Sunday, March 1, 2015

Literary Treks 93: Riker Goes Full Fabio

The Gorn Crisis

The Original Series of Star Trek gave us many aliens that became iconic, even though they may have only been seen once or twice. Andoians, Tellarites, Tholians, and of course, the Gorn. Seen only twice in Star Trek, the Gorn have become fan favorites.

In this episode of Literary Treks, Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther talk about the comic series, The Gorn Crisis. We discuss the story, if the comic captures the TNG characters, the art work, the impact this comic has on the novels, and our ratings.

In the news segment, we talk about the latest issue of Star Trek Ongoing: Behemoth and the upcoming May comics.

Next episode:

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Trill: Unjoined

Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Volume Two
Trill: Unjoined by Heather Jarman
Published May 2004
Read February 9th 2015

Previous book (Deep Space Nine): Andor: Paradigm

Next book (Deep Space Nine): Bajor: Fragments and Omens

MMPB: | |
Kindle: | |

Spoilers ahead for Unjoined and the rest of the Deep Space Nine relaunch!

From the back cover:
They are a people with secrets. For centuries they kept their true nature hidden, even taking disturbing steps to protect the small population of near-immortal symbionts with whom a privileged few Trill are joined, body, mind, and soul. They are a people who hold memory to be sacred, yet deny their own past. Now amid a whirlwind of scandal, accusations, and growing civil unrest, Ezri Dax must penetrate millennia of lies and deceptions, and rediscover what should never have been forgotten, before her civilization rips itself apart.

My thoughts:

One thing that these "Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" stories have done well (so far) is to make the societies they highlight feel very real. This is especially true for Trill. In Unjoined, we see a planet in turmoil. The tension between the joined minority and the unjoined majority seems to be at a boiling point, with unjoined radicals employing violent methods to overthrow the joined.

Trill is also a society of secrets, and Martin and Mangels use that history to great effect in Unjoined. We learn about the origins of the parasites, which have been the primary antagonists of the Deep Space Nine book series of late, and where they come from is a very dark secret indeed. It would seem that their deep-seated hatred of the Trill may be somewhat understandable.

Not only does Unjoined delve into the society of the humanoid Trill, it also showcases and reveals much about the symbionts. These long-lived species are much more than the small slug-like beings we see joined with humanoid hosts; symbiont society exists also in the form of massive beings far underwater on Trill.

A Trill symbiont about to be joined with a humanoid host. These small symbionts, however, are very young compared to the massive creatures who live deep beneath the surface of Trill.

If there is one thing that the writing team of Martin and Mangels excels at, it is world-building. The revelations about Trill's society and past are alarming and very well-written. One criticism, however, is their handling of the relationship between Bashir and Ezri Dax. There were times where it felt very ungenuine. While the final development in this novel between the two of them is not wholly unexpected, it was still disappointing. I feel that these two characters deserve better than what was portrayed here. However, this may just be hurt feelings on my part on behalf of both characters. Relationships are difficult, and not every one turns out the way you would like.

Ezri Dax and Julian Bashir

Final thoughts:

A very good exploration of Trill society that doesn't shy away from examining big issues. Secrets are anathema to open, functioning society, and Unjoined illustrates this beautifully. I enjoy the writing style of the team of Martin and Mangels, and the way they craft their story is fun to watch unfold. For example, at the beginning of the novel, we see Bashir bristling at the way that the Trill hospital he is in is favoring the treatment of joined patients while neglecting the unjoined ones. The reader, of course, agrees with Bashir that this is wildly unfair, and we are left thinking that the protests are overwhelmingly justified. However, later in the story, we learn the reason for this preferential treatment in this specific case, and new light is shed on the situation. The universe is most certainly not black and white, and the authors do an excellent job of showing this.

