- A standalone novel
- A crossover between the Original Series and Voyager
- Published by Pocket Books in 2014
- Time Travel
- 386 pages
While negotiating peace on a planet plagued by Orion piracy, James T. Kirk and his crew meet a mysterious stranger. Her name is Seven, and she has been cast back in time from over a century in the future . . .
One of the joys of the Litverse is reading about different crews getting to interact with one another. The post-Nemesis era is chock-full of these crossovers. We see Janeway and Picard discussing the Borg. Riker and Dax joining forces to take down corrupt officials. Voyager and Enterprise fighting side-by-side. The books go to places with crossovers that TV never could. But Tv did, on occasion, cross over the casts of different eras. Not always, it must be said, with great success. For every Relics and Trials and Tribble-ations, there’s a These Are The Voyages . . .
Greg Cox’s No Time Like the Past falls on the more successful end of the spectrum. As you can see from the cover, it’s a tale of Seven meets Kirk. To cut a long story short, Seven encounters a temporal anomaly (that beloved Trek standby) and is flung backwards in time. A century before her birth, she encounters the legendary James Kirk and his crew. What I like about the use of time travel in this book is that it’s essentially an excuse to have two very different personalities interact. We get a glimpse of Janeway and other Voyager characters, and Kirk’s crew play obvious supporting roles, but the main focus is on Seven and Kirk. Reading about the the straight-laced and efficient Seven and the two-fisted Kirk is a joy, and a perfect example of how clashing personalities can be used to drive a story, and drive the story they do, because the actual plot is fairly thin on the ground.
In essence, it’s a race around the galaxy to find pieces of a time machine. What this really provides is an opportunity to revisit various planets from The Original Series, albeit at different points in their history. Of the three episodes revisited, I am only familiar with two. The Original Series is the glaring hole in my Trek knowledge. But since Seven is largely ignorant of the events of those episodes and has to be brought up to speed, lack of familiarity doesn’t prove much of an issue. Nevertheless, the better you know your five-year mission, the more you’ll get out of this book. Complicating matters are Orion pirates and a traitor onboard the ship, neither of which does more than add a dash of drama. There’s a certain predictability about these elements, but they’re still fun.
No Time Like the Past does lack the heavier social aspects I want from Star Trek, but it’s a fun adventure nonetheless. It’s also interesting (having read 60+ novels from the universe in the past year) that while the post-Nemesis timeline became increasingly interwoven, the adventures of Kirk and crew remained true to Trek’s episodic roots. This is an era I’m definitely going to dive into a lot more, and hopefully sooner rather than later. Cox has a good grip on the simple and occasionally rugged charm of the original series, and you can really picture the wobbly sets and bright colours of the 1960s. This book is a journey through time in more ways than one, and is a great slice of light entertainment to slide in between heavier reading.