GeminiBy Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at February 28, 2003 - 12:11 PM GMT
Title: Star Trek: Gemini
Author: Mike W. Barr
Publication Date: February 2003
Gemini by Mike W. Barr is a pretty typical Star Trek novel — favorite characters off on an important mission. Set during the original five year mission, the story is, unfortunately, only mildly interesting. The book does, however, succeed in catching the mood of the series and the characterizations of the main characters is spot on.
When the Enterprise is sent to the planet Nador to facilitate the Nadorians' first election things begin to go wrong almost immediately. The Nadorians will be voting on whether or not to join the Federation, and there are those who will stop at nothing to prevent that from happening. Then the planet's monarchs, their Serene Highnesses Abon and Delor, become a target for the opposition, who seem to be able to operate with impunity.
It turns out that Kirk's nephew Peter ('Operation Annihilate!') has been living on the planet. Between assassination attempts on the princes, annoying Nadorian bureaucrats, and the kidnapping of Peter Kirk, you would think it should all be pretty exciting. Regrettably, it isn't. Gemini has its moments but many of the scenes that should have been the most stimulating fall flat.
The best part of the story is the interaction between Kirk, Spock and McCoy. The playful byplay and camaraderie shines through the setting. Several lower deck characters play an enjoyable role too, such as Yeoman Barrows who befriends the princes consort, Lady Pataal. Chekov, Sulu and Uhura are barely utilized but Scotty gets a few moments.
The characters original to the story, however, just don't work very well. The princes, conjoined twin brothers whose well being is a major part of the storyline, failed to capture my interest or sympathy. A crying consort hovering in the background didn't help much either. The local bureaucrats are at least unlikable. Two characters I did enjoy though were the Federation representative, Commissioner Sylvan Roget, and his wife Janine.
The timing implied in the text would place this novel after 'Operation Annihilate!' when Peter's parents were killed, but before 'The Deadly Years.' Peter Kirk seems to have grown up quite a bit in a year or so, which confused me a bit, but it's been a long time since I watched that episode and perhaps Peter was older than I'm remembering. The explanation for his presence on the planet wasn't particularly imaginative, but his inclusion does allow the reader to glimpse another side of James T. Kirk.
Those longing for an Original Series adventure should be satisfied with Gemini but those looking for something more than run-of-the-mill might want to try something else.
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.