Star Trek: Voyager
String Theory
Book 1: Cohesion

Author: Jeffrey Lang
Pocket Books
RRP 6.99, US $7.99, Cdn $11.99
ISBN 0 7434 5718 8
Available 01 August 2005

When the Starship
Voyager enters a peculiar part of space and literally runs into a Monorhan refugee ship, it sparks off a chain of events which trap Voyager in a fold of subspace. Meanwhile, on a mission of mercy B'Elanna and Seven of Nine's shuttle is caught in the same shock wave that affected Voyager and they crash on the Monorhan's home planet. Can Voyager get out of the fold in time? Can B'Elanna and Seven overcome their mutual animosity to solve the mystery of the shock wave? Who in their right mind keeps buying these crashing shuttles...?

Cohesion is the first book of the all new String Theory cycle. Written by Jeffrey Lang, who has written and co-written a number of Trek novels, the story takes place between seasons four and five.

As a reviewer I'm kind of getting freaked about the lack of imagination a lot of the Trek writers seem to display. The same old plot twists turn up over and over again, so its usually with a heavy heart that I approach any story where another shuttle crashes. Luckily, for the reader, the inevitable shuttle crash is disposed of fairly quickly when it does happen.

So, that gripe aside, what we have here is a no nonsense, straight forward, good old fashioned story. I was a bit put off by the quote from George Bernard Shaw, not that I have anything against that great bastion of Irish literature, rather I'm usually suspicious that any writer of a Trek novel, who uses such quotes, is trying to justify their genre writing by adding a bit of an intellectual sheen - as if they were embarrassed to be writing in this medium. But read the book and the quote is relevant and well chosen.

So, given some of the trash that is published there are few such worries with Cohesion. Plainly speaking the book was so well written and such an effortless read that I read it cover to cover in a single sitting. The story is short on scientific gobbledegook and long on characterisation and tension. I especially liked the explanation of the Monorhan society and the doom which leads them to throw their lives, thousands at a time, into space to escape their dying world. The alien characters are well drawn, believable and elicit both the Voyager's crew and the reader's sympathy.

Being part one in a series the main job of this book is to set up the characters and the situations which imperil the main characters, the mid section and resolution is left up to later instalments. It does its job well.

So, buy it read it, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. I look forward to the next instalment with the hope that the author of part two - Kirsten Deyer - doesn't drop the ball on this one.

Charles Packer

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