Hello to my readers! I hope you are all doing well. Now that I’ve finished my two overdue reviews for Thrawn and Dune that I’ve been planning for quite some time I think I’ll go back to the world of Star Trek. Although this time I’ll be focusing on the adventures of The Next Generation crew. Captain Picard and crew were how I was introduced to Star Trek so I have a fondness for them all. Much like The Original Series there are quite a few Next Generation based novels and audios. Now I think it’s time to get to today’s review.
Headlong Flight is a 2017 novel and audiobook by Dayton Ward who I mentioned when I reviewed Agents Of Influence. He is certainly one of the most prolific authors of Star Trek media having written more than 30 novels either solo or alongside Kevin Dilmore. Ward isn’t the only Trek writer of note for novels and other tie-in media however with other examples being John Jackson Miller, Una McCormack, David Mack and Christopher L. Bennett among others.
The plot of Headlong Flight is as follows: The crew of the USS Enterprise-E has been given a new mission to explore and survey a nebula in the previously uncharted Odyssean Pass. To begin with all is well for Captain Jean-Luc Picard and company…until they find a planet that simply wasn’t there when they first began their scans. The planet does display life signs but the Enterprise receives a message from the planet to stay away for their own safety. Determining to provide assistance if at all possible, Picard sends Commander Worf at the head of an away team, only for an emergency landing to occur and the entire planet to disappear. Just what is occurring with this planet? And what will happen when the Enterprise isn’t the only ship or power of note scanning this mysterious world?
This was a very entertaining return to The Next Generation! This novel is technically set in the future far beyond the film Star Trek: Nemesis but that’s somewhat beside the point. The characters are very much in the spirit of the originals with Picard, Worf and the surprisingly prominent La Forge being the main examples. When the other ships appear in proceedings (which are somewhat spoiled by the excellent front cover art!) they pique the listener’s interest well. Just what happened on this planet? How can the problem be solved? And how will the character dynamics between the multiple ships come into things?
The book’s original characters – who I believe all come from previous Trek novels either written by Ward or others – are also quite endearing characters. Even if they are new to readers or listeners like they were to me First Contact Specialist Lieutenant ‘Trys’ Chen and Chief Science Officer Dina Elfiki among others make quite a positive first impression and prove to be somewhat instrumental in the overall story. By the end of Headlong Flight I was quite keen to jump ahead to the sequels and see what happened to the crew after this. What were they in for!? I can’t promise that it’s an all time classic (everyone has their own tastes and preferences in Star Trek especially!) but it is definitely an enjoyable story and one I would recommend to fans of The Next Generation in particular and Trek in general. Just keep an eye out for magically appearing planets and certain time displaced starships!
When it comes to the audio edition, the narration is once again excellently performed by the returning Robert Petkoff. He plays his parts wonderfully with particular mention to his Worf, Picard, Data and the aforementioned First Contact Specialist Chen. Petkoff also brings some detail and personality to the tale’s aliens, making them feel more like true people so you do start to empathise with their plight. This story is definitely somewhat different to Agents of Influence. There is a decent sprinkling of action throughout but it definitely feels more like a character piece designed for the dedicated Trek fan or the knowledgeable casual which Petkoff makes even more clear to listeners of the excellent audio adaptation.
In conclusion Headlong Flight is an entertaining foray into the more classic sci-fi side of Star Trek with alternate dimensions, character exploration and some baffling but fun techno babble courtesy of engineering. It was certainly something I’m glad I took a chance on and I’ll be sure to see what’s on everyone’s Hearts and Minds(forgive the terrible sequel pun) in the future. It may be more for the Trek fans than my previous journey to the United Federation Of Planets but it is still something I hope I can persuade a few of you to join me in giving this a listen.
As for my next venture? Who knows!? But we’ll find out together. See you all soon.