August 2007 features the re-release of "Death in Winter" a paperback release of a 2005 hardcover TNG novel. This release sets up a series of post-Nemesis TNG novels starting in September (just in time for TNG’s 20th anniversary).
"Death in Winter" by Michael Jan Friedman
I’ve been reading books for nearly thirty years and reading Star Trek books for about twenty-two years. In all those years, there have only been a few novels that I couldn’t finish. The only reason I finished Michael Jan Friedman’s "Death in Winter" was to write a review.
Set in the aftermath of Star Trek: Nemesis, "Death in Winter" focuses around two poles: Beverly Crusher and Jean-Luc Picard.
In the wake of Shinzon’s rampage, Doctor Beverly Crusher has left the USS Enterprise to take over Starfleet Medical. One of her first acts is to travel (undercover) to Kevrata, a world subject to Romulan rule, where the native population is dying from a plague. The plague is similar to one that she experienced as a child. It is felt that Crusher’s previous experience will assist her on this mission. However, something goes horribly wrong and the mission fails.
Enter Jean-Luc Picard, who is sent – together with some old friends – to pick up where Crusher left off. Traveling with him are Pug Joseph and Dr. Carter Greyhorse, old ‘friends’ from their days on the Stargazer. When they arrive on Kevrata, they discover there is far more to the story than just a plague, and the Romulans are, of course, squarely involved.
Entering into "Death in Winter" is a painful experience in-and-of itself. The first hundred pages are dominated as much by the machinations of the Romulan Underground movement as it is by our familiar heroes. Inane and perfunctory banter between Romulan dissidents is enough by itself to make you want to close the book, but Beverly Crusher’s ‘undercover mission’ is an absolute joke. The entire tale unwinds in a slow, boring, and painfully obvious fashion. To make matters worse, this book took no chances; there are no storytelling risks in "Death in Winter" at all. Its ending will feel familiar to any fan of episodic television where the actors are under contract, because just by looking at the cover you know there is no real danger.
On this outing, Friedman’s prose seems rushed and lacks a depth and luster that his former works have possessed. His sense of character, particularly in Beverly Crusher, seems off (only Picard seems remotely familiar – and that’s being extremely generous), there are no ‘guest stars’ to get halfway excited about (even Sela comes off flat and one-dimensional). Every last character in the book seems to be a cookie cutter image, designed to do only what they need to do and no more. Most Star Trek novels, even the most formulaic of them, have one or two personalities that grab you and make you feel some level of joy, sympathy, or other emotion. Nothing of the sort is going on here.
The storyline is no better than the characterizations. The basic premise is that Doctor Crusher (and eventually Picard and Greyhorse) are on a humanitarian mission. I am all for a storyline that would involve something ‘humanitarian’, this one flops miserably. Instead of using some creativity to develop a non-violent way to handle things, the phasers and disruptors start firing (and keep firing) throughout the story. While I expect that from the Romulans (though I could see a three-dimensional Sela coming up with a far better way of exerting terror on her subjects) I was disappointed that Friedman decided to take the easy way out, guns-a-blazin’.
"Death in Winter" comes with other Friedman baggage, namely a reliance on his previous books in the Stargazer series. Those who haven’t read many (or any) of the Stargazer books may find themselves somewhat confused about the drama surrounding Dr. Carter Greyhorse.
Perhaps the most disappointing feature of "Death in Winter" is the lack of any substantial time with the crew of the Enterprise. While Geordi and Worf would have warmed the positronic circuits of Data’s brain with their detective work, they really don’t do anything. This is especially disappointing for a book that purports to be a "Star Trek: The Next Generation" story.
In short, "Death in Winter" is an abysmal work – suffering from far too much formula and not enough creativity. It is not one of Michael Jan Friedman’s best outings in the Star Trek universe (it may well be his worst). "Death in Winter" – from the cover art to the bland storytelling, to the lackluster finish – offers little of value to the reader, except (presumably) filler material and back story that will be necessary for the follow-up, J. M. Dillard’s "Resistance", a September 2007 release.
