A Choice of Catastrophes by Michael Schuster & Steve Mollmann is the latest standalone Star Trek novel released by Pocket Books. It follows the crew of Kirk’s Enterprise as they are split up on a mission exploring what they believe is a currently uninhabited planet previously scanned by a probe and tagged for a manned follow-up because of ruins on the surface.
Kirk and Spock lead two shuttles to the planet while the Enterprise delivers medical supplies elsewhere and will later join them. The shuttles’ arrival triggers a defense mechanism on the planet designed to keep intruders away and the Enterprise is caught in spatial distortions as it approaches the planet from several light years away.
Without spoiling you too much, the A plot is Kirk’s and Spock’s teams exploring the planet and trying to find out what is causing the distortions, while the B plot focuses on Dr. McCoy trying to figure out why five members of the crew have fallen into comas with no physical cause.
The A plot is interesting and introduces a clever new alien race that I would love to see followed up on at some point in the future, but the B plot is for me, the more interesting of the two. Star Trek: Crucible: Provenance of Shadows by David R. George III is hailed as the definitive McCoy book but this comes a close second. While the former book does a great deal filling in McCoy’s life in two distinct timelines, A Choice of Catastrophes takes us on a journey through McCoy’s mind, as he’s thinking about leaving the Enterprise and having doubts about his abilities as a doctor which manifest through visual and auditory hallucinations (which have a cause of course).
I give this book a solid 9/10. My only quibble being that we did not get to see more of the alien race post-mission, but I guess that’s for another book, maybe.
The next Star Trek book out is the eBook-only Star Trek: Typhon Pact: The Struggle Within by Christopher L. Bennett.
In the meantime, I’m re-reading Christopher’s Star Trek: The Buried Age, a Tale of the Lost Era (which I will post a review of here) and Patricia Cornwell’s fifth Scarpetta novel, The Body Farm.