Monday, November 13, 2017

Release Day! DS9: I, The Constable!

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
I, The Constable by Paula M. Block & Terry J. Erdmann

Today sees the release of the latest e-book exclusive novella by Paula M. Block & Terry J. Erdmann: I, The Constable! Look below for the publisher's description and links to purchase from Amazon!

Publisher's description:
An original enovella set in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine universe!

With his Starfleet assignment temporarily on hold, Odo needs a distraction. He welcomes Chief O’Brien’s offer to loan him some of the action-packed books that both men relish: tales about hard-boiled private eyes, threatening thugs, and duplicitous dames. Then Quark suddenly goes missing during a hastily planned trip to Ferenginar. His concerned friends on Deep Space Nine feel that Odo, as the station’s former chief of security, is uniquely suited to track Quark down. But once on Ferenginar, Odo learns that Quark is trapped in the seamy underbelly of a criminal enterprise that could have been ripped from the pages of one of O’Brien’s novels. To find the bartender, Odo discovers that he must rely not only on his law enforcement background, but his knowledge of all things noir….

Purchase Deep Space Nine: I, The Constable:

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Previous Release: Discovery: Desperate Hours
Next Release: Titan: Fortune of War

Friday, November 10, 2017

Literary Treks 208: Something Something Dilithium Crystals

The Science of Star Trek from Tricorders to Warp Drive

Exclusive interview with author Dr. Ethan Siegel

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E-book (Kindle): |

Ever since Star Trek first hit television screens in 1966, audiences have been fascinated by the amazing technologies that are a part of every day life in the 23rd century. Over the past 51 years, Trek fans have imagined what it would be like to transport instantaneously from one place to another, have any kind of food or material replicated with a simple voice command, or travel to the stars aboard a warp-capable starship.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther are joined by author and scientist Dr. Ethan Siegel to discuss his new book, Treknology: The Science of Star Trek from Tricorders to Warp Drive. We talk about a number of technologies covered in the book, the process of writing it, the influence Star Trek has had on our collective imaginations and the technology of modern society, where our technologies may go in the future, and wrap up with where you can find Dr. Siegel online.

In our news segment, we reveal the back-cover blurb for Dayton Ward's upcoming Discovery: Drastic Measures, and review two comics: Boldly Go #12 and New Visions #18.

Literary Treks 208: Something Something Dilithium Crystals
Exclusive interview with Dr. Ethan Siegel, author of
Treknology: The Science of Star Trek from Tricorders to Warp Drive


Previous episode: Literary Treks 207: Video Game Save Point
Next episode: Literary Treks 209: The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Full Circle

Star Trek: Voyager
Full Circle by Kirsten Beyer
Published March 2009
Read July 30th 2016

Previous book (Voyager): Spirit Walk, Book 2: Enemy of My Enemy

Next book (Voyager): Unworthy

Spoilers ahead for Full Circle!

From the back cover:
When the U.S.S. Voyager is dispatched on an urgent mission to the planet Kerovi, Captain Chakotay and his first officer, Commander Thomas Paris, must choose between following their orders and saving the lives of two of those dearest to them. B'Elanna Torres and her daughter, Miral, are both missing in the wake of a brutal attack on the Klingon world of Boreth. With the aid of their former captain, Admiral Kathryn Janeway -- as well as many old friends and new allies -- Voyager's crew must unravel an ancient mystery, placing themselves between two warrior sects battling for the soul of the Klingon people...while the life of Miral hangs in the balance. 

But these events and their repercussions are merely the prelude to even darker days to come. As Voyager is drawn into a desperate struggle to prevent the annihilation of the Federation, lives are shattered, and the bonds that were forged in the Delta Quadrant are challenged in ways that none could have imagined. For though destiny has dealt them crushing blows, Voyager's crew must rise to face their future...and begin a perilous journey in which the wheel of fate comes full circle.

