Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Literary Treks 142: Star Trek vs. Godzilla

The Original Series: The Latter Fire
Interview with author James Swallow!

Star Trek has always featured outlandish ideas such as huge space creatures and other pretty out-there science fiction concepts. However, at its core, Star Trek is really about the struggles that we all face in overcoming negative forces such as violence and fear to come together to build a better world. No one understands that basic idea more than renowned Trek author James Swallow!

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther are joined by James Swallow to talk about his latest book, The Latter Fire. We discuss the genesis of the story, world-building, fear, prejudice and preconceptions, a romantic foil, stretching the Prime Directive, a cosmozoan, everyone has something to do, what's next for James and where to find him.

Literary Treks 142: Star Trek vs. Godzilla
Interview with James Swallow, author of The Latter Fire

Previous episode: Literary Treks 141: Plastic Cage of Emotion
Next episode: Literary Treks 143: Borg Kryptonite

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Literary Treks 141: Plastic Cage of Emotion

The Gold Key Archives, Volume 2: Part 2

The Gold Key comics: The Star Trek that might have been. Though the stories may be somewhat ridiculous and the artwork might not quite look like the Star Trek we know and love, there is still a lot to enjoy about these stories from Star Trek's early days. Giant space genies, disembodied Vulcan boogeymen, and swashbuckling pirates are the subject of this week's episode!

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther talk about the second half of Gold Key Comics Vol. 2. We discuss Sceptre of the Sun, The Brain Shockers, The Flight of the Buccaneer, and give our rankings.

In the news segment we talk about the latest book news from Margaret Clark.

Literary Treks 141: Plastic Cage of Emotion
The Gold Key Archives, Volume 2, Part 2

Previous episode: Literary Treks 140: Landed in Yoda's Swamp

Next episode: Literary Treks 142: Star Trek vs. Godzilla

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Release Day! TOS: Elusive Salvation by Dayton Ward!

Star Trek: The Original Series
Elusive Salvation by Dayton Ward

Hitting bookshelves and e-book retailers this week is one of the most anticipated Trek novels (by me, anyway!): The Original Series: Elusive Salvation by New York Times' bestselling author Dayton Ward! This is the sequel to one of my favorite Trek novels in recent memory: From History's Shadow. Make sure to get your copy of Elusive Salvation right away, as I think this one is going to be quite good!

Look below for the back-cover blurb and links to purchase from Amazon.

My Review coming soon!

Publisher's description:
An all-new Star Trek adventure across time—the latest of the acclaimed Original Series novels!

The Arctic Circle, 1845: Escaping the tyranny under which their people have lived for generations, aliens from a distant planet crash land on Earth’s inhospitable frozen wastes. Surviving the harsh conditions will pose a challenge, but over time the aliens will migrate to more populated areas, with decades passing as they work to conceal their presence from their former oppressors, who continue to hunt them at any cost.

San Francisco, 2283: When a mysterious craft is detected entering the solar system, Admiral James Kirk is dispatched by Starfleet to confront the vessel. He meets with an emissary from the Iramahl, a previously unknown alien race who have come in search of their brothers and sisters thought to have gone missing in this area of space centuries earlier. Having recently thrown off the last chains of subjugation by another species, the Ptaen, they now believe their lost people hold the key to saving their entire race from eventual extinction.

New York, 1970: Roberta Lincoln, young protégé of the mysterious agent Gary Seven, is shocked when she receives the oddest request for help—from the future…

Purchase Elusive Salvation:

Next Release: Deep Space Nine: Force and Motion

Monday, April 25, 2016

New Cover Art and Blurbs!

Hey everyone! Things have gotten very busy around here, but I'm going to make a supreme effort to get things caught up over the next few weeks! There have been a number of cover art reveals, episodes of Literary Treks, and other book news over the last few weeks that I need to get caught up on. Look for updates over the next little while as I get everything back up to date!

First off, here are a couple covers that have been revealed, first for June's novel, Deep Space Nine: Force and Motion. Look below for the cover and blurb for that one, followed by the much-anticipated launch of the 50th anniversary TOS trilogy, Legacies, with the first book by Greg Cox: Captain to Captain!

