Star Trek The Motion Picture is a rough movie to connect with for a bunch of reasons I won t go into here There are great character moments, or at least opportunities, in the film but there s not enough This book does a fantastic job of giving a much needed emotional core to the events of TMP and actually deals with the aftermath of the book You have Kirk s guilt, Spock s uncertainty, McCoy s loss of footing, a crew s confusion as to what has happened and how to deal with this captain who sh Star Trek The Motion Picture is a rough movie to connect with for a bunch of reasons I won t go into here There are great character moments, or at least opportunities, in the film but there s not enough This book does a fantastic job of giving a much needed emotional core to the events of TMP and actually deals with the aftermath of the book You have Kirk s guilt, Spock s uncertainty, McCoy s loss of footing, a crew s confusion as to what has happened and how to deal with this captain who shoe horned his way into command Also the diversity of the crew in opinion and in species It s a veritable cornucopia of potential conflict that matches the actual conflict here.We revisit Natira, the Fabrini, and the world they have settled after the events of the episode For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky This of course makes things quite awkward for McCoy and makes Kirk have to deal with the consequences of leaving a world once he has enlightened them In this case there is a deep chasm between the old ways and the new and Natira isn t the most understanding of the other side.It s really fabulous There s conflict, awesomness, everyone s issues being dealt with or at least confronted, and everyone finding as much of a next step as possible It really makes TMP that muchworth it as a film and you can tell the author cares and cares so hard about this film and the characters to Most Star Trek books avoid this era in Trek but I think they avoid it for a different reason since this book came along Ugh Read this to get the bad taste of Spock Messiah out of my brain and it s as bad or worse Set immediately after ST TMP it starts with a good premise, a return to Yonada, but buries it with soul numbingly boring writing Endless pages of internal dialogue from literally every character, including several NPC s who are added for no apparent reason The completely un fascinating sociological mission is about as action packed as an academic seminar Spock s thrilling task Historical archive Ugh Read this to get the bad taste of Spock Messiah out of my brain and it s as bad or worse Set immediately after ST TMP it starts with a good premise, a return to Yonada, but buries it with soul numbingly boring writing Endless pages of internal dialogue from literally every character, including several NPC s who are added for no apparent reason The completely un fascinating sociological mission is about as action packed as an academic seminar Spock s thrilling task Historical archive research None of the main cast felt authentic, particularly Kirk Very not recommended THE HUMAN ADVENTURE CONTINUESIn the aftermath of the astonishing events of Star Trek The Motion Picture, the captain and officers of the USS Enterprise remain haunted by their encounter with the vast artificial intelligence of V Gerand by the sacrifice and ascension of their friend and shipmate, Willard DeckerAs James T Kirk, Spock, and Leonard McCoy attempt to cope with the personal fallout of that ordeal, a chapter from their mutual past is reopened, raising troubling new questions about the relationship among God, Man, and AI On the recently settled world of Daran IV, the former refugees of the Fabrini worldship Yonada are being divided by conflicting ideologies, as those clinging to their theocratic past vie with visionaries of a future governed by reason aloneNow, echoes of the V Ger encounter reverberate among the Enterprise officers who years ago overthrew the Oracle, the machine god that controlled Yonada Confronting the consequences of those actions, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy also face choices that will decide the fate of a civilization, and which may change them forever Star Trek and religion have an interesting relationship Gene Rodenberry was proudly an atheist and believed that the future would result in people outgrowing silly superstitions Others in the franchise, like Ron Moore, made Deep Space Nine one long rebuttal to anti religious science fiction Some authors have come in one one side or the other but few have tried to deal with the issue from a secular point of view How does religion impact the lives of people who don t have miracles from the B Star Trek and religion have an interesting relationship Gene Rodenberry was proudly an atheist and believed that the future would result in people outgrowing silly superstitions Others in the franchise, like Ron Moore, made Deep Space Nine one long rebuttal to anti religious science fiction Some authors have come in one one side or the other but few have tried to deal with the issue from a secular point of view How