EPUB EBook by Margaret Wander Bonanno
EBook DescriptionOriginally published as a series of six novellas to celebrate the original series' 40th anniversary, "Mere Anarchy" is now collected as a single- EPUBvolume, trade paperback release in anticipation of the upcoming reboot on the big screen. Star Trek EPUB EBookThe six stories take place across the entire run of classic "Star Trek," from the early days of the original series to the movie-era continuity.
As I read the short novellas, I will offer up my thoughts on each one and then do one big "wrap-up" review once I've read the entire 500 plus page story.
Book One: "Things Fall Apart" by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore
A pre-"Where No Man Has Gone Before" story about the earliest days of Kirk's command of the Enterprise.The planet Mestiko is one being observed by undercover teams of Federation scientists to determine if the planet is ready for first contact.While there, it's discovered that a giant pulsar will pass close to the planet and while it won't collide with Metisko, it will irradiate the planet, causing environmental hazards and virtually destroying all life on the planet.The Enterprise is assigned to deploy a series of satellites that will create a shield for the planet and avert all of this damage.
"Things Fall Apart" showcases an era we don't know much about in "Trek" history—that of the time before McCoy joined the crew and Gary Mitchell hadn't yet had his accident.It's nice to see the Enterprise crew slowly gelling into what it will become in later episodes and the movies and it's nice to see the Kirk and Spock friendship before it's really established.Of course, since there are five more chapters in the saga and we know the writers wanted a reason for the Enterprise to return to Mestiko, it's not easy to figure that things won't go according to plan when it comes to deploying the satellites.But despite being somewhat predictable if you've read a good deal of "Trek" fiction, the story works because we see a young Kirk facing the challenges of his command and accepting the burden when things don't go exactly according to plan—even though the failure isn't the fault of Kirk or anyone else really. The story also does a nice job of world-building for Mestiko, giving us a glimpse of the society and seeing the reaction to the potential catastrophic destruction coming.
"The Center Cannot Hold" by Michael Barr
Set during the original series run (early season two, I'd estimate) the story finds Kirk and company returning to Mestiko with a series of satellites that could clean up the atmosphere. Of course this being classic "Trek" at its height, the Klingons are also on hand, competing with the Federation for control.
Of the six stories in the book, this is the most straight forward.It puts elements into play that will pay off later in the series, including a thread about the mistrust of the Federation by certain factions on the planet.It's probably the shortest of the novellas contained here.
"Shadows of the Indignant" by Dave Galanter
Set in the "lost era" between the end of the original five year mission and the start of "The Motion Picture," Galanter's entry finds Kirk teaming with McCoy to head back to Mestiko on a covert mission.Early on the story is intriguing as we get some nice interaction between Kirk and McCoy, but overall I found this one of the more disappointing segments of the story.
"The Darkness Drops Again" by Christopher L. Bennett
The longest of the novellas and the most entertaining.Set after "TMP," Bennett shows why he's one of the best classic "Trek" writers currently working.A lot of that may be that the story isn't limited to a short number of days or weeks, but unfolds over a longer periods.The mood on Mestiko has changed and led to turmoil and a general distrust of the Federation by certain political factions who come to power.One scene I really liked sees the planet's people wondering why the Federation couldn't scramble to save their world as efficiently as they did when it came to V'Ger threatening Earth.
Bennett's story is the strongest on the characters and really the turning point of the set of novellas.
"The Blood-Dimmed Tide" by Howard Weinstein
It's been far too long since we were treated to a "Trek" story from Howard Weinstein.Back in the day, his books were those to be looked forward to and he certainly seems to have not lost his edge here.All the elements introduced in the first four installments come to a head in this story and Weinstein really delivers the goods.A fast-paced, exciting entry.
"Its Hour Come Round" by Margaret Wander Bonano
And then, there's the epilogue. Set after the death of Kirk, this is a character-driven coda to the story.It's nice to see Bonano back and writing for "Trek" again, but I wish this had been a stronger story along the lines of her Captain Pike novel released around the same time. Like this book? Read online this: God of Thieves (A Goddess Series short story #7), Star Trek.
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