Deep Space Nine

DEEP SPACE NINE



  • 1. Emissary - Novel
  • 2. The Siege - Novel
  • 3. Bloodletter - Novel
  • 4. The Big Game - Novel
  • 5. Fallen Heroes - Novel
  • 8. Antimatter - Novel
  • 11. Devil in the Sky - Novel
  • 13. Station Rage - Novel
  • 15. Objective: Bajor - Novel
  • The Way of the Warrior - Novel
  • 16. Time's Enemy - Novel in the Invasion story
  • 20. Wrath of the Prophets - Novel
  • Ferengi Rules of Acquisition - Novel
  • Far Beyond the Stars - Novel
  • What You Leave Behind - Novel




    EMISSARY [J M DILLARD]

    [Review by Toby Davis]

    After a 50 year occupation, the Cardassians are leaving the planet Bajor. The planet is in ruins, with an unstable Provisional Government eager to keep the Cardassians away. Their solution: to ask the Federation to occupy a disused Cardassian mining station in orbit, as their new outpost in the sector. Starfleet sends Benjamin Sisko, an embittered officer widowed in the Borg attack three years ago, to command it, little knowing what discoveries he will make there. The fate of Bajor will hang in the balance, as he struggles to fulfill the request of a Bajoran religious leader before the Cardassians can return.

    By now, everyone has seen the pilot episode of DS9; the characters may have been new, but the plot certainly wasn't. The "commanding officer tells powerful aliens that humans aren't so bad really" theme has been used before, but in this case it seems to work better, particularly in the novelisation. We're introduced to the characters in much the same way as the episode, but with a lot more depth of insight. Here, with their thoughts and backgrounds included more fully, their lines seem more effective and less of a thumbnail sketch of each character the moment we first see them. Instead they are developed smoothly, and, a very nice bonus for a first novel of a series, don't contradict any later character developments in the series. With very little to work on, you feel the author knows the characters a lot better than some who have tried.

    This book makes satisfying reading for new viewers and old hands alike; and while mainly an introduction to the show also forms the first part of a good series of books. It's one of the better-written ones, and although you can't expect too much in the way of originality when Dillard has to work to a set plot, she manages to bring in a lot of background detail and feeling which isn't in the episode. It's a good read, whether you've seen the episode or not.

    (*)(*)(*)

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    THE SIEGE [PETER DAVID]

    [Review by Toby Davis]

    There's a murderer loose on board DS9, killing indiscriminately, without warning, and without clues. Anyone could be the next target, and when an Edeman and a Cardassian are among the first to die, they don't take too kindly to Sisko's handling of the matter. While they threaten the station, already in enough trouble with the wormhole behaving strangely, Odo must track down a shapeshifter who is his only link to the past he never knew.

    It's a Peter David book, so it's bound to be competent enough. He's written most of the good TNG books, so I won't bother putting a huge list of them here. He gets the characters down well enough, which is especially impressive considering he'd only seen five episodes of the series at the time. By then, even the series writers probably didn't know how the crew were going to turn out, so it's a credit to David that he's not made any big slip-ups. It captures the darker feel which was orignally going to be DS9, and which didn't reappear until the Dominion came along two years later. It's plotted well, and it hangs together much better than a lot of other Trek books.

    It's a shame, then, that he tried to liven things up a bit by having a Borg ship trashed by the unhappy wormhole. If it had happened in the series, it would have had a huge knock-on effect, like the Defiant being assigned in the next episode, for example. It doesn't matter unduly, but it does seem a little out of place. On the whole, though, this lives up to his usual standard of very good writing, with a good feel for the characters and mood of the series.

    ( )(*)(*)

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    BLOODLETTER [K W JETER]

    [Review by Toby Davis]

    The Cardassians are trying to establish a substation on the other side of the wormhole, to control traffic through it from the Gamma Quadrant. The folks from the station must try to beat them to it, while Sisko already has enough trouble on his hands. A Bajoran fanatic, of the kind we were to see at the start of the next series, in The Circle, has decided that Kira must die for her work with the Federation. Could cause problems...

