Many space-leopards died to provide those tunics.

§ April 8th, 2010 § Filed under star trek § 10 Comments

So reader Chuck was nice enough to send me a copy of this here book, Star Trek: The Truth Machine (Random House, 1977), which shows that no matter in what medium he’s presented, Captain Kirk is one handsome S.O.B.:

The ’50s monster movie-style “giant lizards menacing the city” scene on the viewscreen is pretty awesome, too.

Anyway, the story’s about some alien thugs who lure our heroes down to their primitive planet and try to coerce them into giving up the tech details on the Enterprise’s warp drive. However, the aliens are just advanced enough to be able to force the answers via their Truth Machine, hence the title. Also, these guys are totally into The Phantom:

The story wraps up pretty much as you’d expect, with our heroes getting the better of these geniuses, and with Spock layin’ down a little Vulcan whup-ass:

My favorite parts of the book are the brief snippets of exposition and explanation for the various elements of the Trek universe, written plainly and simply for the intended younger audience:

“The crew hurried to the transporter room. When they stood on the transporter disks, their molecules in their bodies would be taken apart, sent through space, and put back together on the planet’s surface.”

Urgh. Put like that, no wonder McCoy didn’t like beaming up or down anywhere.

“Although Spock’s mother was born on Earth, Spock had been born on his father’s planet, Vulcan. And like a true Vulcan, Spock never showed any feelings.”

Is that so, Mr. Narrator? Then what do you have to say about…THIS:

Well, um, come to think of it…what could you say?

Actually, that’s just Spock expressing Vulcan’s most common emotion, Total Smugness, during his explanation of how he outsmarted the bad guys’ Truth Machine not by lying about the warp drive, but by simply not offering up important details the aliens didn’t specifically ask about. Okay, sure, good move, Spock, but you don’t have to be a self-satisfied jerk about it. Sheesh.

Thanks again to reader Chuck for the swell book!

10 Responses to “Many space-leopards died to provide those tunics.”

  • Old Bull Lee says:

    Wasn’t this similar to the plot of a TNG episode? I think it was a stranded ship instead of a planet.

    There was also one where Matt Frewer claimed to be from the future, but was actually from the past and trying to get a jump on inventing future technology.

  • De says:

    A planet where apes evolved from men? There’s got to be an answer somewhere…

  • Andrew Weiss says:

    I remember reading a copy of this in the (little used) Woburn Boys’ Club after I ran out of quarters for the Pac-Man machine.

    I also spent way too much time contemplating Spock’s ruse by omission. (It didn’t work on my parents as well as it did on the residents of Planet Ghost-That-Walks.)

  • Randal says:

    Mike, an O-face is not an emotion.

  • Walaka says:

    What kind of book is this? An illustrated “novel”? Something like a Big Little Book, with alternating text and picture?

  • Andres says:

    That looks more like a ‘I just farted’ face to me.

  • philip says:

    I’m imagining a scene where the villains of this story are arguing over whether they should dress like The Phantom or Fred Flintstone and in the interest of time they decide to just go with both.

  • J.W. Rollins says:

    You can’t see it in the last image, but no one is wearing pants.

  • Nate says:

    When I read this in 2nd grade Spock taught me the greatest lessons in lying, tell em just enough truth!

  • Tom K Mason says:

    This looks just like the Star Trek/Phantom/Planet of the Apes/Flintstones mash-up I’ve dreamed about since I was 9. All that’s missing is Godzilla.