Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Trek Lit 2013: Year in Review

It's that time again! Time to say good-bye to the year that was 2013, and hello to a brand-new year!

How was 2013 in Trek novels? In my opinion, this was a good year. We got some exciting stories set in the Original Series period, kicked off the early years of the Federation thanks to Christopher Bennett's A Choice of Futures, had a terrific time-twisting adventure in Dayton Ward's From History's Shadow, and closed out the year with an exciting, five-part miniseries that advanced the Next Generation and Deep Space Nine post-Nemesis era considerably.

In my own life, 2013 saw me relocate to Calgary, Alberta. I'm enjoying it here for the most part! I'm still a little far from my family and a lot of my friends, but not quite as far as I was when I lived in Korea. Also this year, some friends of mine launched a couple of projects: Patrol Tech and Patrol Films! I'm assisting with the social media aspect. I posted one of their videos earlier this week. Check it out if you haven't already! And while you're at it, check out the Facebook pages for Patrol Tech and Patrol Films, and toss a "like" their way if you like what you see! Patrol Tech offers computer and tech advice (with a little humor thrown in), while Patrol Films is a sort of catch-all for small film projects and shorts. We're really excited about them, and we're hoping 2014 is a banner year for both!

This past year, I also joined the staff of TrekCore.com as the Trek Literature editor. Thanks to my work with them, I've been able to fulfill a fan's dream and interview a number of the authors that contribute the wonderful world of Star Trek fiction and non-fiction books. In addition, Trek Core has republished a number of my reviews! Links to the interviews and reviews on Trek Core are below:

Interviews:

Dayton Ward (August 2013)
Kirsten Beyer, Part One (August 2013)
Kirsten Beyer, Part Two (August 2013)
David R. George III (August 2013)
Una McCormack (September 2013)
David Mack (October 2013)
Marc Cushman (October 2013)


Reviews:

Star Trek: Enterprise: Rise of the Federation: A Choice of Futures by Christopher L. Bennett
These Are The Voyages: TOS, Season One by Marc Cushman
Fan Phenomena: Star Trek edited by Bruce E. Drushel
Star Trek: The Original Series: From History's Shadow by Dayton Ward
Star Trek: The Fall: Revelation and Dust by David R. George III
Star Trek: The Fall: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack


Below you'll find the list of every Trek book I reviewed this year, along with links to those reviews. This is the first year that I didn't restrict myself to fiction; in addition to the usual line-up of novels, I also reviewed the non-fiction titles These Are The Voyages: TOS, Season One by Marc Cushman and Fan Phenomena: Star Trek, a collection of essays on Trek fandom edited by Bruce E. Drushel.

New releases are in bold and marked with an asterisk.


January

*Cold Equations, Book 3 of 3: The Body Electric by David Mack (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Errand of Fury, Book One: Seeds of Rage by Kevin Ryan (Star Trek: The Original Series)
Errand of Fury, Book Two: Demands of Honor by Kevin Ryan (Star Trek: The Original Series)
Errand of Fury, Book Three: Sacrifices of War by Kevin Ryan (Star Trek: The Original Series)





February

*Allegiance in Exile by David R. George III (Star Trek: The Original Series)
Federation by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens (TOS and TNG crossover)
Last Full Measure by Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels (Star Trek: Enterprise)








March

*Devil's Bargain by Tony Daniels (Star Trek: The Original Series)
In the Name of Honor by Dayton Ward (Star Trek: The Original Series)
*The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow (Star Trek: The Next Generation e-book)









April

*The Weight of Worlds by Greg Cox (Star Trek: The Original Series)
How Much For Just the Planet? by John M. Ford (Star Trek: The Original Series)
Chain of Attack by Gene DeWeese (Star Trek: The Original Series)









May

*The Folded World by Jeff Mariotte (Star Trek: The Original Series)
The Vulcan Academy Murders by Jean Lorrah (Star Trek: The Original Series)
The Belly of the Beast by Dean Wesley Smith (Star Trek: S.C.E. #1)
Fatal Error by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Star Trek: S.C.E. #2)
Hard Crash by Christie Golden (Star Trek: S.C.E. #3)
Interphase, Part One of Two by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore (Star Trek: S.C.E. #4)
*Star Trek Into Darkness by Alan Dean Foster (Film novelization)





June

*The Shocks of Adversity by William Leisner (Star Trek: The Original Series)
*Rise of the Federation: A Choice of Futures by Christopher L. Bennett (Star Trek: Enterprise)










July

A Time to Be Born by John Vornholt (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
A Time to Die by John Vornholt (Star Trek: The Next Generation)










August

*From History's Shadow by Dayton Ward (Star Trek: The Original Series)
*These Are the Voyages: TOS, Season One by Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn









September

*Revelation and Dust by David R. George III (Star Trek: The Fall, Book One)
*Fan Phenomena: Star Trek - Edited by Bruce E. Drushel
Avatar, Book One of Two by S.D. Perry (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)