    It's an early attempt to capture the characters, which has far less success than Peter David's The Siege. Kira surely can't be this bound up in sentimental nationalistic nonsense, which doesn't suit her hardened character at all. Bashir is given the same cursory "attempt at flirting" treatment that Paris gets in most of the Voyager books, although he gets an expanded role here when he and Kira get into trouble on the other side of the wormhole. The plot itself is fair enough; it seems a lot more plausible than The Big Game, but it could probably be done a lot better now, with a fair knowledge of what the characters are meant to be like.

    There have been worse books; ones with poorer plots, and even, would you believe it, with poorer characterisation. So it's not bad compared to some. It doesn't quite capture the feel of the series, but it's worth a read nonetheless.

    (*)(*)

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    THE BIG GAME [SANDY SCHOFIELD]

    [Review by Toby Davis]

    It's poker time at Quark's - a huge tournament is on, drawing in the best gamblers from the entire quadrant. Romulans, Cardassians, Ferengi - everyone wants to play. Someone, it seems, also wants to kill: a player is murdered before the tournament even starts, putting Odo on the case. While he takes a seat in the tournament, DS9 has problems of its own, as mysterious subspace waves start to disrupt power systems with increasing severity. With Cardassians and Bajorans at each others throats next to the station, they must track down the source before the whole station is destroyed. Maybe they should have played snap instead...

    It's well enough written; the Ferengi yet again are there for humour only, which, as in the case of other books, is forgivable as they're barely more in the series itself. Kira may not have quite the same feel as she does in the series (no comments, please), but on the whole Schofield hasn't done too bad a job on characters. As for the plot, it seems to fall into two barely-related halves: the poker, and the subspace waves. There's a slight attempt to make them relevant to each other, but neither really seems to settle for being a sub-plot. It's a pity the two don't quite gel, especially as the poker is the main thing. Unfortunately, as what seemed to be the main poker plot finishes barely half-way into the book, the rest of the tournament lacks the spark it had to begin with.

    It's one of the fairly early DS9 books, the third original novel. It's got the hang of the series and characters better than K W Jeter (Bloodletter, the previous book), but it seems Pocket Books liked Jeter enough to write the first hardback DS9. There's no accounting for taste... It's certainly more Trek than that book, but you'll have to remember that it's an early book, as the characters and settings won't be the way you think of them now after five seasons. A good effort, giving more to the characters than some would.

    (*)(*)

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    FALLEN HEROES [DAFYDD AB HUGH]

    [Review by Toby Davis]

    Quark has bought a box of Gamma Quadrant artifacts, so the ever-suspicious Odo insists on looking them over. When Quark accidentally activates a device from the box, the two vanish. Within hours, armoured aliens have boarded the station, killing everyone who cannot help them in their search. When Odo and Quark reappear two days later, they find themselves on a cold station, home only to corpses. DS9 has fallen to the alien warriors, and all the crew are dead.

    I like this book. It's well written, with the characters faring well enough, and a good plot. The action switches between the present, as each of the crew meet their doom in desperate attempts to stop the invaders, and the future where Odo and Quark try to piece together what has happened in their absence. That works well, as we've since seen in the Voyager episode "Time and Again", and ab Hugh does it more than justice here.

    I don't know if it's really Trek material. You wouldn't get it happening in an episode, but that doesn't mean it's not a good book anyway. The fact that you know these people brings their actions home to you a lot more effectively than if he'd used this plot for a non-Trek book - these are people you know well, fighting for the lives of everyone aboard the station, and losing. You don't get much of a chance to wonder whether it's Trek or not at the time, though, as it's fast-paced enough to sweep you along with it until the end. Read it. It's good.

    ( )(*)(*)


    [Alternative Review by Colin Trump]

    Quark's business dealings have pretty terminal results at times. He agrees to sell a box of goods from an unlikely character who always talks in rhymes. The box, for the most part, contains junk, except for one mysterious device, which of course, he activates.

    The next thing either he or Odo know it is three days later and everyone aboard Deep Space Nine is dead. Together they must piece together the clues to discover who attacked and why.

