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on October 26, 2003
This fifth book in the Star Trek New Earth series, "Thin Air" more or less comes as a breath of "fresh" air as it falls in line with a typical novel written by these two excellent authors, Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. Up to this point in the New Earth series, despite the overall premise being an extraordinarily interesting one, the execution of the premise has been plodding and just plain difficult to get through. "Thin Air," is a quick read entailing a very intriguing plot device for Captain Kirk and crew to get through.
Keeping in line with the Star Trek releases at the time of this novels release, the cover art for the novel is quite beautiful. That's the funny thing about the whole New Earth series; the cover art for all of them up to them has been quite outstanding which has been quite the opposite of what's inside most of the books.
The premise:
After dealing with the massive laser beam fired at Belle Terre in the previous novel, "The Flaming Arrow," Captain Kirk and crew now find that they must deal with an even more insidious attack upon Belle Terre by the Kauld. As the previous novel "The Flaming Arrow" opened up, The Kauld had sent a single battle barge at Belle Terre, which was headed straight for the planet and when the Enterprise attacked it, it didn't put up a fight at all. The Kauld battle barge was destroyed in the upper atmosphere of Belle Terre.
Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise now find that Belle Terre will soon be completely uninhabitable if they do not come up with a way of stopping these Kauld nanoassemblers from turning Belle Terre's own soil into a siliconic gel that will suffocate every living being on the planet.
Of all of the Star Trek New Earth titles up to this point, "Thin Air" is only second to "The Flaming Arrow" in intensity and intrigue. I was especially intrigued by the plot device of the siliconic gel, which is what Science Fiction is all about. As an individual novel, I highly recommend this title. {ssintrepid}
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on September 5, 2000
The concept of New Earth is, on paper, fascinating.
In execution, it's been a series that is, at times, utterly entertaining and frustrating. The frustration comes from the fact that there were a lot of potential conflicts brought up in book one that haven't yet been addressed by the series (methinks that Diane Carey will bring them up in the final leg of the series but that's honestly, not good enough).
This leg finds the Kauld attempting to get to New Earth for the olivium. Their ingenous plan this time is to destroy the atmosophere of New Earth, thus killing the colonists. Certainly the threat is a good one but it isn't as well realized as I'd hoped. Also, while we get some reactions from the colonists, none of them are really fleshed out enough. Indeed, it's the same reactions we saw in the other three books--horror and disdain at the fact they've come so far to possibly fail.
Kirk and company face a great dilemma and, as usual, must stop it. It's not that I don't like seeing Kirk and company in action. It's just that whole book as the been-there, done-that feeling to it. There's not much depth to the characters and while one of them faces a tragic loss a lot of balls are dropped in the course of the novels. (One potentially interesting plotline of Kirk and McCoy both being romantically drawn to the same woman and the possible conflicts this could bring up is simply dropped as McCoy just accepts that the woman chooses Kirk over him and moves on. There's a chance for drama here but it's not explored!)
This novel ends some of the on-going plotlines while leaving things open for Ms. Carey to finish up and then create a series of on-going adventures for the Challenger crew. I think that this series could have used one driving voice behind them--such as what happens with Peter David's New Frontier novels. For good or bad, they're all by one author and thus have a more rigid sense of continuity and character development. I'd gladly have endured a more long-term series of novels stretched out over several months or years that lived up to the promise that was set before us than this collection of disjointed novels.
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on August 6, 2000
If you're reading the Star Trek New Earth six-book trilogy like I'm foolhardy enough to be doing, then Thin Air is a breath of fresh air when to compared to its four predecessors. Now, having said that, this book, as far as Star Trek yarns go is only mediocre.
The writing of Rusch & Smith moves along at a comfortable pace and the characters stay within character and are standard-issue Star Fleet. Uhura, Sulu and Scotty play minor roles, as it should be. The "bad guy" is a Kauld silicone gel that gradully replaces the air on the planet Belle Terre. The menace is creative and the solution plays out rather well.
The things I could've done without: * The whole part about Tegan and her son. Who cares? This bit added nothing to the whole and actually could've been a useless sub-plot in books 2, 3 & 4. * I'm getting tired of evacuating the colonists every book. And Govenor Pardonnet seemed busy but not as abrasive. Is he just tired or mellowing out? * Scotty's plan to cripple the Kauld battle fleet was a great idea but I doubt he could've done it in 10 minutes. It came off a wee bit hokey, m'lad.
Anyway, if you survived the first four books where I'm sure the authors got paid by the word with an additional dime for every extra adjective they used, then this is your treat. Read it and thank your god that there is ONLY one more book to go!
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on July 26, 2000
This is the 5th book of set of 6. It is better than a few of the previous books, particularly the third which was weak. As the other books, this book will stand alone but it is good to have read them all in sequence. The stories thread together and manage to keep coming up with new and different problems to be solved.
In this book, through a sneaky suicide run, the Kauld contaminated the planet's soil early on in the fourth book unknown to everyone on the settler's planet, which Kirk has heroically saved from total destruction twice before. After a few monthes as the damage is exponentially worsening, Spock detects the problem and the planet needs saving again without much time to accomplish it.
This is another good read for Star Trek fans with the famous chemistry between the Enterprise's crew, plus a few other interesting character.
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on September 9, 2000
I'm not a regular Star Trek reader, but I decided to give this six-book summer series a try. Like the second volume, Belle Terre, Thin Air gives readers a thrilling race-against-the-clock adventure as Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise race to save the planet from certain doom (just like in the second and fourth books, although each threat has managed to be fairly distinctive). What really makes this book come alive is the way authors Smith and Rusch brought the supporting characters to life. They showed that these crises were happening to real people, not faceless, nameless cardboard cut-outs. I found myself on the edge of my seat with anxiety over certain characters' fates. As a page-turning adventure, this novel definitely satisfies, and had me looking forward to the next book.
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