STAR TREK: Strange New Worlds IV
This anthology of original fan fiction is good news for anyone who's memorized videos of the original Star Trek and its increasingly attenuated descendants; it gives more chances to watch favorite characters cope with time travel, tribbles and all the other usual gimmicks. For everyone else, the book is less cause for celebration, since understanding, let alone enjoying, the stories depends on not just knowing the characters in general but also remembering specific episodes or scenes. The writers' ingenuity is challenged as they speculate on the consequences of some detail while staying within the established history of the several series and movies. In fact, it is good to see more of the Star Trek crew. They're good people to be with—especially, sometimes, the non-humans. In the original series, Gene Roddenberry created an extremely attractive vision of a future in which ingenuity, empathy and adolescent enthusiasm could solve almost any problem. We remember those stories because we want to believe the message. The sequels are somewhat more mature and less enthralling. But fans like those new characters, too, and don't want to see them hurt, just challenged a bit to let them show what they can do. That's what the stories here mainly offer. It's not a contemptible purpose in writing, but the results are rather odd: fiction that's attractive not in spite of but because of readers' knowing how it will come out. (May 8)
FYI:As with the previous three volumes in this series, a contest determined the contributions.