STAR TREK LOG ONE by Alan Dean Foster:

The first episode of Star Trek I ever saw was “The Tholian Web.” I cannot swear it was first run, but I think it was. If so, I would have been four years old at the time. If it was a summer repeat, I would have been five. The “ghostly” image of Captain Kirk kind of creeped me out (I didn’t believe in ghosts, but I didn’t not believe in them, either), plus I didn’t really understand it. My brother was a fan of the show, and he introduced me to one he thought I’d like better: Lost in Space.

That worked, but by the time I was nine, I was a fan of Star Trek, too. I am sure of this fact because the first episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series debuted in September of 1973 and I can remember eagerly anticipating it. (I also remember eagerly anticipating The $10,000 Pyramid which reunited William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy for the first time since Star Trek, so that must have been before TAS.) I watched every episode and was disappointed when it was not renewed.

When I was still in elementary school, I worked my way through all the James Blish television adaptations. (It seems odd, even to me, that in the days before VHS etc. fans had to resort to paperback books to experience their favorite episodes “on demand.”) After that, I moved on to Alan Dean Foster’s Star Trek Log series, which adapted the animated episodes, but also fleshed them out and truly “novelized” them, stringing together usually three episodes per book.

When I was in college, ST:TAS was on TV Saturday evenings at 6:30. Unfortunately, I worked every Saturday night, but I was able to set up my VHS to record them. When I got a good number of them, they started showing repeats and I found myself continually rewinding to tape over an episode I had earlier on the tape. (I never did get them all.) Fortunately, the entire series was eventually released on DVD and I did buy that.

My ongoing project for 2019 will be to read a Star Trek Log, then watch the episodes from each book. I was pretty sure I had read the Log series only once before, way back when, but when I recently re-read the first one, I found myself anticipating what was going to be in the next paragraph. I think I had this same idea back in college, and re-read the first three stories (“Beyond the Farthest Star,” “Yesteryear,” “One of Our Planets is Missing”) in this manner, but as the episodes I had on VHS were way out of order, I found the project to be too difficult and abandoned it.

But now I’ve got them on DVD and can call up any episode I want with a minimum of fuss. I just finished re-reading the first Log book and re-watching the first three episodes. I don’t plan to read all ten in a row (I’ve already ,moved on to something else), but every once in a while throughout 2019 I do plan to read another and watch another three.

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He did not. I have often wondered the same thing myself. I have at least two guides which acknowledge TAS, but neither discusses the series in depth. I have one chapter left to read in the next story, and will be back later with further examples. 

TIME TRAP: In this episode, the Enterprise and the Klingon ship Klothos pass through the redundantly named "Delta Triangle" and become trapped in another dimension. It is not actually an alternate reality, but rather a finite "pocket universe" from which those trapped within can see out, but not escape. The Enterprise has to work together with the Klingons in order to escape but, lest you think this is an ACT-era "story-with-a-moral-about-cooperation," the Klingons plant a bomb aboard the Enterprise primed to explode when the ship hits warp eight.

Of all the "extras" recorded in the Log, I'd be willing to bet they all came from the imagination of ADF. For one thing, he provides a greater scientific explanation for the pocket universe, as well as how the Klingon explosive worked, than was shown on TV.

Also, the captain of the Klingon ship is Kor, from TOS episode "Errand of Mercy." He is referred to in the script as being  Kirk's "old enemy," but the animators must not have been made aware of this fact. He is not voiced by John Collicos, nor is he drawn to look like him, but ADF's description leaves little doubt as to whom he is describing.

Nichelle Nichols is in this episode, but there's one scene in particular ADF must have felt Uhura should have been present for. The real-life explanation is, I'm sure, that she was voicing at least two other alien characters in that scene, but ADF hints at some unrevealed backstory: "McCoy in particular wondered at the absence of Uhura. The reasons for excluding her from the conference would become clear as Spock explained his intentions. Uhura had more reason than any of them to dislike the Klingons... Were Uhura present, further discussion would have been impossible. Someone would have to break the news to her later."

At one point, Spock drapes his arms over Kor and his second-in-command. There is some suspicion that the area of space might be affecting him, but actually he was attempting a sort of "tactile telepathy" short of an actual mind-meld. In the Log,  in addition to the arms around the shoulders, ADF has Spock shake their hands. He cannot "read their minds" using this technique, but it does give him a sort of "Betazoid" impression of whether or not they can be trusted. (They can't.)

There are a couple of interesting details that were included in the original teleplay. For example, one of the ships trapped in the pocket dimension is the Bonaventure, the first ship to have been fitted with warp drive. The animators do an exemplary job of "reverse engineering" (so to speak) the look of this early starship. (ADF does embellish the variety of ships in the "time trap," including one made of plastic and one made of wood.) The council of the aliens trapped within the pocket dimension comprises twelve different species, most of which we know from previous episodes of TOS and TAS. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

(ADF does embellish the variety of ships in the "time trap," including one made of plastic and one made of wood.) 

What the wha-?

Oh, there's one last touch concerning the "Time Trap" Log that I suspect came from the pen of ADF. As aired, it ended with Kor reporting to the Klingon Empire that the Klothos had escaped from the "Delta Triangle" by itself; in the Log, however, he reported that he had destroyed the Enterprise (which he thought he had), a mistake that will cause him to lose face when the truth comes out. 

