Thursday, February 29, 2024

Positively Trek Book Club: Did Anyone Have Android Pulaski on Their Bingo Card?

Positively Trek Podcast:

Star Trek Explorer Presents:
"The Mission" and Other Stories
Part 1/2

Hardcover: | |

Positively Trek 264: Book Club: Did Anyone Have Android Pulaski on Their Bingo Card?
Star Trek Explorer Presents: “The Mission” and Other Stories - Part 1 of 2

We here at the Positively Trek Book Club pride ourselves on covering every new Star Trek novel that is released. However, the releases are fewer and farther between these days. Thankfully, there are many places for us to go to get our Star Trek fiction fix!

The Star Trek Explorer magazine has been publishing original Star Trek short stories since it started in 2021, showcasing unique corners of the Trek universe and written by some of the biggest names in Star Trek writing. In February of 2024, the most recent hardcover collection of these stories was released: Star Trek Explorer Presents: “The Mission” and Other Stories, featuring 14 of the short stories from recent issues.

In this episode of the Positively Trek Book Club, host Dan Gunther welcomes Bruce Gibson back to the show to discuss the first 7 of the stories featured in this collection. We discuss:

“Control” by John Peel

“The Guardian” by Gary Russell

“The Disavowed” by Christopher Cooper

“Paghabi” by Chris Dows

“Pulaski 2.0” by Greg Cox

“The Expert” by Gary Russell

and “Scramble” by Greg Cox

The remaining 7 stories in the collection will be featured in a future episode.

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Previous episode: Star Trek: The Red Path
Next episode: Picard: Firewall

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

New Comic Day: Defiant #12 & The Conclusion of Picard's Academy!

Two new comics are out today: The latest installment of the ongoing Star Trek: Defiant series and the conclusion of the Star Trek: Picard's Academy miniseries!

Star Trek: Defiant #12
Hell is Only a Word, Part 1

Out today: Star Trek: Defiant #12, the latest issue in IDW's ongoing spinoff of the Star Trek comic series! We have the various covers below for you to take a look at, as well as the publisher's synopsis and links to pick up the digital version from Amazon.

Written by Christopher Cantwell
Art by Ángel Unzueta
Cover by Ángel Unzueta

Digital (Kindle): | |

Official synopsis:

Original Star Trek: Defiant writer-artist duo Christopher Cantwell and Ángel Unzueta delve into the sci-fi horror genre in arc three of the fan-favorite series! Eager to move past the unofficial bounty-hunting mission assigned to them by Starfleet, disgraced former ambassador and Starfleet legend, Worf, and his rogue crew make way for Starbase 99 – a run-down remnant of the Dominion War – to complete their fugitive drop-off. The clandestine assignment has left them disillusioned with Starfleet and with one another, but a surprise awaits the Defiant crew, threatening to tear the crew apart even further – literally.

Variant covers:

Cover B by Rod Reis

Retailer Incentive cover by Ángel Unzueta

IDW Online Exclusive cover by Suspiria Vilchez

Also out today is the final issue in the 6-issue miniseries Star Trek: Picard's Academy! Jean-Luc faces his greatest test yet in the finale of this series from writer Sam Maggs and artist Ornella Greco!

Star Trek: Picard's Academy #6

Written by Sam Maggs
Art by Ornella Greco
Cover by Sweeny Boo

Digital (Kindle): | |

Official synopsis:

It's do-or-die for Picard and cadets in the finale of Picard's Academy! Romulans storm the ship while Starfleet remains out of reach and potentially unaware of the threat headed their way, but the cadets have finally come to an agreement, electing Jean-Luc to the captain's chair. They're finally willing to follow Picard's lead, and Picard is finally willing to acknowledge their feedback – now acting as a proper crew. But is it too late? Will Picard fail his crewmates once again and, worse yet, see the start of an interstellar war? So much for graduating early!

Variant covers:

Cover B by Aaron Harvey

Retailer Incentive cover by Megan Huang

Previous comic release: Star Trek #17
Next comic release: Sons of Star Trek #1

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: | |
E-book (Kindle): | |

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.

