Library Computer: Review “Star Trek: A Singular Destiny”

This week the Library Computer looks to the hallowed halls and sacred ashes of the Federation and the Alpha Quadrant as the after-effects of the Destiny trilogy begin to take root in Keith R.A. DeCandido’s new novel "A Singular Destiny". We also have the third and final entry in Destiny trilogy giveaway trivia contest


REVIEW – Star Trek: A Singular Destiny – by Keith R.A. DeCandido

The Federation, though not quite in ashes, certainly lays in a state of uncertainty in the wake of the events of the Destiny trilogy. Worlds are completely destroyed, peoples are displaced, and the fleet is stretched thin. So what do you do on the morning after the apocalypse? Invest in aspirin. Lots and lots of aspirin.

In Keith R.A. DeCandido’s new novel "A Singular Destiny" Federation president Nan Bacco is given the chance to discover just how vital painkillers can be as she looks out to the Federation and sees a people on the brink. Bacco isn’t alone; nearly every major power in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants have been grievously wounded in the wake of the Borg decimation – some of them, apparently, just struggling to get by. So imagine the puzzlement when Praetor Tal’Aura’s regime suddenly stops accepting aid shipments from the Federation… or when things start blowing up… or when any other of a number of oddities begin creeping up all around.

It’s obvious from the outset that "A Singular Destiny" is a different book… varying, as it does, between narrative prose, letters home, news stories, and even casualty lists, DeCandido forges a very somber feeling for his post-apocalyptic epic, one that strikes a strange chord coming from DeCandido. It’s not that "A Singular Destiny" is bad… with the variety of environments, situations, and complications present in the story, it’s hard to be a bad book. But, somehow, something in this tale just doesn’t sit right.

Perhaps it’s the connective nature of the story – wrapping up loose ends and turning the corner (so to speak) into the new TNG-era reality that lays ahead. Perhaps it’s the preponderance of folks you feel like you would have to have read nearly every Star Trek published over the past few years book to know well enough to actually care that much about. Perhaps its Sonek Pran… a brilliant quad-breed professor who comes across, well, just plain wrong in a "I want to like this guy, but I don’t" sort of way. I wish I could pin it down to one or two things I could actually say make the story bad… but I can’t. The story has plenty of meat, is told at a fair clip, and does an excellent job at transitioning out of Destiny mode.

So what is it about this book that doesn’t do it? I hate to say it, but for me, "A Singular Destiny" just falls flat. I mean, seriously, how often do you expect to hear "Keith R.A.DeCandido didn’t make me care about the Klingons"? That’s like Bob Newhart messing up deadpan humor – it never happens, yet I had not an ounce of interest in the Klingon situation this time out; and with all that is starting to spring forth in their little corner of the universe, I should have! But the Klingons weren’t the only ones that I really didn’t care about. I didn’t much care about the Capellans, or the Kinshaya, or Captain Dax and the USS Aventine.. and then you have the dueling Romulan factions under Donatra and Tal’Aura. The two seem to be more interested in acting like preening teenagers (okay, Donatra had a bit more maturity than Tal’Aura) than they do in either salvaging their own Romulan factions or the Romulan people as a whole. I expect a degree of dissembling and deceit on the part of Romulan leaders, but I don’t expect childishness. Given my personal affinity for the Romulans throughout Trek history, "A Singular Destiny" is dissapointing when it comes to our pointy-eared friends.

As for the flashes between chapters – letters, news reports, and the like – the news clips, counselors reports, and even casualty lists felt solid, but the letters surrounding Pran’s family life felt out of place given the nature of the rest of the interludes. Too much Pran, too much of the time. All that being said, while the star of the story was clearly intended to be Sonek Pran, it was really Bacco and the close advisors of her administration that gave the strongest performance, and revived many of the positive feelings that DeCandido’s last book Star Trek politics book, "Articles of Federation," spawned in my mind when giving consideration to the Federation’s inner machinations.

Perhaps "A Singular Destiny" could use a second pass on my part… certainly some little details (and it feels like there are ‘easter eggs’ everywhere) probably passed me by at warp speed; with all the subplots going on, I find myself wondering if I just spaced some major component of the story or an underlying aspect of the story… all of which is disappointing because it isn’t what I expect from DeCandido.

"Singular Destiny" available now at Amazon and other retailers


A few weeks back TrekMovie kicked off new trivia contest to give away three sets of the Destiny Trilogy, signed by author David Mack. A winner has been selected at random from the correct entries from the second week of the contest.

The question was:

Author Keith R.A. DeCandido’s "Klingon Empire" (formerly IKS Gorkon) series came about in the wake of the success of a Next Generation novel. Name the TNG novel.

And the answer is: "Diplomatic Implausibility." Congrats to Eric K. of Grandville, MI for getting that right.

And now you have your third (and last) chance. There is another trivia question already up on the Destiny Trilogy contest page

Destiny Trilogy…you can win a set signed by David Mack

Please do not discus new trivia question in comments section below. The correct answer and winner of the contest will be announced in the next ‘Library Computer’ column.   


