Star Trek: The Entropy Effect by Vonda N. McIntyre

The Entropy Effect - Vonda N. McIntyre


The Enterprise gets called away from studying an unusual singularity to ferry mad scientist and convicted murderer Mordreaux to a rehabilitation colony. En route, Kirk and the security chief are killed by the apparently escaped prisoner - but Mordreaux never left his quarters, and how is it possible for Spock to be in 2 places at the same time?



Well, well, just when I had begun to lose hope (as of yet, I haven't managed to get across the halfway stage in the 4th Titan-novel... it's just so boring!!!) I finally stumbled upon a really gripping ST-tale. Unfortunately, it's a rather old one that I managed to get my hands on due to its being reissued, but nonetheless, I'm one happy reader.

Of course, everything about time travel and its paradoxes simply appeal to me. If Spock goes back in time and changes the past - wouldn't that mean, that the Spock that went back in time never truely existed at all? I do love those alternate universes, parallel timelines that split from "ours" because of one decision etc. Granted, it does tend to cause some serious headache to consider all the ramifications - but that's the fun about it!!!

In this instance, it's not just the aspect of timetravel that appealed to me a great deal, but also how everyone deals with Kirk's death. McCoy's trying to save his mere body while his brain's already long gone, Spock's mindmeld with the dying Kirk to support him, only to narrowly escape dying with him - McCoy and Spock's discussion about slingshooting around a star to get into the past and prevent the event in the first place and Spock's denial of this possibility only to come up with Mordreaux's invention. Wow, I simply loved the emotional depth of these scenes. *That*'s Star Trek to me. *That*'s why TOS, despite its many flaws, still is my favourite ST-series. I've come to realize that I need to have key characters in a show that are explored in depth and whose relationship is portrayed each and every week, rather than a vast cast with a mere 1 or 2 episodes shedding some light on each character per season. Perhaps that's even where Star Trek went in the wrong direction with the most recent incarnations. There no longer were any characters one could really identify with, just 2-dimensional people that changed their opinions/emotions/traits from week to week and that live side by side on the ship rather than in a close community.

As loathe as I am of original characters, even Flynn and Hunter didn't annoy me to much. They came across as self assured women - Hunter even leading a life-style that would be frowned upon even nowadays in certain circles -, and not some easy love interests to liven up things for the men.

The best part, of course, is the ending of this novel. Spock's relief at having succeeded, Kirk's suspicion but also his trust in Spock... again, and I seem incapable of *not* repeating myself, *that*'s classic Star Trek. I liked the fact that it remains unclear quite what happened in order for Spock to retain his memories of the now-prevented timeline. Was the new timeline's Spock replaced by "ours" upon his return from the past? Or just how did this timeline's Spock get our Spock's memories? Well, another of those little paradoxes that come with timetravel.

"The Entropy Effect" certainly whetted my appetite for more classic TOS-novels - and looking at my shelf, there are still quite a few unread ones just waiting for me to finally get my hands on.
review originally written in 2008.