Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Release Day! More Beautiful Than Death by David Mack

Star Trek (Kelvin Timeline)
More Beautiful Than Death
by David Mack

Where would we be without our regular fix of Star Trek fiction? Today sees the release of a new novel, ten years in the making: More Beautiful Than Death by New York Times' bestselling author David Mack!

Set in the "Kelvin Timeline" of the last three feature films, this novel features the alternate crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise under the command of James T. Kirk. Their mission: to escort Spock's father, Sarek, on a diplomatic mission to a planet seemingly under siege by horrific demons!

Check out below for the back-cover blurb and links to purchase from Amazon!




Publisher's description:
An original novel based on the thrilling new Star Trek movies!

Based on the “Kelvin Universe” movie saga!

Captain James T. Kirk and the Enterprise crew escort Spock’s father, Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan, to a dilithium-rich planet called Akiron. They arrive to find this world under siege by creatures that some of the planet’s denizens believe are demons. Sarek orders Kirk to abandon the mission, but the young captain won’t turn his back on people in danger. After a harrowing encounter with the dark-energy “demons,” Kirk’s belief in a rational universe is challenged by a mystic who insists that it wasn’t coincidence that brought Kirk to Akiron, but the alien equivalent of a Karmic debt.

Purchase Star Trek: More Beautiful Than Death:

Trade Paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk


Previous Release: Discovery: Die Standing
Next Release: Voyager: To Lose the Earth

Friday, August 7, 2020

New Podcast! Positively Trek Book Club: Strangers From the Sky

Star Trek
Strangers From the Sky
Special guest: author Margaret Wander Bonanno!

Purchase:
Mass-market paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

In the history of the Federation, the story of first contact between Humans and Vulcans is well-known: Earth astronauts came to the rescue of a Vulcan ship, stranded in our system’s asteroid belt. The rest is, as they say, history. But what if the official story is not how it actually happened? What if first contact with the Vulcans actually came many years earlier? And what if Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise were instrumental in that event happening the way it did?

In this, the first episode of the Positively Trek Book Club, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson are joined by author Margaret Wander Bonanno to talk about her renowned and much-celebrated novel, Strangers From the Sky. We discuss how Margaret became a fan and an author of Trek books, how this story came about, how it stands up in the face of the canon that has moved on in the years since it was published, the characters that populate the story, and how its legacy has affected Trek Lit in the years since.


Positively Trek Book Club: Strangers From the Sky
Exclusive Interview with author Margaret Wander Bonanno






Next episode: More Beautiful than Death by David Mack

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Comic Review: Year Five #13

Star Trek: Year Five #13
Writers: Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly
Artist: Angel Hernandez
Release date: August 5th 2020

Previous issue: Year Five #12
Next issue: Year Five #14


Purchase:
Kindle & Comixology: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Publisher's description:

The Enterprise and her crew finally make it back to Federation space, but the Federation they find isn’t quite the same as the one they had left behind. Meanwhile, Aegis and Gary Seven’s grand design continues to take shape—and the consequences will be staggering. The final voyages of the original Enterprise crew continue in this episode from showrunners Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly (GREEN ARROW, NIGHTWING)!

My thoughts:

Click here to watch my video review of Star Trek: Year Five #13, or click play on the embedded video below!



Final thoughts:

The start of a new story arc, in which the Enterprise crew returns to Federation space to find their peaceful society showing cracks at the edges. A fascinating concept, and very much in line with the current trend of Star Trek storytelling in recent years. I'm very much looking forward to seeing where this story ultimately goes. Highly recommend!


Next Comic:

Deep Space Nine: Too Long a Sacrifice #2

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Literary Treks 308: Maybe Stop Biting and Kidnapping Counselors

Star Trek: Titan
Over a Torrent Sea
by Christopher L. Bennett

Purchase:
Mass-market paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

In the aftermath of the devastating events of the Destiny trilogy, the Starship Titan is once again assigned to deep space exploration beyond the farthest borders of the Federation. Investigating an oceanic world of abundant and mysterious life, the crew unwittingly causes distress to the ecosystem and to the lives of the inhabitants of the world, nicknamed Droplet. Now, Captain Riker and Ensign Lavena, cut off from the rest of the crew, must convince their captors of their sincere desire to help the people of Droplet before the damage becomes irreparable.

