Future Imperfect

Book 2 of The Janus Gate Trilogy

L. A. Graf

reviewed by Diane Doyle

This novel is the second in the Janus Gate Trilogy. It continues the story where the first book left off. While searching for a lost survey party, the crew members of the Enterprise encountered an alien transport device that could transport people through time. Sulu had been swapped with an older version of himself from an alternate time line where James Kirk had not been captain of the Enterprise and the Federation was involved in a war with the Gorn. Captain Kirk had been replaced with a teenaged version of himself.

When the second novel opens, Lieutenant Sulu, who is flying the shuttlecraft Drake in search of Captain Kirk, starts skidding out of control and discovers that he is nowhere near the caves of Tlaoli, and finally lands in a rainforest. Chekov is trying to talk the teenaged James Kirk into accompanying his party in hopes of eventually returning him to his appropriate time. Uhura and McCoy discover an older version of Sulu, who is now a captain. This older Sulu reports that Captain Kirk had never commanded the Enterprise and that the Federation has been at war with the Gorn for nearly 20 years, with the Gorn conquering most Federation planets. Older Sulu was trying to destroy the central hub of the Gorn’s transportation system when he was transported back in time, instead. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Sulu eventually finds himself in contact with an older version of Chekov who served with the older version of Sulu and is involved in fighting the war with the Gorn and learns that the Klingons are now allies of the Gorn.

Back on Tlaoli, the crew eventually figures out that the transporter device would replace persons with healthier versions of themselves, including replacing the older Captain Sulu with young Sulu and Chekov with a version five hours younger after he slipped from the ledge. They eventually realize that the only way to restore their "normal" timeline, instead of the dark future that older Sulu and older Chekov are experiencing is to return teenaged Jim Kirk back to his own original time and place. Further events involve the crew learning the operation of the so called Janus Gate in order to accomplish that objective. In the process, they encounter the Gorn, Romulans, Klingons and even an imprisoned Metron.

This novel, like its predecessor, is replete with action and adventure. It should greatly interest fans of Sulu, Chekov and Uhura. It is also of interest to anyone who wondered how Kirk would behave as a teenager. The story cannot be effectively read without reading the first novel of the series beforehand as background information. Like the first volume of the trilogy, this one ends with a cliff hanger. Overall, the book is a good read but must be read with the other parts of the trilogy to make sense.

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