Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Literary Treks 130: Mestiko's Tomorrowland

Star Trek: Mere Anarchy
The Blood-Dimmed Tide by Howard Weinstein

The Mere Anarchy series has given fans a taste of what was happening in every period of the Original Series timeline as well as the important events in each of the characters lives. The penultimate book in the series is no exception.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther talk about The Blood-Dimmed Tide. We discuss Mestiko becoming a focal point, the oversight issue, bureaucracy, setting up the milieu of The Undiscovered Country, the Klingon Empire as a metaphor, Kirk's prejudice, frustration, and our ratings.

In the news segment, we talk about the new covers and blurbs for Elusive Salvation and Live by the Code, the German Prometheus trilogy, and Doug Drexler's upcoming covers for the Prey trilogy.

Literary Treks 130: Mestiko's Tomorrowland
Mere Anarchy: The Blood-Dimmed Tide

Previous episode: Literary Treks 129: SPECTRE Octopus

Next episode: Literary Treks 131

Sunday, November 29, 2015


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.

As always, my review: coming soon!

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:

Hardcover: 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


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!

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