Sunday, November 29, 2015

Oaths

Star Trek: S.C.E. #16
Oaths by Glenn Hauman
Published May 2002
Re-released in print form as part of the S.C.E. compilation No Surrender in 2003.
Read September 24th 2015


Previous ebook (S.C.E.): #15: Past Life
Next ebook (S.C.E.): #17: Foundations, Part I


Original e-book cover

Compilation of SCE #'s 13 - 16
No Surrender (Paperback) from Amazon.com | Amazon.ca
No Surrender (Kindle) from Amazon.com | Amazon.ca


Spoilers ahead for Oaths and the rest of the Corps of Engineers series!

From the back cover:
Dr. Elizabeth Lense has had a fine career. She was first in her class at Starfleet Medical - ahead of the genetically enhanced Julian Bashir -- and a hero during the Dominion War, and is now the chief medical officer on the USS da Vinci. But Captain David Gold notices that her performance has not been up to snuff. She's been listless and stressed, and is delegating most of her responsibilities to the da Vinci's Emergency Medical Hologram.

Her malaise couldn't possibly come at a worse time, because a virus has erupted on Sherman's Planet -- and the planet's entire population, as well as the crew of the da Vinci, are now marked for death by the virulent plague!

Can Lense find her way out of depression to determine a cure? And will the cure be worse than the disease?

My thoughts:

Over the past few instalments of the S.C.E. series, something has been going on with Dr. Elizabeth Lense. She has been acting detached from her duties, and has turned over much of her day-to-day responsibilities to the da Vinci's EMH. In Oaths, we finally learn that Dr. Lense is suffering from some pretty severe depression, just in time for a major medical crisis to develop.

Dr. Lense deals with depression and anxiety in Oaths.

On Sherman's Planet (see "The Trouble With Tribbles"), a plague is running rampant through the population, and an away team from the da Vinci is also infected. Dr. Lense, who is having regular counselling sessions with Captain Gold, must work around the clock to devise a treatment or a cure to the plague.

We learn a lot about Lense and the fallout to her career following the revelation of Dr. Julian Bashir's genetically engineered nature. Lense was valedictorian in their graduating class, while Bashir came in second. With genetic manipulation being banned in the Federation, investigators focused on how Lense could have come out ahead of Bashir, not realizing that he had purposely gotten a question on the final wrong so as not to come in first in his class. That undermining of Lense's confidence, combined with the loss of many of her friends and crewmates during the Dominion War, caused her to spiral down into a deep depression.

Oaths was an interesting character study of someone about whom we haven't learned a lot yet. The counselling sessions are depicted in a unique way, with transcripts from Captain Gold's logs rather than in a standard narrative style. It is good to see a Star Trek story dealing with real problems like depression. It is an important topic that doesn't get enough play in my opinion.

Lense's ultimate solution to the crisis on Sherman's Planet is an interesting one as well, especially given her history with the genetic engineering debate. Also, I do have to say that characterizing being born on Sherman's Planet as a serious birth defect was inspired!

Final thoughts:

A good character study for Dr. Lense. I really admire the authors of S.C.E. for carrying this story through the past few instalments, and I suppose that ultimately, credit should be given to the editors. The payoff here was fascinating, and featured the exploration of a topic that should get more attention. Depression is a serious issue, and deserves to be explored with sensitivity so as to eliminate the stigma surrounding it and other mental illnesses. I rather enjoyed this story, and while it isn't the best that S.C.E. has to offer, it is definitely a worthy entry in the series.

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

Time for a new release once again! This time, a story returning to the classic era of Pike's tenure as captain of the Enterprise; a young Spock is the central focus of Child of Two Worlds by Greg Cox.


Friday, November 27, 2015

Literary Treks 129: SPECTRE Octopus

Star Trek: Seekers #4: All That's Left
Interview with authors Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore!





