Friday, May 19, 2017

Literary Treks 189: Embrace the Worf

Enemy Unseen Part 2: "Embrace the Wolf"



100 years earlier, a malevolent entity that feeds on fear threatened the crew of the Enterprise under Captain Kirk and framed Scotty for murder. At the time, Redjac, also known as Jack the Ripper, was thought to have been banished for all eternity. However, he has returned to terrorize the crew of another Enterprise!

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson present part two of our discussion about the Star Trek comics collection Enemy Unseen, which includes the story "Embrace the Wolf." We talk about a sequel to "Wolf in the Fold," Redjac, the unorthodox method used to defeat him, overcoming our fears, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.

In the news segment, we discuss a pair of interviews with the creators of the TNG mirror universe comic story Mirror Broken, announce that the UK Comics collection #3 is available for pre-order, judge the cover of the new DTI novella Shield of the Gods, and talk about David Mack's upcoming original novel The Midnight Front.

Literary Treks 189: Embrace the Worf
Enemy Unseen, Part 2: Embrace the Wolf






Previous episode: Literary Treks 188: Children of the Corn
Next episode: Literary Treks 190: Q-Squared

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Literary Treks 188: Children of the Corn

Dark Victory by William Shatner
with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens



James T. Kirk has faced many enemies over the course of his life: Klingons, Khan, Romulans, and countless others. However, none of them will prove as worthy an opponent as his most dreaded enemy: himself! The mirror universe shows us dark reflections of ourselves, and Kirk's counterpart, Tiberius, is the deadliest of them all!

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther discuss the William Shatner novel, Dark Victory, book two in his Mirror Universe trilogy. We talk about the plot, Project Sign, the pacing, a lack of trust, the legend of the Preservers, Kirk trying to outrun death, and our ratings.

In the news, we review two comics: New Visions 15: The Traveler, and Green Lantern: Stranger Worlds #6.

Literary Treks 188: Children of the Corn
Dark Victory by William Shatner with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens







Previous episode: Literary Treks 187: Lucsly's Head Would Explode
Next episode: Literary Treks 189: Embrace the Worf

Friday, May 5, 2017

Literary Treks 187: Lucsly's Head Would Explode

Voyager #2: The Escape
by Dean Wesley Smith & Kristine Kathryn Rusch



Time travel has been covered a lot in Star Trek. Starfleet characters often find themselves thrown about the space-time continuum, usually in some sort of unintended accident. But what if there was a society out there whose entire civilization was based on controlled and regulated time travel? Torres, Neelix, and Kim find themselves at the mercy of just such a society, having inadvertently broken their highest law. The punishment? Death.

This week on Literary Treks, Brandon Shea-Mutala joins hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson to help continue our look at the first original novels of each Star Trek series by going back to the very beginning of Voyager with The Escape. We discuss why this book, how well the authors capture the tone of Voyager and its characters, the plot, the society of Alcawell, inflexible bureaucracies, the characters of Kjanders and Drickel, some impractical shoes, and end with our final thoughts and ratings.

In the news, we discuss the current Pocket Books release schedule, reveal some upcoming DS9 titles, rate the cover for Enigma Tales, and review issue #7 of Boldly Go.

Literary Treks 187: Lucsly's Head Would Explode
Voyager #2: The Escape by Dean Wesley Smith & Kristine Kathryn Rusch







Previous episode: Literary Treks 186: Tragedy in Every Sense of the Word
Next episode: Literary Treks 188: Children of the Corn

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Homecoming

Star Trek: Voyager
Homecoming by Christie Golden
Published June 2003
Read June 5th 2016


Previous book (Voyager): The Nanotech War

Next book (Voyager): The Farther Shore



Spoilers ahead for Homecoming!

