I’ve been on a sci-fi, Star Trek kick, mostly because of who I am as a person but a little bit because of Star Trek: Beyond, which was amazing! So while prowling around my shelves, I picked up The Klingon Gambit by Robert E. Vardeman. I actually started this one a long time ago but didn’t finish it because I opted to take only Kindle books to London with me (a wise choice considering I bought 10,000 books while I was there). I remembered that I wasn’t so enthralled with the first chapter that I HAD to keep reading, but I didn’t remember being disgusted with it.
That opinion stands for the whole book. I wasn’t enthralled, but I wasn’t disgusted either. The first chapter is mysterious, but it lacks urgency. The story dragged a little, and I thought it would work better on screen. I also liked the premise, but it was very familiar.
I know the story does work better on screen and was familiar because it already has been on the screen. Twice. In the story, the crew starts going batty for reasons unknown, and the discovery of said reasons doesn’t come until the very end. Sound familiar? It does if you’re a trekkie because that is the plot of “The Naked Time” from Star Trek: The Original Series and the episode remake “The Naked Now” from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Pretty much every “fan favorite” or “best episode” list I’ve seen for Star Trek includes “The Naked Time” (for good reason). I felt like Vardeman wanted to pay homage to this classic episode, but it just didn’t translate very well. I was still fairly entertained while reading it though. My issue with the book is all about pacing. It’s a short book that feels long, which you never want to happen.
However, I liked the explanation he gave for the weird behavior, some of scenes of weirdness, and the inner struggle of Captain Kirk. Plus, there were some great one-liners:
“Dead? They are dead? How unscientific of them.”
“Diplomacy, after all, was the art of doing and saying the nastiest things in the nicest possible way.”
I rate this book with a shoulder shrug.