LEGACY (Star Trek: TOS) by Michael Jan Friedman
Pocket Books, 1991, 280 pages, 0-671-74468-2, Mass Market Paperback, $4.95
Genre: Science Fiction
I run the risk of overriding TRE with an onslaught of Star Trek novel reviews, sparked, as you may well imagine, by the release of the film on May 8th. While part of me wonders whether or not I should do that, the other part of me says that I should read whatever I’ll enjoy, and right now I’m enjoying this.
But don’t take me for a Star Trek newbie. I’ve got over 20 years of love and adoration for this series, despite its occassional missteps. That love begins with the original crew because, while I’m nowhere near old enough to have seen the show when it first aired, I was fortunate enough to have regular reruns when I was growing up and a father who went out of his way to purchase the series for me on VHS ♥.
As such, the original crew has been and always will be my favorite (parodied phraseology not intended), and it only follows that the Star Trek novels I most want to read will be about them. Of course, nowadays the old series of novels has been discontinued, and you can only find them in used bookstores or online. Well, if I like anything, it’s a used bookstore, and I happened to find Star Trek: Legacy during a foray into what is, quite possibly, the most disorganized and absolutely amazing used bookstore in Panama City, Florida (photo courtesy of my best friend).
Let’s summarize, shall we?
What should have been a routine planetary survey turns into a series of disasters as Spock is injured by an indigenous creature, and Kirk, along with the other members of his party, are trapped underground following a landslide. While Spock’s condition remains uncertain, Mr. Scott sends a rescue team to look for the captain. However, an attack on the mining colony of Beta Cabrini by the Merkaan Acquisitor Hamesaad Dreen causes the Enterprise to be called away before the search can be completed.
I’d say this isn’t the best Star Trek novel I’ve ever read, but it was pretty darn fun. What I like about it is that, through the entire thing, it rather felt like watching an episode of the old series. I mean, you’ve got your A, B, and C plots, returning friends and enemies, Kirk’s interest in a woman (though he held himself back for the most part — I was shocked and amazed!), a mad frenzy over someone potentially dying (why is it always Spock, by the way?), alien dog things, attack and rescue schemes, McCoy doing something that could get himself killed, and a chase over rocky terrain. That’s pretty much everything you ever needed in a Star Trek episode plus the pleasure of giant, tentacled grub worms. Awesome!
But in all seriousness, I did enjoy it. It was easy reading and Friedman definitely had a handle on the characters’ voices. During the dialogue I had no trouble whatsoever imagining the gestures and facial expressions that would go along with the words had I been watching it on my television screen. Even Captain Pike — whose presence in the story irked me at first, but I quickly got over it — is close to what I remember from watching “The Menagerie.”
Overall, it’s pretty much the kind of thing you would expect. It doesn’t deviate too far from what’s already known about the characters, and that’s okay. Not everything has to be about epic character development (despite what I say in other reviews on occassion). Sometimes it’s just about relaxing in familiar territory, and this book will certainly allow you to do that.