Library Computer: Review “Mirror Universe: Shards & Shadows” Anthology (Pt. 1) + 2010 Books Update | TrekMovie.com
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Library Computer: Review “Mirror Universe: Shards & Shadows” Anthology (Pt. 1) + 2010 Books Update January 9, 2009

by Robert Lyons , Filed under: Books,Review , trackback

Pocket Books’ successful foray into the Mirror Universe in 2007 paved the way for twelve new stories from Star Trek’s dark side. This edition of the Library Computer looks at five tales from January’s "Shards and Shadows" anthology. We also have an update and news on Pocket Books plans for big Trek mini-series in 2010.

 

REVIEW (Part 1) – Star Trek: Mirror Universe – Shards and Shadows
The new "Mirror Universe: Shards and Shadows" anthology is jam packed with a dozen short stories. To give each its due we are breaking up our review of the anthology into two articles. This week, our review focuses on stories from the Enterprise, Original Series, and Next Generation era; giving us quality time with Trip Tucker, Robert April, Chris Pike, Jim Kirk, Spock, Jean-Luc Picard, and other familiar faces in their mirrored alter-egos.

"Nobunaga"
by Dave Stern

Dave Stern shares a compelling, if not confusing, tale of Trip Tucker in "Nobunga", the lead-off hitter in the "Shards and Shadows" anthology. In the wake of a serious injury, Trip is faced with a hazy past and future in which only death is certain.

Stern does an outstanding job of keeping you guessing all through the tale, and the final revelation is, at once, both exciting and disappointing (disappointing because of what Trip discovers – not because of the writing!).

"Ill Winds"
by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore

Forget the mild-mannered statesman and kindly doctor among the stars that "The Counter-Clock Incident" (TAS) introduced us to. Meet a new Robert and Sarah April – a stern commodore and a ruthless doctor – whose long-term service to the Imperial Starfleet have rightfully gained the fear of most senior officers in the fleet. Visiting the I.S.S. Indomitable, the duo serve up their own kind of justice after a botched operation results in an undesirable outcome for the Empire. With the clean-up complete, Commodore April and the Constellation take the lead as the Empire races to discover the secret of a Klingon weapons program, one that holds the power to incinerate a planet with no effort at all.

"Ill Winds" reads like a middle-range episode of the Original Series. There are numerous interesting plot points that are brought up by Ward and Dilmore, but the brevity of the format results in a somewhat disappointing read. Dialogue is often swallowed up by narrative, which can make it difficult to get a true feeling for any of the characters in the story.

"The Greater Good"
by Margaret Wander Bonanno

A few years back, Margaret Wander Bonanno painted the authoritative portrait of Captain Christopher Pike in "Burning Dreams". In "The Greater Good" she returns to Chris Pike’s life – but this time it is a co-opted Pike, whose entire life has been subjected to a dark secret; one that James Kirk is determined to extract from him, even at the price of Pike’s life.

Bonanno’s story finds its genesis in a very brief statement from "Mirror, Mirror" – the crew dossier which specifies that Kirk rose to command of the vessel through the assassination of Pike. At the same time, it draws Pike into the story in an interesting and compelling way. Bonanno’s vision of the mirror Pike shows a man very similar to the one we first met in the cabin sequence of "The Cage"… a Pike whose life isn’t what it should be. Bonanno takes it to the next level by showing what happens when someone in the alter-verse continues to feel this way, drowning his sorrows in liquor and a false bravado.

Pike, while fully treated, doesn’t detract from Jim Kirk’s time in the limelight, as he makes a visit to visit Dr. Simon van Gelder and Dr. Tristan Adams on a psychiatric colony… where he makes an amazing discovery that holds the potential for laying waste to anyone who stands in the way of his career ambitions.

Bonanno’s story holds a strong balance of background and storytelling, and, though we know in advance how the story must end, Bonanno proves that sometimes it is the journey that is more than half the fun.

