(Based on the screenplay by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga)
Era: Enterprise, Season 1
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Space Opera
Publication Date: 2003
Enterprise. The NX-01 will be Earth’s first warp five starship. But before the ship can be launched, a diplomatic incident with the Klingons threatens to further delay Earth’s spacefaring ambitions . . .
As the Star Trek section of this blog proves, I love cross-media tie-ins. Books based on TV shows, TV shows based on films, films based on books. A lot of my favourite shows are adaptations of some kind. But for whatever reason, one thing I’ve always tended to avoid is straight novelisations. My bookshelves have a few, from Star Wars to Stargate, and even Isaac Asimov‘s version of Fantastic Voyage, but I’ve never picked up a Star Trek novelisation before. I think it’s mostly because I know a lot of these episodes inside and out, so novelisations don’t have much new to offer. That being said, I am a huge Enterprise fan. Having read all of the post-finale novels last year, I now turn my attention to the books written during or set in the original run. And where better to start than with Broken Bow, the pilot that launched the series?
This is a pretty direct adaptation, to the point that some scenes feel more like a script with description slotted in than a regular novel. There’s a little bit of internal dialogue added, but honestly it’s nothing that the actors can’t convey with a few meaningful looks. The writing itself is functional, boilerplate in the best way, conveying a lot in just a handful of words. That said, Carey has a good grip on these characters, and the sparse descriptions can be forgiven easily when the faces and sets are etched on your memory as they are mine. If you’ve watched the show, there won’t be anything new here, but it’s a decent introduction to the world for someone unfamiliar with Enterprise.
The last forty pages of the book aren’t actually part of the adaptation, but instead consist of a behind the scenes article written by Paul Ruditis. This is particularly interesting, as it covers some of the decisions made during early production. I didn’t know how integral Scott Bakula was to the role of Archer, nor how Dominic Keating got the part of Malcolm Reed. I have to say, the interviews with Berman and Braga do shed light on some decisions I always fund puzzling. their insistence on treating T’Pol as a ‘babe’ is particularly telling, as this treatment is easily one of the show’s weakest links. For all the issues behind the scenes, however, it’s clear that everyone involved was trying to make the best show they could, even if they did have to rise beyond what they were given by those higher up the chain.
At the end of the day, this is pretty much what I expect from an adaptation. It’s basic, but a fun read that won’t take too much time out of your day.