy and Spock's immortal spirit require a return to the Genesis planet, Captain Kirk and his crew will break all the rules to succeed.
A good novelisation manages to accurately capture the spirit, tone and content of what it is novelising, be it movie, TV or something else. A great novelisation does all that but also adds depth and colour to the original source, giving it more background and developing its characters in ways that weren't apparent before. This book definitely falls into the latter category, with McIntyre adding so much more than we saw onscreen.
The author makes the brilliant decision to thoroughly bridge the gap between this story and 'Wrath of Khan', with nearly a third of the book transpiring before the movie version of Star Trek III even kicks off. This means we get a more thorough grounding in the aftereffects of Khan's devastating attack as well as getting to learn more of characters like Saavik and David, as well as familiar faces like Scotty and Sulu. In fact, later in the book, it is Sulu's frustration of having command of the Excelsior taken from him and his quandry of whether to abandon hope of his own command by aiding Kirk, which I found to be one of the most compelling subplots and which is never even hinted at in the movie itself.
The latter parts of the book unfold much as they do onscreen, but that's no bad thing because, unlike some Trek fans, I have always loved 'The Search for Spock'. Sure it's the weaker of the three contiguous films, but 'Wrath of Khan' and 'Voyage Home' are pretty stiff competition. McIntyre has not only captured a film I love in prose, she's also added to it in innumerable ways that I found delightfully surprising.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: The Crystal Star
14 ABY. A stand-alone Star Wars novel published when the Expanded Universe was still young. However, this latter fact, is no excuse for the poor book we're presented with here, especially when Timothy Zahn had established what Star Wars literature had to live up to straight out of the gate with his Thrawn trilogy.
The story here is bizarre and full of holes that you could fly a Death Star through. Han and Luke investigate a possible Jedi, only to discover that it is in fact an extra-dimensional cube of ooze. Meanwhile Leia attempts to find her children, who have been kidnapped by the Dark Jedi Hethrir.
Han and Luke's story is marred not only by the weirdly out of place nature of Waru, but also by the fact that, at one point, Luke ignores fourteen years of friendship and starts hating Han with little credible reason. I found the story of the Solo children boring at the best of times and outright daft at the worst, with Hethrir being a singularly unthreatening villain. As for Leia's planet-hopping, each new clue she finds still fails to generate any interest in her ongoing quest.
The various plot holes include a light side Jedi who was Darth Vader's apprentice, the whole concept of the worldcraft and, worst of all, Luke's 'logical' conclusion that to understand the life-sucking Waru, he must dive into the creature and go for a swim!? Sure, most of these concepts were later retconned into some sense, but here they just don't work.
To my mind, one of the worst Expanded Universe books available; it is a boring and frustrating read and doesn't even add anything of significance to the saga as a whole.
1 out of 5