Star Trek


The 12th Star Trek: TNG book.

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Publisher: Pocket Books

Publishing year: 1990

Format: Print

Page count: 276

I read this book when it first came out and even remembered something from it. I think it’s set during the second season.

A long-dead species made an artificial world that is now called Kirlos. It has both a Federation embassy and a K’Vin Hegemony embassy. Yes, this book introduces a couple of new humanoid species which we never see again.

The K’Vin are a military race, bent on conquest. Currently, they have an uneasy alliance with the Federation because they don’t like how the Federation “meddles”. The Sullurh are an unassuming race that serves both the Federation and the K’Vin embassies.

Kirlos has one underground city. It also has a huge archeological dig. The leading archeologist asks for Geordi LaForge, in the hope that his VISOR can reveal something. Geordi, Data, and Worf beam down to the dig. Meanwhile, the Enterprise-D receives a distress signal and must leave the Kirlos to protect a small colony against an attack by mysterious spaceships.

On Kirlos, someone puts explosives in the Federation embassy. The next day, someone bombs the K’Vin embassy. The civilian population on both sides fears for their safety and needs someone to blame. The K’Vin blame the three Enterprise crewmembers.

This was a solid, quick read. Geordi, Worf, and Data have a few amusing adventures on Kirlos before the tension starts to rise. They’re cut off from the other crew, which was a bit unusual. The Federation ambassador is Stephaleh, an elderly Andorian, which was interesting because I haven’t seen Andorians much. The two ambassadors have a good relationship which is, of course, strained when the attacks start. The real villains aren’t seen until near the end. Unfortunately, the archeological dig wasn’t seen much.

The 64th Star Trek: the Next Generation book set after the movie First Contact.

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Publisher: Pocket Books

Publishing year: 2002

Format: Print

Page count: 332

The book starts with an intriguing little scene seventy years previously where two young students Noonien Soong and Ira Graves are mountain climbing with their professor Emil Vaslovik. They stumble on a body… that turns out to be thousands of years old and an artificial being.

In the present, Data is returning to the Enterprise-E with the body of his ”mother”. His emotion chip is fully active and he’s struggling with grief and his emotional realization that he will outlive all of the people dear to him. However, then the Enterprise-E is summoned to Galor IV where Commander Maddox, Reginald Barcley, and professor Vaslovik are working on creating a sentient android, but with one that has a holomatrix brain. Just when they were going to active the android, there was an accident that left Maddox is in a coma, Vaslovik vaporized, and the new android destroyed. Of course, the Enterprise investigates.

This book is a delight to an old fan because it references a lot of Data-centric TNG episodes, such as “the Offspring”, “the Measure of a Man”, “the Schizoid Man”, and “Descent part II”. It also mentions many secondary characters, such as Soong and Lore, and even brings back characters we’ve only seen once, such as Admiral Haftel. It also uses as an inspiration three of the original Star Trek episodes and ties them to TNG.

The overall theme is sentience in artificial beings. While the episode the Measure of a Man establishes that Data is a sentient being, TNG has a surprising number of other sentient artificial intelligences whose right to choose hasn’t been so clear, such as the Exocomp and even a hologram Moriarty. While Picard is concerned with, and acknowledges, their sentience, not everyone feels the same way. Another theme is Data growing close to a new female crew member so the book also has a ”romance of the week” subplot (which I don’t really like. Since the new character doesn’t appear in the show or movies, we know that she’s going to leave or die, so it feels pointless. Doubly so if I like the romance character which I did this time. Such an interesting character wasted. Oh well).

The book has some elements I’m not sure would actually work, but for the most part, I enjoyed it, despite the inevitable downer ending. It does a wonderful job of tying together all the themed elements. Data has a working emotion chip almost the whole book so he’s a bit different than what I’m used to, but I think this was also done well.

Recommended for TNG fans. Will you be able to enjoy it without watching the show? I don’t know, but I recommend watching the integral episodes first.

A Star Trek: TNG book.

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Publication year: 1993
Format: print
Page count: 309
Publisher: Pocket Books

This book tells the tale of a powerful artifact which has influenced people and through them entire cultures, before Federation was formed. Throughout history the Devil’s Heart has journeyed from Iconia to Kronos to Vulcan and other planets, as well. Now, a Vulcan archeologist thinks that she’s found it but her obsession has made most other Vulcans shun her.

Enterprise-D receives a distress call from the archeology site. But when they get there, all the members are dead. Messages left behind blame the archeologist herself. Apparently Bendii’s syndrome affected her and made her kill all her companions. But Beverly Crusher finds out that someone else has killed the Vulcans. Picard pursues the murderers but only finds the husks of two starships. From one of them he finds an ancient stone, the artifact itself.

