SHADOW PLANET by William Shatner


Quest for Tomorrow
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Young gang-members highjack an alien spacecraft and light out for parts unknown in the latest Quest for Tomorrow installment (Beyond the Stars, 2000, etc.). Shatner, more because he apparently can’t find a reason not to than any pressing need to tell a story, presents another slab of square space opera. There are about ten million people on the Terran colony ship Outward Bound, and that includes a gang of kids who call themselves the Space Cowboys. By the time story starts, they’ve already fought their way on to an alien craft docked with the Out Beyond and taken off. The Space Cowboys are, not surprisingly, none too adept at playing well with others, so they spend most of their time aboard their stolen ship fighting with each other to be top dog. There’s a slim measure of humor to be gained from having the kids knock around a vessel built for the giant gorilla-esque Kolumbans (one of whom is still alive and imprisoned aboard the ship), and all the trash-talking that goes on, but the chuckles are few and far between. Meanwhile, the Cowboys start to unravel a nefarious conspiracy between the unsuspecting Kolumbans and another, creepier race of aliens called the Communers (who share more than a few traits with Star Trek’s Borg) to drive humans out of their corner of the universe. The fireworks start to fly later when the Cowboys come into contact with an angry ship of Communers and a whole planet full of Kolumbans—but it’s too little too late.

Dialogue that’s flat when it’s not laughable and lengthy stretches of lazy nonplotting make for an unrewarding slog.

Pub Date: Nov. 12th, 2002
ISBN: 0-06-105119-5
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Eos/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2002


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