Wednesday, October 30, 2013

New blurb for Peaceable Kingdoms reveals HUGE spoilers

I'm a few days late on reporting this, but Simon and Schuster have released the blurb for the final book in The Fall, Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward. A word of warning: this blurb contains MASSIVE spoilers for The Fall. Read at your own risk!


I don't usually put in "jumps," but the spoiler-y-ness of this blurb necessitates it. Read the blurb after the jump!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Avatar, Book Two

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Avatar, Book Two by S.D. Perry
234 pages
Published May
2001
Read May 14th 2013


Previous book (Deep Space Nine): Avatar, Book One
Next book (Deep Space Nine): Section 31: Abyss

Purchase Avatar, Book Two from Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Avatar 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 One, Avatar: Book Two, Section 31: AbyssGateways: Demons of Air and Darkness, and the novella "Horn and Ivory" from Gateways: What Lay Beyond

Spoilers ahead for Avatar and the Deep Space Nine relaunch!

From the back cover:
RETURN TO THE EDGE OF THE FINAL FRONTIER. 
As the Federation prepares to launch a counterstrike against the Dominion, Colonel Kira Nerys searches for a way to prevent another galactic holocaust. But when a newly discovered prophecy propels Jake Sisko on an impossible quest and threatens to plunge all of Bajor into chaos, Kira is forced to choose between being true to her faith...and being true to herself. 
Meanwhile, as the combined crews of Deep Space 9 and the Starship Enterprise struggle to stop a terrorist plot to destroy the station and the ship, lives change, new friendships are forged, and the shocking truth behind a grisly murder is revealed. 
THE ASTONISHING RENEWAL OF THE EPIC ADVENTURE.

Notable quote:

"'I'm tired of wondering whether or not I'm being manipulated by people who say they speak for the Prophets. I have my own relationship with Them, and I trust my own judgment. And whatever you think about that, what gives you the right to decide what's bad for me, or what's best for anyone besides yourself?'" 
- Colonel Kira Nerys, on the Vedek Assembly's attempt to censor the prophesies of Ohalu

My thoughts:

For the most part, Avatar, Book Two serves to put the pieces in place for the situation going forward in the Deep Space Nine relaunch. We see the continued raising of tensions following the Jem'Hadar attack on the station in book one. We learn more about the new crew-members, such as Shar (Thirishar Ch'Thane) and Lieutenant Ro. The mysterious Jem'Hadar, Kitana'Klan, who claims to have been sent by Odo, cools his heels in the station's holding area. And Colonel Kira, confronted by a mysterious prophecy whose origins are indeterminate, must make a decision that may put her at odds with her faith.

S.D. Perry's writing is concise and appropriate for the universe of DS9. She captures the characters' voices very well, and the new characters that are introduced are developed quite nicely. I look forward to reading more about them in future books.

The plot points from book one are wrapped up well, but in true Deep Space Nine tradition, the consequences of what happened will continue to influence events in the novels to come. This more than anything is what excites me about the "relaunch" trend in the Trek novels. While a good, self-contained story can be fun, the true joy in storytelling is the ability to craft a tale that has consequences and repercussions on the status quo. A departure from the typical "put the toys back on the shelf when you're done" stories of Trek novels, the DS9 relaunch sets the stage for meaningful, long-term stories that evolve and change the characters. In the conclusion to the Avatar story, we see the set-up for the new status quo of the Deep Space Nine series going forward.

One small complaint I have is that the Avatar duology is split into two books. This volume in particular is only a scant 234 pages, and the type is quite large. Compare the size of the print to a later book in the Deep Space Nine series, Twilight by David R. George III, and you can see that a great deal more information can be put on the page. Why couldn't books one and two of this series have been one novel? I feel like it wouldn't have been too difficult to combine them.

Final thoughts:

The Avatar duology has left me very excited to continue reading the Deep Space Nine relaunch! I read them years ago, but I felt that a re-visit was in order. The DS9 relaunch will always have a special place on my shelf, and it's my pleasure to be able to review them again years later. DS9 was a special series with great writing and terrific characters, and it is so much fun to see it continue in this fashion. Onwards and upwards!

