Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Literary Treks 196: Kindergarten Teachers of the Galaxy

Department of Temporal Investigations
Shield of the Gods by Christopher L. Bennett

The Department of Temporal Investigations is responsible for maintaining the timeline, preventing galaxy-ending paradoxes, and stopping temporal criminals. Their track record for meeting these goals has been put in jeopardy by a criminal named Daiyar who intends to use an item stolen from the DTI's vault to change history, and it's up to the agents to put an end to her scheme.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther discuss the latest DTI e-novella, Shield of the Gods. We talk about Daiyar's scheme, character vs. plot, the Aegis Prime Directive, the Deltan concept of love, Ranjea's ultimate fate, the meaning of the title, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.

In the news, we mention the imminent releases of Eaglemoss's Star Trek Graphic Novel Collection volume 2 and Dayton Ward's Hidden Universe Travel Guide to The Klingon Empire.

Literary Treks 196: Kindergarten Teachers of the Galaxy
Department of Temporal Investigations: Shield of the Gods by Christopher L. Bennett

Previous episode: Literary Treks 195: Big Q, Big Q, and little q
Next episode: Literary Treks 197: You've Been Macked

Monday, July 24, 2017

Literary Treks 195: Big Q, Big Q, and little q

The Next Generation #47
The Q Continuum, Book 1 of 3

Q-Space by Greg Cox

When Q appears on the bridge of the Enterprise-E to stop a scientific experiment, Picard is understandably annoyed. Defying Q, the Enterprise presses on in its attempt to breach the galactic barrier that surrounds the Milky Way. However, they may be in over their heads as cosmic forces collide that may spell doom for the crew of the Enterprise and the rest of the galaxy!

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson are joined by Earl Grey's Amy Nelson to discuss the first book in the Q Continuum trilogy, Q-Space by Greg Cox. We talk about the Enterprise's mission to the galactic barrier, Q's vulnerability, the cliffhanger ending of the novel, some fun bits in the story, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.

In the news segment, we discuss the recently announced release date for David Mack's Star Trek: Discovery: Desperate Hours, and we review the latest comic, issue #2 of Mirror Broken.

Literary Treks 195: Big Q, Big Q, and little q
The Next Generation #47: Q-Space by Greg Cox

Previous episode: Literary Treks 194: Mr. Worf, don't put that in your mouth!
Next episode: Literary Treks 196: Kindergarten Teachers of the Galaxy

Friday, June 30, 2017


Star Trek: Section 31
Control by David Mack
Release date: March 28th 2017
Read March 15th 2017

Previous book (Section 31): Disavowed

Previous book (Deep Space Nine): The Long Mirage
Next book (Deep Space Nine): Original Sin

Mass-Market Paperback: | |
E-book (Kindle): | |

Spoilers ahead for Control!

Publisher's description:
No law…no conscience…no mercy. Amoral, shrouded in secrecy, and answering to no one, Section 31 is the mysterious covert operations division of Starfleet, a rogue shadow group pledged to defend the Federation at any cost. The discovery of a two-hundred-year-old secret gives Doctor Julian Bashir his best chance yet to expose and destroy the illegal spy organization. But his foes won’t go down without a fight, and his mission to protect the Federation he loves just end up triggering its destruction. Only one thing is for certain: this time, the price of victory will be paid with Bashir’s dearest blood.

My thoughts:

Click here to watch my video review of Section 31: Control, or click play on the embedded video below!

Final thoughts:

Control is a novel that redefines much of what we think of the Star Trek universe. While this may irk some fans, I loved this novel. The emotional and physical sacrifices that the characters have to make to achieve their goals and the nature of the enemy they are fighting were very compelling to me. A perfect Trek novel, and the best of the year's crop so far.

More about The Long Mirage:

Also by David Mack:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

My next video review will be for The Next Generation: Hearts and Minds by Dayton Ward, while my next written review will be for Enterprise: The Romulan War: Beneath the Raptor's Wing by Michael A. Martin. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Release Day! DS9: Enigma Tales by Una McCormack!

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Enigma Tales by Una McCormack

Once again, the new Star Trek novel has been showing up early on bookshelves all over the place, so there's a chance you have already picked up your copy of Deep Space Nine: Enigma Tales by Una McCormack! Her work is always outstanding, especially when she is writing about everyone's favorite plain and simple tailor-turned-Castellan, Garak!

