Don’t be fooled by the depiction of the Enterprise on the cover, this story is set just after the Original Series, so very definitely still within the setting of the Five Year Mission.
It also does something that would later be revisited as a television series, as a Federation starship (in this case the U.S.S. Enterprise) is transported over five thousand parsecs away to the far end of a distant galaxy with no apparent way home.
Upon arriving, Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the rest discover they are in a star cluster, but almost all the inhabited planets were wiped out millennia ago by weapons of mass destruction.
Unable to find a way home, they investigate the quadrant and soon are attacked by two races of aliens, each believing the other is responsible for the destroyed planets.
Kirk tries to find a way for the two species to find peace, and they do, coming together to fight the Starfleet vessel, whom they now believe is the real destroyer.
Our heroes struggle to bring peace to the area, while trying to find a way home, but will peace be possible for the warring factions? And will they prove to be a threat to the Enterprise and the Federation?
This is a fairly fun story, I do like that it’s basically Voyager before Voyager came along, the only downside is that the ending of the book came up way too quick. There was something else that bothered me as well, they discover a planet with some strange life forms, but they are countless miles below the surface. An argument is made that the risk of beaming through all that solid rock to investigate the readings is not worth pursuing at this time.
That just strikes me as odd. I think our stalwart crew would have investigated it right off, but if they had, the adventure would have been a lot shorter. It was obvious from a storytelling point of view that this would be an important plot point, in fact it’s hard to miss, and consequently it stuck in my craw for the rest of the book.
Sure, there is some exploration done, but if they had but investigated the planet right at the beginning, they could have resolved a lot more issues, and returned home even quicker.
Still, for the most part, these books are getting stronger and stronger in the way they tell their stories, and their handling of the characters, tying them in a little more strongly with what has happened in the series, and what we know will happen in the films to come.
The Human Adventure continues…
3 Comments Add yours
Hello, I had fun looking through these commentary reviews of a bunch of the old 1980’s TOS novels. I was quite surprised to see that so many are ones that I have read or targetted for reading.
I know it’s very common for many fans to harp on the issue of whether a story is canon or not. Although much of your own commentary was interesting, I feel like it takes something away from the effort to read and comment on them when it always comes with a caveat: “Fun/Great/Terrible story, however at the end of the day, Not Canon, which is all that matters.” Not meaning to sound critcal, since this is your place to set out all those commentaries, so if that’s your jam, do what’s fun for you.
For me, they fill a desire to explore a TOS continuity that doesn’t exist. There were supposed to be novels based on the newer movies starring Chris Pine; but since those novels were cancelled, and having found out that some of these older books existed that accumulated an alternative continuity with alternative versions of the Klingons and Romulans, I turned to them for a TOS alternative. I read them specifically because they are apocryphal, and specifically to enjoy them without dismissing them as unimportant because they are not canon.
Not meaning to offend you, I just feel like the books can be read and just taken as they are, without canonicity being a diminishing factor. I like a lot of other obscure stuff I’ve found on here, like commentary on the War of the Worlds television series as an example of something that gets underappreciated.
First off, thank you for your comments. I love everything that you said, and while I do tend to say that the books aren’t canon I definitely enjoy (most of) them. And it is a way that we can continue to voyage with the original crew on strange and fascinating adventures.
Some of the books are really well researched and do feel like they fit within the tapestry of the Original Series and movies, while some play as halfway decent science fiction tales adapted to Trek.
And no offence taken at all, I hope you find other things of interest on the blog, and hope it moves you to share your opinions again.