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Review: Star Trek: Miasma February 22, 2016

Posted by sjroby in Book reviews, Star Trek.
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Another Netgalley review.

Imagine there’d been a TV series set after Star Trek V, with Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Uhura, Chekov, and Saavik on the Enterprise (Sulu’s gone off to the Excelsior by now). Imagine the episodes of that TV series sometimes revisited themes and concepts from the original series but with a group of older, wiser characters who’d learned from their past experiences. That’s what this novella by Greg Cox feels like.

While ferrying ambassadors to a diplomatic summit, the Enterprise receives a strange signal from an unexplored world — SOS call? warning buoy? something else? The universal translator can’t decode it, but the Enterprise goes to investigate. Spock, McCoy, and a few others take a shuttle to the surface (atmospheric conditions interfere with sensors, communications, and transporters). Things go wrong and they find themselves in a struggle to survive. Plotwise, it’s a new take on the classic episode “The Galileo Seven,” but with an older and wiser Spock and McCoy handling the situation much differently, and being aware of the parallels.

Being one of the ebook novella series, this is short enough to feel like a TV episode. Adding to the TV episode feel is the minor subplot of the cranky ambassadors, the kind we’ve seen a few times before, who don’t actually get much time on the page. The story could have worked just as well without them, so I can’t help but think they’re there to give this that extra bit of TV episode feel.

Greg Cox is an experienced novelist who’s been writing these characters (except Saavik) for many years, and he has a solid understanding of their personalities and the way they speak and interact. He also does well with Saavik, who (as played by Kirstie Alley in Star Trek II) was a fascinating character and hasn’t appeared in Treklit nearly enough.

This is scheduled for Star Trek’s 50th anniversary and it’s a good pick for that. In a concise, fast-paced novella you get a tale that lets the old classic gang have one of their late adventures, commenting on one of their earlier adventures. That allows it to be nostalgic without being only nostalgic. Good stuff.

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