Friday, July 16, 2021

Positively Trek Book Club: Well of Souls

 Star Trek: The Lost Era
Well of Souls
By Ilsa J. Bick

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

The Lost Era continues! It’s 2336, and these are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise-C. Everything we know about this ship and her crew in canon comes from TNG’s “Yesterday’s Enterprise.” But Captain Rachel Garrett commanded her for many years, and there are many stories to be told about those missions.

Join us for this episode of the Positively Trek Book Club as hosts Dan and Bruce discuss The Lost Era: Well of Souls by Ilsa J. Bick. We talk about the many characters both old and new in this novel, guilt and trauma, a complicated plot involving crime syndicates and secrecy, the first duty of every Starfleet officer, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings for Well of Souls.







Previous episode: The Original Series: Living Memory
Next episode: The Next Generation: Shadows Have Offended

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Release Day! TNG: Shadows Have Offended

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Shadows Have Offended
by Cassandra Rose Clarke


It's new Star Trek book day once again! This month, we have a newcomer to the world of Trek fiction: author Cassandra Rose Clarke, with her Star Trek: The Next Generation novel Shadows Have Offended. A novel set during season seven of TNG, Shadows Have Offended marks the first return to series-era TNG novels in a very long time!

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




Publisher's description:
An original novel based on the acclaimed Star Trek TV series!

The USS Enterprise has been granted the simple but unavoidable honor of ferrying key guests to Betazed for a cultural ceremony. En route, sudden tragedy strikes a Federation science station on the isolated planet Kota, and Captain Jean-Luc Picard has no qualms sending William Riker, Data, and Chief Medical Officer Beverly Crusher to investigate. But what begins as routine assignments for the two parties soon descends into chaos: Picard, Worf, and Deanna Troi must grapple with a dangerous diplomatic crisis as historic artifacts are stolen in the middle of a high-profile ceremony…while nothing is as it seems on Kota. A mounting medical emergency coupled with the science station’s failing technology—and no hope of rescue—has Doctor Crusher racing against time to solve a disturbing mystery threatening the lives of all her colleagues….


Purchase Shadows Have Offended:

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


Next Release: Picard: Rogue Elements

Friday, June 25, 2021

Positively Trek Book Club: Living Memory

 Star Trek: The Original Series
Living Memory
by Christopher L. Bennett

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


A mysterious spatial phenomenon threatening the core worlds of the Federation. A cadre of genetically-engineered warriors trying to make their way in Starfleet Academy. And a personal journey for a character recovering from a severe trauma that has affected every facet of her life. All of these stories come together in surprising ways in the subject of this week’s episode!

In this episode of the Positively Trek Book Club, hosts Bruce and Dan review the newest Star Trek: The Original Series novel: Living Memory by Christopher L. Bennett. We talk about the mysterious vacuum flares, Uhura’s memory, the Arcturian Warborn, Dr. Ashley Janith-Lau, a murder mystery, the militarization of Starfleet, the themes of communication and memory, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.







Previous episode: Year Five: Weaker Than Man

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Release Day! TOS: Living Memory by Christopher L. Bennett

Star Trek: The Original Series
Living Memory
by Christopher L. Bennett


New Star Trek book day is here again! We have a new book set in the period between The Motion Picture and The Wrath of Khan by author Christopher L. Bennett: Living Memory!

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




Publisher's description:
An all-new Star Trek movie-era adventure!
While attempting to settle in as commandant of Starfleet Academy, Admiral James T. Kirk must suddenly contend with the controversial, turbulent integration of an alien warrior caste into the student body—and quickly becomes embroiled in conflict when the Academy controversy escalates to murder. Meanwhile, Captain Spock of the USS Enterprise and Commander Pavel Chekov of the USS Reliant are investigating a series of powerful cosmic storms seemingly targeting Federation worlds—unstoppable outbursts emitting from the very fabric of space. Endeavoring to predict where the lethal storms will strike next, Spock and Chekov make the shocking discovery that the answer lies in Commander Nyota Uhura’s past—one that she no longer remembers….

Purchase Living Memory:

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


Previous Release: Discovery: Wonderlands

Friday, June 11, 2021

Positively Trek Book Club: Weaker Than Man

 Star Trek: Year Five
Weaker Than Man
Omnibus Collection of Issues 13 - 19

Purchase:
Paperback: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
Kindle/Comixology: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

We’re taking a break from novels this week to catch up on the Star Trek: Year Five on-going story! From badmiral shenanigans and populist criminal presidential candidates to Gary Seven and global pandemics, these stories have it all!

