Thursday, December 14, 2017

Literary Treks 212: Slips, Strips, Bars, and Bricks

Deep Space Nine: I, The ConstableAn e-book exclusive novella by Paula M. Block & Terry J. Erdmann


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

Quark is the kind of Ferengi that can smell profit on the wind, and when his tavern-magnate uncle passes away, he detects just such an opportunity! However, in the pursuit of his newfound potential profit, Quark gets caught up in a web of crime and intrigue, and it's up to Odo to don his constable's uniform and save the day. Along the way, he will deal with double-crosses, nasty armed thugs, and gallons of glebbening rain on the mean streets of Ferenginar.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson welcome authors Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann to the show to discuss their recent Deep Space Nine e-novella, I, The Constable. We talk about the inspiration for the story, the research they did to capture the noir feel, changes in the society of Ferenginar, the voices of the characters both old and new, Quark's seemingly newfound generosity, some fun references, and wrap up with where you can find Paula and Terry online.

In the news segment, we judge the cover of the upcoming Discovery novel Drastic Measures by Dayton Ward and review two new comics: Boldly Go #14 and the first issue of a new series: Discovery: The Light of Kahless.


Literary Treks 212: Slips, Strips, Bars, and Bricks
Exclusive interview with Paula M. Block & Terry J. Erdmann, authors of DS9: I, The Constable


 


Previous episode: Literary Treks 211: Team Garak!
Next episode: Literary Treks 213: Titan: Fortune of War

Hearts and Minds

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Hearts and Minds by Dayton Ward
Release date: May 30th 2017
Read June 7th 2017


Previous book (The Next Generation): Headlong Flight
Next book (The Next Generation): 


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

Spoilers ahead for Hearts and Minds!

Publisher's description:
2031: United States Air Force fighter jets shoot down an unidentified spacecraft and take its crew into custody. Soon, it’s learned that the ship is one of several dispatched across space by an alien species, the Eizand, to search for a new home before their own world becomes uninhabitable. Fearing extraterrestrial invasion, government and military agencies which for more than eighty years have operated in secret swing into action, charged with protecting humanity no matter the cost...

2386: Continuing their exploration of the Odyssean Pass, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the Starship Enterprise discover what they at first believe is a previously uncharted world, with a civilization still recovering from the effects of global nuclear war. An astonishing priority message from Starfleet Command warns that there’s more to this planet than meets the eye, and Picard soon realizes that the mysteries of this world may well weave through centuries of undisclosed human history...

My thoughts:

Click here to watch my video review of TNG: Hearts and Minds, or click play on the embedded video below!





Final thoughts:

A fun follow-up to previous TOS novels From History's Shadow and Elusive Salvation, while at the same time continuing the voyages of the Enterprise-E in the Odyssean Pass from Armageddon's Arrow and Headlong Flight. Hearts and Minds also deals with some weighty issues, and I'm fascinated to see where Picard's story goes from here. 4/5 stars.


More about Hearts and Minds:


Also by Dayton Ward:

Next time on Trek Lit Reviews:

Next video review is for the Department of Temporal Investigations e-novella, Shield of the Gods, while on the written side is my review of Diane Carey's Best Destiny.


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Literary Treks 211: Team Garak!

Deep Space Nine #27
A Stitch in Time 
by Andrew J. Robinson


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

One of the things that Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is lauded for is the huge variety of compelling secondary characters that the show introduced. Many Niners would agree that the best of these was the enigmatic Cardassian tailor, Garak, brought to life by the supremely talented actor, Andrew J. Robinson. Encouraged to publish the life story of Garak in his own words, Robinson entered the world of Star Trek novels in 2000, adding a wonderful and highly-regarded story to the Trek literature universe.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson are joined by Earl Grey's Justin Oser to discuss a favorite novel of many Trek fans, A Stitch in Time. We talk about Garak's history, growing up on Cardassia Prime, the reason for his exile on Deep Space Nine, post-war Cardassia, The Oralian Way, the reliability of Garak's account of his life, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.

In the news segment, we feature an exclusive interview with Zachary Auburn, author of the truly unique book, A Field Guide to the Aliens of Star Trek: The Next Generation.