Release Day! Picard: Firewall by David Mack, Plus a New Behind-the-Scenes Book for Picard!

Two new releases this week! We have a new novel featuring Seven of Nine, plus an in-depth behind-the-scenes book on the making of Star Trek: Picard

Star Trek: Picard

by David Mack

A rarity these days: a new Star Trek novel release! Today, you can pick up the all-new Star Trek: Picard: Firewall by David Mack, chronicling Seven of Nine's journey from the end of her time on Voyager through to becoming a part of the Fenris Rangers.

Check out the cover art and back cover blurb below, along with links to purchase the hardcover, e-book, and audiobook editions from Amazon!

Publisher's description:
A thrilling prequel adventure based on the acclaimed TV series Star Trek: Picard!
Two years after the USS Voyager’s return from the Delta Quadrant, Seven of Nine finds herself rejected for a position in Starfleet…and instead finds a new home with the interstellar rogue law enforcement corps known as the Fenris Rangers. The Rangers seem like an ideal fit for Seven—but to embrace this new destiny, she must leave behind all she’s ever known, and risk losing the most important thing in her life: her friendship with Admiral Kathryn Janeway.
Purchase Picard: Firewall:

Hardcover: | |
E-book (Kindle): | |

Also out today:

Star Trek: Picard: The Art and Making of the Series

by Joe Fordham

Publisher's description:
An in-depth look at the making of Star Trek: Picard, a three-season spin-off of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and a must-have for all Star Trek fans.
Star Trek: Picard stars Patrick Stewart, reprising his role as Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The book explores each of the three separate season-long narratives, which tell the story of Picard in later years, as he is brought out of retirement on his family chateau to face old enemies such as the Borg, take command of a new starship, and ultimately reconcile with his past.
New characters such as Doctor Jurati (Alison Pill), Cristóbal Rios (Santiago Cabrera), Soji (Isa Briones) and Elnor (Evan Evagora) feature alongside appearances by old enemies and friends, such as Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), the Borg Queen (Annie Wersching), Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg), Data (Brent Spiner), and Q (John de Lancie). Season 3 sees a full-scale Next Generation reunion, featuring Worf (Michael Dorn), Dr. Beverley Crusher (Gates McFadden), and Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton).
Alongside interviews with showrunners, writers, cast, and crew, discussing concepts and character arcs, “Spotlight” features explore makeup, costumes, art, and visual effects. A final section features reflections on the much-beloved character from its original incarnation in Star Trek: Next Generation through to its final satisfying conclusion.
This beautifully illustrated hardback, featuring behind-the-scenes and on-set photography, and a range of production art, is an in-depth exploration of a hugely popular and seminal Star Trek character.
Purchase Star Trek: Picard: The Art and Making of the Series:

Hardcover: | |


Wednesday, February 21, 2024

New Comic Day! Star Trek #17

 Star Trek #17
Glass and Bone - Part 5

Out today: Star Trek #17, the latest issue in IDW's ongoing flagship Star Trek comic series! Check out the various covers below, along with the publisher's synopsis and links to pick up the digital version from Amazon.

Written by Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing
Art by Marcus To
Cover by Marcus To

Digital (Kindle): | |

Official synopsis:

Galactic war is imminent in the penultimate issue of arc three of the Eisner-nominated Star Trek series. With Federation, Romulan, and Cardassian forces all vying for leverage over the Tzenkethi war fleet, Captain Sisko is left with no choice but to request official assistance from Starfleet after he and his crew have fallen out of favor with the warmongering reptilian species. However, the proposed solution – and only option Starfleet is willing to approve – is questionable, with the potential of endangering not only the Theseus crew... but the galaxy at large.

