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Book Review

Book Cover

Star Trek



Author: Una McCormack
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
333 pages
ISBN: 978 1 98215 754 8
Publication Date: 27 May 2021

Thrown forward in time, to save the whole of humanity, Burnham finds herself separated from her crew and the Discovery. The universe has changed, almost beyond recognition. The Burn, a universal catastrophe that halted warp travel, has left the Federation scattered, separated and all but forgotten. Things are not hopeless, she has met Book, an independent trader and Aditya Sahil, who commands an almost abandoned Federation station...

Wonderlands (333 pages) is a new, original novel set at the beginning of season three of Discovery. The book was authored by Una McCormack, who has contributed novels to many genre shows as well as publishing original stories.

So, I am not sure what happened here. There is nothing wrong with the structure of the novel, nor is there a problem with the characterisations. Understandably the author cannot do much to change the characters, and that is understandable. I do have an issue with the fact that the overall story is just a rehash of season two.

Burnham visits various worlds, blundering about as she does in the show, sometimes to good effect, sometimes not. All this travel only serves to provide Burnham with a fleet from disparate worlds to defeat the local big bad.

There is also another problem with the novel, which has nothing to do with the author. Understandably the origin of the Burn and the whereabouts of any remnants of the Federation are foremost in Burnham’s mind and so she spends a lot of time either thinking about it or talking about it. As the audience knows the answer to both questions, Burnham’s ponderings contain neither mystery nor interest.

McCormack has tried to balance these restrictions by including a recording from Councillor Prita Tagore, a Federation representative from a provincial world.  This part of the novel is probably the more interesting aspect of the book as it shows us the fractured state of the Federation before the Burn, which goes a long way to explain why many of the isolated worlds don’t even want to go back to the pre-burn Federation. It also shows the immediate effects of the Burn. Overall, I think I would have preferred to read that story.

It’s a genre book and the writing is good, but the need to include Burnham’s ponderings and the repetition of the story structure from season two lose the story a lot of interest. Without these restrictions on the author, the portions allotted to Prita points to a far more interesting novel we will probably never see.


Charles Packer

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