In their final episode as hosts of Literary Treks, hosts Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther discuss the Star Trek: Titan novel Over a Torrent Sea by Christopher L. Bennett. They talk about Titan's new mission, the Squales of Droplet, Ensign Aili Lavena and her past, a difficult maternal situation for Deanna Troi, the unintended consequences of the crew's decisions, atonement for past mistakes, and wrap up with their final thoughts and ratings.

At the top of the show, Bruce and Dan review the first issue in IDW's new Deep Space Nine miniseries, Too Long a Sacrifice.


Literary Treks 308: Maybe Stop Biting and Kidnapping Counselors
Titan: Over a Torrent Sea by Christopher L. Bennett







Previous episode: Literary Treks 307: Twisted Like a Bag of Bread
Next episode: Stay Tuned for Book Coverage on Positively Trek!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Literary Treks 307: Twisted Like a Bag of Bread

Star Trek: Discovery
Die Standing
Exclusive Interview with John Jackson Miller!

Purchase:
Trade Paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Philippa Georgiou, former Emperor of the Terran Empire in the Mirror Universe, has found herself in our universe and under the watchful eye of Section 31. Believing that she has knowledge and skills useful to the organization, she is recruited to take on a mission into a mysterious region of space known as the Troika. However, she has her own agenda. Will Georgiou make good on her desire to rebuild all she has lost in our universe?

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson are joined once again by New York Times bestselling author John Jackson Miller to talk about his most recent Discovery novel, Die Standing. We talk about Philippa Georgiou Augustus Iaponius Centarius, Section 31, a familiar face from The Original Series, a Trill gymnast named Emony Dax, a vampiric cloud creature, the mysterious Troika and the three species that comprise it, and wrap up with what John is working on now and where he can be found online.

At the top of the show, Dan and Bruce review issue #12 of Star Trek: Year Five, and respond to listener feedback from The Babel Conference for Literary Treks 306: There's Shag Carpet on This Ship Somewhere.


Literary Treks 307: Twisted Like a Bag of Bread
Discovery: Die Standing - Exclusive interview with John Jackson Miller!





Previous episode: Literary Treks 306: There's Shag Carpet on This Ship Somewhere
Next episode: Literary Treks 308: Maybe Stop Biting and Kidnapping Counselors

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Comic Review: Too Long a Sacrifice #1

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Too Long a Sacrifice #1
Writers: by Scott Tipton & David Tipton
Artist: Greg Scott
Release date: July 15th 2020

Next issue: Too Long a Sacrifice #2


Purchase:
Kindle & Comixology: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Publisher's description:

Death casts its shadow as Constable Odo searches for truth amid a web of treachery and lies. Everyone on the Promanade has a motive for this murder, be it vengeance, justice... or old-fashioned greed. Legendary Star Trek scribes Scott Tipton and David Tipton team with noir artist Greg Scott for the first Deep Space Nine comic book series in a decade!

My thoughts:

Click here to watch my video review of Too Long a Sacrifice #1, or click play on the embedded video below!



Final thoughts:

An interesting start to the miniseries, with a focus on how the characters respond to a horrific crime commited on the station. Odo is the primary focus, and his investigation of an explosion on the promenade leads to some interesting revelations. I'm looking forward to seeing what's next for this story!


Next Comic:

Star Trek: Year Five #13

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Release Day! Discovery: Die Standing

Star Trek: Discovery
Die Standing
by John Jackson Miller

A new day, a new Star Trek novel! Today sees the official release of Star Trek: Discovery: Die Standing by New York Times bestselling author John Jackson Miller!

