Tuesday, April 22, 2008

You already know, but...

It bears repeating. There was some interesting news at the New York Comic-Con. Keith R.A. DeCandido spells it out over at the TrekBBS.

The big new developments? KRAD's doing the first book to follow on from David Mack's Destiny trilogy, to be called A Singular Destiny; Christopher Bennett will be doing the next Titan novel, also following on from Destiny; the fourth Vanguard novel, this one by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore, is on the schedule; and the Voyager relaunch will continue, with Kristin Beyer taking over for the next book, Full Circle.

KRAD didn't provide details on everything, but I'm excited that we're getting more Titan and Vanguard in 2009. He did provide some very interesting details on a couple of things, though.
A Singular Destiny is a little bit of a different beast. The people who've been clamoring for a Clancy-style political thriller will like this one, as it's about the political fallout from Destiny's events (which will be considerable). It won't feature any of the main crews, although a ship that plays a big role in Destiny will also play a big role here, as well as familiar faces from other parts of the Trek universe. The protagonist will be a civilian character of my own creation.

Oh, and those of you who want to see more of the Bacco Administration from Articles of the Federation, both the Destiny trilogy and A Singular Destiny will feature those characters in good-sized roles.
This sounds like it's going to be something like the last few A Time to... books and Articles of the Federation, on a much bigger scale. This whole Destiny and beyond thing is building up some big expectations.
Full Circle will actually pick up initially where Spirit Walk Book 2 left off, and take Voyager aaaaaaall the way through to Destiny and beyond -- which means the book will cover a few years, all told, and it will set the tone for future post-finale VOY fiction.
The Christie Golden relaunch won't be retconned out of existence, alas, but at least we're getting a new writer involved. ISTR liking Beyer's String Theory novel well enough, so this looks like good news overall.

Death Waving Goodbye

There's been some commentary on various blogs and sites about Star Trek's own Lori Jareo situation. Well, Amazon has pulled the plug on sales of Austin Torney's The Death Wave, but not before I got my copy. (Not that I've read it yet.)

Anyway, interested parties can still get a sense of what they're missing, for at least a little while, by clicking here.

Looks like a number of the fanfic publications coming from lulu.com over the last couple of years have also disappeared fairly recently, including the collection of various Austin Torney works in which The Death Wave was first published.

Meanwhile, Michael Burkhardt's Trek fanfic Star Cruisers is still available at Amazon, no doubt because it doesn't have Star Trek in the title and thus hasn't drawn any attention to itself.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Day of the Vipers

Well. Epic. Impending doom. Intrigue. Narrow escapes and tragedies that aren't averted. Betrayal. Unexpected romance. Action. Day of the Vipers is quite an experience.

The story feels almost more like Star Wars (the prequel trilogy) than Star Trek. I don't mean it sucks -- it's very good, actually -- but there are parallels between the fall of the Republic and the fall of Bajor. The Cardassians don't just show up and take over, they set in motion a number of plans, using the Bajorans (and some Cardassians) against themselves, letting the conquest happen like dominoes falling in slow motion. It's a long, epic story covering the lives of a large cast of characters over the course of a decade.

The book has a number of main characters, several of whom appeared on DS9 (not that I remembered most of them), only one of them easily remembered and recognized: Skrain Dukat. There are viewpoint characters representing a variety of perspectives -- Cardassian followers of the Oralian Way, Cardassian military, Cardassian spies, Bajoran politicians, Bajoran religious figures, Bajoran police, a Bajoran freighter captain, and a Starfleet character or two, with a convincingly portrayed young Dukat and Bajoran City Watch officer Darrah Mace the two most prominent characters. Each character has his or her own agenda and his or her own demons, leading to sometimes surprising alliances and betrayals. Though the book has its share of action, it's more about intrigue, as the Cardassians work their way into Bajoran society. The Cardassians are playing multiple games, not all to do with the Bajorans, and some of the Bajorans are playing (intentionally or otherwise) for the wrong side. It's a long, complex story that nonetheless keeps you reading to see what will happen next, even though the reader knows there's no happy ending waiting at the end of the book. But that sense of inexorable doom doesn't mean there's no suspense. For one thing, we never really had all that much information on how, exactly, the Cardassian occupation began. More importantly, there are several well-drawn sympathetic characters who were created for this novel, which means we don't know as we read the book if they're going to survive. And many of them don't.

There are a couple of unsubtle Star Wars references -- the prequel trilogy has a character named Mace, for example, and the likeable rogue independent Bajoran freighter captain quotes Han Solo ("We're fine, we're all fine here, how are you?") in one scene, which may draw a little too much attention to the fact that he doesn't have a lot of character of his own. And I don't know if it was Swallow's intent or not, but I pictured a certain character who appears late in the book as if she were played by Torchwood's Eve Myles.

The prose flows smoothly, and the characters, though some are types rather than people, are believable. Swallow's obviously done a lot of homework, tying in references from a number of TNG and DS9 episodes as well as DS9 novels, but the fact that I didn't remember that some of them from onscreen until I skimmed through the book's Appendices shows that they're well integrated into the story rather than just popping up to draw attention to themselves.

This is a solid work of thoughtful entertainment, and a heck of a beginning for the Terok Nor trilogy. I hope this isn't Swallow's only Trek novel. (And I can only imagine how different from this book his Doctor Who novel Peacemaker, sitting still unread on a nearby shelf, must be....)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Maybe we haven't seen the last of the Gold Key comics reprints yet

Volume 6 of Checker's Star Trek: The Key Collection has been listed for so long on Amazon that I'd started giving up hope. The expected publication date changed once or twice, but there were no real signs of life -- no solicitations in Diamond Previews, no updated info at the Checker website. But now Amazon has a publication date of November 25, 2008, and someone using the name checkerbpg has posted in Trek-related topics at Newsarama as recently as March 14 that Checker will be publishing a few Trek graphic novels later this year.

In other news...

Amazon has some clues about other developments in Star Trek graphic novels, though the publishers affected haven't made any announcements. All I've got so far, aside from what's on Amazon, is an off-the-record remark from someone knowledgeable but not involved.