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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-06-11 20:59
Star Trek: Tales of the Dominion War by var.
Tales of the Dominion War - Keith R.A. DeCandido

Another anthology - this time the common factor is the Dominion War... and what practically every crew ever shown in TV or TrekLit was up to in that time.

 

Michael Jan Friedman's What Dreams May Come focuses on Gilaad Ben Zoma, Picard's former first officer on the Stargazer... rather unmemorable, maybe because it's been so very long since I've read the Stargazer books.

 

Night of the Vulture by Greg Cox follows up on the entity which thrived on dissent and conflict, first shown in TOS' Day of the Dove. Nice idea, but ultimately also not exactly memorable.

 

Keith R. A. DeCandido's The Ceremony of Innocence is Drowned is set on Betazed right at the moment of the Dominion invasion. Usually I'm not really a fan of Lwaxana, but this story rang true, all the emotions, the terror, the incredulity that the Dominion would take such a daring step (and the Federation's being caught ill-prepared)... It also fits in with "The Battle of Betazed", a novel about the occupation and liberation of Betazed. Well done.

 

Blood Sacrifice by Josepha Sherman & Susan Shwartz shows Spock on Romulus during In the Pale Moonlight...a Romulus that still contemplates an alliance with the Dominion until the Emperor suddenly dies. A fine glimpse back into the worldbuilding the 2 authors did with their "Vulcan's (noun)"-series.

 

Mirror Eyes by Heather Jarman & Jeffrey Lang is about the outbreak of a disease on Bajor... and only a nurse, presumed Vulcan but actually a Romulan sleeper, can provide the cure. Not exactly exciting.

 

Twilight's Wrath by David Mack highlights Shinzon, turning a suicide mission into success. Actually very good - Mack-like bloody and violent, but also an intriguing tale of oppression, hatred and revenge.

 

Eleven Hours Out by Dave Galanter focuses on Picard and Troi during the Breen attack on Earth... immemorable.

 

Safe Harbors by Howard Weinstein takes place at the same time when Scotty and McCoy are stuck on a semi-hostile planet, reluctant to help with repairs, with a damaged ship when contact to Earth breaks up. Better... but a bit contrived. Or is it really believable that these 2 are on the same ship just at that moment?

 

Field Expediency by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore has SCE's Duffy and Stevens on a planet to retrieve some Dominion gadget from a downed ship when the Jem'Hadar attack. Good read, but still not too different from the early SCE... in short, doesn't tell us anything new about the characters.

 

Haven' read Robert Greenberger's A Song Well Sung - if not absolutely necessary, I won't voluntarily read about Klingons.

 

Zak Kebron tells his son the "heroics" of the Excalibur during the Dominion War in Peter David's Stone Cold Truths... nice tale, definitely one of the highlights, and a nice ring back to a time when I still liked TNF (i.e. up to Dark Alles).

 

Michael A Martin & Andy Mangels' Requital focuses on one of the soldiers in AR-558 who can't just forgive and forget, and is recruited by an equally disillusioned Cardassian to assassinate the Founder after the war's end. Interesting and quite disturbing - especially the apparent lack of psychological aid.

 

Overall, a couple of highlights, the rest mediocre, unfortunately. Still, it was nice to read stories of authors that I haven't seen in modern TrekLit for a decade or so. So much has changed in the production line since the early 2000s when this anthology was published...

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-06-09 21:08
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Prophecy and Change by var.
Prophecy and Change - Marco Palmieri,Andrew J. Robinson,Kevin G. Summers,Geoffrey Thorne,Una McCormack,Michael A. Martin,Andy Mangels,Keith R.A. DeCandido,Christopher L. Bennett,Terri Osborne,Heather Jarman,Jeffrey Lang

This is an anthology, framed by an alternate version of "The Visitor" (i.e. without the desperate struggle to save his father) where Jake shows his visitor his new book, a collection of short stories set on and around Deep Space Nine.

 

Ha'mara by Kevin G. Summers is set right after "Emissary". Sisko, Jake and Kira visit Bajor and the Kai, all not really sure (or even resentful) of Sisko's new role in Bajoran society. Sisko and Kira are stuck underground after a resistance ammunition depot blows up and learn to work together. Quite a nice story, but doesn't actually tell us something the series didn't (as Kira and Sisko still continue to struggle and antagonize right till the end of season 1).

 

The Orb of Opportunity by Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels continues on from "Life Support" and involves Nog into Winn's mission to retrieve another orb of the prophets. Nog begins to see that there's more to life than just business and greed - and thus starts his way to Starfleet. And it's nice to actually see a more positive side to Winn, especially after Bareil's death.

 

Broken Oaths by Keith R. A. DeCandido shows Bashir and O'Brien's reconciliation after the events of "Hippocratic Oath". Also nicely done, but not quite memorable.

 

Didn't finish Christopher L. Bennett's ... Loved I not Honor more - don't like his writing style, and have never liked Grilka or Quark.