Seeking out strange new worlds and new civilizations is not the mission of just the Enterprise; there are many other ships in Starfleet who boldly go forth to do just that, and the crew of the Endeavour is no exception.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther welcome authors Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore to talk about their latest book in the Seekers series, All That’s Left. We discuss continuing Seekers, a new spin on an old idea, character work, the title, technology, progress and information, artwork, the future of Seekers, and what's next for these gentlemen.

In the news segment, we discuss Ongoing #52 and the penultimate Star Trek/Green Lantern issue.


Literary Treks 129: SPECTRE Octopus
Interview with Seekers authors Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore!







Previous episode: Literary Treks 129: The Picard Finger Wave

Next episode: Literary Treks 130: Mestiko's Tomorrowland


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

More 2016 covers revealed!

Hello everyone! Yesterday was a big day for Star Trek novel cover reveals for 2016. Let's jump right in!

First up is the April novel, Live By the Code, the fourth book in Christopher L. Bennett's Rise of the Federation series under the Star Trek: Enterprise banner. Take a look at the stunning cover and back-cover blurb:


Admiral Jonathan Archer has barely settled in as Starfleet Chief of Staff when new crises demand his attention. The Starfleet task force commanded by Captain Malcolm Reed continues its fight against the deadly Ware technology, but one of the task force ships is captured, its Andorian crew imprisoned by an interstellar Partnership that depends on the Ware for its prosperity. Worse, the Partnership has allied with a renegade Klingon faction, providing it with Ware drone fleets to mount an insurrection against the Klingon Empire. Archer sends Captain T’Pol and Endeavour to assist Reed in his efforts to free the captured officers. But he must also keep his eye on the Klingon border, for factions within the Empire blame Starfleet for provoking the Ware threat and seek to take revenge. Even the skill and dedication of the captains under Archer’s command may not be enough to prevent the outbreak of the Federation’s first war.

Pre-order Live By the Code from Amazon:
Mass-market paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca


Next up, in May, we get a sequel to a favorite novel of mine, 2013s From History's Shadow: it's Elusive Salvation by Dayton Ward. This cover is particularly beautiful; I love the color!


The Arctic Circle, 1845: Escaping the tyranny under which their people have lived for generations, aliens from a distant planet crash land on Earth’s inhospitable frozen wastes. Surviving the harsh conditions will pose a challenge, but over time the aliens will migrate to more populated areas, with decades passing as they work to conceal their presence from their former oppressors, who continue to hunt them at any cost. 
San Francisco, 2283: When a mysterious craft is detected entering the solar system, Admiral James Kirk is dispatched by Starfleet to confront the vessel. He meets with an emissary from the Iramahl, a previously unknown alien race who have come in search of their brothers and sisters thought to have gone missing in this area of space centuries earlier. Having recently thrown off the last chains of subjugation by another species, the Ptaen, they now believe their lost people hold the key to saving their entire race from eventual extinction. 
New York, 1970: Roberta Lincoln, young protégé of the mysterious agent Gary Seven, is shocked when she receives the oddest request for help—from the future…

Pre-order Elusive Salvation from Amazon:
Mass-market paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca

Check out these and all the rest of the new Trek novels coming in 2016 by visiting my 2016 releases page!


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Release Day! Child of Two Worlds

Star Trek: The Original Series
Child of Two Worlds by Greg Cox

Since the beginnings of Star Trek, one character has emerged as a fan-favorite: Spock, the pointy-eared half-Vulcan science officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Now, from New York Times bestselling author Greg Cox comes a unique story about Mr. Spock's early years aboard the Enterprise.

Look below for the back-cover blurb and links to purchase from Amazon.

My review




Publisher's description:
An all-new Star Trek novel from New York Times bestselling author Greg Cox, taking place in the blockbuster Original Series era!

