Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard

The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard
The Story of One of Starfleet's Most Inspirational Captains
Edited by David A. Goodman
Release date: October 17th 2017
Read October 31st 2017

Previous: The Autobiography of James T. Kirk
Next book: The Autobiography of Mr. Spock

Hardcover: | |
Kindle: | |

Publisher's description:
The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard tells the story of one of the most celebrated names in Starfleet history. His extraordinary life and career makes for dramatic reading: court martials, unrequited love, his capture and torture at the hand of the Cardassians, his assimilation with the Borg and countless other encounters as captain of the celebrated Starship Enterprise.

My thoughts:

Click here to watch my video review of The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard, or click play on the embedded video below!

Final thoughts:

A fun and entertaining overview of the life of Jean-Luc Picard, adding a lot of context and meaning to the events of The Next Generation. Fans will find themselves re-watching episodes with more subtext thanks to this book. David A. Goodman clearly has a huge love and respect for the Star Trek universe, and he definitely knows his stuff!

More about The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard:

Also by David A. Goodman:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

Next review: the Deep Space Nine e-book novella, I, The Constable, by Paula M. Block & Terry J. Erdmann.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Literary Treks 233: The Yin and the Yang of Klingons

Star Trek: Prometheus
The Root of All Rage

by Bernd Perplies & Christian Humberg

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

Across the Alpha Quadrant, opinion is turning against the Renao. A terrorist group, The Purifying Flame, is responsible for the destruction of starbases and colonies in the Federation and the Klingon Empire, and now the Empire screams for blood. It's up to the crews of the U.S.S. Prometheus and the I.K.S. Bortas to investigate and bring The Purifying Flame to justice, but can they complete their mission before the calls for vengeance overwhelm the situation, or will cooler heads ultimately prevail?

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther discuss the second book in the Star Trek: Prometheus trilogy, The Root of All Rage. We talk about the delicate relationship between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, bigotry and hate, mistreatment of people who are different, the situation back on Earth, Lwaxana Troi's role, Renao mythology, a surprise tie to a TOS episode, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.

In the news segment, Bruce and Dan review the fourth and final issue of IDW's Star Trek: Discovery: The Light of Kahless.

Literary Treks 233: The Yin and the Yang of Klingons
Prometheus: The Root of All Rage by Bernd Perplies & Christian Humberg

Previous episode: Literary Treks 232: Andorian Crinkled Bendy Straw Antenna
Next episode: Literary Treks 234: The Seed That Never Gets Any Water

Monday, June 11, 2018

Literary Treks 232: Andorian Crinkled Bendy Straw Antenna

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Through the Mirror
IDW Comics miniseries

In the dreaded Mirror Universe, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and his crew aboard the fearsome I.S.S. Enterprise plot to raid our universe for valuable plunder to fuel the ever-expanding war machine of the Terran Empire. Unbeknownst to the Enterprise crew in the Prime Universe, infiltration of Starfleet by Mirror-Picard and his crew has already begun...

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson are joined by's own Amy Nelson to talk about the five-part IDW Comics miniseries Through the Mirror. We discuss each issue of the series, which features two stories running in tandem: story A, in which our heroes must thwart an attempt by the mirror crew to steal resources from our universe, and story B, in which the mirror Commander Data attempts to track down former Emperor Spock and learn the secrets of the prime universe.

In the news segment, Dan and Bruce review the second issue of the Star Trek: Discovery: Succession comic miniseries.

Literary Treks 232: Andorian Crinkled Bendy Straw Antenna
IDW's TNG: Through the Mirror comic miniseries

Previous episode: Literary Treks 231: Dancing to the Strains of Cadillac Ranch
Next episode: Literary Treks 233: The Yin and the Yang of Klingons

Wednesday, June 6, 2018


Star Trek: The Next Generation
Q-Squared by Peter David
Published August 1995
Read May 16th 2017

Previous book (The Next Generation - Hardcover): All Good Things...

Next book (The Next Generation - Hardcover): Star Trek: Generations
Next book (The Next Generation - Published order): #31: Foreign Foes

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

Spoilers ahead for Q-Squared!

From the back cover:
In all of his travels Captain Jean-Luc Picard has never faced an opponent more powerful that Q, a being from another continuum that Picard encountered on his very first mission as Captain of the Starship Enterprise. In the years since, Q has returned again and again to harass Picard and his crew. Sometimes dangerous, sometimes merely obnoxious, Q has always been mysterious and seemingly all-powerful. 