Also by Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels:

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Mission Gamma, Book Three: Cathedral (2002)
Star Trek: Enterprise: Last Full Measure (2006)
Star Trek: Excelsior: Forged in Fire (2007)

My next read:

Next up is my review of the brand-new TOS novel by Tony Daniel: Savage Trade. Until then, LLAP!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy - In Memoriam

Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015)

Outpourings of grief and condolences—from Star Trek fans and non-fans alike—are all over the Internet today as it has been reported that Leonard Nimoy, 83, has passed away. Most well-known, of course, for the role of Mr. Spock, Nimoy will be remembered by legions of his fans.

Mr. Nimoy will always be remembered as a wonderful man with a happy and joyful soul. I had the pleasure of meeting him at a convention in Calgary, Alberta in 2010. He was a thrill to meet and a distinct pleasure to talk to. He was really the first "celebrity" I met in real life, and I remember thinking that he seemed very friendly and open to meeting his fans. I will always remember that afternoon in Calgary and the joy I felt in talking to him one-on-one and listening to him speak to the assembled group of fans.

Star Trek author David Mack put it best on his Facebook page this morning:
"He lived long, he prospered, and he inspired. He was more than Spock; he was someone's son, someone's father, and a friend to many more. He was our fellow traveler. And now he is legend. Rest in peace, Leonard Nimoy."

And finally, I had to share this: Leonard Nimoy's final tweet, a fitting farewell from this treasure of a man:

Goodbye, Leonard. You will be sorely missed.

(Also posted on David Mack's Facebook page today - too good not to share!)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Release Day! TOS: Savage Trade by Tony Daniel

A brand-new adventure set during Kirk's original five-year mission hits stores today: The Original Series: Savage Trade by Tony Daniel!

Check out the publisher's description below, where you will also find links to purchase Savage Trade from Amazon.

My review: coming soon!

Publisher's description:
The U.S.S. Enterprise, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk, is en route to the extreme edge of the Alpha Quadrant, and to a region known as the Vara Nebula. Its mission: to investigate why science outpost Zeta Gibraltar is not answering any Federation hailing messages. When the Enterprise arrives, a scan shows no life-forms in the science station. Kirk leads a landing party and quickly discovers the reason for the strange silence—signs of a violent firefight are everywhere. Zeta Gibraltar has been completely raided. Yet there are no bodies, and the entire roster of station personnel is missing...

Purchase The Original Series: Savage Trade:

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

Next Release: The Original Series: Shadow of the Machine (e-book)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sequel to FROM HISTORY'S SHADOW is on the way!

Good news from Trek author Dayton Ward this evening! On his Facebook page, he announced that the outline for his follow-up to 2013's From History's Shadow has been approved today, meaning we will definitely see his sequel soon.

From his post:
"You know what that means, right? More UFOs! More aliens! More time travel shenanigans!"

While the 2015 Trek book lineup is full, it is likely that we will be seeing it sometime in 2016, just in time for Star Trek's 50th anniversary! Stay tuned!

Star Trek fiction by Dayton Ward:

Star Trek: S.C.E. #4: Interphase, Part One with Kevin Dilmore (2001)
Star Trek: S.C.E. #5: Interphase, Part Two with Kevin Dilmore (2001)
Star Trek #97: In the Name of Honor (2002)
Star Trek: Vanguard: Open Secrets (2009)
"Almost Tomorrow" from Star Trek: Vanguard: Declassified (2011)
Star Trek: Vanguard: What Judgments Come with Kevin Dilmore (2011)
Star Trek: That Which Divides (2012)
Star Trek: Vanguard: In Tempest's Wake (2012)
Star Trek: The Original Series: From History's Shadow (2013)
Star Trek: The Fall: Peaceable Kingdoms (2014)
Star Trek: Seekers #2: Point of Divergence with Kevin Dilmore (2014)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Literary Treks 92: Good Thing Riker Doesn't Listen to Amy Winehouse

Interview with John Jackson Miller about his new novel, Takedown

Star Trek fans have been pitting captains against each other since Picard came on the scene in 1987. The debate on whether Kirk or Picard is better still rages on internet message boards or any given weekend in any city hosting a sci-fi convention. But what if Picard went up against his protege, William Riker? Who would be the victor?