Literary Treks 211: Team Garak!
Deep Space Nine: A Stitch in Time by Andrew J. Robinson


 


Previous episode: Literary Treks 210: Orange is the New Black
Next episode: Literary Treks 212: Slips, Strips, Bars, and Bricks

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Release Day, Part 2! Prometheus: Fire with Fire (English Edition)

Star Trek: Prometheus
Fire with Fire by Bernd Perplies & Christian Humberg

And here is the second new release for today: the English translated version of Prometheus: Fire with Fire by Bernd Perplies & Christian Humberg. Originally published in Germany under the title Feuer gegen Feuer, this novel is the first Trek novel to be originally published in a language other than English! Pick up your copy today using the links below to purchase from Amazon!




Publisher's description:
A mysterious terrorist organization has carried out several attacks against the Federation and Klingon Empire. Tensions are running high in a region already crippled by conflict. The perpetrators are tracked to the Lembatta Cluster, a mysterious region of space whose inhabitants, the Renao, regard the the Alpha Quadrant’s powers as little more than conquering tyrants. The Federation are desperate to prevent more bloodshed, and have sent their flagship, the U.S.S. Prometheus, into the Cluster to investigate the threat before all-consuming war breaks out.

Purchase Prometheus: Fire with Fire:

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


Previous Release: Titan: Fortune of War
Next Release: Discovery: Drastic Measures

Release Day! Titan: Fortune of War by David Mack

Star Trek: Titan
Fortune of War by David Mack

Today is the official release date for not one, but *two* Star Trek novels! First up is Titan: Fortune of War by David Mack. In this latest voyage of the U.S.S. Titan, the crew deals with fallout from a previous adventure of the Enterprise-D in TNG's third season. While today is the official release date, this title has already been showing up at bookstores everywhere over the past couple of weeks. Check out below for the cover art as well as links to purchase from Amazon!




Publisher's description:
An original spin-off novel set in the popular Star Trek: The Next Generation universe from New York Times bestselling author David Mack.

Death slumbers in the ashes of silent planets, waiting to be awakened and unleashed…

Twenty years have passed since the interstellar scourge known as the Husnock were exterminated without warning by a being with godlike abilities. Left behind, intact but abandoned, their desolate worlds and derelict ships brim with destructive potential.

Now a discovery by a Federation cultural research team has drawn the attention of several ruthless factions. From black market smugglers to alien military forces, it seems every belligerent power in the quadrant hopes to capture the Husnock's lethal technology.

All that stands between the galaxy and those who have come to plunder the cruelest secrets of the Husnock are Admiral William Riker, Captain Christine Vale, and the crew of the Starship Titan.

Purchase Titan: Fortune of War:

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


Monday, November 27, 2017

Literary Treks 210: Orange is the New Black

Voyager #15: Echoes
by Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, & Nina Kiriki Hoffman


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

For every action we take, there are multiple possibilities. And for each of those possibilities, a new universe is born, with each decision branching off into infinite parallel worlds, each of them subtly different from all of the rest. Captain Janeway and the crew of Voyager come across one world where the barriers between these universes are coming down: every two and a half hours, a door is opened between all realities, and every person is shifted to the next reality. And in one of these realities, a horrific holocaust repeats itself as every shift spells the deaths of billions.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther are joined by The Edge's Brandon-Shea Mutala to discuss Echoes by Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Nina Kiriki Hoffman. We talk about the plot of the novel, the unique perspective of the story's events, the dreaded Voyager reset button, Tuvok's role in the story, the crews' doppelgangers, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.

In our news segment, we discuss Bruce's new comic acquisition and talk about the newly-released Star Trek: The Book of Lists.


Literary Treks 210: Orange is the New Black
Voyager #15: Echoes by Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, & Nina Kiriki Hoffman


 


Previous episode: Literary Treks 209: I'm in Love with Beverly, Too
Next episode: Literary Treks 211: Team Garak!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Literary Treks 209: I'm in Love with Beverly, Too

The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard
The Story of One of Starfleet's Most Inspirational Captains
Exclusive interview with "editor" David A. Goodman


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

Jean-Luc Picard: Son, brother, explorer, captain, diplomat, hero. The public perception of this great figure from future history is certainly well known: both his numerous triumphs and his public tragedies. But what made him the great man that shaped so much of what the Federation is today? From his formative years on the family vineyard in Labarre, France, to his halcyon days as captain of the Federation flagship, hear the story of one of the most inspirational figures in galactic history is his own words!

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson are joined by David A. Goodman, the "editor" of The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard: The Story of One of Starfleet's Most Inspirational Captains. We talk about Picard's early years, his time aboard the U.S.S. Stargazer, his relationship with numerous figures throughout his life including Beverly and Jack Crusher, the context that this book adds to The Next Generation, a surprising Star Trek: Discovery connection, and wrap up by discussing David Goodman's other role as executive producer of The Orville, including some insights into a future episode of that show.

