Tuesday, February 27, 2024


Star Trek: Voyager
String Theory, Book 1
Cohesion by Jeffrey Lang
Published July 2005
Read May 13th 2020

Previous book: Spirit Walk, Book 2: Enemy of My Enemy
Next book (published order): Distant Shores
Next book (String Theory): String Theory, Book 2: Fusion

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

Spoilers ahead for

From the back cover:
Spirits unbroken by the failed promise of the USS Dauntless, Captain Kathryn Janeway’s indefatigable crew continues their odyssey of discovery through an enigmatic region of the Delta Quadrant, encountering a system inhabited by a species that, according to known physical laws, shouldn't exist.

These unusual beings, the Monorhans, hover near the edge of extinction; technology from the USS Voyager promises life. Janeway, compelled by the aliens’ plight, dispatches Seven of Nine and Lieutenant B’Elanna Torres to the Monorhan homeworld. But an unexpected shock wave crashes the shuttle carrying Torres and Seven, catapulting Voyager into a place beyond the fabric of space-time.

As B'Elanna and Seven wage an interpersonal war, Voyager struggles to prevail on an extradimensional battleground against an indefinable enemy. But fate has determined that one is inexorably linked to the other: the insurmountable chasm separating Voyager from her lost crew members must be bridged...or all will perish.

My thoughts:

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Trek: Voyager, Pocket Books decided to release a trilogy of novels set during the series' run. The first novel of the String Theory trilogy, Cohesion, establishes that this story is set in the period between seasons four and five. This was an ideal place to set the trilogy, as it was one of the few season breaks of Voyager to not feature a cliffhanger.

The end of season 4 gave us the episode "Hope and Fear," in which the crew was presented with a vessel, seemingly of Starfleet manufacture, equipped with a quantum slipstream drive. The entire thing turned out to be a ruse intended to deliver the Voyager crew to the Borg, leaving our Voyager heroes still stranded in the Delta Quadrant, but with a renewed determination to get home.

The events of the season 4 finale, "Hope and Fear," have taken their toll on the Voyager crew.

This story does a good job of using the situation between seasons 4 and 5 to craft a unique story. There are some nice touchstones to remind us of where we are in Voyager's journey without seeming forced or heavy-handed. For example, in the course of this novel, Tom Paris is working on creating his Captain Proton holo-adventure, which we see on-screen for the first time in the season 5 premiere, "Night."

One of my favorite aspects of this novel is how well Jeffrey Lang captured the voices of the characters. As someone who generally found the character development in the Voyager television series lacking, what little we got in the show was very much welcome. The tempestuous relationship between Seven of Nine and B'Elanna Torres, for example, was something that rang very true to me. In Cohesion, Lang explores that relationship quite well, giving us situations between the two of them that fit right alongside encounters between the two characters on the show. Adding in a plot contrivance that allows the two of them to see into each other's mind gives each of them a greater understanding of the other's perspective, which was especially interesting given the usual relationship between them.

The antagonism between B'Elanna Torres and Seven of Nine takes center stage in Cohesion.

The story itself is reminiscent of the Voyager tendency to encounter strange anomalies that push the boundaries of "weird space stuff." It works well for this story, however, and certainly will make Voyager fans feel right at home. The "aliens of the week," the Monorhans, are definitely interesting, and I'm curious to see where the story goes with them in the next two installments. 

Of course, given that this is book one of three, Cohesion leaves off with a cliffhanger ending, which is always a little frustrating. However, the story is well-written enough that I am engaged throughout, and invested to learn what comes next. 

Final thoughts:

An enjoyable start to the String Theory trilogy. At the heart of the story is the antagonistic relationship between Seven of Nine and B'Elanna Torres, which gets some fascinating evolution thanks to the events of this novel. Cohesion definitely grabbed my interest and has me curious to see how the story continues in the next book.

Star Trek: Voyager: String Theory

Also by Jeffrey Lang:

My next read:

Next up is book 2 of the String Theory trilogy: Fusion by Kirsten Beyer.

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