 

Three Sides to every story by Terri Osborne is set during the first 6 episodes of season 6. Jake tried to get a story for the FNS approved by Weyoun and decides to do a feature on Ziyal. What starts out as professional interest turns to friendship and a glimpse into the mind of a girl who's not welcome on either of her 2 homeworlds. Nicely done. I have to say, Ziyal was a part of the DS9 family for so short a time, but she's left an impact... actually more of an impact characters starting with Kira, to Garak, Damar and of course Dukat. And these turned out to be the most interesting characters of the whole series to be honest.

 

The Devil You Know by Heather Jarman has Jadzia face her demons when she and a Romulan scientist start to work on a genetic weapon against the Jem'Hadar. Not sure how believable this story is, to be honest. Granted, the war drags on and Jadzia sees ever more friends on the missing or KIA-lists. But to have her almost construct a weapon of genocide? That's a bit too farfetched.

 

Foundlings by Jeffrey Lang confronts Odo with the former Cardassian chief of security of Terok Nor when he comes to investigate the disappearance of a freighter - which turns out to be the first step in establishing a route for Cardassian refugees out of Dominion space. Well written, but not really memorable, either.

 

Chiaroscuro by Geoffrey Thorne has Ezri face the survivor of a mission gone horribly wrong back when Jadzia was just out of the academy. Frankly, I didn't really get what the machine was all about. Reminded me a bit of V'Ger in Star Trek TMP in the device's wish to connect with some kind fo master - a device that's designed to sort of restart the universe when the energy of the Big Bang's kind of burned itself out. One of the worse stories in this anthology.

 

Face Value by Una McCormack is set on Cardassia during the final episodes of the series. Damar, Garak and Kira all have to face old prejudice (positive and negative), deal with betrayal and loss - and form mutual respect. Easily the best story of this collection, and it shows (even in this early work of hers) why McCormack is the specialist on the Cardassian mindset.

 

I was especially looking forward to The Calling by Andrew J. Robinson, a follow-up to his "Stitch in Time". But quite honestly, I was disappointed. First of all, it's kind of the sequel to a stage performance he and Siddig played on conventions, so makes references to events that aren't available in written form. And it's a bit too esoteric for my taste, reality and some sort of vision (when he searches out Palandine's daughter with the Oralian Way) getting mixed up. So, as I said, a major downlet.

 

Overall, a rather average anthology.

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text 2018-06-05 00:51
Reading progress update: I've read 84 out of 319 pages.
Death in Winter: Star Trek: The Next Generation - Michael Jan Friedman

"Columbus found the Americas by mistake."

 

Not to be "that" person, but Columbus didn't discover anything. Especially America. All he did was get lost, land in the Bahamas, and commit mass genocide. 

 

But I will forgive Picard because this is fiction and was written in 2005, before it seems people cared about the murdering Italian "explorer".

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text 2018-06-04 02:25
Reading progress update: I've read 50 out of 319 pages.
Death in Winter: Star Trek: The Next Generation - Michael Jan Friedman

I remember when Data died and it was one of those moments that tore out my heart. The ship isn't the same without his dry humor. At least we still have Geordi and Worf. 

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review 2018-05-28 13:58
Sacrificing suspense for social commentary
The Abode of Life (Star Trek, #6) - G. Harry Stine

There's an episode in the fifth season of Mad Men when the pretentious Paul Kinsey (whose character left the ad agency a couple of years previously) reappears and asks Harry Crane, the the head of the firm's television operations, to use his Hollywood connections to get NBC to look at his Star Trek spec script entitled "The Negron Complex" about a world in which a group called the Negrons are enslaved by people of different skin color. When Harry reads it he is appalled by how terrible it is, particularly with the clumsiness of its parallels to civil rights issues. "The twist is that the Negron is white!" he marvels sarcastically.

 

Ever since I laughed at Harry's deadpan declaration, I keep coming back to it when I encounter other heavy-handed examples of the franchise's commentary on contemporary society, as it came to mind again as I read this book. Written by "Lee Correy" (the pen name for G. Harry Stine), it transports the Enterprise crew to the planet Mercan, where a priest-like leadership known as the Guardians exploit the periodic radiation outbursts from their sun to maintain control over the population. Resisting them are the Technics who, in addition to developing prohibited technologies, are promoting the heretical idea that the Mercans are not the only beings in the universe.

 

You can guess how that turns out once the Enterprise shows up. And that for me was the big problem with this book, as the author is more focused on criticizing intellectual oppression than he is on developing distinctive characters or writing a suspenseful novel, At no point is there any real sense of narrative tension; the danger to the crew is minimal (the Guardians are very lackadaisical in their handling of Kirk and company), and all it takes to expand the civilization's horizons is a quick trip to the ship. Perhaps if Stine was focused less on setting up such flimsy straw men he might have done more with some of the more interesting ideas he introduces, such as the concept of a teleporter-based civilization. Instead all we have is another weak example of a Star Trek writer who prioritizes their opinionating over telling a good story,

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