Diane Duane takes the helm of the Enterprise in this week’s visit to the 23rd century via The Book Shelf. While heavy on the techno-babble and grounded in factual science, this story garnered an additional worthy note, it was later adapted for the season 1 episode of The Next Generation, Where No One Has Gone Before.
According to some sources, the book is set before the end of the original five-year mission, but there are also indicators that it takes place between The Motion Picture and Wrath of Khan, so that’s how I chose to visualize it in my head.
The Enterprise is called back to a local starbase, chosen out of all the ships in the fleet to test the new inversion drive which would allow for instantaneous travel across millions of light years. In fact the first test is planned to be the a leap from our galaxy to the Lesser Magellianic Cloud.
Things don’t go as planned, and a surprise ambush by some Klingons causes the Enterprise to leap in the opposite direction, though the rest of the test is a resounding success.
While the drive is overseen by a sentient crystal spider who is an expert in Creative Physics, Captain James T. Kirk, Mr. Spock and Doctor McCoy begin to notice that something is happening to them when they use the drive, despite the non-existence of time, the entire crew is having experiences.
It seems the more they use the drive, and the further they go, the larger a hole they tear in the fabric of reality, allowing other realities to pour in.
At this point the novel begins to suggest the equality of all these realities, right down to the level of perception and thought creating reality.
Now, marrooned far from home, they must traverse the non-reality that exists in inversion and perhaps make first contact with a new life form.
For the most part I really enjoyed this one, though at times, the book got weighed down in the technobabble, and didn’t always have the sense of fun finds in Trek, the wonder was there though, and that’s nice.
The introduction of a head rec officer in the early part of the novel helps set up the climax, but also introduced the idea of a holodeck aboard ship.
The big three get some nice moments, but so do most of the bridge crew, Uhura, especially.
Overall, the story was fun, and it was interesting to read the source material which helped get the Next Generation underway at the beginning of their voyage.
We’ll see if the Human Adventure continues when I tackle the next book in the ongoing series…