Friday, May 22, 2015

James Review -- Star Trek: The Original Series: Crisis of Consciousness

This week I decided to review Star Trek: The Original Series: Crisis of Consciousness by Dave Galanter. The story opens with the Enterprise ferrying a diplomatic party from the Maabas, a usually xenophobic culture which has recently opened negations with the Federation, to their world of Maaba S’Ja. But as Enterprise approaches the planet, it is intercepted by a vessel belonging to an unknown race calling themselves the Kenisians. After a brief skirmish, the Kenisians agree to talk, claiming that Maaba S’Ja is their world and that they want it back. The Maabas had been driven off of their homeworld by invaders thousands of years ago and fled until they settled on  Maaba S’Ja where they found abandoned ruins, with the study of the ruins greatly aiding their science. The Kenisians, who are descendants of an ancient lost Vulcan colony that have mastered the art of transferring a consciousness from one generation to the next with a single body containing dozens or hundreds of minds, claim that the ruins are theirs and that they were driven off the world by an invasion as the Maabas were driven from their home. As the Enterprise crew tries to negotiate an agreement between the two sides, they discover that the Kenisians seem particularly interested in some of the ruins. Upon examining the ruins, it is discovered that they contain vital components of a Kenisian super-weapon, one so unstable that it could possibly destroy a large chunk of the galaxy if deployed. The Kenisians seize the superweapon and kidnap Spock, hoping to make him discover how to use it safely, while also seizing the Maabas ambassador, Pippenge, to translate any useful Maabas data. Spock must stall for time while finding a way to convince the Kenisians not to deploy their uncontrollable weapon while facing many ancient Kenisian minds that have sought revenge against their ancient enemies for hundreds or thousands of years, and keep Pippenge safe. Meanwhile the Enterprise is trying to discover the Kenisian vessel, or its destination in time to intercept it while realizing in the process that the same force drove both the Maabas and Kenisians from their ancient homes. But the Enterprise must face a trap laid by the Kenisians, who do not care if the Enterprise is merely delayed or utterly destroyed, and other danger await them as well…
I give this book an 8.5 out of 10. The story is interesting and the background to the current situation was well done but there are some key points to the history of the Kenisians which I felt could have been made more clear. While I’m somewhat leery of super-weapon-based stories, this one managed to avoid the worst excesses I have encountered in past super-weapon tales and the combat sequences were well done.

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