Thursday, December 31, 2015

Trek Lit 2015: Year in Review

Another year gone. 2015 has passed us by, leaving us with twelve months of Star Trek novels to talk about! So, how was 2015 Trek-book wise? Not bad, it turns out, not bad at all!

We got some great stories this year, spanning the length and breadth of the Star Trek universe. Beginning with a stellar Deep Space Nine novel, The Missing by the supremely talented Una McCormack, the year started off strong and never let up. Takedown by John Jackson Miller was another highlight of the year, along with the continuation of the Rise of the Federation series with Christopher L. Bennett's Uncertain Logic.

Other exciting highlights of the year included a top-notch TOS five-year-mission adventure, Crisis of Consciousness by Dave Galanter, the continuations of the missions of both the Sagittarius and the Endeavour with books 3 and 4 of Seekers, an autobiography by Starfleet's most legendary captain, a reprise of New Frontier with Peter David's The Returned trilogy, another entry in the terrific Voyager series by Kirsten Beyer, and the much-anticipated telling of the Ascendants story in Deep Space Nine: Sacraments of Fire by David R. George III.

2015's lineup of e-book exclusive novellas was a little less varied than last year, with most of the slots taken up by New Frontier's trilogy. With that said, we got a very interesting TOS story early in the year with Scott Harrison's Shadow of the Machine. I have long been a proponent of the e-book exclusives because it means we get more Trek! Keep 'em coming, Pocket Books!

In my personal life, the past year has been a productive one. The move back to my hometown of Grande Prairie was ultimately a good one, with a much more stable and valued employment than I had last year in Calgary! I miss many of my friends back in Calgary, but such is the nature of life, unfortunately. I have had the good fortune of making many friends from all around the world, with people I care about on every continent on Earth (yes, even Antarctica - Hi, Jamie and Shannon!). It's sad to have to leave them, but I hope for many more reunions to come!

The past year has seen me co-hosting the Literary Treks podcast on Trek.fm with Matthew Rushing. I joined the team there late in 2014, and it has been an incredible experience! We talk about Star Trek books and comics, often with the authors involved in their creation. We have interviewed Trek scribes such as Dayton Ward, David Mack, Peter David, Kirsten Beyer, and many more! Head over to Trek.fm and check out their slate of podcasts, covering the entire Star Trek universe and beyond.

Outside of the book world, I've launched another new project: Kertrats Productions, a YouTube channel that I hope to soon fill with tons of interesting content! There's not much there now, just a quick reaction/review I did for the new Star Trek Beyond trailer, but keep an eye out for much more to follow! I am hoping to do a show around Star Trek books and novels, but the scope of the project is much larger than that. Stay tuned for more!



With that, let's look at the books that we reviewed here at Trek Lit Reviews this past year. This was a banner year here at Trek Lit Reviews, with a new book review posted nearly every single week! More books were reviewed this year than any other year before. Below you'll find the list of all of them, along with links to those reviews.

New releases are in bold and marked with an asterisk.


January

Unity by S.D. Perry (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
*The Missing by Una McCormack (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
Dark Mirror by Diane Duane (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Cardassia: The Lotus Flower by Una McCormack (Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
Andor: Paradigm by Heather Jarman (Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)








February

*Takedown by John Jackson Miller (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Slings and Arrows, Book 1: A Sea of Troubles by J. Steven York & Christina F. York
Trill: Unjoined by Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels (Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)









March

*Savage Trade by Tony Daniel (Star Trek: The Original Series)
*Shadow of the Machine by Scott Harrison (Star Trek: The Original Series)
Slings and Arrows, Book II: The Oppressor's Wrong by Phaedra M. Weldon (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Bajor: Fragments and Omens by J. Noah Kym (Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)