Related: TNG Novels Chart New Course
tell us how you really feel Rob!
thanks for the review and lets hope the new TNG books planned for the fall are better
I’ve read this and I agree- it a tedious and uninspired novel.
Yet, compared to any novel by the Mangles and Martin team that Pocket has been poling down our throats, it is the very finest of Shakespearean tragedy.
My review- it gets a one out of 10- and that is STILL better than anything Mangles and Martin has oozed forth from the runny boils of their writing.
So, didn’t like it then?
I’m not a big fan of his books either, and the Romulans I find a strangely boring bunch on both TV and in print. Klingons have their attitude problem, Borg are faceless and relentless, but the Romulans just seem like a bunch of jerks in grey suits with silly wigs.
The best adversaries are metaphors for some contemporary or instinctive fear:
The Borg = fear of technology & science run riot
Klingons = fear of aggressive and warlike nature
The Founders/Dominion = fear of the sociopathic and the totalitarian
The Ferengi = fear of greed / capitalism gone mad
The Malon = fear of bin-men (Ok, just joking about the Malon)
My point is the Romulans are just mean. They had a sense of honour in TOS which made them intriguing enemies, but since TNG this is very much downplayed – now they are just fairly homogenous heavies whose presence in a story tends to irritate rather than excite. Berman and co must have evenetually realised this because in Nemesis they’re not the primary (Shinzon, a human) or even the secondary (Remans – ghoulish Nosferatu) villains in the movie.
Books would do better to think up something new.
Odd I tend to like a lot of Michael Jan Friedman’s books. To respond to post #3 I always thought the Romulans as a villianous type should be played more with the cold and powerful secrecy that is the cornerstone of the Tal Shiar… Sort of CIA/Section 31 evil government gone amok with all the politicians being controled like puppets for the Tal Shiars evil benefit…
P.S. Basicly Romulans and Romulan Affairs should be seedy and the true intent never really certain. The diplomatic scene in the begining of Nemesis was a joke… Trade negotiations talk and such boring hub bub… God I cringed… . .. . ..
Aside from telling us TNG may go Hi-Def, does this site EVER give any positive news or opinion or slant to any Trek series other than TOS!? Geez, come on. No, I’ve yet to read Death in Winter, and it may well be a stinker, but for those of us that like some of the other series that also come here to check on news about the new movie, it’s pretty dang depressing if it ain’t TOS or movie related. I applaud the site owners for their care about the new movie, but something nice about other Star Trek would be refreshing.
Well….nothing nice/good/quality/ground breaking/solid has come out of the Trek world for at least 10 years…..so ya…..
I haven’t read Death in Winter yet, but I usually like Michael Jan Friedman’s writing, so I’ll probably give it a read.
well this site ran news of a new TNG era game yesterday
In the last months ran a number of positive reviews of new TNG comics
and various reports of things being done by TNG stars
the above review was not written by me, but Rob’s problem with the book was that it was not true to TNG. Should the reviewer have praised it for making a travesty of a beloved series and its characters?
we will run reviews ofall the new tng books too and future TNG comics
the fact that cbs are doing TOS-R and Paramount are doing a TOS movie is just a coincidence. THIS site is a trek site. Whenever there is something news worthy about TNG we cover it. by the way we will be running some old interviews with TNG stars done by Ed Gross..to celebrate TNG at 20
can anyone suggest a TNG news story or TNG product we havent covered in the last year?
I’m gonna jump topic twice.
One, to ask informally, what Trek novels are really worthwhile. (I’ve enjoyed some, but am leery when they just look like fanboy pablum.) So, what are your fav’s and why? I’ll toss out “Ship of the Line” as fun reading with some interesting concepts thrown in. It was written before the premiere of Enterprise (See, it’s been awhile) but uses the grapple hook idea, which is just plain cool. Also, nice use of new characters.
Off the point two: Since Harlan “Science Fiction’s Grouchy Old Man” Ellison is doing one of them, do we get news on “Masters of Science Fiction.” The first is on tonight (Saturday) on ABC. It sounds from the get-go that ABC is just burning these with no plans to pick up a series, but any serious venture into Science Fiction draws my interest.
