My third Star Trek book in almost twenty years was also the second Star Trek hardcover book ever.
And it should have been the first because it is Simply Awesome.
Star Trek Prime Directive was written by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, Canadian authors of some renown, and is still rightly considered a classic to this day.
Our story takes place in the final year of Kirk’s first five year mission, in other words just after the 1960’s television series and quite before The Motion Picture, and is partly told in flashback. The Enterprise’s mission is to look into a situation involving a possible accidental First Contact with a pre warp society. Something goes horribly wrong, resulting in a planet wide catastrophe and the starship getting badly damaged. Because this is considered a result of Kirk violating the Prime Directive, the major Starfleet law prohibiting interference in less developed societies that Kirk has skirted a zillion times before, he and most of the senior officers are pummeled out of the service. This brings about various characters, together and apart, on different quests, all to get answers.
There is so much greatness in this book.
Prime Directive is an adventure tale, an inspirational journey, a fantastic morality play, a philosophical argument, a legal essay, an ethical dilemma, a character based drama, and most excellent Star Trek.
The Reeves-Stevens know their Star Trek, both history and people and thoughts, which permeates this entire epic tale.
Discussions weave all through this story of the Prime Directive and its practical applications, quite often into heavy detail of how this would really work. This same level of thought goes into when First Contact is initiated, also with lots of detail of given of how this would really work. In fact, these concepts are waaaaaay more developed then when the Star Trek The Next Generation episode First Contact covered the same territory, and I do love that episode a lot.
As you can see, Star Trek Prime Directive deals with this subject matter in a manner I greatly love. It is never clunky or forced, but flows very naturally along with the story. By the time I finished, I really thought you could look at much of Star Trek with slightly different eyes, and truly understand why Starfleet drills this imperfect flawed but still the best they have philosophy into their people. You can tell the writers of the Star Trek Enterprise episode The Communicator, which aired years after this book was published, read and got this book, since that takes place pre Prime Directive and showcases the disasters that could possibly occur without this rule. I am sure this was not the only incident leading to this rule, which is why Spock would not reference this episode that was never made yet (confound Star Trek history!!).
Star Trek Prime Directive is one helluva philosophical adventure yarn with great familiar characters. Lot and lots to chew on here!
…is currently re-reading Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka, all in preparation for her upcoming movie!