Variant cover:

Cover B by Megan Levens

Previous comic release: Star Trek: Defiant #11

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Positively Trek Book Club: The Red Path (Star Trek Volume 2)

Positively Trek Podcast:

Star Trek: Volume 2
The Red Path

The flagship Star Trek comic series by Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing

Hardcover: | |
E-book (Kindle): | |

Positively Trek 262: Book Club: The Red Path
Star Trek Volume 2: Issues 7-10, Plus the 2023 Annual

The mission to stop Kahless on his mad quest to kill the gods continues! But first… Sisko on trial!

In this episode of the Positively Trek Book Club, hosts Dan and Brandi discuss the second hardcover omnibus collection of the Star Trek flagship comic from IDW: The Red Path. We talk about all four issues of this arc, plus the 2023 annual Star Trek issue that’s included in this collection.

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Previous episode: Star Trek: Defiant Volume 1

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

The Unsettling Stars

Star Trek (Kelvin Timeline)
The Unsettling Stars by Alan Dean Foster
Release date: April 14th 2020
Read April 27th 2020

Previous book (Kelvin Timeline): Star Trek Into Darkness
Next book (Kelvin Timeline): More Beautiful Than Death

Purchase The Unsettling Stars:
Trade Paperback: | |
E-Book (Kindle): | |

Publisher's description:
Taking place in an alternate timeline created when the Starship Kelvin was destroyed by a Romulan invader from the future, this bold new novel follows Captain James T. Kirk and an inexperienced crew commandeering a repaired U.S.S. Enterprise out of spacedock for a simple shakedown cruise. When a distress call comes in, the Enterprise must aid a large colony ship of alien refugees known as the Perenorean, who are under siege by an unknown enemy. But Kirk and his crew will find that the situation with the peaceful Perenorean is far more complicated than they bargained for, and the answers as to why they were attacked in the first place unfold in the most insidious of ways…

My thoughts:

This novel was a long time coming. Originally written around the time of the first "Kelvin Timeline" film, Star Trek (2009), the publication of this and three other novels were delayed indefinitely. The reason for the delay? According to the powers that be, there was concern that events depicted in the novels might contradict future plans for films set in the Kelvin Timeline. Then, a decade later, two of the shelved novels were resurrected, and apparently the prior concerns were no longer an issue. This one, by Alan Dean Foster, was originally titled Refugees. The novel was given a name change, and according to the author, a small part of the ending was revised, but other than that, The Unsettling Stars is relatively unchanged from the original draft that was turned in a decade earlier.

The original solicitation cover for this novel, back when it was first announced in 2009.

So, after waiting a decade of waiting to actually read the book, how is it?

The plot of the novel centers around a group of refugees, the Perenoreans, whose situation has special resonance for Spock. Remember that in this reality, the surviving members of the Vulcan species are also refugees, their homeworld having been destroyed in Star Trek (2009). It was interesting to see Spock relate to the Perenoreans and their plight from his unique perspective. The Perenoreans themselves are fascinating; they are highly advanced technologically, with an innate desire to be extremely helpful.

A second species, inhabitants of the planet SiBor, offer their moon to the Perenoreans to settle. In response, the grateful Perenoreans offer their advanced technology to aid in solving all manner of problems and difficulties, a situation that is initially very enticing. However, as the story progresses, it becomes clear that having all of your issues "magically" solved isn't always the best thing. Eventually, the Perenoreans prove to be so helpful that the SiBorians themselves end up seeming superfluous and unnecessary on their own world. As the plot unfolds, the reader continually expects the Perenoreans to have some sort of villainous motive behind their actions, but the truth of the matter is that it is simply their penchant for being overly helpful that fuels the conflict. This makes for a very interesting dilemma to focus the plot of the novel around.

The story of The Unsettling Stars is, overall, very cerebral. The dilemma presented to our heroes is unique, and is quite relevant given what is happening in society today. More and more, we are seeing artificial intelligence inhabiting spaces that are typically filled by human labor and creativity. But what happens if AI turns out to be much better than us at writing, for example? We're already seeing AI-generated writing in advertisements and other written works. Like the SiBorians in this novel, we humans may soon become superfluous in the face of superior artificial intelligence.

