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All Books

Reviewer : Daniel Butler
Ave Rating : 3.5000 for 2 reviews
Title : Maximum Warp - Dead Zone Rating : 4
Writers : Dave Galanter, Greg Brodeur Year : 2001
Review : Plot: This book starts out as the Enterprise-E is caught in a mysterious "dead zone" along with a Romulan warbird. This dead zone is stopping all advanced technology from working - the warp engines, the transporters,the photon torpedoes, etc. This is apparently a breakdown of physical laws - there's nothing wrong with anything, it simply isn't working. Bringing matter into contact with antimatter isn't causing annihilation. Picard convinces the commander of the Romulan vessel to allow him to come over in a shuttlecraft (running on chemical thrusters) with a power coupling that will allow them to transfer all remaining power to their tractor beam (which evidently still works). The ships will tractor each other and push off each other to hurl each other out of the zone. The Romulan commander agrees, but (as this book's third-person view makes clear) he is treacherous, and plans to kill Picard and capture the Enterprise. However, Folan, the civilian science officer (honorary rank, apparently) realizes Picard's plan will save them, and she interferes subtly, making it look like one more malfunction when disruptors suddenly stop working (evidently they aren't precluded by the dead zone). Both ships are saved. These dead zones begin to appear more and more rapidly in all areas of the galaxy. Communications are being cut off - subspace transmissions fall silent as soon as they enter a dead zone. Every government seems to suspect the others of causing it (except the Klingons, who Ambassador Worf is keeping on the Federation's side, and Federation). There's a big-brass meeting on Olympus Mons at Mars to do with the dead zones (as well as a lesser-classified routine staff meeting - I think, this was a bit unclear). Picard is attending the staff meeting; Riker pulls him out to tell him of an emergency. There's an old-style nuclear fission reactor (being used in dilithium recrystalization experiments - chalk one up for continuity) in Valles Marineras, and it's going to meltdown - there's a dead zone intersecting part of Mars' surface, and it's lost containment and cooldown power. They send Picard, Data, and A. Crewman down in a shuttlepod to speak to the plant director. He informs them that there are only eleven people, counting himself, left in the plant that couldn't be evacuated. The Enterprise-E somehow transports them out (I thought that wasn't possible in a dead zone?) and then Picard and Data (and A. Crewman) pilot the shuttlepod out - why couldn't they just transport?? Anyway, after this, the Enterprise tractors the entire reactor, rips it off the surface of Mars, and hurls it into space. Woot. Picard and Data's shuttle suddenly loses power and begins to descend. The dead zone has expanded! They transport out A. Crewman (again with the transporters in the dead zone) but then the transporters lose power and they're stuck. The shuttle crashes, and, even without power for shields, SIF, or inertial dampers, Picard and Data survive with only (to 24th century medicine) minor injuries. I believe this was explained as a result of Mars' lighter gravity, which I find absolutely ridiculous. Now Picard crashes the big secret dead zone meeting and demands to know what's going on. They tell him the dead zones are everywhere and more are forming all the time. They also tell him they recieved a secret communique, apparently from Spock on Romulus, that says he knows where the dead zones came from and how to stop them. Meanwhile, as all this is going on, the Romulan Evil Genius T'sart fiddles with Ancient Powerful Technology and is subsequently kicked out when the Tal Shiar come along and take it from him. He is very angry about this, and hatches a Circuitous Plan to get out of the Empire, into Federation territory, and use them to get his tech back. He tracks down Spock on Romulus through Underground Contacts and shows him data on the dead zones. He uses the threat of exposing Spock to force Spock to send a message to the Feds. Soon, Picard arrives, and the Enterprise picks up a Romulan shuttle running from a crippled warbird - Folan's warbird. She's in command after an experiment of hers went awry, killing most aboard. The Enterprise beams the two (apparently) Romulan occupants of the shuttle out as it explodes, then turn tail and hotfoot it out of the Neutral Zone. It turns out Spock is using Vulcan Techniques to change his metabolism to Romulan, to evade scans. His companion, T'sart, apparently is Very Evil Indeed - there is a standing arrest warrant for him, and Picard arrests him. T'sart tells him he knows how to stop the dead zones. Picard decides to use him, and Spock agrees. Analysis: Pretty good, in terms of story, although there is a bit of a deus ex machina here. Also the YATIs can be pretty irritating if you think about them while you're reading, but the story's good enough to take your mind off them. All in all, it's a recommended story, but not without buying the second book
