by Matthew Rushing
“It would appear, Captain,” Spock said with a trace of amusement, “that your reputation precedes you.”
Once again, the Enterprise and her crew are on the edge of the final frontier and it is the only ship standing between the Alpha Quadrant and a crusading invasion that will stop at nothing to convert the entire galaxy to their truth. It’s up the entire crew to make sure that doesn’t happen before the gravity of the situation gets out of control.
What is Truth?
Secluded on the fringes of Federation space, the Ephrata Institute is under assault from an unknown alien force. The institute is one of the Federation’s leading centers for academic study.The Ialatl, a mono-culture race, appear through a rift in subspace and announce that they have come to save our dimension from the end of all things and bring the weight of the truth to secure salvation for all. What follows is a classic Original Series tale with a big theme.
The Ialatl claim that they have cornered the market on truth and must spread that truth by force if necessary. The Ialatl come from a dimension where they are the only intelligent life. Their faith and unity have created a society of wonder and scientific advancement. The commitment to the truth has given them harmony until the discovery that there was another dimension that has no knowledge of the “truth.” Author Greg Cox uses this to ask one of the biggest questions that there is: “What is truth and is it universal or contextual?” The answer has never been simple, but this book gives the reader the opportunity to think deeply about the question.
The second thing that this question of truth brings to the story is the idea of proselytization. Religions all over the world have often resorted to extremist crusades and jihads to force “unbelievers” into belief with very little effectiveness. Even in the 23rd century, living out one’s beliefs with conviction, authenticity and well-reasoned arguments is still the best way to convince someone of your way of thinking. It’s the way the Federation works — no jihads, just conversation — and it’s effective.
Slates Make Great Weapons
In this latest run of TOS books, the writers have made a concerted effort to allow characters like Sulu, Uhura and Scotty to shine, and The Weight of Worlds is certainly doing the same. Cox has the trinity of Kirk, Spock and McCoy on their heels in this story. Kirk and Spock are trapped in a different dimension for most of the book, and McCoy is sick enough to be a patient himself. This sets up some fantastic moments for Uhura and Sulu that are long overdue. It is a joy to see characters that have been in over 700 books do some things that are quite rare for them. And because of this, Cox gives this book a fresh feeling that, at the same time, leaves you thinking you just saw a massive two-part TOS episode. This is a standout adventure for Kirk and his crew that should not be missed. This book is rated seven out of ten slates.