Star Trek: Ishmael (1985) – Barbara Hambly

My journey with the non-canon Star Trek Pocket Books continues. And this novel from 1985 demonstrates what was happening in Trek pages before Paramount took a stronger stance on what the novels could be about.

Previous to this we’ve encountered Trek novels with slash overtones between James T. Kirk and his science officer, the Vulcan Spock, which, as previously commented on, is fine but shouldn’t be released under the official licence because that is not who the characters of Kirk and Spock are.

Now that doesn’t happen in this book, this one is its own strange creation. The short version is that this is basically a crossover episode with a television series that most Trek readers, heck, even most television viewers, don’t know about.

Spock is thrown back in time, to ancient Earth in the 1860s while investigating a Klingon ore carrier.

With nothing but a cryptic message Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise remain in the 23rd century trying to figure out what has happened to their ally and trusted friend.

Spock finds himself in Seattle, amongst the cast of characters that populated the series Here Comes the Bride. The Bolt brothers have brought one hundred women out west with the plans to marry them off in the growing town and make a profit off of it. They’ve also made a bet with the ladies’ benefactor Aaron Stemple that if they don’t get all one hundred girls married off in a year, Stemple gets their real estate, including the mountain the Bolt family live on.


This was a television show?!?

Spock, arriving in the 19th century, has lost his memory, and Stemple finds him, and gives him shelter, and aid, claiming to the town that Spock is his nephew Ishmael. Spock interacts with a mass of the characters that appeared in the course of the show, but most of his time is spent with Aaron, which is a bit of a nod to Star Trek in general, as Aaron was portrayed in the series by Mark Lenard, who also played Spock’s father in Trek.

This one was goofy, and like I said, simply seemed to want to be a crossover episode between two shows that you would never mash-up.

Hambly obviously loves her pop culture references, and nods to science fiction because throughout the book characters in the background are mentioned or described, and amongst them are the Doctor from Doctor Who, pilots from Battlestar Galactica, and even Han Solo.

For me, this one just didn’t work. If you’re going to do a crossover episode, do a crossover with stories and universes that people want to see, or read about

Oh well, the journey continues, and I can say this… it’s definitely interesting.


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