Chronicling the adventures of mirror-universe Philippa Georgiou after her crossover into our universe, Die Standing tells the story of her adapting to life in the prime universe and her efforts to rebuilt all that she has lost.

Check out below for the back-cover blurb and links to purchase from Amazon!




Publisher's description:
An all-new novel based upon the explosive Star Trek TV series!

No one in the history of histories has lost more than Philippa Georgiou, ruler of the Terran Empire. Forced to take refuge in the Federation’s universe, she bides her time until Section 31, a rogue spy force within Starfleet, offers her a chance to work as their agent. She has no intention of serving under anyone else, of course; her only interest is escape.

But when a young Trill, Emony Dax, discovers a powerful interstellar menace, Georgiou recognizes it as a superweapon that escaped her grasp in her own universe. Escorted by a team sent by an untrusting Federation to watch over her, the emperor journeys to a region forbidden to travelers. But will what she finds there end the threat—or give “Agent Georgiou” the means to create her old empire anew?

Purchase Star Trek: Discovery: Die Standing:

Trade Paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk


Next Release: Kelvin Timeline: More Beautiful Than Death

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Literary Treks 306: There's Shag Carpet on This Ship Somewhere

Star Trek: The Original Series
Agents of Influence
Exclusive Interview with Dayton Ward!

Purchase:
Trade paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

When the extraction of undercover agents from the Klingon Empire goes disastrously wrong, it's up to Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise to come to the rescue. The U.S.S. Endeavour, crashed on the surface of an asteroid, must hold out against Klingon reprisal and Orion attacks long enough to ensure they deliver their valuable passengers safely back to Federation space.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther are joined once again by author Dayton Ward to discuss his newest Original Series novel, Agents of Influence. We talk about the undercover agents at the center of this story, the U.S.S. Endeavour and her crew, the Klingon/Orion alliance, an unorthodox "ground assault" on a starship, Klingons and Humans coming to an understanding, a spy among Starfleet's ranks, and wrap up with what Dayton is working on now and where he can be found online.

At the top of the show, Bruce and Dan talk about their decision to move on from Literary Treks and where they will be continuing the Star Trek book and comics discussion in the future. We also respond to listener feedback from The Babel Conference for the previous episode, Literary Treks 305: The Nacene Scenes.


Literary Treks 306: There's Shag Carpet on This Ship Somewhere
The Original Series: Agents of Influence - Exclusive interview with author Dayton Ward!





Previous episode: Literary Treks 305: The Nacene Scenes
Next episode: Literary Treks 307: Twisted Like a Bag of Bread

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Literary Treks 305: The Nacene Scenes

Star Trek: Voyager
String Theory, Book 3
Evolution
by Heather Jarman

Purchase:
Mass-market paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

After incalculable losses, the crew of the U.S.S. Voyager continues to battle against the forces of "Phoebe Janeway" and her army of exiles, determined to re-enter Exosia. The effects of the conflict among the Nacene threaten to spill beyond the boundaries of the Monorhan system. The very underpinning of the universe threatens to unravel thanks to the actions of the exiled Nacene, and only Voyager stands in their way! 

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson discuss the third and final book in the String Theory trilogy: Evolution by Heather Jarman. We talk about Tom & Harry's adventure in the Q Continuum, The Doctor's mission to Ocampa's past, the final showdown on Voyager, Janeway's absence in this novel, the plot elements that set us up for Voyager's future, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.

At the top of the show, we judge the upcoming More Beautiful Than Death by David Mack by its cover, review issue #11 of Star Trek: Year Five, and respond to feedback from The Babel Conference for Literary Treks 304: Vulcans Do Not Cry.


Literary Treks 305: The Nacene Scenes
Voyager: String Theory, Book 3: Evolution by Heather Jarman





Previous episode: Literary Treks 304: Vulcans Do Not Cry
Next episode: Literary Treks 306: There's Shag Carpet on This Ship Somewhere

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Release Day! Agents of Influence by Dayton Ward

Star Trek: The Original Series
Agents of Influence
by Dayton Ward

The latest novel adventure from Star Trek: The Original Series officially hits shelves today: Dayton Ward's Agents of Influence is now on sale in bookstores and online shops everywhere!