April

*Rise of the Federation: Uncertain Logic by Christopher L. Bennett (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Slings and Arrows, Book III: The Insolence of Office by William Leisner (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
The Riddled Post by Aaron Rosenberg (Star Trek: S.C.E. #9)
Here There Be Monsters by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Star Trek: S.C.E. #10)
Ambush by Dave Galanter and Greg Brodeur (Star Trek: S.C.E. #11)
Some Assembly Required by Scott Ciencin and Dan Jolley (Star Trek: S.C.E. #12)
Ferenginar: Satisfaction is Not Guaranteed by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
Slings and Arrows, Book IV: That Sleep of Death by Terri Osborne (Star Trek: The Next Generation)



May


The Dominion: Olympus Descending by David R. George III (Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
*Crisis of Consciousness by Dave Galanter (Star Trek: The Original Series)
Slings and Arrows, Book V: A Weary Life by Robert Greenberger (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Slings and Arrows, Book VI: Enterprises of Great Pitch and Moment by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Star Trek: The Next Generation)







June

*Armageddon's Arrow by Dayton Ward (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Warpath by David Mack (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
*Return to Tomorrow: The Filming of Star Trek: The Motion Picture by Preston Neal Jones
Fearful Symmetry by Olivia Woods (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)











July

The Soul Key by Olivia Woods (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
*Sacraments of Fire by David R. George III (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
*The Returned, Part 1 by Peter David (Star Trek: New Frontier)
Mere Anarchy: Things Fall Apart by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore (Star Trek)










August

Reunion by Michael Jan Friedman (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
*Long Shot by David Mack (Star Trek: Seekers #3)
*The Returned, Part 2 by Peter David (Star Trek: New Frontier)
No Surrender by Jeff Mariotte (Star Trek: S.C.E. #13)
The Best and the Brightest by Susan Wright (Star Trek: The Next Generation)









September

*Atonement by Kirsten Beyer (Star Trek: Voyager)
*The Returned, Part 3 by Peter David (Star Trek: New Frontier)
Mere Anarchy: The Centre Cannot Hold by Mike W. Barr (Star Trek)











October

*The Autobiography of James T. Kirk by David A. Goodman
Caveat Emptor by Ian Edginton and Mike Collins (Star Trek: S.C.E. #14)
*Sight Unseen by James Swallow (Star Trek: Titan)
Mere Anarchy: Shadows of the Indignant by Dave Galanter (Star Trek)
The Q Continuum, Book 1 of 3: Q-Space by Greg Cox (Star Trek: The Next Generation #47)









November

Past Life by Robert Greenberger (Star Trek: S.C.E. #15)
*All That's Left by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore (Star Trek: Seekers #4)
Mere Anarchy: The Darkness Drops Again by Christopher L. Bennett (Star Trek)
The Q Continuum, Book 2 of 3: Q-Zone by Greg Cox (Star Trek: The Next Generation #48)
Oaths by Glenn Hauman (Star Trek S.C.E. #16)









December

*Child of Two Worlds by Greg Cox (Star Trek: The Original Series)
Mere Anarchy: The Blood-Dimmed Tide by Howard Weinstein (Star Trek)
Mere Anarchy: Its Hour Come Round by Margaret Wander Bonanno (Star Trek)
The Q Continuum, Book 3 of 3: Q-Strike by Greg Cox (Star Trek: The Next Generation #49)










Best Trek novel of 2015:

Once again, picking the best Star Trek novel of 2015 was a difficult task. There were many great novels this year! Runners-up included the excellent Crisis of Consciousness by Dave Galanter, Atonement by Kirsten Beyer, Uncertain Logic by Christopher L. Bennett, and Armageddon's Arrow by Dayton Ward. All of these were excellent books, and gave the winning novel quite the run for its money.

However, the best Star Trek novel of the year is awarded to:

Star Trek: Titan: Sight Unseen by James Swallow!

While reading Sight Unseen, it struck me that the novel featured a lot of what I want in a good Star Trek story. An interesting alien race, an ominous threat, using and building upon ideas and themes that came before in canon Trek; all of these were present in this novel. Combined with Swallow's excellent storytelling, Sight Unseen hit all of the right notes. Capped off with an incredibly emotional climax and coda, the novel featured excellent growth and development for the Titan crew and made me want more! What more can you ask of a great Star Trek novel?

