Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Release Day! Titan: Sight Unseen by James Swallow

Star Trek: Titan
Sight Unseen by James Swallow

A new novel featuring Admiral Riker and the crew of the U.S.S. Titan! Since the end of Star Trek Nemesis and the revelation that Riker now has his own ship and crew, I have enjoyed the novels featuring the Titan and her diverse crew. Now, the next chapter in that story is here. Look below for the back cover blurb and links to purchase Sight Unseen from Amazon.

My review






Publisher's description:
An original spin-off novel set in the popular Star Trek: The Next Generation universe from New York Times bestselling author James Swallow!

In the wake of political upheaval across the United Federation of Planets, Admiral William Riker and the crew of the U.S.S. Titan find themselves in uncertain waters as roles aboard the ship change to reflect a new mandate and a new mission. On orders from Starfleet, Titan sets out toward the edge of Federation space to tackle its latest assignment: to work with an alien species known as the Dinac, who are taking their first steps into the galaxy at large as a newly warp-capable civilization.

But when disaster befalls the Dinac, the Titan crew discovers they have unknowingly drawn the attention of a deadly, merciless enemy—a nightmare from Riker’s past lurking in the darkness. Friendships will be tested to the limit as familiar faces and new allies must risk everything in a fight against an unstoppable invader—or a horrific threat will be unleashed on the galaxy!

Purchase Sight Unseen:

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


Monday, September 28, 2015

Literary Treks 121: Wall Street of the '80s

Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Ferenginar: Satisfaction is Not Guaranteed








The world of Ferenginar was first seen in the Deep Space Nine episode "Family Business," and would only be seen one other time in the series. Yet the planet was home to some of the show’s most beloved characters, so it was an obvious choice to visit again in the Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine books.

In this episode of Literary Treks, Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther brave the weather on Ferenginar to talk about Satisfaction is Not Guaranteed. We discuss this being a "Ferengi Episode," how it fits with the rest of the book series, an outsider's look, rounding out Quark, cleaning up the Ferengi, ratings, and our final thoughts.

In the news, we take a look at the latest issue of Star Trek Ongoing, #49.

Literary Treks 121: Wall Street of the '80s
Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Ferenginar: Satisfaction is Not Guaranteed





Previous episode: Literary Treks 120: Kathy and Coco are a Beach Boys Song

Next episode: Literary Treks 122: Foibles of Human Nature


Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Centre Cannot Hold

Star Trek
Mere Anarchy, Book Two
The Centre Cannot Hold by Mike W. Barr
First Published October 2006
Re-published in the omnibus collection Mere Anarchy in March 2009
Read June 25th 2015


Previous book (Mere Anarchy): Things Fall Apart
Next book (Mere Anarchy): Shadows of the Indignant

Original e-book cover

Trade Paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
Kindle E-book: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Spoilers ahead for The Centre Cannot Hold and the rest of the Mere Anarchy series!

From the back cover:
A few years after the disaster on Mestiko, the Payav are struggling to rebuild in the wake of the pulsar's damage. The Starship Enterprise returns with a plan to help restore the planet's atmosphere.

But the Klingon Empire has also taken an interest in Mestiko, and has come to the aid of one of the world's many factions. Captain James T. Kirk finds himself once again pitted against the Klingon commander Kor, with the fate of Mestiko at stake.

My thoughts:

The 2006 40th anniversary of Star Trek celebrations continue with book two of the Mere Anarchy e-book series, The Centre Cannot Hold. This installment moves the timeline forward a couple of years into the "5-year mission" era of The Original Series. This is the familiar, bright primary color uniform period we all know and love.

The Centre Cannot Hold is well representative of the TOS five year mission era.

The Enterprise returns to Mestiko with a scientist who has a plan to help restore the environment to pre-disaster conditions. The plan will take quite some time to come to fruition, but it is the best chance to create a sustainable Mestiko for future generations. However, the Enterprise crew finds themselves in competition with the Klingons, who have also approached the Payav with their own plan to help them. Their plan involves selling natural resources from Mestiko to pay for immediate relief plans. While more appealing over the short-term, the Klingon plan doesn't provide for the future in the same way the Federation plan does. Plus, it's the Klingons. They're out for conquest. Of course, the Payav don't know that.

Because this takes place at the height of The Original Series, we see a lot of the milieu that defined that era. The "cold war" between the Federation and the Klingons dominated this period, an era during which the Organian Peace Treaty kept the powers from engaging in open hostilities. With hundreds of novels set in this era, this story is nothing unique, but it still did make good use of the time period.

Kor represents the Klingon Empire to the people of Mestiko.

