Before she was tapped to join the writers of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Melinda Snodgrass penned this non-canon classic Trek novel, that is one of the best ones I’ve rad to date.
There is an ecological element to the tale, music, and alien life plays a major part, and not only are Kirk, Spock and McCoy front and centre for this tale, Nyota Uhura gets a long overdue opportunity to shine in the spotlight.
The Enterprise is called onto duty to investigate a unique life form that is in danger of being destroyed by a rip in space-time, if they aren’t driven to extinction first by hunters who slaughter them to collect crystalline tears they shed when they die.
Pressing a brilliant musician, Maslin, into temporary service, the Enterprise investigates, and while they do, a relationship, honest, and romantic develops between he and Uhura. No matter how much she cares for him, however, Uhura will put her duty and loyalty before her heart. Hopefully it won’t come to that.
Arriving at the remote planet, the partially aquatic brilliantly intelligent animals represent a mystery that may be unsolvable, communicating through an unending song, that defies translation.
Trouble is provided by the Klingons as two cruisers arrive to investigate the mystery of the beings and the spatial threat to the system.
Except for one jarring moment about halfway through the book, Snodgrass has penned a wonderfully enjoyable tale that feels like an episode of the Original Series. There are nods to episodes, and despite the fact that this one was released in 1984, there was a passage that tied the story nicely into the fabric of Trek by mentioning something that would be a plot point of Star Trek IV.
As we encounter a familiar Klingon, Kirk finds himself in a unique position, that of being a fifth wheel, and unnecessary on the landing party. It bothers him to be sidelined, but it makes total sense for it to play out that way.
Snodgrass knows Trek, and the story comes to life brilliantly under her hand, and I loved spending time with Uhura, she gets some wonderful moments in this book.
Everything about it feels like classic Trek, and it makes this one something special, as up until now (excluding the exemplary, but too short Yesterday’s Son), no matter how good (or bad) the stories are, there has always been something that feels off. Not this time around, this is Trek with all its wonder, its character interplay, thought-provoking stories and fun action beats.
I really liked this one!
… The Human Adventure continues…