Star Trek TOS: Allegiance in Exile by David R George III

(7.0/10)

I am, if nothing else, a sucker for a good read. My preferably method of absorbing a story is through the written word, preferably on paper – though I’ll survive if it’s on my iPad. Subsequently, though most people’s introduction to the world of Star Trek comes through one of the many TV shows or movies – especially in this day and age of a J.J. Abrams rebooted franchise – my favourite way to ingest a new Star Trek story is through a book.

In days gone by Star Trek books were very much the product of franchise-itis, which is to say, write as much as you can as quick as you can and sell to as many as you can regardless of quality. I’ve written more about this at Amazing Stories recently (http://amazingstoriesmag.com/2013/06/the-joy-of-reading-star-trek/), so I won’t get into it again. Suffice it to say, being able to enjoy a Star Trek story without having to deal with William Shatner or Nichelle Nichols is a real joy.

Which is exactly what you get when you read ‘Star Trek: The Original Series; Allegiance in Exile’ by David R. George III, released earlier this year. Set in between the end of the TV series and immediately prior to the conclusion of Kirk and Enterprise’s five-year mission, the story is a great insight into what we missed when the show was cancelled.

Focusing primarily on the relationship between Kirk and Sulu, the story sets the stage for some distressingly ironic parallels. Many fans will know that William Shatner and George Takei have not had the greatest of relationships, and seeing similar tensions played out for their respective characters on the page was an interesting experience.

Nevertheless, withering ironies aside, the interplay between the two characters was wonderfully handled by George, who definitely has a good grip of Sulu, and is able to look beneath the absurdity that is William Shatner into the heart of the character of Kirk as envisioned by the late Gene Roddenberry. Kirk is wilful, but desperately in love with the romanticism of captaining a starship, exploring the furthest reaches of known space, while Sulu struggles to understand the responsibility and burden of command.

There is love, action, and some great Trek tropes that make you feel right at home, as well as a nice inclusion of a race that will become ever more prominent as the Star Trek chronology continued. While the pacing of the book is thrown around a little due to the length of time the book spans, it is an enjoyable read and well worth your time.

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