Saturday, January 31, 2015

New cover! TOS: Crisis of Consciousness

Hi everyone! I hope you have had a wonderful January. Today, the final day of the month, sees the unveiling of another cover for all of us to enjoy: the May novel, Star Trek: The Original Series: Crisis of Consciousness by Dave Galanter, author of one of my favorite TOS novels, Troublesome Minds. The cover and back-cover blurb were revealed today on

Check out the cover below, and pre-order Crisis of Consciousness using the links to Amazon!

The crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise is completing a treaty mission with the Maabas, a peaceful alien race not native to the star system they currently inhabit, as descendants of refugees from a great war long ago. Several hundred thousand Maabas once took shelter on their new world, and have now been here for millennia. They do not travel the stars, but seek to explore from within. The Federation's interest is in the Maabas's great intellectual resources--their science, while behind in some areas, excels in others, and their philosophy is in line with that of the Federation. But just as the pact is signed, the Enterprise is attacked by an unidentified vessel. Enough force is shown to keep the alien assailants at bay, but a new danger arises. Their mysterious foes are the Kenisians--a race that used to inhabit the Maabas's chosen world thousands of years ago, and who now want to take it back.

Pre-order the mass-market paperback from | |
Pre-order the e-book (Kindle) edition from | |

Andor: Paradigm

Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Volume One
Andor: Paradigm by Heather Jarman
Published May 2004
Read January 17th 2015

Previous book (Deep Space Nine): Cardassia: The Lotus Flower

Next book (Deep Space Nine): Trill: Unjoined

MMPB: | |
Kindle: | |

Spoilers ahead for Paradigm and the rest of the Deep Space Nine relaunch!

From the back cover:
On the eve of a great celebration of their ancient past, the unusual and mysterious Andorians, a species with four sexes, must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice in order to ensure their survival. Biological necessity clashes with personal ethics; cultural obligation vies with love -- and Ensign Thirishar ch'Thane returns home to the planet he forswore, to face not only the consequences of his choices, but a clandestine plan to alter the very nature of his kind.

My thoughts:

Thirishar Ch'Thane, DS9's science officer,
and one of the most interesting additions
to the DS9 panoply of characters.
The Deep Space Nine relaunch introduced readers to a slate of new characters to go along with the familiar DS9 characters who remained on the station following the series finale, "What You Leave Behind." Among my favorites of these newcomers was a young Andorian ensign named Thirishar Ch'Thane.

Until Star Trek: Enterprise, none of the Star Trek television series really explored this fascinating species in detail. Thankfully, the novels existed to pick up the slack. In the pages of the post-finale DS9 novels, we learned more about the Andorians than ever before. Their unique four-sex biology was explored (extrapolated from a throwaway line by Data in the TNG episode "Data's Day"), and much was revealed about their culture and societal obligations through the character of "Shar" and that of his "Zhavey," Charivretha zh'Thane.

In Paradigm, Shar returns home to Andor at the request of his zhavey, who is a prominent politician in the Federation. While there, he encounters Dizhei and Anichent, the surviving members of his "bondgroup," following the suicide of Thriss in the novel Cathedral.

The characters are by far where Paradigm shines. There is a lot going on at this point in Shar's life: he has recently dissolved his relationship with his remaining bondmates, possibly ending the chance to conceive a child; he is estranged from his own family, which has made life difficult not only for himself but for his mother's career; Shar's life is truly at a crossroads, and it isn't clear the direction he should take next.

Paradigm also serves as an interesting exploration of Andor and its culture. Some of the things it establishes are later contradicted by Star Trek: Enterprise, most notably in the episode "The Aenar," but with minimal squinting the differences are minor and go unnoticed. Jarman does an excellent job of making Andor (or Andoria) feel very real, and depicting a multi-faceted culture with deep traditions and values that often divide its people.

Enterprise later explored Andor and its people, but Paradigm got there first!

Final thoughts:

I really enjoyed Paradigm, and I felt that Heather Jarman delved deeply into the characters in this story. The emotions experienced by Shar and the other Andorian characters felt very real, while at the same time seeming genuinely "alien," different from the human norm we are used to. Shar deals with a lover's recent death, has to face her family (along with dealing with his own estranged mother), and is beginning to grow closer to Prynn Tenmei, an outsider that Andorian society would never approve of; it's some pretty heady stuff, and Jarman does a good job navigating the complex issues at play.

