Star Trek


The first book in the Star Trek: Discovery series.

Publication year: 2018
Format: print
Publisher: Gallery Books
Page count: 370

The book is set a year before the events in the Discovery’s pilot. It’s set mostly on the USS Shenzhou. It starts with Shenzhou’s second and first officer leaving for other posts. Captain Georgiou must promote people to fill in the gaps. She chooses Lieutenant Burnham for first officer and Lieutenant Saru for second officer. She knows that the two are fierce rivals and don’t have the best working relationship. She makes the posts temporary, to see how they will adjust to the change.

Saru is bitter that Burnham was promoted ahead of him. After all, he went through Starfleet Academy while Burnham didn’t. He also resent the time and attention that the captain lavishes on her and feels neglected. Burnham is eager to show her worth to her captain.

But sinister things are happening. An independent colony is in danger, when a drilling rig has woken an ancient alien construct, dubbed the Juggernaut. It sends flying drones to attack the cities. The governor and her citizens don’t want Starfleet protection (I guess they want to own slaves or something, I wasn’t really clear on why) but they aren’t armed so they must call for help. However, when Starfleet Command hears about the situation, they send in also USS Enterprise, captained by Christopher Pike. Pike has strict orders that the alien construct isn’t allowed to leave the planet or it will destroy other colonies nearby. The starships must destroy the thing, even if it means destroying the planet – and the colony on it.

This is what I wanted when Discovery started so I very must enjoyed the book. We get to know the crew of the Shenzhou, somewhat at least, and get to see captain Georgiou in action with Burnham as her first officer. However, the focus of the book isn’t so much on Georgiou and Burnham’s relationship. Instead, we witness the rivalry between Saru and Burnham and when the Enterprise arrives, the focus shifts to the relationship between Burnham and young Spock who is Pike’s science officer.

The book has lots of POV characters on Shenzhou, Enterprise, and among the colonists. I’m afraid that I don’t have much sympathy for the colonists; they seemed very self-centered and stupid (which doesn’t make them unrealistic characters – quite the opposite, unfortunately).

The story line pits Pike’s devotion to duty against Georgiou’s principles. I found SC’s orders more than a bit unbelievable; Picard would never have followed them, either. I also had some trouble putting together the aesthetics of Discovery and TOS. Mack does try to explain away the differences between the uniforms, the technology, and ships. Shenzhou is the old warhorse while Enterprise is one of the newest ships, which doesn’t really work for me. There was also some quite unnecessary explanations, perhaps to drive up the word count. Otherwise, I quite enjoyed the book.

It’s quite possible that the details in the book, especially about the background of the central characters, will be made non-canon by Discovery’s later seasons. I’ve only watched the first one.

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The third book in the Star Trek: TNG Q-Continuum trilogy. Also ST:TNG book number 49.

Publication year: 1998
Format: print
Publisher: Pocket Books
Page count: 270

Riker has decided to take the Enterprise-E inside the Galactic barrier because the Calamarain’s attack is tearing the ship apart and he thinks that it’s the only place where they wouldn’t follow. However, this puts all the telepathic people aboard the ship in danger, including his imzadi Deanna Troi and the Betazoid scientist Lem Faal and his two young children. Riker decides to put the Betazoids to coma for their safety. However, Faal is obsessed with his experiments and refuses to end them. In fact, he’s doing everything he can to start the wormhole he created to punch through the barrier. He also cruelly ignores the needs and fears of his kids. However, he’s apparently under the influence of otherworldly power.

Meanwhile, Q has kidnapped captain Picard and led him through Q’s own history, when Q was quite a bit younger and under the influence of a murderous otherworldly being calling himself 0. Eventually Picard witnesses how the Q-Continuum is at war with 0 and his four nefarious minions, with young Q caught in the middle. Picard realizes that if the Enterprise-E goes through the galactic barrier, they might unleash the horrors of the malicious 0 once again.

In this final book, the different story lines come together for an exciting and enjoyable ending.

I ended up liking this last book the best, perhaps because the TNG crew themselves had a larger part to play than in the previous books. The book, like the whole trilogy, had quite a lot of references to classic Trek episodes, as well as TNG and DS9 episodes. I had fun revisit old friends, even though Q was far too human for my tastes.