In the news segment, we talk about the new Waypoint trade paperback, detail IDW's upcoming January releases, and review issue 13 of Boldly Go, the first in a new 6-part storyline, I.D.I.C.!


Literary Treks 209: I'm in Love with Beverly, Too
Exclusive interview with David A. Goodman, author of The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard


 


Previous episode: Literary Treks 208: Something Something Dilithium Crystals
Next episode: Literary Treks 210: Orange is the New Black

Monday, November 13, 2017

Release Day! DS9: I, The Constable!

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
I, The Constable by Paula M. Block & Terry J. Erdmann

Today sees the release of the latest e-book exclusive novella by Paula M. Block & Terry J. Erdmann: I, The Constable! Look below for the publisher's description and links to purchase from Amazon!




Publisher's description:
An original enovella set in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine universe!

With his Starfleet assignment temporarily on hold, Odo needs a distraction. He welcomes Chief O’Brien’s offer to loan him some of the action-packed books that both men relish: tales about hard-boiled private eyes, threatening thugs, and duplicitous dames. Then Quark suddenly goes missing during a hastily planned trip to Ferenginar. His concerned friends on Deep Space Nine feel that Odo, as the station’s former chief of security, is uniquely suited to track Quark down. But once on Ferenginar, Odo learns that Quark is trapped in the seamy underbelly of a criminal enterprise that could have been ripped from the pages of one of O’Brien’s novels. To find the bartender, Odo discovers that he must rely not only on his law enforcement background, but his knowledge of all things noir….

Purchase Deep Space Nine: I, The Constable:

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


Previous Release: Discovery: Desperate Hours
Next Release: Titan: Fortune of War

Friday, November 10, 2017

Literary Treks 208: Something Something Dilithium Crystals

Treknology
The Science of Star Trek from Tricorders to Warp Drive

Exclusive interview with author Dr. Ethan Siegel


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

Ever since Star Trek first hit television screens in 1966, audiences have been fascinated by the amazing technologies that are a part of every day life in the 23rd century. Over the past 51 years, Trek fans have imagined what it would be like to transport instantaneously from one place to another, have any kind of food or material replicated with a simple voice command, or travel to the stars aboard a warp-capable starship.

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther are joined by author and scientist Dr. Ethan Siegel to discuss his new book, Treknology: The Science of Star Trek from Tricorders to Warp Drive. We talk about a number of technologies covered in the book, the process of writing it, the influence Star Trek has had on our collective imaginations and the technology of modern society, where our technologies may go in the future, and wrap up with where you can find Dr. Siegel online.

In our news segment, we reveal the back-cover blurb for Dayton Ward's upcoming Discovery: Drastic Measures, and review two comics: Boldly Go #12 and New Visions #18.


Literary Treks 208: Something Something Dilithium Crystals
Exclusive interview with Dr. Ethan Siegel, author of
Treknology: The Science of Star Trek from Tricorders to Warp Drive


 


Previous episode: Literary Treks 207: Video Game Save Point
Next episode: Literary Treks 209: I'm in Love with Beverly, Too

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Full Circle

Star Trek: Voyager
Full Circle by Kirsten Beyer
Published March 2009
Read July 30th 2016


Previous book (Voyager): Spirit Walk, Book 2: Enemy of My Enemy

Next book (Voyager): Unworthy


Spoilers ahead for Full Circle!

From the back cover:
When the U.S.S. Voyager is dispatched on an urgent mission to the planet Kerovi, Captain Chakotay and his first officer, Commander Thomas Paris, must choose between following their orders and saving the lives of two of those dearest to them. B'Elanna Torres and her daughter, Miral, are both missing in the wake of a brutal attack on the Klingon world of Boreth. With the aid of their former captain, Admiral Kathryn Janeway -- as well as many old friends and new allies -- Voyager's crew must unravel an ancient mystery, placing themselves between two warrior sects battling for the soul of the Klingon people...while the life of Miral hangs in the balance. 

But these events and their repercussions are merely the prelude to even darker days to come. As Voyager is drawn into a desperate struggle to prevent the annihilation of the Federation, lives are shattered, and the bonds that were forged in the Delta Quadrant are challenged in ways that none could have imagined. For though destiny has dealt them crushing blows, Voyager's crew must rise to face their future...and begin a perilous journey in which the wheel of fate comes full circle.