More about Paradigm:

Also by Heather Jarman:

My next read:

Looking forward to reviewing this month's new release: The Next Generation: Takedown by John Jackson Miller, New York Times bestselling author!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Release Day! Takedown by John Jackson Miller

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Takedown

John Jackson Miller

An all-new exciting TNG adventure hits bookshelves and e-book stores today: Takedown by John Jackson Miller! Captain Picard and Admiral Riker face off as the Enterprise and the Aventine go head-to-head. I've really been looking forward to this one. John Jackson Miller makes his second foray into the world of Star Trek fiction, following last years Titan: Absent Enemies.

Check out the publisher's description below, and click the links to order Takedown from Amazon. Help us out here at Trek Lit Reviews!

Publisher's description:
When renegade starships wreak destruction across the quadrant, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise are shocked to discover the mastermind behind this sudden threat: none other than Picard’s protégé and friend, Admiral William T. Riker. The newly minted admiral is on special assignment aboard the U.S.S. Aventine, helmed by Captain Ezri Dax—someone who is no stranger to breaking Starfleet regulations. Her starship is by far the faster vessel…and Riker cannot yield, even to his former mentor. It’s a battle of tactical geniuses and a race against time as Picard struggles to find answers before the quadrant’s great powers violently plunge into total war…

Purchase The Next Generation: Takedown:

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

Previous Release: Deep Space Nine: The Missing

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Literary Treks 88: The Q Cardassian

IDW's The Q Gambit

Star Trek Ongoing has finally made it to the five year mission, and their first experience is completely unexpected! When an "old friend" from the prime universe shows up, what happens next sends the Enterprise to Terok Nor and mixes the crew with some of our favorite characters from Deep Space Nine.

In this episode of Literary Treks hosts Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther talk about The Q Gambit series, walking through each issue, discussing the plot and whether or not this crossover works.

In the news segment, we ponder the news from Margaret Clark about this year's novel releases and the light she shed on them. We then move to the new issue of the Trek/Apes event to see if the story line has improved, rounding out with a look at John Byrne's latest New Visions comic staring everyone's favorite scoundrel, Harry Mudd.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cardassia: The Lotus Flower

Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Volume One
Cardassia: The Lotus Flower by Una McCormack
Published May 2004
Read January 8th 2015

Previous book (Deep Space Nine): Unity

Next book (Deep Space Nine): Andor: Paradigm

MMPB: | |
Kindle: | |

Spoilers ahead for The Lotus Flower and the rest of the Deep Space Nine relaunch!

From the back cover:
The last world ravaged by the Dominion War is also the last on which Miles O'Brien ever imagined building a life. As he joins in the reconstruction of Cardassia's infrastructure, his wife Keiko spearheads the planet's difficult agricultural renewal. But Cardassia's struggle to remake itself -- from the fledgling democracy backed by Elim Garak to the people's rediscovery of their own spiritual past -- is not without opposition, as the outside efforts to help rebuild its civilization come under attack by those who reject any alien influence.

My thoughts:

When I began doing the Deep Space Nine relaunch reviews for this site (starting way back with Avatar, Book One), it was meant to be a re-reading project. However, I was surprised to realize that I had never actually read the Worlds of Deep Space Nine novels! Discovering this fact has meant that a wealth of DS9 stories that I have never read can be enjoyed for the first time now, including one of Una McCormack's first professional Trek stories: Cardassia: The Lotus Flower. Regular readers of Trek Lit Reviews will know that I think very highly of Una McCormack's work, having given very high marks to every one of her novels that I have read. So, what were my thoughts on The Lotus Flower?

Unsurprisingly, McCormack's work here is up to her usual excellent level. After the explosive "finale" of S.D. Perry's Unity, this first story in the Worlds of Deep Space Nine anthology felt much like some of DS9's season premieres: a soft re-tuning of the series' premise and a continuation of the story in a somewhat unexpected direction. This story of Cardassian recovery from the horrors of the end of the Dominion War is the perfect story to continue the saga of Deep Space Nine.

