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The Face of the Unknown (Star Trek: The Original Series)
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The Face of the Unknown

(Star Trek: The Original Series)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  297 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Continuing the milestone 50th anniversary celebration of Star Trek—a brand-new novel of The Original Series featuring James T. Kirk, Spock, and the crew of the USS Enterprise!

Investigating a series of violent raids by a mysterious predatory species, Captain James T. Kirk discovers that these events share a startling connection with the First Federation, a friendly but secr
Paperback, 368 pages
Published December 27th 2016 by Pocket Books/Star Trek
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3.90  · 
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 ·  297 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Daniel Kukwa
Dec 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: star-trek
I was a bit worried by the time I got to the middle of this novel; the amount of action mixed with TNG levels of techno-babble was doing my head in. It felt at times as if the novel was going to crumble under the weight of this titanic combination, and I had to pause on more than one occasion, to stop from feeling frazzled. By the final act, the novel settles down into what I believe to be one of the finest explorations of the themes that "Star Trek" stands for...while managing to mix in a succe ...more
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a sequel to TOS episode "The Corbomite Maneuver" and takes place about three years later. We get to learn more about the First Federation and find out the origin's to Commander Balok's "puppet." Lt. Bailey also returns and we see how taking the role of an ambassador has been working for him and the Federation.

I recommend this book if you are a TOS fan and especially if you like "The Corbomite Maneuver." I rewatched the episode after reading this book and it brings more depth into t
Christopher Backa
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent Star Trek audiobook. I hope we continue to see these being produced. The story brings back Balok from The Corbomite Maneuver. Kirk and the crew must help Balok's people overcome generations of fear of an ancient adversary who has found them once more. The story is a fast paced action adventure, with a Star Trek message at its core. If you are new to Star Trek via the new films, you should find this book entertaining.
Mike Crate
Apr 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: star-trek, scifi
The Enterprise is engaged by a vessel which claims to have been attacked by a Federation ship, the body and wreckage they offer up as proof is startling in its familiarity, the dead being is the same species as used by Balok when trying to "fool" the Enterprise when it entered the area of space now known to be controlled by the First Federation.
The Enterprise enters First Federation space and attempts to find the Fesarius and Lt. Bailey, they find it under attack and come to its aid only to find
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: star-trek
This story is based on the original series episode, "The Corbomite Maneuver", in which the enterprise meets with a representative of an alien race which is technologically somewhat more advanced than the Federation, befriends them, and who are then never referred back to in the rest of the series. This book purports to tell the story of the next meeting between the two cultures, to explain why the First Federation has remained so quiet, and to fill in a bit more background on them, as well as to ...more
Excellent! This was a really imaginative follow up to one of my favorite episodes, The Corbomite Maneuver. I thought it's was really cool how CLB made a great story revolving around the Dasik, which was the alien race that Enterprise was tricked into believing was the race that crewed the orb ship in the original episode. Pretty much the whole crew gets some attention & I thought Spock especially had some truly great character moments. It's a great time to be a ST lit fan as there are so man ...more
Andrew Beet
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
loved it the author knows star trek inside out lots of speeches from Kirk saying to the different alien races seen in this book we can help you and then you get a character like tirak who says no we don't want your help leave us but then the alien race that tirak belongs to in the end needs the Enterprise's help after all the author knows the characters very well and you can see that in the book very good
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: star-trek-read
A great Star Trek adventure complete with a strange new world, new revelations about a familiar alien race, social commentary and shades of grey between "good" and "evil". The entire original cast also get thier time to shine. It's nice to see prime universe Uhura presented here with (at least) equal strength to her Kelvin universe counterpart.
Luke Sims-Jenkins
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: star-trek
Two things excited me about this book. One that it's a sequel to one of my favourite TOS episodes and Two, that it was being written by Christopher L. Bennett. One of my first Trek lit books was his wonderful TNG prequel the Buried Age and like that novel this one didn't disappoint.

I'm not going to say too much about the story since I don't wish to spoil anything, but Bennett does some wonderful world building for the First Federation. The concepts and the ideas presented here were clever and e
Apr 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Meh: I always wanted to know more about the history of Balok but this book didn't really go into the history of his people very much. It seems like this novel tried to accomplish too much without really developing a story I cared about. The villains seemed to get more fleshed out than the hero's. There are many favorable reviews here but I think maybe more because the story is a continuation of the Corbomite episode that people like it so much. Worth a read but not my favorite Star Trek novel. T ...more
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: star-trek, tos
As usual from Christopher Bennett, we get top-notch storytelling with a compelling link to current-day events. Revisiting the First Federation was fun, and Bennett has succeeded in his mission to create the definitive story about that civilization. The tranya-loving Balok is a fun character, and it was terrific to get a follow-up to Bailey's mission from "The Corbomite Maneuver."

Full video review:
Chris Friend
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The only thing that didn’t impress me about this book was how deliberative, explicit, and extensive the review of moral standards was. It seemed too many characters monologued/preached about the ethical optimism quintessential to classic/original Star Trek stories.