October

*The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack (Star Trek: The Fall, Book Two)
Avatar, Book Two of Two by S.D. Perry (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)










November

*A Ceremony of Losses by David Mack (Star Trek: The Fall, Book Three)
Interphase, Part Two of Two by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore (Star Trek: S.C.E. #5)
Cold Fusion by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Star Trek: S.C.E. #6)
Invincible, Part One of Two by David Mack and Keith R.A. DeCandido (Star Trek: S.C.E. #7)
Invincible, Part Two of Two by David Mack and Keith R.A. DeCandido (Star Trek: S.C.E #8)
*The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow (Star Trek: The Fall, Book Four)




December

Section 31: Abyss by David Weddle and Jeffrey Lang (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
Imzadi by Peter David (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Mission Gamma, Book One of Four: Twilight by David R. George III (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
*A Very Klingon Khristmas by Paul Ruditis, Illustrated by Patrick Faricy
The Wounded Sky by Diane Duane (Star Trek: The Original Series)







Best Trek novel of 2013:

What was the best Star Trek novel of 2013? Certainly, there were many excellent entries to choose from. Runners-up to the top prize include the superb The Fall: The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow and the time-twisting The Original Series: From History's Shadow by Dayton Ward. 2013 truly was a great year for Trek fiction. It was very close, but in my humble opinion, top spot has to go to:

Star Trek: The Fall: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack!

The Crimson Shadow was expertly written, with the perfect balance of character and action. Una's explorations of Cardassian society are so enthralling, and speaking as both a social studies major and a life-long Star Trek fan, her work is a true pleasure to read! Click here to read my review of this excellent novel.

The Fall: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack: in my opinion, the best of 2013.
2014 is already looking to be an interesting year in Star Trek fiction. For one thing, it seems as though we'll have a little more diversity in the titles being offered. A little less TOS-heavy, with a few series we haven't seen in a little while being featured.

Following the completion of The Fall, we have the much-anticipated continuation of the Voyager relaunch, with Kirsten Beyer's Protectors coming at the end of January. I'm definitely excited to see the continuation of some of the plot threads from her previous Voyager books!

Later in the year, we have a continuation of Christopher L. Bennett's Rise of the Federation. The second book in the series, Tower of Babel, arrives in late March.

Another interesting highlight for me is One Constant Star, an entry in The Lost Era and featuring the Enterprise-B. Written by David R. George III, One Constant Star has prompted me to do a re-read of two novels featuring that ship and her captain(s): The Captain's Daughter by Peter David and The Lost Era: Serpents Among the Ruins, also by David R. George III.

Other areas of excitement: Seekers by David Mack and writing partners Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore is coming! Mid-2014 will see the first two books of this series, a sort of sequel to the excellent Vanguard series. VERY excited for these!

Also, Jeffrey Lang will be returning to continue the story of Data. You may recall that David Mack's Cold Equations trilogy was a sequel to Lang's earlier novel, Immortal Coil. I'm really happy to see Lang return to continue Data's story post-Cold Equations.

One interesting trend in 2014 looks to be a rise in the number of e-book exclusives. 2012 and 2013 each featured an e-book only release, but 2014 steps that up to at least three. In March, we get Titan: Absent Enemies by John Jackson Miller. Then, in April, Seasons of Light and Darkness by Michael A. Martin, an Original Series story. And finally, we get The More Things Change, another Original Series tale, from Scott Pearson in July.

You can check out all of the new releases for 2014 by clicking here. You can also pre-order all of them from Amazon!

I'm looking forward to an excellent year in 2014! Thank you to you, my readers, for being awesome and following my little internet ramblings. I appreciate you all!

Happy New Year, and all the best in 2014!


Release Day! The Fall: Peaceable Kingdoms

Here's this month's new release: Star Trek: The Fall: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward! The final book in the spell-binding five-part series, Peaceable Kingdoms promises to be a wild ride. Peaceable Kingdoms is available in both mass-market paperback (copies have been appearing all over for the past week or so) and in e-book format.

Also, a quick warning: if you haven't read the other books in The Fall yet, you might want to skip the back-cover blurb below. It's fairly spoiler-iffic!

Enjoy!

My Review of Peaceable Kingdoms


Publisher's description:
Following the resolution of the fertility crisis that nearly caused their extinction, the Andorian people now stand ready to rejoin the United Federation of Planets. The return of one of its founding member worlds is viewed by many as the first hopeful step beyond the uncertainty and tragedy that have overshadowed recent events in the Alpha Quadrant. But as the Federation looks to the future and the special election to name President Bacco’s permanent successor, time is running out to apprehend those responsible for the respected leader’s brutal assassination. Even as elements of the Typhon Pact are implicated for the murder, Admiral William Riker holds key knowledge of the true assassins— a revelation that could threaten the fragile Federation-Cardassian alliance. 
Questions and concerns also continue to swell around Bacco’s interim successor, Ishan Anjar, who uses the recent bloodshed to further a belligerent, hawkish political agenda against the Typhon Pact. With the election looming, Riker dispatches his closest friend, Captain Jean-Luc Picard, in a desperate attempt to uncover the truth. But as Picard and the Enterprise crew pursue the few remaining clues, Riker must act on growing suspicions that someone within Ishan’s inner circle has been in league with the assassins from the very beginning . . . .

