The Next Generation

THE NEXT GENERATION



  • Q Squared - Giant Novel
  • Metamorphosis - Giant Novel
  • Imzadi - Giant Novel
  • Vendetta - Giant Novel
  • Reunion - Fairly Big Novel
  • The Devil's Heart - Fairly Big Novel
  • Unification - Episode Novelisation
  • Triangle: Imzadi II - Novel
  • 3. The Children of Hamlin - Novel
  • 4. Survivors - Novel
  • 7. Masks - Novel
  • 8. The Captain's Honour - Novel
  • 12. Doomsday World - Novel
  • 15. Fortune's Light - Novel
  • 18. Q in Law - Novel
  • 21. Chains of Command - Novel
  • 22. Imbalance - Novel
  • 23. War Drums - Novel
  • 25. Grounded - Novel
  • 27. Guises of the Mind - Novel
  • 28. Here There Be Dragons - Novel
  • 32. Requiem - Novel
  • 33. Balance of Power - Novel
  • 34. Blaze of Glory - Novel
  • Relics - Audio of Episode Novelisation
  • 41. The Soldiers of Fear - Novel in the Invasion story




    Q SQUARED [PETER DAVID]

    [Review by Toby Davis]

    In 2266, the USS Enterprise, under the command of James T. Kirk, encountered a child of an all-powerful race. Appearing as an adult human named Trelane, the Squire of Gothos, he was, for all his power, just a naughty, petulant boy of his species. Now, that young member of the Q Continuum has returned, and he has gained enough power to dispose of the entire Continuum. His "godfather" needs to stop him - but even if he can convince Picard to help, how can Q manage to stop this errant god?

    This book is of genuinely breathtaking scope. It covers three universes: the usual TNG timeline; one where Jack Crusher didn't die and commands the Enterprise with Picard as his first officer; and the "Yesterday's Enterprise" universe, where Trelane slightly alters events. All that, I was expecting. But Peter David pulls in threads from all over the Star Trek legend. Even "Where No Man Has Gone Before", the pilot episode of the Original Series, is brought in, as well as passing reference to "Wolf In The Fold". No-one else writes books like this. In Vendetta he brought in the Borg and the Doomsday machine; an innovative move in itself to bring an Original Series artefact against TNG villains. Here, though, he goes far beyond that level.

    The writing, too, has improved. Vendetta, and others he has written since, are all competently enough achieved, but here the characters, different though they may be in the parallel universes, are thoroughly convincing. The writing style is engaging and compelling, and quite simply, if I wasn't already convinced it was the best Star Trek book, I'd be awarding it second place for writing style and characterisation alone. The only doubts I have are about the "Yesterday's Enterprise" universe - I don't remember them being all so rabidly paranoid in the episode.

    You don't have to know the Original Series to love this; you don't need to have seen "Yesterday's Enterprise"; you don't need anything but the time to work through a Giant Novel. However long it ends up taking you, it was worth it - it's undoubtedly the best TNG book written so far.

    (*)(*)(*)(*)

  • Back to book list


    METAMORPHOSIS [JEAN LORRAN]

    [Review by Toby Davis]

    Investigating a planet which lies at the centre of mysterious waves affecting passing ships, the away team finds a culture which reveres gods who live on an island, and who grant people the chances to go on quests to prove their worth for favours. Inadvertantly joining the Elysian woman Thelia on her quest, Data is granted his greatest wish - to become human. While he tries to get to grips with his new life, the Enterprise is caught up in a struggle over invading aliens attacking a peaceful system. Looks like he didn't pick a good day to have other things on his mind...

    I'm not sure about the basics of this plot, mainly because Data turned down the chance to become human a full series before this book is set (second season, with Pulaski as C.M.O.). Perhaps he's changed his mind... The first third or so of the book is taken up with Data and Thelia's quest, which to be honest isn't very Trekky. Once it's out of the way, we can return to something more approximating the series, but even so this isn't one of the most faithful to the feel of the show.

    Story gripes aside, the characterisation is nothing special, but competent; Enterprise crew are in general good enough with some occasional faults. Data, for example, laughing at something he finds amusing - and this is before he's been made human. Still, the characters were still being established that early on in TNG's life, so perhaps at the time we should have just grinned and beared it. Now, however, with a lot more TNG books around, both plots and characterisation can be a lot better. Unfortunately, some of the more recent writers don't seem to have realised it... On the whole, it's no worse than some recent ones; worst bit is the un-Trek quest plot, but once that's over, it's okay.

