Enterprise: Daedalus, by David Stern

Enterprise Daedalus, by David Stern book coverGenre: Star Trek
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: 2003
Reviewer Rating: three stars
Book Review by David L. Felts

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Saturday night, after enjoying the movie Garden State, my wife and I picked up our kids from the YNCA Parent’s night out and headed home, noticing that is seemed to be a bit breezy. Not unexpected, since Hurricane Jeanne was going to pass within a few hundred miles of our house. Or so we thought….

Jeanne didn’t turn northward as much as expected, and we ended up getting some tropical storm force winds all day Saturday. Being on news overload, I decided to pick up Daedalus, a Star Trek novel set in the Enterprise universe. I’d watched Enterprise briefly, catching the first few episodes, and wasn’t enthralled enough to make it regular. Four weeks ago, however, I watched an episode that I enjoyed a lot. Enough so that I’d made it a habit to try to watch it every Friday. I made four in a row, which is pretty good for being at one place at a set time in my house.

Around 2:00 p.m., the power went out…. and stayed out. All the web sites I host from my house went down, as did the message board for SFReader. They are still down as I write this; power cam back this morning, but the cable is still out.

With power gone I really didn’t have anything else to do, so I kept on reading.

The novel primarily follows the adventures of Commander Tucker, know as Trip, Enterprise’s chief engineer. As a young officer, Trip also served aboard the Daedalus, the Federation’s first (and last) attempt to build a ‘cascading ion drive’ to achieve warp speed. Trip discovered what he thought was a flaw and brought it to the attention of Brodesser, the chief scientist. Brodesser eases Trip’s fears, Daedalus launches, and promptly explodes into subatomic particles, killing everyone on board.

Thirteen years later the Enterprise is conducting a scientific survey of a subspace anomaly, when they run into an unexpected mine. Damaged, they pass through the anomaly and find themselves under attack from Denari ships, a race that wasn’t supposed to have any sort of advanced space travel. Damaged and unable to defend itself, the Enterprise is captured. Trip and Hoshi manage to escaped via an alien craft that was being studied.

Picked up by the Guild, miners who work the asteroids in the Denari system, Trips learns the Enterprise and its crew have fallen right into the midst of a war. He also learns that somehow the Enterprise, through the anomaly, has somehow transported into an alternate universe, a universe where the Daedalus was not destroyed, but instead was captured by the Denari and its technology stolen. He also learns that his physiology, and that of the others from his universe, aren’t compatible with the new universe — they have about two months before they will all starve due to their body’s inability to process nutrients from the food.

He has to locate the Enterprise and crew, free then, while at the same time helping out the Guild, whose cause he sees as just. There’s also the mystery of the technology the Denari have, technology that resembles 13 year old Federation technology, and the hints that the Daedalus wasn’t destroyed after all.

Stern’s writing was adequate to the task; he was particularly adept at capturing the words and cadence of Trip’s dialog — in my mind I could see the character on screen uttering the same phrases Stern had him saying. There are some interesting twists, and the danger continually ups notch after notch. The only real fault I could see was how proprietary this novel is. I’ve read some Star Trek books that stand alone well as examples of enjoyable science fiction. I don’t think Daedalus is one such example though. If I haven’t already been interested in Enterprise, the TV series, I don’t think I would have found this book nearly as enjoyable as I did.

I suspect that will be the case for any reader.

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