Titan: Sight Unseen by New York Times Bestselling Author James Swallow: The best Trek novel of 2015!


Let's take a look ahead at what we can expect for Trek literature in 2016, the 50th anniversary of Star Trek!

First off is the long-awaited conclusion to the Ascendants story arc, put on pause for far too long after 2009's The Soul Key: It's Ascendance by David R. George III! This novel has just been released, look for my review soon.

February's novel sees the continuation of the Voyager post-series story with A Pocket Full of Lies by Kirsten Beyer. Looking forward to this one! Speculation that it ties in the with epic two-parter "Year of Hell" makes this novel one not to miss!

Also in February is an e-book exclusive TOS story: Miasma by Greg Cox. Taking place in the movie-era aboard the Enterprise-A, this story features one of my favorite characters: Saavik!

March features a new TOS five year mission story by James Swallow: The Latter Fire. I'm excited for this one as Swallow is one of my favorite Trek writers working right now. Here's hoping for another classic from him!

April brings us the next story in Christopher L. Bennett's Rise of the Federation series: Live By the Code. Continuing the threads begun in Uncertain Logic, Live by the Code brings the Klingons into the picture as Archer and his former crew work to prevent war between the Klingon Empire and the young Federation.

May's novel is one that I'm particularly excited about. Dayton Ward's From History's Shadow was one of my favorite novels in recent years, and this month's book is a follow-up: Elusive Salvation.

June features a "buddy movie" team up with O'Brien and Nog: Deep Space Nine: Force and Motion.

July kicks off with the first book in a new trilogy celebrating the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. Author Greg Cox brings us Legacies, Book I: Captain to Captain.

Also this month is another e-book exclusive story, this time once again featuring Quark in a Ferengi adventure: Rules of Accusation by Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdman.

August features book two in the Legacies trilogy: Best Defense by David Mack, while the third book, Purgatory's Key by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore, follows in September.

October, November, and December bring us yet another trilogy, this time set in the post-Nemesis Next Generation time period. John Jackson Miller, author of many Star Wars novels and the excellent TNG: Takedown, writes all three volumes of the TNG: Prey trilogy.

You can check out all of the new releases for 2016 by clicking here. You can also pre-order all of them from Amazon! Links are provided on the new releases page.

I've had a wonderful year here at Trek Lit Reviews bringing you all the news and reviews of Trek novels in 2015! While 2016 may feature a drop in the number of reviews I do, rest assured that I will still be bringing you reviews of every new novel as well as reviews of many more! And keep an eye out for interesting video content from Kertrats Productions as the year goes on.














Here's to an amazing 2016, and a wonderful 50th anniversary for this franchise
that we all love so much!

As always, live long and prosper, and don't forget to be awesome!


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Literary Treks 134: Are We On the Millennium Falcon?

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



2015 has been a banner year for Star Trek literature. With just one more book to talk about, we go back to where it all began: The Space Ship Enterprise under the command of Captain Christopher Pike. An incident involving a young woman torn between two worlds may lead to open conflict with the Klingon Empire!

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther talk about the last new book of the year, Child of Two Worlds. We discuss exploring Spock, another child of two worlds, "The Cage" era, media, mobs and violence, and our ratings.

In the news section, we announce some news about the upcoming year and look back at our favorite books of 2015.


Literary Treks 134: Are We on the Millennium Falcon?
Star Trek: The Original Series: Child of Two Worlds by Greg Cox







Previous episode: Literary Treks 133: Brother From Another Mother

Next episode: Literary Treks 135: Spock's Vulcan Occult Library


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Release Day! At long last: DS9 - Ascendance!

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Ascendance by David R. George III

Ever since the first phase of the Deep Space Nine relaunch came to an end in 2009, fans have asked one overriding question: what became of Iliana Ghemor and her Ascendant army? At the end of The Soul Key, her forces were poised to move on Bajor and wipe out the population, which the Ascendants saw as heretics. In Sacraments of Fire, we saw a bit of that story finally play out.