The adventure continues...

Further resources:

TrekBBS discussion and review thread for Avatar, Book Two
Podcast: Literary Treks 13: Shedding the Shackles of the Past - discussion of Avatar, Book Two

Also by S.D. Perry:

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Avatar, Book One of Two (2001)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Rising Son (2003)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Unity (2003)
Star Trek: Terok Nor: Night of the Wolves with Britta Dennison (2008)
Star Trek: Terok Nor: Dawn of the Eagles with Britta Dennison(2008)
Star Trek: Inception with Britta Dennison (2010)

My next read:

Next up is the latest new release: from David Mack, The Fall: A Ceremony of Losses. Review coming soon!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Interview: Marc Cushman, author of These Are The Voyages: TOS!



Trekcore.com has posted a recent interview I did with Marc Cushman, whose non-fiction book, These Are The Voyages: TOS, Season One, is essential reading for any fan of the original Star Trek series. Click here to read the interview. Also, if you haven't already, check out my review of the book!

Look for volumes two and three, covering the second and third seasons of TOS, coming next year!

Click here to purchase These Are The Voyages: TOS, Season One from Amazon.com

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Interview: David Mack, Veteran Trek Author!


Here's another interview for you! This time, I talk to David Mack, author of many Trek novels and short stories. We speak about his upcoming novel, due out at the end of this month: The Fall: A Ceremony of Losses. Other tidbits are discussed, such as what his future plans are in the Trek book arena, as well as what he's up to outside the Star Trek universe. The interview is exclusive to TrekCore.com. Click here to check it out!

A Ceremony of Losses will be released towards the end of this month. Click the links below to preorder it at Amazon!

Click to purchase from Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Click below to check out previous novels by David Mack:

Star Trek: Vanguard: Reap the Whirlwind (2007)
Star Trek: Vanguard: Precipice (2009)
Star Trek: Mirror Universe: The Sorrows of Empire, expanded edition (2010)
"The Stars Look Down" from Star Trek: Vanguard: Declassified (2011)
Star Trek: Mirror Universe: Rise Like Lions (2011)
Star Trek: Vanguard: Storming Heaven (2012)
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Cold Equations, Book I: The Persistence of Memory (2012)
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Cold Equations, Book II: Silent Weapons (2012)

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Crimson Shadow

Star Trek: The Fall
The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack
Release date: September 24th, 2013
Read September 25th, 2013


Previous book (The Fall): Revelation and Dust
Next book (The Fall): A Ceremony of Losses

Purchase The Crimson Shadow from Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Spoilers ahead for The Crimson Shadow and The Fall!

From the back cover:
Cardassia Prime is home to a prideful people who, for centuries, forged alliances with those they believed would strengthen them and their place in the Alpha Quadrant, and expanded their empire at great cost to other worlds. For generations, dissenting voices were silenced either by fear or an early grave. When their wartime ally, the Dominion, suddenly turned on them, seeking to transform Cardassia into a tomb for every last member of their race, their old adversary—the United Federation of Planets—put an end to the carnage, and even now works to help rebuild Cardassia Prime.  
To celebrate this alliance, the Castellan of the Cardassian Union is to welcome the Federation president to Cardassia Prime. As a symbol of this deepening friendship, the U.S.S. Enterprise-E is tasked to carry the Cardassian ambassador to the Federation back home. For his part, Ambassador Elim Garak is working with Captain Jean-Luc Picard to oversee the diplomatic reception that will commemorate the last of Starfleet’s personnel finally leaving the homeworld. However, there are malevolent forces at work, who even now strive to “restore Cardassia to its proper place and glory,” and are willing to do anything to achieve their goal...

My thoughts:

The Crimson Shadow is the second book in The Fall, a five-book series featuring crossovers between the current series in the 24th-century post-Nemesis continuity. Taking place over a sixty-day period, The Fall deals with a rather shocking attack against the Federation through the eyes of various players in the current continuity. Written by Una McCormack, The Crimson Shadow is primarily set on Cardassia and deals with the effects of The Fall on current Cardassian politics and the former empire's relationship with the Federation.

