Back in the 1980s I read a Star Trek novel I'm trying to identify. Here's what I can remember:

  • Involved the TOS crew & characters, Kirk specifically

  • At some point Kirk visits either Romulans or Vulcans. There is a passage where he uses their shower and it is noted how it was a little harsh on his human skin because it functioned by removing the outermost layer of skin cells.

  • There is a female character - possibly Starfleet officer - who I think was a love interest of Kirk's (granted, this is probably not even worth mentioning...) I don't think she was a 'standard' character from the TV show, but probably invented for the novel.

2 Answers 2


The details roughly match The Original Series novel "The Vulcan Academy Murders" by Jean Lorrah, published November 1984 (Novel #20 in the TOS series).

Kirk and the Enterprise travel to Vulcan to allow an injured crew member (Remington) to participate in an experimental procedure to repair nerve damage, only to find Spock's mother Amanda is also undergoing the same technique. During their stay, a number of attempts at sabotage are made, resulting in a fire at the academy, during which Kirk sustains some burns, but is healed up over night. The following day (Chapter 21), Kirk considers the sonic shower in this way:

If it had been actual sunburn, he would have awakened the next day with an a golden tan. As it was, he saw, dry skin was already flaking in patches off his arms, where the blisters had been. Well, a sonic shower would rid him of the terminal-dandruff effect.

Just after this passage is the return of Eleyna Miller, a human female science student at the Vulcan Academy of Science, and assistant to Sarek in his advanced programming course. She also features as the love interest for Kirk, here addressing him while he is wearing a "one-size-fits-all" pants and tunic work-out outfit:

Eleyna returned. "Ready to go? You know, you really do look good in anything, Jim."

  • I will have to find a copy! Jan 13, 2020 at 1:09

In The Fate of the Phoenix by Marshak and Culbreath, the 1979 followup to The Price of the Phoenix, (a clone of) Kirk has entered a romantic relationship with the Romulan Commander from "The Enterprise Incident". After entering the 'flasher', she is struck by Kirk's vulnerability:

She took another moment to shed her uniform and step into the flasher to emerge clean and glowing, feeling as if she wore a new skin--which was virtually the case.

For a moment, she stood still, stopped by a sudden cold chill.

What would that Romulan process, one micro-second of which flashed away unwanted debris and a cell-deep layer of skin unprotected by the hair and eyebrow shield, do to Human skin?

  • Fascinating... this also seems like a good potential match. Jan 14, 2020 at 1:18

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