As I stated in the previous post, I really enjoyed Greg Cox’s Khan series. It is the only series of Trek novels I have read completely. I did read one Voyager novel by Jeri Taylor, the title of which I can not remember.
Well, I guess I won’t be picking up this particular book.
I have only read a few Trek Novels but the best I have ever read was THE “ENTROPY EFFECT ” that should have been the Star Trek V film!
Not a big fanof the recent novels. Those pocket book novels from the mid 80’s were quite good. I remember new ones would come out almost monthly. They were the first books I read as a kid. Black Fire, Yesterday’s son, Klingon Gambit, Entropy Effect, all would have made great live action episodes. Great authors back then.
“I have only read a few Trek Novels but the best I have ever read was THE “ENTROPY EFFECT ” that should have been the Star Trek V film!”
I really hope that is tongue-in-cheek. That book was so full of characters acting out-of-character, anachronisms (doors on the Enterprise do not have handles), and an original character that defines “Mary Sue” I nearly threw it against the wall.
The only good thing about it is that it gave Sulu his first name. The rest is godawful dreck.
I enjoyed the invasion series. I particularly like series where its not just one other than that you have to love TNG Dark Mirror and also some of the better DS9 titles…. Especially the titles after the show ended.
P.S. I really liked all the fan story anthology books New Worlds… Not all the stories are stellar but fans have some interesting ideas.
(even Sela comes off flat and one-dimensional)
Sorry, but this line drives me nuts everytime I see it. And I see it a lot.
If it is FLAT then it is TWO-dimensional. Therefore flat and two-dimensional is the same darn thing. Why not call it flat and just leave it be?
Calling something one-dimensional does not make it “extra-flat”. Something wiith one dimension is a LINE. Sort of like a thread, but thinner. Read the classic “Flatland” and you’ll never forget it.
I only mention it here because I care.
Yes, I remember the New Worlds collections quite fondly. Some clinkers, but a lot of true-to-the-original-spirit stories.
Death In Winter is, as far as memory serves, the only ST book I never finished. Gawdawful. But it looks nice on my bookshelf.
Unrelated and apologies but worthy of interest – from AICN, casting info regarding the JJ Abrams movie:
PARAMOUNT PICTURES/BAD ROBOT
[JAMES KIRK] 23-29 Handsome,cocky self assured and earnest. Great physical condition. 6 ft or less
[LEONARD(BONES)MCOY] -28-32 Medic on the Enterprise. Smart, clever and a bit danger-loving. Dark hair, blue eyes.
[UHURA] 25ish -African American. Brilliant, beautiful, heroic and FUN!, Uhura is almost tom-boyish – as if she grew up in a houseful of brothers.
[SULU] 25-32 -Asian American male (preferably Japanese). Helmsman on the Enterprise. Extremely fit, capable and dedicated. A bit of a wildcat
[MONTGOMERY(SCOTTY) SCOTT] -28-32 a brilliant ship’s engineer. Must be able to do a flawless Scottish accent!
So I’d say that definitely sets the movie in a specific time frame.
Wow! What a shity boring cover!
This website is so TOS centered… it is a shame. Some fans seem to forget that TREK evolved far beyond Kirk and Spock.
Put off your blinders people.
TREK is not only Nimoy and Shatner…
And there has been extremly much good stuff coming out in the last 10 years! DS9’s conclusion was superb. VOY produced at least some interesting episodes. ENT had two superb seasons, and the two last TNG movies were pure TNG… and for you TOS freaks out there… don’t forget the remastered.
The books have been better than ever. Creating a whole new universe of stories, which are all somehow linked with eachother, just like in modern TV-shows.
The whole “A Time to…” series has been a highlight, especially the last three books, which mirrored the corrupt policy of the Bush administration.
Especially you TREK fans should show more tolerance.
I know this posts is going to be deleted by the admins and webmasters, but maybe some of you will read it before and start thinking.
I haven’t read too many of the recent Star Trek books recently, but I hear the ones written by Peter David tend to be pretty good. Anyone care to agree or refute?