Look for my review soon!


Purchase The Fall: Peaceable Kingdoms:

Mass-market paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk 

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


Next Release: Voyager: Protectors

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Wounded Sky

Star Trek #13
The Wounded Sky by Diane Duane
Published December 1983
Read November 5th 2013


Previous book (TOS): #12: Mutiny on the Enterprise
Next book (TOS): #14: The Trellisane Confrontation


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

Spoilers ahead for The Wounded Sky!

From the back cover:
An alien scientist invents the Intergalactic Inversion Drive, an engine system that transcends warp drive--and the Enterprise will be the first to test it! The Klingons attempt to thwart the test, but a greater danger looms when strange symptoms surface among the crew--and time becomes meaningless.
Now Captain Kirk and his friends face their greatest challenge--to repair the fabric of the universe before time is lost forever!

My thoughts:

Diane Duane is one of my favorite Trek authors of all time. As you can see from the list below, I've read quite a few of her books in the past few years. Her Rihannsu series was a ground-breaking examination of the Romulans and their culture, and Spock's World is one of the gems of the entire Trek book line. In fact, I recently recommended Spock's World to author Dayton Ward for his "Ten For Ward" column at StarTrek.com, in which he compiled a list of novels for new-comers to Trek written fiction. As a fan of her other stories, I decided to go back and read her earliest Trek novel: The Wounded Sky.

For the most part, I enjoyed this story. The alien scientist, K't'l'k, was very fascinating. Basically an intelligent, large glass spider, both her physical description and the way her species views the universe were interesting. She appears in Duane's later work, so it was great to see her introduction to the Enterprise crew here. Her interactions with Scotty were particularly fun to read!

The end of the story delves into the metaphysical a bit, and boy is it a wild ride! Duane manages to capture the "weirdness" of the crew's experiences perfectly. While this was very fascinating and great writing, I would have to say that the absolute best part of the novel was Duane's depiction of Sulu flying the Enterprise in battle against a number of Klingon cruisers at break-neck speeds. The entire sequence kept me on the edge of my seat. No one can write space combat like Diane Duane!

The spirit of exploration, which should be an integral part of what Star Trek is all about, suffuses the pages of The Wounded Sky. Duane is able to capture that spirit perfectly. Captain Kirk and his crew display an enthusiasm about exploring the unknown that is practically infectious.

In some ways, The Wounded Sky is reminiscent of the early TNG episode "Where No One Has Gone Before." This isn't surprising, as Duane was a co-writer of that episode. Both stories capture a feeling of the true unknown. They evoke a similar feeling that I got when I heard Q's words at the end of TNG's "All Good Things...":

"That's the exploration that awaits you. Not mapping stars or studying nebulae. But charting the unknown possibilities... of existence."

Goosebumps. I'm tellin' ya.

Just as in "Where No One Has Gone Before," the Enterprise is propelled far beyond our galaxy, where the line between thoughts and reality becomes blurred.

Final thoughts:

An excellent entry in the Star Trek series. Diane Duane captures the characters, the sense of wonder, and the action that make stories, particularly Star Trek stories, great. Some readers may find themselves bogged down with the technical descriptions and high-minded physics concepts, but for the most part, I think Trek fans will find this a perfect depiction of what Star Trek is all about.

Also by Diane Duane:

Star Trek #18: Rihannsu #1: My Enemy, My Ally (1984)
Star Trek #35: Rihannsu #2: The Romulan Way with Peter Morwood (1987)
Star Trek: Spock's World (1988)
Star Trek #50: Doctor's Orders (1990)
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Dark Mirror (1993)
Star Trek: The Next Generation #45: Intellivore (1997)
Star Trek #95: Rihannsu #3: Swordhunt (2000)
Star Trek #96: Rihannsu #4: Honor Blade (2000)
Star Trek: Rihannsu #5: The Empty Chair (2006)

My next read:

Stay tuned for my annual year-end wrap-up of the year in Trek Lit. Trek Lit Review's 2013: Year in Review coming on New Year's Eve!


Friday, December 27, 2013

Doctor Who Fan Film from Patrol Films!

I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that I have a few Doctor Who fans among my readership!

I'm helping out with a friend's project called Patrol Films. They're working on short films and other video projects. Recently, they put together a small fan short using the Steven Moffat 12th doctor regeneration audition script! Check it out below.


If you like what you see, you can follow Patrol Films on Facebook, Twitter, and of course, subscribe to their YouTube Channel!

They also have another channel, called Patrol Tech, offering tech advice and solutions. Check it out!

Happy Holidays, everyone! New reviews and my annual Year In Review is coming soon!