My thoughts:

Recently, the eighth episode of Star Trek: Discovery aired. Titled "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum" (If You Want Peace, Prepare for War), the episode was written by one of my favorite Trek novelists of all time: the supremely talented Kirsten Beyer. I'm on the record time and again for saying that Voyager is my least favorite Trek series, with shoddy character development and inconsistent plotting. All of that changed, however, when Kirsten Beyer took the reins of the "Voyager relaunch" and made the characters of this show into compelling people for whom I actually mustered some feelings for other than ambivalence! Who would have thought that I would actually end up caring about Harry Kim and Chakotay? For this review, I thought I would take a look at the novel that started the current state of affairs in the Voyager relaunch, Full Circle.

As I have talked about ad nauseam, the primary arena in which the television series Star Trek: Voyager disappointed me was in characterization. The series had so much potential with a cast of interesting characters, but rather than develop them over the course of seven years, it felt as though many of them were standing still. You could replace season six Chakotay with season one Chakotay, and I would wager that most viewers would never know the difference. All that changes in the literary universe, with Kirsten Beyer doing things with these characters I never thought possible.

While Admiral Janeway was killed in a prior novel, her presence looms large in Full Circle and subsequent Voyager novels.

Full Circle is split into two parts: in the first part, much of the story from the previous Spirit Walk duology is wrapped up, with B'Elanna and her daughter Miral on the run from a dangerous Klingon sect, along with the fallout from the Next Generation novel Before Dishonor by Peter David, in which Admiral Janeway lost her life while investigating a Borg cube. Various crewmembers from Voyager deal with her death, with Chakotay taking it the hardest. The second part of the novel takes place after David Mack's Star Trek: Destiny trilogy, in which the Federation faces a massive Borg invasion in which billions are killed.

The novel Before Dishonor and the Destiny series both play a big role in setting up the story in Full Circle.

This novel exemplifies all of the reasons I was so thrilled when Kirsten Beyer was announced as a staff writer on Star Trek: Discovery. Her ability to handle complex plots while at the same time masterfully writing compelling characters and real emotion is unparalleled. Not only are the old school Voyager characters served very well, but the new characters introduced into this universe are wonderful as well. I really enjoy the character of Afsarah Eden, the head of project Full Circle, and later the new captain of Voyager. Her story is set up in an interesting way, leaving lots of room for exploration of her background and destiny in the book series.

Another character that impressed me greatly is counsellor Hugh Cambridge. His acerbic attitude is a lot of fun, but he also has a very interesting arc with Chakotay. The journey these two take together is truly interesting, and I like how their relationship evolves.

Full Circle is one of those novels that you can return to again and again and still enjoy. Wonderful character work, some truly intriguing plot developments, and the setup for a great series of novels to come make this one a long time favorite of mine. Kirsten Beyer is at her best in the pages of Full Circle, and you owe it to yourself to check it out!

Final thoughts:

The entire Voyager series under Kirsten Beyer has been impressive, but this novel sets the stage for the greatness that follows. Full Circle was, at the time I first read it, one of the best Trek novels I had ever read, and now, years later, it retains much of that status. While it isn't my absolute favorite of the relaunch series (that honor is reserved for the truly singular Children of the Storm), it is still at the top of a very select list of truly great Trek novels. A huge hearty recommend from me: if you haven't read the Voyager relaunch novels by Kirsten Beyer, pick up Full Circle today and give it a go. Even if you're not the biggest Voyager fan, you will be impressed. This is some great stuff.

More about Full Circle:

Also by Kirsten Beyer:

My next read:

Next up for written reviews is a classic: Best Destiny by Diane Carey. Meanwhile, on the video review front, I am still working on TNG: Hearts and Minds by Dayton Ward from this past year. Coming soon!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Literary Treks 207: Video Game Save Point

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Gamma: Original Sin

Exclusive interview with author David R. George III

MMPB: | |
Kindle: | |

Benjamin Sisko has inhabited many roles in his life: husband, Emissary, and Starfleet Captain. But when a terrifying alien force attacks the USS Robinson and abducts 87 children, including Sisko's daughter Rebecca, his role as her father threatens to overwhelm all of the others, especially since this incident mirrors the kidnapping of Rebecca as a toddler six years earlier. Can he remain objective through this crisis and see it to a peaceful end, or will the possibility of the loss of his daughter spell doom for the mission?

