Thursday, July 19, 2018

Fortune of War

Star Trek: Titan
Fortune of War by David Mack
Release date: November 28th 2017
Read December 4th 2017

Previous book (Titan): Sight Unseen
Next book (Titan): 

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

Publisher's description:
Twenty years have passed since the interstellar scourge known as the Husnock were exterminated without warning by a being with godlike abilities. Left behind, intact but abandoned, their desolate worlds and derelict ships brim with destructive potential.

Now a discovery by a Federation cultural research team has drawn the attention of several ruthless factions. From black market smugglers to alien military forces, it seems every belligerent power in the quadrant hopes to capture the Husnock's lethal technology.

All that stands between the galaxy and those who have come to plunder the cruelest secrets of the Husnock are Admiral William Riker, Captain Christine Vale, and the crew of the Starship Titan.

My thoughts:

Click here to watch my video review of Titan: Fortune of War, or click play on the embedded video below!

Final thoughts:

A fun adventure that uses events of the TNG series to great advantage in crafting a fascinating follow-up. Fast-paced and exciting, while at the same time featuring some great character moments and explorations of the relationships in Titan. Here's hoping we get a continuation of Star Trek: Titan someday!

More about Fortune of War:

Also by David Mack:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

Next up is the first original Star Trek: The Next Generation novel: Ghost Ship by Diane Carey!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Literary Treks 235: Make it Sow!

Star Trek: The Next Generation
A Time to Sow

by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore

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

Morale aboard the Enterprise has been dealt a serious blow. The incident at the Rashanar battle site has left a definite stain on the career of Jean-Luc Picard, and he and his crew can't help but feel that their latest assignment is designed to get them off the radar for the time being. However, their mission to investigate a centuries-old distress call may be more intriguing than Starfleet intended. When a new civilization is found to be thriving against all odds, Picard and his crew must get to the bottom of a mystery that threatens to tear that civilization apart.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther discuss A Time to Sow, the third book in the nine-part A Time To series, and the first book in a duology by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore. We talk about a surprise visit to the time period of Star Trek: Enterprise, Starfleet "milk runs," Data's emotions (or lack thereof), an act of sabotage, the Dokallan civilization, an outside threat, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.

In the news section, we discuss the upcoming Star Trek vs. Transformers comic miniseries coming soon from IDW, The Art of John Eaves by Joe Nazzaro coming later this year, and I Am Captain Kirk, a new Little Golden Book for the tiny Trekkies out there!

Literary Treks 235: Make it Sow!
The Next Generation: A Time to Sow by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore

Previous episode: Literary Treks 234: The Seed That Never Gets Any Water
Next episode: Literary Treks 236: The Nitpicker's Guides

Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Entropy Effect

Star Trek #2
The Entropy Effect by Vonda N. McIntyre
Published June 1981
Read May 23rd 2017

Previous book (The Original Series): #1: Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Next book (The Original Series): #3: The Klingon Gambit

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

Spoilers ahead for The Entropy Effect!

From the back cover:
The Starship Enterprise is summoned to transport a dangerous criminal to rehabilitation: the brilliant physicist, Dr. Georges Mordreaux, who is accused of promising to send people back in time, then killing them instead. But when a crazed Mordreaux escapes, he inexplicably bursts onto the bridge and murders Captain Kirk before the crew's eyes. Now Spock must journey back in time to avert the disaster "before" it occurs. But more is at stake than Kirk's life. Mordreaux's experiments have thrown the universe into chaos, and Spock is fighting time itself to keep the very fabric of reality from unravelling.

My thoughts:

Published in June of 1981, The Entropy Effect has the distinction of being the first original novel in the Pocket Books line. The novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture by Gene Roddenberry had been released two years earlier, and Vonda N. McIntyre was chosen to write the followup.

It is important to remember while reading this novel that not much had yet been established about the Star Trek universe before this point. As far as "canon" Trek goes, we only had The Original Series, The Animated Series (the canonicity of which is still debated), and the film Star Trek: The Motion Picture. This left a lot of room for McIntyre to flesh out the Trek universe. Some authors might have preferred to play it safe and operate well within the bounds of what had already been established, but McIntyre chose to expand the universe and show us things the television show and film hadn't.