    (*)(*)

  • Back to book list


    IMZADI [PETER DAVID]

    [Review by Toby Davis]

    "Imzadi", incidentally, is what Troi used to call Riker when they dated before TNG began (it's Betazoid for "pumpkin" or "honeybunny"). When Troi dies of natural but rather unexplained causes, far from sharing our reaction Riker is a bit miffed, to say the least. (Strange man...) Many years after, as an old admiral, chubby and balding at last just like Jonathan Frakes, he starts looking back on how they met, and that relationship, which until now we've never really known much about. When he starts digging into how she died, he gets a little suspicious, and what with a handy Guardian of Forever lounging around doing nothing...

    It's a good book. It delves into the early Riker/Troi relationship without getting too much like an over-sentimental love story, and provides passable Trek along the way. It's obviously going to be a character-based book, with a time-travel plot over the top of it. There's a lot of insight into their relationship, which TNG itself has kept fairly quiet about. I was a bit surprised to find that their whole fling only lasted a few weeks; still Peter David manages to blend it in with what we do know well enough that it's all plausible stuff.

    Peter David writes good Trek. Half of the good ones in the library are his. This works well, with enough good charaterisation to keep us feeling as if they are who they're meant to be. It is more than simply a love story in Trek setting, but the main focus is Riker and Troi's falling for each other. David manages to sustain it with the same humour he weaves into all of his books, and makes it an enjoyable ride.

    ( )(*)(*)

  • Back to book list


    VENDETTA [PETER DAVID]

    [Review by Toby Davis]

    The Borg are back. Starfleet is back up to strength (with Shelby out as first officer on a starship), but they won't be able to pull the same trick again. This time, they're in real trouble. When a mysterious woman with a vendetta against the Borg arrives to destroy them, things aren't necessarily any better. Her plan will cause as much loss of life to innocent millions as the Borg themselves wreak. Picard must stop her - but as she is powerful enough to destroy the Borg, can they even hope to stop her?

    Interesting one, this. David brings back a TOS machine, Doomsday Machine Mark II, to combat a TNG enemy. Intriguing... It's orignal, at least. Better, it works, too. It's a believable plot, and bringing back the Borg is always going to be a popular move - which may be why they're in the next film... These are pre-"Descent" Borg, which may be a problem as some of the things here don't gel with what happens in "I, Borg". Still, that's always going to be the danger in writing for a series that's still running.

    Characters are good, as you'd expect; he brings in Shelby and, in the background, Pulaski as well as our favourite starship crew. They all go well enough in here, providing Trek rather than just science-fiction. Troi does seem to have a strange attitude to love - she keeps asking men "Do you love her?" about women they've met ten minutes ago. Ah well... She hasn't had much of a social life of her own since "The Price", poor lass. Anyway, it's a good book; while it doesn't have the same scope as Q Squared, it's a good read from a good author.

    ( )(*)(*)

  • Back to book list


    REUNION [MICHAEL JAN FRIEDMAN]

    [Review by Toby Davis]

    Picard's first officer from the Stargazer is to be crowned ruler of the Daa'Vit Empire, a member of the Federation. The old crew assemble on the Enterprise as it ferries him to the coronation, forming his honour guard for the ceremony. Someone, it seems, still has a grudge from the good old days, as the old crew begin to be killed off by a hidden assassin. Looks like Picard's new folks will have to sort this out, before everyone from the Stagazer - including its captain - are dead.

    Basically a murder-mystery on the Enterprise. People come on, get killed, and we're all waiting for Worf to don a little moustache and say "That, Monsieur, was your first mistake." Bless him. The main problem is that he's already got a moustache of his own... It's not blatantly obvious who the killer is, which is just as well. There's another book with a murder plot,

  • Back to book list


    THE DEVIL'S HEART [CARMEN CARTER]

    [Review by Toby Davis]

    The Devil's Heart has been found. A legend-shrouded stone which is supposed to confer amazing powers on its owner, there are many people who would like it back. Over the millenia, it has been owned by people from many different worlds - each of whom now wants to claim it for their own. Faced with a myriad of races willing to kill as many as necessary to get it, Picard must work out where it comes from, and what to do with it. That's if he can resist its compulsive grasp over whoever owns it...

