Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Release Day! Voyager: Acts of Contrition

It's already been showing up on bookshelves, but today is the official release date for Kirsten Beyer's latest addition to the Voyager post-series novel-verse: Acts of Contrition!

Go download the e-book copy or grab the dead tree version today! And look below for the publisher's description and ordering links. By ordering through us, you'll be helping to support Trek Lit Reviews!

My review of Acts of Contrition.

Publisher's description:
Admiral Kathryn Janeway has now taken command of the Full Circle Fleet. Her first mission: return to the Delta Quadrant and open diplomatic relations with the Confederacy of the Worlds of the First Quadrant, a civilization whose power rivals that of the Federation. Captain Chakotay knows that his choices could derail the potential alliance. While grateful to the Confederacy Interstellar Fleet for rescuing the Federation starships from an alien armada, Voyager’s captain cannot forget the horrors upon which the Confederacy was founded.
More troubling, it appears that several of Voyager’s old adversaries have formed a separate and unlikely pact that is determined to bring down the Confederacy at all costs. Sins of the past haunt the crew members of the Full Circle Fleet as they attempt to chart a course for the future. Will they learn much too late that some sins can never be forgiven…or forgotten?

Purchase Voyager: Acts of Contrition:

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

Thursday, September 25, 2014

These Are The Voyages: TOS, Season Two

by Marc Cushman with Susan Osborn
Foreword by Walter Koenig
688 pages
Published by Jacobs/Brown Press

Read August 27, 2014

These Are the Voyages TOS Season Two.jpg
Hardcover: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
Paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca

Publisher’s Description:
In the 1980s Gene Roddenberry and Robert H. Justman gave Marc Cushman permission to write the definitive history of the first Star Trek. They backed their stamp of approval by providing documentation never before shared with the public. These Are The Voyages, published in three volumes - one designated for each season of TOS (The Original Series) - will take you back in time and put you into the producers’ offices, the writers’ room, onto the soundstages, and in front of your TV sets for the first historic broadcasts. Included are hundreds of memos between Roddenberry and his staff, production schedules, budgets, fan letters, behind-the-scenes images, and the TV ratings. Buckle your seat belts; the trek of a lifetime continues with Season Two.

My Thoughts:

As with the first These Are the Voyages, Marc Cushman has provided fans with a gargantuan, meticulously-researched volume of facts, trivia, and first-hand accounts of the creation of Star Trek, this time chronicling the classic television show’s second season.

The opening chapters focus on the transition from season one to season two, including the suspense with regards to whether or not the expensive-to-produce show would be renewed. The story of Star Trek behind the scenes is just as exciting as the Star Trek we got on our television sets each week. The very real sense of franticness and difficulty in producing Star Trek is palapble as one reads the pages of this section.

Individual episodes are featured in production order as the discussion between the producers, writers, and the network is chronicled, with each episode getting a separate chapter. The cast of characters featured by Cushman are at times both larger-than-life and surprisingly human. Through their memos regarding each episode’s script and production, we hear the voices of each of the producers and writers: Gene Roddenberry often insisting on a larger “message” to include in each script, Gene Coon focused on creating and maintaining a consistent “Star Trek feel,” Dorothy Fontana and her brilliant eye for characters and drama, and Robert Justman’s protestations about budget and believability couched in a sometimes dark sense of humor.

Also included in each episode’s summary are reminiscences of guest actors and writers, the Neilsen ratings, and the historical context in which each episode was produced. Reportedly, Cushman’s editor did a lot of work to get him to trim back the amount of information included in this book. I can see how it would have been easy to get carried away. Even with the trims, there is a lot here, more than in the first book. And I’m informed that the third volume has even more with which to fill its pages!

Interstitial chapters feature various writers and other background personnel as they join the production, such as David Gerrold and John Meredyth Lucas. Other sections are included, such as depictions of Star Trek in the popular media of the time and, of particular interest, an overview of story ideas that were purchased and in some cases even developed, but never aired.

As with the first volume, the real joy in These Are the Voyages: TOS, Season Two comes in sitting down with the hefty tome and re-watching the episodes. Even someone such as myself, who has seen each episode an uncountable number of times, can pick new things out of the show while following along with Cushman as he revisits the world of 1960s television production.

Final Thoughts:

Above all else, this book is a lot of fun to read. Even the most ardent Star Trek fan will find something new and exciting about their favorite entertainment in the pages of These Are the Voyages. And, as mentioned above, season 3 has even more to talk about. I am very fascinated to learn more about that troubled season, and I am very much looking forward to the third and final volume of These Are the Voyages: TOS.