Meanwhile, people all around the galaxy want the stone for themselves. These people range from the last of the Iconians to renegade Klingons and scheming Ferengi. They’re willing to kill everyone on their path to get the Devil’s Heart for themselves.

This was a very interesting idea. However, the result is quite a scattered book. It has many point-of-view characters all over the galaxy. Most of the TNG crew got at least a brief POV section or two but Picard is the clear main character. In fact, completely new characters got more page time than most of the crew.

Picard develops a strong bond with the artifact and when he sleeps, the stone sends him flashes of history from various cultures. Most of the glimpses to the other, early histories of various species were fascinating. However, I didn’t really realize just how similar these early histories were, violent and oppressive.

Overall, this was an interesting read but quite scattered

Collects miniseries issues 1-5 of the same name.

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Writer: Scott Tipton, David Tipton
Artists: David Messina
Publisher: IDW
Publishing year: 2008

This is a collection of four one-shot adventures which have clues to a common source for the troubles the Enterprise encounters. It’s all tied up in the final story.

In the first one, the Enterprise-D is at Daystrom One which is an archive for information about hundreds of worlds. The Daystrom institute has constructed a A.I. to managed the information flow. The A.I. is based on Dr. Soong’s positronic brain model and is now refusing contact. The Institute asks for Data to go and see what’s wrong. Data isn’t happy about his order to simply shut down the A.I. if it has become sentient but he and Riker go to the extra-dimensional tesseract where are the info and the artificial brain.

The second story brings the Enterprise-D to a Rigelian colony which is under construction. If the colony isn’t built, the Cardassians will step in. However, a group of workers, who are humanoids called the Raylar and known for their aggressiveness, have taken over a critical power plant and are essentially keeping the colony hostage by refusing to give them energy. Picard sends in Lieutenant Worf to negotiate. Of course, things aren’t as they seem at first glance.

The third adventure begins with a short visit to Starbase 215. During the visit, Geordi ends up wondering how chief O’Brian can stand staying in just one small room and wants to take O’Brian off the ship. When the Enterprise-D leaves the base, they hear a priority-1 distress call from a nearby starship the USS Jackson. When the Enterprise meets with the Jackson, their captain says they don’t have an emergency. Instead, the captain has problems with his new chief engineer. Picard goes to talk with the captain while Geordi and O’Brian talk with the new chief engineer.

The fourth story starts with three Pakled ships attacking the Enterprise-D. Their weapons and engines have been enhanced but they don’t really have a chance against the Enterprise. The Pakleds talk about expanding “their empire”, which they don’t have and ram the Enterprise, succeeding only in destroying themselves. Troi is convinced that their minds are controlled. The Enterprise investigates.

In the fifth story, Picard confronts the people who have manipulated him in the previous adventures.

This was a nice story with just enough mystery. Many of the stories have small winks to us old TNG fans, such as the Bynars in the first story and Ensign Ro is in two stories. However, the female crew only appears in two stories and are very underused; Picard, Riker, and Data are the shows of this series. While I was intrigued by the the final issue, the convoluted way of manipulating the Enterprise felt unnecessary, which Picard does point out in the story.

I mostly enjoyed this series and it was very nice to return to the TNG crew.

A Star Trek: TNG book.

Publication year: 2002
Format: print
Page count: 233
Publisher: Pocket Books

A crisis for Captain Picard… or a case for Dixon Hill, private detective?

The above line says it all: the story is set in a holodeck in 1940s San Francisco. Each chapter ends with a list of clues from Dixon Hill’s case book. Captain’s Log entries tell us that Enterprise-D is going toward a place called the Blackness. As they get closer, the ship’s systems go offline until the whole ship is in danger.

On the holodeck, Captain Picard as Dixon Hill, his friends Luscious Bev, and Mr. Data along with a handful of other officers are looking for the Heart of the Adjuster. Dix is convinced that one of the local crime bosses has it and he needs a way to talk with them. However, the holodeck is also malfunctioning: all the safety systems are off-line and the killed holo characters come back to life.

This was an interesting idea. The world of Dixon Hill seems to be made for adventures. The story has some fun points, such as Data “taking his gangster stand” and quoting various fictional detectives. However, it has quite a lot of repetition and I didn’t care for the ending of the mystery. But I do enjoy holodeck episodes so overall I enjoyed it.

Collects issues 1-4 from the DC / Malibu miniseries of the same name.

Writers: Michael Jan Friedman, Mike W. Barr
Artists: Gordon Purcell,  Terry Pallot, Jason Palmer

This was a fun series which united the two casts for the first time in comics. It’s set after the crossover episode “Birthright” on TNG’s sixth season and after Odo met Lwaxana Troi in DS9’s first season “The Forsaken”.

