Star Trek: Ice Trap Book Review

Ice TrapAs if accidentally transported to the wrong sector of space this book was rescued gallantly by my hands with aid from my wallet at a thrift store in Kansas. I paid an outrageous .10 cents for this ‘Trek paper back. I like to think that if nothing else I saved it from certain doom into a landfill. Would this book be a red shirt special or does it have some merit for being good book? Set tri-corders on; hopefully, as I review this book with lackluster proof reading skills applied! I am also giving my readers many spoilers, free of charge!

I will admit that I like Star Trek, not as much as Star Wars, unless you count the prequels then it might be a tie. I don’t own any full-sized ‘Trek uniforms and don’t plan on going to any conventions soon. Well unless Wil Wheaton is there, he is so dreamy! I have never read any of the Star Trek books before and I was almost clueless where to begin. Mostly because I was afraid to get stuck in the middle of some continuous story of which my book might have been the 3rd of 5 for example. Flash backs of the UPN TV network scary me to death!

Before death took its grip on me I check to see if this was a one-off or not. It appeared it was so I got it. And really for .10 cents why not? I appreciate the Star Trek series the way they came out the best. So an original crew story would be my best bet to get through it. I also got some other ‘Trek books at the same time so hopefully I will be taking a look at those down the road.

This will be a reaction review to reading the book with many spoilers. If you quickly judge the book as if it were an episode of the show then it fails pretty fast I think. The action / chase driven book does not have much in the way of character development and seems to be sluggish around the middle and end. I also feel duped by the publishers on the false pretense of the book cover.

The book covers shows Kirk and McCoy yet the majority of the actual reading follows Chekov and Uhura around! I really was upset about this half-way through the book and it caused me to stop reading for a week. I don’t want to follow B-level characters around. This is some shady marketing.

One reason why this might have happened is well because of tricky marketing. Or maybe they had a stock photo of Kirk and McCoy. Maybe the painter did not want to paint such B-level characters as pointless red shirt security officer and Chekov? One other reviewer pointed out that Chekov’s dialog is not written as he would say it in the TV series in Russian. Where are the nuclear wessels?

I looked up LA Graf, the writer of this book. From what people are saying it’s a writing team and LA GRAF is a pseudonym for a writing team. It stands for let’ all get rich and famous. Figures considering how shotty this book is when you get down the brass tacks about it. Scotty would say “Tis a wee shame laddy!” I agree Mr. Scott.

The story is promising at first. Being that it’s almost winter here I was excited to read a story set on an ice planet. The Enterprise’s mission is to search for this company’s missing shuttle and there is also people going insane aboard the same companies’ space station that is probably linked to the missing shuttle. I was expecting a big revel at the end, a big bad evil guy, some actual science-fiction elements and a bit of mystery to unravel. Yet scans indicated the pattern was lost in the transporter buffer.

What happens is a sluggish ‘Trek through a long drawn out chase started from a murdering native holy man angry that Humans have set foot on their planet. Really, that’s all the writers could think of? That’s so lame. It takes forever to find out that Alion is behind killing the shuttle crew and after the Federation rescue team. Such a letdown. The name Alion sounds so wimpy for a mass-murdering shaman. It should be the name of the kid in the movie ET not the leader of a cult! There is nothing more to the plot than that.

Then the rest of the story is filled with people getting killed and some weird idea about hunting kraken in the ocean with Kirk and McCoy. One funny part is when McCoy is being attacked by a lunatic Indian doctor. Visions of the Apu from the Kwik-E-Mart killing people ran through my head reading those passages. As well as the weird story elements there were some bizarre quirks such as the character names.

I found the names of the security team too complex to read quickly. The security team of red-shirts is made up of Tenzing, Publicker and Howard. A little 10 year old will read the character of Publicker as Pubic Hair Licker! Such a stupid name and for characters that really mean nothing it slows down the reading. Thus is this maybe why Howard the third member of the red shirts is the last one to stay alive. Red shirt guys in Star Trek hardly even have names. If they need to have one please make their name one syllable. For the love of Romulan Ale!