My next read:

Next up, as promised months ago, is my review of James Swallow's Terok Nor: Day of the Vipers, a tale of The Lost Era!

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: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

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, Café, 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.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Cover and blurb for Q Are Cordially Uninvited!

On October 6th, the latest in Simon and Schuster's line of Star Trek e-book novellas is released: Q Are Cordially Uninvited... by Rudy Josephs. Look below for the cover and publisher's description, along with links to pre-order from Amazon!

The wedding of Captain Jean-Luc Picard to Doctor Beverly Crusher was a small, private affair overseen by the mayor of La Barre, France, and witnessed by the groom’s sister-in-law and the mayor’s wife. At least, that’s what the happy couple always told their friends. On the anniversary of that blessed day, however, Worf and Geordi La Forge manage to coax the real story out of the pair, to discover a tale of mythical treasure and a lost civilization in the Delta Quadrant. It all begins when the omnipotent being Q crashes the festivities, declaring himself best man and bringing along an unwilling guest as a surprise for the groom.

Purchase the e-book (Kindle) version from: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Seekers #2

Star Trek: Seekers #2
Point of Divergence by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
Story by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore and David Mack
Release date: August 26th 2014
Read September 5th 2014

Previous book (Seekers): #1: Second Nature

Next book (Seekers): #3: Long Shot

Paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
Kindle: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Spoilers ahead for Seekers #1, #2, and the Vanguard series!

From the back cover:
The Taurus Reach. Once the conquered realm of a powerful alien species, this region remains largely shrouded in mystery even as it brims with potential for exploration and colonization. The Federation has sent in two of its finest starships on a quest to uncover the secrets it may yet hold...
The Tomol are a primitive civilization occupying a lone island on a remote world. Their culture is an enigma, centered on every member’s commitment to a painful, fiery self-sacrifice upon reaching maturity. But one of their clan has shunned this obligation, triggering a transformation into a new, powerful life form. Answering the distress call of the U.S.S. Sagittarius—which has crashed on the planet following a fierce battle with the Klingons—Captain Atish Khatami and the crew of the Starship Endeavour must now attempt a rescue mission…even as they are locked in battle with the evolving, increasingly malevolent Tomol who, if allowed to escape their home world, pose an imminent threat to the entire galaxy!

My thoughts:

Among my favorite aspects of Star Trek: Vanguard were the dual crews of the U.S.S. Sagittarius and the U.S.S. Endeavour. The Sagittarius, a small Archer-class scout, was quite unlike any other Starfleet vessel seen on Trek before. The other, the Endeavour, was a little more familiar: a Constitution-class heavy cruiser like the Enterprise. The Endeavour takes center seat in this, the second of the Seekers novels.

The U.S.S. Endeavour is the focus of Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore's entries in the Seekers series.
There is a great deal to like about this novel. The writing team of Ward and Dilmore is back writing Trek together again for the first time since Vanguard: What Judgments Come back in 2011. Together they have crafted a solid second entry in this fledgling series, topping off an exciting story with a conclusion that is ultimately quite satisfying.

Much like the previous novel, one area in which this book excels is with the character work. The relationships between the characters are a joy to read, particularly the interplay between Dr. Leone and nearly every other character. Also a treat was the captain to captain relationship that developed between Captain Khatami of the Endeavour and the Klingon Captain Kang. The grudging respect that Kang initially shows towards Khatami evolves into a true recognition of her skill and honor as a ship master, and I loved Kang's comparisons of Khatami and Kirk.

The legendary Kang is the Klingon foil to Captain Atish Khatami in Seekers #2: Point of Divergence.
The pacing of the novel is quite good, and I found that I finished it quite quickly. It was a little slower than book one, but still a very engaging and a fun read. While the action sequences aren't quite as nail-biting as the ones in Mack's Second Nature, I still found the story very gripping.

I very much enjoyed the twist with regards to the nature of the Tomol and the role that both the Shedai and the Preservers played in their history. The end of the novel and the resolution to the Tomol crisis had a very Star Trek feel to it, in the best sense of the term. Throughout both books, the Changed among the Tomol have been set up as an implacable foe with no discernible reason governing their actions. However, the final resolution shows that even the most fearsome enemy can be reasoned with, and that there is no such thing as absolute evil. As I mentioned above, it is a very Star Trek ending.

Blink and you'll miss it:

On page 214, keep an eye out for a reference to Fight Club. It's not exactly subtle, but it was still a pretty cool reference to catch.

Final thoughts:

As usual, a very fun, well-paced outing from the team of Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore. With the conclusion of this two-part story, the Sagittarius and the Endeavour are ready to head out on their dual missions of exploration in the Taurus Reach. If this story is any indication, I am very much going to enjoy following these crews on their voyage into the unknown. More Seekers, please!

