With the recent release of S.D. Perry and Britta Dennison’s novel “Star Trek: Inception”, we are given a window into the lives of Kirk and Spock several years ahead of their adventures together aboard the Enterprise. What does the window reveal? Find out in our review below
REVIEW – Star Trek Inception
written by S.D. Perry & Britta Dennison
Mass-market Paperback, 320 pages
When Dr. Carol Marcus develops an experimental method of transforming barren regolith into soil that could be viable for agricultural applications, the Kraden Corporation is more than eager to jump on board with the financing to support the experiments. With a small test plot set aside on Mars, things seem to be moving in the right direction, until the Martian equivalent of Greenpeace (among others) decided that the potential for harming the native environment is too great to allow the program to go forward.
At the same time, Dr. Marcus and one of her team members, Leila Kalomi, are dealing with very personal decisions as they look at both the present state of their lives and their futures. Their decisions surround love, and are focused squarely on James Kirk and Spock.
There you have the basic setup for “Inception”, and, frankly, that’s about all you need.
Star Trek fans have long been curious about Jim Kirk’s relationship with Carol Marcus, and a few of those questions are answered by Perry and Dennison, but on the whole, “Inception” comes across as a morality play on environmental issues (which isn’t bad in-and-of-itself) using Star Trek characters to provide an audience. Nothing about the storyline feels particularly original, and both Kirk and Spock feel enormously underused; especially considering the prominence with which they are displayed on the book’s cover.
Little about the Kalomi/Spock arc seems to fully explain the feelings of the botanist when Spock will again encounter her in the TOS episode "This Side of Paradise." Kalomi essentially comes across as being ‘on the rebound’, and horribly desperate. Marcus, on the other hand, is handled far more thoughtfully – presenting her with some real dilemmas to address with regard to her relationship with Kirk, but ultimately her arc is cut far short, and ends unsatisfactorily.
Other than the promise of food for all, little about Project Inception seems noteworthy, not even the potential side-effects of a failure. It has obvious ties to Marcus’ later Project Genesis, and while the environmental activists of Redpeace and the Whole Earth organizations are busy talking up the potential disastrous side-effects of Inception, there is no grand wonder and terror inspired by the work, unlike its later successor.
Ultimately, “Inception” fails on nearly every level. The narrative suffers from a rushed feeling, the storyline is terribly un-engaging, and one would enjoy a more compelling story surrounding environmental concerns and conservation by watching a few episodes of “Whale Wars”.
COMING NEXT: Lots of Trek books over the next month
There is a lot more Star Trek reading coming to your book store in the coming weeks. Due out this week is the mass market reprint of Peter David’s 2009 novel "Star Trek New Frontier: Treason". And in March Pocket Books has the "Star Trek: Seven Deadly Sins" trade paperback collection of novellas exploring different Trek races, using the classic seven deadly sins as a framing structure. Later in March comes "Star Trek Online: The Needs of the Many", the ‘oral history’ as told to Jake Sisko (via Michael A. Martin) set in the
universe of the new massive multiplayer game. And also coming in March is Margaret Wander Bonanno’s "Star Trek: Unspoken Truth", a TOS movie era novel focusing on Saavik.