does religion impact the lives of people who don t have miracles from the Bajoran prophets to justify their faith What is the importance, if any, of religion when the deities they worship are confirmed as false Shockingly, this isn t just what Ex Machina tackles It also discusses, in a somewhat off hand manner, the nature of the Singularity The Singularity, much like the Tao, cannot be described because both are entities which are indescribable by their very nature The Singularity is when we reach a point technologically or socially we cease to be able to be understood by normal humans Christopher Bennett tackles the Singularity like event of Star Trek The Motion Picture and questions what this would mean for individuals seeking religious answers in the cosmos In short, if you re looking for a god, what happens when a being is created who might as well be one All of these questions andget asked during the novels and answered with a somewhat reasonable extrapolation of facts The novel s premise is Captain James T Kirk is still recovering from the events of TMP Having witnessed William Decker sacrifice his life to become one with V ger, he s left with a crew which rightly or wrongly blames him for their former Captain s death Spock, meanwhile, is struggling with his recent decision to abandon the pursuit of pure logic to rediscover his long suppressed Vulcan emotions James McCoy is regretting his decision to return to Starfleet As a result, they are all eager to answer a distress call from a Hollow Earth planet they destroyed the machine god of many years before This happened in the 3rd season TOS episode, For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky Once there, they find the planet is rocked with religious strife as the discovery their machine god was false has not gone over very well with the populace Likewise, the former high priestess attempt to indoctrinate them all into a modern secular worldview we can even say atheist has only made things worse Were this an episode of TOS, Kirk would resolve it by finding the terrorist leader and punching him or convincing everyone that they need to work together with a single speech Things are a bitcomplicated here and Christopher Bennett ties Kirk s cautious approach to events with his recent experiences He even deconstructs Kirk s rather causal way of dismantling cultures as well as the crew s habit of having once an episode life changing romances Part of what I enjoyed about this work is the new characters, only barely glimpsed in TMP The crew of the Enterprise, meant to be the cast of Gene Rodenberry s Phase 2, includes manyaliens than we re used to Rhaandites, Betelgeusians, and other ones barely glimpsed in the later canon My favorite of the new crew members, however, was Reiko Onami A woman who has spent her entire life around aliens, she finds regular humans like Doctor McCoy petty and bigoted I also was a huge fan of the contrasting characters of Natira and Rishala Two high priestesses, they could not havecontrasting opinions Natira embraces her new atheism and Federation agnosticism, feeling it has liberated her from a repressive evil religion Rishala, however, holds to deep spiritual truths while expressing many of the Federation s highest virtues They are twin sides of the same coin but deadly enemies due to how differently their experience with their planet s religion shaped them In between them are many characters of varying beliefs, shaping the complicated narrative of the book In conclusion, Ex Machina is an excellent story It s a bitcomplicated than most TOS stories and a good dealcerebral However, this doesn t mean it s boring Indeed, I found it incredibly engrossing Deep characterization mixes with an in depth analysis of an interesting subject I recommend all fans of the original series as well as the movies.9 10 A radical atheist, a religious zealot, and people who just want to practice their faith in peace The people of Yonada from the episode For the world is hollow have finally arrived at their destination Tensions are running high as the government cracks down on religious freedoms, trying to extinguish it altogether The leader, Natira calls starfleet for help in putting down terrorists In comes the Enterprise hot off their mission to stop V Ger With V Ger s evolution being seen as a religiou A radical atheist, a religious zealot, and people who just want to practice their faith in peace The people of Yonada from the episode For the world is hollow have finally arrived at their destination Tensions are running high as the government cracks down on religious freedoms, trying to extinguish it altogether The leader, Natira calls starfleet for help in putting down terrorists In comes the Enterprise hot off their mission to stop V Ger With V Ger s evolution being seen as a religious event in some circles of the Federation, and Kirk s reputation as a God Killer the Enterprise is sent to help the situation What could possibly go wrong This book is definitely worth the read It is a very Star Trek style book exploring science, religion and history, and can this society