Space, the final frontier…
My ongoing voyages with the starship Enterprise continue this week with the next non-canon novel in the Pocket Books series. Set during the original five year mission, this novel is set a few months after the events of The Original Series episode “What Little Girls Are Made Of?”
Captain James T. Kirk learns the mistake of not filing a complete report following the events depicted in the classic episode, set on the planet Exo III. The androids that were created there by Nurse Chapel’s lost fiancee, Korby, still exist, as does a duplicate of Kirk himself.
And this duplicate has a plan to continue Korby’s mission, and it involves replacing Kirk, and others in Starfleet, on starships, and our stalwart captain has been set up. With the Romulans causing problems on the edges of the Neutral Zone there are going to be all manner of problems for the androids, and for Kirk.
With a duplicate aboard the Enterprise, Kirk is trapped and trying to find a way back to his ship before war erupts and his android duplicate’s plan comes to fruition.
I remember having this book as a teen when it first came out, and not really getting a lot out of it. Maybe I didn’t know the episodes as well then as I do now. But back then, this one didn’t even render me remember anything about the plot. I read it, it got added to the pile of Trek books I already owned, as I worked to get my hands on the entire collection.
This time, I caught the references, I could visualise it in my head as an actual episode, and it felt like an episode. In fact, I quite enjoyed it this time around. It’s essentially a Kirk story, but McCoy, Scotty and Uhura are all given their moments, which is nice. It almost feels like an ensemble cast episode.
It feels like it fits within the canon of the universe that Trek has created, and one wonders what would happen with the androids later in the universe should Starfleet come across them again, and if perhaps Korby’s work would in fact influence Soong’s.
Kirk gets some great action beats, but also shows why he is such a great captain, demonstrating compassion, instinct, and a tactical know how that eludes his android counterpart.
The dialogue could have featured some more fun banter between Kirk, Spock and McCoy, but at least Scotty has some snappy dialogue.
The Human Adventure continues and there are more stories to be found in the Pocket Book novels, and I am looking forward to each and every one of them.