Coming up next, we check in with Captain Riker with a review of the fifth book in the Titan series, Christopher L Bennett’s "Star Trek Titan: Over A Torrent Sea"

Our next book to review:
"Titan: Over A Torrent Sea"

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Looks like it could be very kool and a great read. Looking forward more great reading.

lol, Capt Ezri Dax, that is just plain ridiculous. That alone prevents me from taking this series of novels seriously enough to invest my time reading them.

Singular looks pretty kool. I think I will Enjoy it. But I do not think that Gene Roddenberry would like this Novel though as it shows the Federation almost decimated. But Still a good and fun read.

Have to agree with Valar1. Ezri was just a naive kid in DS9 season 7.

I also have trouble with these books of late that rely on author-created characters to propel the story. I tried “Gods of Night” and I skimmed the areas which were unrelated to real Star Trek characters, and got lost. Keep it simple. Keep it in one time-frame, and respect the source material.

I like the review and I look forward to reading “A Singular Destiny.” I am also pleased to hear the reviewer is a fan of the Romulans because I too love the Romulans and wish there were more Romulan fans out there. I feel that the Romulans have been underutilized and under explored throughout Star Trek and I hope the Romulan Empire gets more stable, as well as utilized and explored more, in upcoming books.

Just got done with my second reading of this on my Sony e reader and I must say after the absolute awesomeness that was the destiny trilogy this book really falls flat and its such a surprise as I have never not liked a Keith R.A. DeCandido star Trek book to date.

It doesn’t do as good a job on the political side as Articles of the Federation did, and its disjointed nature actually made it hard to keep focused and I have to admit to nodding off a few times.

The casualty lists are basically a waste of pages, filler, and on the Sony e reader its many many pages of it as the size of the screen is small, though upon the 2nd reading I did read through all the names unlike the first time and there was a surprise death of a former voyager crew member.

Maybe it was because of coming off the high that was the trilogy, but something didn’t sit right at all, and as awesome as the trilogy was they it has now robbed me of any more stories of my favorite characters, and the introduction of slipstream as standard is cool but feels like cheating now the federation can get just about anywhere in the blink of an eye, though I guess it opens up stories of exploration in the Delta Quadrant.

Unfortunately though it is one of those book you have to read to get where the series is going to be going, if only they would kill off the useless Troi and spare me anymore of her dribble.

Thanks for the honest review, Robert!

Wanted to like it, as I really enjoyed the three novels that preceeded it, but I just didn’t. What I do like is that Star Trek is finally unifying their expanded universe like Star Wars. It was getting pretty bad when novels would conflict each other (Klingons can’t see red?).

Looking forward to the rest of the year :)

#1 & #4

Have you guys read any of the post-finale DS9 novels? It’s a stretch to go from Ezri in season seven to Captain Dax in Destiny–but only if you haven’t read those other books. She goes through quite the changes in that series.

And actually, that’s one thing that’s getting to me about Trek fiction lately. I just don’t have time to keep up on every single book that comes out. I have to pick and choose which series I follow, and when they all come together like this, it can be tough to get into all the characters and situations.

Well I guess I have the dissenting opinion here, I really really liked this book. I agree that maybe it was not at the level of the core Destiny books, but I could not put Singular Destiny down.

I kinda take acceptation with the point about having to read all Trek books to really care about the characters. After reading the Destiny novel’s I was invested in the characters from the Federation Government and the crew of the Aventine. Now I admit when I started reading the Destiny novel’s that Captain Dax was a bit much for me, but I’ve grown to accept that. And I can see the maturity in the character in the was Mack and DeCandido write her. Depsite the Destiny books, all I have read of Trek in the last several years are the Titan books, and the Vulcan’s Soul books.

As for Pran, I loved Pran. I want Pran books.

I also want President Baco books. Now this maybe because I am a political science student, but the Federation Politics fascinate me.

Meanwhile without giving anything away I really like how a few things that are major to the future of the Trek books and universe were just thrown into the book and not addressed. It reminds me of one of the final scene’s in the movie Unforgiven. When Clint Eastwood’s character, a reformed alcoholic, starts drinking again. No fuss is made about it, its a subtle little gesture that means everything. Brilliant.

Awesome book and I love how it has setup the next year or more and I look forward to where this story is going.

#2, #4, Re: Captain Dax. Yes, Ezri was a naïve ensign when DS9’s seventh season aired. That was set in 2375. But the “Destiny” novels are set *six years later.* The Ezri character has grown and matured in the DS9 Relaunch novels set between DS9 S7 and “Destiny.” If you’re trying to say that the novels set after the shows should never allow the characters to grow and change and mature, then, well, you’re asking for novels that will suck ass. And, for the record, Ezri is only one year younger than Picard was when he took command of the Stargazer, and she took command under identical circumstances (captain and first officer killed). Plus: She has three hunred years’ worth of Dax’s experiences, which is more than Picard had when he became a captain. If you actually read the books, Captain Dax is smart, inventive, thoughtful, and brave—she’s grown a lot since S7 of DS9, yet she’s still true to her character.