What's really cool about this is that, rather than just adapting the Trek universe and setting an adventure within the bounds of what came before, The Entropy Effect actually has a hand in further developing what Star Trek would become. Through this novel, we get elements such as Captain Hunter of Starfleet fighter U.S.S. Aerfen, assigned to the Starfleet border patrol. She is, of course, an ex-fling of Captain Kirk. But what sets her apart is her heritage (she's of North American First Nations descent) and her family structure. In years past, she invited Kirk to become part of her family in a "partnership family" context along with a group of people, numbering nine in total. The fact that McIntyre introduces a form of what I assume is polyamory into the Trek universe is incredibly cool.

We also get more focus on "lower decks" crewmembers, notably a number of security officers aboard the Enterprise. The chief of security, Mandala Flynn, is the one we learn the most about, partially due to her close relationship with Hikaru Sulu (who was provided a given name for the first time in this novel). We also see a number of her security force, including Jenniver Aristeides, Snnanagfashtalli ("Snarl" to her friends), and Neon.

The plot of The Entropy Effect centers around the devastating effects that the time traveling experiments of Dr. Mordreaux have had on the universe. Mordreaux, a former physics instructor of Spock's, has set in motion a series of events that will result in the destruction of the universe within a century. The Enterprise is assigned to transport Mordreaux to prison, as he has been convicted of murder. In actuality, he has sent ten people back in time, but the authorities do not believe him.

During the voyage, Mordreaux appears to break out of confinement on the Enterprise, bursting onto the bridge and murdering Captain Kirk and Security Chief Flynn. It soon becomes apparent that the murderer is actually a future version of Mordreaux, and it is up to Spock to use Mordreaux's technology to jump around the time continuum putting everything right.

In the alternate future created in this novel, Lieutenant Sulu transfers to Captain Hunter's command, the Aerfen, serving as her helmsman/tactical officer. This is an interesting turn for this character, and we learn more about his aspirations for command. This development fits nicely with the future path his career takes, culminating in his command of the U.S.S. Excelsior in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The transfer is, of course, undone when Spock is able to restore the timeline, but Sulu is promoted to lieutenant commander instead. Spock's trials while attempting to undo the damage to the timeline while at the same time making sure his fellow crewmates are none the wiser was at times amusing and some great storytelling.

The Entropy Effect is ultimately a fascinating tale that, while somewhat predictable given the time travel shenanigans involved, is still a fun read and a worthy beginning to nearly four decades of Pocket Books original Star Trek novels. Reading this book again made me want to revisit McIntyre's novelizations of Star Treks II through IV, as I remember those being very good reads.

Final thoughts:

Thankfully, The Entropy Effect was a strong start to Pocket Books' original novel line. It is a fun adventure featuring some fascinating twists and turns for our heroes, putting them in situations that hadn't been seen in Star Trek up to that point. There was a great deal riding on the shoulders of this novel, and Vonda McIntyre delivered a strong story that served to flesh out the world of Star Trek in new and interesting ways. A solid tale that led the way for 37 years of Pocket Books Star Trek novels! Here's hoping the current contract woes can be worked out and the line continues strong for years to come. Fingers crossed.

More about The Entropy Effect:

My next read:

Next up: my video review of the David Mack novel, Star Trek: Titan: Fortune of War!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

I, The Constable

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
I, The Constable by Paula M. Block & Terry J. Erdmann
An e-book exclusive novella
Release date: November 13rd 2017
Read November 23rd 2017

Previous book (Deep Space Nine): Gamma: Original Sin
Next book (Deep Space Nine): 

E-book (Kindle): | |

Publisher's description:
With his Starfleet assignment temporarily on hold, Odo needs a distraction. He welcomes Chief O’Brien’s offer to loan him some of the action-packed books that both men relish: tales about hard-boiled private eyes, threatening thugs, and duplicitous dames. Then Quark suddenly goes missing during a hastily planned trip to Ferenginar. His concerned friends on Deep Space Nine feel that Odo, as the station’s former chief of security, is uniquely suited to track Quark down. But once on Ferenginar, Odo learns that Quark is trapped in the seamy underbelly of a criminal enterprise that could have been ripped from the pages of one of O’Brien’s novels. To find the bartender, Odo discovers that he must rely not only on his law enforcement background, but his knowledge of all things noir….

My thoughts:

Click here to watch my video review of Deep Space Nine: I, The Constable, or click play on the embedded video below!

