Mission to Horatius
|Cover artist||Sparky Moore|
|Series||Star Trek: The Original Series|
|Genre||Science fiction novel|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
|ISBN||ISBN 0-671-02812-X (reprint, hardcover)|
Mission to Horatius by Mack Reynolds (ISBN 0-671-02812-X for the reprint) is a 1968 novel for children based upon the television series Star Trek. It was the first novel of any kind to be based upon the Trek franchise (the first novel for adult audiences, Spock Must Die!, would not be published until 1970). It was also the only original Trek novel to be published while the series was still in production. It was published in hardcover by Whitman, and was republished in a 1999 facsimile edition by Pocket Books, making it (to date) the only Star Trek book not originating with Pocket Books to be reprinted by that company. The reprint was billed as "The Lost Star Trek Novel."
John J. Ordover commented that "We reprinted that for fun! Paramount has the rights; the original publisher is out of business. It's not going to cost us much to do a facsimile of this. It was selling for $50 at conventions. So why not do a reissue? It was the first Star Trek novel ever done and the first one I read."
Some elements of the story will be easily identified by Star Trek fans as bearing strong similarities with plots from episodes of the original television series. A ruling religious order keeps the common members of the society on Mythra in a docile, peaceful state through the required daily use of a hallucinogenic drug called anodyne. The depiction of the Mythra civilization is very close to the society shown in the episode "The Return of the Archons". Kirk and Spock find themselves battling in a Roman-style coliseum in a scenario which closely resembles events shown in the episode "Bread and Circuses". McCoy has to slow down a space madness disease called cafard which is similar to a plot element in "The Tholian Web".
The U.S.S. Enterprise is headed to Starbase 12 for shore leave, supplies and repairs. Food is running low and the engines need servicing. A distress signal diverts the Enterprise to a solar system on the outer edge of explored space. Upon hearing of the emergency mission, Dr. McCoy expresses his concern about the mental health of the crew to Kirk. In Dr. McCoy's opinion, the Enterprise has been on patrol for such a long period of time that the crew is in danger of developing a form of space madness known as cafard.
Upon reaching the NGC 400 solar system, the Enterprise crew comes across three planets populated by different human settlers who had been unhappy with the social or political order of Earth. One planet has reverted to a Stone Age state, another has a mid-20th Century technology while the third maintains a level of technology capable of space travel and advanced weaponry.
Kirk and crew must determine who sent a distress signal and the nature of the emergency. Along the way, they encounter a warrior society, a planet where drugs are used to control the general population and a culture consisting of an elite class with clones handling the day-to-day chores required by society.
Most reviews are lukewarm although criticism of plot developments or characterizations are usually muted by an acknowledgment the book was aimed at younger readers. Philip R. Frey in The Log Book felt that Reynolds did an adequate job of making the characters closely resemble their televised counterparts but that a lack of attention to details established in the television series detracted from the book. A reviewer on the Siskoid Blog found the book to be fairly entertaining but did note the Enterprise crew seemed to routinely violate the Prime Directive.