    This book probably contains the most insight into the history of the Trek races of any fiction or non-fiction Trek books. We get to see how the Heart has influenced the course of events on many different worlds - Vulcan, Romulus, Qu'onos, and many more. It has been, quite simply, the shaper of the Star Trek universe. In flashbacks which the stone grants its owner, we see all of this happening. It would make quite a history textbook for the 24th century...

    It maybe relies too much on flashbacks, very dream-sequency, rather than concentrating enough on the TNG time with the characters, or at least situations, we know. Apart from that, it seems alright, and it does have to come close to Q Squared in sheer scope. It doesn't rely too much on TOS or TNG trivia to establish these histories, and Carter does work quite well to maintain the characters of the Enterprise crew pretty much as they should be.

    ( )(*)(*)

  • Back to book list


    UNIFICATION [JERI TAYLOR]

    [Review by Toby Davis]

    Ambassador Spock is missing. This time, the search for him takes the crew of the Enterprise-D to Romulus, where the Federation fears Spock may be defecting. If he is, the damage to Federation security could be massive... Picard and Data travel to the Romulan homeworld to track down the Vulcan, leaving Riker to figure out where parts of wrecked Vulcan ships are coming from, and why.

    The first major tie-in between TOS and TNG, "Unification" was a disappointment to some of the production team. They felt the second part was too talky, and there was a lack of chemistry between Picard and Spock on-screen. In short, then, these were television flaws, which shouldn't crop up in a novel. And nor do they. The plot is good, and that's presumbably due in part to Taylor's original input, as she wrote the first episode of the two. She builds on it here to eliminate the problems, giving us a believable story which works.

    We also get to understand what she meant the characters to feel in the episode, as here she is able to give a lot more depth of insight into their thoughts and motives than we can get from the episode. They're all okay, including that Spock bloke, and it doesn't feel too much like a novelisation rather than a story in its own right. It's a competent piece of work, and a good read. Don't let the fact you may have seen the episode already put you off. It's different enough to be worth a look even if you didn't like it when you watched it.

    ( )(*)(*)

  • Back to book list


    TRIANGLE:IMZADI II [PETER DAVID]

    [Review by Nic Mayer]

    After the events in Generations, Worf and Troi decide to get married. However, in doing so, Riker realises that he wants Troi instead of Worf. So he sets out to find her, but never gets there, and Tom Riker and Sela kidnap Troi and Alexander. Worf and Riker then have to find a way to rescue them using Tom Riker's help. In the course of doing so, Worf decides not to marry Troi after all, and Riker decides that he won't do anything either.

    The book makes things very confusing about which Riker is which, especially as they spend most of the time pretending to be each other. It does clear up the mystery of what happened between Worf and Troi, and sets things up for Insurrection, and Worf to marry Dax. Some of it is quite funny, as Troi's mum, Lwaxana, doesn't like Worf.

    Basically, its written by Peter David, so its bound to be a good book, really.



  • Back to book list


    THE CHILDREN OF HAMLIN [Carmen Carter]

    [Review by Colin Trump]

    Decades before the maiden voyage of the Enterprise-D a federation outpost at Hamlin was destroyed, the adults killed by the Choraii. Of the children no trace was ever found. Fifty years on the Choraii have appeared again and the Enterprise complete with Federation ambassador and his aid are sent to discover what became of the missing children.

    This book shows an interesting premise which is intelligently covered and the subplot of farmers who have rejected technology having to hitch a ride on the Enterprise to their new home provides some interest, especially when it become necessary to use some of the technology that they wish to avoid.



  • Back to book list


    SURVIVORS [Jean Lorrah]

    [Review by Colin Trump]

    The planet Treva is in the throws of violent revolution and Starfleet want the Enterprise to investigate. However due to an ongoing mission only Data and Tasha Yar can be spared. As the two officers approach the planet it becomes apparant that all is not what it seems as news broadcasts from the planet depict Starfleet as an instrument of war set to blast the revolutionaries into their component molecules. The situation becomes even more confused when it turns out that ex-Starfleet Commander and convicted traitor Darryl Adin is aiding the rebels, Tasha's ex-fiance.