These Are the Voyages: Revised and Expanded Edition Now Available



Hey everyone! There Are the Voyages - TOS: Season One, REVISED and EXPANDED edition is now available. This edition boasts 80 more pages and over 50 additional rare pictures, some of which have never been seen before. There are also new exclusive interviews, including the latest from Leonard Nimoy! 680 pages in length with new cover art, the revised These Are the Voyages is available in hardcover in the United States, and in paperback and Kindle worldwide. 

My review isn't of the expanded and revised edition, but I still loved this book, and I'm sure the revisions made it only better! You can order your copy by following these links and supporting Trek Lit Reviews: Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and Amazon.co.uk. In addition, autographed copies (from author Marc Cushman and TOS producer/writer John D.F. Black) are now available at www.JacobsBrownMediaGroup.com.

And coming in early 2014 is Book 2, covering the second season of TOS! Rest assured, I will be reviewing it here for all of you!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Very Klingon Khristmas

A Very Klingon Khristmas by Paul Ruditis
Illustrated by Patrick Faricy
Published October 2013
Read December 25th 2013


HAPPY HOLIDAYS from Trek Lit Reviews! Here's a special bonus Christmas book review!

Purchase from Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

From the back cover:
QISmaS DatIvjaj 'ej DIS chu' DatIvjaj and a Happy New Year! 
A Very Klingon Khristmas recounts, in rhyming verse, the treasured children's story of the birth of revered warrior Kahless and celebrates the rich Klingon Khristmas traditions originating on Qo'noS and spreading across the Star Trek universe! 
My thoughts:

It is really great to see Star Trek getting the novelty book treatment. For years, Star Wars fans have gotten treats such as Vader and Son and this year's Vader's Little Princess, not to mention the delightful William Shakespeare's Star Wars. Star Trek never really got the same attention. However, this year marks a change in that trend. With A Very Klingon Khristmas, I feel we've gotten a truly fun and whimsical entry in the Star Trek book universe.

In rhyming verse, the book tells the timeless tale of the magical Santa Qlas, who delivers gifts each Khristmas to the honorable Klingon girls and boys. However, if you have been naughty and dishonorable, beware: Santa Qlas will leave you a dreaded tribble! Borrowing from both The Night Before Christmas and The Grinch, this book's delightful rhyming is very clever and a pleasure to read. The story is fun, and the entire family will get a kick of hearing it read aloud!

Each page features a wonderful illustration from the extremely talented Patrick Faricy. In a Norman Rockwell style, the pictures leap off the page in their beauty and classic design. You won't be able to help but laugh as you see a young Klingon child's excitement at the new dagger that Santa Qlas has brought him! Perhaps my favorite illustration is the look of absolute frustration on the face of a Klingon patriarch as he attempts to untangle the Khristmas tree lights!

Final thoughts:

Beautifully illustrated and cleverly written, A Very Klingon Khristmas is a true delight! I found myself grinning from cover to cover, and then going back again to examine the pictures even closer. The rhyming is delightful, and as a tongue-in-cheek parody, this book is a true winner! And the novelty books won't end: coming next year is Fun with Kirk and Spock, in the style of the old primary school readers, Fun with Dick and Jane.

My next read:

The Wounded Sky by Diane Duane.

Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Twilight

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Mission Gamma, Book One of Four
Twilight by David R. George III
Published: September 2002
Read October 28th 2013


Previous book (Deep Space Nine): "Horn and Ivory," in Gateways: What Lay Beyond
Next book (Deep Space Nine): Mission Gamma, Book Two: This Gray Spirit


Purchase Mission Gamma: Twilight from Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Twilight is also available as part of the omnibus, These Haunted Seas, containing the first two books of the Mission: Gamma miniseries.

Purchase These Haunted Seas from Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk


Spoilers ahead for Twilight, Mission Gamma, and the rest of the Deep Space Nine relaunch!

From the back cover:
THE TIME HAS COME 
... for a new era of exploration. With the Dominion War behind them, the crew of the USS Defiant journeys through the wormhole as Commander Elias Vaughn leads a "corps of discovery" to blaze new trails into the unexplored reaches of the Gamma Quadrant. 
THE TIME HAS COME 
... for a civilization to reach a crossroads. As political forces throughout the Alpha Quadrant intersect at Deep Space 9 to determine the future of Bajor, the planet's theological unity threatens to shatter. And for Colonel Kira Nerys, the path of the Prophets may become a road to ruin. 
THE TIME HAS COME 
... for a father and daughter to confront their past while a mother and son fight for the future, for lovers to be tested and for friendships to transform, and for worlds on opposite ends of the galaxy to face the dusk... or the dawn.

My thoughts:

More than anything else, I will always remember Deep Space Nine as the Star Trek series that embraced character development the most. So it is fitting that character development is what I loved the most in Mission Gamma, Book One: Twilight.