I have written reviews of a number of Una McCormack's earlier Trek works. Those who have read those reviews will know that I think very highly of her work. Hollow Men was a terrific novel, and The Never-Ending Sacrifice will always be a high point of Star Trek fiction for me. So, how does The Crimson Shadow stack up?

Quite frankly, it blows them out of the water.

Author Una McCormack proves herself extremely adept at creating a vivid landscape and tone in the reader's mind. The Crimson Shadow adopts a noir tone at times, alternating between advancing the plot in surprising ways and becoming a lovely, introspective character piece. The Crimson Shadow is very different from the typical Star Trek novel. While the Enterprise is on the cover, The Crimson Shadow is very much a story about Cardassia at large, and Garak in particular. The other characters that populate the novel's pages are extremely dynamic and well-thought-out. Much like Neta Efheny in McCormack's earlier book, Brinkmanship, one of the primary characters in this novel is someone we've never seen before: Ista Nemeny, a member of the Cardassian constabulary who is assigned to investigate the murder of a Bajoran Starfleet officer in Cardassia's capital city. Through the eyes of this investigator, we see Cardassian society like never before.

Might this have made a better cover than the Enterprise-E?
I make no secret of the fact that Garak is one of my all-time favorite Star Trek characters. From his initial introduction in DS9's first season, I have always been fascinated by the character and wholly impressed with Andrew Robinson's portrayal. Una McCormack is able to channel Robinson's performance in her writing for a pitch-perfect representation of the spy-turned-tailor-turned-ambassador. Garak is one of the most complex characters ever created in Star Trek, something that Deep Space Nine excelled at. His complexity can be witnessed through his interactions with other characters in the novel. For example, his literary comparisons with Captain Picard were a highlight, as were his letters to Dr. Bashir. In particular, I enjoyed seeing his relationship with Dr. Parmak, who watchers of the television series may recall was mentioned as a victim of Garak's interrogation techniques in the episode "The Die is Cast." In many ways, The Crimson Shadow can be seen as a companion piece to Andrew Robinson's own novel, A Stitch in Time. Readers wishing to get more out of The Crimson Shadow would be well-served to also read that particular book.

If you haven't read this yet, DO IT!
After a somewhat ponderous (if still enjoyable) beginning to The Fall in the previous book, Revelation and Dust, The Crimson Shadow shifts gears by giving us less "set-up" and more actual plot. It feels as though Revelation and Dust could not stand on its own, and rather needs the rest of The Fall (or perhaps further books set on Deep Space Nine, Fall or otherwise) in order to feel complete. Not so with The Crimson Shadow. While I certainly wouldn't suggest reading this novel without the rest of the series for context, it could be done and still feel satisfactory.

Final thoughts:

Vivid characterizations and amazing prose make The Crimson Shadow rise to the very top of great Star Trek fiction, and proves that tie-in fiction is not just "junk" literature. I would put this book toe-to-toe with nearly any modern novel in terms of complexity, entertainment value, and meaning. I enjoyed every single moment of reading this book, even when, at one point, I was tempted to throw it across the room; readers will know which part I mean! Beautifully written, and featuring the continuing story of one of my all-time favorite Trek characters, The Crimson Shadow currently sits at or near the top of my "best of Trek" list. Well done, Una McCormack; you've earned a life-long fan.

Further resources:

TrekBBS review and discussion thread for The Crimson Shadow
Interview: Una McCormack on Trekcore.com
Podcast: Literary Treks 38: Beyond the Apocalypse - Una McCormack discusses The Crimson Shadow

Also by Una McCormack:

Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Volume One: Cardassia: The Lotus Flower (2004)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Hollow Men (2005)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Never-Ending Sacrifice (2009)
Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Brinkmanship (2012)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Missing (2015)


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:

My next review is for the second book in the Deep Space Nine relaunch: Avatar, Book Two. Coming soon!