Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Release Day! Voyager: Atonement

Star Trek: Voyager
Atonement by Kirsten Beyer

Long-time readers of this site will know that one of my favorite Trek Lit series has been the Voyager post-finale novels by author Kirsten Beyer. It's always a treat when another chapter in her tales of the Full Circle mission to the Delta Quadrant is released, and this month sees the release of Atonement! Following up from the previous novels Protectors and Acts of Contrition, Atonement continues the story of Voyager's dealings with the Worlds of the First Quadrant, with Janeway on trial by a coalition of former Delta Quadrant foes for her actions during Voyager's first trek through the region.

Check below for links to purchase Atonement from Amazon. Look for my review soon!

Publisher's description:
An original novel set in the universe of Star Trek: Voyager—and the sequel to Protectors and Acts of Contrition!

Admiral Kathryn Janeway faces a tribunal determined to execute her for supposed crimes committed during Voyager’s maiden trek through the Delta Quadrant. Captain Chakotay knows that the Kinara, several species now allied against the Full Circle fleet, are not all they appear to be. The Confederacy of the Worlds of the First Quadrant—a pact he cannot trust—is his only hope for unraveling the Kinara’s true agenda and rescuing Admiral Janeway. Meanwhile, Seven and Tom Paris are forced to betray the trust of their superiors in a desperate bid to reveal the lengths to which a fellow officer has gone in the name of protecting the Federation from the legendary Caeliar.

Purchase Voyager: Atonement:

Mass-market Paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca

Next Release: New Frontier: The Returned, Part 3

Monday, August 24, 2015

Literary Treks 117: Read The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy

Interview with author David Mack
Seekers #3: Long Shot

What if the laws of probability were no longer a factor, and the most improbable and unthinkable things began to happen? This is exactly what the crew of the Sagittarius runs into in the latest Seekers novel, and the solution may just cost them more than they bargained for.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther welcome back author David Mack to discuss his latest book: Seekers #3: Long Shot. We talk about its creation, being villainless, illustrating the Prime Directive, scientific research, crew interactions, personal connections, life to the fullest, what’s next for David, and where to find him online.

In the news section we talk about TNG: Warped and its humorous ideas for a season 8 of The Next Generation.

Literary Treks 117: Read The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy
Interview with David Mack, author of Seekers #3: Long Shot

Previous episode: Literary Treks 116: Bajor's John Hughes Story

Next episode: Literary Treks 118:

Saturday, August 22, 2015

No Surrender

Star Trek: S.C.E. #13
No Surrender by Jeff Mariotte
Published March 2002
Re-released in print form as part of the S.C.E. compilation No Surrender in 2003.
Read May 11th 2015

Previous ebook (S.C.E.): #12: Some Assembly Required
Next ebook (S.C.E.): #14: Caveat Emptor

Original e-book cover

Compilation of SCE #'s 13 - 16
No Surrender (Paperback) from Amazon.com | Amazon.ca
No Surrender (Kindle) from Amazon.com | Amazon.ca

Spoilers ahead for No Surrender and the rest of the Corps of Engineers series!

From the back cover:
The Kursican Orbital Incarceration Platform -- known as "the Plat" -- is the primary prison facility for Kursican, a world applying for Federation membership. When the Plat malfunctions, the U.S.S. da Vinci is sent to Kursican to board and repair the out-of-control orbital station.
But the da Vinci crew finds itself in the midst of a political firestorm, as the malfunction is the result of sabotage by a group of political agitators -- one of whom is Augustus Bradford, an old friend of Captain Gold's. While Commander Gomez and her crack S.C.E. team try to put the Plat right, Gold must balance his duty against his loyalty to his friend -- before Kursican explodes!

My thoughts:

It's been a few months since I've posted a Starfleet Corps of Engineers review, so I figure it's time to give that series a bit of attention once again. Next up is number 13, No Surrender, the first story in the fourth S.C.E. omnibus, also titled No Surrender.

In this story, the da Vinci is called upon to repair an out-of-control orbital prison and to rescue a number of Federation officials who are visiting the station. Complicating matters is the involvement of an old friend of Captain Gold's. Years ago, Gold and Augustus Bradford were good friends who attended the academy together, but over the years, Bradford became disaffected with the Federation and Starfleet. Now living in the Kursican system, Bradford has become politically active, opposing ties between the system and the Federation.