Now, at the dawn of 2016, we finally get the conclusion to that storyline with Ascendance by David R. George III!

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





Publisher's description:
On the original Deep Space Nine, Captain Kira Nerys watches as the nearby wormhole opens and discharges a single, bladelike vessel. Attempts to contact its crew fail, and the ship is soon followed by another vessel of similar design. When an armada subsequently begins to emerge from the wormhole, it seems clear that DS9 is under attack. Kira orders her first officer, Commander Elias Vaughn, to board the USS Defiant and defend the station, and alerts Starfleet to send additional forces as her crew prepares DS9's shields and weaponry for the onslaught to come. 
Meanwhile, on the lead ship, Iliana Ghemor considers launching an attack on DS9 and finally ending the life of Kira, the fountainhead of all the ills in her miserable life. Her vengeance demands more than mere death, though – it requires pain. Ghemor refocuses, choosing to follow her plan to mete out her revenge on the captain by first decimating the population of Bajor...

Purchase Ascendance:

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


Next Release: Voyager: A Pocket Full of Lies


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Q-Strike

Star Trek: The Next Generation #49
The Q Continuum, Book 3 of 3
Q-Strike by Greg Cox
Published September 1998
Read December 21st 2015


Previous book (The Q Continuum): Q-Zone

Next book (The Next Generation): #50: Dyson Sphere


Spoilers ahead for Q-Strike!

From the back cover:
The mischievous creature who calls himself Q has subjected Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the Starship Enterprise to many of their strangest experiences. But little had been known of Q's curious existence or that of the advanced dimension from which he comes. But now Picard knows more than he ever dreamed about an ancient conflict whose consequences might spell the doom of the entire galaxy.

The galactic barrier has fallen and Q's oldest enemy is free once more. Captain Picard and his crew find themselves in the middle of a cosmic war between vastly powerful entities. The future of the Federation may be at stake, but how can mere mortals turn the tide in such a superhuman battle? Picard has to find a way, or neither the Q Continuum nor the galaxy will survive.

My thoughts:

Here it is, the final review on Trek Lit Reviews in 2015! It's been a long road getting from there to here, to coin a phrase.

This week, we wrap up the Q Continuum trilogy with Q-Strike by Greg Cox. This has been a fun trilogy, with a lot of great insights into Q and his past. How does the third and final entry stack up? Read on to find out!

After Picard and Q's whirlwind tour of the past, we learn the final fate of 0 and his compatriots. 0 was banished from the Milky Way galaxy, and the infamous "galactic barrier" was constructed to keep 0 from re-entering. Meanwhile, the entity known as "The One" was banished to the center of the galaxy behind what came to be known as "the great barrier." Now, Lem Faal's experiment threatens to bring the barrier down and admit 0 into our unsuspecting galaxy. The Q Continuum was barely able to defeat 0 the first time around, and he may be more powerful than ever now.

I enjoyed the conclusion to this story, with all of the plot threads wrapping up nicely. The final fate of Lem Faal's relationship with his children was heartbreaking, and I found myself really feeling bad for his son, Milo. The ending to the Calamarain issue was also very satisfying, with a very "Star Trek" solution to the threat that they posed.

The Q family dynamic takes center stage in this story.

I found the exploration of the Q family dynamic to be a really fun aspect of this story as well. The idea of Q's family dynamics has always been a bit of an abstract concept, but when q is threatened in this story, we see the female Q's reaction just as any concerned mother's might be. In some ways, it really "humanized" the Q (an idea that I think they would find quite insulting).

"Humanized"?

I came away from this trilogy feeling that Greg Cox really gets what Trek is all about. His ability to weave disparate parts of continuity together into a cohesive whole really makes this story enjoyable to read.

If I had one complaint, it's that this trilogy should probably have been two books rather than three. I felt like each volume was a little too short to warrant having its own book. While there isn't much I would have considered cutting from the story, I still feel like the story could have been condensed into two volumes. Regardless, I found Q-Strike and the whole Q Continuum trilogy to be a very good read and a very worthy addition to any Star Trek reader's library.