Keiko gets a storyline of her own in The Lotus Flower.
McCormack has a terrific handle on her characters. Miles O'Brien's terror and anger at the jeopardy that Keiko is in felt very real, as did Keiko's steely resolve in the face of the threats and crises she faces. Keiko O'Brien was never one of my favorite characters on Star Trek (possibly unfairly so). She was often given the role of the "nagging" wife, with only occasional work done with her character to chart her own course apart from that of her husband, Miles. She gets her best storyline to date in this novel, in my opinion. In The Lotus Flower, she is not merely Miles' wife or Molly and Kirayoshi's mother, but a character in her own right.

Also written extremely well was, of course, Garak. Everyone's favorite "tailor" is back in this story, and he is up to his usual standard of excellence. Any time Una gets the chance to write Garak, I am on board. No other author, with perhaps the exception of Garak actor Andrew Robinson himself, has the ability to write him as well as McCormack can.

Garak plays political operative in Cardassia's young democratic government.

At one point in the story, the situation Cardassia faces following the Dominion War is compared to the state of Bajor following the Occupation. This juxtaposition is used to amazing effect and was a stroke of brilliance on the part of the author. This accompanies some strong character development for Vedek Yevir, the Bajoran religious figure to issued the attainder to Colonel Kira. I felt that The Lotus Flower continued the character redemption (or, at the very least, rehabilitation) of Yevir from the final two books of the Mission Gamma series. As with any truly round character, Yevir is revealed to have many facets. He is not simply a foil for Kira or anyone else; he is, in fact, much more.

Final thoughts:

An excellent continuation of the Deep Space Nine post-finale stories. Una McCormack has a great ear for the characters, and writes them extremely well. I love that Deep Space Nine delves into the lives of the secondary characters so deeply, and The Lotus Flower continues that tradition admirably.

More about The Lotus Flower:

Also by Una McCormack:
My next read:

Next week, the second story in Worlds of Deep Space Nine: Volume One, namely, Andor: Paradigm by Heather Jarman.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Literary Treks 87: Like The Godfather Part III

Deep Space Nine: Mission Gamma, Book 3: Cathedral

Things on Deep Space Nine and in the Gamma Quadrant are heating up. Bajor looks to finally join the Federation while at the same time talks with Cardassia about formal relations have stalled. On the Defiant, Bashir, Nog, and Ezri all face issues that may radically alter their lives forever after an encounter with an alien object in space.

In this episode of Literary Treks, Matthew Rushing and Dan Gunther discuss the pivotal third book in the Mission Gamma series, Cathedral. We look at the pace of the series, the importance of pain, the role of faith, Kira's place in the Bajoran reformation, and the character growth that has continued from Deep Space Nine through the novels.

In the news segment, we talk about the first issue of Star Trek's crossover with The Planet of the Apes as well as get Dan's thoughts on John Byrne's New Vision series.

Literary Treks 87: Like The Godfather, Part III
Discussion of Mission Gamma: Cathedral by Michal A. Martin and Andy Mangels


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Dark Mirror

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Dark Mirror by Diane Duane
First published December 1993
Read December 28th 2014

Previous book (The Next Generation): #28: Here There Be Dragons
Next book (The Next Generation): #29: Sins of Commission

Hardcover: | |
MMPB: | |
Kindle: | |
Audiobook: | |

Spoilers ahead for Dark Mirror!

From the back cover:
Stardate 44010.2: the twenty-fourth century. Humanity's greatest dreams have become reality. Along with dozens of other sentient races, the people of Earth have formed the United Federation of Planets—a galactic civilization that governs much of the known universe for the good of all. Over the past two centuries, mankind has tamed its basest instincts, and reached the stars… 
But suppose it hadn't happened that way at all? Suppose instead humanity's darkest impulses, its most savage, animalistic desires had triumphed? Suppose the empire mankind made out in the stars was one ruled by terror, where only those willing to brutalize their own kind and their neighbors could survive? 
One hundred years ago, four crewmembers of the USS Enterprise crossed the dimensional barrier and found just such an empire. A mirror image of their own universe, populated by nightmare duplicates of their shipmates. Barely able to escape with their lives, they returned thankful that the accident that brought them there could not be duplicated. Or so they thought. 
But now the scientists of that empire have found a doorway into our universe. Their plan: to destroy from within, to replace one of our starships with one of theirs. Their victims: the crew of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D. 
Here, from the author who gave us the smash New York Times bestseller Spock's World, is a dramatic Star Trek: The Next Generation adventure unlike any seen before. A story that shows us the crew of the Enterprise-D in mortal combat against the most savage enemy they have ever encountered... themselves.

