by Matthew Rushing
I’ve acted on bad ideas before, and I’m still here. Sometimes a bad idea is all I’ve got. This might be one of those times. — Captain Kirk
The Folded World is a mind-bending, psychologically thrilling adventure for the crew of the Enterprise. Kirk and company face a dimensional fold that leaves reality itself in question. How do you survive when you are not sure you can trust your senses, which is all you have to determine reality? Jeff Mariotte weaves a fast-paced and harrowing tale that leaves readers guessing until the end.
Sins of the Father
The Ixtoldans wish to join the Federation because they are in need of trade for the survival of their species, but they have a dirty little secret. If it is found out, they know that the Federation will reject their application for membership. Their secret is a sin committed against another people that they have forcefully relocated; in essence, they stole a resource-filled planet from a primitive race. This was done by the Ixtoldan ancestors and the future generations are paying for this sin.
There are so many examples of this very thing in our own world. The actions that occur know will affect the generations to come. For instance, the actions we take today concerning national debt will either leave future descendants grappling with huge problems or unmerited prosperity. It has been said that “those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” These words ring true even in the 23rd century.
The scariest part is what the Ixtoldans of the past believed about this forced relocation. Spock says, “As far as they were concerned, they were merely doing what had to be done to preserve their own population.” The question this book leaves the reader with is, “What might we be doing that is wrong, yet we have rationalized away?” This is one of the most important questions for every generation, whether it is about debt, schools, wars or how we treat our home planet.
This book has characters with some serious psychological and mental trauma in their pasts, which is not something many Star Trek books include. Two of the new characters for this story have had horrible things happen to them. Miranda Tikolo is a Petty officer first class and witnessed her biological father come to her step father and mother’s house and kill them. She only survived because she had hidden herself in a closet for three days until a neighbor found her. She also was the only survivor of the Romulan raid on Starfleet Outpost 4 before being transferred to the Enterprise.
We find out in the Fold that another crew member, Eve Chandler, found her perfectionist cadet roommate in the Academy dead due to suicide. These things were jarring to read in a Star Trek book, as it is not something that is generally associated with the utopian future of Trek.
However, the addition of these kinds of subjects was welcome. Starfleet officers often put their lives on the line, which would cause PTSD and other psychological issues in even the soundest of minds — even in the 23rd century. Star Trek has often glossed over the impact that the adventures the characters have would have on their mental health. Starfleet crew members are not superheroes — they are men and women just like us — and Mariotte does a good job of reminding us of that in this book.
One of the standout story threads in this book was watching Scotty deal with command. There are a few times in The Original Series when Scotty is left in command of the Enterprise, yet we don’t get to see much of his command style or anything of his thoughts on command. It was wonderful to see Scotty grappling with diplomacy and command, which gives him a deeper appreciation of just how hard Captain Kirk’s job is every day.
The explanation of the “fold” was lacking, and it leaves one with too much ambiguity as to why things are happening. It would have been nice to have had more explanation of how things work in this folded funhouse. On a whole, this is a solid adventure for the Enterprise and ranks 6 out of 10.