I couldn’t finish Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath’s “Triangle” and I only feel a little bad about that.

Hey, guys. Don’t even bother reading this blog post. It’s bad. I said everything I need to say about Marshak and Culbreath when reviewing The Prometheus Design and this is just me flailing around to reach a word count with nothing new to say.


A dark plan has been unleashed in the galaxy, a design so vast, only a collective – and ruthless – mind like the Totality could have conceived it. Now Captain Kirk must battle the seductive force of the Totality’s will…

It was reasonable that Captain Kirk and Federation Free Agent Sola Thane would fall in love. But no reasoning in the universe could have foreseen the tragedy of Spock’s own passion for the same woman.

Now this unimaginable conflict could cost Captain Kirk his very soul, and bring death to the proud Vulcan. But in the unimaginable, lies their only chance, and the freedom of the galaxy depends on the outcome of the…


So, that’s it? No cute intro or anything?

After reading The Prometheus Design and the first half of this book, I’ve come to a conclusion.

Marshak and Culbreath hate the Star Trek that was written, produced, and broadcast in the 1960s and there’s no point in trying to read their books if you enjoyed it.

You had my curiosity…now you have my attention.

As I mentioned in my overview of their previous Pocket novel, Marshak and Culbreath were titans in the early Star Trek fan scene, running zines, organizing events, writing reams of fan fiction, etc. The thing is, you never see any of this adoration for the property in their licensed writing.1The one-and-a-half novels I’ve read of it, anyway.

With The Prometheus Design and Triangle, the authors seem to have gotten paid for some sort of AU version of the property, one in which all of the charm and humanity of our favorite characters was replaced with aggressive, unpleasant sexual tension.

I’ll put it simply: these women are horny. In fact, they may have been hornier than Gene Roddenberry, who, as you know, was horny to the detriment of his work, his relationships, and his health. It’s not a fun horniness that permeates their work, though. It’s a cruel take on sexuality that just doesn’t fit in with Star Trek. 2And yes, I know about the Mirror Universe Kira.

Maybe you’re just a prude?

That’s a fair point.

One of the things I’ve always liked about Trek is that (until the All-Access series started, at least) is that it was all-ages friendly. I’m pretty sure that my parents let me buy whatever Trek novel I wanted as a kid in the ’80s because they knew that I wasn’t going to be dealing with the sort of things that Stephen King or V.C. Andrews were peddling.

Now, one could argue that they were working with the framework presented in The Motion Picture3The book is explicitly set in that period. where Kirk and Spock are both a bit more remote, but at the end of that movie, it’s plain that things are going to be pretty normal for our space pals after this.

If they’d done any of the work to get to the point we see the characters at in the beginning of Triangle, I might well have given them more leeway. With their earlier Pocket novel, they at least established that things in the galaxy were getting weird and that our characters were undergoing a mental assault that led to some odd behavior. Here, it seems like Culbreath and Marshak simply chose to ignore what’s canonically presented on-screen so they could explore their kinks and proclivities. Ignoring the characters and tone of the franchise you are writing for defeats the point of writing for that franchise.

Anyway, you didn’t finish the book and are instead going to complain here.

Short version: bad novel, bad writers, glad to have written this so I can close the book on them forever.

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3 Comments I couldn’t finish Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath’s “Triangle” and I only feel a little bad about that.

  1. Chris Davies

    I will say that some of the stuff they wrote for the second “Star Trek: The New Voyages” anthology was a bit better than this, but I don’t think you’d have liked them either. Nevertheless, I hope you continue your review of this series of books.

  2. das411

    Just finished this one off today and yep your review is pretty much spot-on, you may want to set aside a couple of hours and just power through it so you can read a better one! 🙂

  3. Fred M

    Agree. I’ve been a fan since there days being titans in the fandom and I’ve genuinely never liked their work. There are times I wish they would just write the hardcore sex scene they want between Kirk and Spock and get it over with because their desire to do that weighs down on everything else like a wet, dog hair covered blanket. I bought every ST paperback published up to the late 1990s and that includes their stuff but I never read it. Once was more than enough. It’s only on the shelf because I’m a completist.


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