One of the significant criteria which John Ordover, over at the Pocket Books (Trek Books publisher), states for writers considering penning a Trek novel is that "you should write something that couldn't be done on the small screen." In other words, what would be the purpose in writing a book that could, in fact, be just another episode? He wants the writer to take the reader somewhere else, into worlds unexplored and parts unknown ... so how did BY THE BOOK meet those standards? Giving a gracious nod to RPG so prevalent throughout the web, the authors devise a scenario surrounding Captain Archer and the crew of the Enterprise's first contact with not one but two species and it goes horribly wrong until they fashion a device which allows Archer to communicate telepathically with the more intelligent of the two species and then ... nothing happens. While the book sports a wonderful conversation between Archer and his Vulcan Subcommander T'Pol on the nature of 'first contact' situations, the tale invests little in characterization, plot, and surprise. There is little awe in the experience of meeting new civilizations for the first time; rather, there is an exhaustive examination of their architecture and how it relates to the way the think ... while it's interesting, it encompasses too much of the book. Lastly, this installment FEELS as though it was a script submitted but rejected by Paramount b/c it didn't meet Ordover's criteria: it shows us nothing new.
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What? You don't know enough about me from the picture? Get a clue! I'm a graduate from the School of Hard Knocks! You can find me around the web as "Trekscribbler" or "Manchops". … more
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