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on Dec. 20, 2011 :
Somebody likes Star Trek and space opera.
Well, lots of people like Star Trek and space opera, and for some good reasons too.
And some people write Star Trek fanfic, and that's just fine too.
Right Ascension, by David Derrico, is not, technically, Star Trek fanfic. It is set in its own universe, and has its own characters. But there's a big dose of Star Trek in it: the characters fire phasers, there's the super-logical alien crewmember but the admiral who balances logic and emotion, there's the enemy computer defeated by telling it to find a solution to xn + yn = zn, there's the engineer who's "giving you all she's got, admiral", there's the final problem solved by reversing the polarity of the Quantum Refractor, there's the enemy race called the "Vr'amil'een" (which I have to pronounce "V'romulan") ... Sometimes I thought that it would be more honest to actually write it as honest-to-Borg Star Trek fanfic.
But that might wipe out the E.E.Smith style bits, and that would be kind of a shame. I had to approve of the starship half the size of the moon with a population of half a billion, say.
And it unironically uses the phrase, "deadly death ray".
No, the actual problem with the book is the characters, who are pretty flat. The author sets up a very nice moral dilemma towards the end --- and everyone reacts in the same way to it. Not just everyone on the it's-not-the-Enterprise, but nearly everyone on Earth. Or, not-Kirk's son gets killed in chapter 1, and the book takes place in the week or two after that. He's clearly pissed about it, but doesn't mourn or anything.
Anyhow, despite all that, it's not a bad book. The Amazing Events sometimes come off as reasonably amazing, and all the bits that I didn't recognize from Star Trek were original and interesting. It's written with love, if not with skill, and that's got to count for something. It's decent Star Trek flavored brain candy. Three phasers out of five.
(review of free book)