David Gerrold had already been an accomplished script writer, most notably “The Trouble with Tribbles”, so it’s very encouraging to begin one of his Star Trek books. Unfortunately, writing a good science fiction book is still not an easy thing, even when you have a good grip on the characters and the mythos.
The author plows through another common trope, the “world spaceship”, complete with inhabitants that don’t know anything more than their ship, and also with the trope “ship will plunge into black hole” (the “galactic whirlpool”) unless the inhabitants trust the visitors and activate and steer the ship. Again, the same type situations, the incredulity, etc, etc, are written yet again.
Even so, it’s exceptionally well written, with insightful flashbacks, character ponderings, even with the full servings of dialogues. The action is a bit slow-paced, as the emphasis of fleshing out the characters is heavily marked.
At the end, it’s more space opera than sci-fi. The book reads more like a very long TV episode than a novel. Even with the peppered descriptions, there is still too much dialogue, more common with scripts than written literature. This is also a common affliction of fan fiction, where the dialogues extend for pages and pages, much of it inane or pointless. Gerrold does a better job, but it still becomes tedious when the characters just jab along about just everything they do. More action, less talk would have helped inmensly.
A good book for a good read, if the style does not annoy you. The story is not so much the focus as are the elements of the Star Trek universe, so for Trek fans it’s very enjoyable.
On comments and reviews I have seen on the Net, this is one of the most favorably remembered. Taking in account that it’s well written, it’s by one of the original script writers and that it’s based on a submitted script, I will have to add it to the “Must Read” list. This list is so far very short, and I don’t think it will be very long.
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