On a slightly different topic, I just read the last issue of the TNG comic “The Space Between.” That thing ended incomprehensibly! I don’t even know how the other issues supposedly tied in to whatever happened in this last issue!
It’s a sad time for TNGers, for sure. But I am glad to hear the team responsible for IDW’s “Blood Will Tell” series of comics are going to try their hand at TNG soon. I’ve enjoyed the Klingon comics very much.
I have to say I’m sick of the put down of all things other then TOS by some on this and other Star Trek sites. I loved TOS – Captain Kirk and Spock were my hero’s as a kid in the 60’s. When I spotted a New video tape on the same shelf as The Original Series in my local video shop in 1988 call “STAR TREK – NEXT GENERATION” I nearly collapsed with excitement. You’ve never seen someone check out a video so quick.
It felt like a old friend had gone away and come back on occasions but was now back for good. TNG was not on TV in this country ’til 1990, we had no cable and the only way to see Star Trek was on tape. I still loved the old series and TNG is not TOS but on it’s own it’s a masterpiece.
DS9 and Voyager had great moments from about the 3rd season on but by then we were running in to Star Trek overload…so many parts of the universe to visit on TV and Movies. Enterprise I liked from the start but did feel it needed to move faster during season 2. Some of the Xindi episodes and Season 4 had me sitting on the edge of my seat.
Then came Nemesis……and I agree…what were they thinking!
I love this web site …. it’s going to be so exciting going back to the cinema to see a well written movie version of STAR TREK. I do hope TNG gets the ENHANCED treatment next. PS I did buy DEATH IN WINTER hardback when it came out…can’t believe I still haven’t read it! Nemesis must have put me off more then I thought!
I have read over 100 Trek novels. I enjoy them quite a bit. Most of them are good as long as you’re not expecting classic literature. Death in Winter is ok, it’s just sort go no where, do nothing. Usually Freidman is a very good author. His Stargazer series is excellent.
Good Trek reads:
James Blish’s Spock Must Die! is fun, as are his short story adaptations of TOS. Peter David is always a good read- he’s written a couple of TOS, a lot of TNG, and the Excalibur series, but my personal favorite is Q In Law, where Q and Lwuxana Troi get engaged. I don’t think David’s written a bad one yet. The Lost Years was a very cool book. Spock’s World is so damn good a lot of people see it as canon and the best Trek novel ever. Diane Duane’s Rhiannsu series is about the TOS Romulans and is very good (in a lot of ways I lament that hers are not the canon Romulans). TNG’s A Time To series is a good read. John Vornholt’s Genesis Wave is cool. William Shatner’s Return of Kirk books are a lot of fun. His coauthors on that series are the Reeves-Stevens, and they are also good writers. The current post series stuff going on the DS9 novels is cool, except for the Mangles and Martin contributions.
Bad Trek Reads:
I would stay away from the early DS9 novels- the one written before the show went off. Stay away from Jeri Taylor’s Voyager novels, as they stupid in ways the human mind cannot comprehend. Of course, I tend to stay away from VOY in general for that reason.
And, always deserving a special slot of hate on any list of mine, any novel written by the Mangles and Martin team- whether Titan or, sadly, ENT- stay as far away from as you can. Those 2 incompetent a$$holes couldn’t write a descent sentence, much less a novel. They are easily the very worst Trek fiction has ever produced. I would recommend you read every Mary Jane or Kirk/Spock slash ever composed before you smear the walls of your brain with the shit those 2 produce. Remember, once you read it, you can’t unread it. Unfortunately, Pocket Books loves those guys and out of every 10 books or so published, those two puke out 5 of them these days.
In summary- a lot of the Trek novels are enjoyable. Most are at least entertaining. But when they’re bed, they are very, very bad. But when they are Mangles and Martin, they are a swim in raw sewage.
Death in Winter could have/should have been better, but it is really an exception to Freidman’s body of work, most of which is quite good.
storma and others
let me state this again….this site has one bias: what is *new* in star trek. Since this site has launched CBS and Paramount have had a TOS focus for the film and the remastered series. so we cover those things and there is alot of TOS. However we have done news and reviews of every single other new product including TNG.
