Though I’m a lifelong fan of Star Trek, in its many, varied forms, this is the first time I’ve read a novel set in that universe.
So it was with some trepidation that I jumped into this. I know these characters so well, and have seen all the episodes numerous times. But how would it work in book form?
As far as that goes, it most works fairly well. Ward explores the inner workings of characters that have already been fully fleshed out, so he has a lot to work with. In that way, this is a great format for the series (which not only makes sense, but helps explain how these books have been so successful for so long).
The downside, however, is that the “technobabble” that has been such a problem for the shows gets magnified here. Without being able to see the events unfold in front of you, it’s fairly easy to get lost in the quantum fluctuations, deflector arrays, and temporal paradoxes. And I say that as someone who is familiar with all the terms used here. I can’t imagine how it must be to someone unfamiliar with Star Trek.
Headlong Flight takes place after Nemesis, the final Next Generation movie.
Drawn to a rogue planet in an unexplored nebula, the Enterprise detects signs of life and hears a vague message warning any visitors to stay away. For reasons that don’t make sense outside of a Star Trek story, Captain Picard sends down an away team to investigate….right before the planet disappears. Due to the uncontrolled experiments of an alien race, the planet is locked in an unending cycle of jumping between dimensions.
I won’t go further into the plot, but anyone familiar with the series can probably guess what happens when the Enterprise explores alternate dimensions.
Overall, this would’ve made a solid late season episode of The Next Generation. What keeps it from being forgettable as a book, though, is the internal struggle that you can’t get much of in a TV show. Ward does a very good job exploring the motivations of the characters, and he understands them well enough to make their emotions resonate.
If you’re a fan of the franchise, I recommend the book. Especially if you, like me, have resisted reading any of the books until now.