It’s time to delve into strange new worlds, and new civilisations again as I boldly go venturing into the next novel in the Pocket Book Star Trek series. Set between the events of Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the novel has a bit of an ecological theme, and the way the planetary government in this book villainizes scientists seems eerily familiar (and who thought that would ever happen?).
Let’s get this out of the way right away, I like this story quite a bit, the only thing that falls flat is Kirk’s motivations, at the end of the novel for giving up the Enterprise and becoming a teacher at Starfleet Academy (where we find him at the beginning of TWOK). It rarely comes up in terms of character arc through the course of the story and it just doesn’t pay off. The only true set-up that works out well is Pavel Chekov going off to the Reliant.
But that’s all at the end of the story.
The tale itself follows Spock and Chekov as they are dispatched to Akalla, a predominantly water planet to evaluate the work of a Federation outpost there. Unfortunately, they crash on route and are taken prisoner by an ecological group at odds with the authoritarian government who are having internal issues (this also led me to question how these people ended up in the Federation).
The Enterprise returns to Akalla after a side mission and begin looking for their missing crew members, but comes up against bureaucratic red tape, and political maneuvering. All of it being done by a group trying to grasp more power, and keep a secret about their oceans.
Before the story is through, a revelation about the society will be unearthed, illegal harvesting of the oceans will be put to a stop, and a new life form will be discovered. Everything you would expect from a solid Trek story.
I quite enjoyed this one, Weinstein handles the supporting characters well, and most of the main ones are at ease in his hands, it’s just the Kirk arc didn’t play for me. I think it would have to be more than what it was for James Kirk to step away from command again.
As I mentioned, it’s set between TMP and TWOK, but the uniforms are definitely the maroon jackets, and black pants that have become synonymous with the Original Series movies. That’s fine, but I won’t lie, I’m also kind of partial to the TMP uniforms, including the short sleeve work shirts.
This one proved to be enjoyable, and as mentioned before, the further into this novel series one gets the stories and writing seem to improve drastically.
There may be another one coming up soon…