Seeing the Kelvin Timeline crew in novel form was a fun change, and I'm glad this novel finally saw the light of day.

For the most part, I was impressed by The Unsettling Stars. The voices of the characters are familiar, and would fit in well with the Prime timeline, but with just enough of a flavor of the Kelvin timeline to distinctly be those versions of the characters. The Perenoreans, as the drivers of the primary conflict of the novel, aren't your typical "bad guys." The species themselves are truly alien, both in how they are described physically, and in the way they think and view the universe. They are sympathetic in some ways, while unsympathetic in others, remaining refreshingly unpredictable throughout the story.

Final thoughts:

A worthy entry in the ever-expanding Star Trek literary universe. It was nice to finally get to experience the "Kelvin Timeline" crew in novel form, and Alan Dean Foster does a great job of capturing their unique voices, setting them apart from their Prime universe counterparts. The dilemma at the heart of the story is a unique problem that resonates with issues we are dealing with today. I fear the story of The Unsettling Stars will only become more relevant as the years go by.

More about The Unsettling Stars:

Also by Alan Dean Foster:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

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

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Release Day! Deep Space Nine: The Dog of War

Graphic Novel 
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
The Dog of War

by Mike Chen
Art by Angel Hernandez

The latest IDW paperback Star Trek graphic novel hits shelves today! Collecting the miniseries Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Dog of War, this trade paperback is written by Mike Chen featuring art from Angel Hernandez.

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

Publisher's description:
Don’t miss out on this exclusive “lost episode” celebrating the 30th anniversary of the fan-favorite show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine!
An extremely rare purebred corgi from Earth makes its way aboard Deep Space 9 when Quark cuts a deal to procure it for a high buyer. After all, a Ferengi without profit is no Ferengi at all! But Latinum the corgi comes with unexpected cargo that shakes Captain Benjamin Sisko to the core: a Borg component discovered by a crew sent to uncover Cardassian technology after the station’s reoccupation.
Brought to you by acclaimed author Mike Chen (Star Wars: Brotherhood, Here and Now and Then) and Star Trek comics artist extraordinaire Angel Hernandez (Star Trek: Picard—Stargazer, Star Trek: Discovery—Adventures in the 32nd Century)! Collects the entire mini-series.

Purchase Deep Space Nine: The Dog of War:

Paperback: | |
E-book (Kindle): | |


Release Day! Star Trek Explorer Presents: "The Mission" and Other Stories

 Star Trek Explorer Presents:
"The Mission" and Other Stories

by Various

It's new Star Trek book day! From Titan Publishing comes a collection of short fiction from the Star Trek Explorer magazine. Included in this collection are 14 stories by a group of talented writers that explore all corners of the Star Trek universe.

Check out below for a list of stories and authors, and links to purchase from Amazon!

Publisher's description:
A thrilling anthology of short stories from Star Trek Explorer magazine, collected for the first time!


Featuring tales by Una McCormack, Gary Russell, Michael Carroll, John Peel, Chris Dows, Chris Cooper, and Greg Cox.


This incredible collection features 14 illustrated stories starring iconic characters such as Will Riker, Benjamin Sisko, Jonathan Archer, and Kate Pulaski, plus fan-favourite alien enemies including the Borg.


Stories included are:


Control by John Peel
A take starring Jonathan Archer and his loyal dog, Porthos.

The Guardian by Gary Russell
A prelude to the classic episode “What are Little Girls Made Of?”

The Disavowed by Christopher Cooper
The crew of the Enterprise lose all memory of William Riker!

Paghabi by Chris Dows
Guinan is invaded by a sinister force.

Pulaski 2.0 by Greg Cox
Doctor Katherine Pulaski experiences life as an android.

The Expert by Gary Russell
A family is torn apart when the Borg strike.

Scramble by Greg Cox
A return to the noir world of Dixon Hill

The Mission by James Swallow
Espionage runs rife aboard Deep Space 9.

Things Can Only Get Better by Una McCormack
Kira Nerys and Garak discuss their opposing ideologies.

