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REVIEW: Star Trek Legacies Book 1: Captain to Captain

Star Trek Legacies Book 1 cover image

The special 50th anniversary trilogy series Star Trek Legacies celebrates The Original Series with all new stories by famed Star Trek authors. Read on for our review of Book 1, Captain to Captain by Greg Cox, which features Klingons, Majel Barrett’s Number One, and a huge surprise ending.

Star Trek Legacies Book 1 cover
Star Trek Legacies Book 1 sells for $6.99 on Amazon

“No one left behind” is a popular creed, especially among the United States military, whose members will sacrifice their own safety to rescue fallen comrades. Star Trek fans should expect nothing different from its favorite Starfleet characters, even though technically the organization is not a military establishment, it does possess a hierarchy of command, and serves as the defensive arm of the Federation when needed. The idea of not leaving anyone behind is the main focus of Greg Cox’s installment to Simon & Schuster’s three-part Star Trek: Legacies trilogy to commemorate the 50th anniversary on the final frontier.

Contained in Gene Roddenberry’s first proposal for Star Trek was the name of the captain of its starship, Robert April. While the character had appeared in one episode of The Animated Series as well as several books, both Paramount and Roddenberry has said that TAS is not part of the larger Star Trek canon. This did not stop fans, and others, from citing April as the first captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise (as depicted in TAS). Why is this important? Well, serving under his command was an eager officer by the name of Una, who would just happen to go onto become Christopher Pike’s Number One, played by Majel Barrett, in Roddenberry’s first filmed Star Trek pilot, “The Cage”.

Over fifty years ago, Roddenberry attempted to break down the gender walls that defined society, while he was able to include a female among the bridge command crew in the first pilot, viewers of “The Cage” were always left to wonder what fate befell Number One.

As the novel starts, readers meet Captain Una as she rendezvous with the Enterprise. The events of the novel take place shortly after “The Menagerie” (TOS). Kirk and Spock assume her visit is nothing more than just finding out where her former commander wound up. However, Una has a mission of her own, which began decades earlier when she commanded her first landing party on the planet Usilade. She received more than she bargained for however, and lost her entire team as well as discovering the MacGuffin that ties Book 1, and possibly the trilogy, together.

Cox writes an enjoyable tale, one which focuses a bit on Una’s past as a young officer under April, but also explains what she has carried with her all these years. During TOS, Kirk never allowed the death of a character to be meaningless, and always took it seriously. Viewers knew how heavy the death of people under his command weighed on him. Una appears to have these same virtues, probably why they both were named captains in Starfleet.

Initial installments in any trilogy can be difficult for writers, as a lot of what they are doing is setting up future chapters of the tale. However, reading Cox’s Legacies Book 1, readers would be hard pressed not to consider Captain to Captain on its own merits. In fact, Cox does an excellent job establishing the trilogy while also paying service to his own story. There are a few plot threads left open, of course, which should serve to excite readers to continue enjoying the trilogy. Plus, there is a huge surprise ending that sets up Legacies Book 2: Best Defense by David Mack.

Star Trek Legacies Book 1 sells for $6.99 on Amazon

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In think Paramount changed its mind on the canonical nature of TAS as being “canon” recently. Meanwhile, Gene Roddenberry had been contemplating on making even TOS non-canon, when he did TMP. Certainly, the novelization of TMP implied that TOS was the fictional tale of the real Enterprise and its crew as authorized by Starfleet, which Kirk thought was a silly thing to do. So, with all due respect to GR, he has very little credibility on this.

I think you’re taking Admiral Kirk’s “introduction” to Roddenberry’s novelization of TMP perhaps a bit too seriously. Calling out the producers of TOS (i.e. Roddenberry) for over-dramatizing events was a nice bit of meta-commentary, and in addressing the issue of the “backwardness” of Kirk’s Academy class and the rumors about a relationship with his first officer that went maybe beyond a platonic friendship (yes, children, there were actually gay people in 1979!), I found it to be refreshing and fun. If only the film itself had found room for that kind of playfulness.

Well, GR was pretty un-meta before TNG started about how much of TOS was “real”.

TAS was only ‘decanonised’ for legal reasons. It’s pretty much been ‘recanonised’ in recent times. If we followed Gene Roddenberry’s apparent preferences on canon, most of season three, the entire animated series and most of the TOS movies would have to be removed. He also said that he was happy to be revisionist and contradict TOS when he started TNG.

Personally, I see TAS as a perfect ‘bridge’ (excuse the pun) between TOS and TMP. I know a lot of us say it, but I’d love to see new animations created to replace the old artwork. To think there are 22 stories out there with recordings of the voices of the original cast…. That’s great raw material, ideal for adaptation and expansion. I was really pleased to see so many TAS references slipped into the remastered TOS shows too.

@Dom

“I’d love to see new animations created to replace the old artwork. To think there are 22 stories out there with recordings of the voices of the original cast…. That’s great raw material, ideal for adaptation and expansion.”