Final thoughts:

A fun read involving some great character writing by Paula Block and Terry Erdmann. These two do an excellent job capturing the voices of Quark, Rom, and Odo, and continue the arc of these characters in a fun and interesting way, especially Quark. Highly recommend for fans of Deep Space Nine!

More about I, The Constable:

Also by Paula M. Block & Terry J. Erdmann:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

Next review: The first original novel in the Pocket Books Star Trek line: The Entropy Effect by Vonda N. McIntyre!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Literary Treks 234: The Seed That Never Gets Any Water

Star Trek: Discovery
Fear Itself

Exclusive interview with author James Swallow!

Trade Paperback: | |
E-book (Kindle): | |

For many fans, the breakout character of Star Trek: Discovery has been Saru, the Kelpien science officer aboard the U.S.S. Shenzhou. Kelpiens are a prey species, driven by instinct to heed their natural fear response and be hyper-alert to any danger present in their surroundings. Saru is no exception to this, and when a rescue mission begins to spiral out of control, he must learn to temper his fear if he has any hope of getting himself and his team out alive.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson are joined by James Swallow, author of the new Discovery novel, Fear Itself. We discuss the process of writing the novel, getting inside Saru's head, the various species involved in the story, Saru and Burnham's relationship, Captain Georgiou's leadership style, overcoming fear, and what other projects James has on the horizon. We also briefly talk about the current troubled state of Pocket Books' Star Trek line, and what might be in store for its future.

In the news section, we preview a new book coming next year from Dayton Ward: Kirk Fu Manual: An Introduction to the Final Frontier's Most Feared Martial Art!

Literary Treks 234: The Seed That Never Gets Any Water
Exclusive interview with Discovery: Fear Itself author James Swallow!

Previous episode: Literary Treks 233: The Yin and the Yang of Klingons
Next episode: Literary Treks 235: Make it Sow!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard

The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard
The Story of One of Starfleet's Most Inspirational Captains
Edited by David A. Goodman
Release date: October 17th 2017
Read October 31st 2017

Previous: The Autobiography of James T. Kirk
Next book: The Autobiography of Mr. Spock

Hardcover: | |
Kindle: | |

Publisher's description:
The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard tells the story of one of the most celebrated names in Starfleet history. His extraordinary life and career makes for dramatic reading: court martials, unrequited love, his capture and torture at the hand of the Cardassians, his assimilation with the Borg and countless other encounters as captain of the celebrated Starship Enterprise.

My thoughts:

Click here to watch my video review of The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard, or click play on the embedded video below!

Final thoughts:

A fun and entertaining overview of the life of Jean-Luc Picard, adding a lot of context and meaning to the events of The Next Generation. Fans will find themselves re-watching episodes with more subtext thanks to this book. David A. Goodman clearly has a huge love and respect for the Star Trek universe, and he definitely knows his stuff!

More about The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard:

Also by David A. Goodman:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

Next review: the Deep Space Nine e-book novella, I, The Constable, by Paula M. Block & Terry J. Erdmann.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Literary Treks 233: The Yin and the Yang of Klingons

Star Trek: Prometheus
The Root of All Rageby Bernd Perplies & Christian Humberg

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

Across the Alpha Quadrant, opinion is turning against the Renao. A terrorist group, The Purifying Flame, is responsible for the destruction of starbases and colonies in the Federation and the Klingon Empire, and now the Empire screams for blood. It's up to the crews of the U.S.S. Prometheus and the I.K.S. Bortas to investigate and bring The Purifying Flame to justice, but can they complete their mission before the calls for vengeance overwhelm the situation, or will cooler heads ultimately prevail?

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther discuss the second book in the Star Trek: Prometheus trilogy, The Root of All Rage. We talk about the delicate relationship between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, bigotry and hate, mistreatment of people who are different, the situation back on Earth, Lwaxana Troi's role, Renao mythology, a surprise tie to a TOS episode, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.

In the news segment, Bruce and Dan review the fourth and final issue of IDW's Star Trek: Discovery: The Light of Kahless.

Literary Treks 233: The Yin and the Yang of Klingons
Prometheus: The Root of All Rage by Bernd Perplies & Christian Humberg

Previous episode: Literary Treks 232: Andorian Crinkled Bendy Straw Antenna
Next episode: Literary Treks 234: The Seed That Never Gets Any Water