The Starless World by Gordon Eklund
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Enterprise encounters a shuttle craft from a starship lost two decades ago, on board is Thomas Clayton an officer who served on that ship and is personally acquainted to Kirk, Clayton delirious also claims to be a prophet of God. The Enterprise approaches a construct which is identified as a Dyson Sphere and is then drawn into the interior of the sphere where they find a peaceful non-technological community but also a Klingon Cruiser (also captured) and a strange subculture of "strangers". Spock is unable to formulate a reasonable explanation of the existence of the sphere and the events and peoples in this world but if the acceptance of a "God" presiding over this world then everything makes a logical sort of sense. The natives believe they are a journey with their God to a final reckoning but only the Klingons and then the Enterprise know how close that is, the proliferation of singularities in this region of space will inevitably serve as the final fate of this world.
The Starless World if memory serves was the first Trek paperback I ever bought, my very old copy has a price on the back cover of 75p so I am tempted to accept my recollection. The current condition of the paperback was so bad however that I sourced another copy on ebay which was a more recent reprint with a more generic cover and under the Star Trek Adventures banner.
This story was released fairly early in the Star Trek novel franchise and lacks much of the depth you would associate with the current breed of Trek novels, it's also shorter and in many cases more straightforward in its narrative. The core theme however is pretty strong with a Dyson Sphere and an entity (God if you will) over seeing a population living inside the sphere all on a eon long journey to a final destination. The main characters serve the story well with some nice touches with Uhura and the young native woman they encounter early on and probably for the best the final conclusion to who and what oversees the sphere is left to the reader to determine.
View all my reviews