Gerrold, David


3 out of 5

(2 books)

Battle For The Planet Of The Apes

The novelisation of the fifth and last film of the original 60s/70s series of movies.  Ape City, although peaceful, is a powder keg waiting to explode as the Humans living there chafe in servitude and the fierce Gorillas, led by General Aldo, struggle to contain their desire for war.  When the leader of Ape City, the Chimpanzee Caesar, leads a mission to the ruins of the forbidden Human city he stirs the ire of a group of mutated survivors and opens the door for all-out war.

I found this book a bit of a rollercoaster in terms of enjoyment.  It started well, filling me with nostalgia for the classic movies which I enjoyed so much in my younger days (I've not actually seen any of them for about twenty years).  However, eventually the book settled into some fairly predictable and shallow patterns which made it more of a chore to get through.  However, at the very end, my expectations were turned on their head and, against the norm for science fiction of its vintage, the story ended on a note of hope.

This eleventh-hour turnaround actually redeemed quite a few of the book's faults in my eyes.

3 out of 5


Star Trek: The Next Generation - Encounter At Farpoint

A novelisation of the very first episode of TNG, originally written by D. C. Fontana and Gene Roddenberry.  Captain Jean-Luc Picard has just taken command of the U.S.S. Enterprise-D and is undertaking his first mission in that capacity; travelling to Farpoint Station to pick up the rest of his new crew and investigate the alien station as a potential Starfleet outpost.  However, the mission immediately becomes more perilous when the mysterious alien entity Q puts the Enterprise crew on trial for the future of humanity, with the mission to Farpoint being the deciding argument.

I have definitely seen the TV version of 'Encounter at Farpoint', but it may well have been when it initially aired in the UK when I was a child, because I had very little memory of the specifics of the story.  Truth be told, it's not the most exciting story in Trek history but more than the mission, it is the introduction of the characters to both us and each other, which makes up the meat of this book.

The characterisations were so spot-on that I rapidly found myself remembering why this was my favourite ever incarnation of Star Trek and why Picard is the best Captain (Come at me bro, I dare you!).  You really get a sense of this diverse group of people really being the top performers in their respective fields, warranting them a place on the flagship of the Federation.  The author also gives us some nice insight into their thoughts, even if he does also get things like Data's history wrong (presumably due to writing this before the android's past was officially mapped out).

Not a bad book and not a great one, but a nice reminder of why the TNG crew were so beloved.

3 out of 5


Planet of the Apes (here)

Star Trek (here)