From the back cover:
After seven long years in the Delta Quadrant, the crew of the Starship Voyager now confront the strangest world of all: home. For Admiral Kathryn Janeway and her stalwart officers, Voyager's miraculous return brings new honors and responsibilities, reunions with long-lost loved ones, and for some, such as the Doctor and Seven of Nine, the challenge of forging new lives in a Federation that seems to hold little place for them. 
But even as Janeway and the others go their separate ways, pursuing new adventures and opportunities, a mysterious cybernetic plague strikes Earth, transforming innocent men, women, and children into an entirely new generation of Borg. Now the entire planet faces assimilation, and Voyager may be to blame!

My thoughts:

Ever since the success of Deep Space Nine's Avatar, the Pocket Books Star Trek novel line has shown great interest in setting books after the finales of the various series, with novels such as Enterprise: The Good That Men Do and The Next Generation: Death In Winter kicking off the "relaunches" of their respective series. In some cases, the relaunch attempts to "right the wrongs" of the series finale, most obviously with the revelation of Trip Tucker's true fate in The Good That Men Do, undoing the grave disservice to his character in the Enterprise finale, "These Are the Voyages...". In a similar manner, I feel that Homecoming attempts to fix some of the problematic parts of the Voyager finale, "Endgame."

But what happened after the credits? Homecoming answers that question.

One of the biggest problems I had with "Endgame" is that we don't see the aftermath of Voyager's return to the Alpha Quadrant in any way. This is a goal they've been struggling towards for seven years. The culmination of that epic journey of over 70,000 light-years is a plaintive "We did it" from Janeway, an order to set a course for home, and the roll of the credits. Regardless of one's thoughts about Voyager, I felt that fans of the show deserved a better ending than that. Thankfully, we get a bit of restitution in Homecoming, which deals with the arrival of Voyager and the repercussions not only for the crew, but for the Federation as well.

It turns out that with all that has happened to the Federation recently, especially the devastating Dominion War, the concerns regarding Voyager and her crew are very much secondary. I thought this was an interesting take on the story, the idea that all of the pomp and circumstance surrounding their return as seen in the future portion of "Endgame" would not be something that a Federation which has just been through a major conflict is interested in. While the return of Voyager is an important event, it really does take a backseat to other issues the Federation is dealing with.

Voyager's return ends up being a little more low-key than some were expecting.

Another issue from "Endgame" that I felt needed "fixing" was the poorly thought-out relationship between Seven of Nine and Chakotay. The entire relationship came out of left field, and I was supremely happy when Christie Golden ended it in Homecoming. However, kudos to her for paying it the respect it deserved. Chakotay and Janeway do not immediately leap into each others' arms; after all, the Chakotay/Seven relationship did happen, and it is at least worthy of acknowledgement even though its ending is most welcome.

Seven and Chakotay's relationship ends in Homecoming, and its ending is quite welcome (in my humble opinion).

There is a lot going on in this novel, and something interesting for each character to do, which is very welcome, especially when it comes to characters who have been under-served by the television series. Conspiracies and hidden plots abound in Homecoming, with some characters perhaps having agendas contrary to what we would expect from them. Unfortunately, Homecoming ends on a cliffhanger, with the story being taken up in the following novel, The Farther Shore. With my commitments to the Literary Treks podcast, I haven't been able to get to that novel, and it looks like I won't be able to for some time. Hopefully I can read it at some point, however, because I'm eager to see how this all plays out!

Final thoughts:

Righting some of the wrongs of "Endgame," Homecoming is the return home that fans of Voyager deserved. However, while it does get a lot right for the Voyager crew, it is certainly far from perfect. The story takes some strange turns plot-wise, but a great deal of intrigue will keep the reader interested enough to pick up part two, The Farther Shore.

Also by Christie Golden:

My next read:

Look for my next video book review, for the David Mack novel Section 31: Control, coming soon! As for written reviews, the next one will be for Enterprise: Kobayashi Maru by Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Long Mirage

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
The Long Mirage by David R. George III
Release date: February 28th 2017
Read March 15th 2017


Previous book (Deep Space Nine): Rules of Accusation

Next book (Deep Space Nine): Section 31: Control


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

Spoilers ahead for The Long Mirage!

