Memory Prime

Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens

reviewed by Carolyn Kaberline

While Captain Kirk rarely likes using the Enterprise as a shuttle for diplomats, it’s a different matter when it comes to the most renowned scientists in the galaxy. And sixty scientists nominated for the Nobel and Z. Magnees prizes are being ferried to the award ceremonies on Memory Prime, home of the most sophisticated computer library in existence.

While this particular assignment seems to be a simple one, it soon turns out to be far from that: It’s not long before Commodore Wolfe and a large security contingent are also on board, and one or more of the scientists seem to be marked for murder. And when one of the scientist’s experiments almost kills several of the elite passengers, all of the evidence seems to point to Mister Spock, leaving it up to Kirk to prove his innocence. Kirk’s job becomes immensely more difficult when Spock manages to escape to Memory Prime and Commodore Wolfe orders her personnel to track him down—with phasers set to kill.

Captain Kirk, Scotty, Uhura, and McCoy soon find a way to transport to Memory Prime as well, only to find that more intrigue awaits them there. While Scotty is glad to see Mira Romaine ("The Lights of Zetar") once again, their reunion will have to wait: Something definitely seems to be wrong with the Memory Prime computer system. While the captain tries to find Mister Spock, one of the computer "associates" tries to kill him; when he manages to stop its attack and is taken to Spock and McCoy, more complications arise until they finally meet up with the hired assassin.

While there’s plenty of action in this story, there’s also quite a bit of confusion—especially in the explanation of the computers and the way they work on Memory Prime. While I will admit to not reading this in one sitting, which may have caused some of the confusion, a rereading or two did not make the information any clearer. There’s also some confusion as to the exact reasons the commodore feels she must kill Spock instead of just capturing him.

However, even with the confusion, the reintroduction of Mira Romaine is a real plus for the story, and the outcome is totally satisfying if rather unexpected. While the premise is interesting, more clarity in explaining the working of the computers and their "transition" time would be helpful. And although there is an attempt to re-explain the situation toward the end of the novel—in the best detective tradition, more clarity earlier would make for a better story.

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