Boldly going forward with the Star Trek books, it should come as no surprise that not all of the are going to be good, especially in the early years. It is a bit disappointing, however, after the bestselling Yesterday’s Son, that this one was next in the series.
Despite some cool ideas, a planet that is a single organism, with lifeforms moving around it resembling wildlife and humanoids, but more akin to bacteria, and a plant type humanoid serving as a Federation diplomat, this one falls a little flat.
It feels contrived.
Set during the original five year mission (don’t be fooled by the cover image – not to mention I don’t understand what’s happening with Kirk’s uniform at all in that picture) and shortly after his previous book, The Klingon Gambit, Vardeman creates a situation that just doesn’t feel like it would work.
Once again, the Enterprise is in need of a refit, and the crew needs R&R, this is happening so often at the beginning of the Star Trek books that it has become a cliche. Instead of getting their much needed rest, they are designated the only ship available to run a trio of diplomats to settle a dispute between two planets, which the Romulans are nosing around for a strategic foothold.
En route they pick up a lone survivor in a tiny spacecraft, Lorelei. She seems to have an immediate effect upon the crew with the way she speaks, looks, and pheromones she emits. She, and her people, believe in peace and pacifism, and she persuades the crew through her words that the Enterprise is on a mission of war.
Kirk finds it hard to believe his crew could be on the edge of mutiny, and instead of putting two and two together, new arrival, crew acting strangely, still allows Lorelei to wander at her leisure.
Even Spock warns him.
Soon, the ship is seized out from under him, his most loyal officers deserting him, and the Enterprise is close to falling apart unless they can get the resources they need from the organism planet.
So much of the character behavior felt totally outside the way the characters would act that I had a hard time buying into the story. Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying all these non-canon adventures, some more than others, but this one feels like a bit of a miss, especially, like I said, coming on the heels of Yesterday’s Son.
As I visit these books, and with the new movie, and the new series on the horizon, my own brain starts stirring up tales, and I wonder if I could write a supremely enjoyable Star Trek novel that captures all of the things I love about the series and films…
Who knows? Until then, live long and prosper, and continue to boldly go wherever the Human Adventure takes you…