More about Q-Strike:

Also by Greg Cox:

My next read:

Watch for my yearly round-up of Trek reviews and news for 2015: It's the 2015 Trek Lit Year in Review!


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Literary Treks 133: Brother From Another Mother

Star Trek: Mere Anarchy
Its Hour Come Round by Margaret Wander Bonanno



The film Star Trek: Generations saw the loss of a legend: Captain James T. Kirk, presumed dead during the maiden voyage of the Enterprise-B. The loss is a devastating one, especially for his former crew and the lives he has touched over the many years of his Starfleet career, including the people of the ravaged planet Mestiko. As the people of that world debate joining the Federation, the former crew of the Enterprise come together one last time to usher in a new era for the Payav.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther talk about the last book in the Mere Anarchy series, Its Hour Come Round. We discuss another end, the loss of Kirk, Bones, family, parallels, adversity bringing people together, an ambiguous ending, and our ratings.

In the news segment, we take a look at the brand new comic: Starfleet Academy issue #1.


Literary Treks 133: Brother From Another Mother
Mere Anarchy: Its Hour Come Round by Margaret Wander Bonanno







Previous episode: Literary Treks 132: It Smells Like Burning!

Next episode: Literary Treks 134: Are We on the Millennium Falcon?


Monday, December 21, 2015

Its Hour Come Round

Star Trek
Mere Anarchy, Book Six
Its Hour Come Round by Margaret Wander Bonanno
First Published April 2007
Re-published in the omnibus collection Mere Anarchy in March 2009
Read December 16th 2015


Previous 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 Its Hour Come Round and the rest of the Mere Anarchy series!

From the back cover:
Captain James T. Kirk is dead, lost during the launch of the U.S.S. Enterprise-B. His former shipmates are not the only ones who mourn his passing: Raya elMora and the people of Mestiko are stunned to learn that the man who has played such a pivotal role in their lives over the past three decades is now gone.

But Kirk’s passing comes as Mestiko is on the threshold of a new era, as they have come from near-destruction to contemplating membership in the Federation. The surviving crew of the Starship Enterprise gather together at this strife-torn world one last time as its future hangs in the balance...

My thoughts:

Here it is at last: the final entry in the Mere Anarchy series, celebrating the 40th anniversary of Star Trek back in 2006 and 2007. Over on the podcast, Literary Treks, co-host Matthew Rushing and I have been talking about each of the books over the past few months. Now, we are finally at the end.

And what a way to end this series! Veteran Trek novelist Margaret Wander Bonanno has crafted a beautiful and bittersweet finale to Mere Anarchy. The year is 2293, and Captain Kirk has recently been lost, presumed killed during the maiden voyage of the Enterprise-B. As the former crew of the Enterprise mourns the loss of their intrepid captain, Mestiko debates whether or not to join the United Federation of Planets.

The loss of James T. Kirk in Star Trek: Generations weighs heavily on the events of this story.

In Star Trek fiction, we haven't gotten many stories dealing with the aftermath of the loss of Kirk in Generations. While reading Its Hour Come Round, it occurred to me what a huge impact this loss would have on the galaxy. We see the effect it has on Mestiko, but there would be hundreds of worlds that Kirk influenced deeply during his Starfleet career. How would they react to his supposed death?

We also see the effect the Kirk's death has on his former crew, most notably Dr. McCoy. His depression following the loss of his friend was very poignant, and rang very true to the character. The author is able to draw an interesting parallel between the experience of the Payav people of Mestiko and the experiences that Kirk's crew are going through. Both have suffered a tremendous loss, but by the end of their respective stories, both are on the path to recovery. The future is bright for Mestiko, and with time, things will be brighter for Kirk's former crew as well.

Chancellor Azetbur leads the Klingon delegation to Mestiko in Its Hour Come Round.