Each of the characters seem to be getting their own "story" in turn, and No Surrender is primarily a Captain Gold story. We see how he reacts when he has to choose between his duty and loyalty to an old friend, a story that is by no means new or unique. Still, we get some good insights into Gold's character, and it was nice to learn more about him.

There are some fun moments in this story, including an exciting sequence in which a rescue team from the da Vinci must infiltrate the out-of-control prison complex via a dangerous spacewalk, all the while avoiding automatic weapon fire and the relentless forces of Newtonian physics. A fun, ably-told story, although there is nothing supremely groundbreaking here.

Final thoughts:

Captain David Gold finally gets some interesting character moments, and we see what duty to the Federation and Starfleet means to him. The primary antagonist comes across as fairly deluded and a little off-his-rocker. I would have been interested to see a more reasoned debate from him, with a legitimate argument rather than the dangerous threat of violence that automatically makes his character unreasonable. Still, an interesting story with a few good action sequences that made this a sufficient afternoon read.

Also by Jeff Mariotte:

My next read:

The Next Generation: The Best and the Brightest by Susan Wright, an unorthodox tale about cadets attending Starfleet Academy. Look for that review next week!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Literary Treks 116: Bajor’s John Hughes Story

Unity saw Bajor finally make it into the Federation as a member world, fulfilling one the earliest storylines of the Deep Space Nine television series. Transition is never easy and Bajor now finds itself experiencing the growing pains of integrating itself into the interstellar community.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther talk about the Worlds of DS9 story Bajor: Fragments and Omens. We discuss the different pace, the changing times, Jake Sisko's role, Bajoran conspiracy theories, the endgame, theology and science, how people make the place, and our ratings.

In the news segment, we rejoice at the announcement of a new edition of The Star Trek Encyclopedia, the Star Trek: Prey trilogy, new books from Christopher L. Bennett, and review Star Trek/Green Lantern #2.

Literary Treks 116: Bajor's John Hughes Story
Worlds of Deep Space Nine: Bajor: Fragments and Omens by J. Noah Kym

Previous episode: Literary Treks 115: Maybe He's Not An 80s Fan

Next episode: Literary Treks 117:

Sunday, August 16, 2015

TNG: Season 8 Book Coming This Fall!

Some fun news for you today: coming in October is Star Trek: The Next Generation: Warped: An Engaging Guide to the Never-Aired 8th Season! Based on parody Twitter account @TNG_S8, Warped is by account creator Mike McMahan, with illustrations by Jason Ho.

Publisher's Description:

In the basement of the Star Trek archives, behind shelves of U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D models, bags of wigs, and bins of plastic phasers, sits a dusty cardboard box. Inside is a pile of VHS tapes that contain never-before-seen episodes and behind-the-scenes footage for something truly amazing. The world thinks there are only seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but there’s one more. A secret season.
Actually, not really. But that didn't stop Mike McMahan, creator of the parody Twitter account @TNG_S8, from making a guide full of: 
REAL* TNG SEASON 8 FACTS AND STORIES!REAL* TNG SEASON 8 DIALOGUE AND IMAGES!(* Again, not really, of course. This is humor. Sorry.)

Release date: October 13, 2015.

Click here to pre-order Warped from Simon and Schuster!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Returned, Part 2

Star Trek: New Frontier
The Returned, Part 2 by Peter David
An e-book exclusive novella
Release date: August 3rd 2015
Read August 5th 2015

Previous book (New Frontier): The Returned, Part 1

Next book (New Frontier): The Returned, Part 3

Kindle: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Spoilers ahead for The Returned and Star Trek: New Frontier!

Publisher's Description:
Captain Mackenzie Calhoun and the crew of the U.S.S. Excalibur are back, picking up three months after the stunning events depicted in New Frontier: Blind Man’s Bluff. Calhoun's search of Xenex has failed to find any survivors, and now he is bound and determined to track down the race that killed them—the D'myurj and their associates, the Brethren—and exact vengeance upon them. His search will take the Excalibur crew into a pocket universe, where he discovers not only the homeworld of the D’myurj, but another race that shares Calhoun's determination to obliterate his opponents. But is this new race truly an ally…or an even greater threat?

