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Friday, April 15, 2016

Trek Novels – Star Trek: Heart of the Sun

Well, it’s about time I get back to talking about some novels especially since I'm on days for a bit. While next month will have more of a overall scifi feel, I still want to look at some Trek novels. I wanted to go on and get this one out of the way first. Star Trek: Heart of the Sun was published in 1997. I’ve actually have had this book for years. Someone got it for me for Christmas one year. I don’t know if it was my mom or grandmother. I did try to read it a few years ago, but it fell over to the wayside. Since I’ve had it for almost two decades, it was finally time to finish it.

The authors are Pamela Sargent and George Zebrowski. They’ve both written novels in the scifi genre. The two have also teamed up other Star Trek novels. One of them even centered on the Garth of Izar. Sargent is a pretty well-known feminist which explains one character in the novel. That’s not a complaint on the character (Myra was cool) but it was something I noticed when researching her. There is no stardate for the mission (I never understood them anyway), but it looks like it takes place during the first season of TOS. Chekov isn’t around yet and other members like Janice Rand and Lt. Riley are featured here.

Star Trek: Heart of the Sun
Authors: Pamela Sargent and George Zebrowski

BRIEF BLURB: While on a mission to the planet, Tyrtaeus II, the Enterprise encounters an asteroid that moves like a ship. The crew and representatives of Tyrtaeus II investigate it as it’s heading for the system’s sun.

SYNOPSIS
The story starts out with the Enterprise on a mission to Tyrtaeus II, an old Earth colony. A virus destroyed some databases on some Federation planets and a lot of valuable information was lost. The Enterprise has been going around repairing the damage and the Tyrtaens are next.  The Tyrtaens are isolationists and don’t like the Federation all that much, but they have no choice but the accept Starfleet’s help.  We also see a little bit of the political rivalry between two leaders on the planet: Aristocles Marcelli and Myra Coles.

While the crew is helping with the repairs, Spock notices a strange asteroid in space. It really piques his interest when the asteroid changes course and heads for the system’s sun. After they complete the mission on Tyrtaues II, Kirk and the crew decide to investigate the asteroid. The Tyrtaeuans are also interested in the asteroid, so Myra and her assistant, Wellesley Warren, accompany the crew. They make it to the asteroid and find out two things: there is a breathable atmosphere and it’s essentially a ship.

Kirk and Spock take a few over there even when Myra protests it. They transport over and take scans. There are lifescans but scanning it isn’t easy. They also feel discomfort while in the asteroid which they call a mobile for some reason. They transport back to the ship when a shield is activated but drops. On the Enterprise, Myra wonders what damage this asteroid could do to their sun and say they should destroy it.That falls on deaf ears though. They decide to divert the asteroid using their tech but every move makes the asteroid go faster.

Spock heads back over there since he wasn’t too affected by the asteroid’s atmosphere to find some controls. Unfortunately, the asteroid’s shield activates and stays on. The Enterprise does what it can with its tech but it keeps going faster and faster. It eventually reaches the sun. Spock surmises that there is a reason that this asteroid is heading into the sun. We find out that it’s actually heading for a core station hidden in a fold of space within the sun. Spock decides to investigate the station and stays in contact with the Enterprise.

He finds a panel and that transports him to an alternate reality here he finds the lifesigns he was looking for. It turns out that these aliens have created this reality to reject the outside world. Spock tries to assure them that he means no harm but the aliens are unsure and don’t let him leave their world. Realizing that something has happened to Spock, Kirk and McCoy take a shuttlecraft over to the sun and enter the fold. The aliens let them dock with the station and the two men find Spock standing stiff over a control panel. In order to see what happens, Kirk touches the panel and ends up in the alternate reality. McCoy also gives suit and joins his friends.

Inside the reality, they swear to the aliens that they came to find Spock, their friend.  Kirk also reassures them that he’ll do all he can to make sure they’re left alone. The aliens let them go back to the real world and the three head back to the Enterprise. On the ship, Myra is still unsure about the aliens since they are obviously powerful. It’s even unknown if the aliens can be truly left alone by others. Suddenly, the asteroid leaves the sun and the station is destroyed leaving no trace in the sun. Kirk gives chase to see how fast the aliens can go and the aliens even go past the Enterprise’s warp capabilities. Kirk essentially showed the aliens that they were not a threat.

 In the end, they head back to Tyrtaeus II. Realizing that being too independent could be a bad thing, Myra invites the crew to have shore leave on the planet. The story ends with Spock in meditation about the whole ordeal.

OPINION
Even though it has some issues, I did like this story. Instead of some big, epic, story, we just get a standard mission in space. The crew is facing the unknown as usual and that’s a good thing. I though the crew remained in character. Spock was the science man, Kirk was the risk-taker, and McCoy was the mouth… well, he was! The story really centers on Spock as he ponders the technology and these aliens. It’s good stuff on that part. I also liked some of the nods to other crew members on the ship. Tyrtaeus II was an interesting planet. In fact, the political part of the story that involved Myra was interesting but not fleshed out enough.

As for Myra herself, I liked her. She took no crap off of anybody including Kirk. She’s really the only character that does grow a bit here. She essentially sees her people in these aliens and she didn’t like what she saw. A relationship between her and Kirk is also hinted at but it doesn’t go down that path which I like. I also thought her assistant, Wellesley, was okay. The aliens in the asteroid were interesting as well. The idea of these aliens literally escaping from the physical world was interesting and pretty real in some sense. I’ve seen ideas like this before but I thought it was handled okay here.

While there were things I liked, the book does have issues. The story does get a little dull at times.  There isn’t much tension especially since we know that everything will be alright. It also drags at points. This really comes in during the middle mark as the Enterprise tries to stop the asteroid. Their actions become really repetitive after a while. It also drags at the end. It’s like it didn’t want to end. I get what the authors were trying to say but they were kind of dull saying it.

I also wonder what the reason was for them calling the asteroid a “mobile.” It just sounded weird when I read it throughout the book. The aliens were also a little too vague and mysterious at times. We even didn’t get a name for them which does suck. You’d think the authors would have at least named these guys even if they don’t (possibly) show up again. One last issue is less with the story and more with the brief summary on the back of the novel. Nothing from that blurb happens in the story and it tries to make the novel seem more action-packed that it actually is.

Overall, this was a fine book.  It’s not perfect but it is a decent read in the end. It just sucks that it took a couple of decades to read it! Well, that’s all I have for now. Now if you excuse me, I’m going to read some more novels for next month. What will they be? I’m not sure. Until then, Peace and God Bless. 

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