Enterprise-D is visiting DS9 and brings a Vulcan Admiral who wants to go to the Gamma Quadrant himself. As the Admiral’s runabout enters the wormhole, it acts strangely and the runabout doesn’t answer any hails. It vanishes and nobody else can go though the wormhole. Starfleet appoints Picard as the leader of the investigation but Picard acknowledges that Sisko knows the situation better and agrees to work with him.

Odo, Kira, and Worf surprise a group of Cardassians who are trying to access the station’s old Cardassian computer links. They beam away before they can be questioned. Meanwhile on Bajor, the energies coursing through the wormhole’s are affecting the weather and the Bajorans are close to rioting.

When a shuttle has been modified enough that it can go through, Picard sends Riker, Troi, Dax, Odo, and Data after the runabout and Kira insists on going with them. While they investigate on the Gamma Quadrant, the others try to help Bajor with natural disasters and calming down the people.

This is a fun comic but suffered from way too much characters. Still, we got good moments between Kira and Riker and between Deanna and Odo. O’Brian also had a few moments with his old acquaintances. I also liked Dax and Data although their interactions were way too brief. The exchange between Geordi and Rom at the beginning was also fun. The covers are gorgeously painted and the artwork actually looks like the characters.

Collects issues 20-24 from 90s DC TNG comic series.

Writer: Michael Jan Friedman
Artist: Peter Krause, Pablo Marcos

Friedman is a long-time Trek writer and he has a wonderful grasp on the characters. These issues came out originally 1991, during the third season of the show. That’s when I read them for the first time.

Enterprise-D is approaching Hydros system where two Federation colonies are struggling with a disease. Enterprise is heading toward the larger colony while Riker commands a shuttle to the other colony. Riker’s group has Wesley (as an ensign), Worf, Dr. Selar, and a handful of other medical personnel. Enterprise arrives to their destination and start treating the people. But the shuttle Albert Einstein encounters an anomaly which whisks it away. It disappears.

Enterprise searches for the shuttle for days but can’t find it. In the end, they must face the fact that the shuttle and crew have been lost. Captain Picard can’t really accept it, but the ship gets the next assignment and life must go on.

Meanwhile, the crew in the shuttle have their own problems: Riker is seriously hurt and the shuttle is in unfamiliar space.

This was a very Trek story with the Enterprise crew struggling with their emotions while carrying on their mission. Meanwhile, the shuttle crew are facing a lot of unexpected adventures. It’s not one my favorite story lines from the 90s comic but it’s definitely a very good one.

Writers: Christopher Golden, Todd Sniegoski, Keith R. A. DeCandido
Artists: Dave Hoover, Troy Hubbs, Jason Martin, Peter Pachoumis, Lucian Rizzo

This collection has two stories.

In “Embrace the Wolf” Enterprise-D comes to Enoch-7 which has a very peaceful society but it’s people are in the grips of madness which makes them violent toward each other. When the Enterprise arrives, the people are bombing cities. The president asks for help and Picard sends down an away team. But one of them is infected with the madness and brings it back on the ship.

This was a nice story and brings back an enemy from the original series.

“Perchance to Dream” is a four-part miniseries which starts with Data having a dream. He’s alone on the ship at first and when he sees other people, they ignore him. In the end the Enterprise crashes to a planet and he can’t prevent it. The dream disturbs him and he decides to talk to Troi about it. She gives him a little advice and they end up setting a counseling session after the current mission is over.

Most of the story is set in a world which has joined the Federation a short time ago. The populace has just elected a new world governor and the Enterprise’s crew is going to attend her inauguration. However, someone has “outed” the new governor-elect as having different sexual practices than the majority. While most people don’t care, a group of fanatics have threatened her. She doesn’t buckle under terrorist threats, so Worf and his team must give additional security.

This is clearly a “message” story about diversity and fanaticism. Meanwhile, some of the crew wrestle with their fears and tragic past events.

The alien Damiani have different biology than is usual for Federation societies. They have three biological sexes (and presumably gender roles) and so (most?) families have three adults. We’re told that they don’t have sexes corresponding to male and female but for convenience the sexes are called she, he, and it. In artwork, each individual has one, two, or three horns presumably according to their sex. However, one of the sexes has breasts so clearly they nurse their young. On the other hand, this is a very uniform species. They all have black, short spiky hair and wear the same headgear. We don’t really see much of the society, which was a shame. What we do see isn’t really different from ours: they have TV and talk shows (as holograms), they have a violent and oppressive past which they’re struggling to put past them. They have protesters and security people even though most people are peaceful.