That’s an excellent idea. Imagine what those episodes would look like with state-of-the-art visuals.

Why u have to bring the United States military and compear them with Starfleet? I stop reeding there..

Gene Roddenberry fought in WWII as a member of the US military, as did James Doohan. When you disrespect the military you disrespect them as well. Myself I wish people would stop with the idiotic “Starfleet isn’t a military” bs which is never more than in- universe propaganda.

I thought Doohan served in the Canadian military, along with Wolverine…?

It was Gene Roddenberry’s notion that Starfleet was not strictly a military organization; it’s even explicitly mentioned in “The Making of Star Trek.” (In several interviews he called it “para-military.”). So are you claiming that by making such statements, as a veteran he was disrespecting himself?

It’s also an explicit part of the TOS Writer’s Bible that Starfleet is only QUASI-military. The writer’s guide for TOS included this set of questions and answers:

“Speaking of the starship U. S. S. Enterprise, is it a completely military arrangement?

Semi-military but without being heavily authoritarian. For example, we will not be aware of ‘officers’ and ‘enlisted men’ categories. And we will avoid saluting and other annoying medieval leftovers. On the other hand, we do keep a flavor of Naval usage and terminology to help encourage believability and identification by the audience. After all, our own Navy today still retains remnants of Nelson and Drake.”

Well at least Starfleet wont try stealing terran social security. ….lol

Where did he make a comparison? All he did was coin a phrase and provide a little exposition as to why. Go find a safe space and stay there if you’re truly this sensitive.

If by that you mean Schepis never denigrated the military, but only mentioned in passing that Starfleet itself was not military. . . well, yes.

Who cares about denigrating any temporary nation state’s military??? Unlike Starfleet, the military is designed to kill. You need to watch Encounter at Farpoint for some great Q commentary on the military. Not to mention Picard’s own reference to Q in a US military uniform calling it (not Q in it) a “ridiculous costume.” Patriotism is for the weak minded and a great tool for controlling people. Don’t be a chump.

I quite enjoyed this book, and it’s been a long time since I could say that about a Star Trek novel. Giving the character the name of Una, the feminine form of “one” in Spanish, was a little contrived but I really liked how Cox fleshed out the character and gave her an interesting back story.

They should do a series (live or otherwise) on April and Pike.

OK, question: I’ve been away from Trek fiction for about 15 years. Before that, I had every novel (both Pocket Books and Bantam) from the first one up to the premiere of Voyager. Lack of time, money, and bookshelf space put my collection (and reading) on hold. So — any suggestions on where I should dive back in? I loved Diane Duane, Vonda McIntyre, and Peter David in the old days; I’ve read the the two Temporal Investigations books, and think they’re great. I’d rather not read a huge offshoot series (like ‘New Frontier’ or ‘Vanguard’). Thanks in advance.

The best Trek book I’ve read in years is “Crisis of Consciousness” by Dave Gallanter. A lot depends, though, on what you most enjoy about Trek; some books focus more on the characters, some more on the aliens, some are heavy on plot, and so on.

I feel similarly lost. I love blood and thunder space opera adventures by the likes of Peter F Hamilton (I adore the Commonwealth novels) and I thoroughly enjoyed books such as Strangers from the Sky and Final Frontier (the Diane Carey one!)

I also like my Starfleet more military, as shown in TWOK and TUC. I’d love to read a Trek book that re-captures the excitement I felt reading a Vonda McIntyre movie adaptation or Diane Carey tale such as Dreadnought! or Battlestations! back in the 1980s.

Dom, those are exactly the novels I loved in the 80’s. Enterprise, Spock’s World, Prime Directive… those early Giant novels or hardcovers were oft-read favourites. McIntyre’s novelizations of Treks II, III, and IV kept getting better. Golden days!

I loved this book in the trilogy. I very much enjoyed Una’s mystery and getting some backstory to her.

Nearly all of this story is about the woman Star Trek fans know as Number One. Not only would I prefer that at least HALF of a TOS novel be about Kirk and Spock, but the story makes Number One look like an idiot. We’re TOLD that she’s blindingly competent, but every time we actually see her in action, she makes stupid decisions and seems kind of bumbling. The author forces his characters and their technology to behave the way he wants them to, regardless of whether or not this is realistic. So people equipped with tricorders do not scan for local inhabitants and are surprised and captured by them, even when they know that local inhabitants exist. It seems as if “do a scan with your tricorder before getting out of the shuttle” would be a Week 1 lesson at Starfleet Academy, but it’s evidently beyond a woman that we’re told is gosh, oh, so wonderfully competent. Oh, and it’s possible to put multiple bugs — both cameras and sound — in the captain’s quarters without anyone detecting them, even though a highly important object was stolen from those same quarters earlier in the book, so one would think Kirk or Spock or Scotty — probably all three — would be on their guard. When Kirk and Spock do put in their rare appearances, they aren’t always in character. For example, when Kirk tells Spock that his piloting stinks, Spock replies, “If I had feelings, they would be hurt.”… Read more »
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