Diane Duane


A Star Trek: TNG book

Publication year: 1994
Format: print
Page count: 337
Publisher: Pocket Books

Last November, during Sci-Fi Month, I got the urge to reread some of my favorite Star Trek novels. Back when I first read Dark Mirror, I thought it was the best of the bunch. And it didn’t disappoint on reread.

Dark Mirror was written before the DS9 Mirror universe episodes so it doesn’t align with them. And that’s good. As much I enjoyed the DS9 Mirror universe episodes, this was far more chilling tale. Here we get a good look at what our beloved TNG characters would have been in a society which focused on ruthless conquest instead of peaceful exploration both in society as whole and also at individual level. The main characters are LaForge, Troi and Picard whose counterparts are, well, evil. Troi has more telepathic abilities rather than just emphatically sensing others’ emotions and it’s possible that they are the result of a far more ruthless training. She also enjoys others’ pain and enjoys casually invading other people’s thoughts against their will. Our Deanna finds her nauseating but also curiously interesting. The other Picard is just as ruthless in his own way and also enjoys causing others pain, especially Beverly. Apparently, he had murdered Jack Crusher and then taken Beverly as a lover. Poor Wesley is just looking for the right moment to kill him.

On the Mirror Enterprise, Troi is the security officer who has even more power than Captain Picard. Her job is internal security, keeping everyone else on their toes. She even monitor’s the crew’s thoughts.

Federation itself doesn’t exist. Instead Earth has formed an Empire whose purpose is to expand and subjugate all others to their power. This isn’t a new philosophy, as our Picard finds out when he looks at the Mirror Picard’s bookshelf. It seems that humans have been far more ruthless for thousands of years.

The first away team which is sent to the Mirror Enterprise is Troi and LaForge and they got to show their skills and training well.

However, the focus is on the regular crew and their reaction to this universe. The twisted characters aren’t explored much and I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it much, either.

As a lighter subplot, Riker and Worf explore Earth opera.

This is still one of my favorite Star Trek books, even though it’s far darker than usual Trek books.

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Kit and Nita are in deep trouble again. This time the “problem” is Nita’s younger sister Dairine who knows that Nita is a wizard and wants very much to become a wizard, too. Nita wants nothing more than for her little sister to leave her alone.

Dairine wants to get as much information as she can. She’s especially interested in computers and her parents have just bought them one. She notices something different in the programs – they have the Apple logo but with a full apple. She continues to run them and soon realizes that this isn’t an ordinary program or computer. She can make a copy of the computer and take into some kind of pocket plane which she can take with her to any place without others noticing.

Kit and Nita leave for New York and Nita’s father forces them to take Dairine with them. However, in New York she starts to experiment with the computer and notes that she can make it do even more unusual things. She opens a gateway to Mars and leaves to explore the universe.

Once Nita and Kit realize what has happened, they are of course furious and concerned. Nita’s and Dairine’s parents are even more so. However, they have no choice but to send Nita and Kit after Dairine.

This time we are shown a much larger universe outside Earth. It’s a large and well populated universe where most life forms bear no resemblance to humans.

The point-of-view varies between Nita and Dairine every other chapter. The theme of the book is exploration of both the universe and self. It’s not centered on violence.

Dairine is a science fiction nut who greatly enjoys exploring the planets in our solar system and beyond. She learned from an early age that she needs to have knowledge in order to survive. She’s also highly intelligent and not afraid to show it. That annoys many people, including Nita.

Even though Nita isn’t much older than Dairine she feels like a much more experienced as a character and of course she has used magic quite a bit longer than Dairine.

I enjoyed that usual minor characters Macchu Picchu, Carl, and Tom. (Even though here Nita assumes that Carl and Tom are just friends who happen to live together…)

This was also the last book in this series that was translated into Finnish. Too bad.

Overall: An enjoyable continuation of the series.

This time the main characters from the previous book, Nita who is the POV character and her good wizard friend Kit, are vacationing with Nita’s family by the sea. Nita and Kit find out that many of the whales are also sentient and have wizards among them. They save a whale and find out that she’s actually a wizard and she’s in trouble. Nita and Kit agree to hear the problem and S’reee tells them that the Lone Power has been chained to the bottom of the ocean. However, the spells are starting to loose their power and now the Lone Power has is encouraging all sort of problems for the sea: poachers, pollutions, earthquakes. If the spells aren’t renewed soon, the Lone Power will get free and used destructive earthquakes against everyone.

Nita and Kit agree to help. They come to learn a lot about the wizard world under the waves. Because many of the wizard whales have been slaughtered by human hunters Nita and Kit agree to participate in the Song of Twelve which should renew the Lone Power’s bindings and calm some of the troubles at sea. But before that can be done Nita and Kit have to be transformed into whales, get to know some friends and some enemies as well, learn the Song, and, worst of all, deal with Nita’s parents and younger sister. Nita’s sister, Dairine, is increasingly interested in her sister’s odd comings and goings and their parents are even more interested. Nita doesn’t want to lie to them but what choice does she have?

Deep Wizardry is a fine sequel to the previous book. The underwater world and the whales and sharks are very well developed and described. There are also lots of information about the sea and pollution but they don’t feel like info dumps. Indeed, it feels quite natural for the whales to educate humans about their problems.

Kit and Nita are quite likable characters although I happen to like Carl, Tom, and Macchu Picchu the most. I also liked how Dairine did matter of factly things that are apparently today allowed only for boys: reading X-Men comics (which, alas, the translator didn’t know), wearing Star Wars pajamas, and dreaming of becoming a Jedi.

Even though I generally don’t like YA, this series was recommended so many times that I took the chance and read the first one. I was pleasantly surprised. Duane knows how to grab the reader and keep the plot running. 

Nita is a thirteen-year-old American girl who has Spanish roots. She’s a voracious reader and because she doesn’t like to do the same things that girls her age do, she gets into fights often. Her main tormentor is Joanne and her group of cronies. The book starts with Nita running away from Joanne and her group. Nita runs to the library where she finds a handbook for wizards. She starts to read it and thinks at first that it’s a practical joke. However, she loans it and takes it to home. The next day she takes up the oath of wizards and starts to learn spells. With them she wants to make Joanne stop bullying her and made even bully Joanne for a change.

She finds out that she can talk with plants. Then she finds a boy who is trying to do a spell of his own, Kit. Nita offers to help him and together they perform the spell. However, it goes terribly wrong; it puts them into terrible danger but it also brings to them a new friend, Fred who is the manifestation of a white hole.

Duane writes well. The plot flows along smoothly and the characters are interesting. However, the plot is very intense and the stakes are very high. I’m curious to see what she’s going to do to top the danger in the next book. Also, we see only a small glimpse of the wizarding world and I’m also curious to see a larger picture of it.