    The action of Treva makes for an interesting read in it's own right but what I especially like about this book is the incites into Tasha's past which helps us understand more about the woman who met an untimely end at the hands of Armus. Additionally it introduces Darryl Adin who is a key figure in the giant novel Metamorphosis also available it the society library.



  • Back to book list


    MASKS []

    [Review by Nic Mayer]

    Picard, Troi and Worf beam down to Lorca, a planet where everyone wears masks. Accompanying them is a Federation Ambassador. But, the whole thing goes wrong when the Ambassador turns out to be mad and power-hungry. And worse than that, the away team goes missing, prompting Riker, Pulaski, Data and a couple of red-shirts to beam down to look for them.

    The idea of everyone wearing masks the entire time seems to be an odd one, but as the crew discover more about the planet they find the good things about them. Although due to the constant mask-swopping that goes on, most of the people in the story have no idea who the half the others there are.

    The story does tend to be dragged out a bit. It is a good story, but would probably have done better to be only half the length it was.



  • Back to book list


    THE CAPTAIN'S HONOUR []

    [Review by Nic Mayer]

    The Enterprise is sent to help Captain Sejanus of the Centurion to protect the peaceful Federation planet of Tenara from a cat-like race called the M'Dok. Every member of the crew of the Centaurion comes from a Roman-like planet, and so they believe that the way to protect Tenara is not to negotiate with the M'Dok, but to turn everyone on the planet into Romans without Picard finding out what is going on.

    The main story is of Sejanus, with Tenara being a plot device to get the two ships together. Hence the reason a lot more goes on with this story. Most of the book is devoted to explanations of the Magna Roman society the crew of the Centurion come from. And then the deception of the captain becomes more and more obvious.

    The story's good, but neither really get resolved. The whole truth about what's happening doesn't get revealed until the final chapter, and then both stories get a mention in the epilogue. It would have been nice if the situation with the M'Dok had been developed some more. On the whole it is a very engaging read.



  • Back to book list


    DOOMSDAY WORLD [CARMEN CARTER, PETER DAVID, MICHAEL JAN FRIEDMAN & ROBERT GREENBERGER]

    [Review by Colin Trump]

    Kirlos is a world that has interested archaeologists since its discovery because it is artificially constructed. It is also disputed, as both the Federation and K'Vin claim it, plus having an intelligent native population, the Sullurh. Geordi, Data and Worf are sent to Kirlos to help with an archaeological dig whilst the Enterprise investigates an attack on a Federation colony. However, before the work can begin, a spate of terrorist attacks threaten to place the K'Vin and the Federation at war with one another, as most of the K'Vin think the Enterprise officers are responsible.

    A neat, if a little confusing story which doesn't exactly require Sherlock Holmes to work out who is responsible for these terrorist attacks. If you read it, look out for Geordi's question and answer session with a local barkeeper running somewhere along these lines:

    "What is the average wind speed of an unlaiden swallow?"

    "European or African?"



  • Back to book list


    FORTUNE'S LIGHT [MICHAEL JAN FRIEDMAN]

    [Review by Nic Mayer]

    Years ago, when he was a Lieutenant, Will Riker and his friend Teller Conlon found themselves on a planet called Imprima. Now, Riker has been called back there as this friend, the trade liaison for Imprima, has been accused of smuggling, and more seriously of stealing a jewel that means an important merge between two governments cannot occur. As Riker knows the territory he is ordered to investigate in the midst of Imprima's Carnival, which also involves a high-tech ban.

    The Enterprise crew blatantly flaunt this ban, but then so do all the bad guys - the ones that want to kill Riker. Well, it wouldn't be dramatic enough if no-one did, would it?

    The story is also a `whodunnit', albeit not a very good one. Riker and his colleague accidentally stumble on the answer, then get the bad guys to confess on record. Obviously not very clever baddies. On the basis of this story, I can't decide whether I like it or not. It definitely has its moments, and its cliches.

    However, the `B' story is the more interesting one (despite the fact I don't understand any of the terminology). Data's job, while Riker's gone, is to play a game of baseball. It sounds boring, but it's not, and I think that this story makes the book a big improvement. I think that clinches it - I like this book.



