I dug into another Trek novel this week for the Book Shelf, and while I remember reading this back when it came out in 1987, I hadn’t revisited it since. So I came into it fresh, like reading it anew.
Set during the third season of The Original Series, the Enterprise is attacked and rendered nigh inoperable, marooned in space. The attack was carried about by an alien race that Starfleet may have never encountered before.
Added to this is that a gravity readjustment during ship repairs causes ship’s surgeon, McCoy, who has just received some bad news, to fall, and end up in a coma. When he awakes, he is not the same man that Captain Kirk and the rest of the crew know. He has amnesia.
His mind has blocked the last twenty-five years, and he is a young man again, with his life choices before him, and he wants nothing to do with Kirk, Spock, or the entire Starfleet.
But while they are marooned in space, with Scotty trying to effect as many repairs as he can, they are under constant threat of another attack from these strange aliens the crew dubs Ravens.
But conveniently enough, the young mind of McCoy may have the key to the aliens’ identity, and help lead to a happy resolution, and victory for the bowed, but unbroken Enterprise.
It’s a McCoy story, without being a traditional McCoy story as he looks at the mistakes his older self has made, and thinks about changing them, or leading a completely different life.
The coincidences that lead to the climax are a little too neat, and of course the restoration of McCoy’s memory has to happen before the end of the book because the story can’t mess with continuity.
The aliens are an interesting creation, and while I have some problems with some of McCoy’s behaviours and actions which can be charted up to his youth, most of the story is pretty good. I like that the Enterprise is as separated from the fleet, and they are simply struggling to survive, but it’s not as engaging as I would have liked.
I do like seeing the effect that McCoy has on the relationship he shares with Kirk and Spock, and how much it affects the captain when he doesn’t have the counsel and friendship of one of his most trusted crew members.
Still, this came along at just the moment I needed it, as I wanted to enjoy some adventures with the original crew again, and it’s at the point that when I read these novels, I put it together in my head, visually, and can see it play out like an episode of the series.
So, the Human Adventure continues…