Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Timetrap by David Dvorkin

In a remote area of Federation space, the Enterprise picks up an urgent distress signal from a Klingon vessel.  Tracing the signal, the crew finds the Klingon cruiser Mauler trapped in a dimensional storm of unusual power.  Surprisingly the ship refuses both the Enterprise’s call and offers to help.  Determined to discover what the Klingons are doing in Federation space, Kirk beams aboard their ship with a security team just as the storm flares to its highest intensity.  As the Spock and the bridge crew watches in horror, the Mauler vanishes from the Enterprise’s view screen.  And James T. Kirk awakens…one hundred years in the future.

Before reading the Star Trek:  The New Frontier series by Peter David, I thought I would revisit some of the older Star Trek books that I remembered enjoying.  I remembered one of my favorite eras in Trek fiction was during the Pocket Books series numbered in the 40s.  Two of the better ones appeared close together.  One was “Double, Double” by Michael Jan Friedman.  The other was the first one I chose to re-read.  It was a classic original Trek by David Dvorkin. 

At the time this book came out, we were still in the early stages of the Next Generation.  Not much had been written about the Klingons joining the Federation.  Dvorkin found an interesting way to time into this era.
Time travel seemed to occur with some regularity in the Trek universe.  By having Kirk travel through the dimensional storm and appear in the future, it gave the fans a look at the “New Klingons”.  Of course, Kirk is suspicious.  The Klingons were “the enemy” for his entire career.  How could this change have occurred?  It gives Kirk much to think about.  When you have been fighting an enemy for most of your military career, how can you accept that things have changes so drastically?  As the author brings Kirk to this new generation, we get to see him struggling with his prejudices.  Kirk has focused his energies into not trusting the Klingons and finding ways to defeat them.  It would be very difficult to find a way to accept them as allies.  It will be a major test of Kirk’s resolve to allow himself to trust them.  But if he does not trust them, what will it do to the future of the Federation?

Of course, since Kirk is involved, an alien woman is heavily involved.  As anyone who has watched one of the original series can testify if there is a new woman introduced, odds are that Kirk will become involved with her.  She helps to show him what the New Klingons are like.  But, mainly because of his experience, Kirk is suspicious…

This was the first time I read one of David Dvorkin’s books.  Is the characterization perfect?  No.  But he does get the main ones right.  For the most part, you can see the television characters acting like this.  Facing facts, when you look at the number of different writers working in the Trek universe it is hard to have perfect characterization in every book.  Some will be better than others.  I feel this is one of the better ones.

It makes for an interesting story when Kirk is out of his natural environment.  He has been separated from the Enterprise.  None of his crew is with him.  The world he wakes up in has experienced a major change from the one he is familiar with.  It is natural to suffer from some doubts and confusion.  But, due to his strength of character and confidence, eventually he gets back on solid ground and starts to analyze the situation.

Spock and the crew back on the Enterprise watched as the Mauler disappear.  According to all reports, the ship was destroyed.  If this was any other captain, the crew would think that he died.  But Kirk is no ordinary captain.  He has survived many events that would have killed a lesser person.  Spock eliminates the obvious and works on finding the truth behind what happened.  Spock will not give up on his captain.

“Timetrap” is a combination of plot and character driven storytelling.  The author keeps the story moving.  It is easy to pick up the book and lose track of how long you have been reading.  It is a perfect summer reading novel.  The premise is interesting and the story is fast paced.  If you are looking for a classic Star Trek novel to read, I would highly recommend this one.

1 comment:

David said...

Thanks for the review, Jim.