Star Trek 800: The Business, as Usual, During Altercations

800. The Business, as Usual, During Altercations

PUBLICATION: Mudd's Angels, Bantam Books, May 1978 (reprinted by Titan Books in 1994 as Mudd's Enterprise)

CREATORS: J.A. Lawrence

STARDATE: 6273.6-6063.5 with a bit in 6013.5 (after I, Mudd)

PLOT: Harry Mudd combines his previous schemes into one by selling female androids to dilithium miners as wives in exchange for the precious ore, which creates a dangerous shortage. The Enterprise flies to Mudd's World which, in the wake of Mudd's escape, has create its own government (as well as Mudd and Uhura android series). When Kirk finally catches up to Mudd, they fly into the Great Barrier which slings both their ships to another galaxy. For some reason, all the dilithium starts to expand and go critical and the Lesser Magellanic Cloud explodes, flinging the Enterprise back to the Milky Way and a few weeks back (the "present" Enterprise disappears). The androids put Mudd on trial for crimes he has yet to commit in the new timeline and though he beats most of the charges, he is exiled from the galaxy.

CONTINUITY: The Enterprise goes to Coridan. Harry Mudd and Mudd's Planet, of course. The Stellas have been turned into interstella ships. The Klingon-Romulan alliance shares Star Fleet's dilithium problems. The Great Barrier has a maddening effect on the crew, like it did in Where No Man Has Gone Before.

DIVERGENCES: The story uses the word "Goddamn". It's like Mudd's Passion (TAS) never happened.

REVIEW: Like I've said, I'm not going to review adaptations of televised episodes (or films). And that means skipping over James Blish's numbered Star Trek books that adapt various episodes. There is one original story in the lot however, written by J.A. Lawrence after Blish passed away and tacked on to the two Harry Mudd episodes in Mudd's Angels (Lawrence casts herself as the Star Fleet interrogator in charge of debriefing Kirk and crew on Mudd's schemes). The novella has a very strange title for a Star Trek adventure, and while the style is fun and comedic, I can't say much for the plot. It's a big runaround with just too many things happening. You have a rookie psycho-historian acting as special guest star, Uhura working with android versions of herself, a galaxy exploding, Kirk almost being drummed out of the service, a discussion on android rights à la Measure of a Man, Chekov hypnotized into remembering a past life as a Tartar, and a huge trial that deals with a paradox. All good ideas (ok, maybe not the Tartar thing), but each gets short shrift in this. And yet, it's still perfectly diverting, with good humor and pleasant characters (even Mudd).


Nicholas Yankovec said...

Are you going to be reviewing the Alan Dean Foster animated series novelisations? As they are far more than mere adaptions, and some of my favourite Trek stories, I hope you will!

Siskoid said...

Maybe at some point, since I know he expanded the stories a lot, especially as time went on.

hiikeeba said...

J A Lawrence was James Blish's wife. It's still no excuse.


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