But this time, when Q appears, he comes to Picard for help. Apparently another member of the Q continuum has tapped into an awesome power source that makes this being more powerful than the combined might of the entire Q continuum. This renegade Q is named Trelane -- also known as the Squire of Gothos, who Captain Kirk and his crew first encountered over one hundred years ago. Q explains that, armed with this incredible power, Trelane has become unspeakably dangerous. 

Now Picard must get involved in an awesome struggle between super beings. And this time the stakes are not just Picard's ship, or the galaxy, or even the universe -- this time the stakes are all of creation...

My thoughts:

I first read Q-Squared nearly twenty-three years ago, back when it was first published. I don't think it was the first Star Trek novel I ever read, but it was certainly the most well-loved. A gift from my aunt and uncle, Q-Squared became one of those novels that I would return to multiple times, re-reading every few years or so. My most recent re-read was last year for episode 190 of the Literary Treks podcast, and I was curious as to whether or not I would love the book as much as I did at the age of thirteen.

As it turns out, I need not have worried.

Q-Squared brings together the characters of Q and Trelane, the seemingly-omnipotent man-child from the TOS episode "The Squire of Gothos." Trelane was pretty obviously the inspiration for the creation of the Q character, so it makes sense to bring them together here. Trelane is just as out-of-control as he was in that classic episode, and Q is tasked with riding herd on him. However, it soon becomes apparent that Q is in over his head, and Trelane eventually amasses enough power to be a real threat to Q, as well as to the rest of the universe.

Q-Squared brings William Campbell's Trelane to the 24th century.

I think I loved the book so much as a kid because it hit all the right notes for me. I fell in love with Peter David's writing style, with his whimsical moments balanced perfectly against the deadly seriousness of the peril in the story. It is a very difficult balance to achieve, and Peter David managed to somehow strike just the right tone, with such disparate story elements as the extreme trauma experienced by William Riker of a parallel universe, tortured for decades at the hands of the Romulans, and some ridiculous over-the-top Q shenanigans such as the cast of Winnie the Pooh coming to life in the schoolroom of the Enterprise-D.

There are a few things that don't jive with a strict interpretation of canon Star Trek, but longtime readers of this site will know that I am pretty easy-going when it comes to those sorts of things. We all know that Star Trek novels are considered "non-canon," which means that at any given moment, a "canon" source (anything on television or in a film) can come along and wipe out from the continuity anything that the novels have established. Therefore, I didn't lose a lot of sleep when Voyager established that the Q don't tend to have children in the traditional sense, thereby making Q-Sqaured's assertion that Trelane is a Q child invalid. To me, a good story is a good story, whether or not it fits in with established continuity. And Q-Squared is certainly a good story.

Q finds himself in over his head in trying to deal with Trelane and asks Captain Picard for help.

As a young Star Trek fan, I distinctly remember seeing "The Squire of Gothos" very early in my life. Much like Q-Squared, I'm fairly certain it wasn't my first, but it was very close to it. The idea of a seemingly-omnipotent being really fascinated me, and the twist that he is just a child was really compelling and a great ending. This is a theme that Star Trek visits often: the idea of unlimited power in the hands of someone or something who is ultimately immature or child-like. Along with "The Squire of Gothos," I would contend that "Charlie X" and even the character of Q himself play with the idea of immaturity and omnipotence coupled together. Q-Squared continues this exploration quite expertly, giving Trelane ultimate power. His tantrum at the end of the novel when things ultimately don't go his way shows that he is still the immature and out-of-control youth we met in "The Squire of Gothos."

Final thoughts:

Q-Squared, in addition to being simply a damn good book, is incredibly funny as well, which should come as no surprise given who the author is. There are numerous character moments that are laugh-out-loud funny, while at the same time remaining a poignant and fascinating exploration of Q, Trelane, our TNG heroes, as well as numerous alternate universes. I remember as a young man being fascinated with all of the various universes (labelled as "tracks" in the novel) coming together and intermingling in this novel. A fun exploration of TNG and an interesting pairing of Q and Trelane make this one an absolute favorite that I will likely continue to return to for years to come.

