Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Literary Treks 125: The Prophets' Dynamic Duo

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Warpath by David Mack

Deep Space Nine was the one Star Trek series that was not afraid to show the darker side of the universe, so it should come as no surprise to readers of the relaunch novels that the books continued that tradition as the story continued to unfold.

In this episode of Literary Treks, Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther talk about David Mack's book Warpath. We discuss going from bad to worse, lack of direction, main characters that aren't main, Prynn and Vaughn, setup syndrome, a trip to Bajoran Minis Tirith, and our ratings.

In the news segment, we judge the cover to James Swallow's upcoming book The Latter Fire and talk about the latest issue of Star Trek/Green Lantern and Ongoing's 50th issue.

Literary Treks 125: The Prophets' Dynamic Duo
Deep Space Nine: Warpath by David Mack

Previous episode: Literary Treks 124: Insert a Shudder Here

Next episode: Literary Treks 126: From a Certain Point of View

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Release Day! Seekers #4: All That's Left

Star Trek: Seekers #4: All That's Left
by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore

Stunning art and a Constitution-class starship on the cover of a novel by New York Times bestselling author Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore? It can mean only one thing: Seekers continues!

The fourth book in the young series comes out today. Pick it up wherever you get your Trek novels! Look below for the back cover blurb and links to purchase from Amazon.

My review

Publisher's description:
An all-new novel in the acclaimed Star Trek: Vanguard spin-off series!

Initially charted by Starfleet probes dispatched to sur­vey the Taurus Reach, the planet Cantrel V now plays host to a budding Federation colony as well as a com­bined civilian/Starfleet exploration team. Ancient ruins of an unknown civilization scattered around the planet have raised the curiosity of archaeologists, anthropolo­gists, historians, and other interested members of the Federation scientific community. Together, they are attempting to shed light on the beings that once called this world home.

After a large, unidentified vessel arrives in orbit and launches a seemingly unprovoked orbital bombardment, the U.S.S. Endeavour responds to the colony’s distress call. As they attempt to render assistance and investi­gate the mysterious ship, Captain Atish Khatami and her crew begin to unlock the astonishing secrets the planet has harbored for centuries. Does the survival of a newly discovered yet endangered alien race pose a threat not only to Cantrel V, but to other inhabited worlds throughout the Taurus Reach and beyond?

Purchase All That's Left:

Mass-market paperback: | |
E-book (Kindle): | |

Previous Release: Titan: Sight Unseen

Monday, October 26, 2015


Star Trek: The Next Generation #47
The Q Continuum, Book 1 of 3
Q-Space by Greg Cox
Published August 1998
Read August 21st 2014

Previous book (TNG Published Order): Planet X

Previous book (TNG Numbered): #46: To Storm Heaven
Next book (TNG Numbered): #48: The Q Continuum, Book 2 of 3: Q-Zone

Spoilers ahead for Q-Space!

From the back cover:
The unpredictable cosmic entity known only as Q has plagued Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the Starship Enterprise since their very first voyage together. But little is known of Q's mysterious past or that of the unearthly realm from which he hails. Now Picard must learn Q's secrets -- or all of reality may perish!

Ever since its discovery, the great galactic barrier has impeded humanity's exploration of the universe beyond the Milky Way. Now a brilliant Federation scientist may have found a way to breach the barrier, and the Enterprise is going to put it to the test. The last thing Picard needs is a return visit from an omnipotent troublemaker so, naturally, Q appears.

But Q has more in mind than his usual pranks, and while the Enterprise struggles to defeat a powerful inhuman foe, Captain Picard must embark on a fantastic odyssey into the history of the Q Continuum itself, with the fate of the galaxy hanging in the balance.

My thoughts:

I have long been a fan of Greg Cox's Star Trek novels. Although I haven't had the opportunity to review them for this site (yet!), I loved his Eugenics Wars novels, chronicling the rise and fall of Khan on Earth. Years ago, when I first read the Q Continuum trilogy, I loved them just as much. So, all these years later, how do they hold up?

