I did in fact get around to listening to the audiobook version of Star Trek: Movie Tie-In
(I do love that title so), in which Zachary Quinto narrates Allan Dean Foster's valiant attempt at imposing narrative sense on that story.
It would be fascinating to know what version of the script Foster was working from, because there are differences that are kind of intriguing. For example, although it's touched on only very lightly, you do get the sense of the utter wrongness of the Spock/Uhura relationship -- not wrong because it violates the canons or anything like that, but wrong because he's a Starfleet instructor and she's his best student.
For all that Starfleet may be different from our current military standards, he was taking an enormous, and enormously stupid, risk, all for troo luuuuv. The film manages to gloss this by eliding the fact that he's a serving officer, and not some sort of very accomplished student who gets to wear a blue shirt just because. (Aided in this elision by the fact that Quinto just isn't much older, if at all, than everyone else.) One of the strong improvements in the novel -- and honestly, I don't know why they didn't put this in the film -- is that instead of getting held up, and therefore saved, because Sulu forgot to take off the parking brake, Enterprise stops and the bridge crew has a discussion in which they realize that the planetary distress call from Vulcan is a fake -- after all, it would have to be, since the attack on the planet itself didn't start until after Enterprise came into the Vulcan system, right? They try to broadcast to the other ships in the fleet, but it's too late. (Interestingly, one of the finer side points in the novel that might get missed is how Kirk's other future gets foreclosed by the attack -- in TOS, he's supposed to have served on Farragut before going to Enterprise, but Farragut is one of the ships destroyed at Vulcan.)
The novel's got a few deliberate call-backs to other Trek moments. For example, in the final climactic battle, instead of taking place somewhere outside the solar system, everything happens next to Titan, allowing Enterprise to rise out of the mists behind Narada, much as in another Trek film. (That said, I think the film changes were better there; however improbable, Sulu -- one assumes -- shooting all of Narada's missiles down like that was just cool
. Also, having a black hole open just above the ecliptic around Saturn, when a much smaller black hole swallowed and destroyed Vulcan, would probably have been just a teensy bit too much bad science for the average Trek fan to take.)
There are a couple of small moments here and there that aren't quite what one would expect. The one disappointing moment in the entire thing comes early on, as Quinto is settling into his reading style; when he says "Live long and prosper" to the Vulcan Science Academy board, he just ... says it. Mind, he was somewhat hampered by the surrounding text which specifically emphasizes how deliberately emotionless he is when he says that, but still, I was hoping for a really good "Live long and prosper, [bitch]
," and it's just not there. There are also the moments where he puts on his Winona Ryder, which are just ... weird. I mean ... weird
. He tries this falsetto-ish voice that just doesn't work at all. His Uhura is much more successful.
Overall, definitely a worthwhile adjunct to the film. Though I still suspect that reading Star Trek: Countdown
would be slightly more helpful in making sense of Nero, at least.
A few random links:Star Trek: The Abridged Script | The Editing Room
The money quote from the above: "BLACK HOLES MAKE EVERYTHING POSSIBLE!"
Oddly enough, despite being specifically inspired by Editing Room's style and format, Bad Transcript's version
of the movie is far more interesting. Aside from the money quote, of course. And this is maybe even better.
Interviews with Orci and Kurzman, the scriptwriters:Part 1Part 2
A few things become blindingly obvious as you read through these:
(1) They were not prepared for the obsessiveness of the average Trek fan, let alone the seriously obsessive fanboys. Their befuddlement at certain moments is just ... charming, really. Unintentionally, of course. But really, someone should have warned them.
(2) By scrupulously avoiding a great deal of the previous 69 episodes and 10 films, they managed to be completely unaware, for a very long time, of the fact that Trek had cobbled together a surprisingly coherent view of time (as long as you ignore the end of Voyager and, it seems, Enterprise) -- that there is One True Timeline, and if someone meddles in it, you have to go and re-meddle to make it go back the way it was supposed to. While this may be forgiveable for the youngsters, it makes it more than mildly baffling that Spock doesn't say to young Kirk and friends, "So, what say we take a slingshot trip around Vulcan's sun, warn everyone what's about to happen so that they can just shoot down Nero's lightly protected drill with all the spacecraft that Vulcan, as the oldest spacefaring culture in the Federation, should have just lying around, and prevent Vulcan from getting all crunched in the first place? Hey, maybe we could even slingshot into the future, save Romulus, and prevent Nero from going bonkers in the first place! Howzabout that?" After all, he's done it at least three times himself.
In any event, they are very clear that the TNG/DS9/Voyager timeline continues, and they'd rather like to see a new TNG film. It seems highly unlikely -- I cannot imagine Paramount et al deciding that they would like to simultaneously juggle two different continuities on film, thank you VERY much, especially given that the last TNG film only just made back its production budget domestically, whereas the reboot has been wildly profitable, even against a much increased production budget. Paramount is likely to just invest in the current timeline and explore the changes that have been made possible. (Does Kirk have to go back and fail to rescue Edith Keeler again? Do they need to go back and get another couple whales, or did Narada maybe kinda accidentally blow up that probe for them? Just how much is Spock Prime going to tell them, or not tell them? Inquiring minds want to know!) I do wonder if the still robust book publishing program for TOS/TNG will be allowed to continue, or if they'll shut that off in favor of only working within the reboot universe.
(Purely a sidenote: everyone keeps calling it the reboot, which keeps making me want to shout "ReBoot!" Which will, of course, be meaningless to just about everyone, so here, have a teeny bit of context.