Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Dominion: Olympus Descending

Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Volume Three
The Dominion: Olympus Descending by David R. George III
Published February 2005
Read April 24th 2015

Previous book (Deep Space Nine): Ferenginar: Satisfaction is Not Guaranteed

Next book (Deep Space Nine): Warpath

Spoilers ahead for Olympus Descending and the rest of the Deep Space Nine relaunch!

From the back cover:
Since its defeat in the war for the Alpha Quadrant, the Great Link -- the living totality of the shape-shifting Founders -- has struggled with questions. At its moment of greatest doubt, its fate, and that of the Dominion itself, is tied to Odo's investigation of his kind's true motives for sending a hundred infant changelings out into the galaxy. As Odo searches for answers and takes a hard look at his past choices, Taran'atar reaches a turning point in his own quest for clarity... one from which there may be no going back.

My thoughts:

The Founders: revered as gods by the other species that make up the Dominion, an interstellar empire created by the Changelings to bring order to a chaotic galaxy. But what if these self-proclaimed gods had a god of their own? What would that mean for them? And perhaps more importantly, what would that mean for their followers? This is the idea that is at the heart of Olympus Descending. As Odo and Laas work to discover the Founders' motivations, a momentous event is portended by the appearance of a nova in sky near the Omarion Nebula.

Odo and Laas, having returned to the link, are working to rediscover their people after a long absence.

The god of the Founders, The Progenitor, is the real reason the Founders sent out the 100 newly-formed changelings into the galaxy, of which Odo was one. Hoping to lure their god back to their original homeworld in the Omarion Nebula, the Founders believe they have finally succeeded. However, is the Progenitor truly a god? And what has become of it? The answer to this question in particular has a huge impact on the Founders.

Taran'atar visits the Female Changeling in prison.
Meanwhile, back in the Alpha quadrant, Taran'atar requests permission to visit the so-called "female changeling," incarcerated in a maximum security facility since the end of the war. Upon learning from her that the Founders have a god of their own, Taran'atar's entire worldview is thrown into disarray. Increasingly disillusioned about the mission that Odo has sent him on, his experience at the prison is the final impetus to cause him to question the divinity of the Founders and the value of the task he has been assigned.

David R. George III has created a dark and brooding story that served to capture my attention from page one. I was completely enthralled with this story, both with the experiences of Odo in the Great Link and with the self-doubt and fear experienced by the Jem'Hadar, Taran'atar. In particular, the author's depiction of the Great Link and the perspective of a changeling within it were very interesting, and something we never really got in the television series.

Part of the story also featured Odo's remembrances of the conversation between him and Kira following the events of the season six "war arc" stories. In those episodes, Odo seemingly betrayed Kira and the rest of the resistance, only to have a change of heart at the last minute. Odo and Kira's relationship was extremely strained by those events, and the resolution to this happens very unsatisfyingly off-screen in a conversation held in the wee hours of the morning between the two characters. Olympus Descending finally gives us the content of that conversation, something that must have been very challenging for the author to write. However, he pulls it off very well, giving us a resolution for these characters that rings true.

We finally get a satisfying resolution to Odo and Kira's falling out at the beginning of season six.

Final thoughts:

An excellent story that sets up the next chapter in the Deep Space Nine saga in a very compelling way. There are a lot of hanging threads with regards to the fate of Taran'atar, as well as that of Captain Kira and Lieutenant Ro. I'm also fascinated to see where the story of the Founders goes from here, as the Great Link has fundamentally changed following the events of this story.

An excellent conclusion to the Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine series, and a great jumping-off point for where the series will go from here.

Also by David R. George III:

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Mission Gamma, Book One: Twilight (2002)
Star Trek: The Lost Era: Serpents Among the Ruins (2003)
Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Plagues of Night (2012)
Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Raise the Dawn (2012)
Star Trek: The Original Series: Allegiance in Exile (2013)
Star Trek: The Fall: Revelation and Dust (2013)
Star Trek: The Lost Era: One Constant Star (2014)

My next read:

Next up is my review of the all-new TOS novel by the talented Dave Galanter: it's Crisis of Consciousness!

