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Star Trek: Trek To Madworld
Stephen Goldin
Bantam Books, 177 pages

A review by Leon Olszewski

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Despite being a Star Trek fan, I have not read many of the novels based in that universe. However, Stephen Goldin has written some fantasy and science fiction which I have enjoyed. Therefore, I was curious to see how he would handle Kirk, Spock, and the rest.

Star Trek: Trek to Madworld has the feel of the original series, which is perhaps unsurprising as it was written in 1978. At this time, all the spin-offs had not yet expanded the universe so much that the original characters would have felt lost.

The Enterprise picks up a famous explorer, Kostas Spyroukis and his daughter Metika, and is returning them to their world, which Kostas had discovered. En route, Kostas falls ill and dies. McCoy and Spock determine that the planet on which he had wanted to settle had killed him -- a combination of the star's radiation and native gases. Now it becomes a matter of urgency to save the colonists before they too succumb to the same illness.

To save time, Kirk orders the Enterprise across a normally restricted portion of space. While crossing the region, the Enterprise is suddenly in another universe, with its own set of laws, and the Enterprise is unable to function properly. However, they are aware of a Klingon and a Romulan vessel also with them.

Soon the cause of their relocation appears. Enowil, an Organian, created the bubble of reality in his own design. The Organians had once stopped a war between the Federation and the Klingons, forcing both sides to sign a truce. These same Organians had also kicked Enowil out as he was a bit different from the rest of them. He had a planet where he resided, but he felt that something was missing. Therefore he had brought the three ships there in order to solve his problem. And he would give the one who solved his problem whatever they wanted. Kirk's dilemma was whether to leave, and save the colonists, or to stay, solve the puzzle, and prevent the Klingons or Romulans from receiving a weapon which would totally shift the balance of power.

Trek to Madworld offers few new insights into characters who are well-known. Instead there are a number of references to episodes which tie this book into the fabric of the Star Trek universe. Also, the problems which arise due to crossing the restricted region of space make me feel that this would have worked better in a visual medium (such as TV or film), rather than the print medium.

Still, Goldin captured the flavor of the original characters, and brought them through the adventure. Along the way, he also raises the question: what is it we need in life, and what do we miss if it is not there? Of the answers that are given, many are exactly what one expects. Others show a deeper understanding of human nature. And it is human nature, not alien cultures, which we explore through Star Trek.

Copyright © 1998 by Leon Olszewski

Leon Olszewski has read science fiction and fantasy for most of his life. He works at Spyglass, Inc. as their Manager of Network Services.

Star Trek: Trek to Madworld
Stephen Goldin
Born in Philadelphia, Stephen Goldin graduated from UCLA with a degree in Astronomy. He started writing shortly afterwards, covering various types of publications. He lives in San Leandro, California with his wife Mary Mason.

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