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Best Destiny by Diane Carey

Best Destiny (1992)

by Diane Carey

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587426,951 (3.71)5
As James T. Kirk prepares to retire from a long and illustrious Starfleet career, events in a distant part of the Federation draw him back to a part of the galaxy he had last visited as a young man -- a mysterious world called Faramond whose name takes Kirk on a journey back to his youth. At sixteen, Kirk is troubled, estranged from his father, and has a bleak future. However, a trip into space with Kirk's father George and Starfleet legend Captain Robert April changes James Kirk's life forever, when a simple voyage becomes a deadly trap. Soon Kirk and his father find themselves fighting for their lives against a vicious and powerful enemy. Before the voyage ends, father and son will face life and death together, and James T. Kirk will get a glimpse of the future and his own Best Destiny...… (more)

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Showing 4 of 4
The reviews for this Star Trek novel are mostly positive, but I'm afraid the plot and characterisations didn't work for me at all. Where was the humour, the banter, the adventure? Between a snotty teenage Kirk and a miserable middle-aged Kirk, I was almost bored to tears. And why, why must Kirk have been a terrible teen in order to become a first rate captain? Couldn't he just have been inspired by his father and awed by the concept of travelling through space? I got the impression from the series that Kirk had always been an intelligent man and an idealist, and Starfleet gave him a way to channel his natural talents - Gary Mitchell called him a 'stack of books with legs' after all - yet in this version, he's little more than an ignorant punk until a(nother) life and death voyage into space with his father sets him straight. Not strictly out of character, although Kirk suffers from yet another dumbing down, but done to death in a coming of age story.

Kevin the teenager aside, the pacing is incredibly slow, only uniting past and (future) present in the last few chapters, and the secondary characters are clunkier than the pirate ship that knocks the Starfleet shuttle off course. I mean, come on, even for Star Trek, the faux-Aussie captain and his blockheaded second in command are laughably bad, and then we're supposed to take Kirk's own adolescent nemesis Roy seriously? He needs a smack upside the head and/or counselling (same for Kirk), not building up into an evil genius.

On the technical side, even the writing failed to impress. Some of the purple prose would be more suited to a romance novel - Kirk's father has 'a flop of argumentative sienna shag' instead of unruly red hair, and Kirk's 'antique gold eyes' burn with 'taupe fire'. The foreshadowing is also rather clumsy, with young Kirk slowly getting the message that his father and Robert April are big, brave pioneers making the uncharted galaxy safe for future generations, etc. I'm not sure that the author(s) really like Captain Kirk, which could explain why they were rubbing me up the wrong way throughout (Spock would not have made a better captain), but then why choose to write a backstory for his character?

Plodding and pretentious, Diane Carey's novel misses the charm of the original series, and turns young 'Jimmy' Kirk into a teenage nightmare. ( )
1 vote AdonisGuilfoyle | Feb 10, 2013 |
This is one of my favorite Star Trek novels, particularly for its focus on my favorite Star Trek Character, James T. Kirk as a teen, and his relationship with his father. It's a good extrapolation of what the young Kirk might have been like--the flaws and virtues that came out in the man and leader, often flip sides of the same quality. (“Jimmy,” he asked, “when is it going to dawn on you that rules exist for a reason?" Lines said after an incident that would definitely hammer down the lesson. Yet later as an adult it often would be Kirk's refusal to go by the rule book that would be winning--and that's shown here too.) It's well-written, with lines I still remember decades later. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Apr 17, 2010 |
One might think that James Kirk had been groomed to greatness in Star Fleet from the beginning, and that he always knew he would captain a starship. Not so. This book, jumping between the "present" and Kirk's past as a teenager, shows his inauspicious beginnings as a surly, rebellious juvenile delinquent. It also shows the developments in his relationship with his father. Diane Carey has always been one of the best Star Trek writers at expanding upon established character traits in plausible yet unforeseen ways, and this book is no exception. ( )
  burnit99 | Jan 3, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Diane Careyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Birdsong, KeithCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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What you from your fathers have inherited, Earn it, in order to possess it.
~ Goethe
Commanding a starship is your first best destiny.
~ Captain Spock to Admiral James Kirk
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Dedicated to the young men and women in the Vision Quest program,
and to the crews of the Schooners New Way and Bill of Rights,
 who prove that troubled youth can not only be saved...they can save themselves.
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"You'll retire with extraordinary honors and the boundless gratitude of any unfolding Federation..."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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George Kirk knew he had failed. From now on, when these criminals attacked any other ship, it would somehow be Commander George Kirk's fault. He and his son and his crew, and his friend Captain Robert April - the founder of the Federation Starship Program - would simply disappear and become another mysterious statistic.

And then, a crewman pointed out the window and shouted "Look!"

The enemy ship had suddenly become a wild, demonic nightmare. Its hull buckled against itself, spitting flotsam in some places while it caved inward in others. Whole sections blew open as atmosphere sprayed its frozen funnels from a dozen places. Slits opened up along seams, and more chambers blew open, speing out everything inside.

The ship spun sickeningly on its side, pocked with holes torn by entire consoles that had come off their mountains and smashed through deck after deck ot shoot right through the hull.

"What happened?" George rasped. "What happened to them?"

Robert April spoke first. "I'll tell you what happened, old boy - " He coiled an arm around George's shoulders and howled enthusiastically. "It was your son, James Kirk happened!"
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