Voyager

VOYAGER



  • 1. Caretaker - Novel
  • 2. The Escape - Novel
  • 5. Incident at Arbuk - Novel
  • 7. Ghost of a Chance - Novel
  • 9. The Final Fury - Novel in the Invasion story
  • Equinox - Episode Novelisation
  • Captain Proton: Defender of the Earth - Comic style




    CARETAKER [L A GRAF]

    [Review by Toby Davis]

    A Maquis ship is swept up by a coherent tetryon pulse in the Badlands. Captain Kathryn Janeway, of the USS Voyager, the only Starfleet ship equipped to navigate through the Badlands, is going after it. With her new ship and crew, and an ex-Maquis convict, they travel to where the Maquis ship was last seen. When they get swept to the Delta Quadrant, they find a whole new adventure is confronting them. And this time, they can't afford to hold old grudges if they want to survive...

    The best pilot episode so far, Caretaker starts well. As with the episode, the book drops us straight into the action, and Graf uses writing style well to alter the mood once the initial teaser is over. It's a very accomplished book; I was quite impressed. Obviously the story is already there, but that doesn't mean it would have been impossible to mess it up. Thankfully, it all goes alright. Writing style is fine, and merges well with the feel of the story. The characters fit in okay with how we see them after a few more episodes, so basically, this is going to be a short review, because it's a good adaptation of a good episode.

    (*)(*)(*)

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    THE ESCAPE []

    [Review by Nic Mayer]

    When Captain Janeway decides the Voyager needs replacement parts they find a deserted planet. When they go to investigate, Kim, Torres and Neelix are transported 300,000 years into the planet's past, which turns out to be a crime on the planet Alcawell and is punished by death. Janeway, together with a few Alcawellians, have to find a way round the system to get them back.

    Given that this is the first original Voyager book written the characterisation is very good, although it is dated by calling the Doctor 'Doc Zimmerman'. The author even pairs up Tuvok and Paris long before it was ever done in the series. The story is also well thought out, along with the many consequences of time-travel.

    The only disappointing part of the book (other than Neelix not ending up dead) is that we don't get to see any of the escape attempts because of the time-travel involved. Also, given the number of people on board the ship there should be enough people to look for replacement parts and fix the ship, as well as rescuing the away team. This is a good Voyager book though.



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    INCIDENT AT ARBUK [JOHN GREGGORY BETANCOURT]

    [Review by Toby Davis]

    When Voyager receives a distress call from a battle scene, they approach cautiously. Finding the only survivor unconscious, and no sign of deliberate attack, all they can do is try to piece events together from what remains. Soon, however, Captain Janeway finds her ship caught in the middle of a fight for possession of a superweapon which could destroy a ship like Voyager instantly.

    It's a thin book. That's what strikes you immediately when you pick it up, and especially when you see that the cover designers were expecting it to be a lot thicker too. Still, that's not necessarily a bad thing - if one novel equates to a film or two episodes' worth, a thin one should still give enough to get your teeth into. Unfortunately, there aren't any twists in the plot. If Betancourt had written Romeo and Juliet, the plot would have gone "Boy meets girl". The main plot is handled well enough, and there's a subplot too, although of dubious merit, but a more complex main story would have been appreciated.

    The main characters here are Tuvok, Janeway, Neelix and Torres. They fit the people we know well enough, in what they do and what they say. This week's aliens are hardly inspired, but perform quite adequately. On the whole, Betancourt has managed the new crew well enough. It's a pity he slips up on minor details: the stardate given is before the pilot episode, and I'm sure that any request to a turbolift for deck 19, on a ship which only has 15 decks, shouldn't really be obeyed. Still, poor research doesn't mean it has to be a poor novel. It's not bad, simply a bit flat. Given, as with the X-Files, that there aren't many books for this series out yet, it's worth putting up with the flaws, and reading this one while you wait for more to come along. ( )(*)

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    GHOST OF A CHANCE [MCGRAW & GARLAND]

    [Review by Toby Davis]

    Strange dreams of mysterious beings coincide with finding a planet with some unusual energy signatures. Someone's doing some hi-tech work on a backward planet - and Girl Guide Janeway leaps in to find out exactly who's doing what to whom. (She very grammatical, you see). The alien ship in orbit seems unthreatening - and their representatives seem strangely suited to the personalities of the Voyager crew. There's trouble in store - and some discoveries to be made.

    Both book and plot are a lot less flimsy than Incident At Arbuk, and it has a fairly Voyager feel of the series to it. Not quite right, mind, but then as most people seem not to like Voyager, maybe you won't consider that a problem. The plot isn't overly obvious, and is paced fairly well. The crew seem a little unusually dense with realising what's going on, but again that may suit your impression of Janeway's gang.

    Characters are a little flawed but on the whole okay. There's nothing special about the book, but then you can't demand every Trek novel be a Booker Prize winner. Especially as I doubt if U.S. novels are eligible. I digress. It's a decent read, with a plot that probably wouldn't be seen in the series, and average characterisation. Get it out, have a read, and see if you prefer it to the series.

    (*)(*)

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    EQUINOX [DIANE CAREY]

    [Review by Nic Mayer]

    The crew of the Voyager answer a Starfleet distress call and find the USS Equinox, who have also been stranded in the Delta Quadrant for five years. However, they have found a method of travelling faster. But this method involves killing innocent aliens, who are fighting back. In order to stop the atrocities Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay examine the Prime Directive and Starfleet orders, and discuss where the line is.

    This book is based on the episodes Equinox and Equinox part 2, and it is very good. It is incredibly easy to see the point of view of both sides, and is difficult to see who is in the wrong in the end. The suffering of the crew of the Equinox is easy to see as well.

    The reasons that the Equinox crew did what they are explored, as Janeway starts to head in that direction, only to be saved by Chakotay. The ending is not entirely obvious either, as both captains are equally volatile, and break the rules.



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    CAPTAIN PROTON: DEFENDER OF THE EARTH [DW 'PROF' SMITH]

    [Review by Nic Mayer]

    Captain Proton meets two of the elder races in the galaxy when his secretary Miss Goodhart is kidnapped. Ace reporter Buster Kincaid attempts to rescue Captain Proton, and Miss Goodhart is reduced in size by balloon-type creatures.

    The book is written like an old comic, with the three stories in, each of which are seen from the point of view of a different character. There are letters, including one from Benny Russell. The most interesting are the sections on what life will be like in the year 2000, both on Earth and on Mercury. The stories aren't Shakespeare, but then they're not supposed to be. Taken with a pinch of salt, and a recollection of what people thought the future might turn out to be back in the mid 1900's, the book is very good.



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