I hope that TNG gets remastered so we can do weekly TNG coverage.
as i stated before….if there is a single TNG news story we have missed in the last year please point it out….the goal for me and this site is to be about all that is new in Trek.
the above review is not mine, but Rob has given TOS books bad reviews as well. Rob is a stickler for books staying true to the series. And many of our TOSR episode reviews have been negative, and many of the TNG comic reviews were positive
we call them as we see them. I hope CBS do more TNG, DS9, ENT and VOY products so we can cover them as well.
personally I love all the shows, loved the last season of ENT, rewatched all of DS9 recently, and I am currently reading a TNG book…so that is enough of this ‘TOS bias’ stuff. All fans are welcome here….it is all star trek
The only Trek novel by Michael Jan Freidman book I’ve read is, “Double, Double.” That was a long time ago, though.. and I remember enjoying it very much. I got The Valiant and have yet to read it. Thoughts, anyone?
I agree with the Peter David assessment. I haven’t gone wrong with one of his books yet. Among my favorites of his are Q-Squared, Q-In-Law (got Majel Barrett-Roddenberry and John De Lancie’s autographs on it!), and Probe, Vendetta, and Imzadi. Mr. David does a wonderful job of tying elements from each series together. I just realized I have The Seige but don’t remember reading it, though.. and anyway, I digress because this page is about Michael Jan Friedman!!
I love all Trek TV series, flaws and all.. although I do have a special fondness for TOS. I must admit my novel collection consists primarily of TOS novels. I used to go out of my way to visit the bookstores to see next book to be released. Those were the days!
I remember quite a few TOS novels very, very fondly. “How Much For Just The Planet?”, “Black Fire”, “Dreams Of The Raven”, “Sarek”, “The Captain’s Daughter”, “The Lost Years”, “Dreadnought!”, “Double, Double,” and “The Wounded Sky”. So far the only books I’ve bought and never was able to get into were: “The Romulan Way”, “Final Frontier” (#75, not the movie novelization).
And there you have it..!! :-)
Just to respond to the varied concerns of TOS-onlyisim (and coming from my point of view as a book reviewer)…
I am a huge fan of the Deep Space Nine relaunch novels, and I immensely enjoyed the “A Time To…” series and “Articles of the Federation”. One of my favorite books of all time, of any genre, is “Survivors”, a Tasha-centered story from early in the TNG novel run. The Titan series, also set in the post-Nemesis timeline, has -thus far- been quite enjoyable.
There are all kinds of outstanding Star Trek novels out there… trust me. I can’t comment on Voyager, as I missed most of the TV series and have not elected to play catch-up with the show or the books on Voyager, but I have also enjoyed the recent Enterprise novels (in spite of issues I have with them… and I have also had issues with recent TOS novels.
Anyway, as new novels come out, I’ll be reading… and I hope all of you will too!
I started reading the novels at about the time ENT finished. I was very interested in the DS9 relaunch and managed to buy all of them from a guy on eBay for £38 (including P&P), which was very good. However I haven’t got close to reading them yet. I have a list of Trek books I want to read (some I have, many I don’t) in chronological order and I’m just reading through them and keeping an eye on eBay for good deals.
I calculate that there are enough books on the list to last me about a decade.
Presently I’m reading Peter Daivd’s Imzadi, which I’m really enjoying, he captures the characters really well. I’ve generally liked what I’ve read from Michael Jan Friedman aswell.
In referance to the person asking for good Trek novels, I’d recomend the following:
TNG Reunion by Michael Jan Friedman; about a reunion between Picard and some of his former Stargazer crewmates. Friedman forms some really good characters in the SG crew and although I haven’t read DIW, he seems to have a good understanding of the characters in this book.
TNG Imzadi by Peter David; skips around time periods and focuses on a broken older Riker and reminises to the initial meeting of him and Troi on Beatazed, definitely an engaging read.
TNG Dominion War books 1&3 by John Vornholt; great story following the TNG crew during the Dominion War, also features the retrun of Ro Laran. Definitely two of the best Trek books I’ve read, honestly they would have made a much better film than Insurrection or Nemesis!
