Star Trek Enterprise, Rise of the Federation: Uncertain Logic
© 2015 Christopher L. Bennett
Okay, reader. Have a seat. This book is a bit busy. Let’s begin with the Starship Endeavour‘s investigation of several automated stations that rely on captured organics for their processing power. Away from the frontier, Vulcan is being unsettled by evidence that the document under-girding their entire society, the Kir’Shara, has either been stolen and replaced by a fraud, or was a fraud to begin with. Admiral Archer, already facing rumors that he’s about to be promoted to Commander in Chief of Starfleet, is now called into court to offer testimony on his original discovery of the document. And then there’s the Deltans, everyone’s favorite race of lusty bald coeds. The Orions have caught wind of their sexiness, and desire to crush the competition. Oh! And Trip is taking a break from his Secret Agent Man business to be a chief engineer again, because he’s needed for the investigation of the automatics — who, Endeavor discovers, have overtaken entire planets. Oh, oh, and do you remember that Methuselah fellow from “Requiem for Methuselah”? ….yeah, he’s here, too.
That’s a lot to take in in one novel, but Bennett is an old hand, and the stories running together here were never overwhelming or confusing. While I was fairly by the diplomatic goings on of the last novel, this one has so much variety it would have been hard to strike out. I’m usually impressed by Bennett as an author, and here is no exception, despite the fact that the plot is more politics and action than science. A solid portion of the book involves Vulcans’ dispute over their future — over the meaning of Surak’s teachings, and how Vulcan political society should orient itself. Bennett does a excellent job of making the antagonists credible, grounding their arguments in interpretations of Surak’s teachings. (At least, until we find out that the dissidents are being manipulated by an another power altogether.) The investigation into the “Ware”, as the automatics come to be know, is equally interesting — mechanical civilizations are hard to come by in the Trek verse, the closest thing to them being the Borg, and they were steadily made less aliens as they were used. (Oh, for the Borg of “Q Who“, who were only interested in technology….) The ongoing character dramas are also winsome — especially Travis Mayweather’s difficulty in accepting that not only is Trip alive, but that he’s been living a lie for well over five years, working for some section of Starfleet Intelligence.
Uncertain Logic is a solid read all around, with a variety of content, and and a very PrimeTrek-esque ending, complete with a speech by a Cardassian exile who warns Vulcan not to make the same mistakes his own planet did. This was a welcome way to scrub the bitterness of ST Picard away.
As usual, Bennett provides annotations for the book at his website, Written Worlds.