Star Trek
The Next Generation
Genesis Force

Author: John Vornholt
Pocket Books
RRP 6.99, US $6.99, Cdn $10.50
ISBN 0 7434 6502 4
Available 03 May 2004

The passing of the Genesis Wave has damaged hundreds of worlds in the newly named "Genesis Sector," and chaos reigns throughout that area of space. Each world has been changed in different ways, and a group of extraordinary men and women - some old friends, some new faces - have been assigned the job of getting the devastated planets back on their feet...

The first job for this new team sees them having to resettle an entire displaced alien race on its altered home planet, where the dead come back to life, microbes have reached gigantic size, and the new ecology taking over the world is one fit neither for man nor for genetically altered beast.

While marketed as a Next Generation story, Genesis Force uses the characters we know and love as window dressing to the real heroes. This may well work against this series of books for those who are expecting Picard and crew to be in the thick of the action. But, for me, it was a welcome breath of fresh air - a new slant on a tried and tested formula.

The fact that the book opens with Worf helping to evacuate another planet may lull many readers into a false sense of security - give them the crew of the Enterprise and then whisk them away before the novel really gets going.

Other problems that might put Trek fans off is that the dreaded, evil enemy turns out to be a super intelligent moss-like lifeform. This, in places, does seem a little silly. Also, a number of the events that unfold come from nowhere and we end up hearing about them as a third party - it's like the important things happen just out of view.

While this might not be everyone's cup of tea, I really enjoyed it. The characters are strong and the narrative, for the most part, is believable. Those who want to experience Trek from a new angle might want to give this a try.

Nick Smithson

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