Era: The Lost Era
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Space Opera
Publication Date: 2016
Decades after the adventures of James T. Kirk, Demora Sulu sits in the captain’s chair of the Enterprise-B. When an away team takes losses and Sulu leads the rescue mission, she finds that the past is keen to retain its hold on her . . .
With any multi-author expanded universe, it’s inevitable that there will be books that don’t work for you. For me, One Constant Star is one such book, and I’m at somewhat of a loss a sto explain why. Though this is my first trip into what Pocket Books label ‘The Lost Era’ – somewhen between The Original Series and The Next Generation – I have read David R George III’s work before. His Deep Space Nine books, tied into the Typhon Pact storyline are ones I remember enjoying, but this particular outing is far from my favourite Trek novel.
Unlike the other Star trek novels I’ve picked up recently, One Constant Star doesn’t focus on one of the crews I’m familiar with. Demora Sulu and John Harriman both make brief appearances at the beginning of Star Trek: Generations, but not enough to make much of an impact. I’m given to understand that George has written about these characters before, but as this is a book I picked up on a whim, I lack that prior engagement. And while this is a standalone novel, having some understanding of Sulu’s and Harriman’s shared background would probably have enhanced my reading. Without that, the book feels curiously flat. No doubt this is true of the side characters too, as the Enterprise-B crewfeel like I should know them better than I do from this book alone.
The plot here is fairly simple. Sulu and some of her crew are stuck on a planet and must call on old friends for help. There are portals and time travel involved, this is Star trek after all, but this book doesn’t concern itself with paradoxes. What this does mean is that the action is split across several different locations and two time periods. The flicking between these two gives the book a rather disjointed feel. As characters are introduced and dropped, it does feel at times as if there is no clear story arc, despite the relative simplicity of the plot itself. Though it’s very light on the page count, I found this a hard book to get back into once I had set it down.
On the plus side, One Constant Star does start to show a universe beyond the characters we see on the screen, which is something that Star Trek has rarely done. With so many characters already available, it seems unnecesary to add more, but I wouldn’t mind spending a little more time with the Enterprise-B crew, if only to see if it was lack of prior exposure that makes this particular outing leave me feeling so cold.
This isn’t a book I’d recommend immediately. But if you want a book that shows an era of the Star Trek universe we’ve only glimpsed before, you might want to give it a look.