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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-03-06 10:37
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Long Mirage by David R. George III
The Long Mirage (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) - David R. George III

This novel picks up right where "Ascendance" left off with Kira reemerging from the Wormhole.


And hers is by far the most interesting part of the novel. First of all, she reunites with Altek Dans, and then returns with him to Bajor where she's faced with a schism within the clerical community - ones who like her believe the Prophets to be gods, and others who deny that fact, backed up by the artifact found on Bajor's moon. Once again her trust issues come forward, trust issues concerning her superiors, in this case the kai and her management of the situation. Granted, Kira's been burned quite often, but this becomes a bit tiresome because it renders her character stagnant if she's faced with the same problems whereever she goes, be it as an officer or as a vedek.


I enjoyed the Altek twist. It's obvious now and mind-boggling that this option didn't even occur to me. But in this case the endless repetition about him being from the distant past succeeded in pulling the wool over my eyes. I'm curious to see where this plotthread on Bajor is going next. I'm glad that the love-triangle with Ro and Kira wasn't really an issue, although I hoped for a better resolution with Ro because despite her (then) unsolved relationship with Quark, what she shared with Altek rang true.


Absolutely loved Kira's short reunion with Odo. Their relationship felt so real within the series, and George managed to rekindle that with just a few phrases. I'm also curious as to where Odo's is going next with the Dominion-refugees. I just hope that despite all the difficulties on Bajor and with the refugees, Kira and Odo are allowed to spend some time together.

But unfortunately all this marked just a third of the novel, the other 2 thirds didn't work so well for me as I'm simply not interested in either Vic or Morn. On the other hand, those plotthreads are led to a (temporary?) conclusion, so that's something at least. Quark and Ro's relationship is over. Wouldn't have minded them being a couple, but not if Ro keeps cheating on Quark and/or their goals for the relationship continue to differ. I could have done without the endless repetition of how hurt Quark is, or how sorry Ro is for hurting Quark... again, the situation is not that complex. Nog's obsession with restoring Vic was heart-felt, given that he in a way owes his recovery to Vic. But the situation within the programme dragged on way too long, and I'm not sure I like the sentient/non-sentient-conundrum. First of all, what's the agenda of the scientist? And secondly, we already had such a question with Data, the Doctor and with Moriarty. I'm not sure I need this issue on DS9 as well.

So overall, I really hope the next novel will focus on Bajor, DS9 (the crew still needs fleshing out after all), Odo, bring back Sisko... now that all those loose sideplots with Vic, Morn, and the Ascendants (in previous novels) have finally been resolved.

So overall, I really hope the next novels will focus on Bajor, DS9, Odo, bring back Sisko... now that all those loose sideplots with Vic, Morn, the Ascendants (in previous novels) have finally been resolved.
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-08-28 21:26
Star Trek: Myriad Universes: #3 Shattered Light: Honor in the Night by Scott Pearson
Star Trek: Myriad Universes #3: Shattered Light - David R. George III

This final review covers the third story, Honor in the Night, by Scott Pearson.


Nilz Baris's, former Undersecretary of Agriculture, President of the Federation and Ambassador to the Klingon Homeworld, final words were, "Arne Darvin". A reporter investigates why the name of an aide dead for over a century, might have been on the mind of the great former President in his last moments.


Here, the deviation from the known universe is that Darvin wasn't exposed as Klingon on K-7, and the poisoned grain was planted on the colony world of Sherman's Planet - leading to the loss of the colony and thousands of lives, and pitching Baris against the Klingons. It's not the only colony where the conflict gets heated, a couple of years later, earthquakes devastate the cities on Benecia... and instead of revealing Klingon culpability in causing the earthquakes, Baris and Klingon liaison Kamuk strike a deal to cooperate - the first of many which lead to Baris's rise in ranks.


This is an intriguing tale about alternate Klingon and Federation relations. And it's an intriguing tale about what motivates people to cooperate: Baris is driven by contempt, guilt for covering up genocide, but also by wanting to avoid violence - and Darvin... well, he was the one who was ordered to poison the grain, killing countless colonists in a, for Klingons, utterly dishonorable way, just for the sake of expansion despite the Organian treaty. So, for a 100 years he tried to redeem himself (and the Klingon honor in general), and to improve the relationship between Klingons and the Federation, and to show that Klingon expansion can yield benefits for colony worlds. But history is going to be the judge of that - at least, if his actions ever see public light.


