This week’s Library Computer checks the math on "Greater than the Sum," Christopher L. Bennett’s new Next Generation tale which continues the post-Nemesis story of Jean Luc Picard and his crew on the Enterprise E. Also we reflect on the latest news coming from Pocket Books announced at Shore Leave.
REVIEW: STAR TREK TNG – GREATER THAN THE SUM
by Christopher L. Bennett
To this point, the Next Generation relaunch novels have been something less than stellar (with the notable exception of last fall’s "Q&A"), which left Christopher L. Bennett in the none-too-enviable position of rescuing the series in his new novel "Greater than the Sum". Bennett quickly proves that he was definitely the right choice for this assignment.
Far from the monotony of other recent Next Generation works, "Greater Than the Sum" is fast paced and full of interesting concepts, well placed action, and something sorely missing in most of the TNG relaunch installments: palatable character development. The story of Jean-Luc Picard and Beverly Crusher moves forward tremendously, and in a very natural and (at least for me) believable way. New officers come aboard the Enterprise, including the ship’s new contact specialist, T’Ryssa Chen; quite possibly one of the most interesting and potential-filled new characters to grace a Star Trek novel in many years.
Bennett, well known as one of Trek‘s great world-builders, revisits some of his previous creations, and manages to weave a new and even more fantastic entity that really provides an interesting and engaging offset to the Borg. And, while the Borg are present, Bennett manages to make them halfway interesting as well. Given the recent plethora of stories featuring TNG‘s favorite nemesis, I was certain that such a feat was virtually impossible. Bennett proves that it is not.
If you haven’t been reading the TNG relaunch "Greater Than the Sum" is actually a good place to start and the narrative will help you get sufficiently caught up so that you can enjoy the story and prepare for the Destiny trilogy, coming in October.
So, did Christopher L. Bennett’s math add up in "Greater Than the Sum"? With a unique new construct, effective use of thread-bare villains, and a heavy dose of character development, Bennett’s arithmetic definitely comes together well, and none too soon for this series of novels. Here’s to hoping that David Mack can build creatively upon Bennett’s efforts when the first book of the Destiny trilogy, "Gods of Night" hits the shelves in late September.
UPDATED: Star Trek: TNG: Greater than the Sum" is available now at Amazon
QUICK GUIDE TO THE TNG RELAUNCH
"Greater than the Sum" is the fifth book in Pocket’s line of Next Generation novels set after the events of Star Trek Nemesis (and after Riker and Troi went off on their own "Titan" series). Here are all the books:
by Michael Jan Friedman
by J.M. Dillard
by Keith R.A. DeCandido
by Peter David
TNG story continues with Destiny
Captain Picard and the crew of The Enterprise E will be seen next in the cross-over Destiny Trilogy from David Mack which kicks off in October with "Star Trek: Destiny: Gods of Night." Picard, Riker, ‘Captain Dax’ and more will then move on to "Mere Mortals" in November and wrap up with "Lost Souls" in December.
THOUGHTS ON POCKET BOOK’S 2009-2010 SCHEDULE
As TrekMovie reported on Friday night, Pocket Books released their tentative publishing schedule for Star Trek books through the end of 2009, with some hints of what is to come for 2010. When first reviewing the schedule, I have to admit to wearing a significant grin. The sheer diversity of the upcoming books is outstanding, and will provide fans of nearly every Trek series with their fair share of new adventures. The schedule welcomes a balance of storytellers into the mix, and gives us several very special stories to look forward to. Pocket appears to have taken into account the desires of fans who, in the past several years, have been vocal about their desires for their favorite stories and series to continue. The 2009/2010 schedule, as we have it, is an exciting enticement to Trek literature fans… one that will, hopefully, manage to build the fanbase for the books even further.
COMING NEXT WEEK
We continue our reviews the new alternate reality series "Myriad Universes" with a look at Geoff Trowbridge’s The Chimes of Midnight (from "Star Trek: Myriad Universes: Echoes and Refractions"), featuring Thelin, the Andorian first officer of the Enterprise from the animated episode "Yesteryear".