Publisher's description:
More than two years have passed since the destruction of the original Deep Space 9. In that time, a brand-new, state-of-the-art starbase has replaced it, commanded by Captain Ro Laren, still the crew and residents of the former station continue to experience the repercussions of its loss. For instance: Quark continues his search for Morn, as the Lurian—his best customer and friend—left Bajor without a word and never returned. Quark enlists a private detective to track Morn down, and she claims to be hot on his trail. Yet the barkeep distrusts the woman he hired, and his suspicions skyrocket when she too suddenly vanishes. At the same time, Kira Nerys emerges from a wormhole after being caught inside it when it collapsed two years earlier. She arrives on the new DS9 to discover Altek Dans already there. While inside the Celestial Temple, Kira lived a different life in Bajor’s past, where she fell in love with Altek. So why have the Prophets moved him forward in time…and why have They brought him and Kira together?

My thoughts:

Click here to watch my video review of The Long Mirage, or click play on the embedded video below!





Final thoughts:

The Long Mirage finally continues the story of DS9 beyond the whole Ascendant arc, and I’m really happy to see some movement forward. It’s sadly a long time between novels, so the progress feels slow, but the story is finally moving in a direction that I’m really enjoying. It’s great to see Vic back, and I really appreciate that David R. George focuses so much on the really strong characters of DS9 and their relationships to one another.

More about The Long Mirage:


Also by David R. George III:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

Next up is a Christie Golden Voyager novel, set right after the finale, "Endgame": Homecoming!


Sunday, April 16, 2017

New Cover Art! Garak Returns in DS9: Enigma Tales!

We have another new cover to reveal today, this time for the next Deep Space Nine novel: Enigma Tales by New York Times bestselling author Una McCormack! Castellan Garak returns in this new tale, featuring Dr. Pulaski and Peter Alden from Una's previous novels, Brinkmanship and The Missing.

Check out the cover art below, as well as links to pre-order Enigma Tales from Amazon!




Publisher's Description:

Elim Garak has ascended to Castellan of the Cardassian Union... but despite his soaring popularity, the imminent publication of a report exposing his people's war crimes during the occupation on Bajor looks likely to set the military against him. Into this tense situation come Dr. Katherine Pulaski — visiting Cardassia Prime to accept an award on behalf of the team that solved the Andorian genetic crisis — and Dr. Peter Alden, formerly of Starfleet Intelligence. The two soon find themselves at odds with Garak and embroiled in the politics of the prestigious University of the Union, where a new head is about to be appointed. Among the front-runners is one of Cardassia’s most respected public figures: Professor Natima Lang. But the discovery of a hidden archive from the last years before the Dominion War could destroy Lang’s reputation. As Pulaski and Alden become drawn into a deadly game to exonerate Lang, their confrontation escalates with Castellan Garak—a conflicted leader treading a fine line between the bright hopes for Cardassia’s future and the dark secrets still buried in its past...

Pre-order Enigma Tales from:

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


Monday, April 10, 2017

Literary Treks 186: Tragedy in Every Sense of the Word

Section 31: Control
Exclusive interview with David Mack



Section 31: The Federation's dirty little secret. Amoral, operating in the shadows, and accountable to no one, the secretive group has become a cancer in the body of the Federation. But what are Section 31's true origins? And can Julian Bashir finally succeed in bringing them down once and for all?

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson are joined by author David Mack to talk about his latest novel, Section 31: Control. We discuss the origins of the story, the surveillance state, a chapter written in computer code, the nature of the intelligence behind Section 31, the roles of Data and his daughter Lal, Sarina's part in the story, what's next for the Federation, and wrap up with some hints for future Trek novels as well as some upcoming convention appearances for David Mack.

In the news segment, we preview an upcoming George Takei project with IDW comics and review issue number six of Boldly Go.

