Monday, September 1, 2014

Release Day! DS9: Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found)

Today, the first offering from Pocket Books to have the banner title "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" since 2009 is released: the e-book exclusive novella, Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found) by Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann. Although no strangers to Star Trek publishing, this is their first foray into Trek fiction!

Check out the cover and publisher's description below, along with purchasing links! By clicking those links and ordering through us, you help support Trek Lit Reviews. Thanks!




Publisher's description:

Business is down at Quark’s Public House, Café, Gaming Emporium, Holosuite Arcade, and Ferengi Embassy to Bajor. Way down. Lower level of hell down. The station is bustling, but residents and visitors are spending more time (and latinum) at the new Deep Space 9's park, sports fields, theater, swimming complex, and who knows what else, than they are at Quark’s establishment. All of Quark's misfortunes just could be reversed, however, when he finds out that one of the steamiest holonovels to hit the Alpha Quadrant in years is up for grabs. And he has an inroad to acquiring it before anyone else. Or does he?

Purchase Deep Space Nine: Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found):

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


Next Release: Voyager: Acts of Contrition


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Seekers #1

Star Trek: Seekers #1
Second Nature by David Mack
Story by David Mack and Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
Release date: July 21st 2014
Read July 31st 2014


First in a new series! Leaves off from Vanguard: Storming Heaven

Next book (Seekers): #2: Point of Divergence


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

Spoilers ahead for Seekers #1 and the Vanguard series!

From the back cover:
An all-new Star Trek series begins! 
A NEW MISSION 
The late twenty-third century—Starfleet’s golden age of exploration. Desperate to stay one step ahead of its rivals, the Federation sends two starships, the scout Sagittarius and the cruiser Endeavour, to plumb the secrets of the vast region known as the Taurus Reach.
A DOOMED RACE 
Drawn by mysterious energy readings to a lush green world, the crew of the Sagittarius find the Tomol: a species whose members all commit ritual suicide just as they reach the cusp of adulthood.
AN OLD FOE 
The crew of the Sagittarius wants to save the Tomol from their cycle of self-destruction, but first they’ll need to save themselves—from the most nefarious Klingon starship commander in history.

My thoughts:

Here it is: one of the most anticipated new Star Trek novels of the year: the first instalment of the all-new series, Seekers. How does it fare?

To start with, a bit of history of Seekers. After the end of the incredibly great Vanguard series, David Mack, Dayton Ward, and Kevin Dilmore were inspired by the art of Rob Caswell, who had done a series of faux covers in the style of the old James Blish Star Trek novels, which he titled The Seekers. These covers featured an Archer-class ship, just like the U.S.S. Sagittarius from Vanguard. At the end of the Vanguard series, the Sagittarius and the Endeavour were both sent out on missions of exploration in the Taurus Reach. These missions would serve as the backdrop for this new series, Star Trek: Seekers. Because of the inspiration his work had provided, not to mention the high quality of it, Caswell was invited to create the covers for the Seekers novels!

In the Seekers novel series, David Mack's novels feature the U.S.S. Sagittarius, while the novels penned by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore will showcase the U.S.S. Endeavour.

Seekers #1 is an exciting beginning to this new series. Bringing together characters we're familiar with from Vanguard along with a few new faces, the story serves as an excellent re-introduction to the Sagittarius. Under the command of Captain Clark Terrell (later seen as the commanding officer of the U.S.S. Reliant in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan), the Sagittarius is unlike any of the other Starfleet vessels featured in novels or on televised Trek. Much smaller than the larger Constitution-class starships, the Archer-class scout is only a few decks tall and features some very cramped quarters, in every sense of the word. The crew dynamic is much more laid-back than the reader might be used to. With a much smaller crew, the Sagittarius seems to boast a much more informal command structure. This leads to some interesting interactions among the crew, which some readers may find a little jarring.

The story itself is a fascinating one. We're introduced to the Tomol, a species with a surprising dark side. Just as its members reach adulthood, they commit ritual suicide by casting themselves into a fire pit. The society teaches that this is necessary, and most of the Tomol don't question it. However, one Tomol resists and manages to evade being cast into the pit (with the help of some Klingon interlopers). Turning the Trek trope of "we know better than you, and your quaint beliefs are wrong" on its head, it turns out that this ritual suicide might be a good idea after all; Nimur, the Tomol who escapes the fires, undergoes a frightening metamorphosis that has some very surprising connections to a prior threat from Star Trek: Vanguard.

Mack is a master of writing action and suspense. Near the end of the novel, when the Sagittarius is plummeting towards the planet surface, I was on the edge of my seat. Of particular note is a sequence in which Master Chief Illuci is attempting to get a critical component back on-line, and the bypass line he has rigged is only a few centimeters too short to reach the port. I was terrified for the safety of the ship! While Mack can also write epic, sweeping stories, it is the very human struggles of the characters in his novels that provide the true drama.

