Great podcast about this story. If I have read this it was so long ago I don’t remember any of it. Your points about this books structure and place in Star Trek cannon have really increased my interest in reading this.
The post scarcity society that is posited by Star Trek is the most interesting concept of the science fiction universe. I would like more stories about how the Federation and Star Fleet are structured but I don’t agree with how it has been described so far. The idea of a socialist/democratic utopia doesn’t hold up in a post scarcity universe. The ideas of socialism or capitalism don’t work in post scarcity world. All of our current systems of government, religion and family are based on management of scarcity to perpetuate societies and benefit a group with the production of others. In post scarcity what is the motivation for the individual to join Starfleet or any of the science expeditions we have seen in various shows? Why would you bother with a job that by definition will be doing something you don’t agree with no matter how it began? The employment/organization structure goes right out the window if an individual has no compelling reason to endure adversity or the monotony of work with no gain.
Thanks for starting this project and I am looking forward to the next story you cover.
This was a really fun novel, and I'm glad I read it -- though I had to track down a very old mass-market that nearly didn't survive my use of it, which is a shame.
I've often wondered about what motivates people to join Starfleet in a post-scarcity world, too. I get that people would still be musicians and artists and scientists (and even run a restaurant in New Orleans) because those are things that are fun to do and have their own rewards. I even get that people would still want to go exploring in space (I sure would), but what motivates people to clean out the intake manifolds if they don't have to? Why sign up for that job? Is that how desperate (or excited) you are to visit other planets?