Along with some equestrian obsession I don’t fully understand and a successful re-invention of himself as a kitsch icon, Bill Shatner (yes, that one) has been spending his time in collaboration with a couple of other writers going about the business of crafting Buck Rogers in the 25th Century stories, only with James Kirk instead of Buck Rogers. To be fair, this makes a lot more sense than if it were actually Buck Rogers, because there’s really no link there.
I can appreciate this desire, I think more than most. I know what it’s like to get inside the head of a character and then feel like I could tell more stories about the character after everyone else is done. The problem, of course, is that Kirk eventually died. Inevitably, the bringing him back to life and putting him back in play in the new Federation part of the story was complete tripe, because of the degree of self-indulgence required. (If another person had written exactly the same thing, would I be calling it self-indulgent tripe? Well, since I maintain that nobody else would have done, I’m giving myself a free pass.)
Here’s the thing, though. Once you get past the two books worth of that, there have been about four more since (and at least one more next year) that have been on the high end of the Star Trek novel spectrum. I know this is not a high mark to reach, but I’m already on record of reading treasure and trash with equal abandon, and this stuff is by no means the trashiest.
Which brings me to the latest book, the middle-of-a-trilogy Captain’s Blood. It has a lot in common with the first book of the trilogy, Captain’s Peril. Both wrap hints of an extra-galactic invasion force that are sure to pay off in the final entry around the meat of the plot, two murder mysteries. This one is more engrossing by virtue of the size: The murder in question is Spock, blown up in the midst of a unification speech furthering his efforts to bring the Romulans and Vulcans back together. Naturally, Kirk, his old-school pals who managed to still be alive into the 24th century with him, and his next generation chums gather together to investigate.
That covers the first couple of chapters, and, well, the twists and turns are well enough plotted out that I’d prefer not to dig deeper. Like I said, after you get past the self-indulgence bit, he (and his under-writers, I expect) writes some pretty good books. Plus, the next book with the extra-galactic invasion will probably be self-contained, just as these two have been, and that will save you really a lot of time over reading the 21 or so volume Star Wars extra-galactic invasion series. (I don’t even know if I’m serious there, so probably it’s not worth asking.)