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No, THESE Are The Voyages...
on 15 July 2010
Just a brief note about the book, my terminology may not be correct, but there are a number of copies of the third print of this book which have been subject to a printing error which means a few pages are blank. The second print does not have these errors.
I've given this novel, the first Enterprise relaunch novel, five stars for a number of reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, its raison d'etre is to re-do properly that whole sticky mess of Enterprise's final episode. It does this by telling the story in a similar way to the episode - as a simulation of what occurred from a future perspective - but places little focus on this aspect, instead using it as the jumping off point to pretty much contradict These Are The Voyages and make that episode easier to take (as now we're told the chain of events were fabricated by Starfleet). It also sets up a few things we were looking forward to in the series, such as the eventual formation of the Federation and the Romulan War; which had been hotly debated as to whether Enterprise would or should incorporate this story if the show had it got another season or three.
To fully enjoy this novel and its various references, I went back and watched a good deal of season 4 of Enterprise again so it was fresh in my memory. While not necessary, I would definitely recommend that to get the most out of the story, you should be familiar with Babel One/United/The Aenar, Demons/Terra Prime and These Are The Voyages... (trust me, it's worth it in the long run!).
What this novel excels at is getting the characters right, a task that the authors proved they could handle with Last Full Measure, which is important considering our heroes are now entirely in the hands of the authors. I also particularly enjoyed the scenes that were lifted directly from TATV, but ever so slightly different to fit in with what actually happened, and still manages to keep it believable and logical. The book, although not focusing on any one character in particular, does plant the seeds to see some advancement of the lesser used characters, such as Hoshi, Reed and Mayweather, and gives a welcome amount of time in the spotlight to Shran and even Admiral Valdore, as well as hinting that there are at least two races trying to breach warp seven. Picking up from the threads it laid down in Last Full Measure, it starts to send the over-arcing story of the relaunch on its way towards the Romulan War as well as wrapping up or expanding some lingering plot points of season 4.
One part of the book I liked in particular was a scene between Jake and Nog, which involved them basically tearing These Are The Voyages to shreds with its various inaccuracies and nonsensical setup. Just why exactly had no-one been promoted after 10 years' service? And how DID that ship capable of only warp two catch up to Enterprise, which was racing away at warp five?!
I have only two minor complaints of the book, which don't detract from the book in any major way, but I feel are worth mentioning. One is there was no mention of Commander Kelby in this book; who you would assume would be back in contention for position of Chief Engineer. And the second is even after the amount of rabid foaming the fans did over Riker ending the holodeck programme before we heard Archer's speech, pretty much the same thing happened here. A rather emotional scene takes place instead, so I suppose I'll let it slide!
In conclusion, this book is excellent and is worthy of carrying on the Enterprise name. The pace and feel of the story are reminiscent of the structure season 4 took, so it's not hard to feel like this is a novelisation of a similar arc had the show continued. My congratulations to the authors, and I look forward to diving straight into Kobayashi Maru!