In this episode of the Positively Trek Book Club, hosts Dan and Bruce are discussing Weaker Than Man, the omnibus collection of Star Trek: Year Five issues 13 to 19. We talk about all four “episodes” that make up the collection: “Guide of Fire,” “Vote Mudd!,” “Weaker Than Man,” and “On the Death of a Friend.”







Previous episode: Discovery: Wonderlands

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Positively Trek Book Club: Wonderlands with Una McCormack

 Star Trek: Discovery
Wonderlands
Exclusive Interview with author Una McCormack!

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

When Star Trek: Discovery’s third season debuted, Michael Burnham found herself down the rabbit hole in a strange, unfamiliar world. However, the U.S.S. Discovery, right behind her in the wormhole, was nowhere to be found. Along with unlikely allies and surprising foes, Burnham must make her way in this disturbing and dangerous future. The story of the year she spent apart from her crew can finally be told!

In this episode of the Positively Trek Book Club, hosts Bruce and Dan are joined by master storyteller Una McCormack to discuss her latest novel: Discovery: Wonderlands. We talk about Alice in Wonderland, Sahil vs. Book, Burnham’s new career, Starfleet cosplayers, the White Palm raiders, the Fall of the Federation, and wrap up with where Una can be found online and what she has coming up.







Previous episode: The Lost Era: The Art of the Impossible
Next episode: Year Five: Weaker Than Man

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Release Day! Discovery: Wonderlands by Una McCormack

Star Trek: Discovery
Wonderlands
by Una McCormack


Once again, it's new Star Trek book day! We have the newest addition to the Star Trek: Discovery line, this time by one of my favorite authors, Una McCormack! Pick up Wonderlands today, detailing the "gap year" between Burnham's arrival in the 32nd century and the eventual appearance of the U.S.S. Discovery.

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!
In a desperate attempt to prevent the artificial intelligence known as Control from seizing crucial information that could destroy all sentient life, Commander Michael Burnham donned the “Red Angel” time-travel suit and guided the USS Discovery into the future and out of harm’s way. But something has gone terribly wrong, and Burnham has somehow arrived in a place far different from anything she could have imagined—more than nine hundred years out of her time, with Discovery nowhere to be found, and where the mysterious and cataclysmic event known as “the Burn” has utterly decimated Starfleet and, with it, the United Federation of Planets. How then can she possibly exist day-to-day in this strange place? What worlds are out there waiting to be discovered? Do any remnants of Starfleet and the Federation possibly endure? With more questions than answers, Burnham must nevertheless forge new friendships and new alliances if she hopes to survive this future long enough for the Discovery crew to find her....

Purchase Wonderlands:

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


Previous Release: Picard: The Dark Veil

Friday, May 14, 2021

Positively Trek Book Club: The Art of the Impossible

 Star Trek: The Lost Era
The Art of the Impossible
By Keith R.A. DeCandido

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

The Betreka Nebula Incident: an eighteen-year cold war between the Cardassian Union and the Klingon Empire. The tale of the conflict over the planet Raknal V that nearly plunged the quadrant into war is finally told!
 
In this episode of the Positively Trek Book Club, hosts Dan and Bruce discuss The Art of the Impossible, a novel of The Lost Era by master storyteller Keith R.A. DeCandido. We talk about the Klingons and Cardassians, the conflict over Raknal V, the Romulans' resurgence, obsession and blind nationalism, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.







Previous episode: The Next Generation: Metamorphosis

Friday, April 30, 2021

Positively Trek Book Club: Metamorphosis

 Star Trek: The Next Generation
Metamorphosis
By Jean Lorrah

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

For all of his existence, Lt. Commander Data has had one wish: to be human. However, when he is finally presented with the chance, will he find that being flesh and blood is all it’s cracked up to be?
 
The first “Giant Novel”! This week on the Positively Trek Book Club, hosts Bruce and Dan are talking about an early Star Trek: The Next Generation novel: Metamorphosis by Jean Lorrah. We discuss Data’s quest, his journey as a human, the mysterious Konor, Elysia’s “gods,” Data’s soul, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings for the novel.







Previous episode: The Next Generation #4: Survivors

Friday, April 16, 2021

Positively Trek Book Club: Survivors

 Star Trek: The Next Generation #4
Survivors
By Jean Lorrah

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

Lieutenant Tasha Yar was a character who didn’t get much of a chance to shine. Lasting not quite an entire season, Denise Crosby elected to leave the show before the end of season one. While the true potential of the character went unrealized on screen, one author took it upon herself to tell her story.

