Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Star Trek: Enterprise: Rise of the Federation: A Choice of Futures review

This week I decided to review Star Trek: Enterprise: Rise of the Federation: A Choice of Futures by Christopher L. Bennent. The book opens not long after the founding of the Federation with an attack of a Tandaran colony, apparently by the Suliban. The starship Endeavor, flagship of Admiral Jonathan Archer, and crewed by many former Enterprise crewmembers is dispatched to investigate and eventually discovers it is in fact another old enemy of theirs behind the attack rather than the Suliban. This leads to a conspiracy by a number of former enemies of the Enterprise’s to manipulate the Federation into becoming a militant state, and beginning the path to its collapse. There are also elements within the Federation who wish to see Starfleet become a purely military force with Archer and allies struggling against them. In the time the Federation is approached by a group of worlds whose ships are suffering mysterious attacks. The USS  Endeavor joins the fleet sent to deal with the raids with her crew trying to find a way to prevent matters from escalating into a full scale war. Meanwhile the USS Pioneer, under newly promoted captain Malcolm Reed, is serving as a testbed for attempts to safely integrate the technology of the various Federation member worlds. The mission leads to disaster when a failed test hurtles the crippled vessel into uncharted space.
I give the book an 8 out of 10. The story is well done, and I loved the various minor bits and pieces of Trek lore included within it. The author obviously researched the period well. Also I thought that including Bryce Shumar who was one of the major characters of the Starfleet Year One serial novel, which covered roughly the same time period but was written before Star Trek: Enterprise premiered and was contradicted by both the Enterprise series and novels, was a very nice touch. I enjoyed the conversation aboard Pioneer where Tobias Dax was explaining why he felt that Federation Starfleet vessels should emulate Human hull design, and engine placement over Vulcan or Andorian designs was fascinating. However I don’t like the transporter problem introduced in the book. I feel it adds little of real value to the story, other than forcing more use of shuttlepods out of sight, and allowing one plot point which could have been arranged other ways.

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