Star Trek: Crossroad (1994) – Barbara Hambley

Space, the final frontier…

As mentioned in previous reviews of Trek books, they can’t all be winners. As much as I wanted to enjoy this one, it was definitely a bit of a slog to get through. Hambley penned a dense story that doesn’t have the flow of a Trek tale, though with some changes, easily could have.

Having said that, there are a few things I did like about this story, and that’s the focus that Nurse Christine Chapel gets, as well as Hambley’s intention to tie her novel in securely with The Original Series, and its five year mission by mentioning past events.

With four months left on their voyage some of the crew, in this case specifically Chapel, are wondering what to do when the Enterprise returns home, and whether she re-ups for another assignment or does something else. That’s a cool character bit, as we know, thanks to various novels, especially The Lost Years series, what the main character may or may not have gotten up to (these tales aren’t canon after all).

The main story presents us with a mystery as a black-painted Constitution-class starship emerges from the Crossroad nebula, a spatial anomaly that has only reported starship disappearances, not appearances. The ship is failing, and Kirk arranges for the crew to be beamed aboard, and it only heightens the mystery at work.

The half dozen surviving crew are of various races, and seem to have biomechanical implants along their spine, and nerve clusters…

The story they claim is unusual, but not impossible, but is it the truth, and what happens when conflict arises?

There’s a lot of cool things at work in the story, but since none of the main characters seem to behave in a way we’re used to, and the fact that the text itself feels overly dense, it doesn’t flow like a Trek story should, and instead of being entertained by an adventure with the crew of the Enterprise, the reader is forced to wade through clunky situations and dialogue that feel out of place.

I really wanted to like this one, but there was just no ‘in’ for me in the story. I couldn’t relate to it, and even though the mystery intrigued me, the way the story was doled out could not hold my attention.

I’ve said it previously, I’m not going to enjoy all the voyages I go on with this crew, though they have definitely continued to improve since the first entries in the series. So like the rest of the crew, I will continue to boldly go with them as the Human Adventure continues…

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