In this episode of the Positively Trek Book Club, hosts Dan and Bruce return to the early days of TNG to take a look at the “Tasha Yar” novel: Survivors by Jean Lorrah. We discuss Yar’s backstory, Dare, the planet Treva, Data’s life as a survivor, the conclusion, and Tasha Yar’s death at the hands of Armus.







Previous episode: The Lost Era: One Constant Star

Friday, April 2, 2021

Positively Trek Book Club: One Constant Star

 Star Trek: The Lost Era
One Constant Star
By David R. George III

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

The voyages of the Enterprise-B continue as Captain Demora Sulu and her crew confront a mysterious device on the surface of an unknown world that leaves one crewman missing and the first officer critically injured. When the captain herself disappears, the crew must rely on Admiral John Harriman, who may ultimately have the solution.

In this episode of the Positively Trek Book Club, hosts Bruce and Dan discuss The Lost Era: One Constant Star by David R. George III. We talk about the mysterious Rejarris II portal, first officer Xintal Linojj, an unexpected family reunion, Admiral Harriman and his wife Amina Sasine, an improvised rescue mission, the Odyssey solution, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.







Previous episode: The Lost Era: Serpents Among the Ruins

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Positively Trek Book Club: Serpents Among the Ruins

 Star Trek: The Lost Era
Serpents Among the Ruins
By David R. George III

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

The voyages of the Enterprise-B are some of the biggest unknowns in the Star Trek universe. Besides the fateful first voyage at the beginning of Star Trek: Generations, almost nothing is known about the trials and tribulations of the third Federation starship to bear the name Enterprise. What a perfect opportunity for the novels to step in and chronicle one of the many adventures of Captain John Harriman and his crew as they attempt to stop a horrific war with the Romulans before it starts!

In this episode of the Positively Trek Book Club, hosts Dan and Bruce discuss The Lost Era novel Serpents Among the Ruins by David R. George III. We talk about the impending war with the Romulans, Harriman’s tumultuous relationship with his father, the rehabilitation of a Starfleet captain, the Tomed Incident, some familiar lit-verse characters, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.







Previous episode: Star Trek Online: The Needs of the Many

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Lost Souls

Star Trek: Destiny
Book III: Lost Souls by David Mack
Published December 2008
Read November 12th 2019

Previous book (Destiny): Book II: Mere Mortals
Next book (Post-Nemesis Continuity): A Singular Destiny


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
Lost Souls!

From the back cover:
The soldiers of Armageddon are on the march, laying waste to worlds in their passage. An audacious plan could stop them forever, but it carries risks that one starship captain is unwilling to take. For Captain Jean-Luc Picard, defending the future has never been so important, or so personal -- and the wrong choice will cost him everything for which he has struggled and suffered.

For Captain William Riker, that choice has already been made. Haunted by the memories of those he was forced to leave behind, he must jeopardize all that he has left in a desperate bid to save the Federation.

For Captain Ezri Dax, whose impetuous youth is balance by the wisdom of many lifetimes, the choice is a simple one: there is no going back -- only forward to whatever future awaits them.

But for those who, millennia ago, had no choice...this is the hour of their final, inescapable destiny.

My thoughts:

The third and final novel in the landmark Destiny trilogy sees the stories of four Starfleet captains come to their explosive conclusions in a story that would change the Star Trek universe forever... at least until canon Trek says otherwise!

The fear and terror of the worlds of the Federation and her neighbors is strongly felt in the pages of this novel as the unrelenting Borg armada spreads out from the Azure Nebula and threatens to completely wipe out the populations of planets throughout the Alpha and Beta quadrants. No longer interested in assimilation, the Borg are on a singular quest: to utterly destroy the Federation and its citizens who have become more trouble than they are worth. Meanwhile, the EnterpriseTitan, and Aventine must do everything they can to ensure the future of the Federation in the face of what appears to be certain Armageddon.

The Borg attack the Alpha and Beta Quadrants in force, with only one goal: the complete extermination of the Federation.

This novel also finally tells us the origin of the Borg once and for all. Now, of course, this origin story is not canon; however, I find myself hoping against hope that canon Star Trek (the various television series and films) never get around to telling us a definitive story for the origin of the Borg, because what David Mack has come up with here is nearly pitch-perfect. The story itself is quite dark and drives towards the themes of selfishness, pride, and the self-serving impulses within human beings, which fits perfectly with what we know of the Borg. I won't spell out the revelations here, even though this book is well over a decade old; I still feel this story needs to be read rather than simply summarized here.

There really is something for everyone in this story. Like your Star Trek action-packed? You will definitely find a lot of action in this novel. How about philosophy and morality? Like all the best Trek, Destiny features moral conundrums and ethical dilemmas aplenty. In particular, seeing Riker wrestle with his decision to leave the away team (including his wife, Deanna) behind on New Erigol while Titan makes her escape was heart-wrenching.