In 2367, Captain Benjamin Maxwell of the starship Phoenix ordered the destruction of a Cardassian warship and a supply vessel, killing more than six hundred crew members. Maxwell believed that the Cardassians were arming for a new attack on the Federation, and though history eventually proved he was probably correct, the Federation had no choice but to court martial and incarcerate him. 
Almost twenty years have passed, and now Maxwell is a free man, working as a maintenance engineer on the private science station Robert Hooke, home to crackpots, fringe researchers, and, possibly, something much darker and deadlier. Maxwell’s former crewmate, Chief Miles O’Brien, and O’Brien’s colleague, Lieutenant Commander Nog, have come for a visit. Unfortunately, history has proven that whenever O’Brien and Nog leave Deep Space 9 together, unpredictable forces are set into motion…

Pre-order Force and Motion from Amazon:
(Release date: May 31, 2016)

An epic new trilogy begins—a tie-in for the milestone fiftieth anniversary of Star Trek: The Original Series—that stretches from the earliest voyages of the Starship Enterprise to Captain Kirk’s historic five-year-mission…and from one universe to another!
Hidden aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise is a secret that has been passed from captain to captain, from Robert April to Christopher Pike to James T. Kirk. Now the return of the enigmatic woman once known as Number One has brought that secret to light, and Kirk and his crew must risk everything to finish a mission that began with April so many years ago…
Nearly two decades earlier, April and his crew first visited the planet Usilde, where they found both tragedy and a thorny moral dilemma. Today, the legacy of that fateful occasion will compel Kirk to embark on a risky voyage back to that forbidden world—which is now deep in territory claimed by the Klingon Empire!

Pre-order Legacies, Book I: Captain to Captain from Amazon:
(Release date: June 28, 2016)

Monday, April 4, 2016

Video: TrekLore #1: The New Star Trek Series!

Hey everyone! As you know, I've been branching out lately into doing video. Here's something I'm particularly excited about, and extremely pleased to be sharing with you today: the first episode of a new Star Trek YouTube talk show, TrekLore! In this first episode, Bobbi Michaud and I talk about the upcoming new Star Trek television series: what do we want to see with regards to plots, characters, etc.?

 The aim is to do an episode on a regular basis, likely monthly. We have some ideas for the next few episodes, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing what you think of this new show! So, please check it out, and leave a comment with what you thought. And if there are any topics in particular you would like to see us tackle, let us know!

In the meantime, movie reviews and other content will continue on the Kertrats Productions channel. See you on the YouTubes!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Latter Fire

Star Trek: The Original Series
The Latter Fire by James Swallow
Release date: February 23rd 2016
Read March 4th 2016

Previous book (The Original Series): Miasma

Next book (The Original Series): Elusive Salvation

Mass-market paperback: | |
E-book (Kindle): |

Spoilers ahead for The Latter Fire!

Publisher's description:
An all-new novel from New York Times bestselling author James Swallow set in the popular universe of Star Trek: The Original Series!

The five-year mission of the Starship Enterprise has brought the vessel and her crew to the forefront of an important first contact situation. Under the command of Captain James T. Kirk, the ship is heading to the planet Syhaar Prime in the Beta Quadrant—the home world of an alien civilization preparing to take its first steps on to the galactic stage. One year earlier, the Enterprise came across a badly damaged Syhaari explorer vessel drifting in deep space. In collaboration with the explorer’s captain, Kirk and his crew were able to restore the ship to full function and send it on its way. And now, as the Syhaari display rapid technological advances made over the past year, hard questions must be asked. Did the Enterprise crew leak advanced technology or information to the Syhaari during their first encounter, in total violation of the Prime Directive?

My thoughts:

James Swallow is an author who really "gets" Star Trek. Reading his stories make you appreciate the message behind some of the best tales that the Trek franchise has to offer. This latest TOS novel, The Latter Fire, is certainly no exception.