The second book in the Star Trek: TNG Q-Continuum trilogy. Also ST:TNG book number 48.

Publication year: 1998
Format: print
Publisher: Pocket Books
Page count: 270

Enterprise-E is on a mission to investigate a way to go through the galactic barrier using a wormhole technology. However, the gaseous alien species called the Calamarain have attacked, enveloping the starship and trying to get through the shields. The shields are failing and Commander Riker is desperately looking for a way to save the ship and crew. Meanwhile, Professor Lem Faal, who came up with the wormhole technology, is equally desperate to try his technique. He’s even ignoring his young children who are on board with him. His son especially is starting to really resent him.

Q has abducted Captain Picard and is showing him certain points in Q’s own history. Specially, how much younger Q has fallen in with a malevolent being calling himself 0. 0 and his equally malevolent comrades talk about testing developing species and then torment entire empires.

The majority of the book follows the Tkon Empire which was a vast star spanning empire long before Federation. We get scenes from different key people around the empire, such as the empress. They’re a humanoid species and not very different from humans. 0’s companions are various entities from the original Trek. We also get to see where Calamarain’s original hatred from Q came from (as seen in the episode “Q who”). Unfortunately, I didn’t really care for the plight of the Tkon Empire, terrible as it was.

Q’s mate and child are also a significant part of the book.

This is clearly a second book in the series when stakes are raised and nothing is resolved.

Humble bundle has, as always, several bundles going. Their newest one is a Star Trek comics bundle!

It has new IDW comics, with plenty of TNG stories, some Discovery, and a lot of original Trek.

For couple of hours more, Humble Bundle also has another comics bundle with lots of first volumes to series, like Monstress and Saga.

Also, my other favorite site to get interesting books all bundled together, Storybundle, has 2019 Feminist Future Bundle curated by Cat Rambo. ”This bundle brings together some terrific reading that is some of the best offered by independent and small press publishing. It’s my attempt to celebrate the excellent work being written by today’s female speculative fiction authors.”

The only author I’ve read is R. A. MacAvoy (her Damiano trilogy and Tea with the Black Dragon which I quite liked) and I’ve heard good things about some of the others.

The first book in the Q-Continuum Star Trek: the Next Generation trilogy. Also number 47 in the ST:TNG book series.

Publication year: 1998
Format: print
Publisher: Pocket Books
Page count: 271

The book is set a couple of months after the movie First Contact so this isn’t quite the ST:TNG crew I’m used to: Data has an emotion chip, Geordi has eyes, Worf is on DS9, and the ship is the Enterprise-E which doesn’t have any families on board. The new chief of security is Lieutenant Baeta Leyoro who is quite aggressive for a Starfleet officer.

The book starts with a mysterious male being who wants to be let out from somewhere.

The Enterprise has been assigned to a mission to breach the galactic barrier which has only been done before by the original Enterprise. It’s an energy and psychic barrier which not only prevents ships from passing through but also makes the humanoids inside insane. However, a Betazoid scientist has come up with a way to breach it with a wormhole and Starfleet has ordered the Enterprise to try it. The experiment is a continuation of previous scientists’ work, as seen on DS9 episode “Rejoined”.

The scientist in question, Dr. Lem Faal, is suffering from fatal Iverson’s disease. Also, his wife died in a freak accident a few months ago and his two young children are with him on the Enterprise. Faal is focused on his research so much that he’s almost ignoring the kids. While the young one is too young to be a POV character, the older one, Milo, resents that his father is so focused on his work.

When the ship is only a few days from the barrier, Q shows up and orders them to stay away. To complicate matter even more, his mate Q and their young son q also show up. Also, the mysterious, gaseous beings called the Calamaraine attack the ship.

The story has lots of references to previous events, from Q’s very first appearance to his Voyager and DS9 episodes. Other past events are also mentioned, such as Troi’s pregnancy. The female Q and the child q are from the Voyager episodes. Picard even thinks that the female Q looks familiar. I’m pretty sure that it’s a reference to the actress Suzie Plakson who also played Doctor Selar and the Klingon ambassador K’Ehylar. Lieutenant Barclay is a significant secondary character.

If you like Q, like I do, you’re probably going to enjoy the book and the series. However, if you can’t stand Q, stay away. The second half of the book shows Q as a teenager billions of years ago.

