Retro Review: Ishmael

Here is my holiday gift to you — or, at least those of you who like books that are a bit different.

I give you Ishmael (Star Trek N0. 23) by Barbara Hambly (Pocket Books 1985). Available as an ebook from the publisher.

I originally reviewed this book in December 2006. The description from the publisher website: “The U.S.S. Enterprise™ is on a peaceful mission at Starbase 12 when a bizarre cosmic phenomenon causes a Klingon ship to suddenly vanish — with Spock aboard for the ride. Spock’s last message from the Klingon ship is cryptic and frightening. The Klingons are traveling into the past, searching for the one man who holds the key to the future. If they can kill that man, the course of history will be changed — and the Federation will be destroyed!”

Why is this my gift to you? A 1985 book that was a tie in to a Star Trek: The Original Series that ran in 1966 to 1969?

Read my full review, above.

Those who don’t want to click through…. Spock goes back in time. To Seattle.In the late nineteenth century. And meets three brothers, Jason, Jeremy, and Joshua Bolt.*

Some of you are now sitting up a little straighter. Thinking you know those names.

Here’s the next clue:

YES. David Soul! Bobby Sherman! Here Come The Brides, a TV show that ran from 1968 to 1970. And yes, some of you may have noticed that Spock’s father is there also.

It is an actually published honest to goodness real book that is a crossover between a science fiction show and a historical show, both short lived and both from fifteen years before this book was published! Though, based on my own childhood TV viewing, in the early 1980s Here Come The Brides was being shown on afternoon TV.

How crazy is that? Oh, and the name “Here Come The Brides” is never mentioned!


There are cameo appearances of other people! From other shows! Original Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, Bonanza, just to name a few.

I am not making this up.

So, go, find it, read it, enjoy it, and mourn that they just don’t publish books like this anymore. Instead, we have to go find crossover fanfiction to enjoy the possibilities of the Winchester brothers going to Walnut Grove …. Or better yet, Hogan’s Heroes….

9 thoughts on “Retro Review: Ishmael

  1. Back in the era when this was published there were some really good Star Trek novels, of which this was always one of my favorites. Thanks for posting this. 🙂


  2. Liz, there were some good tie-ins. I also really, really liked the original Battlestar Galactica novels — basically instead of just being a rehash of a script they created a much more complex world.

    Amy, yes, very cool!

    Nicole, no, this is traditional book — no free versions.


  3. I have that book buried somewhere along with some of the other Star Trek books from that era that were really good. I feel embarrassed that I never caught those crossover references! I remember that it read very well and I really liked it. It also gave a good picture of life in early Seattle if I remember correctly, which the budding historian in me really liked.


  4. Thanks for re-posting this, Liz. This is fascinating on so many levels! 1. I always thought that Here Comes the Brides was my own private tween favorite — I’ve never met anyone who even remotely recalls watching it. Bobby Sherman was my first big crush — Tiger Beat photos pasted up on the walls of my room, etc. 2. The author (if they are one and the same) has gone on to have a “legitimate” writing career — writing a well-respected adult mystery series and several works of historical fiction. 3. Mash-ups before there were mash-ups! 4. WorldCat shows an astonishing 296 libraries still own copies of this book (including German “ein Star Trek-Roman”)! I am placing my ILL request right now!


  5. Jenny, I think the sign of a good crossover is that the story remains strong even if you don’t know the other story/crossover characters. And I think the book probably did a better job of early Seattle than the tv series! At least when it came to the haircuts and makeup….

    Lee, I thought I was the only one! I remember watching it on reruns and liking Bobby Sherman…. way too many years later. I read this about four years ago, and it was at my public library, which meant that the librarians there knew that it was worth holding onto. Which I love!


  6. I still have that book in a prominent place on my bookshelf! (Okay, so it’s not really prominent, but the fact that it’s still visible on the book shelf and not packed away in a box somewhere is significant.)

    I remember going through the two barroom scenes with my sister, and trying to figure out which shows the cowboys and space travelers came from. There were a couple we didn’t get back then, but who I figured out later.

    I may have to go read it again tonight.


  7. khek, when i began reading that scene — I think it was the Doctor’s striped scarf that was the giveaway — I got such a smile on my face. Love, love, love.


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