Star Trek

Editor: Marco Palmieri
Pocket Books
RRP: 9.99, US $15.00, Cdn $19.99
ISBN-13: 978 0 7434 9254 6
ISBN-10: 0 7434 9254 4
Available 02 October 2006

I've said it before, that given that we have had four decades of Star Trek that this years celebrations are somewhat muted, a bunch of reissued DVDs and a collection of average books, so it was a delight to have to review Constellations - a collection of short stories by some of the best Trek genre writers around at the moment.

One of the things which sets this collection apart is its shift of focus away from the usual hero worship towards using the format to explore not only the characters in greater depth but also the realities of their daily lives. In short, the collection presents the characters as fully realised people with both their faults and strengths. This is reflected in the quality of the writing, which remains high throughout the collection. Whilst all the stories are superior Trek, most also remain good science fiction.

Constellations, more than ably edited by Marco Palmieri and with an introduction by David Gerrold, contains twelve stories all set in the time of the Original Series. All the major characters get a look in and although there is a leaning towards the triumvirate of Kirk, McCoy and Spock, this is not at the expense of the rest of the bridge crew, who all either get their own stories, or a significant part to play in the plot.

In line with DVDs the book comes with an extra in the form Anything but Alone, a full story from TOKYOPOP's new Star Trek manga. As a lover and collector of both American comics and Japanese manga, I thought that the story was interesting but I was less impressed with the quality of the artwork.

Did I have a favourite? To be honest I thought that all the stories had their own strengths and apart from the manga there were no noticeable weaknesses. So, if you're into hero worship, and the rehashing of well worn themes, then this book is not for you. However if your interested in seeing the characters in genuinely interesting and engaging stories then you could do worse than pick this up at your local book shop. It's Trek for grown ups.

Charles Packer

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