Star Trek: Pawns and Symbols (1985) – Majliss Larson


It’s just about time for someone to step in and rein in some of these stories. I know it can’t be far off, but at this point, some of them are really starting to annoy me.

This week’s Book Shelf lets me visit a non-canon adventure of the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Let’s say that again. Non-canon. I get that. But I’m getting tired of the way some of these stories are written.

Well, not only written, but in this case introducing yet another Mary Sue to the Star Trek universe.

Set just after the original series, we are introduced to Jean Czerny. She’s an agricultural scientist who following an earthquake on Sherman’s planet, where she’s working, suffers an onset of amnesia, and finds herself in the hands of the Klingon commander Kang.

It’s up to Captain Kirk to play a dangerous game of diplomacy to save her, and perhaps keep the Federation and Klingon Empire from going to war.


Luckily Czerny can do anything she puts her mind to, and all of the main Trek characters, as well as minor ones are pushed to the side so she can take centre stage.

Larson also tries to add more depth to Klingon culture, and while that is interesting, it just doesn’t really work in the broader context, and at that point (if not before!) it’s very evident that Paramount and Roddenberry should have stepped in and established rules, guidelines and had story approval.

While it’s fun for authors to put their own creations into a world that they love, it doesn’t actually do much for a lot of the fans who are reading these books, and want to enjoy further adventures with characters they love. I’m not saying there isn’t a place for author-created characters in the Trek universe, there absolutely is, but they have to remember that they are secondary and supporting characters.

I’m a little tired of these stories. Happily, I think within the next couple years, remember this was back in 1985, they start to incorporate a little more in the way of internal continuity, as well as follow rules laid down by Paramount, Roddenberry and Pocket Books.

Still, no matter whether they are any good or not, whether the author can write the characters, it’s still fun to take these journeys with the crew of the Enterprise, and sometimes, that’s all I need to fire up my imagination.

The Human Adventure continues…


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