The Wounded Sky by Diane Duane is a Star Trek novel showcased in the Outpost 10F Library.
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The Wounded Sky

Rating: The Wounded Sky by Diane Duane is a Star Trek novel rated */5 by this reviewer
Series: The Original Series #13
Published: September, 1991
Author: Diane Duane
Review by: Capt. Tail Kinker

The Enterprise is chosen to test a new type of engine, the Inversion Drive. It was developed by a Hamalki physicist who looks like a glass spider, and whose approach to physics is baffling Scotty and even Spock. After a skirmish with five Klingon cruisers, the Enterprise sets out on their mission - reach and explore the Lesser Magellanic Cloud. But as the Inversion Drive is put to work, the Enterprise crew experience dreamlike hallucinations which lead to a merging of their consciousnesses.

As if that's not enough, sensors show a rift opening in the Lesser Magellanic leading to a universe of anentropy. The anentropy slowly leaks out of the rift and threatens to destroy our universe within months.

Recognizing the phenomenon as an effect of the Inversion Drive, the Enterprise crew try to reach the rift in order to seal it and repair the damage.

Even though a new technology, the Inversion Drive, plays a major part in this book, there is almost no technobabble. In it's place are discussions of creative physics and ethics, and even religion, wonderfully disguised as dialogue and plot. Chief Engineer Schott quickly forms a friendship with K't'lk, the Hamalki glass spider physicist, who puts a machine into his engine room which for once he does not understand, and who challenges him to grow beyond his understanding of physics.

Apart from the regular characters - Captain Kirk, Mr Spock, Dr McCoy, Uhura, Sulu, Checkov, and Schotty - Diane Duane populates the Enterprise with a truly diverse cast of characters, great and small. From K't'lk the spider to catlike Sadrao D'Hennish, from Chief of Recreation Harb Tanzer to his very intelligent games computer Moira, and even to the strange-sounding tentacle-waving Mr Athende - all characers are not only believable, but seem to spring fully-formed from the page. Duane skillfully uses language as her tool to give each character a unique voice.

The "hallucinogenic"episodes the crew experiences during Inversion are well ecxecuted - hidden truths appear and characters gain new depth. The final solution to the dilemma of destroying one universe to save another is not only ethical, it also makes the reader think about the nature of life (no less!).

On the whole, a deep novel disguised as a Star Trek story. Science Fiction at it's best.

Title: The Wounded Sky
Author: Diane Duane
Review by: Capt. Tail Kinker