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The Entropy Effect

de Vonda N. McIntyre

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The U.S.S. Enterprise is summoned to transport a dangerous criminal from Starbase prison to a rehabilitation center. The brilliant physicist Dr. Georges Mordreaux has been accused of promising to send people back in time, but then killing them instead. But there's more at stake than just a few lives. Mordreaux's experiments have somehow thrown the entire universe into a deadly time warp. All of existence is closing in on itself, and only Spock can stop the Entropy Effect.… (més)

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When it was originally published in the summer of 1981 Vonda McIntyre's book represented something of a new frontier (if you'll forgive my use of the phrase) in the Star Trek franchise. Though the second entry in Pocket Books's series of Star Trek novels, it was the first original story they published (the first book was the novelization of [b:Star Trek: The Motion Picture|1697363|Star Trek I The Motion Picture (Star Trek TOS Movie Novelizations, #1)|Gene Roddenberry|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1187060297s/1697363.jpg|1694340]). As such, it represented an effort to develop the franchise, rather than the more half-hearted adaptations of the Bantam Books series in the 1970s.

If the series's editors wanted to use the first original novel to set expectations, it is difficult to imagine choosing a better book than this one. McIntyre's novel opens by setting the stakes, as while studying a naked singularity that suddenly appeared in a warp lane, Spock discovers that the universe has only a century remaining before its demise. Before he can verify his data, the Enterprise is summoned to a nearby planet to transport a dangerous prisoner for rehabilitation. The prisoner turns out to be Spock's old physics instructor, Georges Mordreaux, who was convicted of murder after the disappearance of several people, all of whom Mordreaux claims had been sent back into the past. Though skeptical of Mordreaux's claims, Spock investigates Mordreauxs claim after the physicist suddenly appears on the bridge and kills Captain Kirk — all while supposedly detained in a guarded and shielded room on the ship.

As this description illustrates, McIntyre's novel is not short on plot. Yet it is her characterization that is the strongest part of the book, as she develops both the familiar figures from the show (most notably Hikaru Sulu, which started a welcome and long-overdue trend of giving the secondary characters background and depth — and even first names in a few cases) and her original creations into plausible and well-rounded people. The mystery itself adds to the book, as it helps keep the reader engaged until its last pages. And while some of the logic in the story may not hold up well, the book overall makes for a great read, one that set a high bar for the novels in the series that followed. ( )
  MacDad | Mar 27, 2020 |
Excellent! Complex, thoughtful and unbound Trek.

This early Trek novel (1981!) captures the TOS crew and ship, and is unbound by all the details of film and subsequent novels. McIntyre is free to create excellent characters and situations, a thoughtful puzzle and more. Not the first time I've read this one - and probably won't be the last. ( )
  mrklingon | Dec 3, 2019 |
It's ok, I guess, but I think the characters are all a bit off. It sort of reads like this is what the crew of the Enterprise would be like if they were all girls instead... ( )
  Sammystarbuck | Sep 2, 2019 |
This was the second novel in the Timescape/Pocket Book series of original Star Trek that continued for a long time. This one is from 1981 and I believe is the first Trek novel published after the novelization of the Star Trek the Motion Picture film which despite its problems gave a brand new and continuing life to the franchise. Vonda McIntyre was a good choice - a well regarded author with several award winning stories. I have not read a lot of Trek novels although I have picked up about 3 dozen of them in recent years (most still unread) and generally enjoy them but have also run across a couple stinkers, especially in some of the badly written early ones prior to this. This one strikes me as one of the better ones. The focus characters here are Sulu, Spock, Kirk and to a slightly lesser extent McCoy. We learn for the first time what Sulu's first name is and get inside of his head and emotions - his part of the story is done well. Kirk as a character sometimes seemed a little "off" to me and Spock and McCoy seemed to be handled fairly well.

Two new strong female characters play large parts in the story and I thought were presented extremely well. The story goes along at a rather leisurely pace for quite a while, setting things up that we wouldn't expect, digging into characters, and then it runs, and it runs hard. I'm not rating this against great novels and literature - rating it for what it is - some well written entertainment that I think any Star Trek fan would enjoy.

About halfway through, maybe sooner, I was getting this deja vu like feeling that this was familiar. I may have read this in the early 80's when it was a newish novel. ( )
  RBeffa | Apr 9, 2019 |
For the first new Pocket Book, they have time travel, Kirk dying, Sulu beard sex, and lots of TAS-style creature characters. At times it's eye-rolling, but it's not a particularly bad debut. ( )
  morbusiff | Sep 20, 2018 |
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For Gene Roddenberry, for letting me into his universe for a while, and To David Hartwell, a singular friend.
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The U.S.S. Enterprise is summoned to transport a dangerous criminal from Starbase prison to a rehabilitation center. The brilliant physicist Dr. Georges Mordreaux has been accused of promising to send people back in time, but then killing them instead. But there's more at stake than just a few lives. Mordreaux's experiments have somehow thrown the entire universe into a deadly time warp. All of existence is closing in on itself, and only Spock can stop the Entropy Effect.

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