Book Review: ‘The Unsettling Stars’ by Alan Dean Foster

May 26, 2023 at 6:25 am | Posted in Books, Reviews, Sci-Fi, Star Trek | 1 Comment

Star Trek: The Unsettling Stars is the first novel in the Kelvin timeline, written by Alan Dean Foster. It was released by Gallery Books in April of 2020. 

What a fascinating book! I’ve enjoyed reading the Star Trek novels recently, and I really liked the actors and characters of the Kelvin timeline, despite not loving the movies themselves. I thought that this timeline is ripe for exploration in character and story, as it provides an opportunity to produce new novels and maybe even TV series? 

This book was one of four originally written to tie-into and release around the Star Trek (2009) movie. However, when the movie was released, these books were scrapped for some reason. They simply sat on the shelves at Simon and Schuster until this and one other were allowed to release in 2020. Alan Dean Foster touched up the story from my understanding, but this is still the book written for release in 2010.

This book actually feels like it could have been an original series novel. The way the aliens and themes work together really feel like classic Trek, something the Kelvin timeline doesn’t always feel like. The continuity and the interpersonal drama of the characters (specifically the romance of Uhura and Spock) lines up with the Kelvin timeline well, and the characters feel like both the Kelvin timeline and OG universe versions. 

The aliens in this book are super interesting because they are basically “killing with kindness”. I won’t elaborate how, as it is really interesting as it is revealed in the novel. However, the speed with which they update and “help out”, is really nonsensical. It makes sense that they can be advanced and super adaptable, but the speed with which they automate and fix things is just absurd and unrealistic. 

The book flies through fairly quickly, and doesn’t feel unnecessarily long or short. I think Alan Dean Foster found the right length for the story that needed to be told.

My only real complaint is that towards the beginning of the book, the dialogue and exposition felt way too stilted and simple. It felt more like an outline of dialogue rather than actual dialogue and natural writing. This issue resolved itself about 1/4 through the book, but it was still distracting nonetheless. I was worried the whole book would feel that way, and thankfully that was not the case. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It is a well needed book for the Kelvin timeline, and I really hope Gallery Books decides to write more books in the future. In fact, I will say that this is my favorite Alan Dean Foster book that I’ve read. Four out of five. Well done Alan Dean Foster!

Reviewed By: Jonathan Koan for Roqoo Depot.


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