"The Black Flag"
by James Swallow

Talk about your intrigue… James Swallow’s entry in Shards and Shadows has it in spades… all a part of a story that will thrill fans of the Vanguard series, while still being accessible to those who haven’t read page one of the recent Trek literary series. And while the historian’s note that leads into the story indicates that the story is something a sequel to a story in the Glass Empires anthology, don’t avoid this tale if you haven’t read the preceding piece.

Swallow, whose 2008 "Day of the Vipers" energized the Terok Nor trilogy from the get-go brings his vibrant, fast paced writing to the short story format in "The Black Flag", which examines a particular incident in the behind-the-scenes struggle for control of the Empire. As Spock and T’Prynn work to effect change in the midst of the Empire, Commodore Diego Reyes has begun laying the foundations for his own little piece of the action (no Iotains included – for good or for ill) in the Taurus Reach.

Swallow’s story is intricate and has a great deal of depth. It could easily be expanded into a stand-alone novel (as TrekMovie recently shared would happen with David Mack’s "The Sorrows of Empire") that would be accessible and enjoyable for any reader. With Klingons, Tholians, Vulcan ‘underworld’ intrigue, and a rough-and-at-‘em battle to fit into "The Black Flag", Swallow manages to avoid shorting any element of the story and provides an engaging reading experience.

"The Traitor"
by Michael Jan Friedman

Michael Jan Friedman gives us an exposure to the early days of the Terran resistance in "The Traitor", giving us the chance to meet two familiar faces from the TNG era while, at the same time, exploring the lives of his "Stargazer" series crew in the Mirror Universe.

No previous exposure to the "Stargazer" series is needed to explain anything in the story, so don’t let that become a roadblock to reading this one. At the same time, the ending feels somewhat contrived, leaving an interesting premise in search of a compelling conclusion.
 


"Mirror Universe: Shards and Shadows" available now at Amazon

 

UPDATE on Pocket’s 2010 Plans –
New Mini Series Coming + more details on Shattered Light anthology

[spoilers]

Two weeks ago TrekMovie ran a feature previewing Pocket Books plans for 2009 and also diving a bit into 2010. Today we have some more details and clarifications on the 2010 plans. The 2009/2010 preview article noted that Pocket is introducing a new alien threat called ‘The Typhon Pact’ in 2009, and it will be featured prominently in the 24th century Star Trek books in 2010. The article also previewed a sketch for a new design of the USS Aventine and noted it will appear on at least one cover in 2010 as part of a new series. Pocket Books Star Trek editor Margaret Clark has now given us more details on this series, telling TrekMovie she is planning a new mini series titled ‘The Typhon Pact’ which will be structured like the Destiny Trilogy, covering multiple captains and multiple ships (including the Aventine). The series will kick off around the summer of 2010 and will be longer than a trilogy, but Clark could not be pinned down to exactly how many books. She also said that, at this time, there were no plans for a standalone series of ‘Aventine’ books, but Capt. Dax and the Aventine will continue to be part of the new ‘meta story’ that will be woven into the 24th century Star Trek novels.


USS Aventine concept…final ship will be featured on the cover of one of the ‘Typhon Pact’ books in 2010

We also have a correction from the original article regarding the "Shattered Light" Myriad Universe anthology of three novellas. The original article revealed that Scott Pearson would be doing a ‘what if?’ Sulu story, but Pearson’s entry will actually be focused on Arne Darvin with a timeline that kicks off after an alternate take on "Troubles with Tribbles." There is a Sulu story in the book, and that is being written by Steven Mollmann and Michael Schuster and will be set in an alternative TOS movie era and deal with both Hikaru and his daughter Demora Sulu. As previously reported, the third entry will be a TNG story by David R. George. "Myriad Universe: Shattered Light" is slated to arrive August 2010.

