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All Books

Reviewer : ASR
Ave Rating : 2.8235 for 17 reviews
Title : Rihannsu Book 1 : My Enemy, My Ally Rating : 4
Writers : Diane Duane Year : 1984
Review : This classic TOS-era novel does two remarkable things. It develops the Romulan culture along the path originally envisioned in Balance of Terror, as a complex, honour-driven society. It is one of a select few books and episodes in the Trek universe to transcend the stereotype that would make all the "good guys" essentially American in ethos and all the "bad guys" people acting out because of their deformed foreheads. The second remarkable thing is that the protagonist is a Romulan commander, who pursuades Kirk to help her to preserve her people's honour. As with its counterpart book, Spock's World, Diane Duane creates a more believable, more richly varied universe than the series were able to do.
Title : Spock's World Rating : 4
Writers : Diane Duane Year : 1988
Review : Quite possible the classic Trek novel, this was an early interweaving of clues and clever speculation about Vulcan culture and history. I suspect that Ms. Duane is a historian at heart, and the interludes from Vulcan's past are much appreciated, as they lend great depth to the reader's understanding. Depth is the keyword, not only in terms of the complex (more than merely "logical") Vulcan culture, but in terms of character development and technological speculation. The central premise, the secession of Vulcan from the Federation over ethical issues is a nice counterpoint these days to the trashy, illogical, violent Vulcans of Enterprise. This book is prerequisite and the perfect companion for My Enemy My Ally and The Romulan Way, works of equal calibre on the "lost" Vulcans.
Title : Rogue Saucer Rating : 1
Writers : John Vornholt Year : 1996
Review : Despite the obvious potential of any plot involving the complexities of the Maquis conflict, this book: a) represents the moral dimension of the conflict one-sidedly, especially in putting Nechayev, of all people, in the role of heroine versus Ro, b) has the Maquis stealing possibly the least valuable (for their purposes)half of a ship they could and c)was a rather flat narrative.
Title : Klingon Covert Operations Manual Rating : 2
Writers : Cathy Doser, David Christensen Year : 1989
Review : Not a bad early formulation of Klingon culture, relying on TOS, the first three movies and the novels. It leans more toward the totalitarian, utilitarian imperialistic culture that we saw on Organia than the more Viking-like culture of later series. It is a cracking good read, particularly the parts focussed on covert op tactics.
Title : Battlestations! Rating : 2
Writers : Diane Carey Year : 1986
Review : This continuation of the Dreadnought arc contains some of the most utterly pathetic plot ideas outside of Star Trek: Voyager. It posits a Starfleet countering a "radical leftist" plot within its ranks (since the Federation seems a pretty leftist place, this seems irrational, to say nothing of the notion that such people would construct a huge weapon like the Deadnought). Furthermore, its charicature of vulcan society as a culture of intellectual supremacist bigots, its virtually neocon agenda with the Federation itself, and the inconsistency with established canon contrive to make it a thoroughly muddy read. The only redeeming feature is a certain amount of engaging characterization.
Title : Reunion Rating : 4
Writers : Michael Jan Friedman Year : 1991
Review : This portrayal of Picard's crew from the Stargazer is one of the most intense, interesting and thoughtful characterizations in all of Trek. If you thought the Enterprise D's crew had some interesting twists- a human raised as a Klingon warrior, a Reptillian engineer and a crown prince round out the Stargazer gang. When they come aboard the enterprise for transport to the coronation of one of their number on the planet Da'av, one of them starts trying to kill the others, and Picard's faith in both crews is tested. The interesting, complex relationships and conflicts that form between the crews even in the midst of suspicion, are truly worth the read. As a caution, the Star Trek: Stargazer novels, based on the characters created here, are extrordinarily tedious and dull (in common with most recent offerings from Pocket Books). So be warned!
Title : Death Count Rating : 3
Writers : L.A. Graf Year : 1992
Review : The Movie Era has always been my favourite part of Trek lore, and this heavily plot-driven novel shows a little more of what could have been.
Title : Star Trek Chronology: The History of the Future Rating : 4
Writers : Denise Okuda, Michael Okuda Year : 1993
Review : Where to start... With the total, utter and complete deterioration of any coherent timeline with the careless anachronisms of Enterprise, I often look at this book and sigh. A coherent, believable progression from Eugenics Wars to Warp Drive to Federation, a suggestion that early space travel was much different than life on a twenty-third or twenty-forth century starship- this is what the chronology offered. In every particular, the Chronology agrees with established (pre-Voyager) canon, and, more importantly, with the vision of Trek. I was against Enterprise because I knew that the creaters (B&B) were too lazy to follow this timeline, and most definitely too lazy to make up a better one.
Title : Echoes Rating : 3
Writers : Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Nina Kiriki Hoffman Year : 1998
Review : After "The Murdered Sun," I never thought I'd find another Voyager book worth the read. A catastrophic crisis, an intellectually engaging puzzle, a heroic rather than technological solution, self-sacrifice to help total strangers, transcendance of differences- this book contains everything that a Star Trek is supposed to be in a nutshell- and everything that Voyager never attained.
Title : Crisis on Centaurus Rating : 3
Writers : Brad Ferguson Year : 1986
Review : Boldly exploraing inner space- a crisis on a Federation planet. A very good read.
