(Star Trek theme playing in the background)
Kirk: (Off screen.) Star date 123456789… Half of the Enterprise crew has disappeared into a parallel universe. I have asked Science Officer Spock to do an analysis…(Kirk on screen) Spock, what can you tell us?
Spock: Captain, it appears that the Klingons have traveled back in time to the 21st century, and kidnapped williampinn—
Bones: Who the blazes is williampinn?
Spock: If I may continue, Doctor…williampinn was a book reviewer. Apparently the Klingons captured him so he could not write his book review—
Bones: The diabolical bastards!
Spock: For once I agree with you, Doctor. The absence of williampinn’s review has no doubt severely interfered with four-dimensional spacetime—causing his future, our present, to split into two parallel universes.
Kirk: Spock, what does that mean?
Spock: It means, Captain, that our missing crew will stay trapped in the parallel universe, unless we prevent the Klingons from abducting williampinn.
Bones: (Looking at Spock.) God help us! There might be another YOU in that parallel universe!
Spock: Even more unfortunate, there may be also another YOU, Doctor—
Kirk: Gentlemen, please…this is not the time…Spock—bottom line?
Spock: We have to rescue williampinn from the Klingons—or there will be no book review of Star Trek—To Reign In Hell by Greg Cox.
Bones: Spock, you green-blooded, pointed-ear freak—who the blazes is Greg Cox?
Spock: A 21st century science fiction author who has written books well into the 22nd century, since a partial cure for aging was discovered in the year 2015.
Bones: Oh, that Cox. I studied that cure in medical school. You know the old expression: you are what you eat. Cox ate food with a lot of preservatives—so his life was preserved. Ironically, many people who lived in those dark ages foolishly avoided foods with preservatives.
Kirk: Gentlemen, please…another time…we need to stay focused. Here’s what we do: We go back in time to the 21st century and intercept williampinn before the Klingons—
Bones: Great idea, Jim! We can hold him here on the Enterprise. When the Klingons can’t locate him, they’ll get discouraged and leave!
Kirk: Exactly! Mr. Sulu, set a course for Earth, on the double, warp factor 10000000000000000000000000000…….
Sulu: Aye, sir.
(As the enterprise accelerates, the bridge quakes and the ship seems like it can hardly stand the strain of the ultra-warp speed needed for time travel.)
Scotty: Captain! I know ya think I’m a miracle worker but I don’t think the Enterprise can take much more…
Kirk: Scotty, Scotty, Scotty, you say that every episode, yet we always accomplish our mission. You’re such a pessimist…get some therapy, man!
* * *
(The Enterprise did indeed accomplish its mission. williampinn is now restored to his original place in time to complete this review. The closing theme music rises, and the Enterprise hurls off into deep space.)
The book was published by Simon & Schuster, and has 374 pages. It contains no illustrations or photographs within.
It is easy to read—the dialog, scenes, character descriptions, and remaining content are no more complicated than the Star Trek television series.
The book contains the missing chapter in the story of the notorious villain, Khan—what happened between the TV episode Space Seed and the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Some time after the period of Star Trek II…, Kirk and the gang pay a long overdue visit to Ceti Alpha V to find out what drove Khan mad in Star Trek II…. Kirk and the ground crew discover Khan’s journal. The plot then alternates between the ground crew’s present situation, and the story contained in Khan’s journal.
In the present situation, Kirk and the gang are captured by the descendants of Khan and his eugenic followers (who were banished to the planet when they tried to hijack the Enterprise in the TV episode Space Seed).
Khan’s journal reveals the planetary dangers he and his followers faced: saber-toothed tigers, giant reptiles, and the notorious ceti eel which enters the victims ear and bores into the brain—driving the victim mad.
The tension of the journal plot is also enhanced by Khan’s rival, Erickson—a disgruntle follower who continually plots and schemes to dethrone Khan.
What I Liked The Most
I really enjoyed the familiar dialog and banter between Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the rest of the gang. When their captors showed Spock the ceti eel they would soon place in his ear, all Spock could say was, “Fascinating.”
What I Hated The Most
I found Kirk’s ongoing guilt trip about banishing Khan and his followers to Ceti Alpha V to be quite nauseating. Kirk blames himself for the tragedy of the change in the planet's orbit (which made the planet barely habitable)—something neither he nor anyone else foresaw. Further, Kirk forgets that Khan did try to kill him during Khan's takeover attempt of the Enterprise.
I wish Bones had set Kirk straight: “Good god, man, give yourself a break! You did your best—you’re only human!”
For the most part, the book was very enjoyable, and has a nostalgic quality even though the story takes place in the future. The characters are like family, and memories of my early childhood return to me. My parents would go out Friday nights, and I would stay up past my bedtime to watch Star Trek.
So tell Mr. Sulu to set a course to your bookstore…warp factor 10000000000. And don’t pay attention to Scotty’s whining.