Notable quote:
Picard swallowed, his throat gone dry, more betrayed by the black ink on the yellowed page than by anything that had happened to him so far. He turned the pages and found what frightened him more second by second: a Shakespeare horribly changed in all but the parts that were already horrible. Titus Andronicus was much as it had been. So was Macbeth, and oddly, Lear; but Picard paged through the latter and breathed out unhappily, almost a moan, to find one small part missing: that of Cornwall's "first servant," who tries to protect old Gloucester from having his eyes plucked out and is immediately killed—a matter of a few lines in the original, now gone completely. And the other two servants gone dumb, and not even a single voice raised, now, to protest the old man's fate at the hands of Lear's hateful daughter and her husband. 
Slowly Picard shut the book, put it back, and looked mistrustfully at the Bible—and, beautiful language or not, decided not to pick it up.

My thoughts:

I first read Dark Mirror many years ago. It was nearly the first Star Trek novel I ever read, with only Peter David's excellent Q-Squared having been read first. I can still remember spending the night at my aunt Rose's house, reading Dark Mirror under the covers with a penlight into the wee hours. I was so enthralled by the depictions of the darker, more treacherous versions of the characters I'd come to love. In particular, the sadistic yet subtle viciousness of the mirror universe's Deanna Troi disturbed me greatly. So, after all of these years, how does Dark Mirror fare upon re-reading?

I was, for the most part, pleasantly surprised by how well the story held up. In particular, I was worried that I'd find the delphine commander Hwii to be too "cutesy" a character. However, he was as delightful as I remembered, and an interesting addition to the story. Once again, the alternate versions of the Enterprise crew were frightening, in a way that the Original Series mirror characters weren't. There seems to be a darker edge to this story than TOS's "Mirror Mirror."

Diane Duane has a good handle on the characters and their reactions to the atrocities and "moral shift" of the alternate universe. The revulsion experienced by Picard in particular is conveyed very well. I also appreciated the depiction of Geordi LaForge in this novel. He is a character who is often given short shrift, and it was great to see the story making very good use of LaForge.

When I was younger, I remember pondering why exactly Data didn't have a counterpart in the mirror universe. I understand the "in-universe" reason given, but story-wise, I couldn't understand the omission of his character. In this re-read, I realized that the reason was two-fold. First, going up against an alternate crew that had a Data of their own would be a much more difficult challenge than what was depicted in the story, and second, the "evil twin" story had already been done for Data, and having a mirror universe counterpart here might come across as a simple re-hash of Lore.

Of course, in the years since Dark Mirror was published, Trek canon has taken a much different direction with regards to the Mirror Universe. While I did enjoy this story and how it depicted the outcome of Spock's attempt at reforming the Terran Empire, I felt that the story that Deep Space Nine told was a little more interesting. The idea that Spock's actions had unintended consequences for the Terrans was a compelling one, and the fact that those events were turned around completely in the Mirror Universe novels, especially The Sorrows of Empire and Rise Like Lions, makes that story even more compelling. Still, Dark Mirror was an interesting look at what the Empire might have turned into a century after "Mirror Mirror."

The idea of seeing your own life taking a completely different turn, resulting in an "evil" version of yourself is a chilling one, and it would be terrifying to come face to face with those aspects of yourself. Diane Duane conveys this feeling very well in Dark Mirror. A savage, brutal version of oneself has the added terror of possibly having an insight into your own psyche, and a familiarity with a part of yourself that you would much rather pretend doesn't exist. That is where the truly frightening aspects of this story come into play.

Final thoughts:

One of the rare instances that something I loved in my childhood holds up as well as I remember! Dark Mirror was a page-turner then, and it was just as compelling now. Diane Duane has a way of crafting a fascinating story that often has high stakes as well as great character moments, examining an important facet of the human condition along the way. Although the conclusion of the story relies heavily on technobabble (and stars... Duane often uses ship maneuvers involving stars in the climaxes of her novels! Why is that?), Dark Mirror is still a great read.