Literary Treks 186: Tragedy in Every Sense of the Word
Section 31: Control - Exclusive interview with author David Mack







Previous episode: Literary Treks 185: Damiano's Pizza
Next episode: Literary Treks 188: Lucsly's Head Would Explode


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Avenger

Star Trek
Avenger by William Shatner (with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens)
First published May 1998
Read June 1st 2016


Previous book (Shatnerverse): The Return
Next book (Shatnerverse): Spectre

Hardcover: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
Mass-Market Paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

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


Spoilers ahead for Avenger!

From the back cover:
A lethal virus, inimical to all conventional forms of plant life, threatens the entire Federation with starvation and dissolution. With the Federation already on the brink of overpopulation, Starfleet's resources are stretched to the limit. Whole worlds and even complete star systems are placed under quarantine, causing interstellar food supplies to run dangerously low, and hostile alien empires to eye the weakened Federation with malevolence. But now, in this moment of Starfleet's greatest need, Captain James T. Kirk, long believed dead, embarks on a desperate quest to find the source of the mysterious virus.

Elsewhere in the galaxy, Ambassador Spock, his diplomatic efforts stalled by the spread of famine and chaos, returns to his native world of Vulcan to confront a mystery of a deeply personal nature. Did Sarek, his legendary father, really die of natural causes - or was he murdered? Determined to learn the truth, Spock begins a highly logical investigation that soon leads him to a reunion with a long-lost friend he never expected to see again. 

Kirk and Spock, together again, must join forces to save a new generation from an awesome menace unleashed by ruthless interplanetary conspiracy.

My thoughts:

At the end of The Return, Captain Kirk found himself in dire circumstances. Sacrificing his life once again to save countless others, it looked as though we had lost a Starfleet legend for the second (or perhaps third) time. However, in 1998, William Shatner (along with collaborators Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens), once again resurrected galactic hero James T. Kirk. And yet again, he would be in a position to save the Federation of the 24th century. Honestly, how did the Federation cope before Kirk was resurrected, anyway?

Avenger pits the retired captain against an ecological menace: a "virogen," wreaking havoc across the Federation, destroying plant life and, consequently, food supplies and entire ecosystems on many different worlds. I found this aspect of the book to be quite fascinating. I really enjoy when Star Trek stories kind of push against the basic ideas behind Star Trek. Boldly going, exploring, and seeking out strange new worlds; what could be the harm in that? Well, as we learn, the environmental impact of Starfleet and the Federation's program of exploration is a great deal more dire than we ever suspected. I definitely appreciated this "ecological" aspect to the story.


The death of Sarek plays a large role in Avenger. His death may not have been as natural as it appeared...

Another part of this story involves Ambassador Spock and his discovery about the truth behind the death of his father, Sarek. Spock comes to suspect that Sarek was murdered, a suspicion that is borne out in the course of Avenger. It turns out that his death was engineered by a group of renegades called the "Symmetrists." This organization began as an ecological lobby group on Vulcan, and over the centuries, evolved into a cabal of ecological terrorists. The two stories come together when it is revealed that the virogen was engineered by the Symmetrists, hoping to cause the collapse of the Federation.

There is a lot to like about Avenger. The ecological storyline is a welcome one, and I enjoy what the story has to say about unfettered exploitation of new environments versus a policy of ecological preservation. The use of continuity is excellent as well, tying the Symmetrists into known Trek canon, most notably the crimes committed by Governor Kodos on Tarsus IV (see: "The Conscience of the King" - TOS).

I appreciated Avenger's attention to Trek canon, tying events in the novel into known historical events such as the massacre by "Kodos the Executioner."

There were a couple of things about the story that irked me, however. Because it is a book in the "Shatnerverse," there is of course a sort of demigod quality to James T. Kirk. That is to be expected, but it does get in the way of the story at times. In particular, at the end of the novel, Kirk becomes the "Avenger" for Spock's father because of the special relationship they had. I was somewhat disappointed at the novel shoehorning Kirk into this role, and it felt somewhat unnatural. However, as I said, the overall story was definitely enjoyable, and I appreciated a lot of what it had to say.


