The Star Trek novel on the Book Shelf this week is the last one to feature an author created character in the lead role. Commander Piper, previously appearing in Dreadnought! is back in this follow-up that is set only weeks after the first novel.
Told in the first person, Piper’s story is exciting, and fits very nicely into the established universe of The Original Series. Taking place after the run of the series, but still within the five year mission, a whole new adventure, for the most part spinning off believably from the first novel throws Piper, her friends Sarda, Scanner alongside Kirk, Spock and McCoy, as they find themselves embroiled in duplicity, adventure and the weight of command.
Sarda, a Vulcan, has been blackmailed by those who were involved in the plot of Dreadnought! to work on perfecting transwarp (what ever happened to that anyway? It was around for Trek III, and never really touched on again?), only to have those he’s working with attempt to use it as a weapon.
Piper must rescue her friend, and Captain Kirk sets the ball rolling, by organising a plan that sees her taking on her first command, second guessing herself and her idol, Kirk, and taking on Klingons, Romulans and Tholians before the story ends.
While I didn’t find it as engaging as the first book, this one is entertaining and Piper is a fun character, filled with doubt, worry, and very much not a Mary Sue.
As the story comes to its climax Piper harms the Enterprise (lords help her when Scotty finds out), and there’s a bit of an expansion on the Klingons which actually nicely explains the different types (i.e. The Original Series, The Next Generation incarnations, heck, perhaps even the Discovery versions).
It’s a fairly fast-paced tale, Piper is a fun character, and Carey knows the Trek realm, and makes nice little tie-ins with episodes, and nods to things to come.
I understand why Paramount and Roddenberry wanted these types of stories to stop, though they were probably more acceptable than some of the slash fiction that Pocket Books published. That doesn’t mean they aren’t fun stories. They are very much in keeping with the spirit of Trek.
However, governing rules came down as those involved realised what they actually had on their hands as the books began to frequent the best seller list on a fairly regular basis.
Piper’s adventures are fun, came to an end too soon, but gave us a unique glimpse into the universe so many of us dream of being a part of.
The Human Adventure continues…