The Defiant sets out on a months-long tour of exploration of the Gamma Quadrant, while on the homefront, the stage is being set for Bajor's eventual admission into the Federation. The terrific character development comes in the exploration of the relationships between the characters. For example, we get a wonderful examination of the relationship between Elias Vaughn and his daughter, Prynn Tenmei. Estranged for many years, the two of them finally get the chance to see their relationship evolve. Also of note is the evolving relationship between Lieutenant Ro and Quark. In theory, this relationship seems doomed from the beginning. However, it is written in a believable and lovely manner. In some ways, I find myself disbelieving that it can go anywhere, but I'm continually surprised by how well they work together.

It is in this novel that we see the beginnings of the Andorian reproductive crisis storyline, which will continue to have a bearing on the lit-verse for years to come. Featured in the remaining Deep Space Nine relaunch stories, as well as more recent entries such as Typhon Pact: Paths of Disharmony, and The Fall: A Ceremony of Losses and The Poisoned Chalice, the Andorian reproductive crisis storyline is possibly the longest continual storyline in either the novels or in Star Trek in general. I don't know that the authors knew that this plot development would carry on for so long (over ten years!) or have so many far-reaching repercussions, but the inception here is a harbinger for many more great stories to come.

A pleasant surprise was a lovely little scene between Quark and Vic Fontaine. I am a big fan of David R. George III's writing, and his skill is evident both in little scenes like this one, and in the on-going struggles of the characters, such as Kira's handling of being excluded from the Bajoran faith by the Vedek Assembly. DRGIII has a terrific handle on the characters, and their interactions are always a pleasure to read. I found myself feeling empathy for all of the characters, both old and new.

Final thoughts:

This is not a small book. For some, the high page count combined with the small text may be a little daunting, but for me, the strong writing and great character moments pulled me right in and didn't let me go until I was finished. This is an excellent continuation of the on-going Deep Space Nine saga, and I'm excited to continue my re-read of the DS9 "relaunch."

Further resources:

Podcast: Literary Treks 59: The Rough Seas of Love - discussion of Twilight

Also by David R. George III:

Star Trek: The Lost Era: Serpents Among the Ruins (2003)
Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Dominion: Olympus Descending (2005)
Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Plagues of Night (2012)
Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Raise the Dawn (2012)
Star Trek: The Original Series: Allegiance in Exile (2013)
Star Trek: The Fall: Revelation and Dust (2013)
Star Trek: The Lost Era: One Constant Star (2014)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Sacraments of Fire (2015)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Ascendance (2016)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Long Mirage (2017)

My next read:

Next up is an oldie, but a goodie: The Wounded Sky by Diane Duane, a classic from the early days of Pocket Books' Star Trek line.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Imzadi

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Imzadi by Peter David
Published August 1992

Read September 30th 2013


Previous book (The Next Generation - unnumbered): Reunion
Next book (The Next Generation - unnumbered): The Devil's Heart

Previous book (The Next Generation - published order): #22: Imbalance
Next book (The Next Generation - published order): #23: War Drums

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

Imzadi is also available as part of an omnibus, Imzadi Forever, along with the sequel, Imzadi II.

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

Spoilers ahead for Imazdi!

From the back cover:
Years before they served together on board the U.S.S. Enterprise, Commander William Riker and ship's counselor Deanna Troi had a tempestuous love affair on her home planet of Betazed. Now, their passions have cooled, and they serve together as friends. Yet the memories of that time linger and Riker and Troi remain Imzadi - a powerful Betazoid term that describes the enduring bond they still share. 
During delicate negotiations with an aggressive race called the Sindareen, Deanna Troi mysteriously falls ill... and dies. But her death is only the beginning of the adventure for Commander Riker -- an adventure that will take him across time, pit him against one of his closest friends, and force him to choose between Starfleet's strictest rule and the one he calls Imzadi.
My thoughts:

From the very beginning of The Next Generation, Riker and Troi were introduced as former lovers whose affair still meant a great deal to both of them. Many fans speculated about their prior relationship, but very little was ever revealed about it, save a few small details. In Imzadi, we finally learn about the circumstances surrounding their early relationship, and why it ended prior to their reunion aboard the Enterprise.

From their first appearance together in "Encounter at Farpoint," fans have been curious about the early days of Riker and Troi's relationship. Imzadi endeavors to answer those questions.
Imzadi begins in the future, in which a depressed and sour Admiral Riker commands an insignificant starbase in the middle of nowhere. Riker's career and life have taken a nose-dive following the death of Deanna Troi years earlier. However, when he learns that there exists an alternate timeline in which Deanna didn't die, Riker takes matters into his own hands and hatches a plot to use the Guardian of Forever to travel back in time to prevent her death.

I admit to always having been curious about the unseen Riker-Troi relationship, and while I always imagined something a little more long-term and deeper than what is depicted in Imzadi, Peter David does an excellent job filling in the blanks for us. He writes a young Lieutenant Riker with just the right amount of cockiness and bravado, and his young Deanna Troi was very well-written as well. I was especially impressed with where David took the character of Lwaxana Troi, however. With the possible exception of the episode "Dark Page," Lwaxana has never had the depth with which she is written here. The tragedy of the loss of Deanna at an early age is keenly felt by both Mrs. Troi and the reader.