TNG The Romulan Prize by Simon Hawke; good Romulan story (if you like Romulans that is). Well written, I thought.
TNG Here There Be Dragons by John Peel; definitely one of the best written Trek novels I’ve read and a good, solid plot aswell.
TNG The Romulan Strategem by Robet Greenberger; I liked this one as it was quite different in approach to any TV story. Also expands the Sela character quite well.
TNG Possession by J.M. Dillard & Kathleen O’Malley; great Invasion of the Bodysnatchers style story, but really well written and with some excellent additional characters.
TNG Maximum Warp books 1&2 by Dave Galanter & Greg Brodeur; very interesting story with some nice use of the characters. Again this would probably have made a better film than the last two.
…The big question that’s never been answered is just why Friedman gets all these book gigs. His writing is lame at best, his book sales are never that great, and yet they keep giving him free reign to run amok across the Trekverse. He’s essentially the Brian Bendis or Mark Millar of the Trek novel business – lots of assignments producing nothing of any real meat or substance other than letters forming words on a page.
But I’ll give him one “saving” grace: he’s not Vonda “K/S” McIntylre, Sonni Cooper, or Majliss Larson.
23. KevinA – Melbourne Australia – August 5, 2007 – Agreed in full. Though this site is all about New Trek – so at the Moment that is all TOS basicaly, what with Remastered and the Movie there is not much time for anything else.
I too like all incarnations of Trek, they all have strengths and weaknesses, ENT was the closest thing to TOS in a long time, In MY Opinion, and I had a sense of adventure when watching it, thought Season 3 & 4 with Manny Cotto were the best Trek in a long time! And yes Nemesis was, for want of a better word, a let down. As for the books “Ship of the Line” was great, as were the A time to series…..I’d like to see ship of the line as a movie though.
I agree with the review,
as the whole thing was rather yawny.
but I think the cover art is beautiful.
I’m surprised people liked Ship Of The Line, I thought that was one of the weaker Trek novels I’ve read. It’s an interesting idea and has some good bits, but overall I thought it was a let down.
Diane Carey spends huge chunks of the book on certain scenes, ages on things that are really just conversations. Some of it to good use, while other bits don’t work at all. Certain huge plot points are really rushed and sometimes make little sence. I think she spends 50 pages with Picard watching some Kirk adventures on the holodeck, which are totally needless scenes. Interacting with Kirk is supposed to make Picard come around after losing the Enterprise and turn him into a gun weilding, non nonsence Captain, but the whole things really badly written. Picard just seems to have a huge mood swing for no particular reason.
She sets up these adversaries and situations that just solve themselves within a few lines and are total anti-climaxes.
On the plus side, she did paint Morgen Bateson and his crew well, it just would have been better if more of the book were spent on the plot.
Oh, out of all the Trek novels I’ve read, this one certainately failed the most at capturing the characters (particularly Picard).
Even though I’d still recomend reading it.
Anyone remember how when this book was first announced, Pocket Books was trying to hype it up on different boards by saying that it was to feature the death of another member of the TNG crew (presumably Crusher)? Whatever happened to that? Maybe Paramount killed the idea, and the novel suffered due to necessary re-writes.
I spent years convincing my Dad to try another Trek book, mainly so I’d have someone in real life with whom to chat about them. So he grabbed this book and the first two from Titan, by Martin and Mangels–against my advice.
That was over a year ago. He swore off Trek books permanently. Deservedly so, with those three stinkers.
I long for the glory days of the Pocket Book Trek novels. There were no multi-series tie-ins, no multi-book series. Each book was its own story — it’s own episode? — and almost each one an enjoyable read.
I’ve been filling some of my recent leisure time (since reading TNG’s The Buried Age) with going back to read some ‘classic’ novels. I blew through Fontana’s “Vulcan’s Glory”, a tale of Spock’s first mission on the Enterprise under Pike, and am already making pretty good time on David Dvorkin’s “Timetrap”.
