Star Trek Generations, J.M. Dillard's third novelization of a Star Trek feature film, is a well-written and exciting tale of two legendary Starfleet captains brought together across the time barrier to save a world from the plans of an obsessive scientist.
Dillard (The Lost Years, Mindshadow) adds texture and context to Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore's screenplay for the seventh Star Trek film (and first of four Star Trek: The Next Generation movies) by starting the book right after the events of The Undiscovered Country: Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the Original Series' crew splits up -- some retiring from Starfleet, while others accept other assignments. While this wasn't in the original screenplay or in the final film, this bit of exposition sets up a recurring reverie about time, transitions and even death.
Star Trek Generations really gets going in Chapter 2, when Kirk, Chekov and Scotty are the guests of honor at the launching ceremony of the NCC-1701-B, an Excelsior-class ship which is the third starship to bear the name Enterprise. With an untried captain and with vital equipment not yet installed, a brief publicity cruise to Pluto and back to Earth turns into a perilous rescue mission when a strange energy ribbon ensnares two El-Aurian refugee ships. Kirk, Scotty and Chekov assist Capt. John Harriman on this life-and-death endeavor, and some of the El-Aurians (including future Enterprise-D bartender Guinan and Dr. Tolian Soran) are rescued...but not without cost. The Enterprise-B is damaged by the energy ribbon, and Capt. James T. Kirk is missing and presumed dead.
After another chapter of original material in which Dillard shows the reaction of Kirk's senior staff to his death, the rest of the novel takes place 78 years later. The Enterprise-D crew is celebrating Worf's promotion to lieutenant commander in the holodeck, but the festivities are cut short when Capt. Jean Luc Picard receives devastating news from home. And to make matters worse, someone has savagely attacked the Amargosa Observatory, leaving only one survivor, Dr. Tolian Soran....the same man rescued from the energy ribbon nearly 80 years before by the Enterprise-B.
Soon, Picard has to overcome his grief to stop Soran from destroying a star (and its orbiting inhabited planets) to cause the mysterious energy ribbon -- known as the Nexus -- to change course. Picard must discover why Soran wants to sacrifice billions of innocent lives in order to "go into the Nexus" -- and he'll need the help of a legendary Starfleet captain from the past to stop the obsessed madman.....
To her credit, Dillard explains Soran's motivations far better than the movie did, and her depictions of the movie's characters are vivid and well-done. Of course, some of her additional material was needed to make up for the non-appearance of Spock and McCoy in the final drafts of Braga and Moore's screenplay (and the final film), and one scene with Kirk -- which was filmed -- was later changed, but those minor detours are to be expected in novelizations such as this.