Sunday, February 12, 2012

Doors Into Chaos

Gateways: Book Three of Seven: Star Trek: The Next Generation - Doors Into Chaos by Robert Greenberger
Published September 2001
Read February 6th, 2012

Previous book (Gateways): Book 2 of 7: Star Trek: Challenger - Chainmail
Next book (Gateways): Book 4 of 7: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Demons of Air and Darkness



Click to purchase Doors Into Chaos from Amazon.com!

Spoilers ahead for Doors Into Chaos and the Gateways miniseries!


From the back cover:

More than 200,000 years ago, the ancient Iconians created a network of interdimensional Gateways providing instantaneous transportation across unimaginable distances.  Once known as the "Demons of Air and Darkness," the Iconians mysteriously vanished many millennia ago, never to return -- or so it was believed.
Summoned to an emergency briefing at Starfleet Headquarters, Captain Jean-Luc Picard is stunned to discover that the legendary Iconians have returned at last, and are offering to sell the secrets of their advanced technology to the Federation.  To prove their sincerity, they have reactivated their long-abandoned Gateways, but the results have been strife and chaos throughout the entire Alpha Quadrant.  Now Picard and his crew must contend with feuding Klingons and Romulans as the captain seeks to discover the sinister truth behind the Iconians' unexpected rebirth!

About the Novel:

The entire galaxy is in crisis.  All across the Alpha Quadrant and beyond, the Iconian Gateways have been switched on.  Many people are becoming displaced, and even starships have become lost through larger, space-based gateways.  With emergencies springing up across the quadrant, Starfleet summons its top captains to a meeting in order to resolve the issue.  The Enterprise is assigned to stop a dispute between the Deltans and the Carreons, who have both used gateways to travel to a disputed world, each side claiming it as their own.  Meanwhile, Captain Picard is assigned command of the USS Marco Polo in order to petition various governments to join a fleet to confront the aliens who are claiming to be the long-missing Iconians, the "Demons of Air and Darkness" of legend.  While Picard is not successful with every government he contacts, he and Deanna Troi are able to rally the Gorn, the Ferengi, the Klingons, and the Romulans to thier cause.  Joining them is a displaced starship from the Delta Quadrant, crewed by a race called the Nyrians, originally seen in the Voyager episode "Displaced."


Together, along with the Enterprise and representatives from the Deltan and Carreon fleets, they approach the Iconians to talk.  
However, the "Iconians" take the opportunity to open fire on the fleet.  As Picard and Starfleet suspected, these "Iconians" are not Iconians at all, but rather the Petraw, who are masquerading as the ancient race in order to sell the Gateway technology to the highest bidder.


My Thoughts:

Not a bad start to the twenty-fourth century portion of the Gateways series.  I enjoyed the mission briefing at the beginning, in which we see all of the lead characters from the various series involved in this part of the story "holo-conferencing": Captain Picard from TNG, Colonel Kira and Commander Vaughn from DS9, and Captains Calhoun and Shelby from New Frontier.  The galaxy-wide crisis is an interesting hook, and serves well as the catalyst for this series-spanning adventure.


Doors Into Chaos does a good job of presenting the differing views and motivations of the members of Picard's fleet.  The one problem I had was with the motivation for the actions of the Petraw.  When they are confronted by the armada, they simply open fire, rather than trying to talk their way out of it.  I would have thought that they would maintain the pretense of being the Iconians and attempting to bluff the fleet further.


Some interesting "fish-out-of-water" scenarios present themselves in Doors Into Chaos.  We get to see Counselor Troi in command of a starship, something I've been curious about since she took the bridge officer's exam in season seven of TNG.  Of course, reference is made to her crashing of the Enterprise-D's saucer section in Generations.  Also, we get to see Worf acting in his ambassadorial role, after being made the Federation diplomatic representative to the Klingon homeworld in DS9's final episode.  Both are interesting to watch, but one can see the reasons for Worf's return to Starfleet sometime before Star Trek Nemesis.


Final Thoughts:

Some issues with the motivations of the "Iconians," but I'm hoping we learn more in the other books of the series.  The crisis involving Starfleet makes me wonder about the stories in the Gateways series that don't involve this particular issue.  I'm hoping they don't come across as superfluous and unnecessary.  Chainmail was entertaining, but ultimately irrelevant to the rest of the series.  I don't think this is a bad thing, but it could turn many readers off.  As with the other books, the cliffhanger ending is a little annoying, but interesting enough for me to read the final volume.


Final score for Doors Into Chaos: 7.5/10.  Not bad.


Also by Robert Greenberger:

My next read:

I am on vacation in Thailand and Cambodia for the next couple of weeks, so the blog might not get updated frequently in that time.  I will, however, be reading a lot, and I've just finished the Deep Space Nine entry in the Gateways series, Demons of Air and Darkness.  Hopefully I can provide that review soon!