    This story has a somewhat predictable ending (that big Star Trek reset button in the sky), but is still very readable, with the deaths of O'Brien and Dax in particular causing some amusement. However my main query with this book has to be why the author keeps referring to 'holosex suites'.



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    ANTIMATTER [JOHN VORNHOLT]

    [Review by Martin McVay]


    Certainly the best original (i.e. not based on a TV episode) DS9 novel I've read, and up until now I'd read the first five. The main thing that distinguishes it from others is its plot does not revolve around people being killed. It's not as dark as the earlier novels, and has more of a feel of the TV series about it. The characters are all done right as well, though this could be down to the fact that it was written later after they had gained their individuality in the series.

    Well that's started the review badly, as I haven't said what the book's about yet, so here goes. Bajor's trying to get its ship-building industry back on its feet. At present the only way it can do it is by being commissioned by the Federation. So they're building an Ambassador-class starship for Starfleet. On the ground. They plan to lift it into orbit with tractor beams later on. This seems a bit dodgy to me as a struggling planet should find it much easier to build in orbit, but it's an old shipyard being revived so there you go. The Federation is sending a shipment of antimatter for the ship to use as fuel, but as it arrives at DS9 the tanker is hijacked by a rogue group of Bajorans, Klingons and Ferengi, who escape with it through the wormhole. Sisko, Dax and Odo pursue in a Runabout, the escort cruisers having been crippled in the skirmish.

    From there on in it's about those three characters and the hijackers. Incidental scenes back on the station are present but don't contribute anything in my opinion - they just make up the page count. So we're in orbit around a mysterious world in the Gamma Quadrant, trying to infiltrate the hijackers and play on Bajoran-Ferengi distrust to relieve both groups of the stolen tanker. The wonderful twist is they're all guests on a planet of insects who have a collective intelligence which wants in on the action. "You are rather clumsy creatures, and if you accidentally take the life of one of our individuals, we will understand. But please endeavour not to step on us." Great stuff. To find out who loses the most, read the book. It's well worth it.

    (*)(*)(*)

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    DEVIL IN THE SKY [GREG VORNHOLT & JOHN GREGGORY BETANCOURT]

    [Review by Toby Davis]

    A mining group on Bajor arrange to have a mother Horta and her clutch of eggs transported to Bajor to have the wee kiddies revitalise their mining efforts with their natural burrowing ways. En route to DS9, the mother Horta is kidnapped by Cardassians, and set to work finding latinum deposits on an unknown Cardassian moon. Bashir, Dax and Kira set off in hot pursuit, leaving the station with some problems of its own - twenty baby Horta beginning to hatch, and eating anything around them, including the station.

    The plot is quite simple, and it works surprisingly well. There's a twist on the mining moon which ups the stakes for Kira, and was unexpected. Cardassians of course are evil to the core, but that doesn't make too much of a change from the series. :-) Action switches between the beleagured station and the rescue mission pretty well, although one bit with Dax on the Runabout seems act more like padding than suspense. Ah well. A non-obvious solution at the end, or at least I didn't see it coming. There's one part like Hollywood films these days, where you know that while people may die, the little dawgie will always survive whatever happens. You can't have everything...

    Characters aren't too bad. Kira is more aggressive and headstrong (i.e. unrealistically bloodthirsty) than in even the first series, and Bashir is... different. Seemed to be Mr Flirty, but then goes the opposite way and ends up being more tough-guy hero than we'd usually give him credit for. Oh, and I don't really think Kira would use "bloody" as an expletive. But okay on the whole, a good story, good twists, and fair enough characters. If the crew were a bit more like themselves, I'd have upped it a grade.

    ( )(*)(*)

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    STATION RAGE []

    Rage at the lack of a review for this book.



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    OBJECTIVE: BAJOR [JOHN PEEL]

    [Review by Toby Davis]

    A ship comes within range of Deep Space Nine - and the Cardassian Empire. It's come a long way. It's taken millennia to arrive. On board are a race who have spent their whole lives enclosed in corridors and decks - and who don't seem willing to have anyone stand in their way. The question is - what are they really after? And is it an aim they all share?