The year is 2255, not long after the events of the Original Series episode “The Cage.” A young Spock is science officer on the U.S.S. Enterprise, under the command of Captain Christopher Pike, when an outbreak of deadly Rigelian fever threatens the crew. Reviewing the Starfleet medical database, Dr. Phillip Boyce comes up with a highly experimental and untested new treatment that might save the crew. Just one problem: it requires a rare mineral substance, ryetalyn, which is not easily obtained…except on a remote alien colony near the Klingon border. But borders are somewhat blurry in this part of galaxy. Pike will need to tread carefully in order to avoid provoking an armed conflict with the Klingons—or starting an all-out war.

Purchase Child of Two Worlds:

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


Previous Release: Seekers #4: All That's Left
Next Release: Deep Space Nine: Ascendance


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Q-Zone

Star Trek: The Next Generation #48
The Q Continuum, Book 2 of 3
Q-Zone by Greg Cox
Published August 1998
Read November 12th 2015


Previous book (The Q Continuum): Q-Space

Next book (The Q Continuum): Q-Strike



Spoilers ahead for Q-Zone!

From the back cover:
The puckish super-being called Q has bedeviled Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the Starship Enterprise since their first encounter at Farpoint Station. But little was known of Q's enigmatic past or that of the transcendent plane where he sometimes dwells. Now Picard must discover Q's secrets -- for the sake of all that exists.

While the Enterprise struggles to survive an alien onslaught, Captain Picard has been kidnapped by Q and taken on an astounding journey back through time to that immeasurably distant moment when the Continuum faced its greatest threat. But far more is at stake than simply the mysteries of the past, for an ancient menace is stirring once more, endangering the future of the galaxy, and neither Q nor Starfleet may be able to stop it!

My thoughts:

The Q Continuum trilogy continues in book two, Q-Zone. When last we left off, Q had spirited Picard away for a whirlwind tour of Q's past and his dealings with an enigmatic and clearly hostile entity, 0. In the second part, we see more of that backstory through Picard's eyes.

Using the Guardian of Forever, 0 brings some compatriots of his into our universe to help him wreak havoc. Under the guise of "testing" them, 0 torments and ultimately destroys the mighty Tkon Empire, an ancient body that controlled much of the galaxy thousands of years ago. Much like 0's treatment of the ancient Calamarain, the "test" is merely a facade for the torture of lifeforms that he sees as below him.

Data researches the 600,000 year old Tkon Empire in the episode "The Last Outpost."

We are also introduced to 0's partners in crime, who are some familiar "faces" to fans of Star Trek. The Gorgon, infamous from his appearance in the truly awful TOS episode "And the Children Shall Lead," is a being who incites youth to rebel against their older generations. An entity whose name is unpronounceable and is referred to in the text as "(*)" is an energy creature that feeds on hatred, violent thoughts, and warfare. Trek fans may remember it from the TOS episode "Day of the Dove." Finally, there is an entity who refers to himself only as "The One," and demands absolute fealty and subservience on pain of torture and death of biblical proportions. We have met this entity before in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

0's partners in crime, all of whom we have met before.

The "flashback" parts of the book featuring the young Q and his "turn to the dark side" with 0 were very interesting, and one cannot help but feel the frustration that comes with seeing someone fall in with a bad crowd. Q, like any other disaffected youth, succumbs to peer pressure and manipulation by 0 and his band of criminals, eventually turning away from his people and all that they supposedly represent. This part of the story was very well done, and the heartbreaking finale for the Tkon Empire was truly a moving moment.

Meanwhile, back on the Enterprise, the ship continues to be assaulted by the Calamarain. This part of the story doesn't advance a great deal, with the ship avoiding the Calamarain by taking refuge within the galactic barrier. While inside the barrier, the mysterious energies that affected Gary Mitchell in TOS's "Where No Man Has Gone Before" take control of the Betazoid scientist Lem Fal. The entity behind this sinister effect has a familiar feel to him...