The idea of shared hardships bringing people together is an interesting theme that appears in Its Hour Come Round. Most notably, the Klingons are used to good effect in this story, having themselves recently gone through a world-changing cataclysm. The destruction of the Klingon moon Praxis (in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) has given the Klingons their own experience with extreme hardship, and we find them actually learning from the Payav in this story. It was fascinating to see a different take on the Klingons in the time period immediately following the signing of the Khitomer Accords. Under Chancellor Azetbur, the Klingons and the Federation are on the road to a very interesting partnership indeed.

An interesting aspect of the end of the story is that we never actually learn whether or not Mestiko joins the Federation. I have seen a few reviews online that show a great deal of annoyance with this seeming oversight. However, I have a different view. The whole point of the story of Mestiko is not whether or not they will join the Federation, but whether or not they will recover and be "alright" in the long run. With this story, we know that they will. It doesn't matter if they ultimately join the Federation; Mestiko will prosper regardless.

Final thoughts:

A very fitting and excellent ending to the Mere Anarchy series. The story is at times contemplative and reflective, but necessarily so given the events that immediately precede it. Margaret Wander Bonanno has crafted a very touching story to finish off this series, one that definitely celebrates what was great about the original Star Trek.

The Mere Anarchy series as a whole:

This has been a very interesting book series with some definite highs and lows. While the storytelling was at times a little uneven, what is abundantly clear is that each of these stories was a labor of love for the author telling it. A fun and generally exciting examination of the entire range of settings and time periods that were experienced by the original Star Trek crew, Mere Anarchy was a fitting celebration of the 40th anniversary of Star Trek, and I'm glad to have read it now on the cusp of the 50th.

More about Its Hour Come Round:

Also by Margaret Wander Bonanno:

Star Trek: Mere Anarchy:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

The final book in the Q Continuum trilogy: Q-Strike by Greg Cox!


Friday, December 18, 2015

The New Star Trek Beyond Trailer: My Thoughts

The new teaser trailer for Star Trek Beyond, the third instalment in the current crop of Trek films coming next summer, was recently revealed to the world. Unfortunately, I've recently seen a lot of negatively online surrounding the new trailer. I felt compelled to record a few of my thoughts. I didn't hate the trailer, but also realize that it isn't exactly marketed towards me, either.

Here's a quick video I recorded. It includes the trailer, followed by my thoughts.


Many of my thoughts seem to be echoed by writer/star Simon Pegg, who was interviewed by The Nerdist recently. A lot of his comments set my mind at ease with regards to this film! As with all things, only time will tell.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Literary Treks 132: It Smells Like Burning!

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
The Soul Key by Olivia Woods



When the Deep Space Nine relaunch began in 2001, readers were treated to a great series of stories that laid the groundwork for the shared continuity of the 24th century novels. Unfortunately, the ongoing story of DS9 under Captain Kira came to an unexpected halt with The Soul Key, the final novel before the narrative was jumped forward to catch up with the rest of the shared universe.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther talk about The Soul Key. We discuss the end, a convoluted plot, Ghemor and her plot, characters we know and love, forgotten characters, comparisons, the cover, and our ratings.

In the news segment, we talk about Ongoing #52 and Star Trek/Green Lantern #6.

Literary Treks 132: It Smells Like Burning
Deep Space Nine: The Soul Key by Olivia Woods








Previous episode: Literary Treks 131: Moron Saves the Day

Next episode: Literary Treks 133: Brother From Another Mother


Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Blood-Dimmed Tide

Star Trek
Mere Anarchy, Book Five
The Blood-Dimmed Tide by Howard Weinstein
First Published March 2007
Re-published in the omnibus collection Mere Anarchy in March 2009
Read November 21st 2015


Previous book (Mere Anarchy): The Darkness Drops Again
Next book (Mere Anarchy): Its Hour Come Round

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 Blood-Dimmed Tide and the rest of the Mere Anarchy series!

