This week’s visit to the Book Shelf brings me the second Giant Star Trek novel from Pocket Books, and gives us a a different look at the first contact between Humans and Vulcans, a plot point that would later be visited in Star Trek: First Contact, though it could be argued that this book complements it.
A story within a story within a story, the novel centres around a book making the rounds in the 23rd century, between the events of Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. McCoy recommends a book to Admiral James T. Kirk, a book called Strangers From the Sky, an historic novel that purports to document an untold tale of an almost disastrous first encounter between Humans and Vulcans – a story that is causing both he and captain of the Enterprise, Spock, to suffer nightmares and troubling issues.
The two friends are having shared nightmares of walls covered in Vulcan blood.
The novel tells the story of a Vulcan ship that crashes in the South Pacific and is found by a pair of kelp farmers who get caught up in events when the world government sends a ship to investigate. An investigation that could see the death of the two surviving Vulcans.
As Kirk and Spock’s nightmares increase, McCoy oversees a mind meld between the two and we are soon invested in another story… Set before the events of Where No Man Has Gone Before, this story finds a fresh young Captain Kirk commanding the Enterprise alongside his friends Lee Kelso and Gary Mitchell, and a Vulcan Science Officer he can’t get a read on, Spock.
As they come across a strange planet, they soon find themselves shot back in time to the mid-21st century where they find themselves embroiled in the events of the very book that has caused them both problems.
It’s a massive tale, some of it works really well (the friendships), some of it is a little silly (the reason for their transport back in time, and the person responsible for it), some of it is way too coincidental (Spock encountering Professor Grayson), and some of it feels like it could be tightened up a little (the terrorist plot). Despite that it’s an enjoyable read, and Bonanno makes sure to tie the story in with the continuity of the television and film series.
Kirk and company end up on a great adventure that allows them to set the actual historical event of Vulcans and Humans meeting on its correct course. And just like that the Human Adventure continues…