Covers and Blurbs for Seekers 3 and 4!

We have a double cover reveal for you this morning thanks to's first look at Seekers books 3 and 4! Check them out below along with the back-cover blurbs and links to pre-order from Amazon!

First up is Seekers #3: Long Shot by David Mack, due out at the end of July:

SCIENCE GONE MAD…Bizarre sensor readings lead the Starfleet scout ship Sagittarius to an alien world where efforts to harness a dangerous and unstable technology have thrown the laws of probability out of balance. Now, events that might have occurred only one time in a trillion are hap­pening constantly—to deadly and dazzling effect. 
A PLANET IN PERIL…As disasters and miracles multiply globally at an ever-increasing rate, it’s up to Captain Clark Terrell and his crew to shut down the experiment-gone-wrong before its storm of chaos causes the planet’s destruction. But the odds against their success—and their survival—might be too great to overcome.

Pre-order Seekers #3 from: 

And then, in late October, we get Seekers #4: All That's Left by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore:

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?

Pre-order Seekers #4:

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Literary Treks 101: Rainbow Rings of Terror!

The Gold Key Comics, Volume One (Part 2)

Starting with issue one, Gold Key created a unique look at what Star Trek might have been without the philosophy of Gene Roddenberry and basis in scientific extrapolation. The pulp wackiness of the series has delighted readers for close to 50 years.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther finish their look at the first volume of IDW's reprints. We talk about some of the ways things from the show begin to creep in to the comic, issues 4-6, where we laugh a lot, and give our ratings.

In our news segment, we review Ongoing #44.

Literary Treks 101: Rainbow Rings of Terror!
The Gold Key Comics, Volume One (Part 2)

Previous episode: Literary Treks 100: In the Shadow of the Emissary

Next episode: Literary Treks 102: 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Release Day! TOS: Crisis of Consciousness

The new Star Trek novel for May hits bookstores and online retailers today: The Original Series: Crisis of Consciousness by Dave Galanter! A very talented Trek writer, Galanter wrote one of my favorite standalone TOS novels, Troublesome Minds.

Check out the cover art and back cover blurb below, and as always, use the links to purchase Crisis of Consciousness from Amazon!

Publisher's description:
The crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise is completing a diplomatic mission with the Maabas, an alien race with whom they’d been sent to sign a treaty. The Maabas are a peaceful people who are not native to the star system they now inhabit, but were refugees from a great war long ago. Several hundred thousand took shelter on their new planet, and have been there for thousands of years. While they have warp capability, they do not travel the stars, but seek to explore within. The Federation’s interest is in the Maabas’s great intellectual resources. Their science, while behind Federation standards in some areas, excels in others. They are highly intelligent, with unique approaches, and their philosophy is in line with that of the Federation. But just as the pact is signed, the Enterprise is attacked by an unknown ship. They manage to show enough force to keep the alien vessel at bay…but a new danger arises, as their mysterious foes are the Kenisians—a race that used to inhabit this planet thousands of years ago, and now want it back.

Purchase The Original Series: Crisis of Consciousness:

Mass-market paperback: | |
E-book (Kindle): | |

Next Release: The Next Generation: Armageddon's Arrow

Saturday, April 25, 2015

That Sleep of Death

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Slings and Arrows, Book Four of Six
That Sleep of Death by Terri Osborne
An e-book exclusive novella
Published January 2008
Read April 19th 2015

Previous book (Slings and Arrows): The Insolence of Office
Next book (Slings and Arrows): A Weary Life

E-book (Kindle): | |

Spoilers ahead for That Sleep of Death and the rest of the Slings and Arrows series!

From the back cover:
In the wake of increased concern over the Dominion threat, Dr. Beverly Crusher has attempted to improve morale on the Enterprise by starting up her theatre company -- starting with a production of A Christmas Carol. But before opening night, a devastating malady starts striking down the crew.