Interestingly, I found that Imzadi paralled the series finale of TNG, "All Good Things..." in a number of surprising ways. For one, Riker's future career path as a jaded, disgruntled admiral features in both. In addition, the premature death of Deanna Troi is a plot point in both stories. I'm not suggesting that Imzadi in any way influenced "All Good Things...," but the parallels are interesting to note.

This story and the TNG finale, "All Good Things...," feature some interesting parallels.

Final thoughts:

Several times while reading Imzadi, I was completely surprised by where Peter David took the story. Unpredictable and always interesting, Imzadi is arguably one of the best Star Trek novels out there. In a recent edition of his article "Ten For Ward" at StarTrek.com, author Dayton Ward included Imzadi on his list of Trek novels for the new Star Trek reader. Imzadi was the recommendation of his fellow author David Mack, who said that “its ending is also one of the best I've ever read in a Star Trek novel.” I find myself in complete agreement with this statement. Imzadi is a must-read for any Trek fan.

Also by Peter David:

My next read:

The next book on my catch-up list for 2013 is Deep Space Nine: Mission Gamma, Book One: Twilight by David R. George III. While it is called "Twilight," I promise that no sparkly pseudo-vampires will make an appearance.

Until next time, live long and prosper!


Monday, December 16, 2013

Cover revealed for Greg Cox's No Time Like the Past

StarTrek.com has revealed the cover for next year's No Time Like the Past by veteran Trek author Greg Cox. An Original Series novel, No Time Like the Past continues Cox's penchant for playing with the timeline by showing a meeting across the generations. Below you can check out the cover, read the back-cover blurb, and find links to Amazon to pre-order the novel. No Time Like the Past is the March novel for next year, with an official release date of February 25th.

STARDATE 6122.5. A diplomatic mission to the planet Yusub erupts in violence when ruthless Orion raiders attempt to disrupt the crucial negotiations by force. Caught in the midst of a tense and dangerous situation, Captain James T. Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise finds an unexpected ally in the form of an enigmatic stranger who calls herself “Annika Seven.”
STARDATE 53786.1. Seven of Nine is taking part in an archaeological expedition on an obscure planetoid in the Delta Quadrant when a disastrous turn of events puts Voyager’s away team in jeopardy -- and transports Seven across time and space to Yusub, where she comes face-to-face with one of Starfleet’s greatest legends.
STARDATE 6122.5. Kirk knows better than most the danger that even a single castaway from the future can pose to the timeline, so he and Seven embark on a hazardous quest to return her to her own era. But there are others who crave the knowledge Seven possesses, and they will stop at nothing to obtain it -- even if this means seizing control of the Enterprise!
You can pre-order No Time Like the Past by clicking the following links:

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Abyss

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Section 31: Abyss by David Weddle & Jeffrey Lang
Published May 2001
Read September 17th 2013


Previous book (Section 31): Star Trek: The Next Generation: Rogue
Next book (Section 31): Star Trek: Cloak


Previous book (Deep Space Nine Relaunch): Avatar, Book Two
Next book (Deep Space Nine Relaunch): Gateways, Book 4 of 7: Demons of Air and Darkness


Click to purchase Abyss from Amazon.com!

Section 31: Abyss is also available as part of an omnibus, Twist of Faith, containing the first four novels of the DS9 relaunch:

Purchase Twist of Faith from Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
NOTE: This volume contains Avatar: Book OneAvatar: Book TwoSection 31: AbyssGateways: Demons of Air and Darknessand the novella "Horn and Ivory" from Gateways: What Lay Beyond

Spoilers ahead for Abyss and the Deep Space Nine relaunch!

From the back cover:
They are the self-appointed protectors of the Federation. Amoral, shrouded in secrecy, answerable to no one, Section 31 is the mysterious covert operations division of Starfleet, a rogue shadow group committed to safeguarding the Federation at any cost. 
Mere days after the startling events of Avatar, Dr. Julian Bashir faces his darkest nightmare when Section 31 compels him to undertake a mission to stop one of their own. But this renegade is no ordinary agent. Like Bashir, Dr. Ethan Locken is genetically enhanced, a human superior in body and mind. But Locken dreams of remaking the galaxy in his own image—and creating a new human empire based on the example of the infamous Khan Noonien Singh. 
And as he begins to understand the terrifying truth about his opposite number, Bashir will learn more about himself than he ever wanted. 
No law. 
No conscience. 
No stopping them.

My thoughts:

Following the successful "relaunch" of the Deep Space Nine series in book form in Avatar, Pocket Books followed up with another adventure, this time a part of another miniseries: Section 31. In this series, the enigmatic and secretive organization is showcased in The Next Generation, Voyager, and The Original Series. As characters from each of the series comes up against Section 31, we learn more about how the group operates. In Abyss, the series returns to where it all started: Deep Space Nine.

