October 18, 2016

Sci-fi MEGA post

Today's post is going to be quite ambitious and it's been a good long while in the making. I'm going to attempt to review 9 novels that were compiled into 3 volumes. O_O As you all know, I'm a big fan of Star Trek (I just remembered that my last post was Trek related as well. Oops?) and the recently rebooted original (created through an alternate reality timeline) is what got me hooked. These books are in a similar vein in that they feature some of our favorite characters but in reimagined universes. it's been an interesting experience to say the least so I'm quite excited to share my reviews of them. Let's go!

Star Trek: Myriad Universes #1: Infinity's Prism

A Less Perfect Union by William Leisner explores a world where Christopher Pike remains the captain of the Enterprise while James T. Kirk is at his side as First Officer. Where's Spock? Well, Vulcans are not a member of the Federation of Planets...in fact, Earth is at odds with the Vulcans due to an incident many years earlier which devastated San Francisco. Kirk has his own bone to pick with the Vulcan people and it all comes to a head when the Enterprise picks up T'Pol for a diplomatic mission to try to repair relations with their alien neighbors. Stranger still, McCoy has joined the crew and he and Kirk immediately butt heads over what McCoy perceives is Kirk's racist feelings toward the Vulcans. Of course, longtime fans of TOS will find this humorously ironic. It's politically and racially charged with tons of action just like all the great Trek episodes. 9/10

Maybe my favorite of the entire lot was Places of Exile by Christopher L. Bennett. I've never seen any episodes of Voyager (I know, I know) so I found this one extremely easy to accept as canon. I guess it might have been harder if you already knew the "real" events of this universe. For those unfamiliar, the crew of Voyager is stranded in the Delta Quadrant and are trying to find their way back to planet Earth while navigating the unknown (and dangerous) stretch of space in-between. In this version, their ship is crippled and they must make an emergency landing on a planet where they are essentially refugees forced to make new lives for themselves. It delves into how each member of the crew reacts to the knowledge that they will most likely never reach their homes in their lifetimes. I love character studies so this one was right up my alley. 10/10

What would happen if Khan had actually succeeded in his quest to rule Earth and create a dominant race of superhumans? Well, Seeds of Dissent by James Swallow has a truly terrifying answer. After Khan's victory, augmented humans become the norm and Khan is viewed as a deity. Princeps Julian Bashir (from Deep Space Nine) is in command of the Defiant and he comes across a most unusual ship named Botany Bay. (If you're a Trekkie, then you most certainly heard ominous music playing just then.) When fictionalized history clashes with the harsh truth of reality the world crafted under Khan's descendants begins to fragment. (This book was the push I needed to continue my Trek tutelage by beginning DS9 by the way.) 9/10

Star Trek: Myriad Universes #2: Echoes and Refractions

I was mostly unfamiliar with Andorians except beyond knowing they were blue, hairy, and had antennae. The Chimes at Midnight by Geoff Trowbridge gave a most thorough background into this alien race. The reader follows two separate characters: Thelin (an Andorian) and David Marcus (James T. Kirk's estranged son). Thelin is Kirk's closest friend and First Officer of the Enterprise. David is a scientist who creates the Genesis Project in the hopes of making uninhabitable worlds fertile and livable for those looking to colonize new areas of space. When the secret of this innovation is leaked to the Klingons war is threatened. (Note: There's a rather explicit scene of torture in this book so if you're squeamish be aware.) Most troubling of all in this universe, Spock never lived beyond childhood. :'-(  7/10

War, war, war. A Gutted World by Keith R.A. DeCandido is chock full of violence and destruction as war rages across the galaxy. The Cardassians still occupy Terok Nor (DS9 reference for the uninitiated) and the Klingons and Romulans are at each other's throats. The Federation is pulled into the fray and devastating losses are piling up on all sides. Kira Nerys with the aid of Garak and Odo are trying to convince the Federation that all is not as it seems. I don't want to give too much away because it's pretty spoiler-y for Deep Space Nine even though it's an alternate reality timeline. 7/10

Brave New World written by Chris Roberson was absolutely brilliant. In this iteration, Data is not the only Soong-type android in existence. In fact, he's one of the earliest of many. When the Federation decides to limit their rights to full citizenship Data and many of his fellows resign their Starfleet commissions and drop off of the grid entirely. The story picks up 10 years later when Data inexplicably returns with a request for assistance from the Enterprise. Many familiar faces are still onboard including Chief Engineer Wesley Crusher and First Officer Geordi La Forge. (They've also perfected brain uploads in this universe which is frankly terrifying.) I so badly want to tell you the big shocker of this book but that would really kill it for you. Just read it! 10/10

Star Trek: Myriad Universes #3: Shattered Light

One of my favorite episodes of The Next Generation was the one where Data created a daughter named Lal. Unfortunately, that episode ended rather sadly for the android but in David R. George III's The Embrace of Cold Architects this has been rectified. However, there have been other casualties due to the Borg and now Will Riker is captain of the Enterprise. This book continues the questions raised by the episode The Offspring mentioned above such as 'Do androids have rights or are they property of Starfleet?'. Full of moral dilemmas and governmental obfuscation, this story will have you shaking your fist at 'the man' in no time. 9/10

I'm going to be honest and say that The Tears of Eridanus by Steve Mollmann and Michael Schuster was probably my least favorite book from all 3 volumes. This universe's central power is controlled by the Andorians and Sulu is the captain of one of their ships. As mentioned previously, I had little to no knowledge of this alien species but from what I read they aren't going to be one of my favorites. Sulu is tasked with visiting a planet where the residents have captured a science team tasked with observing the native peoples. The inhabitants are viewed as primitive and dangerous with little chance of their being admitted into the Interstellar Union. Sulu has a vested interest as his daughter is one of the members of the captured team. This book ended without any kind of real conclusion and with a barely discernible plotline. It was pretty meh in my opinion. 5/10

And finally there's Honor in the Night written by Scott Pearson. This covers the events of Tarsus and the conflict between the Klingon Empire and the Federation. Dr. McCoy (yay Bones!) is a minor player in this book but it's really Nilz Baris who steals the show...and a certain man named Arne Darvin. A reporter is trying to piece together the story of Nilz Baris and his role in the Klingon-Federation alliance by interviewing key players in his past. There are a lot of flashback scenes and many, many secrets are revealed. It read just like an episode of Trek and felt totally believable as canon to me. 9/10

And there you have it. I hope you all enjoyed those mini reviews and if you do decide to read any or all of these please let me know by writing a comment down below. Happy reading! :-)

**If you're interested in buying these books or any books really, you can click here or here. The first will re-direct you to AbeBooks and the second will re-direct you to The Book Depository. These are great websites for purchasing books (AbeBooks carries inexpensive used and out-of-print books and The Book Depository ships free everywhere in the world). Full disclosure: I will receive a commission on all sales made by following either of these links. I wouldn't recommend a site that I didn't use and you are under no obligation to purchase anything. :-) **

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