REVIEW – The Grayspace Beast by Gordon Eklund

So, it was about 1981. My Mall still had an independent bookstore (It grew later to have two chain bookstores, and now it has none.)  I was at a point where I was fascinated by Star Trek, probably fueled by Vonda McIntyre’s excellent novel, The Entropy Effect. Certainly, in 1981, no one was excited by the Star Trek movies, as Harve Bennett had not yet rescued the franchise. There was no TV Show. I had devoured Alan Dean Foster’s Star Trek Logs series, and had enjoyed (as I mentioned a few months back) a book call Bantam Books licensed Star Trek novel titled Devil World by Gordon Eklund.

At that time, around age 15, I started to realize that I needed to branch out a bit in my reading. I was getting too old for comic books (I thought), and there had to be more out there than Star Trek. This is a seminal point in the development of an SF fan. I know many people my age now and older who still haven’t reached it. Ironically, about a dozen years later, I became a voracious comic book reader again. And now, in my forties, I’m once again feeling that I’m too old for comic books. That, however, has a lot more to do with the publishers’ arbitrary decision to only tell stories geared at particular demographic. That demographic may not even exist, and if it does, it members probably don’t even like comics. So we’ve reached an era where the major comics publishers are publishing super-hero comics for people who don’t like… super-hero comics. But I digress…

Star Trek was my gateway drug to literary SF. It made sense, if I was going to try and branch out, to find works by authors whose Star Trek work I enjoyed. Now Bantam Books tended to hire mainstream SF authors to write Trek, which is why James Blish wound up doing thirteen books for them, followed by contributions from Stephen Goldin, Kathleen Sky, Joe Haldeman, David Gerrold (though David started off in Trek) and Gordon Eklund. All had solid track records as SF authors before coming to Trek. Sadly, they either did not care to or were no asked to adapt their plots or their personal styles to the Star Trek universe. The result was a lot of books that may have been quite well-written, but didn’t feel like Trek stories. So I didn’t go looking, during this transitional phase, to read original works by Goldin, Sky or Haldeman. They simply hadn’t stroked my love for Captain Kirk and company. Eklund, on the other hand, had written at least one book that I felt could have been filmed and dropped in as an episode of the TV series without seeming out of place. Continue reading