25 November 2013

Book Series Review: "Star Trek: Double Helix"

Authors: John Gregory Betancourt, Diane Carey, Peter David, Michael Jan Friedman, Christie Golden, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith, and John Vornholt
Published: June 1999 - August 1999 by Pocket Books
Synopsis: When a mysterious illness begins to plague an entire planet--as well as Enterprise crew member Deanna Troi!--it's up to Captain Picard and his crew to figure out the cure for the illness, as well as what--or who--is responsible.  Written by several of the Star Trek Expanded Universe's best-loved writers, this series spans galaxies and ages!

Artistic Merit

Plots: 3.5/5
The series starts off interestingly enough, but the fifth novel, Double or Nothing, is a bloated mess that ruins the entire series.  Still, up to that point, it makes for good reading.

Writing: 4.5/5
The writing throughout is great; even though I didn't like the story in the penultimate book, the writing was still good.

Moral Content

Positive Elements: 3/5
The usual elements of self-sacrifice and working for the greater good are seen throughout this series.

Sexual Content: 2/5
I was a bit surprised by this: Not only do some of the space cadets visit a "pleasure planet," but it is mentioned that a woman is pregnant by a bi-gender alien, and then that said alien is also pregnant.  (Both turn out to be untrue.)  A male character also visits a brothel/nightclub of sorts, and locks eyes with a humanoid exotic dancer.

Language: 1.75/5
Profanities--both b-words, a-words, and especially d-words, h-words, and misuses of God's name--appear at least once every few pages.  There is also some slight name-calling.

Violence: 4/5
Though there are quite a few action sequences--and what is a space opera without them?--I don't recall any of them being bloody or graphic.

Drugs: 3/5
In one of the novels, a bar gets mentioned throughout, along with drinking alcohol.

Final Score: 2.25/5
It's heartbreaking when a series jumps the shark far too quickly.  Though most non-fans consider Star Trek and Star Wars to be essentially the same thing, they are about as different from each other as checkers is from chess.  The settings are dissimilar, especially the time-frame; the characters vary; and, most importantly, they are a mile or two apart content-wise.  Star Trek movies and books tend to have issues with profanity and sexual content, which is something you only see in small doses at worst in George Lucas' creation, both the original movies and the Expanded Universe.  Even though I knew that, I was still surprised by the content of Double Helix, and the fact that the next-to-last book in the series was a horribly bloated mess only makes things worse.  Star Trek fans can do better.

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