 

NEXT TIME…
This is a busy month for Star Trek books. Next week The Library Computer concludes its look at the "Shards and Shadows" anthology and in coming weeks, we’ll also be looking at Kevin Ryan’s new TOS novel "Sacrifices of War" and we return to the 24th century with Keith R.A. DeCandido in "A Singular Destiny".


New arrivals from Pocket:
"Errand of Fury 3: Sacrifices of War" (available now)
"Singular Destiny" (coming out in late January)

 

Comments

1. Brett Campbell - January 9, 2009

Why not simply call it “Shardows?”

2. Capt Mike Of The Terran Empire - January 9, 2009

This is great. They are finaly showing my Empire the way it should be. The terran empire will always rule and will always be the domanant Empire. Not the Puny klingons or the Romulans. Long Live the Terran Empire.

3. Capt Mike Of The Terran Empire - January 9, 2009

These are great Books and I can’t wait to read them as they are so Entertaining. I hope they do a book where we see Empress Sato after she took over the Defiant and how she did in takeing over the Empire.

4. Will H. - January 9, 2009

that concept ship looks kinda cool, reminds me of the USS Excalibur ship from Bridge Commander which Ive always loved the design of. Sick of all the small ships they seem to be making.

5. RedShark - January 9, 2009

Capt Mike, in one of the earlier mirror anthologies, we see what happens with Hoshi. It’s called Glass Shadows. Hope that helps.
:)

6. Capt Mike of the Terran Empire - January 9, 2009

Hey Thanks. Ill look it Up. Always good to read about the Empire.

7. noirgwio - January 9, 2009

I got really lucky recently when in a local Books-a-million, I stumbled upon VAN: Harbinger… I am almost done with it. It is yet another fantastic book! The 6th Trek book I have read so far. The others being all 3 Destiny books and The Good That Men Do/Kobyashi Maru. I have yet to get into M/U books, but was pleased to note mention of a Reg/U Capt. Pike one. I love the Menagerie, and am intrigued by Pike; Robert April too, for that matter. So I’ve been wanting to find some novels feat. them. I gotta see if I can pick up Burning Dreams – Can anyone suggest any other Pike or April books? Thanx in advance!

8. Andy Patterson - January 9, 2009

“The Greater Good”
by Margaret Wander Bonanno

Hmmm…..sounds very interesting. “The Greater Good”. Wonder if Simon Pegg’s read it. “The Greater Good”

9. bolianbob - January 9, 2009

Now that is one kewl looking ship. Are you seeing this Cryptic?

10. тymeκ - January 9, 2009

loving the new ship design!!
would love a model of this!

11. brady - January 9, 2009

Try the Marvel comic books…Early voyages. The arts great as well as the stories. Pike at his best.

12. Izbot - January 9, 2009

9. bolianbob –
“Now that is one kewl looking ship. Are you seeing this Cryptic?”

I second both sentiments!

13. Elrond L - January 9, 2009

#8 Andy:
Very nice. :-)

And yeah, the Aventine is one sweet ship.

14. sherlockfreak - January 9, 2009

I bought “Sacrifices of War” on December 30…

It’s not supposed to be out until this month, and it even says 2009 on the back of the book…

I bought a Star Trek book from the FUTURE!!!

**Yes, yes, I know that Trekmovie said in the first book article last week that some stores had it already, but I like saying that my book came from the future! ; )

15. Enterprise - January 10, 2009

Uh, no, it was probably printed last summer and only now showing up on shelves.

16. sherlockfreak - January 10, 2009

#15
This article on Dec. 30 http://trekmovie.com/2008/12/30/preview-of-star-trek-books-for-2009-and-2010/

“2009 kicks off with the final book in Kevin Ryan’s Errand of Fury Series “Errand of Fury 3: Sacrifices of War” (which actually may be in some stores already).”

And thank you, I understand how book printing works, I was referring to the fact that it’s one of the first books to come out this year (2009) but **I** bought it in a store on the second to last day of last year (2008). As I wrote before, I was being silly in saying that it came from the “future.”

