Saturday, February 02, 2013

Zero Sum Game

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Typhon Pact #1: Zero Sum Game (Star Trek: Typhon Pact) by David Mack
This is the first of the Typhon Pact stories, and another in my current Star Trek literary marathon.  Here's the deal: when you sign on as a student of Trek (aka "Trekkie"), particularly in the literary mode, you may encounter skepticisim - "it's not real SF," "it's derivative" and so on.  Though I might understand where that's coming from, I'd say it's not true.  The Trek novels draw from the whole spectrum of Science Fiction, and of course they lean heavily on the mythos-that-is-Star-Trek.  Just about every concept in Science Fiction at large, and Star Trek of film and television in particular are echoed in all of the Trek novels.  And yet....

From the best to the worst, every Trek novel I've read takes you farther on and further in.  They paint pictures and set scenes that would never show up in an hour-long show, or even a feature length movie. And they can create new ideas of their own.

This book takes you to an asteroid belt shipyard, revisits old characters, brings you along with a new crew.  But there's more than just a new paint job on an old ship.

I particularly like how it "explains" the Breen - not as a single secretive race, but as a social construct.  They are a people who have adopted a culture of equality (or is it enforced uniformity?), all members cloaked in the same appearance, though from different species.  No one language, but all using vocoders to speak in the same computer inter-language.  That notion alone is worth the price of admission - and it was here, in a Trek novel.  Not bad.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Open Secrets (Startrek Vanguard)

Open Secrets (Startrek Vanguard)
by Dayton Ward

More fun with Star Trek! Yes, I'm continuing in my Trek jag - happily, by ignoring the Trek books for a while, there are TONS to catch up on - including the Vanguard series. Set in the Original Series era (with plenty of reference obliquely to the Enterprise) this was a good read.

There are mysterious super-aliens lurking, secrets to be delved and conspiracies in (And out of) Star Fleet and the Federation.  Ward does a good job of using known Trek history (with a nod to the Memory-Alpha wiki in his acknowledgements) and extends it with his own characters and those of other novelists.

I've got an order in for Precipice - the next volume, and have queued up a number of other Trek series to keep this jag going!  Live long and Prosper, Star Trek!

Callander Square

Callander Square: A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel
by Anne Perry

One more down - and there's plenty to go! I've already queued up number 3 on my Kindle! (Happily, my libraries seem to be well e-stocked with Anne Perry!)

Though these occur well before the Downton Abbey series, I find them echoing the notions of class and propriety that is so central to Downton.  I can see already that Perry has set up a nice structure to have the sisters Ellison - one marrying up, and one down - to create a path through Victorian classes and characters participating IN, but aloof FROM the class sytem.

This book follows the efforts of Pitt, assisted by Charlotte and Emily, in resolving the mystery of infants discovered buried in Callander Square.  Lots of possibility for scandal and intrigue, as well as commentary on the injustices of the age.  (and and a nice quick read).