The Antares Maelstrom
By Greg Cox
Read by Robert Petkoff
(Part of Star Trek: The Original Series)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (August 13, 2019)
Length: 304 pages
Runtime: 11 hours and 33 minutes
An epic new Star Trek saga by New York Times bestselling author Greg Cox set during the original Five-Year Mission!
The final frontier erupts into chaos as vast quantities of a rare energy source are discovered beneath the surface of Baldur-3, a remote planet beyond the outer fringes of Federation space. Now an old-fashioned “gold rush” is underway as a flood of would-be prospectors, from countless worlds and species, races toward the planet to stake their claim. The galactic stampede threatens the stability of neighboring planets and space stations, as widespread strife and sabotage and all-around pandemonium result in a desperate need for Starfleet assistance. Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise are dispatched to deal with the escalating crisis…which lies on the other side of a famously perilous region of space known as the Antares Maelstrom.
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader’s copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
Kirk takes a back burner in the action in THE ANTARES MAELSTROM, although he doesn’t stop leading his crew by trusting them to work remotely without micromanagement. Several of the primary bridge crew is sent out to help a space station and a planet where society, technology, and resources are being swamped by a “gold rush” of an ore sought after for it’s use in power generation, and others on a different kind of mission in another star system.
A good leader has people s/he can trust, and s/he has people who, even when not on duty fill-in as needed. In this particular instance, he sends Sulu to support a Space Station, once more of less like a truck stop, with a new-ish leader and as ships try to get to Baldur-3, more traders than they can handle. The space station is near the Antares Maelstrom, a place which no ship has been known to pass through successfully; although many have made the attempt. It’s like the search for the Northwest passage.
Interesting, in the original series Sulu didn’t have much of a romantic life, but we get a glimpse of it here. Also, in the series Lt. Uhuru spent a lot of time trying to hail other ships or put calls through while wearing a very short skirt. Here, she is a well-developed character with definite leadership skill and take-charge abilities; she also gets respect.
Scott, who we seen as an engineer, intent on solving projects like the best mechanic you ever saw, is shown to be a humanitarian and very courageous.
Spock is off with Chekov on another mission – an anthropological emergency. They get in trouble but of course their natural abilities and training provide the
Kirk is off trying to solve problems on the actual planet through diplomacy, and with the use of large machines.
In true Star Trek- The Original Series form, working together to peacefully, and fairly solve problems without arrogance is the best path forward. It is always hopeful but without singing Kumbaya around a campfire.
On a personal note, the story starts off with a couple on a do-it-yourself project — it definitely resonated with me as we are real do-it ourselves couple. I also like how there are still times when people in the future don’t have a robot – but have to apply elbow grease. Imagine the trouble I could get myself into.
And Robert Petkoff, one of the best male-voice narrators around, does a great job. He handles male and female voices, a s well as an amazing variety of accents, and even other species! His voice is well modulated — and he has good pronunciation.
I think these books are fun, and pretty well-written. They are both nostalgic and forward-thinking. I particularly enjoyed Cox’s exploration of the other bridge crew and Scotty. Since Star Trek fans are probably detail oriented (a “historian’s” note, placing it in series time is included in each) they seem to be well-edited too.