Check out the back cover blurb below, and use the links to purchase Enigma Tales from Amazon! Using those links helps out Trek Lit Reviews, and it is much appreciated.

Publisher's description:
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Fall: The Crimson Shadow comes a compelling and suspenseful tale of politics and power set in the universe of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Elim Garak has ascended to Castellan of the Cardassian Union...but despite his soaring popularity, the imminent publication of a report exposing his people's war crimes during the occupation on Bajor looks likely to set the military against him. Into this tense situation come Dr. Katherine Pulaski—visiting Cardassia Prime to accept an award on behalf of the team that solved the Andorian genetic crisis—and Dr. Peter Alden, formerly of Starfleet Intelligence. The two soon find themselves at odds with Garak and embroiled in the politics of the prestigious University of the Union, where a new head is about to be appointed. Among the front-runners is one of Cardassia’s most respected public figures: Professor Natima Lang. But the discovery of a hidden archive from the last years before the Dominion War could destroy Lang’s reputation. As Pulaski and Alden become drawn into a deadly game to exonerate Lang, their confrontation escalates with Castellan Garak—a conflicted leader treading a fine line between the bright hopes for Cardassia’s future and the dark secrets still buried in its past...

Purchase Deep Space Nine: Enigma Tales:

Next Release: Enterprise: Rise of the Federation: Patterns of Interference

Monday, June 26, 2017

Literary Treks 194: Mr. Worf, don't put that in your mouth!

The Next Generation #1: Ghost Ship by Diane Carey

On Literary Treks, we have reviewed the first original novel of each of the Star Trek series. Now it's time for our attention to turn to The Next Generation, and a very unique novel that shows us a take on TNG that was written with very little of the actual show to work with. Is the story representative of what we would come to know from the crew of the Enterprise-D, or is it a pale reflection that is nearly unrecognizable?

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther talk about TNG #1: Ghost Ship by Diane Carey. We discuss our first experiences with the book, the plot of the novel, how closely the characters match their on-screen counterparts, our thoughts on the main conflict, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.

In the news segment, we judge the cover of the upcoming DS9: Original Sin, discuss the upcoming books Star Trek Beyond – The Makeup Artistry of Joel Harlow, The Art of Star Trek: The Kelvin Timeline, and the second volumes of Dark Horse's Star Trek Adult Coloring Books. We also review two comics: New Visions #16 and Boldly Go #9.

Literary Treks 194: Mr. Worf, don't put that in your mouth!
The Next Generation #1: Ghost Ship by Diane Carey

Previous episode: Literary Treks 193: Dayton's Treks
Next episode: Literary Treks 195: Big Q, Big Q, and little q

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Kobayashi Maru

Star Trek: Enterprise
Kobayashi Maru by Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels
Published August 2008
Read June 21st 2016

Previous book (Enterprise): The Good That Men Do

Next book (Enterprise): The Romulan War: Beneath the Raptor's Wing

Spoilers ahead for Kobayashi Maru!

From the back cover:
To protect the cargo ships essential to the continuing existence of the fledgling Coalition of Planets, the captains of the United Earth's Starfleet are ordered to interstellar picket duty, with little more to do than ask "Who goes there?" into the darkness of space. 
Captain Jonathan Archer of the Enterprise seethes with frustration, wondering if anyone else can see what he sees. A secret, closed, militaristic society, convinced that their survival hangs by a thread, who view their neighbors as a threat to their very existence -- the Spartans of ancient Greece, the Russians of the old Soviet Union, the Koreans under Kim Il-sung -- with only one goal: attain ultimate power, no matter the cost. The little-known, never-seen Romulans seem to live by these same principles.

The captain realizes that the bond between the signers of the Coalition charter is fragile and likely to snap if pushed. But he knows that the Romulans are hostile, and he believes they are the force behind the cargo ship attacks. If asked, Archer can offer no proof without endangering his friend's life.

To whom does he owe his loyalty: his friend, his world, the Coalition? And by choosing one, does he not risk losing all of them? What is the solution to a no-win scenario?

My thoughts:

Continuing the story after the previous Enterprise novel, The Good That Men Do, Kobayashi Maru documents the march towards the Romulan War in which United Earth is plunged into a conflict with the Romulan Star Empire that will leave many dead and a quadrant changed forever. In the run up to that war, Romulan forces are disrupting shipping and commerce in the region, and Starfleet's premiere ships, Enterprise and Columbia, are assigned to convoy protection duty. Archer is convinced that the Romulans are planning war, and is continually frustrated in his attempts to convince Starfleet to change its stance to prepare to be on a war footing. Adding to his fears are the experiences of his former engineer, Trip Tucker, who is operating behind enemy lines in the service of Section 31.