Further resources:

Also by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore:

My next read:

Coming up: The new Deep Space Nine e-book novella by Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann: Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found)!

Friday, September 12, 2014

We're on Facebook and Twitter, Too!

Hey everyone, just a quick post to let you know that Trek Lit Reviews is also on Facebook and Twitter, where you'll find posts that go beyond the usual reviews and release announcements here on the blog. Go ahead and check them out, and give us a like and a follow if you're so inclined!

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Klingon Art of War

The Klingon Art of War: Ancient Principles of Ruthless Honor
Translated from the original Klingon by Keith R.A. DeCandido
Release date: May 6th 2014
Read July 8th 2014

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

From the back cover:
Passed down from the time of Kahless, ten precepts have shaped Klingon culture and indoctrinated Klingons in the Way of the Warrior. With this new translation, people from all walks of life-and all worlds-can harness the ancient Klingon wisdom and learn to embody courage, discipline, and honor. 

My thoughts:

The Klingon Art of War
 (or qeS'a' in Klingon) marks an occasion I have been waiting for for some time: the return of Keith R.A. DeCandido to Trek lit... sort of. I mean, this book isn't exactly a Star Trek novel, but it is a work of fiction. An in-universe reference book, if you will. But boy is it tempting to call it non-fiction!

Using examples from throughout the history of the Klingon civilization, the book's "author," renowned novelist K'Ratak, dispenses sage wisdom for Klingons and non-Klingons alike, and for both warriors and non-warriors. The precepts and their implications are meant to be used by people from all walks of life, from the warrior on the deck of a Vor'cha-class attack cruiser to a well-known author dealing with his critics!

I very much enjoyed the "voice" of K'Ratak as he relays the original stories behind the precepts, as well as his own "author commentary" on each precept and the morals it conveys. I especially enjoyed the stories he told of his own life and times in which the lessons of the qeS'a' informed his behaviour. This was the perfect project for Klingon expert DeCandido. I have not yet read his I.K.S. Gorkon/Klingon Empire novels, but after reading this book, I realize that they have to be made a priority in the near future.

The references in the book to the wider Star Trek literature world are very welcome, including mention of the Typhon Pact, indicating that the book is written contemporaneous to the current post-Nemesis 24th century novel continuity. I love it when the lit-verse and canon Trek come together in these supplemental works. As much as I enjoyed Federation: The First 150 Years from a couple of years ago, I was disappointed when it didn't completely mesh with the modern novels. The Klingon Art of War does much better in this area.

Finally, the art work at the beginning of each chapter is very well done, and perfectly fitting for this book. The style and layout is fun to read, and I recommend The Klingon Art of War for any fan of Trek and the Klingons!

Further resources:

Also by Keith R.A. DeCandido:

My next read:

Next up is my review of Seekers #2: Point of Divergence by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Cover for November's Foul Deeds Will Rise!

We have a new cover to reveal today! The end of November sees the release of a new TOS novel set during the period between Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Behold,  Foul Deeds Will Rise by Greg Cox. A nicely chosen Shakespearean title, and a beautiful cover to go with it!

Check it out below, along with the publisher's description and links to pre-order from Amazon!

2288. The U.S.S Enterprise-A is on a vital peacekeeping mission in a remote solar system beyond the boundaries of the Federation, where two warring planets—Pavak and Oyolo—are attempting to end years of bitter conflict. Crucial peace talks are being conducted aboard the Enterprise, even as Starfleet weapons inspectors oversee the disarmament process. Losses and atrocities on both sides have left plenty of hard feelings behind, so Captain James T. Kirk has his work cut out for him, even as he unexpectedly runs into a disturbing figure from his past: Lenore Karidian.
Twenty years ago, the deadly daughter of Kodos the Executioner tried to kill Kirk, but she has since been declared sane and rehabilitated. Kirk wants to give her the benefit of the doubt and a second chance at life, but when a mysterious assassination threatens the already fragile peace process, all clues point toward Lenore–and the future of two worlds hangs in the balance.

Purchasing links:

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

Monday, September 1, 2014

Release Day! DS9: Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found)

Today, the first offering from Pocket Books to have the banner title "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" since 2009 is released: the e-book exclusive novella, Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found) by Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann. Although no strangers to Star Trek publishing, this is their first foray into Trek fiction!

Check out the cover and publisher's description below, along with purchasing links! By clicking those links and ordering through us, you help support Trek Lit Reviews. Thanks!

My review of Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found)

Publisher's description:

Business is down at Quark’s Public House, Café, 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?

Purchase Deep Space Nine: Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found):

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