But the one the I found unimpressive is merely a symptom of the overwhelming strength of this book: The author *gets* the original Trek formula, and he plays off it with sophistication and skill. All the usual elements of character in
Leah Hester
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An AMAZING read. I literally spent the last about 3 hours finishing the last half of this book. Even if you're not a Star Trek superfan or expert, neither of which I can claim to be, if you enjoy scifi, action, and a dash of some serious fun, then this is a wonderful choice. It does help to have some knowledge of this particular brand of scifi- meaning the futuristic space travel and alien species bit, as it helps with general understanding. Despite my limited knowledge, I found it to be an exhi ...more
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent followup to the Corbomite Maneuver. The author manages to bring the 1st Federation down to a believable and logical size. It has always been a curiosity why if the 1st Federation was as powerful as we are left thinking at the end of the TOS episode why no one has sought their aid against the Borg and other major threats.

The major story plot (view spoiler)
Ron Turner
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
A sequel to the Star Trek episode "The Corbomite Maneuver." It was okay. I got a kick out of seeing Kirk chewed out for leaving a mentally ill crew member with aliens. It was nice seeing colorful Balok again and to have the First Federation explained. However I would have preferred something a little grander. I think it would have been interesting if the First Federation was founded by refugees from Borg assimilated worlds in the Delta Quadrant. It would explain their paranoia and advanced techn ...more
Kristina Brown
May 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: star-trek
This was a good idea and well crafted but somehow it didn't grab me. Perhaps because it resembled 'Shocks of Adversity' that I read recently. The focus is primarily on Spock's character and his inner questions over his past with T'Pring and his future path. He gets rather emotionally involved during this. Uhura gets given more to do but McCoy and Scotty felt somewhat sidelined with only brief moments to shine.
Of course with such a wealth of characters its impossible to give them all space. Its o
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: star-trek
This book was an excellent sequel to the episode "Corbomite Manuever" We learn that the puppet that Balok used to 'scare' the Enterprise was fashioned after real people. And we also learn more about the First Federation and a dark secret that Balok's people have been keeping. it is a great read, I couldn't put it down, my only complaint was the story wasn't longer and we didn't see more interaction between the two females that Kirk and Spock met and interacted with.
Eric Troup
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Although a bit longer than I think it needed to be, this book felt like an episode of the original series–with a much larger budget. We even get fist fights and prison breaks! There's even an attempt to bridge the original and animated series. All in all, an entertaining read, with excellent characterization of the original crew, and a message we could all stand to heed in this current political climate.
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: star-trek-read
This classic adventure explores a strang new world while giving a lot of new info on a familiar TOS one episode alien. It has action and social comentary. It has shades of gray and optimism. The audio book narrator does a great job of bringing to life and distinguishing a variety of familiar and new characters.
Charles A. Arceneaux
Good story!

I love it when a good story comes together though. I have always enjoyed reading a Start Trek novel. This one just completed a story line from the past. This was cleverly done.

Well done!
Oct 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Started out with major promise and beautiful writing, but in terms of plot, ended up as another paean to inclusion like most other recent Trek books that seem to be responding to Trump instead of standing on their own.
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great sequel to one of my favorite Star Trek episodes, "The Corbomite Maneuver". Has a good amount of action, Trek techno-wizardry and babble, and a great message of overcoming fear of all kinds, but specifically of the unknown and the different and seeing past prejudices caused by them.
Stephen Smith
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Overall not a bad Star Trek book. It was a nice tie in to a old episode. Some sense of wonder associated with it. Also a little predictable at the end but then again it is Star Trek and it is a story placed in a already established timeline. But it certainly was an enjoyable Star Trek story!
Colin Parry
Jun 12, 2018 rated it liked it
As always with this author this book is full of excellent world-building and his grip on the characters is top-notch. However what lets this book down is the ridiculous level of technobabble, reading it is like wading through treacle. Oh and the ending is way too neat.
Al Menaster
Oct 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Not bad. Follow on to an original episode. Bennett keeps the characters in character.
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio
This was my first Star Trek book, though I've watched every movie and episode of every one of the shows. I actually liked Kirk once Shatner's overacting was removed.
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: star-trek
would have been 4 stars, but that final monologue...oy. to be fair it definitely captured Shatner at Peak Shatner.
Drake Tungsten
This was an interesting expansion of the "First Federation" storyline. Very well done.
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: star-trek, space-opera, sf
A good follow up to Corbomite.

Lots of call-outs to not only the inspiration ("The Corbomite Maneuver") but many other TOS *and* TAS details. At times maybe a little too many things going on, but an enjoyable time with the Enterprise crew.

Good quotes from the book.

“Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations,” said Spock. “It is when different entities combine, when they complement each other’s limitations, that new and great things can be achieved.”

"Every society has shameful things in its past.
Sep 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
Jeeeeesus it sucks when writers dont let Star Trek be Star Trek and try to make it cerebral.
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Christopher L. Bennett is a lifelong resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, with a B.S. in Physics and a B.A. in History from the University of Cincinnati. A fan of science and science fiction since age five, he has spent the past two decades selling original short fiction to magazines such as Analog Science Fiction and Fact and BuzzyMag. For the past dozen years, he has been one of Pocket Books' most prol ...more

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