Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

J.M. Dillard
based on the screenplay by David Loughery

reviewed by Carolyn Kaberline

While the movie Star Trek V did not get the greatest of critical reviews, it still presents an interesting story—and most readers will probably find that the novelized version is much better than the film thanks to the author filling in some missing background material.

Although the movie begins on Nimbus III, the Planet of Galactic Peace located near the Neutral Zone, the novel begins on the planet Vulcan as it presents a look at Sybok’s mother and gives some necessary back story ignored by the movie. Readers also get some background information on J’Onn, a farmer on Nimbus III and the one who first meets Sybok on that planet; they also get a detailed look at the three emissaries to the planet—Caithlin Dar from Romulus, St. John Talbot of the Federation, and Korrd from the Klingon Council who soon become hostages of Sybok. Again the details provided here help the readers understand the motivations of the characters as the story progresses.

From this first meeting of Sybok on Nimbus III and the introduction of the hostages, the novel then begins to follow the movie version more closely and changes its focus to Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and Dr. McCoy as they enjoy their shore leave in Yosemite National Park. Not only do we see McCoy’s panic as Kirk falls while attempting to climb El Capitan, but we also find out that he has engaged in other dangerous behavior on this trip. Readers also see the easy friendship of the three as they spend the evening around the campfire, with Spock toasting "marsh melons," and Kirk and McCoy trying to teach their Vulcan companion the "sing along" tradition that often accompanies such trips.

When the trio’s vacation is interrupted with news that a hostage situation has developed on Nimbus III, the three head back to the new Enterprise via shuttle because the transporter—and many other items on the ship—are not working. Despite Kirk’s protests, however, to the lack of readiness of the ship and only a partial complement of crew, the Enterprise is still ordered to resolve the crisis.

However, it isn’t long after their arrival at the Planet of Galactic Peace that Kirk, Spock, McCoy and soon the entire crew of the Enterprise find themselves captives of Sybok, who turns out to be Spock’s outcast half brother who needs a starship to take him to his destination, the fabled Sha KaRee on the other side of the Galactic Barrier.

While getting through the Galactic Barrier will be an almost impossible task in itself, the Enterprise and its crew also become the target of Klaa, the young captain of a Klingon Bird of Prey, who would like nothing better than to win more acclaim from the Klingon Empire. To do this, he hopes to capture both the Enterprise and its captain. And finally when the Sybok does reach his destination, the results are nothing like he planned.

Although the majority of this novelization follows the film closely, it is the background material presented that sets it apart from the movie. In addition, it is the back story of the characters which should have somehow been included in the movie to give them more depth and thus make the plot stronger. While the movie may have been poorly received by most, the novelization provides a good read and a new look at the story.

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