Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Star Trek: The Ashes of Eden (1995)

Authors: William Shatner / Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens  |  Page Count: 309

He gulped a mouthful of Scotch.  Felt it burn his throat—ice cold and fire hot at the same time.  That was his poetry.  Sensation.  Being alive.

TAoE begins just a few hours after the ending of the Star Trek: Generations (1994) movie, so you’ll need to have seen it first.  But to really get the most from the book, you’ll need to have seen all the TOS movies too, because the story is one of reflection on what’s passed as well as a look to the future.  Even though it’s technically set post-Generations, ninety-nine percent of it is a flashback to an era before Kirk stepped aboard the Enterprise-B, shortly after the political upheaval that occurred at Camp Khitimer (ST VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)).

Didn't you wonder what happened to the Enterprise-A?  Without a ship to command, Kirk is a little lost—it’s as if his very reason for living has been suspended—and daily Starfleet duties do little to assuage the feelings.  He’s secretly hungering for adventure, and more often than not someone with that goal will either find what he’s looking for or set it in motion himself.

It was co-written by Shatner, so it shouldn't come as much of a surprise to learn that Kirk is not just a man’s man within its pages, he’s the hero’s hero.  He's the lover, fighter, tactical thinker, master of combat, etc.  Parts of it do feel like an exercise in ego-stroking, but some of the conclusions made by the character parallel Shatner’s own public life, so at least he’s writing about what he knows.

Beyond that, how do you make a great man even more amazing?  Have him be humble in the presence of simplicity and beauty, but just enough to make him relatable to the common man, lest it detract from the active role he played in his own accomplishments.  Alternatively, don’t make an issue of his legendary status, and by so doing you’ll reaffirm his legendary status.  It’s win-win for Kirk, and an occasionally sickening, self-indulgent bore for the reader.

The book is the first part of what’s become known as the ‘Shatnerverse’ series of novels.  There were nine books in all, three trilogies, by the same authors.  The events in each draw from the rich Trek history but are a separate continuity as the ongoing Pocket Books series.  The next entry was called The Return (1996).

2½ game-changing rules out of 5

No comments: