Strangers from the Sky by Margaret Wander Bonanno
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Imagine an Earth still recovering from the Third World War and Eugenic wars looking into the vastness of space and its first contact with an alien life form is through the eyes of the mass media itself peering through a lens obstructed by political and military cover ups. A blood on the walls scenario in every definition, this is the memory/dream which plagues Captain Kirk after reading a scholarly work from a human with access to information long held within Vulcan archives. Many consider it a work of fiction but when Spock returns from a training cruise of the Enterprise and shares many of the same dreams perhaps there is more to it than an interesting look into an alternate reality.
Strangers from the Sky is a very good Star Trek novel dealing with a more vulnerable Earth and humanity and using the crew of the Enterprise as seen in "Where No Man Has Gone Before" so the dynamic is shifted from the established "trio" which makes this story work. The whole premise deals with how humanity can learn and demonstrate the maturity and understanding required to be part of a galactic family and the principle that nobody can do it alone.
I did like many of the call backs to other novels and characters which is only going to pay off if you are reading novels from the same author or following the published licensed Trek books, if not then it doesn't harm the story which is a bonus. It was also interesting to see an Earth still hurting and dealing with the social, political and economic fall out before she raised herself to meet the challenge of being a major power in the galaxy. This of course is being told through the eyes of the human characters who deal hands on with the alien visitors and they too are certainly not of a single mind which gives the scifi story the personal touch that adds so much.
I've got to highly recommend this novel for anyone looking for a story offering a different first contact, in fact the book has two first contact situations neither of which line up with the TNG movie presentation so enjoy and wonder what the tv series and movies could have done.
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