Politics also takes center stage in this trilogy and this final novel in particular, as we see the Federation government under President Nanietta Bacco (one of my all-time favorite TrekLit characters), and the supreme grace under pressure that she exhibits as the end very much appears nigh.

The government of the United Federation of Planets faces the possible end of their civilization in Star Trek: Destiny.

In this final novel of the trilogy, author David Mack has accomplished the nearly impossible: making the story feel like it might truly be the twilight of the Federation. Of course, we know that this can't possibly be the end, but while reading Lost Souls, that knowledge becomes irrelevant as the reader gets drawn into the vivid details and amazing prose that serves as the culmination of this amazing trilogy.

The Caeliar, ultimately responsible for the creation of the Borg, realize their error and takes steps to correct it. At the heart of this is Captain Erika Hernandez, herself having been transformed by the Caeliar. The threat of the Borg Collective is ended for all time when all Borg, everywhere, are transformed and merged into the Caeliar Gestalt, leaving a battered Federation to pick up the pieces. With over sixty billion lives lost between the Federation, the Klingons, and the Romulans, the face of the Star Trek universe will never be the same.

Final thoughts on Star Trek: Destiny:

Destiny, more than any other story within the vast library of Star Trek fiction, is a huge inflection point in the Trek universe and is pointed to as the moment when everything changed. We all knew that (at the time) canon Trek had moved on and the writers were free to play in the universe as they wished, but the monumental events chronicled in these novels blew everything to this point out of the water. David Mack did not hold back at all when telling this story, and it's to his credit that it works as well as it does. The events of this trilogy defined Star Trek novels for the decade following its publication, a distinction that is very well-earned. Needless to say, Lost Souls and the preceding two novels are must-reads for any fan of Star Trek fiction.

Also by David Mack:

My next read:

Next up is my review of last year's Star Trek: Picard novel, The Last Best Hope by Una McCormack.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Positively Trek Book Club: The Needs of the Many

 Star Trek Online
The Needs of the Many
By Michael A. Martin & Jake Sisko

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

In 2010, the Star Trek community was eagerly anticipating the launch of Star Trek Online, the Trek universe’s first MMORPG (massively multiplayer online game). To tie into this next chapter of the Star Trek universe, the publishers of Trek novels produced a special tie-in to the game chronicling “The Long War,” the conflict between the powers of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants and the Undine, also known as Species 8472.

In this episode of the Positively Trek Book Club, hosts Bruce and Dan are joined by Michael A. Martin to discuss his novel The Needs of the Many. We talk about Star Trek Online, the premise of the story, Michael’s co-author Jake Sisko, favorite parts of the book, and wrap up with what Michael is up to now and where he can be found online.







Previous episode: Voyager: Seven's Reckoning

Friday, February 19, 2021

Positively Trek Book Club: Seven's Reckoning

 Star Trek: Voyager
Seven's Reckoning
Written by Dave Baker
Art by Angel Hernandez




Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 01, has had her entire world turned upside-down. Now a former Borg drone, she finds herself trying to assimilate into a new collective: the crew of the Starship Voyager. A mission to a derelict ship will test her newfound individuality when she is confronted with an ethical crisis: to what extent should she get involved with the affairs of another species when she sees injustice running rampant?

In this episode of the Positively Trek Book Club, hosts Dan and Bruce review the IDW miniseries Voyager: Seven’s Reckoning, written by Dave Baker with art by Angel Hernandez. We discuss all four issues, our thoughts on the story and artwork, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.








Previous episode: The Lost Era: The Sundered

Friday, February 5, 2021

Positively Trek Book Club: The Sundered

 Star Trek: The Lost Era
The Sundered
by Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels

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


The 21st Century nearly saw the end of humanity in World War III. Against the backdrop of the post-atomic horror, a group of Earth’s best and brightest, living aboard a nearby asteroid habitat, are thrown across the galaxy in a freak warp field accident. Over 200 years later, while negotiating peace with the aggressive Tholians, Captain Sulu and the crew of the U.S.S. Excelsior will discover what became of those unwitting explorers, lost and alone and completely cut off from Earth.

In this episode of the Positively Trek Book Club, hosts Bruce and Dan discuss the first book of The Lost Era: The Sundered. We talk about the crew of the Excelsior, Sulu’s clandestine mission, Ambassador Burgess, the Tholians, the Neyel, Tuvok and Lojur, the resolution, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.







Previous episode: Picard: The Dark Veil