This, too, was a nice Trek story, which focuses first on Data and then Worf and his staff. The final issue focuses on Picard and a side of him which we don’t often see, which was very nice.

The characters were very well in character in both stories.

A one shot where characters from both franchises meet for the first time

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artists: Marc Silvestri, Billy Tan, Anthony Winn, David Finn, and a whole lot of inkers

The Enterprise has detected an anomaly on Delta Vega, where Gary Mitchell changed and died. Captain Kirk is reluctant to return there but must investigate. When the Enterprise arrives, they see a spacial rift made from pure psionic energy. Two ships come out of it, but the first one explodes immediately. The second one is huge and from it comes Shi’Ar Empire’s Gladiator who demands the Enterprise to leave. Gladiator is following Deathbird who wants the energy for herself.

Meanwhile, seven X-Men managed to teleport to the Enterprise just before their ship was destroyed. Wolverine, Cyclops, Phoenix, the Beast, Storm, Bishop, and Gambit try to find a way off the ship and to Deathbird. Lilandra has sent them after her.

This was a short, fun read. The two teams are facing two very powerful enemies. Unfortunately, the story has way too many characters so each one doesn’t have the chance to shine. There is a great moment between Spock and Wolverine, and when Kirk tries to flirt with Jean, she deflects him deftly. I also rather enjoyed Bones and Hank.

Collects issues 1-6 of the miniseries.

Writer: David Tischman
Artists: Casey Maloney, Aaron Leach, Stacie Ponder

This is a collection of one-shot TNG adventures from various seasons.

The first story is called “History Lesson” and it’s set during the first season, with Tasha Yar as security chief. A traditionally isolated planet called Tigan wants to join the Federation. Riker, Yar, and Data beam down to talk with the chancellor. Data notices that their escort has a computer interface implanted on him. Apparently everyone on Tigan has one. When the trio reaches the chancellor, problems begin. The chancellor is a different person than whom they were supposed to meet and an energy pulse attacks the Enterprise.

The second story, “Captain’s Pleasure”, is set during the fifth season, after Unification I and II. For a week, Picard has joined an archaeological group led by an old friend Dr. Marjorie Devarona. The dig is on a planet with unique atmosphere so that the ships can’t get good readings from orbit. The group finds an old Federation shuttle pod and a few skeletons. They also find five strange diamonds which emit a harmonic sound. Immediately, everyone except Picard begins to dream what they could do with the money they could get from the gems. (Apparently even in “money free” Federation you need the equivalent of money to finance archaeological digs and hospitals. Well, ok, the hospitals will be on Bajor. But still…) The next morning, Marjorie has been murdered, phasers are gone, and the com isn’t working.

Meanwhile, back on the Enterprise-D Deanna finds Beverly’s hobby: dancing disco on the holodeck.

The third story “Strategy” is set during the seventh season, near the end of it. An unknown vessel attacks Enterprise out of the blue. Both Enterprise and the other vessel are heavily damaged and end up staying near each other to make repairs. Deanna was almost fatally injured in the fight. The alien ship seems to be made up of several different cultures’ parts and the Enterprise isn’t able to scan it.

In “Light of the Day”, Ro Laren, Geordi, and Worf are returning to the Enterprise on a shuttle. Of course, a massive solar wave hit the shuttle, they crash on an icy part of a planet. They find a monastery nearby but it’s omniously empty and start to investigate. Meanwhile, the Enterprise is taking general Ghud to stand trial for murder of millions of people. Ghud claims that’s he’s “seen the light” or had a philosophical transformation which makes his crimes irrelevant. However, when he hears about the missing crewmen, he volunteers to search for them because he was an engineer before he became a despot. The increased solar activity makes it very hard for the Enterprise’s sensors to find the mission trio and they can’t miss the beginning of the trial or Ghud would be automatically set free. But can Picard trust him?

“Space Seeds” is set during the second season. It starts with one of my favorite recurring scenes: a poker game. The Enterprise has been called to the Armada, which is an agricultural colony in an asteroid belt. Their crops have started to fail. While Picard and Data investigate the problem, Wesley meets some of the very bored local kids.

The final issue “An Inconvenient Truth” tries to tie up these stories together. It’s an interesting idea but unfortunately, it didn’t work for me. Besides, it leaves open a conspiracy inside Federation and on the highest levels of Starfleet. Truthfully, I prefer Trek to be optimistic and idealized, so I usually don’t like the conspiracy nor do I care for Section 31. (I’d actually very much like someone to follow up on the first season episode “Conspiracy” but nobody ever does.)

This was mostly enjoyable, if mostly forgettable collection of one shots. I loved seeing Tasha Yar, though.

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