I would have enjoyed a little more exploration of the issues around the two plans, long-term sustainability versus short-term relief. I feel that these topics mirror a lot of what is happening in the world today. However, the story is more about the machinations of the Klingons in manipulating the situation to their own advantage. This is, of course, consistent with the Klingons of this era, so I can't really fault the story for it.

Final thoughts:

Not bad, but not outstanding. There were a few things that irked me a little about the story, including a lack of depth in exploring the environmental issues that are raised. However, this is a short e-novella, so it is understandable that space to go deeper is at a premium. I thought the character of Kor was a little wasted on this story, but it was still interesting to see him again. For the most part, a good outing for the TOS crew that represents this era in Trek history fairly well.

More about The Centre Cannot Hold:

Star Trek: Mere Anarchy:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

Next week, look for my review of a fun new book from David A. Goodman: the in-universe reference book, The Autobiography of James T. Kirk: The Story of Starfleet's Greatest Captain!


Friday, September 18, 2015

Literary Treks 120: Kathy and Coco are a Beach Boys Song

Voyager: Atonement
Interview with author Kirsten Beyer!






The relaunch of Voyager under the direction of Kirsten Beyer has seen the return of the crew and the Full Circle fleet to the Delta Quadrant as well Kathryn Janeway back from the “dead” with the trilogy that began in Protectors coming to a rapid conclusion.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther are joined by Kirsten Beyer to talk about Atonement. We discuss the puzzle pieces coming together, creation, neat cameos, character arcs, B’Elanna, Chakotay and Janeway, downtime, the truth, At-One-ment, some of her favorite things, and what’s coming next.

In the news segment, we talk about the latest issue of the Star Trek/Green Lantern crossover #3.


Literary Treks 120: Kathy and Coco are a Beach Boys Song
Interview with Kirsten Beyer, author of Voyager: Atonement





Previous episode: Literary Treks 119: Unique Opportunity

Next episode: Literary Treks 121: Wall Street of the '80s


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Literary Treks 119: Unique Opportunity

New Frontier: The Returned, Part 3
Interview with author Peter David!






There are very few authors out there that can say they have worked for DC Comics, Marvel, and Dark Horse Comics, and have written almost every major comic book character at some point in their career and, to top it all off, have gotten to play in the Star Trek universe, creating completely new characters and working with the established to build his own Trek playground.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther welcome Peter David to talk about The Returned series. We discuss his favorite working experiences and characters, the genesis of New Frontier, creating original characters, the tone of New Frontier, The Returned, writing Calhoun, the return of Q, the Dayan, what’s next for New Frontier, where to find Peter online, and our final thoughts.

In the news segment, we talk about New Visions #8 as well as the release of the new James T. Kirk book.


Literary Treks 119: Unique Opportunity
Interview with Peter David, author of New Frontier: The Returned!





Previous episode: Literary Treks 118: Footie Pajamas

Next episode: Literary Treks 120: Kathy and Coco are a Beach Boys' Song


Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Returned, Part 3

Star Trek: New Frontier
The Returned, Part 3 by Peter David
An e-book exclusive novella
Release date: September 7th 2015
Read September 9th 2015


Previous book (New Frontier): The Returned, Part 2

Next book (New Frontier):


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

Spoilers ahead for The Returned and Star Trek: New Frontier!

Publisher's Description:
Captain Mackenzie Calhoun and the crew of the U.S.S. Excalibur are back, picking up three months after the stunning events depicted in New Frontier: Blind Man’s Bluff. Calhoun's search of Xenex has failed to find any survivors, and now he is bound and determined to track down the race that killed them—the D'myurj and their associates, the Brethren—and exact vengeance upon them. His search will take the Excalibur crew into a pocket universe, where he discovers not only the homeworld of the D’myurj, but another race that shares Calhoun's determination to obliterate his opponents. But is this new race truly an ally…or an even greater threat?

My thoughts:

Here it is: the conclusion to the e-book trilogy The Returned. Calhoun and crew witness the near-total destruction of the D'Myurj species and now find themselves leading an even greater threat back to our own galaxy. The Dayan, bent on the destruction of all life everywhere, are using Calhoun and the Excalibur to access the wormhole to bring them to the Milky Way Galaxy, where they will presumably systematically wipe out all life.

Meanwhile, on New Thallon, Mark McHenry faces off against Q who is posing as "The Awesome," the god of the Thallonians. Q is keeping his cards close to his chest, not revealing why he is showing such interest in the Thallonian line of succession and aiding Shintar Han in his desire to kill Robin Lefler and her son, Cwansi.