  • Back to book list


    Q IN LAW [PETER DAVID]

    [Review by Nic Mayer]

    Set not long after Q had his powers taken away from him and then restored, this book concerns the meeting of ST: TNG's most comic characters: Q and Lwaxana Troi. Basically, they fall in love and Q disrupts the wedding of the spacefaring race called Tizarin being held on the Enterprise.

    Any book with either Q or Lwaxana Troi in is bound to be full of comedy, but the two of them together is another thing entirely. Fortunately, the ever-competent Peter David manages to pull it off. The plot is really just an excuse to get the two characters together and create havoc around the ship.

    Many of the main characters get paired off: Wesley's exploits with a semi-naked Tizarin girl are funny; and Riker proposes to Counselor Troi (although she tells him where he can stick it). Finding living people outside the ship becomes a regular occurence with Q around, and Data gets the best comedic lines. Definitely a hilarious read.



  • Back to book list


    CHAINS OF COMMAND [Bill McCay and Eloise Flood]

    [Review by Colin Trump]

    The Enterprise is on a survey mission when it is hailed from a seemingly dead world. Unfortunately this is a planet where humans are slaves to an alien race and the site of "free" humans is enough to start a revolt. A message pod is sent from the planet to warn the aliens of the revolt which coincidently disables the Enterprise. Now with time running out before the captures come to stamp out the revolution the rebel leader Koban kidnaps Picard and Troi in order to force the Enterprise to fight their war for them.

    I greatly enjoyed this book although which ever of the authors decided to make the alien slavers look like giant chickens should probably be taken out and shot now as a kindness.



  • Back to book list


    IMBALANCE [VE MITCHELL]

    [Review by Toby Davis]

    The Jarada, of "The Big Goodbye", have contacted the Federation to ask about joining. Picard and co. pop over in the Enterprise to have a chat with their leaders, and get the guided tour of the capital city on their colony world. Soon, though, the away team is separated from each other, and all of a sudden, it doesn't seem like a very safe place to be any more.

    The plot is fair enough, with a more action-oriented feel than we usually get from TNG - more like "The Game" or "Starship Mine" than the fluffy-bunny stories. What I don't like is the writing style - we get a chapter on each member's problems, in turn. After a chapter on what's happening to Riker, followed by one about Worf, one about Crusher, and one on Keiko O'Brien and another botanist, we've more or less forgotten about Riker by the time we get back to him. It breaks up the flow of the story rather a lot, giving a jerky, uncohesive feel to it.

    Characters are okay but definitely nothing special. The Jarada make good enough aliens of the week, and it sheds a little more light on "The Big Goodbye". Very much a "this week's episode" rather than the more ambitious larger novels, but it's worth a read. Let's face it - we've seen all the epsiodes they'll make of TNG, so you may as well read some new ones.

    ( )(*)

  • Back to book list


    WAR DRUMS [John Vornholt]

    [Review by Colin Trump]

    The human colony of Selva sends out a distress call saying it is being attacked by Klingons and the Enterprise is sent to investigate. It transpires that there is a small group of Klingon children on Selva survivors of a crash who have lived there entire lives without the benefit of Klingon elders to guide them in the ways of honor etc that their race find so important. Sadly these attacks have continued for so long that the settlers have degenerated to the ways of bigotry and racial hatred, objecting strongly to Picard's choice of a non-human away team, especially the inclusion of Worf.

    I like this book and the late plot twists in the story make for welcome and unexpected surprises.



  • Back to book list


    GROUNDED [DAVID BISHOFF]

    [Review by Nic Mayer]

    When they answer a distress call, the crew of the Enterprise find two people, lots of mud and no explanations. After fiddling around doing not very much they discover this mud is malevolent and it trys to take over the ship. At a nearby Starbase, an Admiral decides the Enterprise must be destroyed, and so the crew attempt to stop this happening.

    The book starts off at the Starbase, explains why they're there, then returns to the Starbase. Not much happens after they reach Phaedra and the story is very slow, until they come up with a solution right at the last minute (so much like a typical Next Gen episoden then).

    The crew get really upset about being broken up and about losing their ship, which doesn't really work in light of the events in Generations. And they do go on a bit as well. The rest of the story's alright, if slow. It's not an incredibly exciting book, but it's still better than some of the others.



