Star Trek: The Rift (1991) – Peter David

This week’s Trek entry to the Book Shelf is fun, combining the Pike era, with that of Kirk to give us one big story. I liked a lot of it, there’s some stuff in something referred to as the World Mind with Kirk at the climax that felt a little hokey, but the rest of it was great, and attempted to address some series inconsistencies (like Spock smiling) as well as bringing back characters encountered in The Original Series.

The first part of the story takes place shortly after the events depicted in the unaired pilot episode The Cage, and we are treated to some time with Captain Christopher Pike, a young science officer, Lt. Spock, and a navigator by the name of Jose Tyler.

When the Enterprise discovers a rift in space, they travel through it and discover a slightly xenophobic community that is anxious about their first contact with the Federation, but Tyler makes a heart connection with Ecma, and there seems the possibility of peace between all of them, but for the threats espoused by Ecma’s brother, and some of the cultural beliefs of the planet.

Unfortunately, the rift only opens every thirty-three years, and the Enterprise must beat a hasty retreat before some of the crew is lost amongst this race of beings, known as the Calligar.

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Flash forward a few decades, and we find ourselves aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, after the events of The Final Frontier, and before The Undiscovered Country.

The rift is about to open again, and the Enterprise is assigned the diplomatic mission to reestablish contact. Aboard is Commodore Jose Tyler, who has dreamed of this moment for years, Ambassador Robert Fox, who caused Kirk some grief during the original five year mission, and computer expert Richard Daystrom.

As Kirk, Spock and McCoy ruminate about growing older, Ecma comes through the rift asking for asylum, and putting into motion a series of events that could threaten the Calligar, the established peace, and leave Spock and the landing party trapped on the other side of a resealed rift.

It’s a fun fast moving tale, and I love the fact that we’re now getting stories that include Pike and company, this is the second, and it’s great to walk the decks of the Enterprise with him.

David has a good handle on the characters, and the banter feels pretty close to on point, and there is a sense of familiarity to the way they interact that falls very much into the film era of Trek, it’s just that climax feels, as mentioned, a bit hokey.

I quite liked everything else, though Tyler disappoints me near the end of the book with his outburst, and his sudden reversal. I get that he’s upset, but it seemed a little out of place.

Still, this was a very enjoyable read, and just goes to show that the Human Adventure continues, and I will boldly go…

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