Marco Palmieri, Editor
reviewed by Randy Landers
This anthology features short stories set during the "five year mission" of the U.S.S. Enterprise under Captain Kirk. There are twelve stories and one manga short story (i.e. a comic book) which are contained in the collection. When first announced, it was thought by many that this work would rival and compete directly with fanzines. Such is not the case, however. Out of the thirteen works of fiction, only two of them are even worth reading.
"First, Do No Harm," by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore, is one of the two worthwhile stories as the landing party led by Captain Kirk, investigates a violation of the Prime Directive. The story is engaging, and the characters are realistically drawn. The solution to the problem is quite what one would expect from James T. Kirk.
The second story worth reading isn't so much a Star Trek short story as it is a story about a little boy whose father has been killed in Iraq, and how the child deals with his personal loss with Star Trek. "Make-Believe," by Allyn Gibson, is definitely a memorable story. I'm not sure it qualifies as a Star Trek story, but it certainly was touching.
And that's all that's worth reading. Seriously. What a failure of a collection.
There were three marginal stories, each written competently, but each with story-specific logic problems.
"Official Record," by Howard Weinstein, details a hostage situation on a primitive planet that prompts a human rights violation from a Starfleet officer, leaving Chekov as its sole witness. Unfortunately, it unbelievably vindicates Chekov as two subordinates suddenly break character and confess that they were following illegal orders.
"The Landing Party," by Robert Greenberger, details how Sulu's command of a landing party goes awry, and how he comes to deal with what he perceives as a failure. The story was interesting, but what was unbelievable was that the devices which lead to a fatality would be some sort of every increasing booby trap. I found it unlikely that such as trap would be invented in the first place, let alone remain in operation in what was described as "ruins" from some long-gone civilization.
"Anything But Alone," by Joshua Ortega, illustrated by Gregory Giovanni Johnson, is an interesting story, but it smacks too much of Deep Space Nine's "Shadowplay" and Enterprise's "Oasis" in that the community on the planet being investigated is an artificial construct created by the lone survivor of a disaster. We've seen the story twice already, and seeing it for a third time ruined any chance for enjoyment.
The rest of the stories are patently unreadable. Perhaps the most two aggregious stories are "As Others See Us" wherein Kirk and the landing party have somehow miraculously managed to become involved with the crew of an alien admiral's ocean-going vessel. There are so many coincidences that this "alien observation" story becomes farcical as each observer is actually being observed. Improbable and not even amusing.
The other aggregious offender, "Where Everybody Knows Your Name," has McCoy and Scotty being mistaken for Kirk and Spock by an alien and his cronies, who are (without any pretense of disguise) Larry, Moe and Curly. I'm sorry, but not only was it unfunny, the whole thing was forced and contrived to the point of being pathetic.
All in all, this book is clearly to be avoided. Borrow a friend's copy or see if you can find a stripped cover version at someone's used bookstore, but don't encourage this sort of drek by buying it.
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