Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Wounded Sky

Star Trek #13
The Wounded Sky by Diane Duane
Published December 1983
Read November 5th 2013


Previous book (TOS): #12: Mutiny on the Enterprise
Next book (TOS): #14: The Trellisane Confrontation


Purchase: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Spoilers ahead for The Wounded Sky!

From the back cover:
An alien scientist invents the Intergalactic Inversion Drive, an engine system that transcends warp drive--and the Enterprise will be the first to test it! The Klingons attempt to thwart the test, but a greater danger looms when strange symptoms surface among the crew--and time becomes meaningless.
Now Captain Kirk and his friends face their greatest challenge--to repair the fabric of the universe before time is lost forever!

My thoughts:

Diane Duane is one of my favorite Trek authors of all time. As you can see from the list below, I've read quite a few of her books in the past few years. Her Rihannsu series was a ground-breaking examination of the Romulans and their culture, and Spock's World is one of the gems of the entire Trek book line. In fact, I recently recommended Spock's World to author Dayton Ward for his "Ten For Ward" column at StarTrek.com, in which he compiled a list of novels for new-comers to Trek written fiction. As a fan of her other stories, I decided to go back and read her earliest Trek novel: The Wounded Sky.

For the most part, I enjoyed this story. The alien scientist, K't'l'k, was very fascinating. Basically an intelligent, large glass spider, both her physical description and the way her species views the universe were interesting. She appears in Duane's later work, so it was great to see her introduction to the Enterprise crew here. Her interactions with Scotty were particularly fun to read!

The end of the story delves into the metaphysical a bit, and boy is it a wild ride! Duane manages to capture the "weirdness" of the crew's experiences perfectly. While this was very fascinating and great writing, I would have to say that the absolute best part of the novel was Duane's depiction of Sulu flying the Enterprise in battle against a number of Klingon cruisers at break-neck speeds. The entire sequence kept me on the edge of my seat. No one can write space combat like Diane Duane!

The spirit of exploration, which should be an integral part of what Star Trek is all about, suffuses the pages of The Wounded Sky. Duane is able to capture that spirit perfectly. Captain Kirk and his crew display an enthusiasm about exploring the unknown that is practically infectious.

In some ways, The Wounded Sky is reminiscent of the early TNG episode "Where No One Has Gone Before." This isn't surprising, as Duane was a co-writer of that episode. Both stories capture a feeling of the true unknown. They evoke a similar feeling that I got when I heard Q's words at the end of TNG's "All Good Things...":

"That's the exploration that awaits you. Not mapping stars or studying nebulae. But charting the unknown possibilities... of existence."

Goosebumps. I'm tellin' ya.

Just as in "Where No One Has Gone Before," the Enterprise is propelled far beyond our galaxy, where the line between thoughts and reality becomes blurred.

Final thoughts:

An excellent entry in the Star Trek series. Diane Duane captures the characters, the sense of wonder, and the action that make stories, particularly Star Trek stories, great. Some readers may find themselves bogged down with the technical descriptions and high-minded physics concepts, but for the most part, I think Trek fans will find this a perfect depiction of what Star Trek is all about.

Also by Diane Duane:

Star Trek #18: Rihannsu #1: My Enemy, My Ally (1984)
Star Trek #35: Rihannsu #2: The Romulan Way with Peter Morwood (1987)
Star Trek: Spock's World (1988)
Star Trek #50: Doctor's Orders (1990)
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Dark Mirror (1993)
Star Trek: The Next Generation #45: Intellivore (1997)
Star Trek #95: Rihannsu #3: Swordhunt (2000)
Star Trek #96: Rihannsu #4: Honor Blade (2000)
Star Trek: Rihannsu #5: The Empty Chair (2006)

My next read:

Stay tuned for my annual year-end wrap-up of the year in Trek Lit. Trek Lit Review's 2013: Year in Review coming on New Year's Eve!