Set during the classic five-year mission, Agents of Influence chronicles an undercover operation in the Klingon Empire. Captain Kirk and the Enterprise must undertake a risky rescue of an undercover agent, and preserve the tenuous peace between the Empire and the Federation.

Check out below for the back-cover blurb and links to purchase from Amazon.




Publisher's description:
An epic new Star Trek saga by New York Times bestselling author Dayton Ward set during the original Five-Year Mission!

For years, Starfleet Intelligence agents have carried out undercover assignments deep within the Klingon Empire. Surgically altered and rigorously trained in Klingon culture, they operate in plain sight and without any direct support, while collecting information and infiltrating the highest levels of imperial power. Their actions have given Starfleet valuable insight into the inner workings of Klingon government and its relentless military apparatus.

After three of Starfleet’s longest serving agents fear exposure, they initiate emergency extraction procedures. Their planned rendezvous with the USS Endeavour goes awry, threatening to reveal their activities and the damaging intelligence they’ve collected during their mission. Tasked by Starfleet to salvage the botched rescue attempt, Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise must discover the truth behind a secret weapons experiment while avoiding an interstellar incident with the potential to ignite a new war between the Federation and one of its oldest adversaries.

Purchase Star Trek: The Original Series: Agents of Influence:

Trade Paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk


Next Release: Discovery: Die Standing

Monday, June 8, 2020

Literary Treks 304: Vulcans Do Not Cry

Star Trek: Voyager
String Theory, Book II
Fusion
by Kirsten Beyer

Purchase:
Mass-market paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

As Voyager continues her exploration of the Monorhan star system, they encounter a vast array orbiting a black hole. Tuvok, having been compelled to board the array, has come under the influence of a mysterious alien lifeform. Meanwhile, a powerful being in the guise of Captain Janeway's sister, Phoebe, carries out her sinister agenda aboard Voyager.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther discuss the second book in the String Theory trilogy, Fusion by Kirsten Beyer. We talk about Tuvok's journey, the mysterious array, the fourteenth tribe of Monorha and their role in the events unfolding, Phoebe Janeway, and the cliffhanger ending, wrapping up with our final thoughts and ratings.

At the top of the show, we discuss the results of a recent poll in our Goodreads group, review the classic DS9 comic Blood & Honor written by Mark Lenard, and respond to listener feedback from The Babel Conference for Literary Treks 303: A Pair of Legs in Sickbay.


Literary Treks 304: Vulcans Do Not Cry
Voyager: String Theory, Book II: Fusion by Kirsten Beyer





Previous episode: Literary Treks 303: A Pair of Legs in Sickbay
Next episode: Literary Treks 305: The Nacene Scenes

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Dead Endless

Star Trek: Discovery
Dead Endless by Dave Galanter
Release date: December 17th 2019
Read December 1st 2019


Previous book (Discovery): The Enterprise War
Next book (Discovery): Die Standing


Purchase Dead Endless:
Trade Paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Publisher's description:
The U.S.S. Discovery’s specialty is using its spore-based hub drive to jump great distances faster than any warp-faring vessel in Starfleet. To do this, Lieutenant Paul Stamets navigates the ship through the recently revealed mycelial network, a subspace domain Discovery can briefly transit but in which it cannot remain. After responding to a startling distress call originating from within the network, the Discovery crew find themselves trapped in an inescapable realm where they will surely perish unless their missing mycelial fuel is found or restored. Is the seemingly human man found alone and alive inside the network the Starfleet officer he claims to be, or an impostor created by alien intruders who hope to extract themselves from the mycelial plane at the expense of all lives aboard Discovery?

My thoughts:

Click here to watch my video review of Dead Endless, or click play on the embedded video below!