  • Back to book list


    GUISES OF THE MIND [REBECCA NEASON]

    [Review by Toby Davis]

    It's that time again: a world is ready to join the Federation (although they look a hell of a lot less ready than Bajor does, and they're still waiting...), and the Enterprise is cruising along to sign the last forms when Capulon's ruler is crowned in a few days time. And to really make the party go with a swing, they've brought a bunch of nuns along with them. When they arrive, though, they find the crown prince set against joining the Federation. What Picard doesn't know is that there's an old non-Trek plot being recycled here - it's an imposter, the evil twin brother, supposedly killed at birth in accordance with Capulon law. Can they unmask the impostor in time?

    More to the point, can they get away with doing that? Neason brushes away Prime Directive considerations by having the crew say "Oh, it's just as well they haven't joined the Federation yet, or we wouldn't we able to interfere..." As far as I'm aware, the Prime Directive should, if anything, apply even more strongly in the case of non-aligned worlds. Still... Once that objection's out of the window, it's time to have a luckily telepathc nun on hand, to work with Troi against the mental influence of the evil prince. There's handy. It's a pity Picard and the two of them have been drugged and imprisoned, then...

    You may have gathered I've got problems with the plot. The characters on the planet are handled fairly well, but the Enterprise crew are themselves here, which is the saving grace of the book. One thing that can really irritate you when you're reading a Trek book is if the author seems never to have watched a single episode. You don't get that here: they're perfectly competently written. While the plot concerns may put you off the book, the writing's good enough to make up for it. At least the plot's less improbable than some... All told, a good enough read, with the regular crew nicely in place.

    (*)(*)

  • Back to book list


    HERE THERE BE DRAGONS [JOHN PEEL]

    [Review by Colin Trump]

    An interstellar cloud made up of tachyon streams capable of ripping apart every living cell in a human body would hardly be considered as the ideal holiday destination, and yet out of one such cluster comes an Earth Pleasure Cruiser intent on firing upon the Galaxy-class USS Enterprise. To confound the crew even more a man claims there is a planet at the centre of the cluster, colonised by 13th Century Germans and dragons.

    This book stretches plausability to its limits, but if you are willing to ignore the shaky science this book is a fun, if sometimes confusing read.



  • Back to book list


    REQUIEM [MICHAEL JAN FRIEDMAN & KEVIN RYAN]

    [Review by Toby Davis]

    In 2267, the Gorn attacked a Federation colony on Cestus III, killing all but one of the colonists. When the Enterprise pursued them, an alien race called the Metrons selected James Kirk and the Gorn captain to fight to the death to decide the outcome of their battle. While on the Stargazer, Picard negotiated a treaty with the Gorn. Now, with the Gorn ruler losing his grip on power, Picard is needed to maintain the treaty. As luck would have it, he finds himself stranded a century in the past... on Cestus III three days before the Gorn come to kill them all...

    Interesting idea. It puts Picard in a very awkward situation; he can't disrupt the timeline by warning the colonists of what's going to happen, and if he stays put he'll get killed along with everyone else. When keeping quiet means letting a planet of colonists get killed by a merciless foe, we get to see how Picard handles a nice big ethical problem like this. It's the main focus of the story; we've also got the Enterprise crew in the "present" looking for Picard, with time running out before the conference on the Gorn homeworld, but Cestus III is the main focus. It's not a slow, pondering ethical story, but one with action, adventure, and all that you could want. It's quite good, really.

    Picard, as main character, should be the one to deserve most careful portrayal, and Friedman and Ryan have done him well. The rest of the Enterprise people are fine as well, and the colonists are believable original characters. Basically, they've done a good job on the story and on telling it, making a good TNG novel.

    ( )(*)(*)

  • Back to book list


    BALANCE OF POWER [DAFYDD AB HUGH]

    [Review by Toby Davis]

    When famed Federation scientist Dr Zorka dies, his son puts up all his inventions for auction. While Geordi thinks they're all nonsense, every race has to bid for them, just in case the weapons among them actually do everything that's claimed of them. Meanwhile, everyone's favourite cadet, Wesley Crusher, is in trouble with Ferengi - and is working as a cabin boy aboard the ship of two Ferengi who have a device to forge gold-pressed latinum. Never happened to me at university... Yet. Maybe if I hang round Cholo more...

