Sunday, July 27, 2014

Interview: David R. George III on One Constant Star!



Trekcore.com has posted my interview with Trek scribe David R. George III. I spoke with him receontly about his latest novel, The Lost Era: One Constant Star. Click here to check out the interview, and here to check out my review!

And click below for links to purchase One Constant Star from Amazon!

Purchase (MMPB): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
Purchase (e-book): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Release Day! Seekers #1: Second Nature

Okay, so I'm a day late with this one!

But yesterday was the official release date for one of the most anticipated novels of the year (by me, anyway!): Star Trek: Seekers #1: Second Nature by David Mack.

Following up on the tremendously good Vanguard series, Seekers follows the crews of the Sagittarius and Endeavour as they explore the vast Taurus Reach following the end of the Shedai threat.

Many have been finding this one on the shelf already over the past week, but it should be widely available now, including the downloadable e-book edition!

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





Publisher's description:

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.


Purchase Seekers #1: Second Nature:

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


Previous Release: The Next Generation: The Light Fantastic
Next Release: Seekers #2: Point of Divergence


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Literary Treks 68: Did I Just Say Pshaw?

Hello, everyone! I was once again a guest of Christopher Jones and Matthew Rushing on the wonderful podcast from Trek.fm, Literary Treks! This time we talked about the latest e-book release from Simon & Schuster, The Original Series: The More Things Change by Scott Pearson. (You can read my review of this novella here.)

Click below to check out this podcast! At Trek.fm's download page, you'll find a variety of ways to listen. Enjoy, and let me know what you thought!

Literary Treks 68: Did I Just Say Pshaw?

The More Things Change.

Spock's encounter with V'ger in Star Trek: The Motion Picture had a profound impact on the Vulcan and his interactions with those around him. We didn't get to see this effect on screen, but Scott Pearson's new eNovella The More Things Change gives us a glimpse of Spock's life six months after TMP. With an ailing Audrid Dax in need of medical treatment from Trill doctors, Spock and Doctor Christine Chapel must transport the mysterious alien commissioner to a rendezvous with a Trill medical ship. The journey is not an easy one, however, and an alien attack puts the relationship between Spock and Chapel to the test, while at the same time forcing Christine to violate another culture's rules and uncover a shocking truth about the Trill—they are a joined species.

In this episode of Literary Treks hosts Matthew Rushing and Christopher Jones are joined by Dan Gunther of Trek Lit Reviews to discuss The More Things Change, whether the eNovella format gives Pearson enough room to explore his concept, why Dax is in the story, and whether the real purpose is to explore Spock and Chapel or merely Chapel herself.

In our news segment we take a look at the Star Trek Pop-ups book and review the first issue of The Q Gambit, IDW's crossover of Q and the Abramsverse.



Monday, July 14, 2014

The More Things Change

Star Trek: The Original Series
The More Things Change by Scott Pearson
An e-book exclusive novella
Release date: June 23rd 2014
Read July 7th 2014


Previous book (The Original Series): Serpents in the Garden


Kindle e-book: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Spoilers ahead for The More Things Change!

From the back cover:
Six months after the events of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Doctor Christine Chapel and Spock must save the life of an ailing Audrid Dax, her true nature as a Trill having remained a mystery until now. But after an unknown vessel attacks their shuttle, a risky game of cat-and-mouse may be the only way to save all their lives.

My thoughts:

The More Things Change is another in a line of e-book exclusive novellas that Pocket Books has been releasing this year. Like Seasons of Light and Darkness, this novella is set during the TOS movie era, but this time shortly after The Motion Picture. The More Things Change makes very good use of this era, reflecting many of the changes that the characters went through between TOS and The Motion Picture.

The central character in this novella is Dr. Christine Chapel, a character we didn't see very much of beyond The Motion Picture. The reasons for her departure from the Enterprise are among the ideas explored in this story. A great deal of the characterization in this story is very welcome. Although Chapel was never a character who was very central to Star Trek plots, I've always been curious about what became of her after The Motion Picture. I felt that this novella's treatment of her character was thoughtful and well-written.

Christine Chapel gets a starring role in The More Things Change, answering a number of questions about what happened to her after The Motion Picture.
The other character explored in this story is Spock, who is very much changed by his recent experiences with the machine intelligence, V'Ger. Over the years, many stories written in the period after The Motion Picture have ignored the changes that his character underwent, and instead wrote the same cold, emotionless Spock we know from TOS. This story, however, follows the excellent example laid out by Christopher L. Bennett's fantastic novel, Ex Machina, and fully explores this new Spock, who is experimenting with integrating emotions into his life.

At times, I felt that the voice of Spock was off, and that he was being somewhat over-emotional. However, upon further reflection after completing the novella, I realized that this is precisely the time in his life in which he would be pushing the boundaries of his emotions, and maybe not always finding the proper balance. By the time we next see him in canon, in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, many years have passed, more than enough time for him to have found that balance.

The Spock we get in The More Things Change is the more emotional Spock of the end of The Motion Picture, rather than the cold logic of the Spock of TOS.

Finally, the choice to use the character of Audrid Dax in this story was an interesting one. I sometimes fear that Star Trek comes close to experiencing "small universe syndrome" from time to time, and at times I felt that having Dax in this story caused The More Things Change to suffer from this malady. However, her character is used to good effect for the most part, and if the story had been longer, it's possible that her presence in the story could have been explored further.

Finally, I have spoken before about the positive aspects of the shorter novellas that have recently been published in e-book form: stories that feel more like episodes, and some that serve as short character pieces that couldn't necessarily be done as longer novels. The More Things Change illustrates another advantage: the ability to place stories in settings that may not work in a novel format. The previously mentioned Ex Machina by Christopher L. Bennett was a fantastic story, and one that was praised by many Trek novel readers. However, it apparently did not sell well enough to warrant more novels set in that period. E-book novellas, on the other hand, are much less expensive to produce, and we can thus get stories about subjects or settings that might not otherwise sell well enough. We get excellent stories, and authors get a greater freedom to write what they want; it's a win-win!

Final thoughts:

Another e-book release that makes excellent use of the shorter novella format. A fun adventure that can be read in an afternoon, and one that gives some nice insight into Chapel and Spock during an period of transition in their lives. A setting that is not often explored gives this novella an extra bit of draw for me. I very much enjoyed this story, and recommend it for any and all Trek fans who want a peek into a time period that hasn't been written about much of late.

My next read:

One more novel, and I'll be all caught up with the new releases from Pocket Books! Next is Jeffrey Lang's Data story, The Light Fantastic!


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

One Constant Star

Star Trek: The Lost Era
2319
One Constant Star by David R. George III
Release date: May 27th 2014
Read June 16th 2014


Previous book (The Lost Era): Terok Nor: Dawn of the Eagles
Previous book (Enterprise-B Adventures): The Lost Era: Serpents Among the Ruins


Purchase (MMPB): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
Purchase (e-book): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Spoilers ahead for One Constant Star!

From the back cover:
When Captain Demora Sulu leads the crew of U.S.S. Enterprise-B on a mission near Tzenkethi space, they explore Rejarris II, a planet they cannot explain. A strange structure on the surface could hold answers, but when a landing party transports down to study it, chaos erupts. After communication fails with one officer and another is horribly injured, Captain Sulu deems the planet too dangerous to continue exploring. She decides to leave Rejarris II, but not until she can retrieve her lost crew member. But when contact is ultimately severed with the captain, a Tzenkethi force subsequently appears. Could they be behind the mysteries on the planet, or the disappearances of the Enterprise officers?
Once, John Harriman commanded the Enterprise-B, with Demora Sulu by his side as his first officer. Eight years after stepping down as a starship captain—in the wake of the Tomed Incident—Harriman now serves as an admiral based out of Helaspont Station, on the edge of the Tzenkethi Coalition. When he receives a mysterious message from Rejarris II, Harriman realizes that he might hold the key to finding his former crewmate. In choosing to help recover Demora Sulu, though, he could risk losing everything he holds dear. What price is Harriman willing to pay to attempt to rescue his longtime friend?

My thoughts:

When I first heard that David R. George III would be writing a new Lost Era novel, and that it would feature Captain Demora Sulu and the crew of the Enterprise-B, I have to admit that I was expecting another political thriller in the vein of his earlier Enterprise-B novel, Serpents Among the Ruins. However, One Constant Star turned out to be anything but. With more of a "strange new worlds" or planetary mystery feel, One Constant Star sets aside the political landscape of the Federation and its surrounding neighbors for awhile and focuses on a Captain and her crew trying to overcome adversity, with repercussions that are far more personal for Captain Sulu than she expected.

Demora Sulu, seen here as an ensign in her very short amount of screen-time in Star Trek: Generations, is now a captain and the commanding officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-B.
One aspect of One Constant Star that I really enjoyed was DRG's use of attention-grabbing action sequences. There are a number of scenes in this book that had me turning pages late into the night, including a harrowing attack on our heroes by a number of hideous spider-like beings, a fun sequence in which a fleet of shuttlecraft transport a large object from the surface of a planet into orbit, and finally a nail-biting portrayal of a starship's final moments as it is ripped apart by an alien device. The author is very good at writing action, and these sequences really grabbed hold of me and pulled me into the story.

When it comes down to it, One Constant Star is a story about responsibility. When a crewman is injured and becomes stranded on an alien world, Captain Demora Sulu feels individually responsible for ensuring his safe return. When Demora herself goes missing, her former commanding officer, Admiral Harriman, feels responsible for getting her back. He, in turn, is responsible to another: his wife, Sasine. Responsibility is at the core of the human experience and informs everything we do. One Constant Star explores this facet of humanity quite well.

Finally, One Constant Star made me truly care about these characters. DRG had his work cut out for him writing this novel (and his prior Lost Era stories) when he had to come up with an entire command crew for the Enterprise-B, most of whom have never had any screen time in a Trek episode or film. Characters such as Sulu's second in command, Linojj, really made the story come alive. Her attempts to deal with a horrific injury were particularly great to read. DRG was able to make these characters meaningful, with experiences and reactions that felt very real. Finally, the reveal of Demora Sulu as a bisexual (or possibly pansexual) woman was a welcome surprise, as was what is possibly Trek's first flirtation with the idea of open (or perhaps even polyamorous?) relationships.


Final thoughts:

While One Constant Star was not the political thriller I was initially expecting, I was still pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this story. A tale of trust and responsibility to the people in one's life, One Constant Star continues the tradition of Star Trek exploring something greater than the vastness of the cosmos: our own human frailties and strengths. As it says at the end of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the human adventure is just beginning.

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)

My next read:

Next up in the summer reading catch-up is the recent e-book release by Scott Pearson: The More Things Change. Coming soon!


Monday, June 30, 2014

Seasons of Light and Darkness

Star Trek: The Original Series
Seasons of Light and Darkness by Michael A. Martin
Published April 28th 2014
Read May 1st 2014


Previous book (The Original Series): No Time Like the Past
Next book (The Original Series): Serpents in the Garden


Purchase (Kindle) from Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Spoilers ahead for Seasons of Light and Darkness!

About the novella:

Near the beginning of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, you may recall Kirk and McCoy discussing Kirk's current circumstances as a Starfleet admiral, and McCoy's frustration with Kirk for not pursuing his first, best destiny: command of a starship. In this novella, we join the two of them during that discussion, after which McCoy leaves Kirk's apartment and seeks the counsel of an old colleague: Spock. Somewhat intoxicated, McCoy discusses with Spock his belief that Jim is making a mistake, and regales the Vulcan with a tale of his mission to Capella IV, before joining the crew of the Enterprise (referenced in the TOS episode "Friday's Child").

Kirk and Bones drink Romulan ale and discuss the Admiral's career choices.


My thoughts:

When I first watched The Original Series as a kid, my favorite character by far was the enigmatic Mr. Spock. However, upon re-watching the series (many times) as an adult, my favorite character became Dr. Leonard McCoy. The warmth and humanity he brought to the show was an important counter-balance to the logical and completely rational Spock. Therefore, when I heard that this novella would be focusing on his character, I was on board.

In the recent run of Star Trek e-book novellas, we've seen where they succeed: as small, self-contained episode-like instalments. In Seasons of Light and Darkness, we see another area in which they can succeed: as small character pieces that highlight aspects of the characters' lives. As we follow McCoy in his encounter on Capella IV, we see the foundation of the man he would become in the television series.

The strength of this story lies in how true it is to McCoy's character. We see his compassion and dedication to his duty as a physician shine through as he deals with the people of Capella IV. Another aspect of the story that fascinated me was the exploration of Capellan society itself. We get into it a bit in the original television episode, but Martin is able to explore the nuances of this culture in more depth here. I enjoyed the way he portrayed their society, especially in parts such as members of the landing party being given the "gift" of combat.

In Seasons of Light and Darkness, we learn more about Capella IV's people and customs.

The most disturbing thing that came out of this novella, however? The idea that the Federation's need for a particular mineral seems to completely trump the prime directive. I suppose, however, that this idea was part and parcel of the episode "Friday's Child," and didn't originate here.

Final thoughts:

An interesting character piece that gives insight into the character of Dr. McCoy. Martin has a good handle on his character, and I could definitely hear the late Deforest Kelley's "voice" as I read this novella. A fun read that one is able to get through in an afternoon. The author uses the e-book novella format very well here. This is one that I recommend for any fan of McCoy.

Also by Michael A. Martin:

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Mission Gamma, Book Three: Cathedral with Andy Mangels (2002)
Star Trek: Enterprise: Last Full Measure with Andy Mangels (2006)
Star Trek: Excelsior: Forged in Fire with Andy Mangels (2007)
Star Trek: Enterprise: The Romulan War: To Brave the Storm (2011)
Star Trek: Titan: Fallen Gods (2012)

My next read:

Next review: another catch-up review from last month: The Lost Era: One Constant Star by David R. George III. Until next time!


Monday, June 23, 2014

Serpents in the Garden Roundup


Hey everyone! Recently, I posted my review of Jeff Mariotte's latest novel, The Original Series: Serpents in the Garden. But writing that review isn't the only thing I've got on the go with that novel!

Over at Trekcore.com, my interview with Jeff Mariotte has just been posted. Click here to check that out!

And over on Trek.fm, I recently recorded a Literary Treks podcast with Christopher Jones. Click the links below to have a listen!




LITERARY TREKS #65: The Night Belongs to the Mugato

Show Notes and Streaming: https://trek-fm.squarespace.com/literary-treks/65
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/literary-treks-star-trek-books/id579978…
Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=30266&refid=stpr
TuneIn: http://tunein.com/radio/Literary-Treks-p526313/
Spreaker: https://www.spreaker.com/show/literary-treks_1
SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/trekfm/lt65
Libsyn: http://literarytreks.libsyn.com
Blubrry: http://www.blubrry.com/literarytreks
Downcast and Instacast: Search for "Literary Treks"
RSS Feed: http://trek-fm.squarespace.com/literary-treks?format=rss