Star Trek: The Prometheus Design (1982) – Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath



There are some books that just shouldn’t be read, or to be really proactive, shouldn’t be written. I don’t know who gave Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath the go-ahead on this one, but it’s obvious that they didn’t read the pair’s previous efforts when they wrote a couple of Trek books for Bantam.

Set between the first and second film, there is a good idea at the heart of the story, as the Enterprise investigates a strange wave of violence plaguing the Helvans. All of it is an experiment, which even now has spread to the starship, leaving Kirk incapable of command. He is demoted to Commander, while Spock becomes the Captain, behaving cruelly to everyone.

Once again, Marshak and Culbreath ruin any hope of a good story, by once again focusing a lot of their attention on the idea of a physical relationship between Kirk and Spock. Now, as I said before, slash fiction has its place, but I find it hard to believe that anyone at Pocket Books or Paramount give this story the ok…

It’s like no one bothered to even read the galleys…

So instead what we get is a tale of Spock showing he is so much better than Kirk, who is beginning to doubt himself, and think that he was never good enough to be Captain, or strong enough, while some Vulcan Admiral, Savaj, is apparently more awesome, and better looking than Spock.


These things bother me.

It’s like the authors had no inherent understanding of the characters, or more appropriately, wanted the characters to do what they wanted them to do, not what the characters themselves would actually do.

And the scary thing is… they still have one more book coming up in the series. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get through it.

I realize there will be those who actually liked this one, but I’m sorry, these authors, to me, don’t get what Star Trek is. Yes, it’s about the big ideas, that they tried to get in here, but it’s also about humanity and the brotherhood of species. Now while it seems in their case they are quite happy to make that into a bit of a love story between Kirk and Spock (after a fashion) that’s not true to who the characters are. If this had been just a sci-fi novel, not tied into the Trek universe, it may have been better, but the over-fascination with all things Vulcan, and the dominant and submissive thing…

Doesn’t really fit into how I see Roddenberry’s classic Trek.




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