The purpose of this blog is to have a little fun. It is NOT to start arguments. I don't profess to be an expert on Sci-fi, nor do I aspire to become an expert. You are welcome to comment on any and all content you find here. If my opinion differs from yours, as far as I am concerned, it's all okay. I will never say that you are wrong because you disagree with me, and I expect the same from those that comment here. Also, my audience on the blog will include some young people. Please govern your language when posting comments.

Posts will hopefully be regular based on the movies I see, the television shows I watch, and the books I read as well as what ever strikes me as noteworthy.

Spoilers will appear here and are welcome.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Star Trek #21 - Uhura's Song By Janet Kagan - Didn't Love It & Didn't Hate It

Star Trek #21 - Uhura's Song by Janet Kagan

I found this book through an offer by the publisher offering it and others on Amazon for a bargain price.

I'm kind of on the fence about this book. I didn't hate it or love it. The plot is good; I like the idea of the Enterprise called to aid people in distress. That is what the Federation is about. On the other hand, I had a tough time getting all the way through the story and considered not finishing it a few times.

I think there are just too many words in this book. It seemed to have a lot of filler and unnecessary banter between characters. There is a lot of dialog broken up with a few scenes of action.

The USS Enterprise is sent to a planet populated by a feline race, where a deadly disease is escalating. Dr. McCoy and Nurse Chapel beam down to the planet and begin searching for a cure but are having little success. A cure becomes even more urgent when it is learned the disease is jumping species and humans are also infected. They learn about a possible cure on a faraway planet where the felines are originally from. Kirk leads the Enterprise to that planet where Uhura learns about a song that tells about the cure in its last verse. Unfortunately, Kirk and company may not hear the last verse because they are not considered adults on this planet. In order to be adults, one has to make a five-day trek through treacherous territory and survive. Kirk, Spock, Chekov and Uhura are guided by two felines through the walk. They encounter numerous obstacles along the way in the effort to discover a cure to take back.

All the regulars of the Enterprise crew are present for this romp, with a few new characters. I thought the regulars were written well and recognized their voice in the text. The feline characters were a different culture and were well developed as the story unfolds, but I felt the author might have dwelt too much on them and their culture.

One character that helped the story move forward was Dr. Evan Wilson. She took over as chief medical officer when McCoy was left behind to search for a cure to the disease. She has a great sense of humor and enjoyed perplexing Spock; they shared a light-hearted relationship where Spock usually got the short end of the stick. Her scenes with Kirk were also funny and helped with the pacing of the story. There were several moments where the author seemed to hint at a romantic relationship between her and Kirk, but thank goodness, it didn't get that far. It would have been the point at which I would have not read on to the end. Dr. Wilson is also a mysterious character. No one seems to know where she comes from, and it is never really explained to my satisfaction who or what she actually is.

With the title, Uhura's Song, I was expecting a story centering on Nyota Uhura. It didn't happen - it was all about Kirk, Spock, and Wilson (taking the place of McCoy). I found the title misleading causing me even more disappointment.

I had difficulty understanding exactly what the plot of the story was. At the beginning, the disease seemed to be the main plot of the book, but as I read on, that appeared to become a subplot. Then the main plot of the book became the culture of the feline race and their interactions. It was a little confusing, and I found myself wanting to tell the author to find a point and make it. There wasn't anything that stood out to me as a main plot as I meandered through this.

If there was an intended dominant theme, it was also lost on me. Is it about people helping others with a difficult situation? Is it a first contact story? Or is it a coming-of-age story? Perhaps I missed the point altogether.

Uhura's Song was a book I neither hated nor loved. It didn't hold my attention, and I had a hard time getting through the entire story. I felt it was too long and had too many details. I felt the title didn't represent the story well and was looking for a story featuring Uhura, but she was more of a side note. If you are a reader that enjoys stories that has some good world-building, this one has it. If you like cultural first contact stories, this is the one for you. If you enjoy a good solid Trek story, the premise is good, but the execution is lacking.

Writing is hard. Please don't misunderstand and think I am trashing the author. Kagan was a brilliant writer. There is a lot of positive in this book, and one cannot argue against an author who wins Hugo awards for her writing. This one just didn't excite me as much as I hoped.

                                    Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Janet Kagan (1946-2008) was an American author. Her works include two science fiction novels and two science fiction collections, plus numerous science fiction and fantasy short stories that appeared in publications such as Analog Science Fiction and Fact and Asimov's Science Fiction.

Well, there it is...


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