Friday, November 22, 2013

Invincible, Part Two

Star Trek: S.C.E. #8
Invincible, Part Two by David Mack and Keith R.A. Decandido
Published October 2001
Re-released in print form as part of the S.C.E. compilation Miracle Workers in February 2002.
Read March 4th 2013

Previous ebook (S.C.E.): #7: Invincible, Part One
Next ebook (S.C.E.): #9: The Riddled Post

Original ebook cover

Compilation of S.C.E. #5 - 8: | |

Spoilers ahead for Invincible, Part One and the rest of the Corps of Engineers series!

From the back cover:
Long believed to be just a Nalori myth, the shii has turned out to be devastatingly real! The monster -- seemingly invulnerable, undeniably powerful, and completely ruthless -- has carved a swath through the Nalori construction project on the crystal planet of Sarindar. The project's supervisor, Commander Sonya Gomez, must find a way to stop the deadly creature before it destroys the entire project and its workers. 
But when the truth behind the shii is revealed, Gomez realizes that even one of the S.C.E.'s top officers may not be able to solve every problem...

My thoughts:

Part two of this story amps up the stakes and the drama, as a second "monster shii" conducts a murderous rampage, killing many of the workers assigned to Sarindar. As Commander Gomez attempts to discover the true nature of this violent animal, she finds herself abandoned, both by the workers she is assigned to lead and by the government that has enlisted her services.

At its heart, Invincible is an exploration of the character of Gomez in the face of extreme difficulty and hardship. The mystery of the shii and why it is attacking the work camp is a vexing one, and attempts to communicate or come to some sort of understanding are ultimately futile. While the search for a technological or diplomatic solution is admirable, in the end, it comes down to the use of brute force and ingenuity to overcome the threat. The story is a good examination of Gomez's character, and the solutions she improvises are certainly creative and worthy of an engineer's mind.

In my review of Part One, I mentioned that I was fascinated by the character of Zilder, an evangelistic Bolian, and was curious about where the authors would take his character. As it turns out, where they took him wasn't very far; Zilder is one of the earliest casualties of the monster shii in part two!

In part two, the conceit of telling the story through log entries and "tricorder transcripts" continues. While it is an interesting way to present the story, it does tend to become a little tiresome towards the end. The log entries are just a little too detailed to be taken as such, and I wonder what this story would have been like told in a more traditional manner.

Sonya Gomez has come a long way since her days as an ensign aboard the Enterprise-D.

Final thoughts:

Sonya Gomez has come a long way from the young, green ensign we saw in TNG's "Q Who" and "Samaritan Snare." Mack and DeCandido present her as a competent engineer who, while still experiencing a certain level of self-doubt, is very much up to the tasks before her. It was fun to follow her on this journey, although the log and transcript method of telling the story did tend to distract, especially towards the end.

My next read:

This review marks the end of the second collection of S.C.E. stories, Miracle Workers. I intend to continue to read and review the stories of the Corps of Engineers in the future, as well as more traditional Trek novels, including new releases. Speaking of new releases, I'm currently reading the fourth book in The Fall, James Swallow's The Poisoned Chalice, featuring Riker and the crew of the U.S.S. Titan. Look for a week-of-release review!

1 comment:

  1. A few thoughts:

    I think the stayed a little too close to the Tsavo lions story. The workers employed to work on that advanced tech were too primitive to be believable.

    I also think this would have been a great chance to show off Corsi early in the series. Let Core Breach deal with the workers and kick some robot-monster ass while Gomez deals with the tech issues and the bureaucrats.

    A solid early effort otherwise. Mack has probably written more great Trek books than any other author, imo.