Star Trek: The Vulcan Academy Murders (1984) – Jean Lorrah

It’s been a while since I checked in with the non-canon universe of Star Trek, so I dived into the world of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy in this would-be murder mystery.

Spock is preparing for some leave on his home planet of Vulcan. When an attack from a Klingon ship wounds one of the Enterprise’s crew, there are convenient facilities on Vulcan which means Spock, Kirk and McCoy plan to take shore leave together, while their crew member heals.

From there we get a look inside Vulcan culture, as we join our trio in events shortly after the events of Journey to Babel and before Dr. M’Benga joined the crew. While we get introduced to a variety of characters, it is the time spent with Spock, and his father, Sarek, that are the most enjoyable, as the two are still trying to connect with one another.

Unfortunately, a couple of patients, end up dead, murdered in fact,and they are worried that Spock’s mother, Amanda ,may be next.

Kirk starts an investigation, running through a list of suspects, all of whom had time, and not necessarily motive. But, sadly, the story is heavy handed and it is very obvious from the beginning who the murderer is. There were no surprises there.

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There are, however ,a number of interesting moments, though they are not canon. The first is Kirk’s encounter with T’Pau, who believed he was dead following the events of the episode Amok Time. There is also an explanation of Spock’s statement of Vulcan having no moon, and yet one being blatantly obvious in the original cut of Star Trek: The Motion Picture (removed later for the Director’s Cut).

It’s not a terrible story, especially when the rest of the melodrama from the side characters is added in, it’s just not a very engaging murder mystery since it was so very easy to figure out.

Lorrah is obviously a fan of the series, but I don’t think she had the voices of the characters down pat. McCoy, sadly, seems to be pushed almost to the side, which is unfortunate, as Trek stories seem to works best when our trio is together.

Despite my disappointment with the story, it was fun to catch up with Kirk and the rest, even if the story doesn’t actually take place in canon. I will say, for the most part, it did keep inline with things we had already learned about Vulcan and expounded on it nicely. Sure, a lot of it would be proven wrong as the television and film series continued, but that doesn’t change the fact that Lorrah’s depiction of Vulcan (for the most part) works within the Trek universe.

The Human Adventure continues…

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