The Returned, Part 3 does an adequate job in resolving the various storylines that came out of parts one and two. The story was generally engaging, and it kept my interest throughout. The typical Peter David whimsy is definitely present, as is his tendency to go to dark places from time to time. However, I felt that something was missing. Some parts felt very "paint by numbers," almost as though the author was kind of bored with writing these characters. The final act of the story is wrapped up at a breakneck pace, with a crazy, soap opera-ish ending. I suppose that is par for the course for New Frontier, but it still felt a little cheap.

As I mentioned above, there are a few "dark" moments in the story, most notably when Q assaults two of the characters by removing their lungs and allows them to suffer in order to force Mark McHenry to go along with his plan. And there is also a very unexpected sexual assault perpetrated on Captain Calhoun by Soleta. I would have been interested to see where this story might go, but the assault itself is dealt with just a little too flippantly for my tastes.

This happens a couple of times in the story. Ideas such as consent, lack of control, all-power beings, and even genocide aren't quite given the depth that they need. I enjoy exploring these ideas, and I feel that literature should force us to examine our beliefs and worldview, but this story doesn't quite get there for me.

Still, I don't want to say to skip this story. If you are a fan of New Frontier, you will enjoy seeing the characters back in their element, with a huge, over-the-top galactic threat, facing off with the usual irreverence of the New Frontier gang. Just take everything with a grain of salt and try not to worry too much when the story gets pretty far off the rails.

Final thoughts:

New Frontier fans will be happy to see the gang back together, and the story features Peter David's usual whimsy and dabbling in darker story ideas. I would have liked to have seen a deeper exploration of some of the issues at the heart of the story, but that is not to be. Still, I don't think you should skip this if you enjoy New Frontier. There are some developments that are important going forward, and I do truly hope that New Frontier continues to go forward.

The "Next book (New Frontier)" space above remains open, hopeful that someday I will have a title to type in there again.

More about The Returned, Part 3:

Also by Peter David:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

I continue to review the TOS Mere Anarchy series with book two: The Centre Cannot Hold by Mike W. Barr.

DFTBA!


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Atonement

Star Trek: Voyager
Atonement by Kirsten Beyer
Release date: August 25th 2015
Read September 4th 2015


Previous book (Voyager): Acts of Contrition

Next book (Voyager): A Pocket Full of Lies



Spoilers ahead for Atonement!

From the back cover:
Admiral Kathryn Janeway faces a tribunal determined to execute her for supposed crimes committed during Voyager's maiden trek through the Delta Quadrant. Captain Chakotay knows that the Kinara, several species now allied against the Full Circle fleet, are not all they appear to be. The Confederacy of the Worlds of the First Quadrant—a pact he cannot trust—is his only hope for unravelling the Kinara's true agenda and rescuing Admiral Janeway. Meanwhile, Seven and Tom Paris are forced to betray the trust of their superiors in a desperate bid to reveal the lengths to which a fellow officer has gone in the name of protecting the Federation from the legendary Caeliar.

My thoughts:

Atonement picks up right where the previous Voyager novel, Acts of Contrition, left off. Kathryn Janeway has turned herself over to the Kinara, an alliance of Delta Quadrant species who want to execute the Admiral for the "crimes" committed by her and her crew during Voyager's first trip through the region. However, the leaders pushing for this alliance are not who they appear to be; rather, they are being controlled by the Neyser consciousnesses led by the being who took control of the "Meegan" hologram way back at the beginning of the Full Circle mission to the Delta Quadrant.

Meanwhile, back at Earth, Seven of Nine, Tom Paris, Samantha Wildman, and Dr. Sharak continue their work to free Axum and the rest of the victims of Commander Jefferson Briggs, a researcher who is employing extreme, unethical methods in his attempts to cure the "catomic plague."

If this sounds like a lot, it is. Atonement relies heavily on the plots of the novels that precede it, most notably Protectors and Acts of Contrition. Atonement ends up being the conclusion of a trilogy formed by these three novels. Therefore, if you have not yet read the two previous books, I would urge you to do so before picking up Atonement.

READ THESE FIRST!

Atonement, as the title suggests, is about facing the consequences of one's actions, but more than that, it is about the revelation of one's true character. This theme is repeated throughout the novel. Commander Briggs is revealed to be a monster, even though he believed he was acting in the best interests of the Federation. The Federation itself is revealed, through the actions of Janeway and her fleet, to be a force for good in the galaxy (for the most part). The Confederacy is revealed to be, well, us. Our present-day society is very much mirrored by the actions and attitude of the Confederacy, and while they may not quite be up to snuff to be an ally of the Federation, the future holds many possibilities, and there is potential there for an on-going relationship going forward.