Introduced in "Inquisition," Section 31 has long been Julian Bashir's "white whale," and his desire to bring down the group has been a theme of more than one DS9 story. In this novel, Bashir finds himself working with 31 to take down one of their own agents. Like Bashir, Locken has been genetically enhanced, making him a formidable opponent, as well as someone that Bashir is uniquely equipped to face.

Abyss was a very well-written adventure, showcasing one of my favorite characters. Deep Space Nine handled character development beautifully, as can be evidenced by the path that Dr. Bashir's character took throughout the series. Starting as a brash, young Lieutenant, Bashir continuously grew, becoming the well-rounded and dynamic character we see at the end of the series. His arc continues in Abyss, bringing him face-to-face with what he could become if he let himself: a power-hungry man whose superior abilities breed superior ambition.

Dr. Bashir has come a long way from the green young Lieutenant we were introduced to in "Emissary."
Abyss also features some great moments for the other characters as well. I particularly enjoyed the interplay between Taran'atar and Ro as they fight alongside the natives of Sindorin, the planet that Locken has established as his base of operations. Ezri gets a few nice moments as well. Most of her role is as a counter to Locken's influence over Bashir, and as his conscience, she works quite well.

One interesting thing that leaped off the page: early on, Bashir's contact within Section 31, an agent named Cole, warns Bashir of the dangers that the Federation faces. At one point, he says that the next threat will cause casualties to be counted "not in the millions, but in the billions." Given subsequent events in the Star Trek literary universe, this struck me as a particularly prescient and chilling foreshadowing of things to come.

Final thoughts:

A fun read, and a very good follow-up to the Avatar duology. Bashir is given a chance to shine, and other characters such as Ro and Taran'atar get their moments as well. This "relaunch" series proves to be a fun sandbox for authors to play around in, and the fact that the stories aren't constrained by having to reset the status quo at the end of each novel makes for an exciting adventure that has endless possibilities. I recommend Avatar to any DS9 fan interested in seeing where things go with the relaunched series.

Further resources:

TrekBBS discussion and review thread for Abyss
Podcast: Literary Treks 20: The Bashir-Locken Inversion - discussion of Section 31: Abyss

My next read:

Next up is a classic TNG favorite: Imzadi by Peter David!

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Poisoned Chalice

Star Trek: The Fall
The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow
Release date: November 26th, 2013
Read November 27th 2013


Previous book (Titan): Fallen Gods

Previous book (The Fall): A Ceremony of Losses
Next book (The Fall): Peaceable Kingdoms

Purchase The Poisoned Chalice from Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

WARNING: Spoilers ahead for The Poisoned Chalice and The Fall!

From the back cover:
One simple act, and the troubles of the United Federation of Planets have grown darker overnight. The mystery behind the heinous terrorist attack that has rocked the Federation to its core grows ever deeper, and William Riker finds himself beset by rumors and half-truths as the U.S.S. Titan is ordered back to Earth on emergency orders from the admiralty. Soon, Riker finds himself drawn into a game of political intrigue, bearing witness to members of Starfleet being detained—including people he considered friends—pending an investigation at the highest levels. And while Riker tries to navigate the corridors of power, Titan’s tactical officer, Tuvok, is given a series of clandestine orders that lead him into a gray world of secrets, lies, and deniable operations. Who can be trusted when the law falls silent and justice becomes a quest for revenge? For the crew of the U.S.S. Titan, the search for answers will become a battle for every ideal the Federation stands for. . . .

My thoughts:

How is it possible that the books of The Fall just keep getting better and better? The Crimson Shadow was simply outstanding, at a level that I thought would be impossible to match. Then comes A Ceremony of Losses, and I have to eat my words, as David Mack more than rose to the occasion. But that level of quality story-telling couldn't possibly be maintained, could it? It turns out that it can, as James Swallow hits another one out of the park with this month's The Poisoned Chalice.

The Poisoned Chalice continues the two main story threads that have come up so far in The Fall: the fall-out from the assassination of President Bacco, including the rise of the morally-ambiguous Ishan Anjar, and the solution to the Andorian reproductive crisis and the repercussions for Dr. Julian Bashir and his "co-conspirators." James Swallow deftly handles both threads extremely well, bringing them together in the end in a creative and entertaining way.

The events in the book can be seen as parallels to events and issues in the real world. While some of these parallels are fairly obvious, it is still worth examining them. For example, the members of the "Active Four" group encounter a "black site" maintained by an ally of the Federation, the Klingons. In many ways, this black site is reminiscent of Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay. Similarly, the Ishan regime's methods of pinning a terrorist attack on the Typhon Pact instead of the true perpetrators brings to mind the initial justification for the attack and invasion of Iraq by the United States in 2004.

