Star Trek is one of the most successful space adventure programs to hit the idiot box. The success of the series has led to an avalanche of books based on the team of Captain Kirk and his dynamic group. A lot of the books have been about the various adventures or about individual members in the team especially Mr. Spock. But, the question that is primary to every Star Trek fan is "How did it all start?".
So when I read Gene Roddenberry's (Brain behind of Star Trek) comment that - "Enterprise - The First Adventure is the most creative and enjoyable tale of Star Trek's beginning, I decided to check out the book.
A young and dynamic youngster who has recently been promoted to the rank of Captain is about to replace an aging Star Fleet legend Captain Pike as the Captain of Star Ship Enterprise. The youngster named Kirk is the youngest Star Fleet Captain ever and comes with a huge reputation as a hero from his previous adventures and is looking forward to exciting first contact adventure. His excitement is dulled when he first meets the crew of the Enterprise and finds them still living in the mould of Captain Pike and not really embracing him as the Captain.
But, then his excitement gets totally wrecked when the first mission is announced which instead of any First Contact project is just a project to take an Entertainment company on a tour of Star Fleet bases. Little does Captain Kirk know how much this flimsy project is going to shape up one of the best teams in the Star Fleet history. The entertainment business suddenly turns into serious business when Star Fleet nears a base at the border of the Klingon Empire. An huge unidentified object seems to be floating out there at the border of both the huge empires with some uniquely advanced features.
To add to this a Klingon rebel seems to have spotted the object as well and both the parties want to explore the object and find more about it. What happens next? Is the object a friend or a foe? Are the Klingons upto some mischief? Join Captain Kirk and his crew on their first expedition together.Critic's Viewpoint
Vonda McIntyre has taken up an interesting topic and tried to provide and interesting interpretation of how it all began with. For starters, there are some interesting episodes, as to the comparison drawn between the incoming captain and a captain who has had a long career behind him. Again the initial resistance to change to a new approach of Kirk viz a viz Pike's approach is evident with the crew members.
Again within the first expedition we have three members putting in their papers for transfer to show their resentment for the approach of Captain Kirk in one way or other. On the other hand, we have Captain Kirk beginning to find his way around his ship and people. At various stages Kirk knows he is hanging by a thread and how he clutches onto it and tries hard to turn the tide to win over his team is also well highlighted.
The adventure itself is not too enterprising to say the least and just adds a bit more drama to this whole scenario. Vonda has tried to show the first adventure from the point of view of the captain, the way he turns all hostility and challenges into positive energy and victory. The idea is a good one, the execution though lacks the required depth. Although, Kirk here is shown as a human facing his first real challenge and faces it with both his strengths and weaknesses, the story leaves the crew on the loose.
Spock is shown as a renegade with strong views and surprisingly intolerant even flouting direct orders at times. Uhura is again shown in a more negative shade as living in her own world, coming in to help out at times, but generally an aloof figure. Scott seems more interested in the Star Ship rather than the mission which is not what it is in the rest of the novels and TV series. Again Sulu seems more intent on his private goals rather than anything else. All in all Vonda takes a call to show the team as immature to show the strengths of the captain which I find it as a bit unfortunate.
Another thing that let's down this novel is the actual adventure. I think the idea of the entertainment company was a good one as no one in the right mind would give an upstart anything critical, but then the later episode of the aliens just does not do justice to the firstepisode. The writing style of Vonda is a bit slow to my liking and the story seems to go to sleep at times. So as far as I am concerned, it is great idea, but the execution of the idea requires a lot to be improved.Summary
All in all, I have to agree with Gene Roddenberry that it is a creative tale with regards to the beginning of Captain Kirk's career on Star Ship Enterprise, but disagree that it is enjoyable. I would give this story a 3 star rating.