This first novel, Q-Space, shows a lot of promise. First, there is the enticing mystery of the "galactic barrier," an energy field surrounding the Milky Way galaxy, effectively sealing us in. The Enterprise is en route to carry out an experiment in which the Enterprise will breach the barrier. The experiment is the brain child of Dr. Lem Faal, a Betazoid dying of a degenerative illness who hopes to live long enough to see his life's work come to fruition.

The Enterprise-E takes part in an experiment to breach the galactic barrier, first introduced in the Original Series episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before."

Before the Enterprise can carry out the experiment, Q shows up (along with his wife, Q, and their son, q), imploring Picard to stop the experiment and turn back. Naturally, our intrepid captain demands an explanation, and the ever-petulant Q balks. With Q refusing to offer any kind of explanation, Picard orders the Enterprise forward to the barrier, where another familiar "face" greets them: the Calamarain, a gaseous collection of entities (first seen in the TNG episode "Deja Q").

The Calamarain.

While the Calamarain threaten the Enterprise, Q whisks Picard away, ostensibly to explain to him why the experiment must be halted. What follows is a whirlwind tour of Q's "youth" and his encounter with a strange entity known only as "0," a being seemingly from another reality with powers that are similar to Q's, but with a menace to him that seems very ominous.

Q-Space is a fascinating beginning to this trilogy, showing Q to have a vulnerability we have never seen before. Seeing him in his youth is an interesting perspective on the entity, and I look forward to seeing where his and Picard's journey take them.

Throughout the novel, there are hints of a dark menace lurking on the outside of the barrier. The implication is that the barrier exists not to keep us in, but rather to keep something terrible out. The origins and identity of this menace are not shown in this volume, but are mysteries that we will have to wait for the next books to reveal.

Final thoughts:

While this is a fun and interesting beginning to this story, that is all it is: a beginning. It is difficult to judge the story thus far as it is frustratingly incomplete. What is Q trying to tell Picard? Why are the Calamarain being so belligerant towards the Enterprise? What is the menace that lurks outside the galactic barrier? As we learn more about 0 and his relationship with the young Q, hopefully these questions and more will be answered.

More about Q-Space:

Also by Greg Cox:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

Next week: #15 in the S.C.E. series: Past Life by Robert Greenberger.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

New cover art! TOS: The Latter Fire

The cover reveals for 2016 continue with the unveiling of the cover art for the April novel, The Original Series: The Latter Fire by New York Times bestselling author James Swallow, thanks to a "first look" exclusive on A slightly redesigned logo graces the cover of this novel, giving it a unique look. The gorgeous shot of the Enterprise makes this cover a winner!

Look below for the back-cover blurb and links to pre-order from Amazon. You'll be helping us out here at Trek Lit Reviews!

Publisher's description:
The five-year mission of the Starship Enterprise has brought the vessel and her crew to the forefront of an important first contact operation. Under the command of Captain James T. Kirk, the ship is heading to the planet Syhaar Prime in the Beta Quadrant—the homeworld of an alien civilization preparing to take its first steps onto the galactic stage. One year earlier, the Enterprise came across a badly damaged Syhaari explorer vessel drifting in deep space. In collaboration with the explorer’s captain, Kirk and his crew were able to restore the ship to full function and send it on its way. And now, as the Syhaari display rapid technological progress in the past year, hard questions must be asked. Is it possible that the Enterprise crew leaked advanced technology or information to the Syhaari during their first encounter, in violation of the Prime Directive?

Pre-order The Latter Fire from:

Mass-market paperback: | |
E-book (Kindle): |

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Literary Treks 124: Insert a Shudder Here

Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
The Dominion: Olympus Descending by David R. George III

As Deep Space Nine ended, The Dominion was left in disarray; they had lost the war and found themselves without clear direction. As Odo rejoins the Link, he works to influence it, sharing his experiences among the solids with the changeling community with the hope of fostering change. But something else has captivated the Link, and it’s nothing Odo could have ever predicted.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther discuss the last Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine book: Olympus Descending. We discuss Great Link confusion, Changeling culture, some long awaited resolution, a really hard time, what we place our faith in, massive disappointments, and our ratings.

