This week the Library Computer is catching up with a review of the paperback reprint of “Mere Anarchy”, a six part mini-series originally produced in eBook format to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Star Trek. This week we also have news of the original book set in the new Star Trek continuity – and it’s sure to be a surprise!
REVIEW: STAR TREK MERE ANARCHY COLLECTION
The “Mere Anarchy” collection started its life in 2006 as a series of six e-books. Editor Keith R.A. DeCandido recruited writers and put them to task to tell the tale of the the planet Mestiko, and it’s inhabitants, the Payav. Unique to this series was that, over a six month period, one was able to follow the story of the people of Mestiko from the pre-pilot era of The Original Series through and beyond the ‘death’ of Jim Kirk aboard the Enterprise-B. On the whole, “Mere Anarchy” is a really engaging and interesting reading experience. But let’s take a few moments and break down some thoughts about each story.
Things Fall Apart
by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
(Set in 2265 – prior to the episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before”)
It might seem like a bit of writer’s hyperbole, but to begin their story (and the series) with the words, “First Consul, believe me when I tell you that every living thing on this planet is going to die.” Is no hyperbole. Ward and Dilmore dig in to some interesting and plausible scientific concepts to set the disastrous stage for a series of adventures that worthily celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Star Trek. The Federation learns of the impending events because of the presence of a pre-First Contact team stationed on Mestiko, a team who comes out of hiding initially to contact the scientists of the world, but who become known to the civil government, a government which then proceeds to beg for help. Enter the starship Enterprise, with the newly-minted Captain James Kirk in command, and with new, experimental technology designed to help avert the catastrophe on the planet. We are treated to an interesting setting on the bridge of the Enterprise, one very much in keeping with the vibe of “Where No Man Has Gone Before”, right down to the voices of the crew and the commands issued through the ship. Ward and Dilmore get the story off to an engaging and rousing start. “Things Fall Apart” is easily the best story in the bunch.
The Center Cannot Hold
by Mike W. Barr
(Set in 2267)
Two years after the events of the previous story, Mike W. Barr brings the Starship Enterprise into Mestiko orbit in an attempt to assist with post-disaster recovery on the planet. Joining the crew is a Federation scientist, Dr. Lon, who has a strong desire to assist in the cleanup and revitalization of the planet. Of course, since the planet is in disputed territory between the Federation and the Klingons, the Organian Peace Treaty gives the Klingons a footing on the planet, one they intend to exploit for every benefit they can. And, since we are talking about the Klingons, you can bet that they don’t care whose ecosystem is destroyed, or what intelligent species goes extinct – just so long as they get what they want. And yet, the Klingons aren’t acting directly, far from it… and Barr goes a long way to give several central Payav characters strong motivation for cooperating with the Klingon’s urgings. Barr presents a solid story, one that is fast paced and packed with story development. It definitely keeps the ball-a-rollin’!
Shadows of the Indignant
by Dave Galanter
(Set in 2271)
Welcome to the Lost Years, and a journey with Admiral James Kirk (acting more like Commander James Bond) and retired Starfleet surgeon Leonard McCoy. After being rudely accosted in a Kentucky eatery (not KFC!), McCoy agrees to join Kirk (or should I say Mr. Temple) on an undercover journey back to Mestiko in an effort to figure out just what is going on on the planet. Kirk is playing a hunch, to be sure, but he and McCoy soon learn just how much of a pain following a hunch can be. While Kirk suspects the Klingons, what the pair will discover will draw them into a time on the run, and a confrontation with the planetary leader, Raya elMora. On reading “Shadows of the Indignant”, the presence of McCoy initially felt out of place, given the setting between the Original Series and The Motion Picture. However it becomes quickly apparent that only McCoy could have fulfilled the role that Kirk needed in this story, and his ‘old country doctor’ approach to things serves to compliment well the brashness of Kirk as they together aim to continue doing their part to put to rights the situation of the Payav.