    Interestingly enough, the cover features Picard and Geordi - maybe Pocket Books have realised that a book about Wesley won't sell. And it is, basically, a Wesley story. This stuff with the Ferengi is the main plot, with the auction around as a bit of background tension and intrigue. If you like the idea of a Wesley book, then read on. If you don't, don't despair just yet - he's nothing like as annoying as he is in the series. In fact, it's hard to say that it's Wesley after all. It's fair enough science-fiction, although all very much tongue in cheek, but not Wesley, and not Trek.

    The issue of money in Trek has never really been sorted out properly. Ab Hugh tries to come up with an explanation for it all, but I don't know if it's really convincing. It's the fault of the show rather than him in particular, though. I was surprised to see that the book was by him; it's very different from the dark and macabre Fallen Heroes. It's a comedy, with Ferengi in there as clowns. As I've said elsewhere, it's forgivable as that's all they really are in the series anyway. It had me laughing out loud in one or two places - it's not very Trek-like, and it's not like Wesley (thank God), but it's an enjoyable read, even if the characterisation is appalling, and the notion of a Wesley novel frightening.

    (*)(*)

  • Back to book list


    BLAZE OF GLORY [SIMON HAWKE]

    [Review by Toby Davis]

    A pirate in a Constellation-class starship is raiding shipping near a system by the Neutral Zone, and the Enterprise is called in to stop it. Picard also has the task of investigating, and stopping, any Romulan intervention in the local politics. The ruler of the system seems to be playing a line between the Romulans and the Federation, using the Prime Directive to keep his position secure. While Riker and co. track down the pirates, Picard has orders to find a way of stopping the Romulans - even though he may have to throw out the Prime Directive to do it...

    Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of synthehol... Some of the most powerful Trek has come from situations where the science-fiction setting is necessary for the story. However, this novel may achieve fairly closely what Gene Roddenberry originally intended for Star Trek - "C. S. Forester's Hornblower in space" was one of his original premises for the series. Certainly this story is nothing more than a conversion of an 18th Century pirate story into a setting six hundred years later. That doesn't mean it's good TNG material.

    The main plot offers little of interest. The sub-plot about possible Romulan intervention is unfulfilling, leaving you with the hope, at this point, that the writing's enough to rescue it. Once the author grows out of punctuating narrative descriptions of the settings with "Riker thought", alternating with "thought Riker", the writing improves to a competent level. Nothing special, mind you, but definitely acceptable. There are a couple of small errors with the TNG crew, but it's the rest of the characters which are two-dimensional, not our favourites. Basically, then, it's a high seas yarn in Trek setting. Could be worse; at least the writing isn't as bad as the plot.

    ( )(*)

  • Back to book list


    RELICS [MICHAEL JAN FRIEDMAN, READ BY JAMES DOOHAN]

    [Review by Toby Davis]

    The Enterprise stumbles across a Dyson sphere, a huge hollow sphere constructed around a sun, the size of a planet's orbit. Crashed on the surface is the USS Genolan, a small starship which went missing over seventy years ago. Some engineering genius figured out how to use the transporter systems to hold himself in stasis until rescue arrives. Unfortunately, it's Scotty. Feeling his age and finding himself in a time that's moved on without him, he tries to cope in this new era. But who better to have on hand when disaster strikes the Enterprise again...?

    The episode was quite good. The novel was probably okay. The audio version, however... It's a real pity it was a Scotty episode, as some bright spark then thought of getting wee Jimmy Doohan in to read this out. Needless to say, he does Scotty's voice quite well... although that's about the best you can say for it. Every other voice he attempts fails miserably. Data sounds like Robby the Robot, and from there on out it gets worse. And as for Guinan... until she came along (although she's not in the episode), I thought I'd heard the worst. Alas, no...

    But we shouldn't let that ruin a good episode. Hell, it's worth it just for the entertainment value of hearing how appalling the whole thing is. It is possible to listen to it seriously, but you'd be far better off borrowing it for the sake of having a really good laugh. It would have been better if he'd simply read it out, instead of trying all the voices. Ah well... It gets bonus marks for entertainment value, the same way 50's black-and-white horror films do. They may be terrible, but that's where the fun lies.

    ( )(*)

  • Back to book list