Final thoughts:

A generally enjoyable outing in the "Shatnerverse," and a satisfying conclusion to the Odyssey trilogy. Despite a couple of annoying things about the story, including Kirk's continual elevation to superhuman levels, Avenger is a lot of fun, with an interesting ecological lesson to boot. For more thoughts on Avenger, check out our discussion on the Literary Treks podcast, episode 151. Link is below!

More about Avenger:


Also by William Shatner (with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens):

My next read:

Next up for written reviews is Voyager: Homecoming by Christie Golden. And keep an eye out for my video review of new release Deep Space Nine: The Long Mirage by David R. George III!


Literary Treks 185: Damiano's Pizza

Enemy Unseen, Part One
"Perchance to Dream" by Keith R.A. DeCandido



Captain Picard and the intrepid crew of the Starship Enterprise must stop a political assassination by extremists on a newly-admitted Federation world, all while battling their own inner demons thanks to a terrifying telepathic weapon. And the key to defeating that weapon can be found in the most unlikely place: the mind of Jean-Luc Picard!

In this week's episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson discuss "Perchance to Dream" by Keith R.A. Decandido, the first part in IDW's comic collection Enemy Unseen. We talk about Data's dreams, how the Damiano scandal mirrors our own society, Worf's security shortcomings, the crew's inner fears, Picard's multiple personalities, and finish with our ratings.

In the news segment, we preview new comics coming in June from IDW and review issue #4 of the Star Trek/Green Lantern crossover series, Stranger Worlds.

Literary Treks 185: Damiano's Pizza
Star Trek Classics Vol. 2: Enemy Unseen, Part 1: Perchance to Dream







Previous episode: Literary Treks 184: Don't Scratch Your Sand Pimples!
Next episode: Literary Treks 186: David Mack - Section 31: Control


Friday, March 31, 2017

Literary Treks 184: Don't Scratch Your Sand Pimples!

Enterprise: By the Book


Season one of Enterprise was a unique time in Star Trek history: for the first time, humans were setting out to explore the galaxy and make first contact with new alien species. Would they jump in with both feet, introducing themselves and their technology with little regard for the consequences, or would they take the slow, measured approach favored by the Vulcans?

In this week's episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson are joined by special guest Brandon-Shea Mutala to discuss the first original Enterprise novel: By the Book. We talk about the crew's RPG game, Archer's first contact style, how well the novel portrays the series in its early days, the two alien races, Vulcan logic vs. Human impulsiveness, and wrap up with our ratings.

In the news, we have a new TNG cover to judge and a new Waypoint comic to discuss.


Literary Treks 184: Don't Scratch Your Sand Pimples!
Enterprise: By the Book by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch






Previous episode: Literary Treks 183: Morn's Little French Beret
Next episode: Literary Treks 185: Damiano's Pizza


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Literary Treks 183: Morn's Little French Beret

Deep Space Nine: The Long Mirage
Exclusive interview with author David R. George III!



We once again return to everyone's favorite space station, Deep Space Nine! Kira has returned from her time in the celestial temple, Morn is still missing, and Nog wants his friend Vic Fontaine back. All of these stories end up tied together in ways you couldn't possibly imagine!

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 DS9 adventure, The Long Mirage. We discuss where the characters are now, the possible sentience of Vic Fontaine, Quark's relationships, Ro's choices, Sisko's absence, tying the Vic Fontaine and Morn stories together, faith and belief, and the meaning behind the title.

In the news segment, we preview the Jean-Luc Picard autobiography, anticipate the release of Section 31: Control, review the new Star Trek Deviations comic, and announce the title of David Mack's upcoming Star Trek: Discovery novel!


Literary Treks 183: Morn's Little French Beret
Interview with David R. George III, author of Deep Space Nine: The Long Mirage






Previous episode: Literary Treks 182: Tough Noogies
Next episode: Literary Treks 184: Don't Scratch Your Sand Pimples!


Release Day! Section 31: Control by David Mack!

Star Trek: Section 31
Control by David Mack

At long last, the much-anticipated follow-up to Section 31: Disavowed is here! I've been waiting to see what was next for Julian Bashir in his on-going clash with the enigmatic shadow organization, Section 31. And finally, we can all find out together!

Section 31: Control by David Mack officially releases today in bookstores everywhere and in e-book format. Download or order it today, preferably using the links below if you feel so inclined!

And maybe someone can tell me why Chapters, Canada's largest book retailer, still shows this as "not available in stores" even though the release day is upon us. Really? No store in Canada has this book? What is up with that, Chapters? It may be time to move exclusively to Amazon, I think.



Check out below for the cover art, back cover blurb, and links to purchase from Amazon! And look for my review of Section 31: Control, coming soon!



Publisher's description:
From the New York Times bestselling author David Mack comes an original, thrilling Section 31 novel set in the Star Trek: The Next Generation universe!

No law…no conscience…no mercy. Amoral, shrouded in secrecy, and answering to no one, Section 31 is the mysterious covert operations division of Starfleet, a rogue shadow group pledged to defend the Federation at any cost. The discovery of a two-hundred-year-old secret gives Doctor Julian Bashir his best chance yet to expose and destroy the illegal spy organization. But his foes won’t go down without a fight, and his mission to protect the Federation he loves just end up triggering its destruction. Only one thing is for certain: this time, the price of victory will be paid with Bashir’s dearest blood.

Purchase Section 31: Control:



Next Release: The Next Generation: Hearts and Minds

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New cover reveal! TNG: Hearts and Minds by Dayton Ward

New cover revealed for the next TNG adventure by Dayton Ward! I'm really looking forward to this one, as it is a follow-up to two of my favorite Ward adventures, From History's Shadow and Elusive Salvation! Check out the cover art and back cover blurb for the upcoming Hearts and Minds!



Publisher's Description:

An electrifying thriller from the New York Times bestselling author in the Star Trek: The Next Generation universe.

2031: United States Air Force fighter jets shoot down an unidentified spacecraft and take its crew into custody. Soon, it’s learned that the ship is one of several dispatched across space by an alien species, the Eizand, to search for a new home before their own world becomes uninhabitable. Fearing extraterrestrial invasion, government and military agencies which for more than eighty years have operated in secret swing into action, charged with protecting humanity no matter the cost...

2386: Continuing their exploration of the Odyssean Pass, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the Starship Enterprise discover what they at first believe is a previously uncharted world, with a civilization still recovering from the effects of global nuclear war. An astonishing priority message from Starfleet Command warns that there’s more to this planet than meets the eye, and Picard soon realizes that the mysteries of this world may well weave through centuries of undisclosed human history...


Pre-order Hearts and Minds from:

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


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Literary Treks 182: Tough Noogies

Star Trek: Countdown: Volume One



When the new J.J. Abrams Star Trek film hit theaters in 2009, audiences were left with a lot of questions: who is this Nero guy? Why does he have a super-powerful mining ship? And what exactly happened before he and Spock travelled to the 23rd century via black hole? Thankfully, those questions and more were answered if you were fortunate enough to read some well-timed IDW Star Trek comics!

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther talk about the four-issue comic miniseries Countdown. We discuss each of the issues, the character of Nero, a resurrected Data, Ambassador Picard, General Worf of the Klingon Empire, Spock and Nero's ultimate fate, and conclude with our ratings.

In the news segment, we talk about upcoming comics for May, a special preview of issue number one of Mirror Broken, and an exciting sale on Star Trek comics at Comixology!


Literary Treks 182: Tough Noogies
Countdown, Volume One






Previous episode: Literary Treks 181: Mas Marko? Mas Polo!
Next episode: Literary Treks 183: Morn's Little French Beret