Final thoughts:

A few months ago in an interview on Trek.fm's Literary Treks podcast, Star Trek book editor Margaret Clark said that the reason the second Seekers novel was being released immediately after the first was because readers wouldn't be able to stand it otherwise. After reading this novel, I am forced to agree. An exciting and action-packed beginning to what looks to be an extremely promising new series, this novel earns top marks from me. I can't wait to read the conclusion to the story in Seekers #2: Point of Divergence.

Further resources:

TrekBBS discussion and review thread for Seekers #1: Second Nature
Podcast: Literary Treks 73: Like Red Lantern Sith (Interview with David Mack on Seekers #1)

Also by David Mack:

Star Trek: S.C.E. #7: Invincible, Part One of Two with Keith R.A. DeCandido (2001)
Star Trek: S.C.E. #8: Invincible, Part Two of Two with Keith R.A. DeCandido (2001)
Star Trek: Vanguard: Reap the Whirlwind (2007)
Star Trek: Vanguard: Precipice (2009)
Star Trek: Mirror Universe: The Sorrows of Empire, expanded edition (2010)
"The Stars Look Down" from Star Trek: Vanguard: Declassified (2011)
Star Trek: Mirror Universe: Rise Like Lions (2011)
Star Trek: Vanguard: Storming Heaven (2012)
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Cold Equations, Book I: The Persistence of Memory (2012)
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Cold Equations, Book II: Silent Weapons (2012)
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Cold Equations, Book III: The Body Electric (2013)
Star Trek: The Fall: A Ceremony of Losses (2013)

My next read:

A favorite of mine from the past few months: The Klingon Art of War by Keith R.A. DeCandido!


Friday, August 29, 2014

Get Eaglemoss to make a model of the USS Titan!

Fellow blogger "8 of 5" over at The Trek Collective has started a petition to get Eaglemoss to include a special U.S.S. Titan in their Star Trek Starships Collection! Click here to sign! If they get 5000 unique signatures, they will create a special edition model of the Titan in the collection. I don't know about you, but I'd love to see Will Riker's Luna-class starship get some love!


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A cover for DS9's Quark-centric e-book!

Next month sees the release of Deep Space Nine: Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found), an e-book from the writing team of Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann. This one looks like a lot of fun, especially for those of us who have been waiting ages for a new story with the words "Deep Space Nine" on the cover!

Look below for the cover art as well as the publisher's description and links to purchase the Kindle version from Amazon!


Business is down at Quark’s Public House, Café, Gaming Emporium, Holosuite Arcade, and Ferengi Embassy to Bajor. Way down. Lower level of hell down. The station is bustling, but residents and visitors are spending more time (and latinum) at the new Deep Space 9's park, sports fields, theater, swimming complex, and who knows what else, than they are at Quark’s establishment. All of Quark's misfortunes just could be reversed, however, when he finds out that one of the steamiest holonovels to hit the Alpha Quadrant in years is up for grabs. And he has an inroad to acquiring it before anyone else. Or does he?

Look for Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found) on September 1st, when it will be available for download!



Purchase Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found) from:


Release Day! Seekers #2: Point of Divergence

Today sees the release of another much-anticipated Trek novel: The second book in the exciting Seekers series, Point of Divergence by the writing team of Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore.

This one has been appearing on shelves already, and should be available everywhere today, including for download as an e-book. And look for my review of the first book, Second Nature, coming soon!

Check out the cover and back-cover blurb below, along with purchasing links!





Publisher's description:

The Taurus Reach. Once the conquered realm of a powerful alien species, this region remains largely shrouded in mystery even as it brims with potential for exploration and colonization. The Federation has sent in two of its finest starships on a quest to uncover the secrets it may yet hold...
The Tomol are a primitive civilization occupying a lone island on a remote world. Their culture is an enigma, centered on every member’s commitment to a painful, fiery self-sacrifice upon reaching maturity. But one of their clan has shunned this obligation, triggering a transformation into a new, powerful life form. Answering the distress call of the U.S.S. Sagittarius—which has crashed on the planet following a fierce battle with the Klingons—Captain Atish Khatami and the crew of the Starship Endeavour must now attempt a rescue mission…even as they are locked in battle with the evolving, increasingly malevolent Tomol who, if allowed to escape their home world, pose an imminent threat to the entire galaxy!

Purchase Seekers #2: Point of Divergence:

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


Previous Release: Seekers #1: Second Nature

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Light Fantastic

Star Trek: The Next Generation
The Light Fantastic by Jeffrey Lang
Release date: June 24th 2014
Read July 3rd 2014


Previous book (The Next Generation): The Fall: Peaceable Kingdoms
Next book (The Next Generation): Q Are Cordially Uninvited...


Paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Spoilers ahead for The Light Fantastic, Immortal Coil, and the Cold Equations trilogy!

From the back cover:
He was perhaps the ultimate human achievement: a sentient artificial life-form—self-aware, self-determining, possessing a mind and a body far surpassing that of his makers, and imbued with the potential to evolve beyond the scope of his programming.

