BOOK REVIEW: Star Trek III: Short Stories, by William Rotsler

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Rating: 3 out of 5.
  • A collection of five short stories
  • Published by Ravette in 1984
  • Space Opera
  • 126 pages

This is a very short book, so it’s only fitting that I give it a very short review. So short, I’ve even forgone my traditional teaser synopsis. So let’s backtrack a little.

Star Trek, like all franchises, has spawned a bewildering amount of additional content. This isn’t a new phenomenon, by the way. Go back to the eighties and you’ll find action figures, coasters, posters, and more. Perhaps the most infamously bewildering piece of Trek merchandise is the Spock space helmet, a dress-up toy that immortalises a tool never worn in the series (at least until Lower Decks found out about it, but that’s another story. Merchandise and tie-ins exist to build excitement around the core product, which is why you get more of them when a big release comes up. The release of a new Trek movie, for example. And that’s where this small collection of tales comes in. It bears the title of the third film on its cover, and clearly exists to make readers excited about viewing it. Which makes it all the stranger that it doesn’t seem to be about the film at all.

There are five stories here, all written by the same author, but there’s very little logic to how they are put together. We open in the aftermath of Wrath of Kahn, with a story that gets into Kirk’s grief over the death of Spock. At least for a bit, because he’s soon distracted by some aliens. Kirk’s gonna Kirk, I guess. The second story revolves around Uhuru, featuring a return home to a united Africa, and a Klingon spy. And that sets the tone for the book. One wild jump after another with not much holding the five stories together. They’re not exactly standouts on their own, and together they make a collection that’s surprisingly jumbled for a single author’s work. Especially when Scotty’s tale is simply a slightly different account of an episode of the TV show that started it all. The stories are all quite short, and I don’t really have any thoughts on them other than, ‘Well, that passed the time.’

If the intent behind these stories was to make me rush out and watch The Search for Spock, then it has failed. I’ve as little interest in doing that now as I did before reading the book. But if the intent was simply to keep me busy for an hour or so, then it has achieved everything it set out to do.

Published by Alex Hormann

I'm a writer, reader, and farmer, with an interest in all things speculative.

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