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

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 Trek.fm. 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!