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review 2018-12-13 19:49
Subspace tunnel sounds like a euphemism
Mere Mortals - David Mack

Star Trek Destiny #2: Mere Mortals by David Mack continues the trilogy that I began discussing on Monday. We find our crews separated across not only vast distances but also by time itself. Hernandez and 3 members of her crew are stranded with the Caeliar in the 1500s trying to find a suitable planet to inhabit without any hope of returning to their lives back on Earth in their time. Riker and the crew of Titan have reached the homeworld of the Caeliar in the present day and things do not go according to plan...in fact events quickly snowball out of Riker's control. Meanwhile, Picard and Dax are going through subspace tunnels in the style of eeny, meeney, miney, moe trying to find the one which will lead them to the Borg's point of origin and hopefully onto a path of defeating them. 

 

The best parts of this installment were those which followed Hernandez's struggles to adjust to her new existence and the glimpses of the Federation President scrabbling to put together a formidable force to defeat the approaching Borg Armada. There are two reasons I think that I preferred these two storylines: I still haven't watched Nemesis and still feel confused by this reality and Mack's depiction of familiar faces did not sit right with me particularly in regards to Picard. Sometimes I find that the best Star Trek novelizations are the ones where the author focuses more on the storyline element and less on the characters which the audience typically knows really well. In this case, Mack's description of the Caeliar race and their culture coupled with the (unknown to me at least) Captain Hernandez and her never-ending quest to escape/understand her captors was exactly what I wanted in a great sci-fi novel. Conversely, the dramatic characterization of Riker's faltering marriage and Picard's inner struggles against the Borg felt stilted and forced. 

 

By this point, I was way too invested not to continue so if you're wondering how I felt about the conclusion you can check back next week for that (although hopefully you're checking every day (-:). 7/10 for book 2 in this trilogy.

 

What's Up Next: The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity by Byron Reese

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond and The Science of Supervillains by Lois H. Gresh & Robert Weinberg

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-12-11 00:07
I bet the Borg Queen never got invited over for slumber parties
Gods of Night (Star Trek: Destiny #1) - David W. Mack

Star Trek Destiny #1: Gods of Night by David Mack is the first part in a trilogy which was a journey from beginning to end. Firstly, let me start by saying that when I initially ordered these I did so not realizing that they were written quite a few years ago which did cause me some confusion early on. (I bought them at a discount rate as an ebook set so I really should have put 2+2 together.) Secondly, let me give you the heads up that I didn't have (because I really went in blind, ya'll) that you need prior knowledge about The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, AND Nemesis (which is the one I had not seen (and still haven't seen)) if you want to have any hope of following along. If you haven't seen these you are going to be 1. lost and 2. very much spoiled for future events. 

 

Now that that's all out of the way let's delve into the meat and potatoes of the plot of this book. Like most books that begin a series Gods of Night really lays down a lot of foundation for future action. And there is a lot of information to get through because there is a mess load of time travel back and forth with many, many different characters. (Hint: I didn't love this.) The reader follows 4 different Starfleet crews through multiple time periods which are denoted at the start of each new chapter. You have to be paying a lot of attention and since I read these as ebooks I found it a bit more challenging. Basically, the Caeliar are chanced upon by the Columbia and her crew and found to be so much more technically advanced that there is no chance of overpowering, negotiating, or escaping. The Borg are back and instead of assimilating they have changed their mission to one of annihilation. The Federation is trying to muster up the forces to stop the Borg without any success and the crew of the Columbia are just trying to get back home. SO many characters and so little time (ha time travel pun). I didn't love this book but I did continue the series because by the time I'd gotten to the end of this segment I was too invested to stop...and I'm glad I kept going because by the third book the action was intense, guys. (Wait til you get to the end!) For Gods of Night a 6/10 but check for the reviews of Mere Mortals and Lost Souls in the coming weeks to see what I thought of those and my overall series rating. ;-)

 

Quick rundown of details:

The Columbia captained by Erika Hernandez, the Aventine captained by Ezri Dax, the Titan captained by Will Riker, and of course the Enterprise captained by Jean-Luc Picard. The aliens encountered: the Borg and the Caeliar. The times explored: too many to recount.

 

What's Up Next: Robot Dreams by Sara Varon

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-08-25 19:13
Star Trek Reboot Comics Series
Star Trek: Ongoing, Vol. 1 - Mike Johnson,Steve Molnar,Tim Bradstreet
Star Trek: Manifest Destiny - Mike Johns... Star Trek: Manifest Destiny - Mike Johnson,Ryan Parrott,Angel Hernandez
Star Trek: Boldly Go #1 - Mike Johnson,Tony Shasteen,George Caltsoldas

Recently, I read my way through the Collected On-going Star Trek, its follow up series, and two special limited runs.  I think it was a reaction to the Orange One’s comments about Charlottesville. 