Final thoughts:

Dead Endless is a moving story about characters I love. The story is not what it initially appears to be, but eventually reveals itself to be much more poignant that it would seem at first glance. Dave Galanter is one of my favorite Trek authors, and his writing does not disappoint here. In fact, Dead Endless was my pick for top Star Trek novel of 2019, and it is well-deserved.

More about Dead Endless:



Also by Dave Galanter:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

My next review will be for the conclusion of the Star Trek: Destiny trilogy: Lost Souls by David Mack.


Monday, May 25, 2020

Literary Treks 303: A Pair of Legs in Sickbay

Star Trek: Voyager
String Theory, Book I
Cohesion
by Jeffrey Lang

Purchase:
Mass-market paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

During its seven-year journey through the Delta Quadrant, the U.S.S. Voyager has encountered many strange phenomena and spatial anomalies. Among the strangest turns out to be an impossible binary star system, home to a people who should not be able to survive there. When the crew comes to the aid of the Monorhans, they discover that their desire to help may be outweighed by the terrible risks presented by this strange region of space.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson discuss Voyager: String Theory, Book I: Cohesion by Jeffrey Lang. We talk about the unique setting of the novel, the strange star system, the Monorhans, the effects of the strange radiation in the system, Seven & B'Elanna Torres's contentious relationship, the Key to Gramadia, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.

In the news segment, we talk about the upcoming Voyager: To Lose the Earth by Kirsten Beyer. We also respond to feedback from The Babel Conference for Literary Treks 302: What If A.I. Becomes Mommy? 


Literary Treks 303: A Pair of Legs in Sickbay
Voyager: String Theory, Book I: Cohesion by Jeffrey Lang





Previous episode: Literary Treks 302: What If A.I. Becomes Mommy?
Next episode: Literary Treks 304: Vulcans Do Not Cry

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Literary Treks 302: What If A.I. Becomes Mommy?

Star Trek
The Unsettling Stars
Exclusive Interview with author Alan Dean Foster!

Purchase:
Trade Paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

The J.J. Abrams film Star Trek was released over a decade ago now, and as expected, novels featuring the new "Kelvin Timeline" crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise were solicited. Four novels were originally scheduled, but none of them were released... until now! Newly-minted Captain James T. Kirk leads the Enterprise on a rescue mission to save a ship of refugees. Settling them on a nearby planet, all seems well. However, the refugees and their new neighbors are soon at odds for what seems to be the strangest of reasons.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Bruce Gibson & Dan Gunther welcome legendary author Alan Dean Foster to the show to discuss his new novel, The Unsettling Stars. We talk about the long path to publication for this novel, the experience of writing the alternate Trek characters, the two major alien races in the novel, the unique problem presented by the Perenoreans, Alan Dean Foster's contributions to the legacy of Star Trek, and wrap up with what he is working on now and where he can be found online.

At the top of the show, we report on the newly-released cover for the newest Star Trek Little Golden Book. We also review a DS9 comic, "The Rules of Diplomacy," written by Aron Eisenberg, Nog himself! And finally, we discuss listener feedback from The Babel Conference for Literary Treks 301: Sing a Song of Sixpence.


Literary Treks 302: What If A.I. Becomes Mommy?
The Unsettling Stars - Exclusive Interview with author Alan Dean Foster!





Previous episode: Literary Treks 301: Sing a Song of Sixpence
Next episode: Literary Treks 303: A Pair of Legs in Sickbay

Monday, April 27, 2020

Literary Treks 301: Sing a Song of Sixpence

Star Trek: Voyager #16
Seven of Nine
by Christie Golden

Purchase:
Mass-market paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

In Star Trek: Voyager's fourth season, a new character was introduced: Seven of Nine, a former Borg drone liberated from the Collective by Captain Janeway and her crew. Played by Jeri Ryan, the character was an immediate hit, so it only makes sense that the character would eventually be introduced into the Voyager tie-in novels being published at the time.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson welcome To the Journey's Suzanne Williamson to the show to discuss the Voyager novel Seven of Nine by Christie Golden. We talk about capitalizing on a new character, Annika Hansen and Seven's memories, the significance of the ravens, the Skedans and their vendetta against Emperor Beytek, ties to the wider lit-verse, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.