Frontier Medicine by Michael Carroll
Doctor Julian Bashir embarks on a career defining adventure.

By Special Request… by John Peel
Miles O’Brien and Julian Bashir enjoy some rest and recreation… with a difference!

The Victim by John Peel
Garak moves in for the kill, but can he pull the trigger?

You Can’t Buy Fate by Keith R.A. Candido
A first contact mission doesn’t go according to plan.

Summer Days Can Last Forever by Michael Collins
The dull 1950’s town of Patterson creek is livened up by some unusual visitors.

Purchase Star Trek Explorer Presents: "The Mission" and Other Stories:

Hardcover: | |


Monday, February 12, 2024

Star Trek: Celebrations One-Shot Coming in May

 A new Star Trek one-shot comic is coming in May of this year, featuring Star Trek's most "badass" LGBTQIA+ characters!

There have been many characters who identify as a part of the LGBTQIA+ community over the years, and now they are going to be the stars of a new one-shot comic celebrating Pride Month!

Star Trek: Celebrations arrives on May 29th, and will be written by Vita Ayala, Mags Visaggio, Steve Orlando, and others. The standard cover features art by Paulina Ganucheau, and I'm sure will also be available with a number of variant covers as well.

Check out the cover art below!

Heather Antos, speaking with ScreenRant, had this to say about the special issue:

"What is Star Trek, if not the idea of celebrating the best of us, right? The best of humanity, and coming together. There's a really great quote from Gene Roddenberry that that's the future he wants to see: a future where we are all not just tolerating one another, but celebrating one another.

That is the intention behind Celebrations, and where we get the title from. It's wanting to celebrate the badasses of the Star Trek universe, whether that's Culber and Stamets, whether that's Mariner, whether that's Seven and Raffi... there's so many characters that we're going to get to see explored here by some incredible, incredible writers."

I'm definitely looking forward to this one, and rest assured we will be covering this special one-shot comic on an upcoming episode of the Positively Trek Book Club podcast and here on Trek Lit Reviews!

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

New Comic Day: Defiant #11

 Star Trek: Defiant #11

Issue number 11 of the Star Trek: Defiant comic series is officially hitting newsstands today! As always, check out the covers and variants below, as well as a synopsis and links to order the digital copy from Amazon/Comixology!

Written by Christopher Cantwell
Art by Mike Feehan
Cover by Mike Feehan

Digital (Kindle): | |

Official synopsis:

The Defiant crew faces their most dangerous bounty in the finale of Defiant arc two! Iotion gangster Benny the Munch is in town looking to expand his turf, and he's not stopping until he owns every living being in the galaxy. Meanwhile, when Captain Worf sends Nymira on an undercover mission to uncover the infamous mobster's grand plans, she finds herself volunteering her captain to fight Benny's prized Gorn goon in a Kreel death tournament known as the Kash-Baht Death Crucible. Whoops!

Variant covers:

Cover B by Ángel Unzueta

Cover C by Mark Alvarado

Retailer Incentive Cover A by Mike Feehan

Retailer Incentive Cover B by J.J. Lendl

Retailer Incentive Cover C by J.J. Lendl

Previous comic release: Star Trek: Picard's Academy #5
Next comic release: Star Trek #17

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Seven of Nine

Star Trek: Voyager #16
Seven of Nine by Christie Golden
Published September 1998
Read April 14th 2020

Previous book (Published order): Pathways
Previous book (Numbered): #15: Echoes
Next book (Numbered): #17: Death of a Neutron Star

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

Spoilers ahead for
Seven of Nine!

From the back cover:
Once she was Annika Hansen, an innocent child assimilated by the fearsome, all-conquering Borg. Now she is Seven of Nine, a unique mixture of human biology and Borg technology. Cut off from the collective that has been her only reality for most of her existence, and forced to join the crew of the Starship Voyager, she must come to grips with her surprising new environment -- and her own lost individuality. 
Seven of Nine has already captured the imagination of fans all over the world. Now the most sensational new character of the twenty-fourth century stars in her first full-length novel. Resistance is futile.