Literary Treks 124: Insert a Shudder Here
The Dominion: Olympus Descending

Previous episode: Literary Treks 123: The Line is a Dot to You

Next episode: Literary Treks 125: The Prophets' Dynamic Duo

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Shadows of the Indignant

Star Trek
Mere Anarchy, Book Three
Shadows of the Indignant by Dave Galanter
First Published November 2006
Re-published in the omnibus collection Mere Anarchy in March 2009
Read August 22nd 2015

Previous book (Mere Anarchy): The Centre Cannot Hold
Next book (Mere Anarchy): The Darkness Drops Again

Original e-book cover

Trade Paperback: | |
Kindle E-book: | |

Spoilers ahead for Shadows of the Indignant and the rest of the Mere Anarchy series!

From the back cover:
As Admiral James T. Kirk adjusts to life at Starfleet Operations on Earth, he discovers some shipping irregularities centered around Mestiko. Authorized to go on a fact-finding tour to the planet, Kirk takes along his old friend Dr. McCoy, now a civilian "old country doctor," to investigate.

What Kirk finds is a web of intrigue, complicated by his status as Dinpayav, an outsider. He must convince Raya elMora--now a major player in the ad hoc world government of Mestiko in the years following the disaster--to help him before Mestiko becomes the pawn of someone else's political game...

My thoughts:

Mere Anarchy is a miniseries of e-books originally conceived of to provide a continuing story across all of the various "eras" of Original Series Trek. One period of time that hasn't had a lot of exploration, either on-screen or in other media, is immediately following The Original Series and before Star Trek: The Motion Picture. This was a time of transition for our heroes, with Kirk taking a desk job with the admiralty at Starfleet Command, Spock leaving Starfleet to pursue Kolinahr on Vulcan, and McCoy retiring from active service. Shadows of the Indignant reveals what a couple of these characters were up to during this period of time.

Admiral Kirk enlists the aid of an old friend.

Shadows of the Indignant is unique in that it follows just two characters: Kirk and McCoy. In his new position as Chief of Starfleet Operations, Admiral Kirk has discovered several anomalies in Mestiko's records: strange shipping errors and other mysterious happenings that lead him to one conclusion: Klingon involvement. Kirk intends to uncover what is happening on Mestiko, but is unable to go through Starfleet channels to do so. He decides to go undercover in the black market tied to Mestiko, but first he must recruit an old friend to help him out: Leonard McCoy.

This was a fun story. The focus on just two characters instead of the entire ensemble gave the story a unique feel for this unique time in Trek history. The changes that occurred after end of the 5-year mission have turned the world on its ear for these characters, and the story reflected that reality quite well.

Reading Shadows of the Indignant, one gets the sense that Admiral Kirk is still struggling with his decision to accept promotion.

The mystery behind the irregularities that Kirk investigates plays out fairly by the numbers, with a few small twists and turns here and there. However, it is a fun read because Dave Galanter has such a good grasp of these characters' voices. McCoy's discomfort with returning to the "Starfleet lifestyle" was amusing and felt very genuine. Kirk's unease with his new role as an admiral while at the same time defending the decision as a good one felt perfect for this stage in his life.

Final thoughts:

A generally good story featuring one of my favorite relationships among the TOS crew. Kirk and McCoy are the sole focus of this story, which lends a unique perspective. Almost a "buddy cop" story, Shadows of the Indignant continues the story of Mestiko into the movie era, featuring a glimpse into a period of time not often explored. Solid, with not a lot of surprises, Shadows of the Indignant gets the characters just right.

More about Shadows of the Indignant:

Star Trek: Mere Anarchy:

Also by Dave Galanter:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

Next week, an old favorite from Greg Cox: Book one of the Q Continuum trilogy, Q-Space. Let's see how it holds up!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Literary Treks 123: The Line is a Dot to You

Titan: Sight Unseen
Interview with James Swallow, New York Times Bestselling Author!

