Star Trek: Enterprise: The Good That Men Do by Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin

While most sci-fi fans I know are lamenting the premature cancellation of Firefly, I’m still holding a torch for Star Trek: Enterprise. Say what you will about prequels; I find history fascinating, be it real, or the fictional history of a favorite story. In my mind, the crew of the NX-01 got short-changed. Books like this continue the mission.

Enterprise ended with an episode that fast-forwarded 10 years to the birth of the Federation in a rushed attempt to provide closure, leaving a great many story threads still loose, some of them revealed in the early days of the original Star Trek series. This book picks up right where that 10-year gap began, after the events of the previous two-part episode “Terra Prime.” For all intents and purposes, this begins what might have otherwise been season 5, and the events of this story begin the buildup to the Romulan War and the Rise of the Federation. Secrets are revealed and sacrifices are made as the Romulan war machine attempts to undermine the dawning of a new Coalition of Planets that could potentially stand against its imperial doctrine of expansion. In the midst of all of it, we learn that the “official” story of Trip Tucker’s death in the series finale was the cover story that was told to history. This book begins the tale of “what really happened.” It sounds sappy at first, but the potential of that thread turned out to pay dividends.

The story that’s woven here gets closer to the spirit of Star Trek than anything we’ve seen on screen since Enterprise got cancelled. That in itself is worthy of high praise as far as I’m concerned. As season 4 did for Enterprise, this book continues to draw the threads between Enterprise and the original Star Trek together, giving us the story of how we as a species would overcome obstacles through equal measure of pioneering spirit, ingenuity, cooperation, and heroism in the name of hope against the same kinds of oppressive factions that we face in our own world today. In short, it’s sci-fi made socially relevant, which is something that has been missing for a while in our pop culture… and which Star Trek at its finest has always been about.

4 stars


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