Forced to rely on a piece of technology she despises -- the Emergency Medical Hologram -- Dr. Crusher must find a cure before it's too late!

My thoughts:

Slings and Arrows has been a generally entertaining series. The first three books have been fascinating insights into the characters, both primary and secondary, and have given us some interesting glimpses into the reasons behind many of the changes between Star Trek: Generations and First Contact. I enjoyed learning more about Lieutenants Hawk and Daniels, and witnessing the series of events that led to Geordi transitioning from his VISOR to the ocular implants he wears in the later TNG films.

However, with this novella, the series takes a bit of a downward turn. For one thing, it's short. Really short. Don't get me wrong, I understand that all of the books in this series are only novellas and are all somewhat short, but this one, coming in at approximately 43 printed pages, is by far the shortest. This serves to undermine the story quite a bit, in my opinion. The main crisis of the story barely gets off the ground before it is solved in a very anticlimactic way.

There are a couple of positives worth noting, however. One of the biggest disappointments of the TNG films was how divorced they are from the television series. Much of the time, the characters feel very different and the general atmosphere feels quite separate from the day-to-day reality of TNG. In That Sleep of Death, Terri Osborne takes steps to rectify that by introducing some elements from the television series, most notably Dr. Crusher's theatre company. These little touches would have been very welcome in the TNG films, rather than much of the action schlock that we got. Additionally, Barclay is a favorite character of mine, and I was pleased that he had a role to play in this story.

Dr. Crusher's theatre group makes a welcome return in That Sleep of Death.

Also, I have to compliment this book on the cover art, something that has been lacking in this series. This cover is by far the best, and a marked improvement over the somewhat disturbing cover on the last installment!

Final thoughts:

The first true disappointment of the Slings and Arrows series. An overly rushed setup and payoff meant that I felt no sense of the stakes or danger in this story. A quick resolution to the plot that was barely explained left me scratching my head at the end of the book. However, small touches such as the return of Dr. Crusher's theatre company from the TNG series make the TNG film era a little more palatable.

More about this book:

My next read:

Next week, look for my review of the final story in the Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine series: The Dominion: Olympus Descending by David R. George III!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Literary Treks' 100th Episode! In the Shadow of the Emissary

Deep Space Nine: Rising Son by S.D. Perry

The last time Jake Sisko was seen in the Deep Space Nine relaunch, he had bought a ship from Quark and was headed into the wormhole in an effort to fulfill a prophecy that seemed to indicate he would be reunited with his father. It would not be until six books later that we would have an answer to the question, "What happened to Jake?".

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther talk about Rising Son. We discuss our first impressions, Opaka's escape, Jake's life in his father's shadow, how we live, free will, predestination, responsibility, life's purpose, planting the seeds for the future, and our ratings.

In our news segment, we talk about the way the Star Trek books hold up, judge a book by it's cover, and then celebrate the 100th episode by talking about some of the favorite books we've covered, interviews, and a sincere thank you to all of the listeners for their support as well as to the authors for being so generous with their time.

Literary Treks 100: In the Shadow of the Emissary
Deep Space Nine: Rising Son by S.D. Perry

Previous episode: Literary Treks 99: Dr. Seuss Trek

Next episode: Literary Treks 101: Rainbow Rings of Death!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Ferenginar: Satisfaction is Not Guaranteed

Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Volume Three
Ferenginar: Satisfaction is Not Guaranteed by Keith R.A. DeCandido
Published February 2005
Read April 3rd 2015

Previous book (Deep Space Nine): Bajor: Fragments and Omens

Next book (Deep Space Nine): The Dominion: Olympus Descending

MMPB: | |
Kindle: | |

Spoilers ahead for Satisfaction is Not Guaranteed and the rest of the Deep Space Nine relaunch!