And then Data was destroyed.

Four years later, Data’s creator, Noonien Soong, sacrificed his life and resurrected his android son, who in turn revived the positronic brain of his own artificial daughter, Lal. Having resigned his commission, the former Starfleet officer now works to make his way on an alien world, while also coming to grips with the very human notion of wanting versus having a child.

But complicating Data’s new life is an unexpected nemesis from years ago on the U.S.S. Enterprise—the holographic master criminal Professor James Moriarty. Long believed to be imprisoned in a memory solid, Moriarty has created a siphon into the "real" world as a being of light and thought. Moriarty wants the solid form that he was once told he could never have, and seeks to manipulate Data into finding another android body for him to permanently inhabit . . . even if it means that is Data himself.

Returning to the story begun in the novel Immortal Coil and continuing in the bestselling Cold Equations trilogy, this is the next fascinating chapter in the artificial life of one of Star Trek’s most enduring characters.


My thoughts:

I had a great many thoughts while reading this novel. Regular followers of my reviews will remember than I very much enjoyed the books that preceded this one in the telling of Data's story: Jeffrey Lang's own Immortal Coil, as well as the Cold Equations trilogy by David Mack that finally returned Data to the land of the living.

Is it Data, though?

That's the question I kept asking myself while reading The Light Fantastic. And as troubling as this may be, the answer I was forced to come to was no... and yes.

The new Data, not quite the same as the original.
A lot of the elements that made Data Data are there: the sometimes child-like innocence shows through occasionally, but it is definitely tempered by an "edge" that his character didn't have before. As user "Deranged Nasat" put it on TrekBBS's Trek Literature board, "Data 2.0 is both greatly familiar and alarmingly unpredictable." This is not exactly the Data we've come to know and love, but something new... but still someone who is familiar. And Jeffrey Lang is able to craft his voice perfectly.

The characters in this novel are a real treat to read about. The friendship between Data and Laforge has certainly changed, but still retains many of the elements of the close relationship they had in TNG. And kudos to Mr. Lang for addressing the minor discontinuity between David McIntee's novel Indistinguishable From Magic and the later TNG novels with regards to Laforge's relationship(s). Polyamory (or at least open relationships) seems to be a topic that is being explored lately.

Other characters in the novel such as Lal, Alice, Shakti, and Albert Lee were welcome additions, and each had unique moments that were a pleasure to read. The primary antagonist, Moriarty, and his consort, the Countess Regina Bartholomew, were likewise compelling. Moriarty has the potential to be a very clichéd villain, and it is the character's seeming awareness of this that contributes to how well he works in the story.

Moriarty returns to the land of the living in a spectacular fashion.

The continuity connections in this novel are nothing short of spectacular. As with his earlier entry, Immortal Coil, Lang mines the entirety of Trek history for ties to his story, drawing from The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager.

I particularly enjoyed the ending of this story. Both ambiguous and sowing the seeds for further adventures, the ending left me excited for further adventures with Data and even, perhaps, Moriarty.

Final thoughts:

In an interview on Trek.fm's "Literary Treks" podcast (an interview in which I had the priviledge of taking part), Jeffrey Lang said that Margaret Clark--editor of the Trek literature line at Pocket Books--called Lang's story a "nice dessert" after the seriousness of The Fall and its political intrigue and machinations. I would have to agree. While the threat in The Light Fantastic is quite real, the story felt like a much-needed bit of lighter fare, and one that I enjoyed immensely. In my opinion, The Light Fantastic is the top Trek novel of the year (so far... we still have Seekers on the way, not to mention another Voyager entry from the amazing Kirsten Beyer!)

Top marks for this one from me. I look forward to seeing many more Jeffrey Lang novels to come!

Connections:

The Light Fantastic continues the story of Data from the following novels (in reading order):

Immortal Coil by Jeffrey Lang
Cold Equations, Book I: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack
Cold Equations, Book II: Silent Weapons by David Mack
Cold Equations, Book III: The Body Electric by David Mack

Further Resources:

TrekBBS discussion and review thread for The Next Generation: The Light Fantastic
Literary Treks 70: Data = Saffron - Podcast interview with Jeffrey Lang, author of The Light Fantastic


Also by Jeffrey Lang:

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Section 31: Abyss with David Weddle (2001)
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Immortal Coil (2002)

My next read:

Next up: the much-anticipated first book of the all-new Seekers series: Seekers #1: Second Nature by David Mack!


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Interview: Preston Neal Jones, Author of Return to Tomorrow: The Filming of Star Trek: The Motion Picture



Over at TrekCore.com, I interviewed Preston Neal Jones, the author/editor of the upcoming behind-the-scenes book, Return to Tomorrow: The Filming of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Click here to check out the interview! I'm pretty excited about this book. Behind-the-scenes info is always very cool, and the story behind The Motion Picture is a complicated and fascinating one, as becomes apparent when you read this interview!



Return to Tomorrow can be purchased at Creature Features by clicking here!