 

                The comics take place in the Kelvin Timeline.  For those of you who are slightly clueless, this is the timeline of the three most recent Star Trek movies (the ones with Pine, Quinto, Saldana, Pegg, Urban, Cho, and Yelchin).  What I loosely call Star Trek Moviedom vs Star Trek Tvdom.  Yes, I know there were Star Trek movies with the originals, but they were television series first.  I actually like the Kelvin timeline for a few reasons, besides the fact that Pine, Urban, Cho, and Saldana star in it.  (And Quinto, but I hadn’t really seen anything he had been in before.  I didn’t like Heroes).  The fact that the supporting characters are given expanded roles makes me so happy for in the original series my two favorite characters were Uhura and Sulu (did anyone else ship them?).  I’m perfectly fine and actually like the Spock/Uhura relationship.  While I understand the whole idea and belief system behind the gay couple of Spock/Kirk or Spock/McCoy or McCoy/Kirk aka the gay threesome and reading stories where it occurs does not bug me, lately I’ve wondered if the homosexual takes on it isn’t simply an outgrowth of the idea that men cannot have close relationships with other men (who are not related by blood) unless there is a homosexual undercurrent.  This reasoning seems to be a bit sexist too me.  Sulu being married to a man and having a daughter didn’t annoy more, though I think I understand why Takei was a bit put off by it.  By having Sulu gay in an alternate universe, it appears to be one is gay because of nurture as opposed to nature, which would dismiss the genetic truth.  Also, why not simply create a fresh homosexual new character?  But okay.  The only thing about the new version of Trek I didn’t enjoy was in the first two movies where we had women stripping down to bra and panties because J J wanted to see Uhura and Carol naked.  Funny how that stopped when Pegg and Lin took over.  Additionally, I wasn’t too thrilled about the problems of the Spock/Uhura relationship in the second and third movies.   Why both plot arcs make sense considering what happened to Vulcan, the third movie felt it happening somewhat late, and quite frankly, please don’t make that the only reason why she is there.  To be fair, Pegg and Lin didn’t do this as much, and the inverse of McCoy/Spock discussing Spock’s relationship (twice) instead of Uhura doing with her girlfriends was nice.

 

                But I do like the Kelvin timeline.

 

                Star Trek Vols 1-13 is the first series, starting roughly around the time of the first movie and leading up to the third.  The first volume occurs right after the first movie.  Countdown to Darkness take place before the second, Manifest Destiny after the second, and Boldly Go occurs after the third.

 

                Mike Thompson is a good Star Trek writer, and there is much to love about his exploration of both the series and characters.  In Vols 1-13, there are some drawbacks.  At times, as in most comics, the artwork can be a bit uneven.  At some points, one has the feeling that the story arcs would have been better if given one or two additional issues, and sometimes the alternate takes on the original series plots doesn’t match the original in terms of storytelling.

 

                However, these flaws are outweighed by the good.  One of Johnson’s strengths is his use of minor/background characters from the film.  We see Darwin (the black women at the helm at some points), we get Keenser’s story, we get a story from Cupcake (you know the red shirt with the beard) about redshirts.  There is a recurring head of security who is a kick ass woman, perhaps a nod to the tragic mistake of TNG killing of Yar.  The background characters are far more racially mixed than those of the series or even the movies. It’s pretty clue.  There also isn’t much underwear showing or Kirk having sex with aliens.  Women characters are active and not damsels in distress.  Damsels in distress save themselves in this series. (Uhura saves Spock twice!).

 

                For me, the test of any Star Trek story is the amount of time that the supporting crew is given, largely because they were my favorite characters.  Johnson does give Sulu, Uhura, Scotty, and Chekov more time in the spotlight (Chekhov gets the least).  We are even given their “origins” or their Academy stories – and McCoy’s as well.  At first glance, it looks like Uhura’s story is simply going to be that of her relationship to Spock, but Johnson uses this to go into Uhura’s past, and even refers to this past Boldly Go #9.  It’s cool.  Both Chekhov’s and Sulu are given pasts that show them at the Academy – Chekhov in the desire to fit in, and Sulu as a principled and ambitious character he is.  They also get larger roles in general story lines, with both Sulu and Uhura getting the command chair, and in Sulu’s case leading an away mission.  Sulu’s husband and daughter are also referred to in the Boldly Go series more than once. 