And this is perhaps the most interesting facet of this story: How much does the public need to know? Who makes that decision? And when? Interestingly, this issue reminds me a bit of Voyager's excellent "Living Witness". But I have to admit that this story, based on "The Trouble with Tribbles" which never has been one of my favourite TOS-episodes, while well written and reasonably entertaining, didn't engage me on a deeper level, simply because I have never cared about Baris or Darvin.


About Shattered Light in general:

Review of The Embrace of Cold Architects by David R. George III - 3 stars

Review of Tears of Eridanus by Michael Schuster and Steven Mollman - 1.5 stars


Overall, this makes for a 2.5 star average - rather low for the Myriad Universes-series, I'm afraid.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-08-15 08:46
Star Trek: Myriad Universes: #3 Shattered Light: Tears of Eridanus by Steven Mollman and Michael Schuster
Star Trek: Myriad Universes #3: Shattered Light - David R. George III

This review is about the 2nd story in this collection of short novels, Tears of Eridanus by Steven Mollman and Michael Schuster. And that it took me 5 years to pick up this book again to finally finish that story (after having read the first one, Cold Embrace of Architects, back in 2011), says much about its quality.


In this universe, Vulcan never found its way towards logic, being stuck in a civil war that's threatened to destroy the planet. The Interstellar Union (Andor, Earth, Tellar, just to name a few) established an outpost on the desert world that gets attacked by the locals who take the crew, among them Demora Sulu, hostage, demanding weapons in exchange for their release. Meanwhile Hikaru Sulu and his ship, the Kumari, patrol the border to the Klingon Empire which is on the verge of invading the Interstellar Union. When he learns of the events on "Vulcan" he volunteers his ship for the rescue operation - but his commanding officers focus more on possible trade than on rescuing the hostages. It becomes ever more obvious that the outpost wasn't there for mere observation, but for exploring the locals' telepathic weapons, the Stone of Gol.


This is by far the weakest of the Myriad Universes-stories that I've read. The prose doesn't flow, Demora Sulu is portrayed as some kind of wonder woman who, as a young, newly commissioned officer, doesn't bat an eyelash, having a telepathic presence in her brain and making one wise-crack after another, and the resolution is much too quick and simple. I think in the hands of other authors the main premise could have worked really well, and maybe it suffered from the short-novel format - but it, as indicated before, was a real chore getting through this story.


So far, both stories didn't meet my admittedly high expectations for the Myriad Universes-series - maybe the third one will.


PS: Review of The Embrace of Cold Architects

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-02-04 16:13
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Ascendance by David R. George III
Ascendance (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) - David R. George III

Ascendance continues the story right from where "Sacraments of Fire" left off, so you should have read at least that one before starting this.


The focus here lies on finishing up the Ascendants-storyline that was begun during the pre-Destiny relaunch books and picked up in Sacraments. Now we know what happened with Taran'atar and a bunch of Ascendants... and, although the Ascendants' attack takes place 6 years in the past, it still comes full circle in the end. I guess this is one of the perks of this story, its construction because the parts which seemed quite without connection, the attack and the events at the scientific research outpost suddenly come together. Otherwise, while I quite enjoyed the one-on-one scenes with Ro and Taran'atar and Kira and Ascendant respectively, this part of the story didn't touch me all that much - but I don't blame that on the book itself, but rather that I don't have the background of having read the earlier parts of the relaunch where the Ascendants and Ghemor first appeared.


The other, to me more interesting part of Sacraments, namely the upheaval after the discovery of alien technology on one of Bajor's moon and its ramifications for Bajor were unfortunately a bit sidelined. At least marooned Altek Dans finally is allowed to actually step foot on Bajor - after becoming romantically involved with Ro (who hasn't told Quark yet - cowardice? Or trying to keep a fall-back option?)... and this is threatening to become an interesting triangle with the final paragraph of this book. But I really don't understand the investigation into Altek's story. Given that he hails from the distant past, from a time where Bajor wasn't yet united, isn't it possible that the names of places could have changed? Instead of just reiterating that there are no places with the names Altek gave on Bajor... why not try to narrow the search by looking for landmarks or approaching the issue via geographical site rather than name. For instance my home town had quite a few different names throughout history, so why shouldn't that be the case for Bajoran cities as well? And speaking of which: If Altek studied Bajor and DS9's history, did he never come across a picture of Kira, his lover in the distant past?