Title : I.K.S. Gorkon : Book 2 : Honor Bound Rating : 2
Writers : Keith R.A. DeCandido Year : 2003
Review : One truly annoying aspect of the recent attempt to make new Trek novels consistent is that there is quite obviously no consistent vision of the universe being represented. DeCandido, for example, puts forth a version of Klingon-ness that is practical, de-spiritualized, and, on several points, rather devoid of real honour. This he attempts to blend with the timeline established in Hertzler's (Martok) two excellent novels, in which the Klingon psyche, especially the interrelationship of their spirituality, history, aggression and honour, is thoughtfully explored. As a result, this Martok who has, in Hertzler's book, found the necessity of careful reflection on the why's of combat and conquest, not to mention a strong imperative to correct the current warped version of Klingon honour, now throws all this progress out the window by advocating large-scale conquest. The comparative shallowness of this series makes all the combat quite tedious.
Title : The Final Reflection Rating : 4
Writers : John M. Ford Year : 1984
Review : A vision of Klingon culture from within based entirely on the Original Series, this sympathetic portrayal of an intelligent race, militaristic but not uncontrollably violent, practical rather than honourable. This book is a demonstration of the possibilities that TNG missed when it effectively swapped the Klingon and Romulan traits established in TOS. The story spans the career of a Klingon officer, charting his ascent by means of superior intelligence and tactical acumen from a player in the Klin Zha games to command of the first Klingon ship to be sent on a diplomatic mission to earth. This book paints a deeply believable rather than a romanticised culture. These are Klingons from the world of Chancellor Gorkon, so to speak, not the world of bumpy-headed Vikings for whom honour is equated with wine, war and random violence.
Title : Vulcan's Heart Rating : 1
Writers : Josepha Sherman, Susan Shwartz Year : 1999
Review : I am afraid I must disagree. Although Vulcan's Heart merges two of my favourite Trek subjects, it manages to do so in a rather lacklustre way. Continuing the storyline of Saavik from The Pandora Principle, the character in all of trek lore who hates Romulans the most, this novel contains none of the fireworks you's expect from such a person going undercover as a Romulan. However much I like Uhura as head of Starfleet intel, the rest of the characters are, well, monotone. The Romulan story is on shakey ground. First, the whole panic over Spock going AWOL in Unification would not have happened, because Starfleet Intelligence would have had records of Spock's underground involvement on Romulus. The Romulans themselves are rather corny, from their battle cry to the pathetically unbelievable dictatorship of what's-his-face. This book shares its lack of an exciting and intelligent premise with most of the recent pre-TNG arc from Pocket Books.
Title : Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual Rating : 0
Writers : Doug Drexler, Herman Zimmerman, Rick Sternbach Year : 1998
Review : I have to say it- what crap! The TNG manual did it right, and with a few minor deviations managed to capture everything essential from the series. The DS9 manual, apart from the flashy graphics, is way off- even the specs for familiar vessels are terrible. I must conclude that this book was not edited. Wild speculations go hand-in-hand with inconsistent blueprints (the Defiant gets two different internal arrangements in the book) and errors that any reasonably consistent viewer of the series is bound to pick up. Give me the blueline drawings and thoughtfulness of the TNG manual any day.
Title : Rihannsu Book 2 : The Romulan Way Rating : 4
Writers : Diane Duane, Peter Morwood Year : 1987
Review : I concur entirely with the previous reviewer. I just wanted to add that the purpose of Star Trek from the beginning was to tell stories. From this point of view, arguments about canon are silly. The fact is, after "The Enterprise Incident," the canon Romulan storyline is about a bunch of agressive, unintelligent thugs. Personally I would rather read about a complex and, for once, distinctly alien culture than watch the television version of the utilitarian, honourless Romulans, with only the occasional character such as Admiral Jarok to remind us of the honour-driven beings we saw in Balance of Terror.
Title : The Pandora Principle Rating : 4
Writers : Carolyn Clowes Year : 1990
Review : Continuing- or rather prequelling- the character of Lt. Saavik from the films, Carolyn Clowes accepts the preproduction premise of the character as a Romulan-Vulcan hybrid. The progress of the character from a cannabalistic castaway to a half-civilized protege of Spock to Starfleet cadet is both believable and remarkably powerful. When a Romulan faction comes close to destroying all atmospheric oxygen on Earth, Saavik becomes the Federation's best hope of survival. The real strength of this story is in the bizzarre yet plausible development of numerous characters- from a Kirk trapped helpless in a Starfleet bomb shelter to an enigmatic Romulan information broker to a little fish-like being who can fix anything. Above all, it gives a certain cadet the depth that we always knew she had.
Title : The Murdered Sun Rating : 3
Writers : Christie Golden Year : 1996
Review : One of the very few works of Voyager fiction on television or in print that are worth perusing. The characters aboard the ship are more than the stilted stereotypes they later become, and are made even more interesting by their interaction with two cultures that think in completely different terms from their own. The evolution of Paris in the novel is particularly well set-up, and even the usually poorly-pulled off enigmatic wisdom of Kes is given the depth it deserves. The premise of attempting to help a dying primitive culture without violating the Prime Directive is made believable by the realistic problems of cultural interface which drive the plot.

Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 1,637 Last updated : 31 Oct 2014