17. Ralph F - January 10, 2009

Actually, with my Kindle, I’ve been re-reading a lot of old TREK novels (the post-TMP Pocketbook line). Some of them really, really suck, but some are quite good.

The problem I have with the modern era of Trek novels is that there’s too many crossovers and too much modern Trek history to keep track of. I much more enjoyed the “episodic” novels.

YMMV, of course.

18. Keith R.A. DeCandido - January 10, 2009

#7: Other Pike books besides MWB’s “Burning Dreams” include “The Rift” by Peter David, “Captain’s Table: Where Sea Meets Sky” by Jerry Oltion, and “Vulcan’s Glory” by D.C. Fontana (yes, THAT D.C. Fontana *grin*)

#15: Er, no. Books are printed about a month before they go on sale, not six months…

19. bolianbob - January 10, 2009

17:

I love the modern trek books. To me there is nothing better then sitting down on a sunday afternoon and reading a trek novel in one sitting. I love the plots and bascially, the message that trek keeps on moving forward.

However, you are completely correct when u say the crossovers and modern trek history can get to convoluted. I’m working my way through the DS9 novel’s and half the time I have to go back and re-read a book I had read months or even years before, just to keep track of the flow of history.

Excuse my ignorance, but when you saw ‘episodic’ novels, are you refering to the ones that are based on actual episodes?

20. McCoy's Gall Bladder - January 10, 2009

I love the Mirror Universe

I’m really interested in the Pike story

I think van Gelder was one of Trek’s best characters.

I really liked Ron Tracy, who was the same only less so.

21. noirgwio - January 10, 2009

Thanks 11 & 18 for the Pike book recomendations, I’ve added them to my list of books to check out!

22. Simon - January 10, 2009

The “Aventine” has quantum-slipstream drive, so the lines are going to reflect what Starfleet knows about ships that use that drive: all they have is what Janeway brought back about the “Dauntless” so her lines are going to be similar…and ties into the “Enterprise” episode where the future Enterprise-J is fighting the Sphere Builders. In the background you can see a “Dauntless” (along with a Prometheus-class and a Nova-class).

23. sherlockfreak - January 10, 2009

#17
Which of those do you like? I have been grabbing up all that I can find over the past year, and have really enjoyed some of them.

So far, I have read “The Entropy Effect”, “Black Fire”, “Memory Prime”, and “Legacy”. I have also read the novelizations of II, III, V, and VI, as well as “Probe” and “Sarek”. Those are all, I think, that fall between TMP and the books written within the last 15-ish years.

Are there any others that you would recommend? Any books that ANYONE here would recommend??

24. brady - January 11, 2009

I ejoyed Q squared which had trelane as a Q as well as the glowing ball in Day of the Dove. Also Dark Mirror was great, although set like the Mirror Universe has continued from Mirror Mirror and has an evil Picard and ISS Enterprise. It was written before DS9 explored the canon,but I’m sure you can use a quantum physics excuse to enjoy the book lol.

25. Josh - January 12, 2009

Final Frontier by Diane Carey – Set before the TOS Enterprise’s launch, it features Robert April, George Kirk, and a young Jim Kirk.

Assignment: Eternity by Greg Cox- Gary Seven, Roberta, and Isis in the 23rd century.

Also, I’m currently reading Duane’s Spock’s World.

26. sherlockfreak - January 13, 2009

Brady,
I saw “Q Squared” in a bookstore once but didn’t buy it. I’ll have to look for it again. :)

Josh
I have “Assignment: Eternity” and “Spock’s World” but haven’t read them yet.

I just finished Crucible: Kirk, and I really enjoyed it. I had read the Spock one before, but haven’t been able to find the McCoy one. If I find that one, I’ll definitely read it.

I started “Errand of Fury: Book 3″ and it’s a little slow during the parts that aren’t on the Enterprise (or basically, the parts that aren’t “Errand of Mercy”), but it’s not bad so far.

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