Final thoughts:

Again, like the last installment, it is difficult to judge the story when it not yet complete. The action is at faster pace than the first volume, which is welcome, and the events that end with the destruction of the Tkon Empire were a lot of fun to read. Greg Cox does very well with his world-building for the Tkon, and the fact that they are so well fleshed-out makes the Empire's eventual fall that much more tragic. I'm excited to get to the conclusion of this story soon. Look for my review of part three in the near future!

More on Q-Zone:


Also by Greg Cox:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

Oaths, the 16th e-book in the S.C.E. series. Look for my review next week!


Saturday, November 21, 2015

New cover art for February's Miasma!

We have more new cover art just revealed thanks to StarTrek.com! This time, we get a sneak peek at February's e-book release, Miasma by Greg Cox!

As always, look below for the back-cover blurb and links to pre-order from Amazon. You'll be helping us out here at Trek Lit Reviews by pre-ordering Miasma!




Publisher's description:
The Enterprise-A is transporting a party of diplomats when it picks up a mysterious alien signal emanating from a nearby world. The planet’s dense, impenetrable atmosphere makes it unclear if the beacon is a distress signal, an invitation--or a warning to stay away.  Spock, Doctor McCoy, and Chekov are part of a team sent to investigate, but an unexpected catastrophe forces a crash landing.  Now the landing party is stranded on a hostile world, and unable to communicate with the Enterprise. While Captain Kirk and Saavik race to find a way to locate the lost crew, a badly wounded Spock struggles to keep McCoy and the others alive until they can be rescued, even if that means making an unthinkable sacrifice.


Pre-order Miasma from:

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


Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Darkness Drops Again

Star Trek
Mere Anarchy, Book Four
The Darkness Drops Again by Christopher L. Bennett
First Published February 2007
Re-published in the omnibus collection Mere Anarchy in March 2009
Read October 26th 2015


Previous book (Mere Anarchy): Shadows of the Indignant
Next book (Mere Anarchy): The Blood-Dimmed Tide

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 Darkness Drops Again and the rest of the Mere Anarchy series!

From the back cover:
The rebuilding of Mestiko is starting to make progress: the atmosphere is partially restored, and Federation scientists are introducing new methods of replenishing the planet's biosphere. But their efforts are being stymied by the growing power of the mar-Atyya, who shun all offworlders.

The arrival of the Starship Enterprise under the command of James T. Kirk proves less than fortuitous, as the ship becomes a flashpoint for all of Mestiko's troubles. Now Raya elMora, the leader of the planetary council, finds herself facing exile--which could spell doom for Mestiko...

My thoughts:

The fourth installment in the Mere Anarchy series, The Darkness Drops Again by Christopher Bennett continues the story of Mestiko into the period of time between Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

This period of Star Trek history is a very interesting time that isn't featured often. Not much is known about the second five-year mission that followed The Motion Picture, apart from a few novels here and there (the best of which have also been penned by Christopher L. Bennett). However, not only do we get to see a little of that mission, but we also get a glimpse at the period afterwards, when Kirk briefly retired from Starfleet to live with Antonia (see Star Trek: Generations).

Part of this story features the period in which Kirk is retired and sharing his home with his girlfriend, Antonia, and his great dane, Butler.

The story itself is pretty interesting, with Raya's government on Mestiko being deposed via a coup and religious fundamentalists capturing the government. Because the Federation is on Mestiko only at the invitation of the government, Starfleet must pull out when the new government orders them to, with Raya and her supporters being put into exile.

As Raya and her people deal with this seeming betrayal by the Federation and Kirk, we see how Kirk himself has matured since his "cowboy diplomacy" days of The Original Series. However, although it isn't immediately apparent, Kirk does have the best interests of Mestiko in mind and is in fact playing the long game.

We see some of Spock's stint as captain of the Enterprise in this story.