Fear is a consuming and pervasive force in our world. Fear of that which is different lies at the heart of countless misunderstandings and conflicts. In The Latter Fire, this idea is explored through a number of interactions throughout the story. The primary conflict in the story stems from an encounter between Syhaari explorers and an alien race called the Breg'hel. Tormid, the captain of a Syhaari ship, commits atrocities against the Breg'hel, murdering the entire complement of a Breg'hel vessel. Fearing the unknown, he panicked and let his base emotions take hold.

Understandably, the Breg'hel were furious. Due to the interconnected nature of their species, the Breg'hel couldn't conceive that the Syhaari weren't all responsible for the death of their people. Once again, a huge misunderstanding leads to conflict, predicated mainly on fear. I found this aspect of the story to be very timely, given what is happening in politics and world affairs today. Fear is behind so much of what we do and think that it leads to rash decisions and poor judgement on the part of decision makers, law makers, and the general public.

Preconceived notions and prejudice both play a major role in the story as well. This idea plays out in the novel through a number of situations, including the Federation Diplomatic Corps and Ambassador Xuur's preconception of Kirk and what he stands for. The aforementioned Breg'hel and their notion of the nature of the Syhaari could also be seen as a preconception that leads to misunderstanding. Until people have open minds and truly aim to learn about their neighbours and people with different ideas and ways of life, there will always be conflict. A theme in this story seems to be "challenge your preconceptions or they will challenge you."

Another thing that James Swallow does really well is world-building. In The Latter Fire, this talent particularly shines as he creates two fascinating cultures, along with a giant space-faring leviathan creature. The novel is filled with very Star Trek: TOS ideas, and was very reminiscent of some of the big spectacles in that series.

The "Leviathan" in The Latter Fire is reminiscent of some otherworldly ideas from TOS, such as the giant space amoeba from "The Immunity Syndrome."

Final thoughts:

Communication, cooperation, and friendship; it is these ideals that Star Trek says should guide humanity into the stars. Fundamentally, this novel is about those ideas. It is Star Trek in the truest sense, and James Swallow captures the essence of "Roddenberry's philosophy," as it has become known. An excellent novel, and one of the best TOS 5-year mission stories I've read in some time.

More about The Latter Fire:

Also by James Swallow:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

Another new release, this time the continuation of Christopher L. Bennett's Rise of the Federation series: Live By the Code.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Release Day! Rise of the Federation: Live By the Code

Star Trek: Enterprise
Rise of the Federation
Live By the Code by Christopher L. Bennett

New this month, and hitting bookshelves and online retailers today: it's Enterprise: Rise of the Federation: Live By the Code! Continuing stories from the previous Rise of the Federation novel, Uncertain Logic, Live By the Code sees the crews of Endeavour, Pioneer, and Vol'Rala taking on threats to the young Federation such as the Ware and the troubled Klingon Empire. Pick up your copy today, and look for both my review and our episode of Literary Treks in which we discuss Live By the Code!

Look below for the back-cover blurb and links to purchase from Amazon.

My Review coming soon!

Publisher's description:
The "fifth season" saga of the Star Trek: Enterprise TV series continues with this action-packed original novel!

Admiral Jonathan Archer has barely settled in as Starfleet Chief of Staff when new crises demand his attention. The Starfleet task force commanded by Captain Malcolm Reed continues its fight against the deadly Ware technology, but one of the task force ships is captured, its Andorian crew imprisoned by an interstellar Partnership that depends on the Ware for its prosperity. Worse, the Partnership has allied with a renegade Klingon faction, providing it with Ware drone fleets to mount an insurrection against the Klingon Empire. Archer sends Captain T'Pol and Endeavour to assist Reed in his efforts to free the captured officers. But he must also keep his eye on the Klingon border, for factions within the Empire blame Starfleet for provoking the Ware threat and seek to take revenge. Even the skill and dedication of the captains under Archer's command may not be enough to prevent the outbreak of the Federation's first war!

Purchase Live By the Code:

Mass-market paperback: | |
E-book (Kindle): |

Next Release: The Original Series: Elusive Salvation