I don’t mind miniseries from time to time (provided they come out in close enough succession, like the enjoyable “A Time To…” series, to be easy to follow) but I too miss the old days of the book/episode feel… at least from time to time.
As I await a copy of “Resistance” (the new TNG novel) I am planning to hit “The Abode of Life”, “The Pandora Principle” and a few others for my own amusement. Heck, I might dig out my copy of “The Kingon Gambit” just for fun!
Coming back to Trek books that rock:
David R George III is the most promising new Trek writer I’ve seen in quite a while. He writes quite big books, but I just like his style so much I tend to devour them in only a few sessions. He did one of the Mission: Gamma novels from the DS9 “8th Season” which I liked and which I thought did excellent work in developing the character of Elias Vaughn. His recent three TOS novels on the big 3 are also all very readable, although the McCoy one is definitely the best.
On the topic of DS9, the first batch of post-series novels are generally very good ( runing from “Avatar” thru to “Unity”, which effectively rounds off the “eighth season” of novels). That said, “This Grey Spirit” was rubbish, but most were fair/good to excellent. Not too keen on those post-Unity though.
“Doctor’s Orders” , “The Three-minute Universe” and “Mutiny on the Enterprise” are all good, memorable novels from the original series’ back catalogue.
I’m of mixed feelings towards Peter David. I used to love his early TNG stuff, which peaked with Imzadi, but since then I felt he degenereated into pure fanfic with all the wish fulfilment fantasies and out-of-character actions that brings.
(New Frontier was a great idea, but the execution was so cheesy i felt embarassed to be seen with it. A Starfleet captain would never, EVER respond to an alien attack by petulantly shouting across the bridge, “I want to blow those B@stards out of space!” as Calhoun does in the opening story. And the constant wise-cracking is more in keeping with a Marx Bros film than Star Trek).
Back to the good: the Strange New Worlds anthologies are generally very good, with some very striking stories in there that more than make up for the occasion dud.
Oh, and as a rule of thumb – only go for books from series you really like. I felt VGR and ENT were very varibale and so tend not to look at their novels. But the TOS, TNG and DS9 crews I know liek the back of my hand, and so books about them – especially ones that feel like actual episodes – I do look at.
The very first Strange New Worlds fan fiction anthology was quite good, expecially the story called “Good Night, Voyager”.
I’ll definitely pick this up to read it, since I can’t avoid a Star Trek book. That doesn’t mean I’ll give it great reviews automatically, though. I can’t pass a Star Trek book, but I can pan it if it’s not very good, so we’ll see here.
As for Andy Mangels/Michael Martin’s books, I love them. And I’m a big fan of the Titan series. I can’t wait to see if anything else comes out of that series.
#39 – Titan returns this December with Geoffrey Thorne’s “Sword of Damocles”. Martin/Mangels will be back next year with an Enterprise relaunch novel, “Kobyashi Maru” (not to be confused with the Julia Eclar novel “The Kobyashi Maru” from 1989).
I came across your site, by accident. I wasn’t even looking for Star Trek but still came to this page! Now that kind of cyberpull takes Google-marketing skill ;)
Personally, I never can get myself to read books of science fiction. It might have something to do with the well-intentioned but vacuous, hooray-for-reading propaganda I was subjected to in gradeschool that was biased towards reading for pure pleasure rather than for more (like knowledge or inciteful thought).
So I rebelled by reading books only for information and learning rather than entertainment. I use movies to entertain me. While the Star Trek series and its movies aren’t Shakespeare, I enjoy some of the imagination, artistic design and thought (yes, there is some thought in these shows) that went into them.
That being said, I think that viewers/readers are strolling blindly down the wrong path if they honestly believe that they will find brilliant writing under the umbrella of what is afterall a franchise. Originality is the breath of writing but there is no life to be found in the conformist doctrine of a sci-fi universe with its special weave of events created by so many previous writers. Beam me up, Scotty! ;) (I know, so cliché, but I was too weak to resist. Carry on.)
Sorry, an addendum… That should be written: “insightful thought”, not “inciteful thought”. Although upon reflection, what’s the use of insightful thought if it doesn’t incite thought. Hmmmm…. :)