This brings me to my favorite aspect of The Darkness Drops Again: the characters. Bennett nails the voices and actions of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. This is a singular time in the lives of these characters, and Bennett is very familiar with it. There are some wonderful moments featuring Spock in command of the Enterprise, showing his evolved sensibility with regards to logic and emotion. His interactions with Bones are particularly fun and show just how much their relationship has evolved over the years.

Final thoughts:

A poignant story about ignorance and fear dominating the public discourse. While the "message" of the story is heavy-handed at times, I believe it is an important one. However, my favorite aspect of the story is how Bennett writes the characters of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. This glimpse into an often-ignored period of Star Trek history shows just how far these characters have come since the original five-year mission.

More about The Darkness Drops Again:

Also by Christopher L. Bennett:

Star Trek: Mere Anarchy:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

We return to the Q Continuum trilogy with TNG #48: Q-Zone by Greg Cox!


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Literary Treks 128: The Picard Finger Wave

Doctor Who and Star Trek: TNG Crossover
Assimilation2: Volume 2





Doctor Who and Star Trek both continue to delight fans and create new converts even though they have both been around for 50 years. As each new generation finds them, the inevitable question becomes: "What would happen if the two shows crossed over?" Luckily, comics have stepped in to answer that question!

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther talk about the Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover comic Assimilation²: Volume 2. We discuss Dan's progression through Doctor Who, a shift in the comic series, fun things, negotiating with the Borg, the ending, and some things we liked and didn't.

In the news segment we mention a few interesting celebrations.


Literary Treks 128: The Picard Finger Wave
TNG/Doctor Who Crossover: Assimilation2, Volume 2







Previous episode: Literary Treks 127: Cardassian Out of the Bag

Next episode: Literary Treks 129: SPECTRE Octopus


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Literary Treks 127: Cardassian Out of the Bag

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Fearful Symmetry by Olivia Woods





Deep Space Nine was the first Star Trek series since the original to make use of the Mirror Universe, and as the relaunch series worked its way toward telling the showdown with the Ascendants, a wrinkle was thrown in as Iliana Ghemor from the prime universe was revealed to be the one behind Taran'atar's recent madness. However, that was only the beginning of her diabolical plan to become the only Kira in the multiverse!

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther talk about Fearful Symmetry. We discuss a couple quick notes, the gimmick, the "present day" story, the backstory, fanning the flames of fanaticism, the Sisko, and our ratings. We also have a few thoughts on how the recently announced new television series might affect the books.

In the news segment, we look at Star Trek: Hollow Man, the latest New Visions photo comic by John Byrne.


Literary Treks 127: Cardassian Out of the Bag
Deep Space Nine: Fearful Symmetry







Previous episode: Literary Treks 126: From a Certain Point of View

Next episode: Literary Treks 128: The Picard Finger Wave


Sunday, November 8, 2015

All That's Left

Star Trek: Seekers #4
All That's Left by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
Release date: October 27th 2015
Read November 6th 2015


Previous book (Seekers): #3: Long Shot

Next book (Seekers): #5:


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

Spoilers ahead for All That's Left!

From the back cover:
Initially charted by Starfleet probes dispatched to survey the Taurus Reach, the planet Cantrel V now plays host to a budding Federation colony, as well as a combined civilian/Starfleet exploration team. Ancient ruins of an unknown civilization scattered around the planet have raised the curiosity of archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, and other interested members of the Federation scientific community. Together, they are attempting to shed light on the beings that once called this world home. 
After a large, unidentified vessel arrives in orbit and launches a seemingly unprovoked orbital bombardment, the U.S.S. Endeavour responds to the colony's distress call. As they attempt to render assistance and investigate the mysterious ship, Captain Atish Khatami and her crew begin to unlock the astonishing secrets the planet has harbored for centuries. Does the survival of a newly-discovered yet endangered alien race pose a threat not only to Cantrel V, but to other inhabited worlds throughout the Taurus Reach and beyond?

