Simon & Schuster Canada launch their Star Trek: Strange New Worlds book series this week with The High Country by John Jackson Miller. I feel like Miller was inspired by the early-release poster which featured someone mounted on a horse, giving it a western feel, even set against a strange new two-mooned world with alien architecture in the background and the USS Enterprise floating peacefully above.
Captain Christopher Pike, his first officer, Una Chin-Riley, lieutenant Spock, and cadet Uhura are travelling in a shuttle prototype, potentially usable for stealth observation missions. Unfortunately, as they draw closer to a planet, something triggers a systemwide failure of electronic circuits, causing the shuttle to plummet into the atmosphere.
An emergency transport saves the lives of those aboard the shuttle but drops them in different places around the globe.
While the Enterprise keeps a safe distance away from the planet, the electronic baffle extends into orbit, and the castaway crew attempt to reconnect and discover the mysteries of the world that seem to be trapped in a period, not unlike Earth’s old west.
Part sequel to the Star Trek: Enterprise episode, North Star, the story ties itself securely into the established canon and lets us join this new crew on an all-new adventure.
I like very much that the novels have waited for a chunk of episodes, in this case, the entire first season, to air before releasing their first novel. Previous series have featured novels that were written before a single episode had aired, or in some cases cast.
The characters sound as they are supposed to and the adventure is carefully plotted inside the season one arc. There are times when I didn’t care for the fact that the story had so many things going on. There’s a lot happening here for all of the characters as they dig into the wonders and mysteries of the world and discover a strange and dangerous threat. I sometimes found myself wishing for a sleeker storyline, focusing on one character, but as the plot reveals more of itself, it all ties together nicely.
I was delighted that the book not only gave moments to the stranded shuttle party but to the ongoing situations and characters on the Enterprise, like M’Benga’s daughter saved in the transporter buffer, La’an, and the wonderful Aenar engineer, Hemmer, who ends up being very helpful to the team.
Miller has delivered a number of very enjoyable Star Trek, and Star Wars, novels, and this one can be counted amongst them. I’m very excited about a whole new book series based on Strange New Worlds because the series has definitely won me over.
I can’t wait for more journeys with Pike’s Enterprise and see what other adventures befall them. The Human Adventure continues with Simon & Schuster’s Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – The High Ground available today!!
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