Saturday, 26 January 2013
Star Trek Starfleet Academy: Aftershock - John Vornholt
Author: John Vornholt
"Aftershock" by John Vornholt is the 2nd book in the 1996 Star Trek Starfleet Academy series of novels that charted the earlier escapades of Kirk, Spock and McCoy in the prime Trek Universe. The plot follows McCoy as he ends up doing a form of community service after an unofficial football game with some freshman cadets leads to McCoy and a young cadet named Kirk having an accident with a security shield. McCoy is more or less forced into volunteering for the Disaster Relief Service Club when he teams up with a Vulcan named Spock and a young woman named Lisa. Together they travel to the planet Playamar which has suffered a massive earthquake and attempt to rescue and save the lives of colonists there. Very soon though, Spock begins to suspect that something is not quite right in regards to the earthquake and aftershocks that follow and very soon the team begin to investigate.
As with the previous Starfleet Academy book I read, this novel is heavily geared towards the younger reader with a simple plot that is easy to follow and fairly standard for a Star Trek story. It was still interesting enough for me to enjoy as an adult but it didn’t keep me riveted as some other Star Trek novels have. The aspect of the novel I really enjoyed however was the portrayal of McCoy which Vornholt seems to have captured quite well. His sarcastic and bickering nature is still there for all to see, but there is also an undercurrent of youthful inexperience and insecurity which was interesting to observe.
There are some illustrations throughout the novel created by Todd Cameron Hamilton that didn’t really impress me much. Don’t get me wrong, several of them seemed to capture a young McCoy and Spock quite well but some of them looked didn’t look great. I even asked my wife about one of them and her initial comment was simply that it looked quite poor. However, ultimately these illustrations don’t really affect the enjoyment of the novel and I just started to ignore them as I progressed through the story.
Overall, this is an incredibly quick and easy read that explores a little bit about McCoy’s experiences as a younger man. It probably isn’t complex or deep enough for most adults to thoroughly enjoy but I think it should please any young fan of Star Trek. Therefore, unless you are a Trek novel completionist or you want to try and introduce a child to the world of Trek literature I can’t say there is any real reason you should go out of your way to try and track down this out of print novel.