In the news segment, we discuss the delays in the publication of Trek comics thanks to COVID-19. We also respond to feedback from The Babel Conference for Literary Treks 300: Miss Cleo's Just a Spectre!


Literary Treks 301: Sing a Song of Sixpence
Voyager #16: Seven of Nine by Christie Golden





Previous episode: Literary Treks 300: Miss Cleo's Just a Spectre!
Next episode: Literary Treks 302: What If A.I. Becomes Mommy?

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Collateral Damage

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Collateral Damage by David Mack
Release date: October 8th 2019
Read October 16th 2019


Previous book (The Next Generation): Available Light


Purchase:
Trade Paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Publisher's description:
The past returns to haunt Captain Jean-Luc Picard—a crime he thought long buried has been exposed, and he must return to Earth to answer for his role in a conspiracy that some call treason. Meanwhile, the U.S.S. Enterprise is sent to apprehend pirates who have stolen vital technology from a fragile Federation colony. But acting captain Commander Worf discovers that the pirates’ motives are not what they seem, and that sometimes standing for justice means defying the law….

My thoughts:

Click here to watch my video review of Collateral Damage, or click play on the embedded video below!



Final thoughts:

An impressive wrap-up to a number of dangling threads from the Trek litverse, but with still more room to move the story forward from here. Some great moral lessons for the Federation at large, and repercussions for Jean-Luc Picard as well. I loved this novel, and I'm eager to discover where things go from here! David Mack has once again knocked it out of the park.

More about Collateral Damage:



Also by David Mack:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

Next review will be for the Star Trek: Discovery novel Dead Endless by Dave Galanter. See you then!


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Mere Mortals

Star Trek: Destiny
Book II: Mere Mortals by David Mack
Published November 2008
Read November 5th 2019

Previous book (Destiny): Book I: Gods of Night
Next book (Destiny): Book III: Lost Souls


Purchase:
Mass-market paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

The Destiny trilogy is also available in an omnibus containing all three parts!

Purchase:
Trade paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk



Spoilers ahead for
Mere Mortals!

From the back cover:
On Earth, Federation President Nanietta Bacco gathers allies and adversaries to form a desperate last line of defense against an impending Borg invasion. In deep space, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Captain Ezri Dax join together to cut off the Collective's route to the Alpha Quadrant. 
Half a galaxy away, Captain William Riker and the crew of the Starship Titan have made contact with the reclusive Caeliar -- survivors of a stellar cataclysm that, two hundred years ago, drove fissures through the structure of space and time, creating a loop of inevitability and consigning another captain and crew to a purgatory from which they could never escape.

Now the supremely advanced Caeliar will brook no further intrusion upon their isolation, or against the sanctity of their Great Work....For the small, finite lives of mere mortals carry little weight in the calculations of gods.

But even gods may come to understand that they underestimate humans at their peril.

My thoughts:

Star Trek: Destiny is a generations-spanning story, beginning in the early days before the formation of the Federation, and culminating in the 24th century with a massive attack by the Borg against the Federation, a conflict in which the very survival of civilization is at stake. Mere Mortals is the second book in the trilogy, following on from the previous book, Gods of Night.

At the planet New Erigol, the crew of the U.S.S. Titan encounter the Caeliar, an incredibly advanced species which the Starship Columbia had encountered two centuries earlier. The away team from the Titan is shocked to discover Captain Erika Hernandez, seemingly alive and well, living among the Caeliar. From her, we get the backstory of how she ended up there and what happened to her and her remaining crew in the intervening years. The story of Hernandez and her fellow crewmembers living among the Caeliar is heartbreaking and tragic. David Mack does a terrific job of getting into the heads of these characters and showing us the horror of their new reality, cut off from Earth and everything they love as they grow old in this alien environment.