From the back cover:
Quark's profit-driven homeworld is rocked with scandal as shocking allegations involving his brother's first wife, the mother of Nog, threaten to overthrow Rom as Grand Nagus of the Ferengi Alliance. Making matters worse, Quark has been recruited by Rom's political adversaries to join their coup d'etat, with guarantees of all Quark ever dreamed if they succeed in taking his brother down. While Ferenginar's future teeters on the edge, the pregnancy of Rom's current wife, Leeta, takes a difficult turn for both mother and child.

My thoughts:

Deep Space Nine accomplished many things during its seven-year run as a television series. One of the most important things it did was to redeem the Ferengi in the eyes of many Star Trek fans, including me. The DS9 Ferengi were no longer trying to be the supposed threatening antagonists they were branded as initially in TNG. Instead, through the characters of Quark, Rom, and Nog, we got to know the Ferengi on a more personal level. The Ferengi became people rather than comical profit-driven buffoons. While there was still a certain amount of buffoonery, these characters were now dynamic and certainly more realistic.

The government of Grand Nagus Rom is under threat in Satisfaction Is Not Guaranteed.

Satisfaction Is Not Guaranteed continues that trend admirably. While it certainly is comical, this story explores the Ferengi homeworld and presents it in a realistic way. From the perspective of the Federation and its values, the Ferengi can seem "backwards" or overly silly, but to the Ferengi, profit is a serious business. I enjoyed how even the non-Ferengi took the situation seriously when it would be easy to laugh off the politics of Ferenginar. Lieutenant Ro and her experiences on Ferenginar gave us an interesting outsider's perspective to the events in the novel.

I remember my trepidation regarding this novel years ago when I read the back-cover blurb. While I definitely understand that Quark is an old-school Ferengi who dislikes the direction the new Ferenginar is taking, I was worried about the damage done to his character if the story made him actually participate in a coup against his brother Rom. However, my fears were ill-founded, as DeCandido handles Quark's character with his usual sensitivity and style. I enjoyed the internal struggle that Quark experiences while wrestling with whether or not to support his brother's government despite his misgivings. The fact that his old adversary, the slimy FCA Liquidator Brunt, returns in this story makes Quark's decision much easier!

Once again, Brunt is scheming to become Grand Nagus.

The Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine series is touted as a look into the cultures of Star Trek, in much the same way that Spock's World explored Vulcan. In that respect, Satisfaction Is Not Guaranteed is very satisfying. While we visited Ferenginar a couple of times during Deep Space Nine, we never really got a feel for what life on the planet was like day-to-day. This novella gives us more of that experience, and we see a lot more of Ferenginar than we have before. Ferenginar feels like a real place in the pages of this story.

Final thoughts:

A generally lighthearted story that still has huge repercussions for the Ferengi. While there are many comical elements to the story, Satisfaction Is Not Guaranteed still treats the Ferengi with respect and dignity in the style of the best Ferengi episodes of Deep Space Nine. Over the course of the series, Quark turned into a truly round and multi-faceted character, and one of my favorites. I enjoyed the look into his beliefs and the choices that have led him to where he is now. The glimpses into the day-to-day life of the average Ferengi citizen was very interesting as well.

A great addition to the Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine series, and one that any Quark fan should enjoy immensely.

Also by Keith R.A. DeCandido:

Star Trek: S.C.E. #2: Fatal Error (2000)
Star Trek: S.C.E. #6: Cold Fusion (2001)
Star Trek: S.C.E. #7: Invincible, Part One of Two with David Mack (2001)
Star Trek: S.C.E. #8: Invincible, Part Two of Two with David Mack (2001)
Gateways, Book Four: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Demons of Air and Darkness (2001)
"Horn and Ivory" from Star Trek: Gateways, Book Seven: What Lay Beyond (2001)

Star Trek: S.C.E. #10: Here There Be Monsters (2001)
The Klingon Art of War (2014)

My next read:

Next week, part four of the Slings and Arrows series: That Sleep of Death by Terri Osborne.