The book ends in a cliffhanger and nothing is resolved.

A Star Trek: the Next Generation novel.

Publication year: 2003
Format: print
Publisher: Pocket Books
Page count: 262

Enterprise-D has been sent to the planet Thanet. It has only recently developed warp drive and it’s not a member of the Federation. Indeed, it’s dominant culture didn’t recognize species from different worlds until recently. That same culture “knows” that time is cyclical; every five thousand years the culture will be destroyed and then rise again, exactly the same. And a comet is speeding towards Thanet. The Enterprise can easily destroy it. The question is, should it? That will destroy the culture anyway. Starfleet has left the decision to Captain Picard. Things get even more complicated, when Troi senses someone is alive inside the comet.

Also, the holy book of Thanetians tells that false prophets will emerge right before the end of the world. So, the god-king of Thanet doesn’t go to the Enterprise himself but instead sends one of his undersecretaries as an ambassador. While the new ambassador has sometimes been less than pious, he thinks that the Enterprise’s crew are false prophets trying to lure him to heresy.

This is a story of cultures clashing. Federation’s culture is accommodating to others and their beliefs. Unfortunately, the Thanetians’ culture is the opposite. It’s very rigid with seventeen castes and hundreds of sub-castes, rigorous differences between genders and sub-castes. Each sub-caste can eat only specific foods and wear specific clothing. Each sub-caste has only specific vocations open to them. For example, some people are born as beggars or prostitutes and nothing can change that. Yet, all share the belief in the cyclical nature of time and almost everyone is looking forward to the end of the world because that’s how they’ve been brought up. They also have very strict heresy laws and execute people who break them by behavior or speech.

The book has many POV character. In addition to Picard, Troi, and Data, there are several Thanetians. Lieutenant Simon Tarses is another major POV character. He’s ¼ Romulan from the episode “The Drumhead” from the fourth season. He feels like an outsider on the Enterprise and when he meets the Thanetian ambassador’s teenaged daughter, he’s strongly attracted to her. Another new POV character is acting ensign Tormord Engvig who is aboard the Enterprise because he won an essay contest. He hero worships the crew which is rather fun.

The story is heavily focused on Thanetian culture and some of the characters from it. Unfortunately, their culture wasn’t very interesting to me. We find out the history of Thanet and their ancestors’ war. Unfortunately, it also left quite large questions unanswered. The dilemma of if Picard should allow the Thanetians to be destroyed because saving them would bring chaos to the planet, anyway, was actually pretty interesting. However, the population at large aren’t told about the choice; it rests on Picard’s shoulders.

This is a quick read for TNG fans.

The 45th Star Trek: TNG book.

Publication year: 1997
Format: print
Publisher: Pocket Books
Page count: 239 plus an expert of Wrath of the Prophets (ST: DS9 book)

Marignano is a long-range exploration ship and captain Ileen Maisel loves to explore outside Federation’s borders. She’s used to being on her own, a long way from backup in the fringes of the Orion arm.
Now, however, she’s noticed colony ships and other starships disappearing more frequently than usual and when she realized that her one ship can’t stop it, she called for backup. Starfleet has sent the Enterprise and another starship, Oraidhe, captained by Gohod Clif, a joined Trill. Picard is in command of the operation but of course he’s very courteous to the other captains.

The captains plan to investigate together at first and then separate, if necessary. They run into interesting new (at least to me) cultures while evidence mounts that something really dangerous is stalking whole starships.

The new cultures include the Third Submission colony ship which doesn’t want anything to do with the Federation ships. They consider life an anathema and are just waiting to die quietly. Another new culture is the Lalairu, who are wandering traders. When they die, they regenerate again. They must have a fascinating society, but we saw them only in passing.

Picard is the major POV character while Dr. Crusher and Data get to shine, too. Ileen Maisel seems younger in her personality than her years: she’s very enthusiastic about her job. Clif is a more thoughtful person but of course the Trill has lived a couple of more lifetimes than the others.

This is another Trek book more focused on exploration than conflict or battles. Duane also uses the holodeck a lot with Picard and the other captains talking in a seafaring vessel. I enjoyed the book a lot but it’s not terribly fast-paced.

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