On the planet Direidi, a fortune in Dilithium crystals has been found. The contest for the crystals lies between the Enterprise and the Klingons - a contest that propels Captain Kirk and his crew into their strangest adventure yet.
This is an excellent piece of comic writing, and a completely unique part of the Star Trek universe. If you are in the least bit a fan of the original series of Star Trek, you can't afford not to read this. I found that it chases away the blues very effectively. It is a shame that John Ford did not apply his comic talents to writing more Trek novels. However, as a stand-alone book it is still a piece of consummate genius.
Unfortunately, the humour is almost completely for fans only; although the plot is ingenious and the dialogue highly witty, the funniest aspect of the book is the way the characters interact and react. This is based heavily around the way they were portrayed on television by the original series actors, and you have to be able to imagine how funny all your favourite characters would look when under the absurd conditions the book puts them in. Oh yes, I should warn you that the plot is completely insane and improbable, but therein lies the source of its greatest humour. You see, none of the Star Trek characters in the book can believe what is happening to them either. So a great deal of the humour is left to you to see in Kirk's expressions when the situation just gets progressively sillier and sillier, or in the way the characters react to each other as they become increasingly convinced that they need psychiatric help.
But having said my word of warning, if you are a Star Trek fan this is in my humble opinion the best Trek novel around. And it is based on an excellent premise, a little similar to that of the musical Buffy episode, only the wit is drier and the plot twist is inspired. It has absolutely no plot links with the rest of the Trek universe, and therefore can stand entirely on its own if you haven't read any others. Instead it transposes the characters into this inspired storyline and throws in a bunch of Klingons for good measure. And it will have you laughing until you weep.
I particularly like Ford's sense of humour. I feel that it fits in well with the spirit of the original series, and even slightly pokes fun at the cheesy jokes that you used to get at the end of the episode. Believe me, this will not spoil your enjoyment of Trek by making people behave out-of-character, or just poking fun at them so much that they loose all dignity. In fact, Ford has got the characters exactly right, and a great part of my enjoyment of this novel came from recognising the old favourites I knew and loved in a portrayal that was entirely true to the good old days of classic Trek.
This is a truly unique Trek novel and an absolute classic. Buy it, borrow it, steal it, I don't care - you have to read this book.
Like a good sitcom, the underlying plot is essentially serious: a Federation ship discovers a planet with a large dilithium deposit, but the claim is jumped by the Klingons; meanwhile, the planet's inhabitants are none too happy that both sides are ignoring their side of the issue.
Very funny; the only reason I don't give it five stars is that the events leading to the final "fight" are a bit forced; up until that point, the characters stagger from one absurd situation to the next under their own volition.
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