It's from an internet parody called "Stone Trek".

Jeff of Earth-J said:

What the wha-?

Thanks. Looked like a spaceship from The Flintstones.

EDIT: Oh, I see that just about sums it up. (Nice mash-up of the themes.)

I just thought of something else that's likely an ADF embellishment from the "Time Trap" Log. Consider...


"Mr, Spock, did you just see what I think I just saw?"

"Yes, sir."


"Mr, Spock, did you just see what I think I just saw?"

"Not only did I just see what you think you just saw, Captain, but I am now observing what you think you don't."

"So we concur on analysis if not on grammar."

MORE TRIBBLES, MORE TROUBLES: If your local television station has ever run a Star Trek marathon and left the episode choice up to the viewers, the top three vote-getters were likely 1) "The City on the Edge of Forever," 2) "The Trouble with Tribbles," and (after 1982, anyway) 3) "Space Seed." All of those are very good episodes, but none of them are in my top three... or even my top ten. Still, "The Trouble with Tribbles" spawned (no pun intended) two sequel episodes, "Trials and Tribble-ations" (which is one of my favorite episodes) and "More tribbles, More Troubles," which is the one up for discussions today. 

Many of TAS were originally intended for the fourth season of TOS which never happened. I don't know all of them that were, but this one definitely was because David Gerrold (who wrote both TOS and TAS episodes) said so. Stanley Adams reprises his role of Cryano Jones, and the Klingon Captain Koloth is back as well (although voiced by James Doohan, not William Campbell). At first I wondered why ADF sequenced "More Tribbles, More Troubles" directly after "Time Trap" (another Lingon episode). I thought he might try to tie them together somehow but, apart from a single line a dialogue, no. I suspect it's because "The Terratin Incident" took up half the book, "Time Trap" was a little longer than usual as well, and he needed a short adaptation to fill the rest. Consequently, there weren't a lot of embellishments in this Log in comparison to TAS episode. In both, as in the original "The Trouble with tribbles," Scotty gets the final pun.

THE AMBERGRIS ELEMENT: More than any episode so far does "The Ambergris Element" benefit from the "unlimited special effects budget" of animation. Not only does it depict a shuttlecraft landing on a water world, but also operating under water. What's more, the shuttle is attacked and thrown by a giant sea serpent, part snake and part squid. Not to mention Kirk and Spock being turned into water breathers and an examination room in sick bay converted into an aquarium for them to live. 

The original story was written by Margaret Armen ["The Cloudminders", "The Paradise Syndrome", "The Gamesters of Triskelion" (TOS) and "The Lorelei Signal" (TAS)]. ADF provides not only additional details as to how the Aquans came to live underwater but also how the ship's universal translator works. Just has he recently provided an origin and backstory for Arex in a previous Log, so to does he do here for M'Ress. 

On a personal note, this episode taught me the word "ambergris" first run. 

THE PIRATES OF ORION: An epidemic of choriocytosis, an infection that enters the blood and affects the cells so that they can no longer carry oxygen, is sweeping the ship. Because iron-based hemoglobin fights off the disease much more efficiently than copper-based, it has hit Mr. Spock particularly hard. He needs the drug strobolin to save his life, but the Enterprise is too far away to get to the nearest supply in time. A rendezvous with the freighter Huron is arranged, but before Enterprise can get to the coordinates, Orion Pirates hijack the Huron.

The Log plays out pretty much the same as TAS, except the crew of the Huron and life aboard a Starfleet freighter are both described in greater detail. Also, the source of the epidemic is attributed to Kirk himself because the "multiple alterations of [his] circulatory system was subjected to while on Argo" in the previous episode made him susceptible. The Orions are intended to be the same race from TOS, but their skin is blue (not green) and their name is pronounced like "Oreo" with an "-ON" instead of an "-OH" for some reason. 

The TAS artists do a good job of designing not only the Huron but the Orion ship as well. Oddly, on TAS episode, the helmsman of the Huron doesn't recognize the ship design, an oversight which ADF apparently tries to smooth over by having him admit, "That's not to say half the helmsmen in the Federation wouldn't recognize it, but I don't. (There's apparently a reason he was assigned to a freighter and not to a starship.) Also, later, Lt. Arex reports, "It is interesting to observe that the belligerent ship is a new design, one apparently never before encountered by a Federation ship," so I guess the  Huron's helmsman is off the hook. 

JIHAD: Up until this episode, I have been pointing out that, whereas TAS allowed for SFX not achievable on live action TV at the time, ADF's novelizations often improve on those, not only in terms of SFX but in added plot details as well. "Jihad" is one I would like to see re-adapted using state-of-the-art GCI animation due not only to the settings and locations involved, but also for the alien races. Unfortunately, too many of TOS actors are no longer with us to rerecord their lines for an extended version adapting ADF's version (which is what I'd really like to see for every episode), but new 24 minute versions could be released using the existing dialogue. Doing so would also provide the opportunity to insert new lines recorded by other voice actors for secondary characters so they are not always obviously James Doohan and Nichelle Nichols and Majel Barret and George Takai.

Back in the '70s, this episode taught me the word "jihad" just as the episode two posts back taught me "ambergris." 

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