Both disturbing and entertaining, Dark Mirror will always have a reserved place on my bookshelf.

Further resources:

Also by Diane Duane:

My next read:

My next review will continue my Deep Space Nine relaunch re-read, but this time, it will be for a story that I somehow skipped the first time through! Look for Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Volume One: Cardassia: The Lotus Flower, coming next week! (Gosh, that's a lot of colons...)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Literary Treks 86: So Much Janice Rand

Here it is, the first new Literary Treks episode of 2015!

In this episode, Matthew Rushing and I are joined by Drew Stewart of the TOS podcast Standard Orbit to discuss IDW's comic adaptation of Harlan Ellison's original teleplay for what is arguably the most beloved classic episode of Star Trek: "City on the Edge of Forever." Click below to be taken to the show page on, where you can listen to the episode via iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, Spreaker, and more!

Literary Treks 86: So Much Janice Rand
Discussion of Harlan Ellison's original City on the Edge of Forever teleplay... in comic form!

Previous episode: Literary Treks 85: Jurassic Park of the Billionth Century
Next episode: Literary Treks 87: Like the Godfather Part III

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Missing

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
The Missing by Una McCormack
Release date: December 30th 2014
Read January 3rd 2015

Previous book (Deep Space Nine): Section 31: Disavowed

Next book (Deep Space Nine): Sacraments of Fire

MMPB: | |
Kindle: | |

Spoilers ahead for The Missing and the current state of Trek novel continuity!

From the back cover:
The entire sector is waiting to see what the newly reopened Bajoran wormhole will mean for the shifting political landscape in the Alpha Quadrant. On Deep Space 9, Captain Ro Laren is suddenly drawn into the affairs of the People of the Open Sky, who have come to the station in search of sanctuary. Despite the opposition of the station's security officer, Jefferson Blackmer, Ro Laren and Deep Space 9's new CMO, Doctor Beverly Crusher, offer the People aid. But when Dr. Crusher’s highly secure files are accessed without permission—the same files that hold the secrets of the Shedai, a race whose powerful but half-understood scientific secrets solved the Andorian catastrophe—the People seem the likeliest suspects.

As tensions rise on the station, the science vessel Athene Donald arrives as part of its journey of exploration. The brainchild of Doctor Katherine Pulaski, this ship is crewed by different species from the Khitomer Accords and the Typhon Pact. Pulaski’s hope is that science will do what diplomacy has not: help the great powers put aside their hostilities and work together. But when the Athene Donald is summarily stopped in her voyage by the powerful vessel of a hitherto unknown species, Pulaski begins to wonder—will this first contact bring her crew together or tear them all apart?

Notable quote:

"I know," Pulaski said with a laugh, "that I'm not the kind of person to attract confidences. So I appreciate your trust. I've always felt that because of that brief time I spent on the Enterprise that people ... I don't know ... put us into competition somehow. Compare and contrast us. But I was always more than chief medical officer on the Enterprise."

"I know exactly how you feel," said Crusher.

Dr. Katherine Pulaski, formerly of Starfleet, plays a starring role in The Missing.

My thoughts:

I have long been a fan of Una McCormack's Star Trek work. The first of her novels that I read was the outstanding Deep Space Nine novel, The Never-Ending Sacrifice. From that moment on, I was hooked. McCormack has a way of getting to the core of what a story is about, with redemption being one of her favorite topics. The Missing is no exception.

There are a number of plotlines that make up the story of The Missing. First, the Olympic-class science vessel Athene Donald is embarking on a civilian mission of exploration. Aboard the Athene Donald is Katherine Pulaski, the one-time chief medical officer of the Enterprise-D, as well as one of the "co-conspirators" in devising a cure for the Andorian reproductive crisis. The mission of the vessel is to bring together various species in the spirit of peaceful cooperation in scientific endeavors.

The Athene Donald, an Olympic-class starship, hosts a civilian mission of scientific discovery.

At the same time, a rag-tag fleet of starships arrives at Deep Space Nine, populated by a group calling themselves the "People of the Open Sky." Meanwhile, a Cardassian civilian petitions Odo to act on her behalf in repatriating her son, a prisoner of the Romulans since the end of the Dominion War, along with a number of other Cardassian POWs.

