Star Trek: The Fearful Summons (1995) – Denny Martin Flinn

Space, the final frontier…

I take up the journey with Kirk and company again this week, and was delighted in how most of The Fearful Summons read. It’s a fast read, and has the pacing of a screenplay, and even reading it, you can tell what things would be edited out of the film, or cut for budget or other reasons… including the fact that Kirk goes to a local bar, which serves as a regular hangout in San Francisco for Starfleet personnel, and it has a pair of Deltans ‘performing’ together.

That being said, except for referring to the captains as commanders and McCoy calling the captain Kirk instead of Jim, Denny Martin Flinn who had his hand in writing The Undiscovered Country, pens a follow-up to the film, that gives us our first story that follows our stalwart crew after their retirement.

Picking up a year after the events of Star Trek VI, Captain Hikaru Sulu and a number of his officers are captured by a stand-offish race that despite being one of the biggest suppliers of dilithium crystals is not a part of the Federation, and while happy to trade with the UFP thinks they are heretics and infidels.

This species follows The One Way, and refer to themselves as the People of Light, religiously devout, they are predominantly traders, and one of them thought they could make some money off of Sulu and his crew.

While the diplomats argue, and hope to find some form of peace, and return of their officers, James T. Kirk, with a new, young, love interest at his side reaches out to his old bridge crew to go out to the frontier and help rescue a man who has shown them so much loyalty in the past.

But they aren’t as young as they were, they aren’t as sharp as they were. They are, however, dedicated to each other, and to common purpose.

There is some great banter in a number of moments in the book, and you can actually hear the lines being delivered by Spock, Scotty, Chekov, Uhura, McCoy, Sulu and Kirk. Then there are other pieces of dialogue that fall flat. Still, it’s a pretty solid read, and doesn’t hide the fact that these characters are retired now, they’ve got new lives, and to steal a phrase, ‘galloping around the cosmos is a game for the young,’ or at least slightly younger than they are now.

The love story when it’s introduced is a little cringe-worthy. Sure Kirk is a legend, an icon of Starfleet history, but even his new paramour, Barbara points out he could lose a little weight. Her character, while adding somethings to the plot, could have been an older character and not a fresh from the Academy cadet. He’s old enough to be her grandfather (he says father).

It’s a fast moving and entertaining tale, and is a pretty cool follow-up to The Undiscovered Country, but I think Sulu and his crew could have had a little more page time – they don’t even attempt to come up with plans to escape, they simply accept their fate. I don’t think Sulu would do that.

Next time we boldly go into the Shatner-Verse with The Ashes of Eden!

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