Collision Course: Star Trek: The Academy (Anglais) Poche – 1 décembre 2008
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Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens are a well-known science fiction writing team. They are the co-authors of William Shatner's bestselling Star Trek novels and their other bestsellers include the reference books The Art of Star Trek and The Next Generation: The Continuing Mission.
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For one thing, the personality of young Jimmy Kirk, while not completely out of character, seems more like the Jim Kirk in the new movie series than the impression that we've always had of the background for the character from the original series; granted, attempts are made to explain away that wildness and lack of respect for authority as traumatic remnants of his experiences on Tarsus IV under governor Kodos. And such a reaction to such a traumatic set of events would certainly not be unreasonable, but in no discussion of Kirk's past at any point in the series do we ever hear any hint that such was actually ever the personality of young Jimmy Kirk. Further, if he HAD been like that, and Spock had known him then, it seems hard to imagine that it would never have come up in conversation during the series. Nor does it seem plausible that Spock is only two years older than Kirk; I've seen other places (including the new movie series) where it is claimed that they are that close to contemporaries, but I find it extremely implausible. Given the greater lifespan of Vulcans, it seems likely that Spock is older than that, and unlikely that he and Kirk would have been at the academy together. Further, it seems implausible that if Kirk WAS that severely traumatized by his experiences on Tarsus IV, to the extent that he became such a rebel-without-a-cause smartass wiseguy and hater of all things Starfleet, and spent three years being that person, that he could have turned himself around/been turned around so totally and so quickly as to leave no trace of it on his academy record, and any trace of that sort of attitude would have left him a significantly less respected member of Starfleet, to the point where he would have become the youngest ever promoted to captain in the history of the fleet. Bureaucracies (even apparently non-hidebound bureaucracies, like Starfleet is supposed to be) do not rapidly promote smartasses who hate authority, no matter how talented they are.
Yes, if this was the character's background, it would explain his willingness to flout the rules on many occasions in the series. And while he certainly has a tendency to be more concerned with what's right than the regulations, I don't see him as being THIS much of a rebel at seventeen.
Still, the explanation of the origin of the dispute between Spock and his father that we saw in "Journey to Babel" worked for me, at least mostly. But it did seem to me that his early experiences with Kirk in this book, if they had actually happened, would have left Spock much less stiff than we saw him in the early episodes in the series; his integration of his human and Vulcan sides would have been more advanced than we saw if it had started as early as this.
So all in all, as a story that I don't try to fit in to the established Star Trek history, either in the original series of the new movies, this book is worth five stars. But I would only give it three if I wasn't willing to grant it the "alternate timeline" excuse.
A little outrageous toward the end, but very good nonetheless. Nice job tying in one of ST:TOS' most intriguing story lines - Kodos the Executioner (from "The Conscience of the King").
IMHO, Shatner/Reeves-Stevens wrote a better story than what J.J. Abrams used to reboot "Star Trek." BUT Abrams' story was the better choice for a movie.
I like Star Trek and I like that there are different versions of "what happened" (or is that "what will happen"?). Thus, I don't get wrapped up in competing ST universes and so long as folks don't abuse the "official canon" too much, I say "bring it on!" One of life's truisms - one can never get enough Star Trek!
Second, it is written after all by William Shatner and portrays a young James Kirk as Shatner would like to have him seen. It is in a sense Jim Kirk through the eyes of Shatner with all his cynicism, strength, humor, and flaws. It also gives a good deal of background about Kirk's brother Sam, father Joe, and the familial relationships at play.
I give it four stars cause the action takes a while to get started, but for the reasons above it takes on an importance all its own, and is almost a necessary reference work.
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