Star Trek: Uhura’s Song (1985) – Janet Kagan

Evan Wilson.

Ugh.

The very definition of a Mary Sue.

This character joins the U.S.S. Enterprise this week as I continue my non-canon adventures with her crew, exploring the Pocket Book universe based on Gene Roddenberry’s beloved creation.

A planet inhabited by bipedal felines is suffering from a seemingly unstoppable disease, and one of Uhura’s dear friends is among them. Happily, she may have discovered a clue to save them in a song, and the rumour of another planet from which they may have originated.

With McCoy staying behind to look after the felines and humans falling victim to the disease, a new Chief Medical Officer is temporarily needed to join Captain Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Sulu, Scotty and Chekov on their errand of mercy.

Enter Evan Wilson. And there is apparently nothing she can’t do. It’s a wonder the Enterprise survived without her. Bolder than Kirk, smarter than Spock, a better doctor than McCoy, it’s a wonder they got this far into their five year mission without her.

enterprise

Set between The Menagerie and Court Martial, the story introduces an interesting new culture and aliens with these cat-like creatures, and the idea of clues and history being passed on through song is very enjoyable. And it would have been a chance for Uhura to really shine as a translator, and a songstress, but, despite having her name in the title, she takes a back seat, like the rest of the cast, to Wilson’s escapades.

Add that to the reveal of Wilson’s nature towards the end of the book just comes off as silly. The story would have worked better if Kagan had stuck with the original crew and let them be more involved in the story.

It would have been a fun little adventure if Wilson hadn’t ruined it.

I understand that sometimes characters are created to allow for fantasy fulfilment of how we wish we could interact with characters we love, but to outshine them at every chance? That just doesn’t work for me.

This one feels like a missed opportunity to me, and it’s sad, because this really would have been a wonderful tale for Uhura to take centre stage for. There is some great stuff between her and Spock that could have worked incredibly well in the original series.

Oh well, not all the stories are going to be great, and happily this is still early days for the Pocket Book series, and I know there are going to be some amazing tales coming up in the near future, and no doubt some less than stellar ones as well.

And through all that, the Human Adventure continues…

tosbridge

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