Monday, June 21, 2010

So, what's next?

I don't have the latest issue of Star Trek magazine yet, the one with the big TrekLit update (I will, though; I never miss it). So I'll borrow the 2011 schedule from the also worthwhile and make some random comments.


Star Trek: New Frontier: Blind Man’s Bluff
by Peter David

There are times I think, wow, New Frontier is still going? Why? Sure, it was groundbreaking at first, it proved that a books-only series could work, it's even been entertaining at times. But it's had over a decade, and the books schedule is a more crowded place than it used to be. I wouldn't mind seeing it wrap up and let other books have a shot. Others will disagree, of course, and there's no doubt that when things are a bit rocky, the sure thing has more appeal than something new.

Star Trek: Starfleet Academy – The Competitive Edge
by Rudy Josephs

I'm expecting something fairly innocuous, but you never know -- not all young adult fiction is as nice and squeaky clean as Pocket's 1990s forays into YA Trek, and books based on the new movie should make an effort to catch some of the movie's attitude. I like a nice old-fashioned space academy story as much as the next guy, as my collection of Tom Corbett, Space Cadet books will demonstrate, but if we're going to be denied the Abramsverse books we were expecting from Alan Dean Foster, Christopher L. Bennett, David Mack, and Greg Cox, let's hope these books manage to capture some of the spark of the 2009 movie.

Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Paths of Disharmony
by Dayton Ward

Dayton Ward (yay), Typhon Pact (tentative yay), and something to do with the Andorian situation developed in the DS9 novels and Destiny... sounds like something to look forward to.


Star Trek Enterprise: Romulan War: Beneath the Raptor’s Wings
by Michael A. Martin

Reprint. But. I've never really understood the need for an in-depth exploration of the Romulan War; I got all I needed from "Balance of Terror," and Enterprise the TV series only muddied the waters. I'm also not a big fan of Martin's books. There's a discussion over in Jade Pagoda, the Doctor Who books mailing list, about stories in which there are many events but nothing much actually happens, and that's the sense I've gotten from many of Martin's books, including some of his collaborations with Andy Mangels. They're big event-packed books, but when they're done, I'm hard-pressed to remember anything in them that actually moved the plot forward in a meaningful way. I liked some of the ideas and some of the scenes in this book, but overall it still fits that pattern. And I am so done with Trip Tucker, secret agent, that I almost wouldn't mind if he got killed in a dumb and pathetic way all over again.


Star Trek: Indistinguishable From Magic
by David A. McIntee

IIRC, McIntee once believed that he wouldn't get to write a Trek novel because of some Pocket animus towards writers of unauthorized Trek nonfiction (he wrote Delta Quadrant, an unauthorized Voyager guide). No idea what to expect from this engineer-heavy novel, but I've liked several of McIntee's Doctor Who novels, and his Space: 1999 novel was one of the highlights of that line of books. It's a promising sign that the Trek line under Jaime Costas isn't just playing it safe by sticking with frequent contributors to the line and easily categorized novels.


Star Trek: DTI: Watching The Clock
by Christopher L. Bennett

This has the potential to be a lot of fun, though Bennett's not the choice I would have expected for something like this -- he's great at the big, widescreen, hardcore science fiction Trek, but for a book being spun out of an episode like "Trials and Tribble-ations" someone more gonzo might be expected. At the very least, though, I expect this to have some unique and thoughtful takes on time travel in the Trek universe.


Star Trek Voyager: Children of the Storm
by Kirsten Beyer

New Frontier, Enterprise, and Christie Golden's Voyager novels have me wary of letting a single author control a series -- but after Full Circle and Unworthy I want to see what else Beyer has in store for Voyager. She's achieved any number of things I wouldn't have expected from Voyager. Not just making me care about my second-least-favourite Trek series, but finding a way to make what seemed like the worst of bad ideas -- sending Voyager back into the Delta Quadrant -- seem like a good idea. This is another one I'm eager to read.


Star Trek Vanguard – Declassified
by Dayton Ward, David Mack, Kevin Dilmore, and Marco Palmieri

Novellas by the three Vanguard novelists and the former editor who created the concept? Oh, hell, yeah. Too bad it couldn't be absolutely massive and allow a couple new writers into the sandbox, but Vanguard has been one of the best things to happen to Star Trek since it went off the air. If this isn't one of the highlights of 2011, it'll mean someone's tampering with the timeline.


Star Trek: A Choice of Catastrophes
by Steve Mollmann and Michael Schuster

New to full-length Trek, but not new to writing Trek, and not new to writing about it, either. These guys are smart enough for their standalone TOS novel to be worth waiting for.


Star Trek New Frontier: Blind Man’s Bluff
by Peter David

Only a seven month wait for the mass market reprint, but I just know people will be bitching about having to wait at all. Suck it up, cupcakes.


Star Trek: Cast No Shadow
by James Swallow

This one sounds unusual: Valeris and a Starfleet intelligence op to be named later. Swallow's been consistently good, and it's an intriguing concept -- why hasn't anyone done much with Valeris before now?


Star Trek Enterprise: Romulan War: In Shariel’s Jaws
by Michael A. Martin

Has anyone said just how many volumes there'll be? Because even though I'm not a big fan of Enterprise, I can think of a lot of other storylines that could be explored instead of this. But I already went on about that.


Untitled Vanguard novel #6
by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore

It's Vanguard. I'm sold already.


Star Trek Mirror Universe: Rise Like Lions
by David Mack

Not really a Mirror Universe fan -- haven't even read Sorrows of Empire yet -- but it's Mack, which makes up for it.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

So, what's new?

I was looking for a job, and then I found a job, and heaven knows I'm miserable now. Well, not really. Not at all. Just busier than I've been in a long time. But any chance to quote a Smiths lyric. But as for the lack of posting here, busy just about sums it up. Doesn't help that some of the Trek books of the last year or so have left me feeling underwhelmed, though.

I didn't care for Inception, though I'd hoped to. But one of the major characters, Leila Kalomi, never came to life for me, and the whole ecoterrorist plot was embarrassingly inept. It didn't feel like a thought-out extrapolation of anything from the real world; it was, if anything, the Emily Litella version ("now what's all this fuss about endangered feces?"). Or maybe the thematic sequel no one wanted to "The Way to Eden."

The Unspoken Truth disappointed me because, although I've been waiting a long time for a Saavik novel, I haven't been waiting for a Robin Curtis Saavik novel; I really didn't like her take on the character, but Margaret Wander Bonanno's book is very much a portrait of the Curtis Saavik rather than the Kirstie Alley Saavik.

The Children of Kings just kind of baffled me. As Stern's author's note at the end points out, it doesn't really fit into the TV continuity, but it doesn't fit in the new movie continuity either. But what it does with that freedom from continuity is, essentially, a perfectly normal Trek novel, almost interchangeable with any number of older standalone Trek novels. What's the point?

For me, at least, all three of these books were lost opportunities, chances to broaden the horizons of original series Trek fiction that didn't pan out.

In other news, the PC with Dreamweaver and the website working files is out of order at the moment. I certainly hope it can be restored, but it'll be a little while before all the latest news is reflected there. Good thing I did a lot of work on it a few weeks ago.

And another Smiths quote to end this brief update: there's more to life than books, you know, but not much more. Not much more.