Book Report: Star Trek Probe


Star Trek Probe by Margaret Wander Bonanno

Book Report by Vincent

I’ve never read a Star Trek novel before, for a couple of reasons, but mostly because I was well satisfied with the amount of Star Trek available to me via many hours of TV and movies. Another far nerdier reason is that the books don’t “count”. While I’m not too crazy about a lot of the story of Star Wars presented in Star Wars novels, at least they’re canon (until the movies override them). Even with that exception, the Star Wars universe tries to incorporate everything into one story as much as it can. That’s not so with Star Trek where none of it counts in the least. Why waste your time learning about what Captain Kirk did off screen when Paramount will more than likely change it anytime they feel like it?

What got me to change my mind is the fact that I’ve was always curious about the whale seeking probe in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. For those of you who haven’t seen the film, this giant, super powerful probe shows up and starts wrecking havok. It seems to want to talk to whales, which are extinct. The intrepid crew of the Enterprise takes care of business and gets some whales, probe likes what it hears and goes away. Probe promises to answer these questions in a brand new adventure. Great, right? Well, not really.

The story of Probe is that the Romulans have a change of government and want to talk to the Federation.  A peace confrence is set up in the neutral zone on a planet that has an important archaeological site that can’t be explored due to it being in the neutral zone. While the the peace talks are going on teams of Romulan and Federation archaeologists will work at the sites. Oh and there will be a concert. Is this winning you over? Because this is some boring shit. You thought this was going to be about the Probe right? Well, it sort of is. The probe is going through Romulan space and the archeological and musical stuff does tie together, but it takes a long time to really mesh. So basically, you’re left with a very flawed novel that takes a long time to answer your questions about the probe. (at least in this book).

Now even more interesting than the book is the story behind it. The author is very adamant in her assertion that she did not in fact write the book. They took the novel that she turned in and kept about 7% of it, and then turned it into Probe. Since she was only a contract player, she couldn’t do anything about it. That’s just the very short version of the story. To get the whole thing, just click on this link. It’s a very interesting look at a world where authors kept getting boned by Paramount and the publisher. If you like books or behind the scenes intrigue, you have to read it.

So while the novel was only so-so, the story behind it is way more worthwhile.

  • I donno, this sounds like something that would be selected for a Fan Fiction Friday on Topless Robot…

    I’ve never been compelled to read a Trek novel. A friend of mine let me borrow one that took place after the events of Nemesis, but I never read it. =(

  • You’re probably not missing much.

  • I read a TNG one that was from the author of Anita blake,and believe it or not,it was pretty good! The TOS manga was GREAT. Right now I’m partway through a TPB of one of the recent comic book miniseries,and it’s good,but not really good enough to recomend.

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