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Author John Vornholt Carries the Ramifications of 'Genesis' into the 24th Century With GENESIS FORCE
PROMENADE







Posted: 08:31:39 on August 25 2003
By: BWilliams
Dept: Reviews - Books
STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION: GENESIS FORCE
By John Vornholt
Pocket Books Trade Hardcover Novel
309 pages, $23.95
Date of Publication: July 2003

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Written by Bill Williams, edited by Steve Krutzler

“As a matter of cosmic history, it has always been easier to destroy than to create.” – Spock, STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN

Synopsis: The full extent of the devastation caused by the Genesis Wave is only now truly being recognized. An entire sector of space has been reduced to the most primitive levels, and more than one high-tech interstellar opportunist is rushing in to take advantage of the situation. Standing against them is the Genesis Force, a covert Federation group of humans and aliens with extra abilities greater than those of the average humanoid. Their mission is to protect the people of the newly named Genesis Sector from those who would seek to conquer and exploit them…

Review: In his previous three-part GENESIS WAVE saga, writer John Vornholt furthered the story of the destructive power of Genesis, first begun in THE WRATH OF KHAN and then in THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK. Now Vornholt takes it to the next level, as he explores the chaos of the destruction from the Genesis Wave upon many planets and the Starfleet task force that is sent in to bring everything under control.

A sense of desperation begins this latest entry in the Genesis saga, as Ambassador Worf and a team of Klingons attempt to rescue as many people as possible from the wave’s destruction of the planet of Aluwna, as they face a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation. If this feeling of desperation sounds familiar, it should, as it was an important plot point in the film DEEP IMPACT from a few years ago. How can anyone truly determine who is worthy to live and who isn’t, when all face certain death? This is the question plaguing Federation officials, who have to find a way to save the galaxy – indeed, the entire universe – from certain destruction.

At the heart of the story is the survival of the inhabitants of the planet Aluwna from the devastation of the Genesis Wave. A leading professor is made regent of the planet and orders a planet-wide lottery to be taken. Of the eighty million inhabitants of Aluwna, only eight million will be chosen to be placed in transporter stasis, removed from their home world, and returned to Aluwna once the effects of the Genesis Wave wears off. Juxtaposed with this story is a subplot of two young people, Farlo and Candra, once living on the streets of Aluwna and now caught up in the selection and rebuilding process.

Vornholt analyzes the effect of the destruction of the Genesis Wave through the eyes of both the Aluwnan inhabitants and the Klingon task force led by Worf, his son Alexander, and his adopted brother Jeremy Aster (from TNG’s “The Bonding”), as they must begin the arduous task of rebuilding Aluwna. What they find is a newly transformed world that is more on the order of chaos than of the original nature of Genesis: the power of creation through terraforming. It’s as much a chance for survival on the transformed world of Aluwna as it is about living with the choices each person involved makes for their life.

A murder mystery soon begins to ensue, as the leading overseer of Aluwna is murdered, and the planet’s new regent and its seeress accuse each other of the crime. The secrets behind the murder lead to a complex tapestry of cover-ups that lead all the way to the highest ranks of the former Aluwnan government, as Alexander attempts to solve the mystery.

Eventually it becomes a race for survival, as ultimately Dr. Leah Brahms and the crew of the Enterprise-E, each with specialists trained in the study of the Genesis project, are called in to assist in the rebuilding process, and the clock is ticking.

Vornholt has a solid grasp of each character’s role in the story and paints a dramatic picture of a world attempting to rebuild from disaster. As I read this novel, it reminded me of the equally dramatic struggle for survival amid disaster in films such as DEEP IMPACT and THE TOWERING INFERNO, where the disaster is only the backdrop for the true human drama to unfold. And if anything, the Genesis Wave is certainly one of the more intriguing plot elements of the entire STAR TREK saga, as the ramifications of the device’s creation continue to be felt in the 24th century.

The only problem I have with this novel is that it should have gone on for at least another 20-25 pages to truly resolve everything. The final chapter, while it does tie everything up, seems to do so a little quickly, giving the feeling that is reminiscent of some STAR TREK episodes have similarly rushed endings. Though the ending in its current form does serve its story effectively, Vornholt missed an opportunity for a more solid and satisfying resolution.

GENESIS FORCE continues the story of THE GENESIS WAVE with a solid follow-up entry overall, and it’s safe to say that we haven’t heard the last of this series yet.
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