My thoughts:

Recently, the eighth episode of Star Trek: Discovery aired. Titled "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum" (If You Want Peace, Prepare for War), the episode was written by one of my favorite Trek novelists of all time: the supremely talented Kirsten Beyer. I'm on the record time and again for saying that Voyager is my least favorite Trek series, with shoddy character development and inconsistent plotting. All of that changed, however, when Kirsten Beyer took the reins of the "Voyager relaunch" and made the characters of this show into compelling people for whom I actually mustered some feelings for other than ambivalence! Who would have thought that I would actually end up caring about Harry Kim and Chakotay? For this review, I thought I would take a look at the novel that started the current state of affairs in the Voyager relaunch, Full Circle.

As I have talked about ad nauseam, the primary arena in which the television series Star Trek: Voyager disappointed me was in characterization. The series had so much potential with a cast of interesting characters, but rather than develop them over the course of seven years, it felt as though many of them were standing still. You could replace season six Chakotay with season one Chakotay, and I would wager that most viewers would never know the difference. All that changes in the literary universe, with Kirsten Beyer doing things with these characters I never thought possible.

While Admiral Janeway was killed in a prior novel, her presence looms large in Full Circle and subsequent Voyager novels.

Full Circle is split into two parts: in the first part, much of the story from the previous Spirit Walk duology is wrapped up, with B'Elanna and her daughter Miral on the run from a dangerous Klingon sect, along with the fallout from the Next Generation novel Before Dishonor by Peter David, in which Admiral Janeway lost her life while investigating a Borg cube. Various crewmembers from Voyager deal with her death, with Chakotay taking it the hardest. The second part of the novel takes place after David Mack's Star Trek: Destiny trilogy, in which the Federation faces a massive Borg invasion in which billions are killed.

The novel Before Dishonor and the Destiny series both play a big role in setting up the story in Full Circle.

This novel exemplifies all of the reasons I was so thrilled when Kirsten Beyer was announced as a staff writer on Star Trek: Discovery. Her ability to handle complex plots while at the same time masterfully writing compelling characters and real emotion is unparalleled. Not only are the old school Voyager characters served very well, but the new characters introduced into this universe are wonderful as well. I really enjoy the character of Afsarah Eden, the head of project Full Circle, and later the new captain of Voyager. Her story is set up in an interesting way, leaving lots of room for exploration of her background and destiny in the book series.

Another character that impressed me greatly is counsellor Hugh Cambridge. His acerbic attitude is a lot of fun, but he also has a very interesting arc with Chakotay. The journey these two take together is truly interesting, and I like how their relationship evolves.

Full Circle is one of those novels that you can return to again and again and still enjoy. Wonderful character work, some truly intriguing plot developments, and the setup for a great series of novels to come make this one a long time favorite of mine. Kirsten Beyer is at her best in the pages of Full Circle, and you owe it to yourself to check it out!

Final thoughts:

The entire Voyager series under Kirsten Beyer has been impressive, but this novel sets the stage for the greatness that follows. Full Circle was, at the time I first read it, one of the best Trek novels I had ever read, and now, years later, it retains much of that status. While it isn't my absolute favorite of the relaunch series (that honor is reserved for the truly singular Children of the Storm), it is still at the top of a very select list of truly great Trek novels. A huge hearty recommend from me: if you haven't read the Voyager relaunch novels by Kirsten Beyer, pick up Full Circle today and give it a go. Even if you're not the biggest Voyager fan, you will be impressed. This is some great stuff.

More about Full Circle:


Also by Kirsten Beyer:

My next read:

Next up for written reviews is a classic: Best Destiny by Diane Carey. Meanwhile, on the video review front, I am still working on TNG: Hearts and Minds by Dayton Ward from this past year. Coming soon!


Friday, November 3, 2017

Literary Treks 207: Video Game Save Point

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Gamma: Original Sin

Exclusive interview with author David R. George III


Purchase:
MMPB: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
Kindle: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Benjamin Sisko has inhabited many roles in his life: husband, Emissary, and Starfleet Captain. But when a terrifying alien force attacks the USS Robinson and abducts 87 children, including Sisko's daughter Rebecca, his role as her father threatens to overwhelm all of the others, especially since this incident mirrors the kidnapping of Rebecca as a toddler six years earlier. Can he remain objective through this crisis and see it to a peaceful end, or will the possibility of the loss of his daughter spell doom for the mission?