My thoughts:

Continuing directly from Book 1, The Returned Part 2 finds Captain Calhoun and his crew in the pocket universe, seeking out the D'myurj homeworld on a mission to rescue the Federation captives being held there. Having found a D'myurj ship with nearly the entire crew murdered, Calhoun discovers their attackers: the Dayan. A single D'myurj survivor is found aboard the disabled vessel and brought to the Excalibur. After agreeing to help the Dayan seek out and destroy the D'myurj, Calhoun learns from the rescued alien that the Dayan may be an even greater threat.

The underlying themes of this book are much more complex than it would seem at first blush. It wasn't until discussing the book with Matthew Rushing on episode 115 of Literary Treks that I came to really appreciate the depth of the story that Peter David is telling here. In many ways, the issue faced by Calhoun with regards to the D'myurj is similar to a classic Star Trek trope: the idea that the motivations of aliens are more complex than we humans (or people of the Federation) give them credit for. In the classic episode "Arena," the Gorn seemingly commit a wanton act of mass murder in their attack on the Federation colony on Cestus III. At the end of that episode, we learn that the Gorn thought that the Federation was the invader, and they were merely protecting their own people from what they perceived as the violent encroachment of the colonists. Similarly, it seems that the D'myurj attacked the Xenexians in order to preserve their own species, which is in danger of being wiped out by the Dayan. While still a horrible crime, Calhoun finds that their motivations may not have been what he thought they were.

Mark McHenry
As usual, the quirkiness of the New Frontier universe is present on every page of this novella. Peter David's prose is always a pleasure to read, and I definitely enjoyed the juxtaposition of the harsh nature of the Dayan and their almost soft-spoken manner when dealing with Calhoun and his crew.

Robin Lefler and Mark McHenry's story on New Thallon continues here as well, with McHenry gaining planetary fame due to his seemingly god-like powers. There is also a surprise guest star who makes his identity known at the end of the book. Those of you who have read the story will know why I'm excited to see this mystery character and Mark McHenry come together...

Final thoughts:

In some ways, The Returned, Part 2 suffers from what Matthew Rushing and I have termed "middle book purgatory." It's difficult to give a solid rating to a story that is incomplete. There are a lot of interesting themes and ideas up in the air, and I am looking forward to seeing how they are resolved in Part 3. Part 2 was definitely enough to hold my interest, and I once again find myself wishing I had the third part already downloaded. September can't come fast enough!

More about The Returned, Part 2:

Also by Peter David:

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Vendetta (1991)
Star Trek #57: The Rift (1991)
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Imzadi (1992)
Star Trek #76: The Captain's Daughter (1995)
Star Trek: The Next Generation: I,Q with John deLancie (1999)
Star Trek: New Frontier: Gateways, Book 6: Cold Wars (2001)
"New Frontier: Death After Life" from Star Trek: Gateways, Book 7: What Lay Beyond (2001)
Star Trek: New Frontier: Blind Man's Bluff (2011)
Star Trek: New Frontier: The Returned, Part 1 (2015)

My next read:

Next week, my review of #13 of the S.C.E. series: No Surrender by Jeff Mariotte.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Literary Treks 115: Maybe He's Not an 80s Fan

Part 1 of The Returned left us with a cliffhanger: Calhoun and his crew had traveled to a pocket universe in hot pursuit of the aliens responsible for the genocide of the Xenexians in order to rescue the Starfleet personnel they had taken hostage.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther discuss The Returned, Part 2. We talk about the soap opera nature of New Frontier, how the story works for a long-time reader, a captain on the edge, a lively universe, a surprising guest, being in middle book purgatory, permanent political classes, the fight for survival, and the good that men don't do.

In the news segment, we discuss the latest issue of Star Trek Ongoing #48.

Literary Treks 115: Maybe He's Not an 80s Fan
New Frontier: The Returned, Part 2

Previous episode: Literary Treks 114: An Overabundance of Colons

Next episode: Literary Treks 116: Bajor's John Hughes Story