The Darkness Drops Again
by Christopher L. Bennett
(Set over a period from 2274 to 2283)
Political upheaval is a part of any society, and in the wake of The Pulse disaster, the planet Mestiko becomes wrapped up in the ongoing debate between scientific advance and ritual purity. Several political and religious entities on the planet have taken to blaming, quite vocally, the Federation for the disaster that has befallen their world, and it is their express intent to ensure that it is well known how they feel. Public dissatisfaction with the recovery of the planetary ecosystem leads to a widespread revolt as the planet’s political body, the Zamestaad, is exiled to a barren dump of a backwater that they will need to plow and work into submission. In the wake of the revolt, Kirk returns to the Admiralty and, after a few years, returns to the planet in an effort to retrieve Dr. Lon to assist another world. Lon, however, is a prideful and stubborn man, has found his pet project, and he has no intention of leaving without a fight. In a jam-packed part three, Kirk has retired, Spock commands the Enterprise, and, among others, Captain Terrell and Commander Chekov of the starship Reliant come to Mestiko to observe the planetary elections. Eventually, we meet-up with a retired Kirk who is enjoying retirement in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, when an unexpected guest arrives and plants in him the seed that will lead him to leave his cabin, Antonia, and the quite of everyday life to return to Starfleet – and place him on a collision course with Khan. “The Darkness Drops Again” is an extremely packed story, but it was so well paced that it never became boring or formulaic. Bennett kept a strong balance of action and reflection in the tale which made it quite an interesting and welcome approach to a long period in the planet’s history – and in the lives of the crew of the Enterprise.
The Blood Rimmed Tide
by Howard Weinstein
(Set in 2291)
With the Zamestaad restored and things moving forward on Mestiko, the planetary government establishes a ‘Discovery Center’ on one of the planet’s moons. Imagine the shock of those who funded the work when an attack sees the death of several scientists and the theft of a new subspace weapon, one that can rip the fabric of subspace itself. Kirk, Chekov, Saavik, and the Enterprise crew must chase down this stolen weapon to keep it out of the hands of the Klingons. Along the way they meet up with Admiral Morrow (ST:III) and Captain Spock, behind Klingon lines. “The Blood Dimmed Tide” serves as an interesting bridge between the fifth and sixth feature films, but the storyline of a galactic super-weapon being stolen lacks a certain feeling and seems almost out of keeping with the rest of the stories in this collection. Though it is well written, Weinstein’s contribution to the series is easily the weakest of the bunch, and it comes the closest to losing one’s interest of any of the stories in the book.
Its Hour Come Round
by Margaret Wander Bonanno
(Set in 2293)
James Kirk is dead, but the hearings on the planet Mestiko concerning joining the Federation must go on. Captain Sulu and the crew of the Excelsior ferry Federation diplomats, including Spock, McCoy, and Uhura. The Klingons are there too, with their delegation headed by Chancellor Azetbur, but in the wake of the events at Praxis, there is a different feel to their visit. Initially, Kirk’s absence causes a bit of a furor, but on the heels of the announcement of his death to those gathered together in council, things get (essentially) underway. As a part of the process, McCoy is reviewing medical records on the planet when a strange situation attracts his interest. He heads out into the backwater of Mestiko to investigate, and finds far more than he bargained for – a secret that, at least to some, is worth killing over. While all this is going on, weeks and weeks of debate and discussion occurs as the planet forges its future. Bonanno makes an unusual story choice at the end of “Its Hour Come Round”, one that may not set well with every reader. From my perspective, it was a unique and open-ended way to conclude the story (while offering the chance for a follow-up visit in the future) but I recognize that some will feel unfulfilled. Either way, Bonanno’s concluding contribution is as engaging as any other part of the story, and is a fitting way to conclude an anniversary story that may very well have earned the moniker of ‘epic’, at least from a Trekker’s point of view.
"Star Trek: Mere Anarchy" (available now)
BOOK NEWS – Haynes Enterprise Manual announced
In a bit of a surprising announcement, Simon and Schuster (parent company of Pocket Books) is teaming up with Haynes (yes, the company who makes the automotive manuals) to produce a the "Haynes Enterprise Manual" for the new Enterprise featured in J. J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” feature film. According to a press release from CPLG (the rights marketing agency for Star Trek in Europe) the Haynes Guide will be
the ultimate guide to the Enterprise, applying its famous ‘step-by-step’ approach of stripping the ship down to its essentials and reassembling it with detailed illustrations.
CPLG would not provide any additional details or images, except to say the Enterprise guide will be out in 2010. TrekMovie will keep an eye on this exciting project.
The USS Enterprise is going to get the Haynes Manual treament
COMING NEXT WEEK
The Library Computer heads to the latter days of the original five-year mission as Spock encounters a being who will forever alter his perception of himself, and his take on his own future. Dave Galanter’s “Troublesome Minds” is on the docket for next week. Hope to see you then!
Available for pre-order for May: "Troublesome Minds"
REMINDER: SIGNED "STAR TREK" ADAPTATION BOOK & BOX AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER
In our ‘dueling reviews’ of the Alan Dean Fosters adaptation of the new Star Trek movie, we announced that a limited edition signed hard cover was coming out in June. Each book is signed by the author and comes in a leather box. All are numbered and have a letter of authenticity.
The ‘collectors edition’ of "Star Trek" is available on June 8th and costs $35. You can pre-order the book now at premierecollectibles.com.