From the back cover:
Twenty-five years after the disaster, Mestiko's recovery is stagnating amid social unrest. A lunar colony designed for scientific research might give the people hope--until a local terrorist group called the Torye attacks the colony and steals an experimental subspace weapon. The Starship Enterprise is sent to find the Torye and retrieve the weapon.

But even as Captain Kirk and his crew – Saavik, Scotty, Chekov, Uhura, and McCoy--follow the trail, Captain Spock goes on a daring undercover mission to Klingon space that will have dire consequences for the future of Mestiko--as well as the Federation...

My thoughts:

The Blood-Dimmed Tide, the penultimate installment of Mere Anarchy, takes place between the films Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Like most of the other stories in this series, the novella makes good use of the time period in which it is set. Also, it has to be said: Howard Weinstein's entry in this series is most certainly the best-written of the novellas up to this point.

Admiral Morrow (retired) accompanies Spock on his peace mission to the Klingon Empire.

Weinstein uses a lot of elements the Trek political stage in the lead-up to The Undiscovered Country. We see the initiation of Spock's attempt to negotiate peace with the Klingon Empire, for example. At the outset of the story, he and retired admiral Morrow (see: Star Trek III: The Search for Spock) journey into the Klingon Empire to begin negotiations. Meanwhile, on Mestiko, a group of radicals has captured a doomsday weapon. Hoping to make Mestiko into a power to be reckoned with in the quadrant, these radicals make moves to ally themselves with the Klingons.

Kang makes a welcome return in The Blood-Dimmed Tide.

The story sees the return of antagonists from the past. Kang, originally from the TOS episode "Day of the Dove," returns in this story. One of the most memorable Klingon characters, Kang's appearance in The Blood-Dimmed Tide is a nice surprise. Another Klingon, however, is less welcome: the infamous Klaa from The Final Frontier, whose whole motivation in that movie is that Kirk is so amazing that to defeat him would be really really awesome. Klaa is written in this story as the buffoon he is, and while his shenanigans do drive the plot, he never comes across as any really great threat.

Less welcome is Klaa, the "80s hair band" style of Klingon from Star Trek V.

The Klingon Empire serves as an allegory for failed states here on earth, such as the Soviet Union or North Korea. Their fearsome "battle station," featured in the plot of this story, is in fact in a dilapidated state and only good for show. Under a veneer of impressive military displays, the Empire is falling apart. This reminded me a lot of the Soviet Union shortly before its collapse. Additionally, it was reminiscent of the huge skyscraper hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea. While the exterior looks impressive, it has stood as an empty shell for years now, with no signs of being completed in the near future. The Klingon Empire is on the road to collapse, and the destruction of Praxis in the near future will hasten that fall.

Final thoughts:

My favorite story in the Mere Anarchy series (so far). It was fun to see this particular era of Star Trek, with the action happening against the backdrop of a failing Klingon Empire and with the crew aboard the Enterprise-A, along with Saavik, who remains one of my favorite Trek characters. This story brings Mestiko's situation into the realm of the wider galactic arena, with dire consequences for both Mestiko and the stellar neighborhood.

Weinstein captures this era perfectly, and The Blood-Dimmed Tide is not to be missed.

More about The Blood-Dimmed Tide:

Star Trek: Mere Anarchy:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

At long last, the final installment in the Mere Anarchy mini-series: Its Hour Come Round by veteran Trek writer Margaret Wander Bonanno!



Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Literary Treks 131: Moron Saves the Day

DC Comics' Who Killed Captain Kirk? by Peter David



Comics have been an integral part of Star Trek, from the first Gold Key Comics in 1967 to Marvel Comics which picked up the license in 1979 and ran until 1982. After that, DC Comics continued the adventures of the Enterprise with writers like Diane Duane and Peter David.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther talk about Peter David's Who Killed Captain Kirk?. We discuss old comic series, Aspiring to Angels, taking a turn, confusion, a Kirk question, an interesting conversation, a wedding, Dante's Inferno, You're Dead, Jim!, another shift, Finnegan, ratings, and our final thoughts.

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Star Trek Classics #5: Who Killed Captain Kirk?








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