Captain Erika Hernandez of the Earth ship Columbia, who has been stranded with the Caeliar hundreds of years in the past and completely cut off from Earth.

Hernandez, now a being very much like the Caeliar, able to manipulate catoms out of which her body is now made, seems to exhibit a sort of Stockholm syndrome with regards to the Caeliar. "They don't mean to be evil," a line said by Vina in the original Star Trek pilot episode "The Cage," would not be out of place if said by Hernandez here. However, not everything is as it seems, and it appears as though there might still be some of that fighting spirit left in the captain.

While all of this is going on, there is also the "larger universe" story happening. In Paris, the Federation president, Nan Bacco, is attempting to build a coalition to oppose the Borg. I enjoy explorations of politics in my Star Trek, and these parts of the novel don't disappoint. I love the strategizing that Bacco has to do in order to build her coalition, and I was reminded of some of my favorite political maneuverings from episodes of The West Wing.

Meanwhile, the starships Enterprise and Aventine have been scouting a number of subspace tunnels within the Azure nebula. These apertures were created by the Caeliar, and it is believed the Borg have been using one of them to attack the Federation. One by one, they are exploring the tunnels and reporting back to the nebula, awaiting the fleet that President Bacco has assembled to reinforce them. At the terminus of one particular tunnel, the Enterprise encounters a Hirogen hunting party, and the attack that the Hirogen mount against the ship is brutal. There are some incredible action scenes in this part of the story, and David Mack keeps me on the edge of my seat throughout.

The Hirogen, first encountered in Star Trek: Voyager, threaten the crew of the Enterprise as they scout subspace tunnels, one of which leads deep into the Delta Quadrant.

While Destiny could be described as a plot-heavy trilogy with huge action set pieces, it's the character work in these novels that really make them stand out to me. So while yes, the Federation is facing an existential crisis, through it all we have smaller stories such as Deanna Troi and Will Riker experiencing a difficult pregnancy. Troi is on the away team to New Erigol, and experiences complications during the mission. Dr. Ree, the Titan's chief medical officer, has accompanied the team and must find a way to safeguard Troi's life. His particular brand of medicine leads to a huge misunderstanding as to his motives, when it suddenly appears as though he has attacked Troi.

Similarly, another great bit of characterization comes in the form of Lieutenant Melora Pazlar and Dr. Ra-Havreii. I love the psychology of what these characters are going through, and there is a terrific exploration of the motivations of each of these characters and how they deal with emotional trauma and obstacles. For me, Star Trek is at its best when it is less about the huge, galaxy-shaking events and more about the personal struggles of the characters and what it means to be a person. Destiny manages to balance these two demands on the story brilliantly.

Because this is book two of three, Mere Mortals must end on a cliffhanger of some sort. At the end of the novel, the Enterprise and the Aventine escape back through a subspace aperture just as it is being shut down by the Caeliar. In the Azure Nebula, they see the remnants of the allied fleet, smashed through by the Borg, who have deployed over 7400 ships into Federation, Klingon, and Romulan space. Meanwhile, at New Erigol, Hernandez appears on the bridge of the Titan, telling Riker they have one chance to escape, but he has to decide now. Having witnessed the destruction of the fleet by the Borg, Riker wants to join the fight. Leaving behind the captive away team, including his wife, Riker decides to allow the Titan to escape with Hernandez. An incredibly action-packed finale to the novel, which has me eager to pick up book three as soon as possible!

Final thoughts:

An amazing balance between the huge, apocalyptic big-picture events and the smaller character moments that are at the heart of this novel. As the middle novel in a trilogy, the danger exists that it could feel like it is treading water or acting as "filler," but that is never the case with Mere Mortals. This entire trilogy is tightly plotted, using all of its characters to its advantage to tell a meaningful, heartfelt story. A wonderful middle chapter in this epic Star Trek trilogy by a masterful author.


More about Mere Mortals:

Also by David Mack:

My next read:

Next up is my video review of the TNG novel Collateral Damage by David Mack. Stay tuned for more!