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson are joined by author David R. George III to talk about his latest book, Deep Space Nine: Gamma: Original Sin. We discuss the two stories told in tandem, the character of Jasmine Tey, crime drama as Star Trek story, the nature of Rebecca Sisko, a completely alien encounter, the possibility of a Gamma series going forward, and where to follow David R. George III online.

In the news segment, we invite Amy Nelson of Earl Grey and The Edge back on the show to discuss issue number four of the Mirror Broken comic series from IDW.

Literary Treks 207: Video Game Save Point
Exclusive interview with David R. George III, author of Deep Space Nine: Gamma: Original Sin


Previous episode: Literary Treks 206: Almost Too Much Latitude
Next episode: Literary Treks 208: Something Something Dilithium Crystals

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Literary Treks 206: Almost Too Much Latitude

Star Trek: Discovery
Desperate Hours

Exclusive interview with author David Mack

Trade Paperback: | |
Kindle: | |

A new Star Trek series is a huge deal to Trek fandom. It's a pretty rare occurrence, and what's even rarer is a first novel that looks and feels anything like the actual show! But thanks to Discovery writer and tie-in guru Kirsten Beyer, the novels and the show are linked together like never before, and we as fans get to read about the adventures of Discovery at almost the same instant the show hits screens!

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther welcome author David Mack to talk about his new Discovery novel, Desperate Hours. We discuss the process of collaboration with Discovery's writers, Captain Pike's devotion to duty, Enterprise vs. Shenzhou, the Shenzhou's bridge crew, comparisons to the Vanguard series, Spock and Burnham, the look and feel of the universe, the book's non-canon status, and finish up with what David Mack has on the horizon.

In the news segment, we judge the covers of the upcoming Titan: Fortune of War, and Deep Space Nine: I, the Constable.

Literary Treks 206: Almost Too Much Latitude
Exclusive interview with David Mack about Discovery: Desperate Hours


Previous episode: Literary Treks 205: A Vulcan Mic Drop
Next episode: Literary Treks 207: Video Game Save Point

Monday, October 30, 2017

Literary Treks 205: A Vulcan Mic Drop

Star Trek: Sarek
by A.C. Crispin

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Kindle: | |

Vulcan Ambassador. Husband to Amanda. Father of Spock and Sybok. Guardian of Michael Burnham. Sarek has been many things during his long life, and few secondary characters have had the impact on the Star Trek universe that he has. But what are the innermost thoughts of this quiet, reserved character? And how will he respond to a crisis that may tear apart one of the founding worlds of the Federation and threaten the cohesion of that great institution?

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson are joined by Justin Oser of Earl Grey to talk about Sarek by A.C. Crispin. We discuss the setting, the bond between Sarek and Amanda, Klingon ambassador Kamarag, a timely topic of xenophobia, Kirk's nephew Peter, how Discovery's depiction of Sarek might compare, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.

In the news section, we talk about IDW's upcoming comics in December and review issue #11 of Boldly Go.

Literary Treks 205: A Vulcan Mic Drop
Sarek by A.C. Crispin


Previous episode: Literary Treks 204: Bath Time Fun With Mudd
Next episode: Literary Treks 206: Almost Too Much Latitude

Literary Treks 204: Bath Time Fun With Mudd

Star Trek #81: Mudd In Your Eye
by Jerry Oltion

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Kindle: | |

Harcourt Fenton Mudd: liar, thief, brigand, and frequent thorn in the side of Starfleet captain James T. Kirk. Most who encounter this man would say he has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. However, could it be possible that Mudd is now the architect of an unprecedented peace treaty between warring factions who have been fighting for millennia?

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther are joined by The Edge and Melodic Treks' Brandon Shea-Mutala to discuss Mudd In Your Eye. We talk about silly reasons for war, transwarp beaming, the nature of death for the Nevisians, another society run by computer, Stella Mudd, how we think Mudd might compare in this novel to his depiction in the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.

In the news segment, we discuss the release of David Mack's Desperate Hours and John Byrne's upcoming appearance at NYCC 2017.

Literary Treks 204: Bath Time Fun With Mudd
Star Trek #81: Mudd In Your Eye by Jerry Oltion


Previous episode: Literary Treks 203: The Ends Justify the Means
Next episode: Literary Treks 205: A Vulcan Mic Drop