The Entropy Effect

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Title: The Entropy Effect
Creator: Vonda N. McIntyre
Date(s): 1981
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek
Language:
External Links: at Wikipedia

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The Entropy Effect is a Star Trek tie-in novel by Vonda N. McIntyre.

This novel was the first place where Sulu and Uhura get first names later made canon: Hikaru (in "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country") and Nyota (in the Abrams 2009 film "Star Trek").

Fan Comments

1981

I've been reading the pro books for years, each time wondering how they can possibly get worse. When I heard Vonda McIntyre was planning one, I held out some hopes — she's an excellent writer, and if she couldn't handle the universe in a pro format, no one could. I was highly pleased with "The Entropy Effect", and wrote to Timescape, expressing my pleasure. They forwarded my letter to Ms. McIntyre, and she sent me a card, indicating that 'maybe' she'll be doing another one — depending on the reaction to the first book, among other factors. So, if you'd like to see more by her, why don't you drop them a line?} [1]
The fact that I liked the Starsky and Hutch story so much is really rather unusual. You see, I have never liked S & H. This speaks well of the author. I have always maintained that the true test of any fan-type derivative story is whether or not a story in which you replace the famed title characters' names with 'non' names is still interesting.(For instance, all the Star Trek novels, except for McIntyre's The Entropy Effect, fail this test because if you replace the names with Smith, Jones, and Johnson, etc., the books immediately fall apart. Entropy would be a good book no matter what. [2]

1983

Vonda McIntyre has a reputation for good SF, but I found THE ENTROPY EFFECT and the ST II novelization cluttered and pointless. [3]

1984

Two years ago, in my review of the "Wrath of Khan" novelization, I said that its only major flaw was Vonda McIntyre's self-indulgence. She spent far too much time developing characters who were only bit players in the movie. This I wouldn't have minded, had it not been at the expense of the major characters that the story was really about. What I could not forgive, however, was her inclusion of characters from her own books, such as Entropy Effect -- characters who had absolutely no place in the ST II plotline. If you had not read her previous books, you probably would have said "Who the hell are these people?" But this did not detract from my enjoyment too much; overall, I enjoyed the book. And now comes the ST III novelization--nice and thick, almost 300 pages. "Great!" I thought, "Lots of juicy character development." And there was...but of her characters! "The flaw in the first book is magnified ten-fold here. There are three whole chapters before the events of the movie get started! Three superfluous aliens are bad enough, but we are also subjected to: the entire crew getting drunk over Spock's death, Carol Marcus acting like a pouting bitch whose motivations are never clear, and David and Saavik hopping into bed together! Give me a break! To the scenes that were my favorites in the film, McIntyre adds nothing; if anything, she detracts from the magic that the actors and director brought to those scenes. I was most disappointed with this book, and hope a new novelist is hired for ST IV. [4]
Star Trek III was everything I hoped for and more. I only wish the movie was longer, so I immediately bought the novelization by V. McIntyre to fill in all the little details not covered by the movie. What a bitter disappointment, McIntyre completely disregarded the Star Trek II characterizations. Dr. Carol Marcus is unrecognizable, her son David's attitude unjustifiable. All our friends lost! [5]
I agree totally with you about McIntyre's horrendous novelizations. (Her Carol Marcus is a bitch, her Kirk a wimp, and I couldn't believe she has Chapel say she had gotten over her love for and was only "fond" of Spock! (It's ironic the best novelization is Roddenberry's ST:TMP considering the way the movie turned out.) [6]
Instead of the expected professionally written version of the script, Vonda McIntyre has produced the kind of novel zine editors receive from high school girls. Here is the fear/hatred of Kirk's masculinity that turns him into a lecherous tyrant and delights in abasing him, the depiction of adults with the emotional instability of adolescents.... Although Carol Marcus is not mentioned in the movie, I'm told; Ms. McIntyre has introduced her and a love affair with a youngster her son's age, and mentions David's approval of the relationship (there's lots of meat for a psychiatrist in those two!). This enforces my feeling that Carol is obsessed with dominating males, and her deliberate humiliation of Kirk (who is portrayed anyway as an insensitive clod) reinforces the impression. As for David, whose infantile and boorish behavior is at one point excused because he is "high" on the fumes of an evolved planet (there is no discernible difference at any other time, I can see), he shows the result of the damage a domineering mother can do--supposedly he is so brilliant that only he can recognize a dangerous element in the Genesis formula (although he certainly exhibits no other indication of brains at all), but he deliberately withholds revealing it for fear of upsetting his mommy and her team--an appalling lack of scientific integrity and responsibility. Though most of the sins are Mclntyre's, Harve Bennett cannot escape his share of the blame for the immaturation of Star Trek, with his Hollywood Youth Cult outlook and simplistic stories. [7]
Two years ago, in my review of the "Wrath of Khan" novelization, I said that its only major flaw was Vonda McIntyre's self-indulgence. She spent far too much time developing characters who were only bit players in the movie. This I wouldn't have minded, had it not been at the expense of the major characters that the story was really about. What I could not forgive, however, was her inclusion of characters from her own books, such as Entropy Effect --characters who had absolutely no place in the ST II plotline. If you had not read her previous books, you probably would have said "Who the hell are these people?" But this did not detract from my enjoyment too much; overall, I enjoyed the book. And now comes the ST III novelization--nice and thick, almost 300 pages. "Great!" I thought, "Lots of juicy character development." And there was...but of her characters! "The flaw in the first book is magnified ten-fold here. There are three whole chapters before the events of the movie get started! Three superfluous aliens are bad enough, but we are also subjected to: the entire crew getting drunk over Spock's death, Carol Marcus acting like a pouting bitch whose motivations are never clear, and David and Saavik hopping into bed together! Give me a break! To the scenes that were my favorites in the film, McIntyre adds nothing; if anything, she detracts from the magic that the actors and director brought to those scenes. I was most disappointed with this book, and hope a new novelist is hired for ST IV. [8]

