Spoilers Kirk: The Star To Every Wandering Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by youngtrek, Jun 13, 2020.

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Rate Kirk: The Star To Every Wandering

  1. Outstanding

    14.3%
  2. Above average

    28.6%
  3. Average

    42.9%
  4. Below average

    14.3%
  5. Poor

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. youngtrek

    youngtrek Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    As with Spock: The Fire and the Rose, I could not find any preexisting thread specifically about Kirk: The Star to Every Wandering, so I decided to add one in the current format. (Or, at least tried to.)

    (There was already an existing thread titled “Having Trouble with McCoy: Provenance of Shadows” which a had a good amount of comments so I didn’t create a new thread for the McCoy book.)

    (Copy of review posted on my Facebook page on 7/17/19.) Just finished reading book three in the Star Trek: Crucible trilogy, Kirk: The Star to Every Wandering.

    As I'd seen some others indicate in their own reviews of this book, it is indeed the weakest of the three books. It is not a bad story by any means, it just is a more straight forward "mission" adventure type of story and is no where near as deep and expansive an individual character study of James Kirk as the other books are of Leonard McCoy and Spock.

    Also, the references back to the common tying element between all of the three books, the original series episode, "The City on the Edge of Tomorrow" and its doomed love story of Kirk and Edith Keeler, seem the least connected (and almost fell simply obligatory) in this novel in reference to everything else going on in it (although the Guardian of Forever from "City" plays a major role).

    Perhaps the thing that separates Kirk: The Star to Every Wandering from McCoy: Provenance of Shadows and Spock: The Fire and the Rose is that for most of the Kirk book the story is focused on the Star Trek Generations age James Kirk, the one who has retired from Starfleet and left that all behind him and begun enjoying his retirement years only to agree to see off the brand new “Enterprise-B" (NCC 1701-B, that is) on a highly publicized launching ceremony and "quick trip" around the solar system which ends up going tragically wrong and ends up placing Kirk in a magically seeming wish fulfillment environment cashed "the Nexus" while everyone back in the real world believes that he has been killed. Kirk is eventually found seventy-something years later by Jean-Luc Picard, the captain of the USS Enterprise-D and the two work together to defeat a man named Soran from carrying out a plan that will kill hundreds of millions of people.

    The other two books also show us McCoy and Spock during this post death of Captain Kirk aboard the Enterprise-B period and the impact the death of Kirk has on each of them. However, in the McCoy book it is only a relatively small part of the overall story, the book being a pretty much linear narrative of key events in McCoy's life from "City on the Edge of Forever" up to Generations and beyond. And in the case of the Spock book, while most of the "present" in that book is that of Spock struggling with his emotions after the death of Kirk and his quest to rid himself of those emotions, the Vulcan process he undergoes repeatedly takes the reader back into Spock's past as well.

    In the Kirk book, however, a lot of time is spent reenacting scenes from Generations and filling in the unseen connecting scenes between them, including Picard's locating Kirk in the Nexus and bringing him back with him to defeat Soran. However, when we get to the inevitable moment of (Spoilers for the movie Star Trek Generations) Kirk's actual "real" death after being crushed under the weight of a collapsing metal bridge, in The Star to Every Wandering something unexpected (not actually from Generations) happens which keeps James T. Kirk alive and the only person capable of preventing an even larger "doomsday" level event from occurring, one tying back into a mysteriously high spike of the levels of "chronometric particles" discovered in Kirk's cells by McCoy (a story element in McCoy: Provenace of Shadows) after every time Kirk had traveled through time.

    From the point Kirk realizes what must be done, the plot itself feels more typical of an episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation"--Kirk working to prevent some huge technobabble laden disaster from occuring--than that of the original series.

    Which doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy it. There were scenes that were actually quite interesting to read, such as the relationship alluded to in Generations between Kirk and a woman he almost married named Antonia during his first retirement from Starfleet and what drove him to end that relationship, and also Kirk's reluctant agreement to return to temporarily return to duty to see off the Enterprise-B at the request of an old friend and former crewmate from the original Enterprise days.

    The plot itself becomes pretty convoluted when it comes to which version of Kirk we are following sometimes and his mission is based largely on time travel shenanigans that don't even entirely make sense if thought out (hmmm... kind of like Avengers: Endgame).

    Definitely worth reading if one has already read the first two books in the trilogy if for no other reason than to see certain plot threads from the first two books play out in the third. And one should also be sure to read them in the original release order: 1) McCoy: Provenance of Shadows, 2) Spock: The Fire and the Rose, 3) Kirk: The Star to Every Wandering.

    Kirk: The Star to Every Wandering, three stars (out of five).
     
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  2. youngtrek

    youngtrek Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I’ve edited the poll settings to allow for viewing the results without having to place a vote.
     
  3. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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  4. historypeats

    historypeats Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm on record as liking this one more than most. I was interested to see how David R. George III sought to reconcile Edith Keeler with Generations' non-sequitur introduction of Antonia; I imagine this would've been a very different book had the screenwriters done a better job. And it probably helps that I don't have deep reservoirs of affection for TOS; I like the books far more than the episodes themselves.

    But I thought this got at something fundamental yet new in Kirk, even after all the time readers have spent with him. And the ending got me.
     
  5. Indysolo

    Indysolo Commodore Commodore

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    Sunny California
    This series became the law of diminishing returns for me. I love the McCoy book and thought the Spock book was good, but not quite as good as the first one. The Kirk book was a real slog for me to get through. Keep in mind I read all of these over 10 years ago, so my memory is a little fuzzy, but I remember being frustrated with the Kirk book because at times it read like it was a novelization of Generations. My advice is to read the McCoy book, possibly my favorite Trek book, and skip the rest.
     
  6. Ryan Thomas Riddle

    Ryan Thomas Riddle Writer and occasional starship commander Premium Member

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    Agreed on all counts. The first book feels like a Great American Novel by way of Star Trek.

    But the others didn't live up to the first one, and I was really disappointed with the Kirk story. It didn't do the deep dive into the character I was expecting.
     
    JonnyQuest037 likes this.
  7. David cgc

    David cgc Admiral Premium Member

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    I didn't care for the ending. Radically recontextualizing and retconning previous events is always a very difficult needle to thread for me, and I just couldn't buy the idea that, at the end of Generations, a Picard who never recruited Kirk's help just accepts that James T. Kirk has inexplicably returned from the dead to help him with a fist-fight.
     
  8. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I remember this one being disappointing, but I don't recall the ins and outs of the story too much. I wish it'd had more of a foundation in "The City on the Edge of Forever" rather than the underwhelming Generations.
     
  9. Tiberius1701170

    Tiberius1701170 Ensign Newbie

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    It is a tough sell, to have Kirk do all of this and somehow maintain a cohesive and closed timeline...but Kirk lives on now!