Saturday, 5 October 2013

Star Trek: Vulcan's Glory - D.C. Fontana



Title: Vulcan's Glory
Author: D.C. Fontana
Published: 1989
Chronological Period: 2252

Available at:
Amazon
The Book Depository
Amazon UK

Review:
“Vulcan’s Glory” by D.C. Fontana is the latest novel in my attempt to read all the Star Trek novels in chronological order. This story follows both Spock & Scotty’s first ever voyage on the Enterprise which at the time is under the command of Christopher Pike as seen in the original Star Trek pilot episode, “The Cage”.

At its heart the story is a murder mystery surrounding the search for a Vulcan relic known as the Vulcan’s Glory. However, there are other elements to the plot including a look into Spock’s relationship with his family, an attempt by Captain Pike to help with the development of trade routes on a planet recovering from previous disasters and a rather amusing attempt by Scotty to set up a whisky still in the engine room.

The story really was quite an interesting adventure as I enjoyed reading some more about the crew of Pike’s Enterprise. I found the personalities of the crew were nicely handled and it was good to see something written about them by Fontana who is one of the original Star Trek writers. My favourite concept though within the story was the way in which Fontana delves into the more “hypocritical” side of Vulcan lives. For example, elements of their “hidden” emotions are explored and it becomes quite clear that the various rituals and family commitments they are beholden to do not always fall within the realms of logic.

An issue I did have with the book is that Fontana has actually tried to put too much plot into it. There are far too many storylines going on and whilst some of them are delved into other portions were skimmed over and it all just feels a bit disjointed. It is almost as if Fontana had an idea to explore this period across multiple novels but was worried she may only get one attempt about the Christopher Pike era so just tried to cram it all in.

My final note on the story is that it really does help to be quite knowledgeable on various Star Trek TV episodes. The reason is that there are various plot points left dangling in the book that are not resolved until various episodes on TV. Therefore it could leave the more casual watchers of Star Trek a bit disappointed if they were expecting closure on some of the plot points initiated in this book and haven’t seen the relevant episode.

Overall, I did enjoy this look at the lives of Pike and his crew as they travelled the galaxy prior to Kirk’s captaincy. There are lots of interesting plot points within the novel but I think it would have worked better had these been spread across multiple novels rather than having them all competing for attention in just one. Personally, I am a little sad we didn’t see more of this crew on TV or in novels as I think there are a lot of interesting concepts and ideas that could be further explored.