2004

I fell fast and hard for the Kirk-Spock relationship at age 11, when I read the fantastic pro novel The Entropy Effect by Vonda McIntyre. In this book, Kirk is killed by a psychotic temporal physicist (around page 80 or so, I believe) and then Spock must unravel a maze of time loops to prevent the murder. I had no idea what Star Trek was when I read it, but it didn't matter -- the angst and beautiful pain of a logical, unemotional guy desperately trying to save the one person closest to him made a wreck of me. I was sold by the scene where Kirk lies dying in his own blood and Spock tries to save him with a mind-meld; the deal was sealed when I got to the end of the book, and Spock, waking in Sickbay to find Kirk standing over him, can barely control his laughter and tears. [9]

2008

Taking a cue from discussions on K/S Central, I've been reading one of the older TOS pro novels. Most of us agree there were there were some gems early on and then the inevitable decline when too many cooks got in the kitchen and started issuing rules and regulations to the authors and seemingly demanding there be no stories centered on Kirk, Spock or McCoy together. Sad. Anyway, Vonda McIntyre's The Entropy Effect appeared to be memorable to lots of folks so I began with it. Thank goodness I did, for I had an unexpected three-hour wait for a routine doctor's visit. I was the only one in the waiting room not crawling the walls, 'cause I had Kirk & Spock to keep me company. I'm not brave enough, nor do I expect ever to be, to take K/S with me to public places. "Entropy" is very well-written and while there was opportunity for a lot more emotion and angst, it is somewhat like a lost episode, and I'm pretty good at filling in the blanks. [10]

References

  1. comments by Kathy Resch, from her editorial in T'hy'la #1
  2. from an LoC in Syndizine #3
  3. comment by Joan Verba in Interstat #67
  4. from a fan's comments in Interstat #81
  5. from a fan's comments in Interstat #83
  6. from a fan's comments in Interstat #83
  7. from a fan's comments in Interstat #83
  8. from a fan's comments in Interstat #83
  9. comments by Killa from Where No One Had Slashed Before
  10. from a fan in The K/S Press #146 (November 2008)