Chapter By Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at the time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
PART ONE: AFTERMATH
The book is in three parts and which part we’re in will be shown thusly.
Yes, it’s the last of the three books I was trying to choose from as to what to review next in the Chapter By Chapter series. I’ve already discussed my concerns going in so now it’s time to go in.
It appears we’re starting this story after the events that led to the crew’s disgrace and the Enterprise being destroyed. I’m actually prepared to be frustrated by this part solely based on my personality alone and not any worries concerning the book. I hate when the heroes are mistreated in stories long after it makes sense since they’ve had to prove themselves. I’m not talking characters like J. Jonah Jameson, though by now you’d think New York would trust Spider-Man almost as much as they do Captain America…
Fine, no longer a good example. I’m thinking more along the lines of the Transformers. In recent shows Transformers keep their existence a secret, though how they pull that off in the Bayverse is a mystery I doubt Bay himself would understand if he actually cared. The exception is Cyberverse, where people eventually do learn and we’re told have no problem cheering on the Autobots, but given how little actual human presence there is in the show I’m basically taking their word for it.
However in the comics the majority of humans see the Autobots as big a threat as the Decepticons (oddly, that’s also part of the Bay movies because the government seems to hate their saviors) and attack them just as much. This is not the only series that does this of course but it is the most egregious example of it. So now here I am about to read a book where the heroes I grew up with are about to be treated as the scum of the universe, the scourge of the Alpha Quadrant or something like that and I am not okay with this. If I can get through part one without hating most of the characters who aren’t the usual crew I may be willing to accept why they feel that way after book two. I’m not sure how well this will work for me personally but I’ll try to be as impartial as possible from a storytelling perspective. I know there are some actual authors out there in the readership and I wouldn’t mind hearing some of you weighing in on this storytelling style.
With all that said it’s time for the short prologue and the first chapter of part one.
The prologue isn’t part of the story, but it tries to set something up. It seems to be the opening of a documentary or article defending the five-year mission. What it does do is introduce the idea that the Enterprise is the fifth Constitution-class vessel to be destroyed during a five-year mission, while mentioning others that were destroyed in the original series. It also mentions Christopher Pike and Robert April, the latter introduced in the animated series, to this disgraced version of James T. Kirk and Ron Tracey…the guy who took over a group of barbarians on a planet that somehow created the US Constitution on their planet. At least they aren’t comparing him to the guy who introduced literal Nazis into a planet.
Chapter one is told from the point of view of Glissa, a Tellarite in charge of a group of “rockriggers”, apparently turning large enough asteroids into new planets. Frankly I think they laid in a bit thick on the pig analogy. I looked up the species at Memory Alpha (which is a wiki, so question the source) and for example their preference for mud baths wouldn’t show up in the series (books are technically non-canon; even the adaptations are often off as most novelizations can be) until Enterprise, and that’s not a series I would turn to for accuracy or not doing stupid things. They’re also depicted as not seeing more than two meters in front of them, needing viewscreens and enhanced hearing and smell to know what’s around them. They also apparently like using insults in conversation, so Glissa is happy that at least one human, Sam Jameson, seems to understand that.
Sam is depicted as a hard worker, someone who can get people to work by treating them as individuals and putting in just as much effort, and in coordinating to increase their efficiency. He eats alone but appears to be friends with Glissa, though she does appear to be somewhat drawn to the long-nosed putz. We’ll see why that’s no surprise in a moment. He seems to be doing good work.
When a systems failure puts two Tellarite kids in danger Jameson risks his own life to save them. That should earn him a hero’s reward, but somehow despite being around him all this time it’s only now that he’s recognized despite his beard thanks to showing up on the various holoscreens as Glissa tries to get him help or at least remembered for saving kids. And you complain about Superman’s disguise and make fun of Lois Lane? Turns out Sam Jameson is…already spoiled in teaser text at the beginning of the book. You know, the excerpt some books have on page one that they hope will draw people in. It already ruined that Sam Jameson was James T. Kirk and you’d think they wouldn’t ruin the first chapter’s revelation with teaser text that frankly doesn’t really do anything different from the back cover otherwise.
He’s James Kirk, villain of the universe, and now nobody wants anything to do with him except for the kids he saved who try to help with the wound he sustained saving their lives. Yeah, I told you what I was in for in part one. I don’t know what he supposedly did outside of Talin IV being “ruined” so unless he went all Mirror Kirk and blew the planet up on purpose for getting mud on his shoes HE JUST SAVED THE KIDS LIVES AND ALMOST DIED FOR IT! Give him some credit. Glissa volunteers to help him get out while the getting’s good and end chapter.
Like I said, I know what I’m in for since I don’t know what’s going on. It’s often frustrating when the entire story plays this game. One or two characters as part of an unrevealed (yet) backstory fine, but the entire cast of characters I’ve known as heroes being treated like the scourge of all? I’m not complaining about this as a storytelling tool, mind you. It could well work, just not for me personally. Critically I have nothing bad to say about it.
Next time we’re apparently checking in with Mr. Scott and seeing if he needs an assumed name as well. I just need to get through part one and I’ll be fine. I hope.