The Human Adventure continues as I delve into another Star Trek novel, and revel in the storytelling that actually feels like an episode (or several) of The Original Series. Set during the original five year mission, the three authors work to craft a tale that works as a cohesive whole while giving us separate story threads.
There are three different narratives at work here in this novel, cutting back and forth as you would expect in a well balanced episode. Aboard the Enterprise Kirk is dealing with an alien fleet attacking colonies, and stealing equipment which just happen to match the needs of a race denied membership to the Federation because of their tyrannical beliefs and behaviour. Also aboard the Enterprise, we see a young ensign settling into his new assignment and working to make his mark, Pavel Chekov. This is fascinating because Chekov’s appearance in the series is never addressed in that regard, he just starts appearing on the bridge in season two, though he was aboard, for a couple of months when the story takes place.
Uhura finds herself on detached assignment to the Lexington under Commodore Wesley, as a linguistic specialist for a race that communicates verbally and through sign language. They have a secret about one of the castes of their race, and before the story ends, we’ll learn that like all mysteries in books or cop shows, the story threads connect, two separate cases are in fact one!
It’s a wonderfully balanced novel and the three authors work very well together, tying in their references to previous events, understanding how the characters interact, and how things in the Trek universe operate. I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed Chekov’s story, it details how the character struggled to fit in, make a good impression, and begin to foster relationships with the rest of the senior staff.
Uhura’s tale is also very enjoyable, and it’s great that she gets a moment to stand in the spotlight, something that definitely didn’t happen enough in the series or films. She’s a wonderful character, and is given a lot to do, not only on her mission, but also in inspiring the crew she finds herself working with.
The story moves along at a fast pace and like the best Trek novels, played out in my head perfectly. I could see each moment, and it truly played like an episode in my mind’s eye, and that is the highest praise I can award a Trek book; if I could see it my imagination instead of seeing just the words, mission accomplished, and the journey continues.
There are more trips of the imagination to come with Kirk and company, and I will boldly go…