Memory Prime by Judith Reeves-Stevens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Memory Prime is a novel that draws upon the events from the original series episode "The Lights of Zetar" where Lieutenant Mira Romaine is taken over by an alien life form after Memory Alpha is wiped clean and it's personnel killed. The budding romance between her and Scotty is also built upon in the novel and these elements are the cornerstones of Memory Prime.
In this novel the Federation has created a number of "memory planets" which provide redundancy while also specialising in certain areas but the entire network is still dependent upon a central nexus which is Memory Prime which is also the home for sentient AI's who have legal status in the Federation. As the Enterprise ferries nominees and attendees of the Nobel and Z-Magnees prize ceremonies to Memory Prime a threat is uncovered and while the details are vague the very existence and viability of the Federation is at stake. Sabotage aboard the Enterprise throws suspicion on Spock and Starfleet puts more military personnel into positions of power curtailing the normal operations of Memory Prime. The state of affairs become more confusing when subspace jamming prevents communication between the starbase and the Starfleet command and Kirk and his crew equally suspect after certain events occur are forced to solve the mystery themselves despite it putting them all on the wrong side of regulations...
Memory Prime is a very entertaining novel full of interesting characters and events for them to handle, the introduction of the sentient AI's was excellent, I really liked the idea that over the course of the Federation (and even before) a few computer systems had become self aware and eventually were recognised as sentient beings in their own right. The "people" who then became part of the interface team also added an interesting aspect to the story and by extension the conflict inherent when groups and individuals make decisions based on what's good for them rather than the whole. Memory Prime is an excellent story set within the original series environment but adds a level of complexity and depth the tv show could not often provide and I can recommend to any fan of Kirk and crew.
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