My apologies for being away; baseball drained me and life took hold, I suppose. Reflecting on the month of October 2003, I can say that Star Trek literature has its good and bad moments, but lately, it has been more interesting than the currently broadcasted incarnation “Star Trek: Enterprise” (previously just “Enterprise”, but apparently returning to the Star Trek name in an attempt to reclaim fans who have been unhappy with the lack of consistent storytelling in a prequel series like this). The book franchise has released the special “Lost Era” series, to cover the heretofore unseen gap between the movie “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” (the last movie on the original crew of the Enterprise, of The Original Series (TOS)) and “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (TNG). These books take lines of references about the “Lost Era” from TNG, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” and “Star Trek: Voyager” and flesh them into stories, as well as bringing to life characters who have had minimum screen time. I haven’t read book 1, since I was eagerly awaiting book 2 – and I particularly enjoyed reading it.
“Serpents Among the Ruins,” by David R. George III, which came out in October, focuses on the experience of the starship U.S.S. Enterprise-B. Captain John Harriman, of the Enterprise B, was seen in “Star Trek: Generations” (the first TNG movie, and the end of William Shatner as Captain Kirk) as one who couldn’t possibly overcome that giant Kirk shadow. Fortunately, the Star Trek novel “The Captain’s Daughter” by Peter David rehabilitated Harriman’s character and “Serpents Among the Ruins” continues the portrayal of this man and how he fits in the pantheon of Enterprise heroes. I highly recommend this book, for being an intruiging read. It demonstrates the complex galactic politics of the Star Trek universe (yep, the Romulans and the Klingons are at it again, and the Federation don’t exactly come out looking like beautiful angels either). “Serpents Among the Ruins” was probably much too descriptive than it should have been, but I couldn’t put it down. It left me thinking, “Geez, how can Harriman pull that off? Who is he kidding?” but then realized that what he did was clever – his conscience is cleared of wrongdoing and he gets the right outcome, even if his means were questionable and bizarre. Harriman’s first officer, Demora Sulu, was also a good character and the story maintained the great Trek tradition of celebrating ideals and diversity with a good story.
Peter David’s latest entry in his “Star Trek: New Frontier” series , “Gods Above,” continues the adventures of Captain Mackenzie Calhoun, a non-human and all-around crazy hero, and his sidekick, Captain Elizabeth Shelby. In this book, they have to deal with the Beings, who had presented themselves to Captain Kirk a century before as “Gods” (of the ancient Greek variety). “Gods Above” isn’t nearly as powerful a punch as I’d like it to have been, but it has its moments (Mac and his one-liners; Mac and Shelby’s maturing relationship; the boy Moke, innocent and brave; and the return of Spock). Good read.
It may be awhile before I splurge on more Star Trek reading, but I’m feeling a little better about the Star Trek franchise after I read something as good as these had been.