Earlier, I mentioned the group called "Active Four," a paramilitary unit activated by the President pro tem's chief of staff in order to capture or otherwise neutralize the President's assassins. This group consists of Nog, Tuvok, another member of Starfleet, a Federation "marine," and a few civilian mercenaries, including a familiar face we haven't seen in some time: William Riker's transporter twin "brother," Thomas Riker! I've long been curious as to his fate, and I'm overjoyed that James Swallow was able to use him here.

It was a pleasant surprise to see Thomas Riker playing a part in this novel!
The original characters created by Swallow are interesting enough, but what I truly enjoyed was his use of the regular characters. Nog and Tuvok are especially well-written, and I really enjoyed the interactions between the two of them. Similarly, Swallow has a great handle on the literature-only characters such as Admiral Akaar and the members of the Titan crew, including my favorite, Ensign Torvig Bu-Kar-Nguv (usually shortened to Ensign Torvig). I have previously not been a big fan of Titan's first officer, Commander Christine Vale, but this book has done a great deal to change my opinion of her. She receives a short-lived commission as commander of the U.S.S. Lionheart, and her actions and how she was written really redeemed the character in my eyes. Similarly, I've never been very impressed with Tuvok, but his role in this novel is very well-written, and I found myself really empathizing with him.

Tuvok has never been one of my favorite characters, but James Swallow has
written him in a very compelling way while still remaining true to his character.
As I've said above, I was blown away by this novel. However, if I were to search high and low for one small quibble, it would be the speed at which the Titan seems to have returned to Earth. Previously, she had been out in the far reaches of the Beta Quadrant exploring the fringes of known space. However, she made it back to Earth on what seems to be very short notice. However, as I said, this is a very minor quibble, and if this is the quality of the story we get, I'm okay with the assumption that they found a short-cut!

Final thoughts:

Absolutely stellar. I thought that I had already figured out what the best Star Trek novel of 2013 would be. Now, I'm not so sure. James Swallow has advanced the story of The Fall in an extremely compelling way. I found myself staying awake into the wee hours saying "just one more chapter" over and over again. Well done. Dayton Ward certainly has his work cut out for him in the conclusion! I can't wait to see how this all turns out. 5 out of 5, would read again!

Further resources:

Also by James Swallow:

The Fall

Revelation and Dust
by David R. George III
The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack
A Ceremony of Losses by David Mack
The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow
Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward

My next read:

Look for a review of the third book in the Deep Space Nine relaunch, Section 31: Abyss by David Weddle and Jeffrey Lang in the coming week!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cover and blurb for 2014's Voyager: Protectors!

Simon and Schuster have released the cover for the much-anticipated continuation of the Voyager relaunch, Protectors by Kirsten Beyer. Check it out below, along with the back-cover blurb!


Following the destruction of four fleet vessels at the hands of the Omega Continuum, the U.S.S. Voyager and U.S.S. Demeter set course for a region of the Delta Quadrant far beyond anything previously explored. Captain Chakotay is determined to prove to Starfleet Command that the fleet’s ongoing mission is vital to Federation interests…and the key to doing so may lie in a distress call Voyager received nine years earlier, but could not investigate. Meanwhile, Vice Admiral Kathryn Janeway is recalled to the Alpha Quadrant for an evaluation period to determine her next assignment. Given the trauma she has recently endured, Admiral Akaar, Starfleet’s Commander-in-Chief, questions Janeway’s fitness to command the fleet. Janeway’s primary concern remains the fleet’s safety. For their mission to continue, she must find a way to secure the resources they require. But the uncertainty of her superior officers has left her powerless to act in their best interests...

Protectors is due to be released at the end of January next year. You can preorder it today at Amazon!


Mass-market paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

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


Release Day! The Fall: The Poisoned Chalice

Hey everyone! A new feature here at Trek Lit Reviews will be a day-of-release announcement for all new releases, with a publisher's description and links to purchase. So, without further ado, here's this month's new release: Star Trek: The Fall: The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow! The Poisoned Chalice is available now! Pick it up wherever books are sold, or download the e-book version.

Happy reading!

My Review of The Poisoned Chalice


Publisher's description:

One simple act, and the troubles of the United Federation of Planets have grown darker overnight. The mystery behind the heinous terrorist attack that has rocked the Federation to its core grows ever deeper, and William Riker finds himself beset by rumors and half-truths as the U.S.S. Titan is ordered back to Earth on emergency orders from the admiralty. Soon, Riker finds himself drawn into a game of political intrigue, bearing witness to members of Starfleet being detained—including people he considered friends—pending an investigation at the highest levels. And while Riker tries to navigate the corridors of power, Titan’s tactical officer, Tuvok, is given a series of clandestine orders that lead him into a gray world of secrets, lies, and deniable operations. Who can be trusted when the law falls silent and justice becomes a quest for revenge? For the crew of the U.S.S. Titan, the search for answers will become a battle for every ideal the Federation stands for. . . .


Purchase The Fall: The Poisoned Chalice:

Mass-market paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk 

E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca


Previous Release: The Fall: A Ceremony of Losses