    The title should give something of a clue about where they're planning on stopping off for chips. But the crew of DS9 don't know that - and they're not the only ones to be worried. A Cardassian patrol is the first to meet the newcomers - and the first to die. Peel brings in Cardassia and the Federation to a multi-threaded plot, which to be fair is somewhat clichéd these days - relying on an uneasy co-operation is something that isn't exactly new. But the Cardassians are handled quite well - with some added background to the civilian coup on Cardassia Prime before Way of the Warrior. Doesn't quite gel with the extra stuff Carey added in the novel of that story, but it's all nicely enough done.

    People are themselves, which you'll have noticed is always something I approve of. The alien characters are pretty well done too, and they're not just "this week's aliens". All in all, a good effort, and a nice cover, too. What more could you possibly want? Not a lot. It gets a good rating, because it's a good book that you should go and reserve now.

    (*)(*)(*)

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    THE WAY OF THE WARRIOR [DIANE CAREY]

    [Review by Toby Davis]

    The Changelings are everywhere. Anyone could be some thing, not your captain or your friend or your spouse. They're coming.

    So too are the Klingons. A fleet of their warships arrives at DS9, without warning, and without any good reason. Something's going on. But to handle the Klingons, and find out what's going on before his station gets caught in the middle, Sisko needs someone very special. He needs a Klingon of his own...

    Most people would agree that it's one of the best episodes. A movie-length story with a lot of action and intrigue, it brought out the best of DS9. It's a fine book, too. Where some of novels-of-films pad it out by adding in extra events, Carey makes the book different from the filmed version by adding extra depth to everything. A different spin is put on a lot of things, especially character interaction, that it's difficult to convey in a film version. The book adds a lot to the story, and it's defnititely worth reading if you haven't seen the episode.

    If you have - it's different enough to bring out a lot of new stuff which will make it more than worth while. It's an exciting story which doesn't lose anything in the transition to paper.

    (*)(*)(*)

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    WRATH OF THE PROPHETS []

    [Review by Colin Trump]

    Threatened with the starvation of her village, Varis Sul turns to disreputable sources for help. However, the replicators she purchases prove to be the source of a far greater problem than starvation could ever be, as a plague decimates Bajor. A plague which modifies itself to beat even the best that Julian Bashir can throw at it.

    Now whilst Bashir, O'Brien and Dax work on fighting the plague, Sisko and Quark try to track the replicators to their source, and Kira, with the unexpected aid of former Enterprise officer, now Maquis traitor, Ro Laren, try to find out how the replicators got to Bajor.

    A good story, but I found the fact that Odo seemed to do very little for his adopted homeworld a little annoying.



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    FERENGI RULES OF ACQUISITION []

    [Review by Nic Mayer]

    Oh dear



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    FAR BEYOND THE STARS []

    [Review by Nic Mayer]

    This is a novelisation of the episode, but stranger. Like the episode, Sisko 'becomes' Benny Russell, but in the book we learn much more about Benny's life. One aprt in particular is about him going to a fair, where he is affected by a strange artifact, which seems to contradict most of the series.

    It was a good episode, so this is a good book. Its a lot easier to understand what's going on than in the episode and certainly easier to see what's going on from the point of view of all the people there. The cover's designed as the front cover of a magazine from the era, which is quite a clever idea.



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    WHAT YOU LEAVE BEHIND []

    [Review by Nic Mayer]

    The novelisation of the final episode of Deep Space Nine. The crew set off the in the Defiant for a final deciding battle against the Dominion (guess who wins?), while Damar, Kira and Garak are trying to being down the Dominion from within. Kai Winn and Dukat are on Bajor, trying to free the Pah Wraiths.

    Some major characters die, some don't, and others move on. In a way it is similar to the last episode of Babylon 5, Sleeping in Light, in what happens to the captains (very tenuous, though) and that life goes on afterwards.

    From the looks of this book its going to be a good episode. The story's good, but sad in places, and there's a big space battle, which will look much better on-screen than it does in the description. If you don't want to be spoiled, then don't read it, but if like me you can't wait to see what happens, then read this book, forget it and be wowed by the episode (probably, I haven't actually seen it yet).



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