Star Trek Enterprise
Last Full Measure

Author: Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels
Pocket Books
RRP: 6.99, US $7.99, Cdn $10.99
ISBN 1 4165 0358 7
Available 05 June 2006

Enterprise continues to explore Xindi space in a desperate attempt to discover their home world or the location of the massive weapon that they fear will soon be used to obliterate the Earth. Aboard the ship, an uneasy alliance between the ships crew and the contingent of MACO's is starting to cause friction between the two groups. Given their different backgrounds can the two crews find common ground against the Xindi...?

Last Full Measure is the new Enterprise book from Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels. It details two minor, but connected incidents in summer 2153. It is set between the television episodes The Xindi and Anomaly and runs to three hundred and thirty-six pages. The main theme of the book is the integration of the Enterprise crew with that of the MACO's that have been thrust upon them. It's a classic clash of cultures between the intellectual but generally passive Starfleet crew and the arse kicking, gung-ho space marines - made worse by the cramped conditions which the two crews find themselves in.

Given that story would concentrate on a lot of the marines, Martin and Mangels have opted to dispose of many of the major names from the crew, so as to cut down on the number of people. So, Hoshi and Tucker fall victim to a mysterious space disease, whose genesis and resolution are never adequately explained, unless I missed something. T'Pol is consigned to the relative obscurity of the Enterprise and is never really allowed to get into the action. The only Major players left are Mayweather, Archer and Reed, with Mayweather off on a mission with one bunch of marines whilst Archer attempts to find the Xindi weapon with another.

The book has a number of problems. Character development is scant and it's difficult to empathise with either crew on any great level, meaning that you ultimately really don't care what happens to them. The underlying premise of throwing the two groups into a common conflict which would bring them closer together is a bit old hat and more than a little obvious, you just knew that whatever they experienced the end result would be a greater understanding, mutual respect and maybe a kiss before bedtime.

Another aspect of the book that I disliked, and it is by no means limited to this novel, is the presumption that characters from differing Trek shows would naturally meet each other. I won't spoil it for any of you that might buy the book and who love these supposed accidental meetings between significant players, but my personal opinion is that having characters from differing shows gives the feeling that Starfleet contains very few people and does little except restrict what should be a limitless universe to a fairly minuscule scale.

Overall the book is a long talky, introspective piece that just didn't click with me. I found the long descriptive passages destroyed what little there was in the way of action. The best passages where set on the Xindi home world, but they were too few and far between to rescue the book. A judicial use of the editorial scissors would have gone a long way to making the book tauter and more interesting.

Charles Packer

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