Monday, April 13, 2020

Review - Star Trek: The Next Generation: Double Helix: Infection

When you're stuck at home with only your thoughts during a worldwide pandemic, the last thing you probably should do is read a book about a flu outbreak. Thanks to my insomnia (and my insanity), I read Star Trek: The Next Generation: Double Helix: Infection by John Gregory Betancourt (Available on KINDLE!), which is book one in a six-part miniseries based on the concept by John J. Ordover and Michael Jan Friedman.

"Infection" is set during the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation and centers around a man-made flu virus that has infected the mixed-race ("mixers") settlers on the planet Archaria III. By the time the Enterprise-D arrives there, more than five thousand people have been infected with the deadly virus. Captain Picard believes the Purity League, a group that's against interspecies mating, is responsible for the outbreak. With 150,000 to 200,000 "mixers" inhabiting the planet, the Enterprise's chief medical officer, Dr. Beverly Crusher, is on a race against time to find a cure for the virus, and thanks to futuristic technology, she can do her research without ever leaving the starship.

Archaria III is a farming planet, so many species travel there to buy and trade for grain. Unknowingly, there were many cargo ships' crews that could be infected with the virus. The Enterprise's helmsman, Geordi La Forge, is tasked with tracking down all the ships that have left Archaria III since the outbreak, which including the Klingon freighter, Zythal's Revenge.

Hostilities rise on the planet against the "mixers" leading a to away team being beamed down to the planet to investigate. Meanwhile, the Enterprise's half-human, half-Betazoid counselor, Deanna Troi, has been exposed to the virus, despite the fact the ship has been quarantined.

Final Thoughts

I had downloaded the Double Helix six-part series last year when the series was on sale for 99 cents per book on Kindle, but I forgot about having them until COVID-19 hit the country, forcing everyone to self-quarantine.

The plot hits a little close to home. Yeah, I know it's just science fiction, but a story about a fast-spreading flu with no antidote is way too close to our current worldwide situation. It's set during TNG's horrible (and campy) first season, but it's better written than most of those episodes. Despite Data appearing on the cover, he has little to do with the actual story, though Tasha Yar has a slightly bigger part. In my opinion, Dr. Crusher and Worf should have been on the cover instead, as these characters have more to do.

Here's the tagline from the cover, "Deanna's life is threatened by a mysterious plague!" While this does occur in the book, Deanna also has very little do with the story.

While the novel can be read as a standalone, you never find out who was responsible for creating the virus, which explains why there are five other novels in this series.

Overall, Star Trek: The Next Generation: Double Helix: Infection is a well-written entry in the never-ending non-canon line of Star Trek fiction. Personally, I thought it was a page-turner!

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