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.