Saturday, July 25, 2015

Things Fall Apart

Star Trek
Mere Anarchy, Book One
Things Fall Apart by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
First Published September 2006
Re-published in the omnibus collection Mere Anarchy in March 2009
Read April 27th 2015

Previous book (The Original Series): Burning Dreams
Next book (Mere Anarchy): The Centre Cannot Hold

Original e-book cover

Trade Paperback: | |
Kindle E-book: | |

Spoilers ahead for Things Fall Apart and the rest of the Mere Anarchy series!

From the back cover:
Mestiko: a world on the brink of interstellar space travel--and under covert Federation observation. When the Payav, Mestiko's dominant nation, learns of a rogue pulsar sweeping through their star system and threatening to destroy all life on their planet, the Federation is faced with a daunting choice: stand by and witness the extinction of a thriving civilization, or violate the Prime Directive and mount a desperate effort to protect the planet from total devastation.

The Starship Enterprise, newly under the command of James T. Kirk, is sent to aid the doomed planet. Kirk and his officers--Spock, Mitchell, Kelso, Scott, Sulu, and Dr. Piper--must use an experimental, untested technology to save the planet before it's too late!

My thoughts:

Before TNG's Slings and Arrows came a TOS e-book miniseries: Mere Anarchy. Following the fate of a newly warp-capable planet called Mestiko, Mere Anarchy takes place over the course of the entire run of the "original series" era of Star Trek, beginning with the early days of Kirk's original mission aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise. It is during that period, circa "Where No Man Has Gone Before," in which Things Fall Apart takes place.

Mestiko is a planet on the verge of scientific revolution as one of its nations has just discovered warp drive. However, the planet is facing an extinction level event, and the Federation must decide whether or not to intervene to save Mestiko. Ultimately, the Federation decides to try to save the population, and the Enterprise leads the mission to protect the planet. The crew's response to the crisis and Kirk's reaction in particular are very much keeping with his ethos at this stage in his life, and helps to set the pattern for how he will approach various challenges in the future.

The crew from "Where No Man Has Gone Before" (minus Dr. Dehner) features in this story.

I would imagine that one of the difficulties in writing a story that takes place in an era that hasn't had a lot of coverage would be making it feel genuine to that era. We had only one episode that took place during this time period featuring this particular crew, which means that the source material for writing this story would have been very limited. However, Ward and Dilmore succeed in recreating the feeling of that episode, whether it's through the particular relationships among the crew or through small touchstones such as references to "lateral power" and employing the slight tonal shift in language between "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and the rest of the series.

Final thoughts:

A fascinating setup for the stories to come in this series. Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore capture the tone of this particular slice of Trek history quite well, especially given the limited view of this period we've gotten in the past. I would be interested in seeing more stories featuring this crew, but who am I kidding, I love Bones too much to have him away from the rest of the crew for too long. Regardless, the authors kept my interest and made me genuinely care about the fate of the people of Mestiko. While this was an interesting tale, I'm excited to explore the repercussions of the events in this story in later incarnations of the TOS era.

More about Things Fall Apart:

Star Trek: Mere Anarchy:

Also by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore:

My next read:

A classic TNG hardcover novel that I have had in my possession since I was a kid, but only now have finally read: Reunion by Michael Jan Friedman. Come join me as I get to know Picard's former crew from the Stargazer!

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