 

                What I really love is how wonderful Uhura is shown here.  While in some of the stories, she plays a supporting role for Spock, in more she comes into her own.  Johnson also shows repeatedly why linguistics and language are important.  The one flaw is that she is still the only primary female character.  It’s true that in a few issues Carol Marcus appears, but she and Uhura have no interaction, and after a few issues, Marcus disappears.  Galia, Uhura’s roommate from the first movie, pops up again, and the panels that show the friendship she has with Uhura are immensely well done.  Additionally, there is a reference to slut shaming/victim blaming that Galia handles extremely well.  Galia, and her brother Kai, who was working on the Enterprise, get their own storyline.  I wish that they had kept Galia because too often it feels that Uhura is the only woman in a man’s world.

 

                And this idea does seem to find its way into the Manifest Destiny miniseries where the crew does battle with Klingons – including one of the greatest speeches about Klingons I have ever read.

 

                Thompson’s favorite playground seems to be alternate realities.  There is a Mirror, Mirror arc that shows the reader the Mirror verse of Kelvin, but also a couple alternate timelines – one where Spock arrives in an almost Mirror, Mirror world, one with a sex shift crew (i.e. Captain Jane Kirk), and finally, one involving Q.  The Q storyline is actually dam good, and while Picard makes an appearance, a cameo of sorts, the major guests stars are the characters from the best Trek to ever appear on the tube – DS9.  Honestly, the volume of this arc – the Q Gambit – is a stand out.  It’s worth reading if nothing else.  There is also a special story to celebrate the anniversary.  This story features all the doctors from TV Star Treks in one story.  There is even the best doc ever – Dr. Pulaski.

 

                The last collection 13 contains an Old Spock story as well as cross over with the original Trek.  In the crossover Thompson plays with not only the different situations that the characters are in, but also why they look different.  It was a nice nod to the differences, not only in a fitter McCoy say, but also differences in design.

 

                Boldly Go is the follow up to the On-Going.  I found it to be a bit weaker, though this seems to be a result of the temporary diversion of the Enterprise crew while they await the completion of the new Enterprise.  Kirk’s temporary command includes a first officer who is a woman, a strong and capable woman whose decision eventually leads to Sulu taking over the first officer slot.  The characters are good, and Jaylah returns with a bunch of cadets, including a few women who talk to each other.  The stand out issues for me are 9 and 10.  9 features Spock and Uhura on New Vulcan.  It looks at their relationship but the primary story is a mystery only Uhura can solve because of her humanity and her language skills.  Issue 10 concerns Scotty, the cadets, Keenser, and Kevin.  It is really funny.

 

                What the writers, artists, and the rest of the crew have managed to do is to capture the power of Star Trek that Gene Rodenberry had – the togetherness, the crew coming together, the better world idea that feels so reassuring after recent events.  Rodenberry’s vision of what we could be was so powerful that it stands the test of time.

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review 2015-11-26 15:31
Post-Destiny cleanup, part 2 -- A Singular Destiny
Star Trek: The Next Generation: A Singular Destiny (Star Trek: All) - Keith R.A. DeCandido

A short review this will be, for time is limited:

 

- I like the overall direction, from the cleanup after the Borg invasion, to the next threat on the horizon.

 

- Characterization tends to be good in this one, but there are too many characters for a 400-page novel. More focus on Sonek Pran (a highly likable and interesting character) would have improved the novel.

 

- I like that the characters are almost all relatively unfamiliar. Ezri Dax is really the only significant character who is familiar from the TV shows, but she is a fun character.

 

- Also, the Klingon chapters are entertainingly visceral, despite the fact that I never could get a grip on the Kinshaya sequence.

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review 2015-08-14 01:24
Star Trek: Destiny
Star Trek: Destiny: The Complete Saga: Gods of Night, Mere Mortals, and Lost Souls - David Mack

I haven't read a Star Trek novel in many years, but this trilogy was enough to get me back into them. Two reasons: (1) I want to know what's been happening with my favorite characters in the 24th century, and (2) this story was so good that there have to be other good ST stories being written nowadays, right?

 

So, it's 16 months after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis -- a few things have happened, like Picard and Dr. Crusher finally getting married (not really a spoiler, because you know they've always wanted each other), Riker romping around the galaxy in a cool ship of his own (the Titan), and Ezri Dax commanding a pretty sweet new model herself. And there are tons of cameos. Anyway, the Borg invade everything, for real this time, and they're serious like never before. It falls to the crews of the Enterprise, the Titan, and the Aventine to save the galaxy. And boy, do they save it -- but in most interesting ways. The whole thing involves a weird alien race called the Caeliar and time-travel / flashbacks having to do with the NX-02 Columbia (the NX-01 Enterprise's sister ship).

 

It gets complicated, but the plot twists are a joy to witness, and the quality of the writing carries the action on, except for just a few slow spots. On the whole, though, it's pure, classic Trek -- infinite diversity in infinite combinations, live long and prosper, and Qa'pla all wrapped up into a single novel.

 

BOTTOM LINE -- best Trek novel I've ever read, and now I really really want to read *all* the modern Trek novels.

 

 

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