Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Blood-Dimmed Tide

Star Trek
Mere Anarchy, Book Five
The Blood-Dimmed Tide by Howard Weinstein
First Published March 2007
Re-published in the omnibus collection Mere Anarchy in March 2009
Read November 21st 2015

Previous book (Mere Anarchy): The Darkness Drops Again
Next book (Mere Anarchy): Its Hour Come Round

Original e-book cover

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

Spoilers ahead for The Blood-Dimmed Tide and the rest of the Mere Anarchy series!

From the back cover:
Twenty-five years after the disaster, Mestiko's recovery is stagnating amid social unrest. A lunar colony designed for scientific research might give the people hope--until a local terrorist group called the Torye attacks the colony and steals an experimental subspace weapon. The Starship Enterprise is sent to find the Torye and retrieve the weapon.

But even as Captain Kirk and his crew – Saavik, Scotty, Chekov, Uhura, and McCoy--follow the trail, Captain Spock goes on a daring undercover mission to Klingon space that will have dire consequences for the future of Mestiko--as well as the Federation...

My thoughts:

The Blood-Dimmed Tide, the penultimate installment of Mere Anarchy, takes place between the films Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Like most of the other stories in this series, the novella makes good use of the time period in which it is set. Also, it has to be said: Howard Weinstein's entry in this series is most certainly the best-written of the novellas up to this point.

Admiral Morrow (retired) accompanies Spock on his peace mission to the Klingon Empire.

Weinstein uses a lot of elements the Trek political stage in the lead-up to The Undiscovered Country. We see the initiation of Spock's attempt to negotiate peace with the Klingon Empire, for example. At the outset of the story, he and retired admiral Morrow (see: Star Trek III: The Search for Spock) journey into the Klingon Empire to begin negotiations. Meanwhile, on Mestiko, a group of radicals has captured a doomsday weapon. Hoping to make Mestiko into a power to be reckoned with in the quadrant, these radicals make moves to ally themselves with the Klingons.

Kang makes a welcome return in The Blood-Dimmed Tide.

The story sees the return of antagonists from the past. Kang, originally from the TOS episode "Day of the Dove," returns in this story. One of the most memorable Klingon characters, Kang's appearance in The Blood-Dimmed Tide is a nice surprise. Another Klingon, however, is less welcome: the infamous Klaa from The Final Frontier, whose whole motivation in that movie is that Kirk is so amazing that to defeat him would be really really awesome. Klaa is written in this story as the buffoon he is, and while his shenanigans do drive the plot, he never comes across as any really great threat.

Less welcome is Klaa, the "80s hair band" style of Klingon from Star Trek V.

The Klingon Empire serves as an allegory for failed states here on earth, such as the Soviet Union or North Korea. Their fearsome "battle station," featured in the plot of this story, is in fact in a dilapidated state and only good for show. Under a veneer of impressive military displays, the Empire is falling apart. This reminded me a lot of the Soviet Union shortly before its collapse. Additionally, it was reminiscent of the huge skyscraper hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea. While the exterior looks impressive, it has stood as an empty shell for years now, with no signs of being completed in the near future. The Klingon Empire is on the road to collapse, and the destruction of Praxis in the near future will hasten that fall.

Final thoughts:

My favorite story in the Mere Anarchy series (so far). It was fun to see this particular era of Star Trek, with the action happening against the backdrop of a failing Klingon Empire and with the crew aboard the Enterprise-A, along with Saavik, who remains one of my favorite Trek characters. This story brings Mestiko's situation into the realm of the wider galactic arena, with dire consequences for both Mestiko and the stellar neighborhood.

Weinstein captures this era perfectly, and The Blood-Dimmed Tide is not to be missed.

More about The Blood-Dimmed Tide:

Star Trek: Mere Anarchy:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

At long last, the final installment in the Mere Anarchy mini-series: Its Hour Come Round by veteran Trek writer Margaret Wander Bonanno!

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