Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Reading Room Spotlight-
"Star Trek- Crucible: McCoy
Provenance Of Shadows"
By David R. George III

Remember awhile back when I said I needed to get caught up on my book reviews? Well, I apparently stink at keeping to my plans. I still have a couple that I have finished reading but haven't posted reviews for yet. But they are just going to have to wait a bit longer, because I just finished a book that I want to talk about IMMEDIATELY-


The "Star Trek- Crucible" trilogy of novels was released back in 2006 to celebrate the show's 40th anniversary. Each of the books focuses on one of the TOS "holy trinity" members- Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. The novels chronicle their individual lives, following their histories with a basis around an event that all three played a major part in. What event you ask? Well, it's only one of the most important happenings in all of Trek-dom: The trip through time from "The City On The Edge Of Forever".

McCoy's novel looks at his life in a very interesting way; He actually has 2 different lifetimes. First, there's the McCoy we know and love. The one who came back through time with Kirk & Spock after Edith Keeler died. The one who almost died from xenopolycythemia. The one who made a bearded return to the Enterprise in "Star Trek: The Motion Picture". The one who carried Spock's katra. The one who was accused of assassinating Chancellor Gorkon. The one who made a tour of the Enterprise D with Lt. Commander Data...

All these events (and MANY more) are explored in the portions of the book focusing on McCoy's life in the "fixed" timeline. Though it's mostly stuff we've all seen hundreds of times while watching reruns of the old shows and movies, author David R. George III does an INCREDIBLE job of making them seem fresh and new, like we are seeing them all for the very first time. He writes the scenes so well and with such clarity and insight that I found myself going back to re-watch some of the episodes that he references here. Since he is able to describe in words what the characters might be thinking or doing internally, I wanted to see the shows again with his perspective applied... and boy does it work! I don't think I'll ever watch some of these shows again without thinking about this book. That's the mark of a good author- One that makes you question what you thought you knew already.

Of course, events in the book pertaining to this McCoy's life aren't simply relegated to things we've already seen. George also interweaves a complex story into the existing events, one that deals with McCoy's personal struggles. The end of the original 5 year mission and where it leaves him, his inability to commit to relationships, and a series of recurring nightmares about death are just a few of the trials that we watch McCoy go through... and they are every bit as interesting as having the crew face a ship full of Romulans. I say that because the book lacks the usual "bad guy" or predicament that the crew must escape from... and you don't even miss it. It doesn't need one. It's that damn good.

All that being said- The most interesting aspect of the book for me wasn't McCoy's life in the fixed timeline; It was the life of the "other" McCoy that grabbed me by the face and wouldn't let me put this book down. Who is the "other" McCoy? Well, remember when McCoy first made that jump through the Guardian and the whole universe changed? That's the other McCoy. The McCoy that saved Edith Keeler, inadvertently allowing the Nazis to conquer the world and erasing the universe from which he came. McCoy actually lived the rest of his life in that newly created parallel timeline.

It's that McCoy's life that is truly a marvel to behold. You are there with him as he saves Edith and changes everything. You witness his despair in trying to reach his friends, and his horror at the realization that he has caused a change that will have ramifications across the world. You are also there as he finally resigns himself to the life he is stuck in... and that's when things get really interesting. Though you know things can't possibly end well for this McCoy, the author does such an amazing job of making you care for him that you begin to find yourself hoping against all hope that he will somehow fix things...

I'm not afraid to admit that I got a little misty-eyed watching this McCoy's life unfold... and that's why I just had to tackle this one now. I've never had this kind of an emotional experience with a Star Trek novel before. This book isn't just a great Trek novel; It's a great novel period.

I give this one my highest recommendation. It's so good that I'm even trying to get my wife to read it, and she doesn't even like Star Trek that much. If the other 2 novels in the trilogy are half as good as this McCoy one, then I may have just found one of my new favorite Trek authors...

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree. "Provenance Of Shadows" is the best Star Trek novel ever!