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Spock Must Die! is the first Star Trek: The Original Series novel published by Bantam Books and was the first original Trek novel to be aimed at adult readers (it had been preceded by a novel aimed at children). Written by James Blish, it was first published in January 1970.


From the original book jacket
Captain Kirk and the crew of the starship Enterprise find themselves in the middle of an undeclared war waged by the Klingon Empire
The Organians should be consulted about the war but their entire planet has disappeared – or been destroyed…
Mr. Spock entered the transporter chamber. His image would be flashed to Organia by the huge machine's faster-than-light tachyons. But the experiment failed. Suddenly there were two Mr. Spocks. One of them had to be destroyed…
From the April 1985 reprint book jacket
"Captain's log, stardate 4181.4. We are at war with the Klingon Empire."
Launching an unprovoked attack upon the Federation, the Klingons have broken the terms of the Organian Peace Treaty – leaving the Enterprise stranded deep in uncharted space, cut off from the rest of the Federation fleet.
To find out what happened to the Organians, Commander Scott rigged an experimental modification of our transportation system designed to enable a tachyon replica of Mr. Spock to travel faster-than-light to Organia. But the experiment failed, and incredibly, left us with two identical Spocks: one of whom is a replica in every way the opposite of our first officer, a traitor whose continued existence poses a grave threat to the Enterprise and quite possibly the entire Federation.
One of the Spocks must die. But which one…

Excerpts of copyrighted sources are included for review purposes only, without any intention of infringement.

Background information[]

  • Blish wrote this novel during the period in which he was adapting Star Trek: The Original Series episodes for a series of books for Bantam. It was his only original Star Trek novel.
  • The novel was a sequel to TOS: "Errand of Mercy", both the original script by Gene L. Coon and the novelization by Blish.
  • The Bantam novel series have a plethora of different cover images: the English version of this novel has been released with at least three different covers, a new one for each subsequent printing. There have been three US cover printings by Bantam (February 1970, April 1985, and June 1999). The 1990s edition cover is credited to artist Kazuhiko Sano.
  • The novel was reprinted by Corgi Books in the UK on three occasions: April 1974, 1984, and September 1988.
  • Unlike most of Bantam's other original novels, Spock Must Die! was not included in Titan Books' 1990s Star Trek Adventures reprint series.
  • "Spock must die" was a subliminal message suggested to Captain Kirk in the sixth story arc of the UK Star Trek comics.
  • The concept of transporter duplication was addressed in other canonical productions, TOS: "The Enemy Within" and TNG: "Second Chances". "Second Chances", in particular, is a later occasion of the transporter being used to create an identical duplicate.
  • An editor at Bantam copyedited Kirk's reference to McCoy from "Bones" to "Doc", apparently being unfamiliar with the reference to McCoy's oft-used on-screen nickname. Author James Blish wrote a piece about the error in the introduction of a later novelization.
  • Notwithstanding Star Trek: The New Voyages, a collection of fan-written short stories, the next full-length original novel based upon the series did not appear until Spock, Messiah! was published in 1976.

Cover gallery[]


Canon characters listed below are linked to the main article about them. Non-canon characters are not linked, but those that recurred, appearing or being mentioned in more than one story, are defined further in Bantam TOS characters.
Leonard McCoy, 2267

"Bones" McCoy

James T. Kirk
Enterprise captain.
Enterprise science officer and exec.
Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy
Enterprise CMO.
Montgomery Scott, 2267


Montgomery "Scotty" Scott
Enterprise engineer.
Enterprise communications officer. She was considering spending a couple of weeks teaching a language to Lt. Purdy.
Hikaru Sulu
Enterprise helmsman.
Purdy (β)
Starfleet lieutenant stationed at Starbase 16, who wanted to be taught how to speak Eurish.


Klingon Empire
Starbase 16 (β)
Federation starbase.


External link[]

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