Book Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Cold Equations, Book 3: The Body Electric

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Cold Equations, Book 3: The Body Electric

David Mack


A planet-sized Machine of terrifying power and unfathomable purpose hurls entire star systems into a supermassive black hole. Wesley Crusher, now a full-fledged Traveler, knows the Machine must be stopped . . . but he has no idea how.

Wesley must enlist the aid of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the Enterprise crew, who also fail to halt the unstoppable alien juggernaut’s destructive labors. But they soon divine the Machine’s true purpose—a purpose that threatens to exterminate all life in the Milky Way Galaxy. With time running out, Picard realizes he knows of only one person who might be able to stop the Machine in time to avert a galactic catastrophe—if only he had any idea how to find him. . . .


This Cold Equations trilogy was very loosely tied together, as each book could have easily stood on its own.  It’s more of a common theme that holds them together than a unified plot.  Each of the three books revolves centrally around artificial intelligence, androids, and machines.

I’ve had my challenges in reading this trilogy.  The first book centred on a character I didn’t like and couldn’t get into.  The second book held too much back from the reader and left me unsatisfied.  And this third book seems to be weakly written… which is a shame since I liked the plot of this one the best out of the three books.  There are long passages in this book that could have easily been trimmed and tightened, and there are considerable amounts of telling versus showing (describing what characters are thinking and feeling rather than showing us what they are thinking and feeling through their actions and words).  As well, there were some very odd word and character choices (like frequent use of the word “gonna,” Mack’s regular usage of really obscure words, putting the pronunciation of a black hole in brackets rather than trusting the reader to figure it out, making Wesley Crusher extremely annoying and juvenile, and androids that talk/act like teenagers) that made it hard to take a lot of this seriously.  David Mack is one of the best Star Trek writers right now, but this trilogy was quite weak.

One of the challenges that any writer faces is that each book must be better than the last.  This is especially true if you are writing in a series–each successive entry must be worlds better.  In the Destiny trilogy that Mack wrote a few years ago, the entire Alpha Quadrant was in danger of extermination.  So how does one improve upon that?  How about putting the entire galaxy in danger of extermination?  That’s what happens here.  The concept is really interesting and engaging… but the writing weakened it.

Overall, I still gave this book a pretty good star rating on Goodreads.  This book (and the trilogy) certainly had its flaws, but it was still an enjoyable ride.


1 Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Reading

One response to “Book Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Cold Equations, Book 3: The Body Electric

  1. Pingback: What I Read in 2013 | Cameron D James

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