Star Trek Book Review: The Best and the Brightest

Star Trek: The Next Generation:The Best and the Brightest
The Best and the Brightest

By: Susan Wright
Length 274 pages.

Now here is actually the first Star Trek Book I have ever read, and let me give you some background on my Trek-dom.

Original Series: Don’t watch it, don’t care. That being said, I’ve more than likely seen them all, but I wouldn’t put much money on buying the seasons sets, and other than the movies , especially the second one, not exactly must see TV.
Next Generation: The one that got me into the Universe. I have had several seasons of this one, and I do love the show. I don’t think it holds up to the next one though- and I’m not fond of “Wesley Saves the Ship” story lines.
Deep Space Nine: To me, DS9 is far and away the best one of the series, I have come around on Sisko, as during the TV run, I really didn’t like SiksoShows. Miles is still my favorite character, I guess its the Non-com in me.
Voyager: I tried, I really did. I was out on this show after the first season or so, and not even the introduction of Jeri Ryan made me want to come back.
Enterprise: I’m a Backula guy, but we didn’t get CW when the show started, and I have never had the chance to catchup.

All good? Good.

StarfleetThis book takes place in 2368. No idea why they dropped the Stardate, and goes through a cadet class in the eyes of 6 students:

A Trill who just got joined, since everyone loves Jadzia Dax (who makes an appearance);
A Bajoran who was a Vedek but is trying out for Starfleet;
A kind of half-cat half human;
and 3 humans, just to balance it out.

The Focus stays on the Trill and the humans as they do what kids do, get in trouble, namedrop or meet every famous person in the Startrek Universe, almost get expelled but save their skins, and mention every – well we would call them Hot Button issues in real life – that we would need to see in a book about the recent times.

This book is a fairly quick read, even though I did have to read it twice to get everything, and to be honest, it has good and bad parts.

The Good
1. The Book moves around in time without leaving too much behind, or getting too far ahead when major events are skipped over, people move around the 6 people without entrance or exit music, so to speak.

2. The Slave trade Arc. Just gonna leave it at that.

3. There is a relationship here, that I won’t get into, since it would get into spoilers. But its nice to see two characters of the same sex have a relationship without the author covering it in huge blaring lights saying THIS IS OK NOW, and writing it as if its a male/female relationship.

The Badbooks

1. Earth is a HUGE Place, and you would think that Starfleet Academy would also be a HUGE place, and even the Universe is a pretty big place as well, and  while the Flagship of Starfleet is pretty famous, and DS9 is pretty important, how do 6 kids have a run-in with dang near every name character in Trekdom?

2. This is presented as 6 normal cadets- but no, there is some SERIOUS Wesley Crusher action going on here. I swear, Starfleet should make the mandatory retirement age for Captains 25. There is almost nothing a first year cadet can’t solve.

3. This is almost too much like an episode, people are saved JUST at the nick of time, or there is a window JUST big enough to fit though or a breakthrough JUST in time to see it or JUST enough time left to fix things. I hate that in storytelling.

4. One dies. Its spoiled on the jacket of the book, and it hurts the story. You can eliminate 2 or 3 people pretty early as not being the red-shirt, but when it happens you could pretty much figure out who it is.

5. Some characters are not nearly as cared about as others, you could have made this about 4 of them, and dropped 2 to supporting cast. Almost like you could drop Julian and Jake Sisko and wouldn’t miss them for half a season.

On the whole, its a very good read, but not anything you have to return to, or something you are clamoring to see made into a series or anything, you won’t learn anything new about Starfleet by a LONG shot, and to me, that’s the biggest failing the book has. I haven’t read any books, but I know 2 of the 5 shows like the back of my hand, and this really didn’t expand any on it. But still, its worth a quick 2 hour read if you are the type that doesn’t skip a mediocre spot on a TNG Marathon.

Rating: 5/10

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