Authors: William Shatner / Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens | Page Count: 371
‘For a silent moment after, even the rain stopped.
When it began again, it felt gentle. Warm. Slow as tears.’
Like The Ashes of Eden (1995) did before it, The Return opens on Veridian III and continues the story of the Star Trek: Generations (1994) film. It’s not a flashback narrative this time; it’s the real deal, an actual continuation of events.
It engineers a ridiculous scenario that brings together aspects and crew of TOS, TNG and DS9 for a ret-conning adventure that’s thick with melodrama and action movie clichés. Some of the connections made are mind-blowing and will either have fans happy-clapping or furiously fighting. Either way, some of the reveals in the last quarter are extremely memorable. It’s unfortunate that a large portion of the remainder of the book is such a chore to get through.
If you're drawn to the novel because it claims that Shatner is the author, you ought to know that he admitted in a filmed interview years later that he’d not watched even a single episode of TNG. That makes me wonder how much input he had in the writing of a story that’s primarily about the Enterprise D crew. I'm guessing we have Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens to thank for the majority of it. But who’s to blame for repeatedly misquoting a famous speech from ST II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)? And it'll sound finicky but Data casually using contractions in everyday speech irks me, even when acknowledging events in 'The Offspring' episode.
It's a brave attempt at creating a novel for Trek fans who have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the franchise, but the application of that same knowledge to the behaviour of certain characters will leave many a discerning reader unhappy.
The next book in the Shatnerverse series is a direct sequel titled Avenger (1997), but I don't think I can take any more of the pulp-hero, bravado bullshit.
2½ forgotten skills out of 5