continue on the path it is currently on The book also explores Kirk, Spock and McCoy dealing with the ramifications of the events as seen in Star Trek The Motion Picture The crew is still undecided on what to think of their new Captain, the ship is still going through its shakedown cruise The book is pretty relevant given what is going on with Islam in the Middle East In the book the Enterprise team has an honest discussion about the religion of Yonada, while we can t even have an honest discussion here on earth if you like the motion picture era of Trek, this book won t disappoint Until reading his Star Trek novel Ex Machina, I d only known author Christopher L Bennett as a commenter on the Tor.com website, primarily on the various Star Trek re watches to be found there Bennett s comments on Tor are regularly insightful and thoughtful Sometimes, too, those comments can be overly long and pedantic, as is Ex Machina Using two Star Trek productions as its source material, the mediocre and muddled third season episode For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky, Until reading his Star Trek novel Ex Machina, I d only known author Christopher L Bennett as a commenter on the Tor.com website, primarily on the various Star Trek re watches to be found there Bennett s comments on Tor are regularly insightful and thoughtful Sometimes, too, those comments can be overly long and pedantic, as is Ex Machina Using two Star Trek productions as its source material, the mediocre and muddled third season episode For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky, and the tedious and overblown first movie, I guess the odds were stacked against Ex Machina being a novel I was going to like very much Ex Machina has long, too long, didactic passages about history, about philosophy, about religion Bennett s insights into the psychologies of Star Trek s main characters are deeply thought out, but the long passages of psychological insight are frequently placed to interrupt the flow of the infrequent action sequences On the plus side, Bennett writes science well and is very good at inventing alien species that are truly alien and not just humanoids with forehead ridges most notably, the Megarite named Spring Rain Upon Still Water has a refreshingly non human way of communicating and of viewing and interpreting her surroundings Overall, Bennett does write very well And he is apparently a thoughtful and insightful writer But Ex Machina reads very much like a series of dissertations on various academic topics, at the same time also reading very much like a think piece, like a mental exercise to rewrite the For The World Is Hollow episode to reconcile and explain its various plot problems I enjoy Star Trek for various reasons, one of which is its blend of philosophy, science, action and adventure, and humor Bennett s novel contains this blend but it is off balance, with too much teaching, too many talking heads, and too little leavening with action and humor This just didn t do it for me While it did add some depth to Decker and Spock, it feltlike a sequel to the TOS episode For the World is Hollow than a bridge between TMP Khan I haven t seen that episode so it was a little hard to care about the characters or follow all of the references This wasn t what I d hoped it would be This just didn t do it for me While it did add some depth to Decker and Spock, it feltlike a sequel to the TOS episode For the World is Hollow than a bridge between TMP Khan I haven t seen that episode so it was a little hard to care about the characters or follow all of the references This wasn t what I d hoped it would be Nostar trek romantic happy endings for me. WOW This novel has everything I want in a Star Trek book A great story which works so well as a sequel to For The World Is Hollow and TMP, not only amazing characterisation of the Enterprise crew, but actual character arcs and growth that s totally in keeping with the characters There are nice continuity flourishes, action and excitement, hard science and times of great introspection Themes of science and religion, society trying to move forward stumbling then ultimately succeeding I cou WOW This novel has everything I want in a Star Trek book A great story which works so well as a sequel to For The World Is Hollow and TMP, not only amazing characterisation of the Enterprise crew, but actual character arcs and growth that s totally in keeping with the characters There are nice continuity flourishes, action and excitement, hard science and times of great introspection Themes of science and religion, society trying to move forward stumbling then ultimately succeeding I could go one, but I ll stop right here Ex Machina by Christopher L Bennett isn t just an amazing Trek novel, its the best one I ve read to date To find out this novel didn t sell to well is disheartening, because I would have loved some followups to this one My highest recommendation Well done Takes most of the original cast through legitimate and believable character arcs, giving it a greater feel of importance than most tie in novels Recommended.