Una manages to stitch each of these stories together quite well, creating a "day in the life" feel on this new Deep Space Nine, a feeling that has been missing for some time. In many ways, The Missing felt like an actual episode of DS9.

While I didn't quite enjoy The Missing to the same extent I liked McCormack's previous outings, including Hollow Men, The Never-Ending Sacrifice, Brinkmanship, or my favorite Trek novel of 2013, The Crimson Shadow, The Missing is still very well-written and engaging. With Una McCormack, I tend to set the bar very high, and her weakest novel is still miles above most others!

Earlier, I mentioned that Una McCormack likes to deal with redemption in her novels. In The Missing, a highlight for me was the character of Peter Alden, a character that was first introduced in Brinkmanship. His character arc surprised me by being one of the great parts of this novel. His relationship with unwitting Tzenkethi defector Corazame (also from Brinkmanship) was a touchstone of the character work in The Missing. The contrasting ideas of politics and conflict versus the ideals of exploration and discovery have been a central theme in Star Trek novels lately, and that contrast was played out very literally in the character of Peter Alden.

Final thoughts:

The Missing brings us back to Deep Space Nine in a way that made the series great. More than any other Star Trek series, the premise of DS9 allowed for "day-in-the-life" vignettes and on-going story arcs, and The Missing showcases those features expertly. I very much enjoy Una McCormack's writing, and I love that she feels free to experiment with different styles of narrative. For example, each chapter in The Missing begins with a personal log entry by Captain Picard, discussing various aspects of discovery and exploration. Each log entry set the tone for the chapter, bringing the story together in a fun and interesting way. For this and many other reasons, The Missing was definitely a joy to read.

More about The Missing:

Also by Una McCormack:
My next read:

Look forward to my review of a classic from my childhood: Dark Mirror by Diane Duane!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Another new cover! Uncertain Logic by Christopher L. Bennett

This has certainly been a week for Trek book news! Today, we have another new piece of cover art to show you: Enterprise: Rise of the Federation: Uncertain Logic by Christopher L. Bennett.

Below the cover, you will find the back cover blurb, as well as links to pre-order Uncertain Logic from Amazon. By using these links, you will be helping out Trek Lit Reviews!

The release date for Uncertain Logic is March 24, 2015.

Years ago, Jonathan Archer and T’Pol helped unearth the true writings of Vulcan’s great philosopher Surak, bringing forth a new era of peaceful reform on Vulcan. But when their discov­ery is seemingly proven to be a fraud, the scandal threatens to undo a decade of progress and return power to the old, warlike regime. Admiral Archer, Captain T’Pol, and the crew of the U.S.S. Endeavour investigate with help from their Vulcan allies, but none of them suspect the identity of the real master­mind behind the conspiracy to reconquer Vulcan—or the price they will have to pay to discover the truth. 
Meanwhile, when a long-forgotten technological threat reemerges beyond the Federation’s borders, Captain Malcolm Reed of the U.S.S. Pioneer attempts to track down its origins with help from his old friend “Trip” Tucker. But they discover that other civilizations are eager to exploit this dangerous power for their own benefit, even if the Federation must pay the price!

Pre-order the mass-market paperback from: | |
Pre-order the e-book (Kindle edition) from: | |

Sunday, January 4, 2015

New cover art! TOS e-book: Shadow of the Machine

Hello everyone! Today, we have a brand-new cover to show you: March's e-book exclusive novella, Scott Harrison's The Original Series: The Shadow of the Machine!

As always, check out the publisher's description below, where you will also find links to pre-order The Shadow of the Machine from Amazon. By doing so, you will be helping out Trek Lit Reviews! If you're planning on getting it from Amazon anyway, why not use our link and help us out? It is always greatly appreciated!

Shadow of the Machine will be released on March 9, 2015.

After its recent encounter with V’ger, the U.S.S. Enterprise has returned to dry dock to finish its refit before commencing its continuing mission. The crew has been granted a two-week period of shore leave before preparations for their next voyage begins. Shaken by their encounter with V’ger, Kirk, Spock and Sulu travel to their respective homes and must reflect upon their lives—now forever changed.

