I need to confess to a guilty pleasure. A book sat on my TBR shelf for many months. Years in fact. More than half the time it was in the back row an never go tot see the light of day. I bought it, hardback, for a pound at a charity shop. I’m not sure I ever expected to actually read it. You see, it was by William Shatner.
Couple of things. I love Bill. He was the closest thing I had to a father figure in my childhood (which would explain much) and I have a lot of time for the old sod. But lets be honest, unless you had previous knowledge, who amongst us would not look at a book by Bill and expect cheesy kitsch of he highest order. Also, there were two other names in much smaller print under his (, and I’ll leave it to you to figure out which names did most work.
And yet I loved it. In fact, I devoured it, and it cost me many a late night and a groggy morning in work the next day. The story covers a time before Kirk and Spock entered StarFleet, and so the book could even be called Young Adult.
Kirk and Spock, pursuing two different lines of enquiry, end up connected by the very things they are investigating. The story deals with many subjects that are alluded to but never fully explored in the ‘original series’ universe – Spock’s dispute with his father and the ubiquitous ‘Finnegan’ to mention only two – and manages to do so in a way that does not require time travel or an alternate reality. They even manage to squeeze in a passing nod to Jonathan Archer.
And I think that may be one of the things that appealed to me. Rather than bending and existing reality to fit the new and exciting model (whisper softly the names of all the films that have done just that), this is carefully constructed to fit with an existing and well loved universe. Without going back through to check – and why would I want to spoil things by doing that – I cannot remember anything that jarred me as being out of context.
The book was well-paced, humorous, and the characters were in the main believable. In truth, Jim did not ‘bed in’ quite as well as Spock, but again it was not enough to distract from the story.
Do I recommend it? Not sure. It very much suited me, but on this topic I may be a niche market. If you were to see it in a charity shop, though, for a pound...