SCE: Small WorldBy Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at May 8, 2005 - 5:38 AM GMT
Title: Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers #49: Small World
Author: David Mack
Release Date: February 2005
Bestselling author David Mack's latest contribution to the ongoing Starfleet Corps of Engineers saga, Small World, may come as a bit of a surprise to those who have read his previous writings set within this series. Mr. Mack has gained a bit of a reputation among the regular readers of this popular series as "the angel of death", given that his solo work for this series thus far, Wildfire and Failsafe, have been nail-biting action driven stories with very high body counts. Small World, the 49th S.C.E. tale, is an unexpectedly gentle story, a story about hope.
In Small World, the crew of the USS da Vinci is sent to come to the aid of Araneus, a Koas whose ship is destroyed as he attempts to bring a piece of very precious cargo to Federation space. That cargo is Araneus's home world, Koa. Through a miraculous feat of engineering, the planet is being stored in a small, pyramid-shaped box. Unfortunately, a hostile species, the Silgov, wants the pyramid and it's amazing technology for itself, believing that the technology can be used to fashion a weapon. In a race against time, the S.C.E. must decipher the secrets of the planet-in-a-box before they are destroyed themselves.
The story told in Small World does offer excitement and tension, just as you would expect from a Star Trek tale, but the action isn't the focus of the story. The focus is on the characters and the motivations for their actions. On the one hand, there is Araneus, an arachnid like alien whose motivations are quickly and easily understood. On the other are the Silgov, humanoids who initially generate feelings of contempt but as the rich prose unfolds you become aware of the desperation that has driven the Silgov to behave as they do.
My only quibble with the story was that the answer to unlocking the box was a bit too simple and convenient. Despite that minor annoyance though the interesting and thought-provoking plot, coupled with the strong characterizations, make Small World a very entertaining read.
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.