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Star Trek – Dwellers in the Crucible by Margaret Wander Bonanno (Review)

This August, to celebrate the upcoming release of Star Trek: Into Darkness on DVD and blu ray, we’re taking a look at the Star Trek movies featuring the original cast. Movie reviews are every Tuesday and Thursday.

We’ll be supplementing our coverage of the movies with tie-ins around (and related to) the films. We’ll be doing one of these every week day. This is one such article.

The state of Star Trek tie-ins in 1985 was radically different than it is today. While the film series was at height of its popularity, generating a great deal of attention for the franchise, authors working on the associated tie-in novels were granted a great deal of freedom. Books from this era tend to be a great deal looser, adapting a sort of “devil may care” attitude towards the type of restrictions one might impose on a Star Trek story. Novels could be dedicated to new characters or to existing aliens, or offer radical twists on the show’s rich mythology. It was almost free-style Star Trek, with authors afforded the freedom to tell the stories that they wanted to tell, no matter how difficult it might be to fit that within the confines of “Star Trek.”

Dwellers in the Crucible captures a lot of the spirit of this era quite well. It’s Margaret Wander Bonanno’s first Star Trek tie-in book, but it’s also her strangest. It’s a rather high-concept piece of trashy “women in prison” fiction that dares to ask a question that nobody in their right mind had ever broached before: what if Kirk and Spock were lesbians?


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