Other weird bits I noticed were at one point Kirk is referred to as admiral not captain. Also Mr. Scott meets Kirk eventually on the planet in the shuttle craft. Scotty mentions that he did not trust Sulu to fly the shuttle. Later in the shuttle there is no mention of Mr. Scott, just Sulu flying the shuttle. Hold on! Man over-board! The last thing that sticks out to me is how hard it was to imagine in my mind what the rescue team was wearing.

Why does the rescue team wear all-black suits for? This aids in no way to help find each other in the ice bound planet. I was always confused why the team was not wearing helmets, or were they? I’m still confused. There was constant talk about losing their breath filters or the water could somehow get into their lungs and freeze to death instantly. Water seemed to freeze instantly when it hit a fellow Federation officer but not when it was just floating by while hardly moving? I don’t get it.

The team also wore these goggles that made them look like the kraken somehow to the natives. So all-throughout the story I pictured the Federation members in bunny white ski-outfits. It was really confusing – I still feel like I’m lost in a blizzard about it all. That means the story will not stick with me very-long as I don’t have a definite picture in my head of the memory. Often other elements that were used heavily were not described till many chapters in. I would think in writing that if something was important than it should be described the first or second time it’s mentioned. Right? It would be like having Indiana Jones look for the lost Ark of the Covenant and the ark be a boat not a cup. Or in The Lord of the Rings having the ring be an inner spirit that you can’t identify or destroy. Ugh.

The native aspects of the story were brief and could be central to the story more. I really disliked the name Kitka for the native people. This is mainly because when I hear that name I think of Jon Kitna that used to play in the NFL, namely on the Bengals. Those were some hard years for Bengals fan. I wish he was a red shirt during that time! He now is a math teacher people are saying. I mean nothing against teachers but you don’t want a teacher for a QB. I was more upset that he got the shaft when they drafted their wet dream; Carson Palmer. I was happy when he quit.

The Kitka people are hard to describe. I also had tons of hardship trying to picture what they look like. All I could think of was a caveman like figure with big bug eyes. Looks kind of like that green alien thing in Star Wars that suspiciously never said any dialog and had big black eyes. Eh, I’m too lazy to look him up. O wait! His name is Kit Fisto – coincidence?

Alion just ends up being a punkwad that kills for no real reason. At the end it turns out the harvesting of the plankton lead to the planet being out of wack and causing “icequakes” as they too often mention. My science is a little sketchy but that seems implausible times a million-billion! If anything life-forms would have to adapt to the seismic conditions of the planet not the other way around.

The wrap-up section of the book is a joke. Earlier in the book Spock mentions that since all the plankton is gone it will take 300,000 years to regrow and stabilize the planet again. So the Federation just clones new plankton and boom problem solved. Could they have done this sooner so people would have not been killed? How come the crew goes down to the planet before they know what they are getting themselves into. I think giving Alion the phasers was a bad mistake. He said it’s because it offensive to his people yet they were doing backdoor deals with the Nordstral Pharmaceuticals company. Huh?

I just don’t see how this whole plankton thing would work. Especially in the harvester when they used it to breath oxygen. I mean the plankton would be dead in the water after being in the tank holds right? Because the plankton need sunlight to grow –how does the plankton even grow in the first place on the planet?

Besides how impossible the solution of the plankton sounds is it even the Federation’s problem? The Nordstral corporation is to blame. Have them deal with the problem and take the Enterprise back to dock. Are they part of the Federation? This is like giving forging aid to the country that bombed yours a week earlier. What about this whole PRIME DIRECTIVE thing that says not to mess with other planets like a 5 year old in a fit about losing his GI Joe toys to Tommy the class punk!

As you can see there are many problems with this story. If it were written as an episode of TV I think many of these problems would be addressed but when they are spread out so much it’s not as noticeable till you review it.

Being my first ‘Trek book I did not know what to expect in reading it. While I did enjoy the story I don’t think I will be reading it again. If it were a TV show it might be very entertaining but reading hours of slog to get to the good stuff is not worth it. Characters are dull and uneven. Plot points seem random and not enough red shirts get killed. For the most part it follows the format of the show but like I said there are some strange parts to the writing of it. I don’t see myself reading it in the future and hope to transport it to another would be Trek fan in the future.

Beam me up Scotty I want off this frozen rock!

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