This week, I take my first step into what became known as the Shatner-verse, a series of Star Trek novels written by Captain Kirk himself, with the aid of Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens.
Set some months after the events of The Undiscovered Country but before the opening of Generations, Kirk isn’t doing to well with where he is in his life. He’s lacking purpose and it’s wearing on him, and those around him, which sees him treating Carol Marcus pretty poorly, all for the authors to introduce a younger love interest for the aging captain to send him off on one last mission.
In fact, the idea that the mission at hand is launched by an appeal practically to Kirk’s vanity is a little troubling, and early in the novel Kirk doesn’t seem like the character we left at the end of Trek VI. I guess Shatner, who has played the character for so long, has a different view on some of Kirk’s finer points, but it’s also bothersome that the further the story goes along, he always has to be right about practically everything.
Still, it’s a fairly fun adventure, and the Reeves-Stevens know their Trek, and can make callbacks and name-drops that tie everything together into the larger fabric of the universe.
Kirk is approached by a beautiful young woman, Teilani, a Klingon-Romulan hybrid, known as a Chal, who has come to ask the officer to come help save her planet, with the promise of her love, and eternal youth as a reward.
Kirk is off like a shot, finds himself aboard a familiar starship, and heads out to the Klingon-Romulan border, but his friends, and former command crew aren’t far behind him, unfortunately they are working with an Admiral who has a personal vendetta against Kirk, and may have a connection to a larger sweeping conspiracy within Starfleet. A conspiracy whose tip was the assassination of Gorkon.
The story, once I got into it, and Kirk started acting a little more rationally, booted along, and was actually a lot of fun, despite the treatment of Carol, and it was fun to see the crew together back together, but in a different way. It was, well, fascinating to read Shatner’s take on his character, and how he would write a story in the universe he has spent so much time in, and while there are a lot of things I really like about this one, and a lot of it makes it a nice post-VI adventure, Marcus deserved better.
But I love the way the callbacks and references are woven throughout the story.
The Human Adventure continues (and Shatner writes a few more novels as well, the first sequel to Ashes of Eden is set up in the book’s epilogue) and I will boldly go…