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Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan by Vonda N. McIntyre (Review)

This June, we’re taking a look at some classic Star Trek movie tie-ins and other interesting objects. Check back daily for the latest reviews and retrospectives.

Gene Roddenberry novelised Star Trek: The Motion Picture. While there’s some lingering discussion about whether Roddenberry actually wrote the novelisation, the book reads like the work of a screenwriter turning his hand to prose. It’s more of a manifesto than a novel – an excuse for Roddenberry to expand on his utopian vision for the franchise.

In contrast, Vonda N. McIntyre was hired to write the novelisation of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Unlike Roddenberry, McIntyre was an experienced and professional novelist. She had been writing since the mid-seventies, and had a wealth of experience in both media tie-ins and her own original work. In fact, McIntyre wrote The Entropy Effect, the book published directly after the publication of The Motion Picture, and only the second Star Trek book published by Pocket Books.

All of this is a very round-about way of explaining that The Wrath of Khan is very much an adaptation in a way that The Motion Picture simply was not.

st-twk-novel

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Star Trek – Untold Voyages (Review)

This June, we’re taking a look at some classic Star Trek movie tie-ins and other interesting objects. Check back daily for the latest reviews and retrospectives.

There’s something of a continuity lacuna that exists between Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Although the movies were released three years apart, more time appears to have passed for the characters themselves. Some of the changes are quite startling. After fighting so hard to get the Enterprise back in The Motion Picture, Kirk has retired to Earth once again at the start of The Wrath of Khan. After putting the Enterprise back in action in The Motion Picture, it has been converted into a cadet cruiser in The Wrath of Khan.

A lot of stuff has happened, and the gap is relatively under-explored by tie-in material. In contrast, the gap between The Turnabout Intruder (or The Counter-Clock Incident) and The Motion Picture is filled with all sorts of material designed to offer the show the type of closure that it never got on television. The same is true of the gap between The Cage and Where No Man Has Gone Before, with books and comics eager to offer accounts of Pike’s time in command and the transition to Captain James Tiberius Kirk.

Star Trek: Untold Voyages is a five-issue Marvel Comics series published in 1998 designed to bridge The Motion Picture and The Wrath of Khan. Although it wallows a bit in continuity and references, writer Glenn Greenberg uses the series to make some very clever and introspective points about Star Trek as a franchise – in effect, cleverly transitioning from Gene Roddenberry’s “future humans are the best” attitude toward Nicholas Meyer’s more reflective and introspective take on the characters and their world.

Shining star...

Shining star…

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