Thursday, April 16, 2015

Some Assembly Required

Star Trek: S.C.E. #12
Some Assembly Required by Scott Ciencin and Dan Jolley
Published January 2002
Re-released in print form as part of the S.C.E. compilation Some Assembly Required in April 2003.
Read April 9th 2015

Previous ebook (S.C.E.): #11: Ambush
Next ebook (S.C.E.): #13: No Surrender

Original e-book cover

Compilation of SCE #'s 9 - 12
Some Assembly Required from | |

Spoilers ahead for Some Assembly Required and the rest of the Corps of Engineers series!

From the back cover:
Keorga is a haven for artists and musicians, a place of contemplation and artistic appreciation. When their request for a planet-running computer is denied by Starfleet, they go elsewhere; unfortunately, the instruction manual is in a language they cannot understand.
A team from the U.S.S. da Vinci is brought in to help them, but soon they realize there's more to this than a simple translation problem. The computer seems to be running a test -- one that the Keorgans are failing! If the S.C.E. team can't get the information they need out of the recalcitrant Keorgans and figure out how to stop the rampaging computer, Keorga may well lie in ruins!

My thoughts:

In Some Assembly Required, Bart Faulwell, Carol Abramowicz, and Soloman travel to Keorga, a planet recently contacted by the Federation. They have purchased a computer for the management of their world, but unfortunately, no one seems to know how to operate it. The computer's true purpose and effects on Keorga are set up as the central mystery in this story.

While the mystery and build-up are interesting, I found the payoff to be somewhat lacking. Not only is the resolution kind of thin in its explanations, the ending itself feels very rushed. Of course, the length of the novella sets a limit on what can be done, but I feel that more time could have been devoted to explaining the ending more fully and showing a more realistic resolution. The end came so quickly, I was reminded of the worst episodes of Voyager when the dilemma central to the plot was cleared up with a few lines of technobabble followed by a captain's log.

There is some character development attempted with Abramowicz, but unfortunately it comes across as somewhat forced. There are allusions to her childhood, but nothing is really explained. I understand that this is an ongoing story and that the writers may want to keep some revelations in reserve, but there is simply too little about her backstory here to really latch on to.

One aspect that I did like was the development of Soloman. In this story more than any previous one, he seems to be developing a distinct voice and personality all his own. I look forward to seeing where his character goes in future installments of S.C.E..

Final thoughts:

I like that Soloman is given a little more depth to play with here, but unfortunately the rest of the story falls short in my opinion. An interesting setup is marred by a rushed conclusion, and what could have been some real character development for Carol Abramowicz feels a little forced with not enough given to me to really make me care. I hope that the character work that was done in this story is built upon in the future, but sadly I felt that there wasn't enough here for the authors to play with.

My next read:

Next up is my review of Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Ferenginar: Satisfaction is Not Guaranteed by David R. George III. Look for that review this weekend!

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