My thoughts:

For this, the fourth entry in the young Seekers series, we return to the U.S.S. Endeavour with a new novel by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore. Responding to a distress call from Cantrel V, the Endeavour and her crew get caught up in a centuries-old plot by a race of "parasites" called the Lrondi.

The idea of a parasite taking control of a humanoid host and the two living as a conjoined being is certainly not a new one, and Star Trek has tackled the issue several times itself, most notably through the Trill. However, the Lrondi as presented in this novel are unique, and truly terrifying to me: a species that "co-exists" with you, but seems to subtly influence you so that you are totally "okay" with going along with whatever they want. Some of the actions taken by someone who had been "collected" seemed to be willing, but there was enough influence and manipulation there to completely frighten me.

The whole "sentient parasite" concept has been done many times before, but is nonetheless a very frightening concept.

There is a lot in this novel to recommend it. While the plot takes a little while to kick into high gear, once it gets going, we get a fascinating adventure with a creepy psychological aspect to it. As with previous novels in the Seekers series, my favorite part is the characters. The Endeavour crew is always a pleasure to read about, and the side characters in this story really stand out as well. It was a lot of fun to see Commander Al-Khaled again! I'm just now reading the S.C.E. story Foundations, which is the introduction of this character, so the timing couldn't have been better.

Another surprise in All That's Left is the appearance of Ensign Tropp, a Denobulan crewmember who will presumably become the Dr. Tropp that is featured in the Next Generation novels as a doctor on the Enterprise-E. We already know from Enterprise's Dr. Phlox that Denobulans are very long-lived, so it makes sense to have Tropp in Starfleet already at this point. Why make up a new Denobulan character when you have a great one already? As far as I know, Tropp has not appeared this early in the chronology before, but if he has, I'm sure one of my intrepid readers will be quick to correct me!

A standout scene for me comes right at the end of the story, featuring two characters becoming closer due to their shared experiences with the Lrondi. Something about their connection really rang true for me, and it's little character moments like this that really make me appreciate Ward/Dilmore stories.

I have gushed about the amazing artwork of the Seekers novels before, but this one deserves a special mention. Rob Caswell has knocked it out of the park with the cover art for All That's Left. A gorgeous scene featuring the Endeavour crew attempting to gain entry to the mysterious alien ship is hands down my favorite Star Trek cover this year, possibly of all time. Beautiful!

Rob Caswell has posted the complete cover art without titles on his DeviantArt page - click here to see it in its entirety.

I'm curious, however, as to when we might next see a Seekers novel. David Mack, the other author involved in the series, has said that he has a rather lengthy break in his Trek novel writing in order to focus on his series of original novels (which look great, by the way; I hope you check them out!). If the Seekers format of alternating between Mack and Ward/Dilmore stories is the way they intend to continue to do them going forward, it may be some time before Seekers appears on the schedule again.


Final thoughts:

Another fascinating entry in the Seekers series. Although the story starts off a little slow, patience is rewarded as the story sucks the reader in. It will insinuate itself into your brain like some kind of mind-controling parasite as you find yourself pondering the implications of the plot long after you've put the book down. How much of the actions of the "collected" really were free will, and how much was simply the influence of the parasite? And... *gasp*... what if the Trill operate in a similar fashion? Is there really a way to know for sure? Creepy.

Four out of five is my ranking for All That's Left. If you're on board with the Seekers one-off story concept, you'll enjoy this as a classic "planet of the week" story.

More about All That's Left:

Also by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

Book five in the TOS e-book series, Mere Anarchy: it's The Darkness Drops Again by Christopher L. Bennett!



Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Literary Treks 126: From a Certain Point of View

Star Trek: Mere Anarchy
The Darkness Drops Again by Christopher L. Bennett





The film era of TOS is rife with story possibilities since there is so much time between The Motion Picture and The Undiscovered Country. Because the films only give us a small percentage of the story, there is a lot of space for the authors to fill in the details.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther talk about Mere Anarchy: The Darkness Drops Again. We discuss the interesting era and character growth, self-determination, the world not revolving around our world, honesty and government, the media and the truth, and wrapping up with our ratings.

