Star Trek: The New Voyages II

Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath, Editors

reviewed by Carolyn Kaberline

"Star Trekkers alone can make the difference between a future in which mankind will fall back into a dark age that will last a thousand years, and one in which we will go upward, outward—to the stars. The turning point is now. We make it now, or we don’t make it. But I believe that we will."

So said Robert Heinlein during an interview with Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath, the editors of Star Trek: The New Voyages 2 at San Francisco’s Space Con Three. And even though those words were spoken more than 30 years ago, there are those who believe that truer words were never spoken.

Throughout this second volume of fan fiction, Marshak and Culbreath do their best to capture Heinlein’s sentiment and to show "man’s truest legend, seen at last—the legend of a golden age not lost, but of one yet to be found…" To do so they have included eight short stories and two poems that show the world of Star Trek at its best.

The collection begins with the story "Surprise," written by Nichelle Nichols and the editors, which recounts preparations for a surprise birthday party for Captain Kirk while an alien presence is loose on the Enterprise.

Then there is "Snake Pit" which tells of Kirk and Christine Chapel’s visit to the planet Vestalan where a native uprising is in progress thus depriving the Federation of a badly needed serum. During the course of their visit, they find themselves prisoners of the natives with Kirk becoming a sacrificial victim to their gods. This story, written by Connie Faddis, is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats as Chapel tries to rescue the captain from certain death.

Written by Russell Bates (writer of the animated episode, "How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth"), "The Patient Parasites" is presented in television script format and tells the story of a machine found during the survey of a new planet. The machine desires the knowledge of warp drive before it will release the crew members it holds captive. However, knowing that this machine would prove dangerous to the entire galaxy, Kirk refuses to provide the necessary information. It quickly becomes a race against time as Kirk must find a way to save his men before their minds can be sent to the machine’s creators. (Readers might be interested to know that this story can be found in illustrated form at the website:

As the crew of the Enterprise explores a feudal world, Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy try to find the secret to a building that could not have been constructed by the planet’s inhabitants. When Kirk disappears in the depths of the building, it’s up to Spock and Doctor McCoy to find him. Little do they know that they are part of an experiment set by an alien scientist "In The Maze," by Jennifer Guttridge.

"Marginal Existence," by Connie Faddis, presents a world where most inhabitants seem to be in a state of suspended animation; however, their "sleep" is anything but peaceful. When Doctor McCoy is thrown into a sleeper machine and appears in great distress, Kirk and Spock must find a way to release him.

A distress call lures the Enterprise to a strange planet where crew members are plucked from the ship and sent through a machine that changes them into the opposite sex. It’s up to Kirk and the Enterprise crew to find a way to return everyone to his or her normal gender in "The Procrustean Petard" written by the editors of the book.

In "The Sleeping God," by NASA rocket engineer Jesco von Puttkamer, Captain Kirk and the Enterprise face an immensely powerful being from another dimension and must find a way to defeat it before it can destroy the worlds of the Federation. Their only help in facing this threat is a young mutant who has been in suspended animation for the past eight-five years.

The book is rounded out by two poems, one about Charlie X and the other about Spock, and an epilogue by Nichelle Nichols that thanks all those who summon the future.

Readers of this collection of stories will find that this is a volume they will want to return to time and again. Not only does it offer plenty of suspense, it also manages to capture the Star Trek legend in its entirety as the crew continues to travel "where no man has gone before."

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