If I accused Eklund of a lack of originality for The Starless World, then that's not half what he deserves for this. Oh, my, no.
Kirk meets a pretty woman, Gilla Dupree, and takes the Enterprise to a forbidden planet to look for her father, who is missing but rumored to be there. The natives there, the Danons, look like the traditional depiction of devils.
They find her father claiming to have achieved immortality by merging into some group consciousness, but it turns out it's just an evil computer run amok, which has reduced the Danons, who once commanded a galaxy-spanning empire, to a hundred or so individuals, each controlled by the computer from birth to death.
Also, in the least surprising reveal in Trek thus far, Dupree is dying and she stays behind on the planet, joined to the computer, allowing the others to leave.
There's a minor character introduced for whom Kirk is supposed to act a a mentor, but I don't think he gets a dozen lines of dialogue in the whole book. He's a total nonentity.
The most interesting thing about the book is that Dupree is a Jain. It comes up a few times, gets a little discussion between the characters, and is the only thing in the book that someone might still be thinking about when the covers are closed.
You'd think there'd be more to say about a story spanning a hundred and fifty pages, but there's really not. Well, Chekov told a story about why there are no Russian bears in Russian zoos. Yeah, you really have to reach for anything interesting in this one.
|James T. Kirk