Title : Maximum Warp - Forever Dark Rating : 3
Writers : Dave Galanter, Greg Brodeur Year : 2001
Review : Plot: In this book it is found out that the dead zones 'age.' As a dead zone becomes, for lack of a better term, 'older,' more and more primitive technology begins to fail within them. This at least could partly explain some of the YATIs in the previous book. The ship heads for Romulan space, to the planet where the Ancient Tech is. Apparently, there was a Mysterious Sphere inside of a black hole, monitored by a technology station on a nearby planet. They pulled the Sphere out of the hole, and oops - the dead zones (or the Romulan term, 'power deserts'). Enterprise approaches the system only to discover that the edge of the system is experiencing severe spatial anomalies. They go in anyway (after some experimenting with a shuttle) and find that the system is mostly normal - except for the region directly around the sphere, which seems to contain multidimensional space and severe distortions. Several Romulan ships have been trapped there in a Meanwile, and Folan was able to save one - however, its crew were all either melded with the bulkheads, or insane. When the Enterprise enters the area and it's made known T'sart is aboard it, Folan decides to try and destroy the Enterprise - T'sart was the one that sabotaged her experiment. However, the situation is explained to her, and she, being a Smart Honorable Enemy, agrees to help the Enterprise get to the sphere, even though there are several other warbirds in the system (Romulus must be wasting an awful lot of military resources on a very dangerous area). She fights valiantly against the other warbirds (after evoking the Something Pandect for Martial Crisis, requiring all of her orders to be followed, under penalty of immediate death). Her ship is destroyed, but the small remaining crew is beamed into the Enterprise cargo bay. Folan is beamed to the bridge. They use the ship's computer to calculate the spatial disruptions and adapt the ship's deflectors accordingly. They can only account for every 67th shift; they're too rapid even for the computer. They go into the area around the sphere only to find that space doesn't make sense; the human (and Vulcan and Romulan) members of the bridge crew are having extreme difficulty even thinking. Data, however, suddenly understands everything and plots a course. Inside the sphere, normal 3-dimensional space is maintained (YATI: why?). Spock surmises that since Data is a being of mathematical, rather than biological, nature he could intuitively understand this extradimensional space. Inside the sphere, they find that there is a projection of the outside scenes on the inside surface. The sphere enhances their sensors - they can scan literally any object in the universe. The sphere creates a Starfleet LCARS terminal on the bridge that allows communication with it. The sphere is sentient, and its purpose is evidently a scanner. Its scans are sub-quark-level, disrupting the very fabric of reality as it scans it, hence the dead zones. It was not supposed to initiate scanning until the end of the universe (when the destructin wouldn't matter anyway) but T'sart started it prematurely. It cannot stop now, as it can either time-travel to the end of the universe or bring the end about; apparently, the latter has occurred. It apparently uses the energy of the Big Crunch to propel itself past the next Big Bang (as the machine says, a 'simplistic, but not inaccurate' explanation). I can't recall what they decide to do to stop the machine (unfortunatly both of these books were destroyed in a flood and I'm working from memory) but I do recall that it was expected to save the entire universe, but that the Milky Way was already destroyed - the Big Crunch was apparently happening many trillions of times faster than it should. However, after doing this Something, everything is restored - it turns out that in every universe (parallel, prior, and following) that this occurred, each Enterprise's sacrifice saved the other's universe and nothing was lost. (This was fun actually, several parallel versions of reality - in one, Picard had a thick mop of hair; in another, T'sart was the good guy instead of Folan; in yet another, Tasha Yar was still alive; and in a final, the Enterprise-D had never been destroyed). Happy Ending. Analysis: This book's not as good as the first, I don't think. Too much mumbo-jumbo about advanced 'magical' science and so forth, and less story. There were some good bits though. I've also left out many minor plot details (obviously) that are worth reading.

Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 1,105 Last updated : 21 Oct 2014