Age Of UnreasonBy Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at April 14, 2003 - 7:20 AM GMT
Title: Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers, #26 Age of Unreason
Author: Scott Ciencin
Publication Date: April 2003
Ever read a story only to feel as if there were parts missing? After twenty-five excellent titles so far in the innovative Starfleet Corps of Engineers series, regrettably the latest offering, #26 Age of Unreason by Scott Ciencin, fails to entirely satisfy.
Carol Abramowitz, the USS da Vinci's cultural specialist, is on her way to conference on Caliph IX when her leave is cut short by a call from S.C.E.'s Starfleet liaison, Captain Montgomery Scott. Her services are needed on the planet Vrinda where a potentially devastating new technology is in the hands of rival factions. Can Abramowitz, with the help of Bart Faulwell and Solomon, find a peaceful resolution?
Age of Unreason has been promoted as being the second 'spotlight' story that focuses on the emotional aftermath of the catastrophic events of the Wildfire mission and the book does bring Carol Abramowitz front and centre. What it fails to do though is enable the reader to care about whether or not she finds the emotional clarity she so badly needs. The interactions between the characters lack the depth that S.C.E. stories usually exhibit.
There is plenty of potential in this story and many appealing ideas. Unfortunately, the author fails to elaborate on any of the interesting aspects. The alien species, the Varden, are intriguing but undeveloped and the characters' motivations are left unaddressed for the most part, so it is difficult to care what happens to them.
There are too many 'whys' left unanswered. Why do the two factions on the planet hate each other so much that they wish to annihilate the other? Why draw the Federation in when they are viewed with such disdain? Important elements such as these are hinted at but never clarified.
Both Bart Faulwell and Solomon seem to be afterthoughts. I could not help but wonder why they were even included as their role is so insignificant. There were too many elements to this story that felt like addendums, such as the inclusion of Carol's old foe Martin Mansur — his character created more confusion than anything else.
Age of Unreason is a short, bare bones kind of story — simple and to the point. Unfortunately, it is a little too simple and bare bones to be really enjoyable; a little flesh on the bone would have been nice.
Jacqueline Bundy reviews Star Trek books for the Trek Nation, writes monthly columns for the TrekWeb newsletter and the Star Trek Galactic News, and hosts the Yahoo Star Trek Books Group weekly chat.