Saturday, September 20, 2014

Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found) by Paula M. Block & Terry J. Erdmann
E-book exclusive novella
Release date: September 1st 2014
Read September 7th 2014

Previous book (Deep Space Nine): The Never-Ending Sacrifice

Previous book (24th century continuity): The Next Generation: The Light Fantastic
Next book (Deep Space Nine): The Missing
Next book (24th century continuity): Section 31: Disavowed

Kindle E-Book: | |

Spoilers ahead for Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found) and the current state of Deep Space Nine!

From the back cover:
Business is down at Quark’s Public House, CafĂ©, Gaming Emporium, Holosuite Arcade, and Ferengi Embassy to Bajor. Way down. Lower level of hell down. The station is bustling, but residents and visitors are spending more time (and latinum) at the new Deep Space 9's park, sports fields, theater, swimming complex, and who knows what else, than they are at Quark’s establishment. All of Quark's misfortunes just could be reversed, however, when he finds out that one of the steamiest holonovels to hit the Alpha Quadrant in years is up for grabs. And he has an inroad to acquiring it before anyone else. Or does he?

My thoughts:

Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found) marks the first story released since The Never-Ending Sacrifice back in 2009 to carry the Deep Space Nine title. Granted, we've had stories that focused on the station and its characters since then, but they were all branded under alternative titles such as Typhon Pact or The Fall. This return to Deep Space Nine-titled stories is very welcome, and I look forward to seeing the trend continue!

This novella features a small, simple story that focuses on Quark and his efforts to obtain the newest entry in the Vulcan Love Slave series for his struggling business. While the "Ferengi episodes" weren't my favorite aspect of Deep Space Nine, there were some very good ones such as "Rules of Acquisition" and "The Magnificent Ferengi." Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found) plays out much like one those Ferengi-centric episodes, and I for one am very glad we get the opportunity to explore these smaller stories. It is very unlikely that this sort of story could be told if Pocket Books had to dedicate an entire full-size novel to it. Instead, because the costs of producing an e-book novella are so much lower, we are able to get a story such as this.

Pel, from "Rules of Acquisition."
The story itself is a lot of fun, as Quark is thwarted at nearly every turn in his attempts to obtain the new holonovel. I especially enjoyed the character of Shmenge, a young Ferengi sent to Quark to become his apprentice. While reading the opening chapters, Shmenge began to remind me of someone, but I couldn't initially think of who it was. Finally, I realized that he reminded me of Pel, a female Ferengi who posed as a male to become Quark's waiter and business partner in a second season DS9 episode, the aforementioned "Rules of Acquisition." I was later pleasantly surprised when Pel shows up in this story! I had always wondered what became of her, as she was one of my favorite Ferengi characters in Deep Space Nine.

The writing team of Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann are probably best known for their reference books (such as the amazing Deep Space Nine Companion). Beyond that, however, Paula Block also oversees all licensed Star Trek publishing and therefore has intimate knowledge of that side of the Trek business. That knowledge comes through clearly when, in the course of trying to track down the new Vulcan Love Slave program, Quark and Shmenge attend a holo-entertainment convention. I've been to a few Star Trek conventions and other events such as VidCon, and I'm very familiar with the type of environment that is showcased in this story. The novella lightly pokes fun at the culture of conventions and expos. Particularly amusing were the armloads of "swag" that Shmenge managed to acquire, as was his wide-eyed enthusiasm that you often see in the faces of first-time convention goers.

The vendors' room at a Star Trek convention. The convention featured in this novella felt very familiar...

Finally, I liked the idea of Vulcan Love Slave embracing a wider audience. I'm reminded of the well-publicized success of 50 Shades of Grey among female audiences. I love that Vulcan Love Slave has female authors and that this new version is more egalitarian in the "adventures" it provides to the users!

Final thoughts:

Another glowing example of the type of story that is perfect for this shorter, e-book novella format! Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found) was a fun romp in the style of the old Ferengi episodes of DS9. I would enjoy seeing more e-book releases in this vein in the future. Perhaps another Ferengi story from Paula and Terry?

Further resources:

Also by Paula M. Block & Terry J. Erdmann:

My next read:

The second book of the These Are the Voyages trilogy of reference books by Marc Cushman, this one dealing with season two of Star Trek: The Original Series.

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