Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Rings of Time

I've suddenly and rather unexpectedly got an itch to jump back into Star Trek the original series novels, now I have a rather large collection of the paperbacks which kept me entertained in my younger years but the market has changed as the more modern series took precedence on the store shelves. That said we are seeing a lot more TOS novels from multiple authors so I'm going to indulge myself and given the pricing of the ebooks I'll stick to the paperbacks despite issues over shelf space:)

This week I read the novel "The Rings of Time" written by Greg Cox and published in the UK on Feb 16th 2012. The story makes full use of the well known original cast lineup in a story which deals with consciousness swapping and time travel plus a little geo-political subplot thrown in.
There may be minor spoilers but I'm going to try to avoid anything that couldn't ruin the surprise but come on the genre is well trodden and if you are reading Star Trek the characters could very well be more important than the story they inhabit:) In Rings of Time Greg drew upon the character of Shawn Christopher who was mentioned in the TOS episode "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" and is the commander of the first manned mission to Saturn and that mission intersects with the Enterprise two centuries later as it nears another ringed gas giant and the rescue of a mining colony trapped within a collapsing ring system. The two stories continue side by side as the pages are turned until they both come across the same alien probe in their respective timelines, events transpire slightly differently but the results led to complications on the NASA ship Lewis & Clark and the Enterprise as both are thrown into a pressure cooker of events and conflicting situations.

The story was certainly an interesting read, I really did enjoy picturing the Lewis & Clark ghosting towards Saturn in all the modern CGI effects glory and mixing with the tradition imagery from Star Trek. The main cast of characters were written well but none of them even Kirk was really pushed and we did get more depth from the supporting cast especially those from the 21st century Earth which wasn't a bad thing. Greg it seemed made an effort to reference as much of the original series as possible, at first that was fun but maybe he went a little over the top but again that's simply my personal taste and I think as we see more Trek written in our modern market the issues with dealing with Trek's history as it pertains to Earth's timeline will be harder to resolve and to be accepted. The end of the 20th century did seem far away when Trek came to our screens with an almost limitless vision of what they next couple of decades would bring and modern writers I believe are more grounded or at least the market isn't looking for the more fantastical Trek.
Color-composite Cassini image of Saturn’s northern hexagon (NASA/JPL/SSI/Jason Major)

I can recommend the novel to any original series Star Trek fan and the use of a canon character and in the case of the storm on Saturn a real phenomenon adds weight to the story and once again you wonder just how good a series could be with these characters and modern tv production.
Amazon UK & US available in Paperback and E-Book.





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