In our news segment, we remind everyone that Seekers 4 is out and talk about the latest information on books coming out next year: Force and Motion, and Miasma.


Literary Treks 126: From a Certain Point of View
Mere Anarchy: The Darkness Drops Again by Christopher L. Bennett






Previous episode: Literary Treks 125: The Prophets' Dynamic Duo

Next episode: Literary Treks 127: Cardassian Out of the Bag


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Past Life

Star Trek: S.C.E. #15
Past Life by Robert Greenberger
Published April 2002
Re-released in print form as part of the S.C.E. compilation No Surrender in 2003.
Read September 15th 2015


Previous ebook (S.C.E.): #14: Caveat Emptor
Next ebook (S.C.E.): #16: Oaths





Original e-book cover

Compilation of SCE #'s 13 - 16
No Surrender (Paperback) from Amazon.com | Amazon.ca
No Surrender (Kindle) from Amazon.com | Amazon.ca

Spoilers ahead for Past Life and the rest of the Corps of Engineers series!

From the back cover:
The Evorans, residents of a new Federation protectorate, have made a fantastic discovery on their homeworld: a device that predates their civilization and proves that aliens visited their world in the distant past. The U.S.S. da Vinci is sent to investigate the device and find out its true nature.

But disaster strikes when a radical isolationist faction sets out to destroy all evidence that the world was once visited -- and wipe out the da Vinci crew as well! And when the true nature of the device is revealed, it will take all the ingenuity of the S.C.E. to save Evora!

My thoughts:

In this installment of the S.C.E. series, the da Vinci is ordered to the planet Evora, which fans of Star Trek might recognize as the planet granted protectorate status at the beginning of the film Star Trek: Insurrection. The Evorans are a somewhat xenophobic culture, and view the Federation and Starfleet with a certain degree of wariness. While their leader, Regent Cuzar, sees the benefit of a relationship with the interstellar community, much of the planet disagrees with her.

The Evoran leader, Regent Cuzar, embraces a relationship with the Federation even though many of her people object.

When the artifact that brought the da Vinci to Evora is revealed to be left over technology from ancient alien contact, the Evorans revolt. Cuzar is deposed in a coup, and Captain Gold must negotiate with the leader of a group of reactionaries who want to deny the origins of the device.

This was, for the most part, an interesting addition to the ongoing story of the da Vinci and her crew. The concept was a fun one, with the idea of "ancient aliens" playing a central role and challenging the Evorans' core beliefs. I find it interesting that here on Earth, alien contact is viewed by much of the population as an enticing idea, with many people obsessing over the idea that aliens helped build the pyramids or that the U.S. government is covering up a crashed UFO at Area 51. On the flip side, the Evorans view such contact with disgust, not believing that anything alien could have touched their world so long ago.

The least popular person on Evora.

There is some interesting character work here, notably with Captain Gold and Regent Cuzar dealing with the threat posed by the perpetrator of the coup. Also well done was a favorite character of mine, Bart Faulwell, while he deals with the danger to his boyfriend who is stationed on an outpost recently attacked by Nausicaans. Also of note is Captain Gold's continued dissatisfaction with Dr. Elizabeth Lense's performance, an issue that looks like it will come to a head sooner rather than later.

Final thoughts:

A satisfying if not overwhelming entry in the S.C.E. storyline. Some interesting character works helps, and the main storyline was interesting enough to keep my attention. I like the use of the Evorans from Insurrection, and the mystery of the alien technology, while not a huge surprise, was a satisfying one.

I liked it. I didn't love it, but it wasn't bad.

Also by Robert Greenberger:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

Next week: the all-new continuation of the Seekers series: All That's Left by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore!

Until then, don't forget to be awesome!