The Galactic Whirlpool

David Gerrold

reviewed by Diane Doyle


Before David Gerrold had written the episode "The Trouble with Tribbles," he had submitted a Star Trek script called "Tomorrow was Yesterday." It involved the U.S.S. Enterprise encountering a generation starship that had been launched from Earth before the development of warp speed. The inhabitants of this ship had forgotten that they had come from Earth, believing that the ship was their world and had broken down into two opposing factions. Captain Kirk and his crew had to convince the two factions to make peace with one another and work together to steer the ship so that it would not be captured by a star’s gravitational field. This novel is an expansion of that original script outline. Any fan that read Gerrold’s The Trouble with Tribbles book would recognize many of the details of that script submission, including the basic plot and many of the details.

The novel features many great character moments for the main members of the crew. One was when Captain Kirk was nicknamed "The Last of the Claudians" back at the Academy. Lieutenant Kevin Riley is in a prominent role, specifically the leader of the contact team that beamed over to The Wanderer. Riley and his boarding party encounter a young woman named Katholin Arwen, known as Katwen, and bring her over to the Enterprise. Of course, Kevin eventually gets to say "I’ll take you home again" to her. Chekov calculates the news that, based on the observed trajectories of the Wanderer, it had originated from Earth! They learn more details about that ship’s history from Specks, the ship’s historian, whose nickname came from the spectacles he wore when giving presentations. The spectacles eventually inspired Scotty to create goggles to protect the eyes of the Wanderer’s inhabitants when the nuclear reactors powering that ship were turned on.

The Galactic Whirlpool was a very enjoyable read, featuring much suspense and much humor.

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