Star Trek Academy
Collision Course (Hardback)

Author: William Shatner (with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens)
Pocket Books
RRP: 14.99, US $25.00, Cdn $28.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 4165 0396 5
ISBN-10: 1 4165 0396 X
Available 05 November 2007

Jimmy Kirk and 'Stretch' Spock are two adolescents in San Francisco. Kirk is recovering from the horrific incident on Tarsus IV, whilst Spock lives in the Vulcan compound. While the young Kirk resorts to stealing a Starfleet car, in an effort to prove that the accusation of theft against his girlfriend is false, Spock is on the trail of an art theft. Although they are unaware of each other, their destinies are on a collision course and together they must face a new threat to the Federation...

Star Trek Academy: Collision Course is the first of a new series of books by William Shatner with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens.

For any fans that insist that stories should adhere to the canon of the Trek universe, run away now as this novel is likely to induce apoplexy. Here we have the two young protagonists meeting well before they should have with personalities which will make a hard-core fan gag, especially the seventeen year old Kirk referring to the nineteen year old Spock as 'Stretch', a term of endearment which defiantly did not make it into the television series, in the same way as 'Bones' did. And thank the lord it didn't as I'm not sure that it would have had the same tone with Jimmy, Bones and Stretch boldly going...

I will accept that, as a rule, teenagers are at the same time rebellious and relatively impotent, leaving only defiance as their main method of attack and defence. However the criminal acts which the young Jimmy engages in, and his disdain for Starfleet, takes a lot of swallowing if you compare him to the man depicted in the show. And, given their subsequent devotion, it's not easy to swallow that they were originally press ganged into Starfleet.

That said, the book works quite well as a boys-own action story, if you ignore pretty much everything you know about the characters. The Reeves-Stevens' have a relatively straight forward, uncluttered way of writing, which makes the book an easy read. There is some nice characterisation and character growth through the book and the supporting characters are not just relegated to talking heads.

Given its setting some it's not surprising to see some old favourites pop up - Finnegan, Captain Pike, Surak and Kirk's brother Sam, who gets a nice slice of the limelight - to do their little turn. Even the Enterprise has a part to play.

Taken on its own merits this is a well written adventure yarn with lots of situations that are as exciting as they are implausible, not great, but a passable way to spend some time in the company of a couple of good writers. But, if canon is you bible, then I would steer well clear of Collision Course if only for the sake of your blood pressure.

Charles Packer

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