Saturday 12 January 2013

Star Trek Academy: Collision Course - William Shatner with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens

Title: Collision Course
Author: William Shatner with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Genre: Sci-Fi
Published: 2007
Formats: Hardback/Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
The Book Depository
Amazon UK

“Collision Course” is a rather enjoyable Star Trek novel written by William Shatner with some assistance Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. It follows the antics of teenage Kirk and Spock as they undertake a form of adolescent rebellion in their own individual ways. Through accidental happenstance, both Kirk and Spock “bump” into each other and find that their behaviour has embroiled them in a dangerous plot involving espionage, theft and murder. This plot results in both Spock and Kirk to considering joining Starfleet in an attempt to resolve their own problems and issues.

As I am sure people can expect from a book involving Shatner, it is very Kirkcentric and I am sure some people could argue that Kirk seems to be a little bit too perfect in how he responds to the various situations he faces. However, in the end, Kirk is meant to be someone who became a Starfleet captain at the age of 30 and seemed to solve everything thrown at him, therefore it should be expected that he was going to be more than just some gung-ho rebellious kid.

I found the story itself to be entertaining, skilfully written, well-paced and action packed to the point that I struggled to put it down at the end of each night. I also quite liked the little references to other aspects of Star Trek’s on-screen universe such as the various academy buildings being named after crew from the Enterprise TV Series. One element I really enjoyed though was the intriguing characterisations of young Kirk and Spock alongside the interesting interactions that occur between themselves and others. I specifically appreciated the sections of the novel dedicated to Spock and his parents that really seemed to bring out the best in all the characters.

The one issue I did have with the novel was that some of the events that occur throughout the novel seem a little bit unbelievable; in particular there is something that happens in the orbit of Neptune near the end of the novel that left me incredulous. I understand that people have to suspend their disbelief when reading Science Fiction but some parts of this novel just went that little bit too far in my opinion.

Another aspect that some people may dislike about the novel is that the story doesn’t really fit in with any of the other novels written around Kirk’s youth, such as Diane Carey’s prequel novels and the Star Trek Academy series from the 1990’s. Inconsistencies between Star Trek literature is nothing new but I just felt that I should warn people about. However, whilst it may sit outside the continuity of other novels covering the same period I must clarify that I didn’t notice anything in the novel that would contradict any on-screen canon.

Overall I enjoyed this fun and engaging look at the teenage years of Kirk and Spock even if it could be a little bit jarring in relation the differences between this and other novels covering the same period. To be honest I am little bit disappointed that the promised sequel never appeared and I can only assume this was due to poor sales or due to the fact that JJ Abram’s alternative Star Trek universe debuted so soon after its release. Perhaps one day Shatner will get a chance to continue this series but either way if you want to see an entertaining attempt at developing the characters of Kirk and Spock then you should give this book a try.


  1. One problem I have with the new JJ Abrams movie is that it acts like th entire crew of TOS were all about the same age. I am pretty sure Mr. Sulu is supposed to be several years younger and McCoy is a lot older. I also thought (but I am less clear on this) that Spock was 5 or 10 years older than Kirk in absolute terms, even if h is a "young" Vulcan, as they live to be 200 or so. Doesn't sound like this book goes there at all.

  2. I actually think the JJ Abrams film does portray McCoy as being older than the rest. His comments on the shuttle about escaping a divorce etc. implied that to me. Spock is also older in the film that Kirk. The other characters are up for debate as I am not sure if it is specified what year in the academy each of the crew members are acutally in.

    In regards to Spock in this book, it portray him as being older but only by a year or so. But from my memory of various other elements of Star Trek lore I am not sure Spock was actually more than a few years older than Kirk anyway.