Star Trek
The Next Generation
A Time to Harvest

Author: Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore
Pocket Books
RRP 6.99, US $6.99, Cdn $10.50
ISBN 0 7434 8298 0
Available 07 June 2004

For centuries after the destruction of their planet the Dokaalan struggled to survive among the asteroids that became their new home. They were not a species prone to giving in and amid the hardship of their people they have begun an ambitious project to terra form an entire planet to become a new permanent home. However the lives of the Dokaalan have been jeopardised by the secretive activities of a group of aliens. Using a mixture of stealth and sabotage this alien menace have subverted the terra forming efforts of the Dokaalan and endangered their existence. For if the plan to turn the planet into a new habitat go awry the Dokaalan will be left stranded among the asteroids, dependent upon the radiation...

The follow up to A Time to Sow, A Time to Harvest is an impressive effort. The authors have perfectly blended tragedy and success to play with the emotions of the reader. In order to save the Dokaalan Picard and the Enterprise must overcome the multitude of obstacles of the harsh Dokaalan environment. It soon becomes apparent that rather than help the Dokaalan the Enterprise may have been used to hinder them - used like a pawn in a cosmic game of extinction or survival. This realisation brings Picard face to face with an old adversary and leads to the realisation that saving one people may destroy another.

As the story unfolds it reveals well crafted characters and a well thought out series of events that actually surprised me. There wasn't a happy and clean ending everything didn't turn out perfect as I expected as seems to happen in a lot of Star trek fiction. One moment I was lulled into a false sense of security by the flirtations of two crew members fully expecting some happy connection between the two only for this peaceful moment to be ripped apart by a double murder.

The authors made me feel attached to the characters and this worked excellently with the way the book presented me with the answers but the characters with little or none. A tried and tested technique but was kept fresh by the way the authors blended in those little moments of surprise and tragedy to keep me on edge.

It is an excellent book and there isn't a simple conclusion, there are no genuine 'bad guys' and by the end you realise that the enemy are just the same as the Dokaalan just using different methods to survive.

This book is a strong addition and a must have for all Next Gen fans.

Charlie Brine

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