Star Trek: Myriad Universes #2: Echoes and Refractions (英語) ペーパーバック – 2008/8/12
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Keith R.A. DeCandido was born and raised in New York City to a family of librarians. He has written over two dozen novels, as well as short stories, nonfiction, eBooks, and comic books, most of them in various media universes, among them Star Trek, World of Warcraft, Starcraft, Marvel Comics, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Serenity, Resident Evil, Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, Farscape, Xena, and Doctor Who. His original novel Dragon Precinct was published in 2004, and he's also edited several anthologies, among them the award-nominated Imaginings and two Star Trek anthologies. Keith is also a musician, having played percussion for the bands the Don't Quit Your Day Job Players, the Boogie Knights, and the Randy Bandits, as well as several solo acts. In what he laughingly calls his spare time, Keith follows the New York Yankees and practices kenshikai karate. He still lives in New York City with his girlfriend and two insane cats.
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The tale of what would have happened if Spock had died as a child and never joined Starfleet is intriguing enough as it is, but throw in what happens when a totally different person fills those shoes; an Andorian no less! This story changed how events from the end of Star Trek 2:The Wrath of Khan ended, as well as how the entirety of parts 3 and forward changed drastically! This is one avid trek reader who looks forward to more from Mr. Trowbridge!
'The Chimes at Midnight' is an alternate take on the Original Series movie era. Yes, it's darker, but there are some awesome plot twist. I thought it started off a bit weak; reading like a simple rewriting of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Then it really picks up and goes in a direction that completely turns the Trek universe, the characters we're used to, on their heads. David Marcus, Saavik and the Andorian named Thelin (from the Animated series) take center stage. There were parts so intense and shocking that I found myself gripping the book and having to look away. The final pages left me breathless, making me wish the actual movies and producers had taken the chances Geoff Trowbridge took with this story.
'A Gutted World' was, by far, the best book of the entire "Myriad Universes" saga. It features cameos by a dozen or more characters across not just one series but all shows. The plot is basically a different take on the Dominion War and really had the emotion, creativity and spark to be a full-length novel. No, as you may think from the title, this isn't a dull story about Bajor and Kira - the story is so much more than that and saying more about the plot would spoil it. If you wanted to see Picard and the Enterprise have a more active role in the whole Dominion War situation, this is your story. If you wanted to see what Janeway would be doing had Voyager not ended up in the Delta Quadrant, buy this book just for this story. What made this story so exciting and nearly flawless was that it not only showed an alternate take on the Dominion War and how it impacted the Alpha Quadrant, but it managed to be one of the best crossover stories yet.
'Brave New World' was, in my opinion, the weakest story after the first two action-packed, thought provoking stories. It was okay, but it seemed even far fetched for this series. It's more of a 'The Next Generation' story featuring Data and Lore and another surprise guest or two. I felt not enough setup was given to this dramatically different universe and Enterprise we're reading about. Worse yet, I didn't buy the story at the end. Everything is far too easily solved, there's no depth to the characters, the conflict was weak. Picard seems very off, always smiling and chuckling as is Ro Laren. The end is overly cheesy and had me rolling my eyes. It was by far a let down after a majority of the book was so exciting and had a similar theme.
Check out this book. You will not be disappointed, I can almost assure you of that. These are, for the most part, some great stories that accomplish what this series was supposed to - showing a different take on the Star Trek universe and sparking our imagination with all the possible universes and plots that could have been but weren't. It's depressing at parts, yes, but it's compelling, breathtaking writing that's been absent from Trek in a long while. Get this book!
THE CHIMES @ MIDNIGHT: Takes the alternate scenario depicted in the animated series episode "Yesteryear" of Spock perishing in his childhood kas-wahn ordeal with his eventual place as Kirk's first officer and boon companion taken by the Andorian Thelin and projects it forward into the TOS movie era. This part of the story was very well done, other than that Kirk came across like Janice Lester (from "Turnabout Intruder") was still in possession of his body. The big-picture events of the third and fourth movies fade to the background as different, non-Spock-centered ones come to the fore. Yet their outcome, while not the same, is equivalent to, and true to the spirit of, the original.
That covers about sixty percent of the story. The remainder degenerates into an anti-nuclear weapons metaphor chock full of risible implausibilities, flagrant eviscerations of Trek canon, and wanton character destruction that made me glad Harve Bennett and Leonard Nimoy killed off David Marcus in Star Trek III, and that Spock went back in time as his own "cousin" to save his younger self, sparing Thelin the humiliation Mr. Trowbridge inflicts on him here.
A GUTTED WORLD: What if the Cardassians had discovered the Bajoran wormhole before withdrawing from Bajor? Keith R.A. DeCandido answers that question with a masterpiece of dark realism absolutely and scrupulously faithful to the spirit of the best of the Treks, Deep Space Nine. Indeed, contrary to the lamentations of some, Trek SHOULD be depressing when the storytelling calls for it. Not every tale can, or should, have a happy ending, and KRAD's definitely resides in this category.
For those who gagged on Roddenberrian utopianism years and years ago, this tome earns a standing ovation.
BRAVE NEW WORLD: I'm an android, he's an android, she's an android, it's an android, wouldn't you like to be an android too?
You can't call Chris Roberson's premise implausible, I suppose. If "synaptic uploading" into positronic brains became possible, it would be an irresistible lure to functional immortality, and make enfranchising artificial life forms a fait accompli. It's almost surprising that that angle hasn't been developed more fully in Trek canon. On the other hand, since doing so would have removed Data as a metaphor for exploring humanity from "the outside" - his primary purpose on the show - maybe it isn't so surprising after all.
I would have preferred a tale that examined that issue, along with its ethical conundrums, a lot more directly. Instead, Mr. Roberson gives us a more or less standard TNG episode. It wasn't bad by any means, but it wasn't gripping, either.
Of course, Picard's "solution" to the story's jeopardy premise would rapidly destabilize the quadrant and lead to all-out war in a matter of months, if not weeks, as opposed to the depicted, and insufferably smug, Roddenberryan epilogue. Hopefully DeCandido will write the sequel and we'll get to see what REALLY happened.
As with "Infinity's Prism," one of the trio - in this case, "A Gutted World" - is worth the price of the whole book. Read the other two at your own risk.
Personally, the first story was the one I wasn't as interested in. My interest mainly lay in the fact there was an Andorian main character, but the story, while being half about him, didn't really delve deeply in to the Andorian culture as I would have liked. TOS is not a series I know well, so those who came to trek in the beginning may like this story better than me.
The second story was wonderfully written, and took my two favorite series (TNG and DS9) and brought some of the best characters from both in to contact with each other. I do not want to spoil the ending at all, but I will say that it's not what you would expect from a ST story.
The third was my absolute favorite. I admit bias as a Data fan, so if you are, too, you do NOT want to pass up this book. I enjoyed the story a lot. My only regret is that it was shorter than I would have preferred. I believe it's my favorite out of all the TNG stories I have ever read (and I've read the majority of the books out there).
The second story is the best with this one dealing with a Bajor that was never liberated from Cardassian rule. It is a very dark story with the ending uncharacteristic for Star Trek. Despite the ending of this story, it was the best one of the three.
The final story involves a reality where androids are common in the Federation. Because of unresolved issues concerning their citizenship Data and a group of his kinfolk suddenly disappear. This story had no real "grit" to it and actually seemed to be written on a seventh-grade reading level with the author doing everything possible to avoid any danger or excitement. In other words I was rather bored with it.