Overall, much of Ascendance feels like tying up loose ends, and it was good to see Captain Kira and Commander Vaughn again as the leading officers of DS9, or get a glimpse of Vic Fontaine (although I hope he just remains a background story, and won't get a book of his own. I'm not that interested in Fontaine after all - although I appreciated the nod to The Light Fantastic). Much of Ascendance also deals with life changing decisions, such as Dax's being restless on DS9 (and malcontent and all-knowing after one course on advanced tactics...) and eventually pursuing a command for herself, such as Kira joining the clergy, or Odo deciding to return to the Gamma Quadrant (albeit at a time before Kira's return), even Taran'atar and the Ascendants finding peace and a purpose. Although each of these character-moments could have been fleshed out more. They feel a bit squeezed in among all the war-mongering of the Ascendants and jumping between the different locations, more like an afterthought of putting to paper what had already been inferred in previous books (especially concerning Dax who we know assumes command of the Aventine eventually, and Kira). I quite like the status quo on the station now, I like the new crew, and definitely liked that Blackmer was appointed First Officer. But I have to admit, save for Blackmer the other characters do need some background as well. But for those little character moments, however, Ascendance was a rather average book.


Fortunately, there's still much to look forward to, upheaval on Bajor, Sisko's mission into the Gamma Quadrant, Odo's wish to return to the Founders... a bright new future ahead for DS9, after the, I guess, necessary clean up of past events. Bring it on.


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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-01-25 11:22
Star Trek: Myriad Universes: Shattered Light: The Embrace of Cold Architects by David R. George III
Star Trek: Myriad Universes #3: Shattered Light - David R. George III

Be aware, that this review was written in 2011 and only contains comments about the first story, The Embrace of Cold Architects by David R. George III!




So far I only read "The Embrace..." because that was the story I was looking forward to most. And I liked the story - but it clearly suffered from the novella-format. 128 pages just wasn't enough to cover all the aspects of the story, so especially at the end it seemed to jump from one setting to another, leaving huge (and IMO important) time periods in the dark.

I felt Riker's depression was shown realistically, but it was too much in the spotlight compared to Data's development and fight for Lal, especially since Riker's emotional state didn't really change throughout the whole story whereas Data underwent huge changes. I also feel that the emphasis on Riker's depression didn't really have an impact on the story, none of his decisions and actions were really influenced by it, which could have justified its strong depiction.

I absolutely enjoyed the bits and pieces of Data's plotline - at least those that were shown. I felt a bit cheated that once again Data's getting used to human emotions wasn't explored (as it wasn't between GEN and FC). Then I would have wished for a bit more time to get used to Data's decision not to pursue his legal case. It's, of course, totally understandable for his position as a father - but on the other hand, by agreeing to Starfleet's proposal he didn't solve Lal's legal situation, he condemned her to continue her imprisoned existance just for his need of seeing her again. After all, it must have been clear to him that just because he could visit and leave Galor IV, she couldn't do the same. So, on the one hand it's an utterly human decision he makes, on the other hand, given the missing depiction of the development of his "human side", it comes a bit too sudden.

He says to Desjardins that being together essentially was all he hoped to achieve with his legal action, but because he's her father and loves her, he should have made a stand for her legal status once and for all. I didn't feel that the few pages actually dealing with this inner conflict of Data's did it justice, which I think is regrettable because that's ultimately what the story was about for me, the dimension which could have made this an absolutely stunning reading experience.

A few questions/nitpicks that came to me while reading:

* Where's Lore? Why didn't he respond to Soong's homing signal like he did in the series? As he wasn't mentioned at all, did Soong perhaps not build him in this universe (resulting in another change from ours apart from Data's attending the cybernetics-conference later, after "The most toys", which proved to be the focal point)?

* the use of contractions - After the installation of the emotion chip Data once uses a contraction ("I'm sorry", p 63), later on he doesn't and is still surprised at Lal's ability to use them. I guess that wasn't planned?

* Soong's demise - again something that felt a bit underdeveloped/rushed. He's just a plot device to give Data his emotion chip and fix Lal's cascadic failure. But why did he accompany Lal to Galor IV (or rather, why did Starfleet agree to his presence there and drop all charges?), what was his contribution to the mass construction of androids?

I didn't mind the abrupt ending, Desjardins now has the material to pursue his legal cause for android rights, whatever Data's punishment for the destruction of the android production facilities might be, the goal now can only be to settle this matter once and for all. But that's essentially another story which can be told later IMO.

So, I regret the fact that while this is a really good story, it had the potential of being a great one. Perhaps one day, DRG3 is granted the opportunity to expand it and give it the scope the premise deserves.




Maybe I'll pick this book up later and read the other 2 stories as well... who knows?

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