The Fall series brought about massive changes for the crew of the Titan as the ship was recalled from the Gum Nebula region, and Riker was promoted to Admiral. The changes continue as the ship receives a new mission and some new crew members.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther are joined by James Swallow to talk about his book, Sight Unseen. We discuss Titan’s new course, Riker and Vale, the new characters, juxtaposition, survival, horror Trek, bringing things back, personal moments, new elements, James’ other projects, and our final thoughts.

In the news segment, we judge the cover of Voyager: Pocket Full of Lies.

Literary Treks 123: The Line is a Dot to You
Interview with James Swallow, author of Sight Unseen

Previous episode: Literary Treks 122: Foibles of Human Nature

Next episode: Literary Treks 124: Insert a Shudder Here

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Sight Unseen

Star Trek: Titan
Sight Unseen by James Swallow
Release date: September 29th 2015
Read October 2nd 2015

Previous book (Titan): Absent Enemies

Next book (Titan): Fortune of War

MMPB: | |
Kindle: | |

Spoilers ahead for Sight Unseen!

From the back cover:
In the wake of political upheaval across the United Federation of Planets, Admiral William Riker and the crew of the USS Titan find themselves in uncertain waters as roles aboard the ship change to reflect a new mandate and a new mission. On orders from Starfleet, Titan sets out toward the edge of Federation space to tackle its latest assignment: to work with an alien species known as the Dinac, who are taking their first steps into the galaxy at large as a newly warp-capable civilization. 
But when disaster befalls the Dinac, the Titan crew discovers they have unknowingly drawn the attention of a deadly, merciless enemy; a nightmare from Riker's past lurking in the darkness. Friendships will be tested to the limit as familiar faces and new allies must risk everything in a fight against an unstoppable invader; or a horrific threat will be unleashed on the galaxy!

My thoughts:

When the Star Trek: Titan series began in 2005, it promised to be a new take on the Star Trek universe. Featuring a diverse crew from all manner of species, Titan would explore the frontiers, boldly going where no one had gone before. However, with the events of The Fall, Titan was recalled back to Sector 001. Riker was promoted to the rank of admiral and charged with investigating the conspiracy within the Federation, while Commander Vale was left in temporary command of Titan.

The USS Titan will stick a little closer to home in this novel and, presumably, going forward.

Christine Vale, seen here in IDW's
Hive comic, is now Titan's CO.
With this novel, Sight Unseen, we get a new start for the Titan and her crew. In many ways, this novel can be seen as the "season premiere" for another chapter in the Titan story. Admiral Riker is assigned to be "sector commander" for the area of space that Titan will be patrolling, and he has elected to keep his flag aboard the ship. Commander Vale is promoted to Captain and given command of Titan. While many would assume that Commander Tuvok would be promoted to first officer, he retains his post as Security Chief while a new XO is brought aboard: Dalit Sarai, an officer with a somewhat checkered past. First introduced in The Fall, Sarai aided President Pro Tempore Ishan Anjar in his attempt to stop Julian Bashir.

Another new character joins Titan as well: Ensign Ethan Kyzak, a Skagaran who grew up on North Star, seen in the Enterprise episode of the same name. The addition of Ensign Kyzak adds an interesting dynamic to the crew. Coming from North Star, a world founded by captured humans from the old west, Kyzak lends a sensibility to the crew not unlike the presence of Trip Tucker in Enterprise.

Ethan Kyzak is a Skagaran from North Star, the same species as this character, Draysik.

The Titan's first assignment in this new region of space is to rendezvous with the USS Whitetree and work with the Dinac. However, this mission is disrupted by the reappearance of the aliens from the TNG episode "Schisms," whom Starfleet have designated the "Solanae." They are once again kidnapping crewmembers and experimenting on them, this time en masse, having brought the crews of both the Whitetree and a Dinac vessel into their domain.

Sight Unseen was an absolutely engrossing adventure, sucking me in from page one. It was a treat to see the Titan and her menagerie of characters again. One of my favorites, Ensign Torvig, got his moment to shine, and all of the other major players such as Melora Pazlar, Ra-Havrei, Zurin Dakal, and Vale are adequately served by the story. Even the restored White-Blue is featured, one of the most unique characters on Titan. And that is saying something!

On full display here are some fundamentals of good Star Trek: the idea of coming together for the greater good; the fact that we are stronger when working in common cause rather than in opposition; great characters and an engaging story that never lets up. Several times in the novel I felt that the characters were in real jeopardy, and the crew does end up having to pay a painful price in the course of the story. Featuring James Swallow's trademark amazing storytelling, Sight Unseen was a terrifically fun read.

Final thoughts:

A real page-turner that features everything that I love about Star Trek novels. There are a lot of stories out there in the wider Trek universe, but it is books like these that keep me buying Trek lit. I realize this has become a familiar refrain of late, but in my opinion this is the best of the Star Trek novels released so far this year. They just keep getting better!

If you are at all a fan of Titan or are a new fan looking for a good place to pick up the story, Sight Unseen should not be missed. Ushering in a new and promising chapter for Titan, this story has everything you could want in a Trek novel.

More about Sight Unseen:

Also by James Swallow:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

Next week, look for my review of the third instalment in the Mere Anarchy series: Shadows of the Indignant by Dave Galanter.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Caveat Emptor

Star Trek: S.C.E. #14
Caveat Emptor by Ian Edginton and Mike Collins
Published March 2002
Re-released in print form as part of the S.C.E. compilation No Surrender in 2003.
Read August 16th 2015

Previous ebook (S.C.E.): #13: No Surrender
Next ebook (S.C.E.): #15: Past Life

Original e-book cover
Compilation of SCE #'s 13 - 16
No Surrender (Paperback) from |
No Surrender (Kindle) from |

Spoilers ahead for Caveat Emptor and the rest of the Corps of Engineers series!

From the back cover:
DaiMon Forg of the Ferengi Merchantman thought he was getting a fantastic new computer at a stunningly low price. But he realized too late that the price he paid for the machine from Beta 3 was far too high...

What starts as a simple rescue mission reveals something that astonishes the U.S.S. da Vinci crew -- a ship full of polite, docile, and generous Ferengi! Soon, Commander Gomez and her S.C.E. team realize that the Ferengi have been taken over by Landru, the ancient super-computer, which has returned -- a century after being dismantled by the crew of the Starship Enterprise -- to wreak havoc once more.

And Landru has set its sights on the da Vinci next...

My thoughts:

In Star Trek: The Original Series, Kirk was known for many things. One of his feats as captain was his uncanny ability to talk computers to death, destroying their will to live by confusing their logic centers. How Spock remained at his side for many years, I'll never know.

One such computer that seemingly committed digital suicide was Landru, a computer that controlled the population of Beta III with an all-encompassing hold on their culture. All members of the society had to be "of the body," living in peace and tranquility with one another and only letting off steam once in awhile during "festival."

Kirk and Spock confront Landru in the TOS episode "The Return of the Archons."

However, after talking Landru to death, Kirk apparently never ensured that the computer itself was disassembled or destroyed. Someone must have come along and hit "control, alt, delete," and revived the totalitarian machine. The hardware has somehow survived until the 24th century and has now been installed aboard a Ferengi vessel, taking control of the ship's company and crew in the same manner it enslaved the population of Beta III. This being a Ferengi story, hilarity ensues.

This time, "Landru" takes on the persona of Milia, a Ferengi prophet who preached peace and love, ideas that are somewhat in conflict with the current ideals of Ferengi culture. Therefore, when Captain Gold and the crew of the da Vinci encounter a ship full of peaceful Ferengi who want nothing to do with profit, they are understandably confused.

Rather than appearing as Landru, the computer manifests itself as a Ferengi prophet, Milia.

This was generally a fun story, with some great continuity ties to classic Trek. The use of the Landru computer was a nice choice, and it was appreciated that the resolution in this novel wasn't just a rehash of Kirk's original solution to the problem. Also fun was the brief glimpse of the government of Grand Nagus Rom facing the threat that this ship brings to Ferenginar.

Final thoughts:

A solid story, but not incredibly groundbreaking. Definitely a fun read with the combination of the Landru computer from The Original Series with the irreverence of a Ferengi story. The Ferengi are used well in Caveat Emptor, and like the best Ferengi stories, they are not reduced to buffoons merely for comic relief.

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

My review of the latest new release, Titan: Sight Unseen by one of my favorite Trek authors, James Swallow. Look for that in the next few days!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Pocket Full of Lies: Gorgeous Cover Reveal!

Hi Folks, I have a beautiful new piece of cover art to share with you today, thanks to Coming next year is the next installment of the Voyager relaunch helmed by the indomitable Kirsten Beyer: A Pocket Full of Lies. Look below for the stunning cover art, as well as the back-cover blurb and links to pre-order the novel from Amazon!

From the back cover:

The Full Circle Fleet has resumed its unprecedented explorations of the Delta Quadrant and former Borg space. Commander Liam O'Donnell of the U.S.S. Demeter makes a promising first contact with the Nihydron—humanoid aliens that are collectors of history. They rarely interact with the species they study but have created a massive database of numerous races, inhabited planets, and the current geopolitical landscape of a large swath of the quadrant. When an exchange of data is proposed via a formal meeting, the Nihydron representatives are visibly shaken when Admiral Kathryn Janeway greets them. For almost a century, two local species—the Rilnar and the Zahl—have fought for control of the nearby planet Sormana, with both sides claiming it as their ancestral homeworld. The shocking part is that for the last several years, the Rilnar have been steadily gaining ground, thanks to the tactics of their current commanding officer: a human woman, who appears to be none other than Kathryn Janeway herself...

I'm definitely looking forward to this one! Kirsten Beyer's Voyager novels have yet to disappoint. Also, there are a few hints that point to what this novel might be about. The Rilnar, Zahl, and Nihydron are all species that appeared or were mentioned in the Voyager two-parter "Year of Hell." Also, take special note of the design that follows the "mirrored" Voyager in the above cover art. Does it look at all familiar?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but those really look like the "timelines" display on Annorax's temporal weapon ship from "Year of Hell." We all know how much Beyer dislikes the "reset button"... could she be intending to undo one of Voyager's most egregious examples? Only time will tell...

Perhaps re-watching "Year of Hell" should be our assigned homework before January 26, the release date of A Pocket Full of Lies.

Pre-order A Pocket Full of Lies from:

Mass Market Paperback: | |
E-book (Kindle): | |

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Literary Treks 122: Foibles of Human Nature

The Autobiography of James T. Kirk
Interview with David A. Goodman, Kirk's editor!

There are very few characters from television, film or literature that loom as large as Captain Kirk, he’s become a part of the cultural zeitgeist alongside Bond, Superman, and Darth Vader, but never before has he been presented to the world in his own words.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther are joined by David A. Goodman, the "editor" of The Autobiography of James T. Kirk. We discuss where the idea came from for the book, the small clues, merging canon, Star Trek V, the people Kirk bumps into, more books, the artwork and footnotes, wrapping up with our final thoughts.

In the news segment, we remind everyone that Titan: Sight Unseen is out.

Literary Treks 122: Foibles of Human Nature
Interview with David A. Goodman, author of The Autobiography of James T. Kirk

Previous episode: Literary Treks 121: Wall Street of the '80s

Next episode: Literary Treks 123: The Line is a Dot to You

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Autobiography of James T. Kirk

The Autobiography of James T. Kirk
The Story of Starfleet's Greatest Captain
by James T. Kirk (edited by David A. Goodman)
Release date: September 8th 2015
Read September 23rd 2015

Next book: The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard

Hardcover: | |
Kindle: |

From the back cover:
The Autobiography of James T. Kirk chronicles the greatest Starfleet captain's life (2233–2371), in his own words. From his birth on the U.S.S. Kelvin, his youth spent on Tarsus IV, his time in the Starfleet Academy, his meteoric rise through the ranks of Starfleet, and his illustrious career at the helm of the Enterprise, this in-world memoir uncovers Captain Kirk in a way Star Trek fans have never seen. Kirk's singular voice rings throughout the text, giving insight into his convictions, his bravery, and his commitment to the life—in all forms—throughout this Galaxy and beyond. Excerpts from his personal correspondence, captain's logs, and more give Kirk's personal narrative further depth.

My thoughts:

While James T. Kirk is arguably Starfleet's "greatest captain," we haven't gotten his life story in his own words... until now. Thanks to his editor, David A. Goodman, and the application of some "wibbly-wobbley timey-wimey" stuff, you can now read the story of James T. Kirk right from the horse's mouth!

Kirk's entire life is covered in his autobiography, including his time at Starfleet Academy.

The book itself is laid out in a chronological fashion, with Kirk's childhood and early years comprising the early chapters and his later Starfleet career making up the majority of the book. Revealed are his experiences on Tarsus IV during the massacre by Kodos the Executioner and the events that led him to apply to Starfleet Academy, all the way up to the days leading up to his disappearance during the maiden voyage of the Enterprise-B in Star Trek: Generations. The conceit is that this memoir is published posthumously, with a touching foreword by Leonard McCoy and an afterword by Spock of Vulcan.

All of the major moments in Kirk's life are covered, including his encounter(s) with the infamous Kodos the Executioner.

It's a fairly quick read, with Kirk moving quickly from one event to the next. If there is any kind of main throughline to the story, it is Kirk's attempts to balance his personal life with his professional life as a Starfleet officer. Time and again, he must sacrifice his sustaining of a relationship or any semblance of a "normal" life in order to chase his best destiny: command of a starship. From that one woman from far in the past who touched his life, Edith Keeler, to Carol Marcus who ends up being the mother of his son, Kirk struggles to find love and ultimately winds up married to his career above all else.

One fun thing that this book does is to link disparate parts of Kirk's life together, bringing deeper meaning to what were once small "throwaway" lines in Trek episodes and films. Additionally, in what will likely prove to be a controversial choice for many Trek fans, David Goodman deals with the inconsistencies in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier in a very unique way.

So... did this really happen, or not?

Another great touch was the addition of "editor's notes" throughout the narrative that lent a feeling of verisimilitude to the pages of the book. Little things that Kirk gets wrong in the book that are "corrected" by the editor make this feel like a real autobiography. Also, a full color insert of pictures in the middle of the book from Kirk's life, including his Academy graduation photo and travel documents to Tarsus IV, lend even more credibility.

I definitely preferred the parts of the book where an effort has been made to expand on or create new events in Kirk's life, rather than rehashing what we already knew. There are some interesting insights to be gleaned here, and Goodman's writing kept me interested throughout the book such that I finished it quite quickly, reading through it in a couple of evenings.

If you are interested in learning more about the process of writing this book or further insights from the author on his experience in creating Kirk's backstory, please check out the latest episode of Literary Treks, in which I and co-host Matthew Rushing talk to David Goodman at length about this book!

Final thoughts:

From reading The Autobiography of James T. Kirk, it's very clear that David A. Goodman knows his stuff. He captures the unique voice of Kirk in the pages of the book, and his relationships with those around him feel very real. I would have liked the book to go more in depth in some of the areas we know less about, but Goodman does a very good job in balancing what we know with new material. There are some very clever choices made in this book that made me grin, but that might make other fans dislike the direction he takes. Unfortunately, you can't please everyone, but I think that Goodman has crafted an entertaining life story for our intrepid captain, and The Autobiography of James T. Kirk will have a place on my bookshelf.

More about this book:

Also by David A. Goodman:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

Later this week, I'll have a review of another Corps of Engineers novella, S.C.E. #14: Caveat Emptor by Ian Edginton and Mike Collins. And next week, look for my review of the new release, Titan: Sight Unseen by James Swallow!