Way beyond Antares
My one and only Star Trek novel.
The book uses the cast of the original series. A lot of the Star Trek books go into background and past history, dealing with such matters as Vulcan rituals, etc. Or they provide intense love affairs for one or another of the crew. They either fill in backstory or anticipate future personal developments (one book has Kirk contemplating joining a group marriage).
Since so many of the books concern themselves with the "offstage" lives of the crew, I felt relieved of any responsibility to do so myself. All I wanted was to give Kirk and the gang one more adventure, and that's what I did.
The story posits the existence of an alien race with which humanity has never come to terms...because the aliens' bodies offend all five of the human senses. The sight of one brings the taste of bile to the human mouth, their voices cause temporary deafness, etc.
This race has acquired the means of creating a breach between universes, thus threatening the integrity of both. They refuse to close the breach unless certain demands are met: blackmail on a universal scale. The Enterprise tracks them down and tries to negotiate.
But the aliens reply by kidnapping Kirk, Scotty, Uhura, and Chekov. A serious accident aboard the alien vessel has cost them their captain, their chief engineer, their communications officer, and their navigator. Thus Kirk finds himself commanding a ship full of monsters in a battle against the Enterprise.
Does our stalwart captain figure a way out of this mess? Why, you better believe he does.
The Three-Minute Universe contains a lot of comedy, especially as the two races come closer to understanding each other. I had a lot of fun writing this one, and it certainly was the easiest book I've ever written.
Contracts for Star Trek books are issued on the basis of detailed proposals; so when you sit down to start writing, you already have a complete plot worked out. And you don't have to create a totally new cast. Nor do you have to fill in background or even worry overmuch about ambience. All these things are givens; the Star Trek writer can count on the readers' already knowing all that.
So all you have to do is tell the story. After the initial planning, The Three-Minute Universe took only five weeks to write, but they were among the most pleasurable weeks I have ever spent writing. I woke up each morning eager to get back on board the Enterprise and move on to the next part of the story. I wish all writing-time was that happy.
Review from S. F. Chronicle:
"Star Trek adventure on a much greater scale than usual....Quite well done, particularly considering the restrictions involved in writing another installment in this ongoing series."
N.Y.: Pocket Books, 1988, ISBN 0-671-65816-6
London: Titan, 1988, ISBN 1-85286-068-5
München: Wilhelm Heyne Verlag [as Das Drei-Minuten-Universum], 1993,
Page created 28 June 1995; last updated 21 May 2001.