Kobayashi Maru continues the story of Trip's work behind enemy lines as an agent of Section 31.

While at times Kobayashi Maru feels a bit meandering, the story's "big picture" take on the socio-political arena of the time is very welcome. I like the large scope of the story, even if it occasionally gets a bit bogged down in the minutia. I enjoy a good political thriller, and the politics of the early pre-Federation days are certainly fascinating.

The most unfortunate aspect of this novel involves its namesake. Star Trek fans know the Kobayashi Maru as the infamous test that Starfleet cadets must face, a test that has only been beaten by one cadet: James T. Kirk. The simulation involves the rescue of the Kobayashi Maru, a neutronic fuel carrier under attack by Klingon forces. The cadet must choose whether or not to risk his or her ship in a rescue attempt, in what has come to be known as the "no-win scenario." In this novel, we get a glimpse of the events of the "real" Kobayashi Maru incident, in which the freighter is under attack by Romulan vessels. Captain Archer must decide whether or not to attempt a rescue. However, an added factor is in play: if the Enterprise goes to rescue the freighter, she will certainly be captured by the Romulans using a "tele-capture" system and will be used to attack Coalition ships and planets. Therefore, in this scenario, there really is only one viable option: abandon the rescue attempt because the stakes are just too high. It is not only the ship and crew that are at risk, but the certainty that attempting a rescue will result in handing the Romulans a formidable weapon. In this way, I feel like the real-life incident was a poor template for the Kobayashi Maru test, as the real conditions eliminate any other possible choice.

In this novel, we learn about the incident that inspired the Kobayashi Maru scenario that cadets must face at Starfleet Academy. Unfortunately, the "reality" bears little resemblance to the test.

That small quibble aside, Kobayashi Maru is certainly an interesting story that moves us towards the Romulan War in a satisfactory way. While I wish there was another role for Trip other than Section 31 spy, I am at least happy that we weren't left with his fate in the episode "These Are the Voyages...".

Final thoughts:

A well-executed story about the lead-up to the Romulan War, Kobayashi Maru showcases the political climate of the newly-formed Coalition of Planets as they find themselves threatened by the Romulan Empire. A bit meandering at times, the story finds itself bogged down as it slowly moves the plot forward, but for the most part, it is an engaging novel that fills in some previously unknown blanks. The characters are my favorite part, and most of them get some interesting development. I feel like the story of the Romulan War goes a bit downhill in subsequent novels, but Kobayashi Maru is a pretty good setup.

More about Kobayashi Maru:

Podcast: Literary Treks 147: The Phantom Menace

Also by Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels:

My next read:

I've really gotten myself behind again! My next written review will be for Enterprise: The Romulan War: Beneath the Raptor's Wing. Next up on the new release front will be my video review for Section 31: Control by David Mack.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Release Day! DTI: Shield of the Gods

Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations
Shield of the Gods by Christopher L. Bennett
(E-book Exclusive)

For those of you who are willing to read their Star Trek books digitally, Simon & Schuster occasionally throws an exclusive your way, and the most recent one is available for download! Get your copy of the latest adventure for the Department of Temporal Investigations, Shield of the Gods by Christopher L. Bennett. And if you use the links below, you'll be helping out Trek Lit Reviews!

Publisher's description:
An all new Star Trek e-novella featuring the fan-favorite Federation bureau the Department of Temporal Investigations!

The stalwart agents of the Department of Temporal Investigations have tracked down many dangerous artifacts, but now they face a greater, more personal challenge: retrieving a time-travel device stolen from their own vault by a rogue agent of the Aegis, a powerful, secretive group that uses its mastery of time to prevent young civilizations from destroying themselves. Blaming the Aegis itself for a tragedy yet to come, this renegade plans to use the stolen artifact to sabotage its efforts in the past, no matter what the cost to the timeline. Now the DTI’s agents must convince the enigmatic Aegis to work alongside them in order to protect history—but they must also wrestle with the potential consequences of their actions, for preserving the past could doom countless lives in the future!

Purchase Department of Temporal Investigations: Shield of the Gods: