"'It is illogical,' Spock countered, 'to disregard the role of emotion in sentient thought. Emotions evolved for a reason; logically, they must serve some practical function.'"
Bennett summarises the aforementioned movie and describes how the events have changed the main characters. Spock's encounter with V'Ger has motivated him to look for a balance between living with emotions and controlling them. Kirk is dealing with the guilt he is feeling for the crewmembers that were lost during the mission. And McCoy is still not certain if he wants to stay in Starfleet. The other regular characters also get their bits in the limelight, just like new characters that were introduced in the movie and some new characters the author introduces. It feels a bit crowded for a mere-377 page novel. And then there's the new story which harkens back to the episode mentioned above - this is an often used Star Trek theme of what religion can cause if fanatics want to take over. There are also lots of references to other Star Trek episodes and novels - only Star Trek die-hards will probably find all of them.
It's clear that Bennett tries to to a lot of things in this novel and maybe that's a bit over-ambitious. There's very little of an actual story here. It is very much a novel about the more cerebral aspects of Star Trek and about characterisation; if you expect more action, I suggest that you look elsewhere. I quite liked this one, by the way.
Author: Christopher L. Bennett
Title: Ex Machina (Star Trek)
Publisher: Pocket books, New York
Number of pages: 377 p.