Click here to Order Mudd's AngelsMudd's Angels

J.A. Lawrence

reviewed by Randy Landers

Many Star Trek fans are not aware that James Blish didn't write all the adaptations for his series. In fact, Mr. Blish never finished Star Trek 12 before he passed away. The task of bringing those episodes to print fell upon Judith Ann Lawrence, wife of James Blish. She finished the adaptions for Star Trek 12, and the two Stephen Kandel "Harry Mudd" stories which, along with her original novella (The Business As Usual During Altercations), she collected into the Mudd's Angels trilogy.

The Blish/Lawrence adaptations of both "Mudd's Women" and "I, Mudd" were spot on, and as nearly perfect as any Star Trek fan could hope for. It's with her trilogy that the collection becomes muddled.

Harry Mudd has managed to take advantage of a malfuction he may or may not have caused whereby the Federation's dilithium supply contracts (as well as those of the Romulans and the Klingons) have lapsed, and he's become the sole owner of all the dilithium in this arm of the galaxy. Kirk and the Enterprise crew track him down, but he manages to flee the galaxy with the Enterprise in hot pursuit. Exposure to the galactic barrier causes the the crystals to inflate and fling both Mudd's ship, the Superstella, into one of the smaller galaxies near the Milkyway, namely Nebucula Minor. Soon enough, the ever-enlarging crystals cause a supernova, and that galaxy explodes, propelling the Enterprise (with Mudd aboard) back into our galaxy before any of the events transpire. The androids decide to put Harry Mudd on trial and convict him for the crimes he commited even though those events have yet to occur, and send him on a one-way trip, exiling the con artist permanently from the galaxy.

The story is cutesy at times, unbelievable at others. The legalese and scientific hokum threaten to overwhelm the novella, and if not careful, the readers will find themselves skimming much of the exposition. Overall, it's a decent book, especially the two adaptations. One just wishes the novella had matched the storytelling of those episodes or at least Spock Must Die.

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