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson are joined by author David R. George III to talk about his latest book, Deep Space Nine: Gamma: Original Sin. We discuss the two stories told in tandem, the character of Jasmine Tey, crime drama as Star Trek story, the nature of Rebecca Sisko, a completely alien encounter, the possibility of a Gamma series going forward, and where to follow David R. George III online.

In the news segment, we invite Amy Nelson of Earl Grey and The Edge back on the show to discuss issue number four of the Mirror Broken comic series from IDW.


Literary Treks 207: Video Game Save Point
Exclusive interview with David R. George III, author of Deep Space Nine: Gamma: Original Sin


 


Previous episode: Literary Treks 206: Almost Too Much Latitude
Next episode: Literary Treks 208: Something Something Dilithium Crystals

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Literary Treks 206: Almost Too Much Latitude

Star Trek: Discovery
Desperate Hours

Exclusive interview with author David Mack

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

A new Star Trek series is a huge deal to Trek fandom. It's a pretty rare occurrence, and what's even rarer is a first novel that looks and feels anything like the actual show! But thanks to Discovery writer and tie-in guru Kirsten Beyer, the novels and the show are linked together like never before, and we as fans get to read about the adventures of Discovery at almost the same instant the show hits screens!

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther welcome author David Mack to talk about his new Discovery novel, Desperate Hours. We discuss the process of collaboration with Discovery's writers, Captain Pike's devotion to duty, Enterprise vs. Shenzhou, the Shenzhou's bridge crew, comparisons to the Vanguard series, Spock and Burnham, the look and feel of the universe, the book's non-canon status, and finish up with what David Mack has on the horizon.

In the news segment, we judge the covers of the upcoming Titan: Fortune of War, and Deep Space Nine: I, the Constable.


Literary Treks 206: Almost Too Much Latitude
Exclusive interview with David Mack about Discovery: Desperate Hours


 


Previous episode: Literary Treks 205: A Vulcan Mic Drop
Next episode: Literary Treks 207: Video Game Save Point

Monday, October 30, 2017

Literary Treks 205: A Vulcan Mic Drop

Star Trek: Sarek
by A.C. Crispin

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

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

Vulcan Ambassador. Husband to Amanda. Father of Spock and Sybok. Guardian of Michael Burnham. Sarek has been many things during his long life, and few secondary characters have had the impact on the Star Trek universe that he has. But what are the innermost thoughts of this quiet, reserved character? And how will he respond to a crisis that may tear apart one of the founding worlds of the Federation and threaten the cohesion of that great institution?

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Dan Gunther and Bruce Gibson are joined by Justin Oser of Earl Grey to talk about Sarek by A.C. Crispin. We discuss the setting, the bond between Sarek and Amanda, Klingon ambassador Kamarag, a timely topic of xenophobia, Kirk's nephew Peter, how Discovery's depiction of Sarek might compare, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.

In the news section, we talk about IDW's upcoming comics in December and review issue #11 of Boldly Go.


Literary Treks 205: A Vulcan Mic Drop
Sarek by A.C. Crispin


 


Previous episode: Literary Treks 204: Bath Time Fun With Mudd
Next episode: Literary Treks 206: Almost Too Much Latitude

Literary Treks 204: Bath Time Fun With Mudd

Star Trek #81: Mudd In Your Eye
by Jerry Oltion

Purchase:
MMPB: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
Kindle: Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Harcourt Fenton Mudd: liar, thief, brigand, and frequent thorn in the side of Starfleet captain James T. Kirk. Most who encounter this man would say he has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. However, could it be possible that Mudd is now the architect of an unprecedented peace treaty between warring factions who have been fighting for millennia?

In this episode of Literary Treks, hosts Bruce Gibson and Dan Gunther are joined by The Edge and Melodic Treks' Brandon Shea-Mutala to discuss Mudd In Your Eye. We talk about silly reasons for war, transwarp beaming, the nature of death for the Nevisians, another society run by computer, Stella Mudd, how we think Mudd might compare in this novel to his depiction in the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery, and wrap up with our final thoughts and ratings.

In the news segment, we discuss the release of David Mack's Desperate Hours and John Byrne's upcoming appearance at NYCC 2017.


Literary Treks 204: Bath Time Fun With Mudd
Star Trek #81: Mudd In Your Eye by Jerry Oltion


 


Previous episode: Literary Treks 203: The Ends Justify the Means
Next episode: Literary Treks 205: A Vulcan Mic Drop