More about Q-Squared:

Also by Peter David:

My next read:

Next review: My video review of The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard. Look for that one soon!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Release Day! Discovery: Fear Itself by James Swallow

Star Trek: Discovery
Fear Itself by James Swallow

The second new Star Trek novel in two weeks! Our cups runneth over! Be sure to pick up the latest novel in the Trek universe, Discovery: Fear Itself by James Swallow. A story focusing on Saru, Fear Itself looks to be an interesting story about one of my favorite new characters in Discovery!

There are reports of this book having shown up early in bookstores, so you may have your copy already. If you don't have it yet, though, be sure to pick it up at your local bookstore, online, or as an e-book from your favorite retailer! And please consider the links below to order it from Amazon. You would be helping out Trek Lit Reviews!

Check out the back cover blurb and links to purchase below.

Publisher's description:
An original novel based upon the explosive new Star Trek TV series on CBS All Access.

Lieutenant Saru is a Kelpien, a member of a prey species born on a world overrun by monstrous predators…and a being who very intimately understands the nature of fear. Challenged on all sides, he is determined to surpass his origins and succeed as a Starfleet officer aboard the U.S.S. Shenzhou. But when Saru breaks protocol in order to prove himself to his crewmates, what begins as a vital rescue mission to save a vessel in distress soon escalates out of control. Forced into a command role he may not be ready for, Saru is caught between his duty and the conflicting agendas of two antagonistic alien races. To survive, he will need to seek a path of peace against all odds, and risk compromising the very ideals he has sworn to uphold….

Purchase Discovery: Fear Itself:

Trade Paperback: | |
E-Book (Kindle): | |

Monday, June 4, 2018

Literary Treks 231: Dancing to the Strains of Cadillac Ranch

Star Trek: The Next Generation
A Time to Die by John Vornholt

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

Captain Picard relieved of command and under psychiatric care. The Enterprise in mortal danger. A "Traveler," scared to use his power, but knowing that he must in order to save his friends from another life. And a strange, other-worldly threat prowls the site of the deadliest battle of the Dominion War, with seemingly nothing able to stop it. Can Wesley Crusher once again do what he does best: save the U.S.S. Enterprise and everyone aboard her?

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther discuss A Time to Die, part two of a duology by John Vornholt and the second novel in the nine-part A Time To series. We talk about Wesley's abilities as a Traveler, the character of Colleen Cabot and her relationship with Wesley, Picard's role in the story, the "Demon Flyer" that threatens our heroes, the Ontailians, answer some questions from our listeners, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.

Literary Treks 231: Dancing to the Strains of Cadillac Ranch
The Next Generation: A Time to Die by John Vornholt

Previous episode: Literary Treks 230: Golf in the Original Klingon
Next episode: Literary Treks 232: Andorian Crinkled Bendy Straw Antenna

Friday, June 1, 2018

Original Sin

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Original Sin by David R. George III
Release date: September 26th 2017
Read October 10th 2017

Previous book (Deep Space Nine): Enigma Tales
Next book (Deep Space Nine): I, The Constable

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

Publisher's description:
At the end of 2385, in a significant shift of its goals from military back to exploratory, Starfleet sent Captain Benjamin Sisko and the crew of the U.S.S. Robinson on an extended mission into the Gamma Quadrant. Tasked with a years-long assignment to travel unknown regions, they set out to fulfill the heart of Starfleet’s charter: to explore strange new worlds, and to seek out new life and new civilizations.

But now three months into the mission, their first contact with an alien species comes in the form of an unprovoked attack on the Robinson. With the ship’s crew suddenly incapacitated, seventy-eight of the 1,300 aboard are abducted—including Sisko’s daughter, Rebecca. But Rebecca had already been kidnapped years earlier by a Bajoran religious zealot, part of a sect believing that her birth fulfilled the prophecy of the arrival of the Infant Avatar. Does her disappearance now have anything to do with the harrowing events of the past? And for what purposes have these enemies taken Sisko’s daughter and the rest of the missing?

My thoughts:

Click here to watch my video review of Deep Space Nine: Gamma: Original Sin, or click play on the embedded video below!

Final thoughts:

A fascinating novel that serves to fill in a bit of the gap in the skipped years of the Deep Space Nine relaunch, while still progressing the story forward with Captain Sisko on the USS Robinson. We learn a lot about Ben and Kassidy's daughter, Rebecca, and the story sets the stage for (hopefully) more novels to come that explore this corner of the Trek universe! 4/5.

More about Gamma: Original Sin:

Also by David R. George III:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

Next review: Q-Squared by Peter David, a favorite of mine from back in the day!