Star Trek the Next Generation: Spartacus
© T.L. Mancour
It seems only appropriate that I read a Star Trek book on the weekend that its newest movie comes out, hopefully revitalizing the Franchise. A number of years ago, someone donated a large number of Star Trek paperbacks to my local library, and they were consequently sold in its bookstore for a a nickel a piece, or something like that. I bought $5 worth, meriting me a large bag full of Star Trek paperback novels. I haven’t read most of them, but I like knowing they’re in my closet for whenever I want to experience some new Trek. Spartacus is one of those novels. You may be able to surmise from the book’s title what the plot is generally about — a slave revolt and resulting war, with the Enterprise-D caught in the middle. While exploring beyond Federation space, the Enterprise comes to the aid of a ship making repairs. The ship, as Enterprise crewmen discover, is staffed entirely by androids. Although the soon-to-be-called Spartacans and the Federation crewmen get along well, the arrival of an alien fleet makes Captain Picard realize that there is more going on here than a ship having been damaged by an interstellar storm. The androids once served their creators, the Vemlans, dutifully, and Vemlan society grew to become dependent on the androids even as the droids themselves were becoming more sentient.
When androids began to be used as gladiators, “Alpha”, or completely intelligent and sentient androids, led a revolt. The resulting war partially destroyed Vemla, and now a Vemlan fleet has come for revenge. The androids would rather be destroyed as free beings than return to Vemla, and there seems to be no peaceful alternative. The Vemlans are intent on recovering the androids to put them on trial (ironic given that they deny the ‘droids sentience) or destroying them, and Captain Picard is unable to come to the defense of his new friends owing to Federation law. And then, Commander Data has an idea — one that may present a peaceful solution, or which may thrust the Federation into war with the Vemlans. The book was a breezily fun read that shows a good bit of character development on Data’s part, as well as insight into Federation procedures. I think both the Spartacans and the Vemlans are fleshed out enough for the book’s purpose. Assuming readers are Trek fans who can actually find the book used on Amazon somewhere, I’d recommend doing so. It’s not a deep read, but it’s a fun one.