BookHound
Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

STAR TREK: COLLISION COURSE by William Shatner with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens

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Over forty years ago, the partnership between Captain James Tiberius Kirk and Mr. Spock took place on television. That friendship, along with Dr. McCoy, has become one of the most iconic in fiction and television.

William Shatner, joined by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, penned the beginning of a multi-book new series in the Star Trek franchise. Star Trek: The Academy — Collision Course shows how 17-year-old James Kirk and 19-year-old Spock first meet, and all the trouble that sprang out of that relationship.

At the time, Kirk is trying to recover from a horrible experience he had on Tarsus IV. The view of that war and Kirk’s loss of innocence seems to mirror what’s going on in our world at the moment. But it’s a good, solid background story that explains why Kirk wants nothing to do with Starfleet and believes they’re worthless.

Spock struggles with his identity. Half-human and half-Vulcan, he finds that he fits comfortably into neither world. Not only that, but he’s uncovered a plot by someone within the Vulcan embassy that is selling priceless artifacts to a fence.

The book moves along at a lightning quick pace. Although it’s 450 pages, I whipped right through it in a single sitting, devouring this adventure for the sheer fun and pleasure it was. The idea of a young Kirk and young Spock is fascinating. The authors do a great job of showing the basis of the long friendship that is to come, as well as setting into play any of the things that Kirk and Spock agreed to disagree on.

Kirk is in love with a young Starfleet cadet who’s being brought up on charges for theft. In order to prove her innocence, Kirk undertakes to steal a Starfleet vehicle with a technological device he’s created. Of course this is over-the-top, but this is Kirk we’re talking about. Overkill should have been his middle name.

In the meantime, a Starfleet officer named Mallory has started an investigation into Kirk. Although operating under another name, I believe Mallory was in an agency that was a forerunner to Trek’s Section 31, their equivalent of spies.

The book also deals a lot with father figures. Spock argues – logically, of course – with his father Sarek, and Kirk confronts his father over his choice of lifestyles as well as his relationship with his brother Sam.

Most of the book takes place on Earth, and we don’t really get a clear idea of what the city looks like, which I found a little frustrating. And we don’t quite get the “feel” of the Academy.

However, Kirk and Spock do take to space in once of the most outrageous plot turns of the book at the end. When I saw where the plot was going, I told myself there was no way they were going to pull it off. But they did it anyway. And realistically, the plot twist doesn’t fly, but for the romantic in me, it was perfect.

Over the years, I’ve found the Shatner books sometimes uneven. Many people have complained that they’re Kirk-centric, but I’ve always forgiven that. Kirk is one of the most enduring characters of the series in all its interpretations. It only stands to reason that much of the focus would be on him.

But in this book, Kirk shares time and space with a lot of the other characters. I’m really looking forward to the next book in this series.

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