Sunday, July 01, 2007


Star Trek: Ex Machina

Star Trek: Ex Machina by Christopher L. Bennett. Set immediately after the events of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, this novel revisits the world-ship Yonada from the TOS Episode "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky." Pluses: manages to work in some good commentary on religion, faith, politics and terrorism in the finest Star Trek tradition, and also some subtle criticism of Gene Roddenberry's atheist, communist utopia of the future.
Minuses: Bennett's writing style is a little creaky and he shows a fanboy's annoying tendency to drop in little references to damn near every Star Trek movie and series, plus a number of novels, in a glaring "look how clever I am" fashion (he lays them all out for you at his web-site). Also, he seems to have a hard time capturing the personalities of Kirk, Spock and McCoy, possibly because he spends too much time cramming in too many supporting characters who are fleshed-out in exhausting detail, even though their backgrounds and personalities do little if anything to advance the plot, not to mention trying to work in a life-altering moment of realization for almost all of the original TOS cast. Bennett obviously knows and loves his source material, but he needs to damp it down somewhat and focus more on the craft of writing than in trying to demonstrate his encyclopedic knowledge of Trek trivia.

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