Well, it has finally happened, readers. This writer is dipping her toes in the world of fiction reviews. Although this first subject may be fan fiction, the author has proven himself more than capable of managing his subject and giving it due diligence. If that does not deserve a review, then this storyteller does not know what could.
For several months now Mr. Richard Paolinelli has been releasing short chapters of a Star Trek idea he has had on the back burner for some time. Rather than petition for the right to officially publish the idea in the form of a novel, he chose to release it as a fan fiction serial. He ably lays out his reasons for doing so here.
As a fan of the first Star Trek* series, along with its attendant films and sequel series, this announcement by Mr. Paolinelli immediately caught this author’s attention. Having read several Star Trek novels set in the original timeline, the idea that I could read one for free by an author I know and admire was too tempting to pass up. “Watching” Mr. Paolinelli tell a good, inspiring story in-line with Gene Roddenberry’s original vision would be a treat.
Though the series has yet to be completed, this writer can say that she has not been the least bit disappointed by The Calling. On the contrary, this is the type of Star Trek storytelling I wish more writers would attempt. The scientific conceit on which the story turns matches up quite well not only with the original series, but with the much-contested Star Trek: Enterprise*. (In this author’s opinion, it is a criminally underrated show, since it had many good aspects despite its flaws.)
Mr. Paolinelli handles established Star Trek characters with a masterful touch in this story. Captain Archer comes through as well in the early chapters as he did when Scott Bakula portrayed him onscreen, and James Kirk could not be in better hands. While some Star Trek writers struggle to present this archetypal hero properly, Mr. Paolinelli has demonstrated that he understands precisely what makes the man tick. Spock and Dr. McCoy, among others, also feel as though they have walked off the small screen to the digital one without noticing the change.
New characters added by the author, such as Bari Forelni and his family, are stunningly good additions to the Star Trek universe. None of them seem as though they have been forced into their roles or the universe; instead, they settle smoothly into the structure of the entire franchise. The explanation for their origin and meeting with the Federation is organic, as is Bari Forelni’s rise to prominence in the story.
This is to say nothing of the author’s grasp on the internal politics of the Federation, the Klingon and Romulan Empires, or the general trouble Kirk and company would practically walk into during their five year mission. Where other Star Trek writers tend to sugarcoat the motives of the opposing forces in these governments or tip their hand and reveal it early on, Mr. Paolinelli has so far been able to keep this reader guessing. Several events came as a shock to this reader, who thought that there must surely be a better way out of the situation than the ones which proved to be inevitable.
Despite the brief length of the chapters, there is plenty of character development in this story. While Bari Forelni and his family are drawn in short lines, they are not authorial self-inserts or cardboard protagonists. A reader might not spend much time in their head or be exposed to their entire history, but the same could be said of the original Star Trek cast. It is enough to be told what the characters are willing to reveal, and to leave the rest to our own imagination.
All in all, I have enjoyed Mr. Paolinelli’s The Calling immensely. I look forward to reading the rest of the chapters when they become available, as the adventure is sure to grow more intriguing and entertaining during its progression. The author has created a genuine homage to Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek, one I rate as highly as novels like The Great Starship Race* and the Janus Gate trilogy*. Along with these books, this writer considers The Calling part of her personal Star Trek canon. It has more than earned its place there due to the respect it shows for the original material and the creative additions invented by the author.
If you want to read The Calling, readers, the list of published chapters is available here. And if you like what you see, be sure to check out the rest of Mr. Paolinelli’s books on Amazon.* Or pick up the published entries in Tuscany Bay Books’ Planetary Anthology* series. Be sure to leave a review to let Mr. Paolinelli know what you think of his work! 😉
*These are Amazon affiliate links. When you purchase something through them, this author receives a commission from Amazon at no extra charge to you, the buyer. If you liked this article, friend Caroline Furlong on Facebook or follow her here at www.carolinefurlong.wordpress.com. Her stories have been published in Cirsova’s Summer Special and Unbound III: Goodbye, Earth, while her poetry appeared in Organic Ink, Vol. 2. She has also had stories published in Planetary Anthologies Luna and Uranus. Her latest piece, “Death’s Shadow,” will be available in Cirsova’s upcoming Summer Issue. Order them today!