I really enjoyed the resolution of many of the plot threads in this story. Tom Paris and his mother, Julia, come to a place of reconciliation, and while B'Elanna may never forgive her, things are not as dark as they were in the previous novel. Also, the resolution to The Doctor's storyline was very impressive. I was, sadly, expecting a reset-button ending to this story, in which his memories of Seven of Nine were restored and everything works out, but Kirsten Beyer surprised me with how this story was resolved. Of course, I shouldn't have been surprised; Beyer has proven to have a knack for meaningful stories and non-reset button endings.

The messy, imperfect ending to The Doctor's story was one of my favorite things about Atonement.

Final thoughts:

For the most part, I came away from Atonement immensely satisfied with the way the story has been concluded. Nobody writes these characters better than Kirsten Beyer, and in this novel we even got the treat of a couple of scenes featuring Elim Garak, one of my favorite Trek characters of all time! Also, because Voyager is currently set a little earlier than the rest of the 24th century novelverse, we got a number of scenes with another favorite: Federation President Nan Bacco, which was a very pleasant surprise!

Cardassian Ambassador Garak makes a surprise appearance in Atonement.

In this novel, we learn that there are ideals worth living up to, and that there are always going to be those who want to tear down all that has been built. Like "The Drumhead," the lesson here is to stick to our principles, and to always remain vigilant and on guard against forces that would take us away from what is ethical and right.

Also: "At-one-ment." I love it.

More about Atonement:

Also by Kirsten Beyer:

My next read:

Look for my review of the third and final part of New Frontier: The Returned, coming soon!


Release Day! James T. Kirk's Autobiography

The Autobiography of James T. Kirk
The Story of Starfleet's Greatest Captain

Here's a fun release: the in-universe autobiography of James T. Kirk! Available today! I will definitely be reviewing this one as soon as I get my hands on it. In the meantime, find links below to purchase the definitive account of the life of James T. Kirk.

My review: coming soon.






Publisher's description:
The Autobiography of James T. Kirk chronicles the greatest Starfleet captain's life (2233–2371), in his own words. From his birth on the U.S.S. Kelvin, his youth spent on Tarsus IV, his time in the Starfleet Academy, his meteoric raise through the ranks of Starfleet, and his illustrious career at the helm of the Enterprise, this in-world memoir uncovers Captain Kirk in a way Star Trek fans have never seen. Kirk's singular voice rings throughout the text, giving insight into his convictions, his bravery, and his commitment to the life—in all forms—throughout this Galaxy and beyond. Excerpts from his personal correspondence, captain's logs, and more give Kirk's personal narrative further depth.

Purchase The Autobiography of James T. Kirk:

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


Next Release: Titan: Sight Unseen


Monday, September 7, 2015

Release day! The Returned, Part 3

Star Trek: New Frontier
The Returned, Part 3 by Peter David

The third and final part of the New Frontier trilogy The Returned by Peter David hits bookstores today! Available on Kindle, Kobo, Nook, ePub, whatever format you can think of. Grab it today!

Check out my reviews of Part 1 and Part 2, and look below for links to purchase Part 3 from Amazon.







Publisher's description:
The final installment in a brand-new three-part digital-first Star Trek: New Frontier e-novel from New York Times bestselling author Peter David!

Captain Mackenzie Calhoun and the crew of the U.S.S. Excalibur are back, picking up three months after the stunning events depicted in New Frontier: Blind Man’s Bluff. Calhoun's search of Xenex has failed to find any survivors, and now he is bound and determined to track down the race that killed them—the D'myurj and their associates, the Brethren—and exact vengeance upon them. His search will take the Excalibur crew into a pocket universe, where he discovers not only the homeworld of the D’myurj, but another race that shares Calhoun's determination to obliterate his opponents. But is this new race truly an ally…or an even greater threat?

Purchase New Frontier: The Returned, Part 3:

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


Previous Release: Voyager: Atonement

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Literary Treks 118: Footie Pajamas

Mere Anarchy, Book Three
Shadows of the Indignant by Dave Galanter






There are very few times in The Original Series where the trinity of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy is not a part of an episode, but during the years between TOS and TMP the characters had taken different paths. Kirk was an admiral, McCoy a country doctor, and Spock was on Vulcan attending to a private matter. With the Mere Anarchy series spanning the entirety of TOS, the writers were given an opportunity to do something a little different with the characters.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther talk about Shadows of the Indignant. We discuss the e-book series, the Motion Picture era, dissatisfaction, a buddy cop feel, strange bedfellows, greed, and our ratings.

In our news segment, we remind everyone that Atonement is out now!


Literary Treks 118: Footie Pajamas
Mere Anarchy: Shadows of the Indignant by Dave Galanter





Previous episode: Literary Treks 117: Read The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy

Next episode: Literary Treks 119: Unique Opportunity