My thoughts:

Going into this novel, I had a few expectations. First, given the title, I think I expected the story to be an origin story, or a biography, of Seven of Nine. Even the publisher's description on the back cover would seem to be written to make you think that this will be the definitive Seven of Nine story. It definitely isn't that, but is rather a fairly straightforward Voyager adventure, albeit with Seven as the primary character. I suppose when the novel first came out, it made a lot of sense to title it Seven of Nine. At the time, Seven was a brand-new breakout character, and there was likely a lot of thought given about how to capitalize on that. This was the first introduction of Seven of Nine into the Trek literary world, and the title would likely have meant greater sales. However, 26 years after publication, the title makes a lot less sense.

Having said that, we do learn a lot about Seven of Nine in this book, and the story does a good job of developing her character. Due to the unique circumstances she is presented with, we get to see a bit of Annika Hansen, Seven of Nine's identity pre-assimilation. This gives us an interesting juxtaposition between the two versions of her character. Seven of Nine, especially at this early point in her development as an individual, is cold and distant, keeping the rest of the Voyager crew at arm's length. In contrast, young Annika Hansen is warm, friendly, and open to the people around her. This makes Annika Hansen the person that Seven of Nine believes the Voyager crew would want her to be.

We learn more about Seven of Nine pre-assimilation, when she was Annika Hansen.

The main plot of the novel involves a species called the Skedans who live under the rule of an emperor named Beytek. Recently, a number of Skedans became victims of the Borg, assimilated and killed by the relentless cybernetic horde. Rather than being protected by their emperor, the Skedans were left to fend for themselves, and a small group of survivors have come aboard Voyager with what seems to be a plot against the emperor. While the crew of Voyager suspects that the Skedans' plot is an attack meant to kill the emperor using an orb they have brought aboard as a bomb, the truth is more poignant: the orb contains the memories of the dead and assimilated Skedans. When it is smashed at the feet of the emperor, he and the gathered crowd hear their final moments, an event that is far more meaningful than a physical attack would have been.

Throughout the novel, Seven is experiencing the memories of people she has assimilated over the years thanks to telepathic interference by the Skedans. This leads to a sort of dissociative identity disorder whereby Seven actually manifests the personalities of her prior victims. While the cause is different, this is very much reminiscent of a fifth season Star Trek: Voyager episode: "Infinite Regress." The similarity of the plots might lead one to think that one influenced the other; however, this novel was published in September of 1998, while "Infinite Regress" aired just two months later in November. It's likely that this is simply a case of two writers coming up with similar ideas around the same time.

Seven experiences a similar condition in this novel as she would in the season 5 Voyager episode "Infinite Regress."

For the most part, I enjoyed Seven of Nine. The author, Christie Golden, has a very good handle on the voices of the Voyager crew, and wrote the character of Seven of Nine deftly, especially considering she was such a new character at this point. This novel works as a great companion piece to another Voyager episode in which we learn a lot about Seven: season four's "The Raven." Thematically, there is much that is shared between these two stories, and if you're a Seven of Nine fan, this is one you don't want to skip. Again, however, don't expect a biography. This is something different.

Final thoughts:

In writing this review, I found myself having to travel back in time in my mind to the first introduction of Seven of Nine. At the time this novel was written, she was a very new character, and no one knew in which directions she might develop. Reading Seven of Nine, however, one can marvel at how much of a handle Christie Golden had on her character in those early days. Now, 26 years later, the character has grown so far past her origins in season four of Star Trek: Voyager (even more so in the Star Trek: Picard series and attendant novels), and one can see the seeds of that growth in this novel. While it is not the origin story for Seven that the title might imply, it is still a great foundational work for an exceptional and crucial character.

More about Seven of Nine:

Also by Christie Golden:

My next read:

The next catch-up review is for the Kelvin Timeline novel The Unsettling Stars by Alan Dean Foster.