Pre-order the e-book (Kindle edition) from: | |

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Unity by S.D. Perry
First Published November 2003
Read November 30th 2014

Previous book (Deep Space Nine): The Left Hand of Destiny, Book Two

Next book (Deep Space Nine): Worlds of Deep Space Nine, Volume One: Cardassia: The Lotus Flower

Hardcover: | |
MMPB: | |
Kindle: |

Spoilers ahead for Unity and the Deep Space Nine relaunch!

From the back cover:
On the eve of Bajor's formal entry into the Federation, First Minister Shakaar was assassinated, derailing the induction and plunging the planet and station Deep Space 9 into chaos. Investigation into the murder revealed the presence of a parasitic conspiracy threatening not only Bajor's future with the Federation, but the very survival of both. At the same time, the fracturing of Bajor's theology has put its people on the threshold of a startling transformation -- and the consequences now rest on the shoulders of Colonel Kira Nerys, who months ago defied the religious authority of her planet by making public an ancient heretical text that challenged the very foundation of the Bajoran faith.
Now, after a harrowing and historic voyage of exploration in the Gamma Quadrant, the weary, wounded crew of Starship Defiant is at last coming home. But the joy of their return is short-lived as the crew becomes swept up in the crisis aboard the station, with many of them confronting personal issues that force them to make life-altering choices. Among those is a grief-stricken Commander Elias Vaughn, who reaches a crossroads in his life's journey and learns the true purpose for which he was Touched by the well as the ultimate fate of Captain Benjamin Sisko.
And... somewhere on Bajor... a child long awaited is about to be born.

Notable quote:
I wanted to tell you that it's over. Your campaign, your hatred ... your time. It ends here, now. 
It was no taker of gist, no spawnmother; why could she hear its mind? She sought through the void with her rudimentary eyes ... and saw it, emerging from the white. Like a meat-being in appearance, it walked toward her from the nothingness, its features becoming clearer as it neared. Dark and human, meat, but ... 
... the eyes ...
It drew closer, looming ever larger as it approached. It was vast, she saw now, vast as space. Its brown face filled her perception, filled the void itself— 
And then it spoke. 
"You picked the wrong planet," it said, and she felt her first glimmer of doubt. 
It was also her last.

My thoughts:

If Avatar books one and two were the beginning of a new season of Deep Space Nine, then Unity serves as a sort of season finale. In this novel, we see the culmination of numerous storylines introduced over the past few books, with all roads leading to DS9. The U.S.S. Defiant returns from its mission of exploration in the Gamma Quadrant with Jake Sisko and former Kai Opaka aboard, the conflict with the "Conspiracy" parasites comes to a head, and the future of Bajor is finally determined.

More than anything else, S.D. Perry has a handle on the characters and their thoughts and motivations. This is very important for her stories to have poignancy, as character was at the heart of what made Deep Space Nine great. Perry handles all of the characters very well, but the stand-outs to me were Ro and Kira. Ro's character's journey is a fascinating one, and by the end of the novel, she is truly a changed person.

Another character that was perfectly written was Elias Vaughn. Over the course of the DS9 "relaunch," he has fast become one of my favorite characters. In Unity, we see him in much the same position Sisko was in in the beginning of Deep Space Nine. However, instead of the Prophets helping him through his difficulties, it's Sisko himself helping Vaughn. This is a beautiful piece of symmetry with the series premiere, and I loved the interaction between these two characters.

Elias Vaughn comes face-to-face with Ben Sisko, in the form of "Benny Russell."

The parasite threat was also used very effectively. To me, they are one of the most chilling threats that Star Trek has ever introduced. Think about it: the Changeling takeover during the television series was bad enough, with their ability to resemble anyone or anything. However, the parasites are even more terrifying. Imagine a creature able to take over your body and use it for its own purposes, and there is nothing you can do about it. Anyone, including your closest friends and family, are at risk. To me, that thought is utterly terrifying, and Unity makes good use of the terror that this threat incites.

Final thoughts:

As with any good "season finale," Unity feels like an end, but also a new beginning. Circumstances aboard DS9 have changed forever, and things will never be the same again. However, as stated at the end of the novel, "THE SAGA OF DEEP SPACE NINE WILL CONTINUE." Very welcome words as I continue through this re-read of the wonderful Deep Space Nine post-series novels.

More about Unity:

Also by S.D. Perry:

My next read:

The latest from Una McCormack, and the first new Deep Space Nine novel in quite some time: The Missing. Coming soon!