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther talk to John Jackson Miller about his first full length Star Trek novel Takedown, in which Picard and Riker do go head-to-head. We discuss John catching up with the continuity, inspirations for the story, being concurrent with The Missing, humor in the book, major spoilers, as well as writing Admiral Riker and Captain Dax.

In the news, we talk about the new Almighty Flow Chart on The Trek Collective as well as Gary Seven's upcoming appearance in John Byrne's New Vision comics in issue, you guessed it, seven.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Sea of Troubles

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Slings and Arrows, Book I
A Sea of Troubles by J. Steven York & Christina F. York
An e-book exclusive novella
Published October 2007
Read January 18th 2015

Next book (Slings and Arrows): The Oppressor's Wrong

E-book (Kindle): | |

Spoilers ahead for A Sea of Troubles and the rest of the Slings and Arrows series!

Publisher's description:
The USS Enterprise-E has launched, with Captain Jean-Luc Picard in command. In addition to many familiar faces, the new ship also has some new crew members -- among them, conn officer Sean Hawk and security chief Linda Addison.

But soon Picard is devastated to learn that there's a saboteur on board -- in the form of a changeling infiltrator from the Dominion! Picard and his crew must learn who the changeling replaced and stop it before it destroys the fleet's finest ship...

My thoughts:

Slings and Arrows is a six-part e-novella series, released in 2007 as part of Simon & Schuster's celebration of the 20th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Edited by veteran Trek author Keith R.A. DeCandido, the series gives us our earliest glimpse at the Enterprise-E and her crew. You may recall that in Star Trek: First Contact, Geordi mentions that the Enterprise-E has been in space for nearly a year. Personally, I have always wondered what the Enterprise crew was up to for much of that year. Finally, in Slings and Arrows, we find out!

This first instalment, A Sea of Troubles, introduces a new character whom we first canonically met in First Contact: Lieutenant Sean Hawk, the conn officer in that film. I really enjoyed the brief appearance of Hawk in First Contact, and I felt that Neal McDonough brought a lot to the character with only a few small scenes. While his stint in canon Trek was short-lived, we get a few much-needed insights into his character in this novella.

We see Lieutenant Hawk's introduction to the Enterprise in A Sea of Troubles.
Some of the character work with the antagonist of the piece, a Changeling infiltrator aboard the Enterprise, was very interesting. It was fun to get into the mind of one of the Founders and find that (she?) is not exactly what we expected. Granted, much of the interaction between Picard and the Changeling was an attempt by both parties to engage in subterfuge and deception, but it was still interesting to hear the thoughts of one of the Founders beyond the usual "solids are chaotic, we must impose control" rhetoric we usually get.

The year prior to First Contact is one that is full to the brim with political intrigue and huge changes for the Federation. A war with the Klingons, rising tensions with the Maquis, and the fear of Dominion infiltration and attack are only a few of the events that this period of Trek history faced. The Slings and Arrows series finally gives us a chance to see what the flagship of the Federation was up to during this period. and with so much happening, there is surely a lot to draw upon for the writers. I very much look forward to the other books in this series tackling the weighty issues that face the Federation at this time.

Final thoughts:

A solid first entry in the series, A Sea of Troubles was a fascinating story showcasing a Changeling infiltration of the Enterprise. The story truly reflects the tension that was inherent during this period of "cold war" leading up to open warfare with the Dominion. We get a strong introduction to one of my favorite "minor" characters, Lieutenant Hawk, and some insight into an enemy that we were not really provided with before.

As many of you know, I recently began co-hosting the Literary Treks podcast with Matthew Rushing over on That podcast has been doing regular features on the Slings and Arrows series. Look below for a link to the episode in which Matthew Rushing and Christopher Jones discuss A Sea of Troubles. As I make my way through this series on Trek Lit Reviews, I will post links to the appropriate episodes of Literary Treks. Give them a listen, and be sure to check each week for new episodes, which I will also post here at Trek Lit Reviews!

Further resources:

My next read:

Next week, my Deep Space Nine relaunch re-read continues with Worlds of Deep Space Nine, Volume Two: Trill: Unjoined by Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels. Until next time!