Windows on a Lost World

V.E. Mitchell

reviewed by Carolyn Kaberline

When Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise bring a team of archeologists to the uninhabited planet Careta IV to hunt for artifacts, the mission appears to be a very routine one. However, it soon becomes anything but routine as one artifact, which appears as a large window, draws Chekov and one of the archaeologists through it. Although many attempts are made to determine what happened and what can be done to bring them back, all are unsuccessful. Finally, it appears that the only option is for Kirk and a security team to follow—despite the protests of Mr. Spock.

Upon passing through the window, Kirk and his men find themselves separated from each other and transformed into large crab-like creatures. It becomes obvious to the captain that he will somehow have to find a way to communicate with the Enterprise crew searching for him and also find a way to change everyone back to his/her correct form. At the same time, he must find a way to survive on this world as he learns more about the Kh!lict, the alien species who lived here long ago. And the more he finds out about their species, the more he is convinced that this world is dangerous and his crew should leave as soon as possible—even if it means the secrets of the Kh!lict stay buried forever.

While this story is fairly predictable, it does hold some fascination as Kirk’s attempts to learn about the species whose body he inhabits and also tries to find a way to overcome the creature’s conditioning. His attempts to communicate with Spock through Morse Code are also interesting as are his attempts to locate Chekov. However, there are a couple of storylines that are never really carried through; one of these concerns a crewman who believes the planet is "evil," but other than a brief conversation in the captain’s quarters—just enough to pique the reader’s interest, the storyline is not continued. The same holds true for the detailed description of the underground facilities of the Kh!lict and a few facets of their society, but this too is dropped.

In short, while the novel is interesting, there seem to be several places where more conflict could be introduced for a more satisfying story.

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