Friday, 11 December 2015

What Would You Choose With Uncertain Logic?

Following on from, Tower of Babel, Christopher Bennett's Uncertain Logic is the third book in the Rise of the Federation series and once more we're welcoming Tiffany Groves back to give her opinion on the most recent Enterprise expansion.

Again I must warn you that this review contains spoilers!

The Kir’Shara, the long lost writings of Surak were unearthed by Jonathan Archer and T’Pol years ago and heralded planetary reform of Vulcan to a more peaceful era. But when the artefact’s authenticity is called into question by loyalists of the old High Command, Archer and T’Pol’s involvement threatens to undermine the efforts of the Federation and the Vulcans to affirm change.

Bennett’s portrayal of the main players seems more evolved than in his previous outings and there is a better sense of their personalities and motivation.This aids the author in weaving several plotlines around the main event. 

We are re-introduced to Enterprise regulars Malcolm, Trip and Mayweather as they contend with the re-emergence of The Ware (An automated starship repair station as previously encountered by Enterprise in the second season episode Dead Stop) These stations are in fact found to be utilising sentient beings as ‘components’ to power their computer core.

Bennett utilizes themes and parallels within the book, allowing us a sense of familiarity and 
recognition of the nature of the events. This is a pleasing device when reading Star Trek novels because you want to feel immersed inside the universe you feel comfortable with.

The Ware has, over time, infiltrated many worlds and this technology had become integrated into their very existence. On a planet called Vanot, Ware technology has being heralded as indigenous to its own evolution (unfortunately these advances were routinely horded by the top echelons of society) Essentially Vanot is allegorical for 20th Century capitalist Earth; the technology is beyond their capability to manage, having not been developed and integrated at a natural pace. There is frustration at the retention of the highest technology by the elite of society (echoes here of Earth’s very own frustration at the Vulcan ‘drip down’ of knowledge and the impatience therein).

The story is purposely exaggerative portraying an immature race ill-prepared for advanced 
technology but sometimes allegory must be painted with a broad brush to lay a foundation for the moral objective of a story The disruption that follows Mayweather’s interaction with the Vanot is intended clearly to illustrate the necessity for rules (the soon to be introduced ‘Prime Directive’).

Unquestionably the novel has flaws; Bennett introduces us to numerous species and Star Trek lore (Deltans and the effect that they have on humans for instance) But he veers away before any in depth sub plot or element of the story that may include such species and so these sometimes feel like signposts and unnecessary nods to the side.
individuals that will be encountered in future

That being said this is a series that is set to continue, so perhaps these are early introductions to future characters?

This is a story about Choice, from misdirection and callous lies must come the truth and choosing one’s own path. There is a speech about choices, given by a Cardassian on the Endeavour; this is reflective of the choices faced in the story. Much is made of the nature of identity, something we can relate to in the current political spectrum. Earth itself now faces the burden of important choices and Bennett handles these elements superbly.

The book was Star Trek at its introspective best and I am genuinely looking forward to the next instalment.

Have you been following the Rise of the Federation? Enjoyed it or found it not to be "quite" the Enterprise you were hoping for?

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