If you don’t wanna give it a shot because you don’t think Ezri could be a good captain, well, fine. You’re denying yourself some good stories. But I’ll tell you right now that the idea that she couldn’t be a captain is bullshit.

#4: I’m sorry you don’t like novel-original characters, because, really, they’re as valid of characters as the canonical ones are, and they’ve had some fascinating, wonderfully Trekkian story arcs. Particularly my favorite novel-original character, Federation President Nan Bacco. Now, sure, the novels *could* decide never to feature any character that isn’t from the canon. But if they did, they’d suck, because they would never be able to evolve. And that’s NOT respecting the source material.

#6: The Federation can’t “get anywhere in the blink of an eye.” They don’t have the resources to outfit most of Starfleet with the drive, and the drives themselves are not nearly as accurate, navigation-wise, as warp drive.

As for my money:

I thought “A Singular Destiny” was a wonderful novel. My only problem was that every now and then, Sonek came off as being just a *little* too uber-competent.

#6 – Thank you for pointing out about the casualty list and the surprise, I missed it somehow the first time! Kind of breaks my heart.

I loved the Destiny trilogy, and thought “A Singular Destiny” was a good follow-up, After the events of Destiny, this book was like a breather to me, but it helped shape the future while addressing the everyday issues in the aftermath of Destiny. I much prefer this to a Voyager-type reset or just plunging ahead with whole new adventures in a disjointed fashion.

Having been in Iraq for 20 months in a row now, this has been a good time for me to read from the “A Time To” series through “A Singular Destiny,” and to me, this book fits in very nicely.

Just my $.02.


The only novels post DS9 I’ve read are the relaunch ones with the final one being IIRC “Avatar”- i think that’s what it was called. I can imagine Ezri growing older, but to take that scatterbrained insecure ensign and six years later make her a captain stretches all bounds of credulity for me. I mean regular shmucks like Worf bust their ass day in day out for years and years gaining experience and maturity and still can’t get a command, similarly with Data, Geordi or even Sisko, but this half witted ensign goes through lieutenant, Lt. Cmdr, and Cmdr all the way to Captain in six years? Either Starfleet needs to institute Stop Loss procedures to retain their experienced Captains or they need to raise their standards a bit.

I didn’t want to say who died for those that haven’t read the book yet, and to
#11 true they don’t have the resourced to fit all ships with slipstream and its still new but its getting there, much faster than I think it would have if this was down to tv series, it just doesn’t sit right but the speed of getting across the galaxy is far too quick with them even though they have navigation issues.

#10, I couldn’t put it down either, including when I was nodding off at time, there is something about it that makes you want to read it, but it falls short.
Oh and Pran was a great character, forgot to mention that part.

#7, OMG if that really is Keith posting that, its an honor to kind of meet you.

Ezri is a Captain because she got a battlefield promotion. That is credible!

Also I really liked Pran. That character was really well written.

After all of these wars I guess starfleet would make anyone a captain just to keep it’s ships operating and I could think of worse characters to become captain than Ezri Dax. Barklay anyone?

I enjoyed sngular Destiny and don’t accept the criticisms in the so-called review or in many of these comments, as more than a narrative of personal likes and dislikes.

To each their own, but:

Likeable major characters are not essential components of a sucessful novel. Everyone is flawed, even in the Trek universe. Sonek Pran may or may nor be a guy I wan’t to spend a day in a shuttle with, but that’s not important to the success of the novel. He’s portrayed as a real person with real worries, real history, and a real ego. Those who want heroes should perhaps be buying comics.

Ezri Dax’s admittedlly rapid rise to captain is convincingly traced in a series of novels. One of the finer things about Trek fiction is that characters are allowed to grow, change and age. Kirk did it, Spock did it, Kira Nerys did it, Worf did it, just to name a few. So has Dax. Those who expect characters to be locked into their portrayal on the last TV show in which they appeared do themselves a disservice.

The casualty list is not a waste of space, as anyone who has actually scanned the names will realize.

Characters like Worf, Data, and Geordi didn’t get captaincies on screen because, frankly, the actors portraying them would have pitched a fit at the greatly reduced face time inherent in sending any one of them off to command another vessel. Chalk it up to the realities of TV.

I agree that it is unrealistic that such people could serve for so long without getting their own command. but it is allso quite realistic that Dax would get her command. She twice more than rose to the occasion when thrust into command in mid-battle. And she made deliberate choices to walk away from the restraints of her life and personality on DS9, including Bashir.

Folks who haven’t read the books have no basis for complaining about the evelopment of Ezri’s character.

Speaking of that casualty list, I suspect Candido wanted us to have the same reaction we woud have if, say, we were scanning a real casualty list from a real conflict and found names we recognized. I know that was how I felt.


You said that folks that read the novels would see a believable set of circumstances that would elevate Dax from ensign to Capt in six years. Those must be some kind of circumstances, because for the seven years The Next Generation was on, Worf, Data, Geordi, survived a number of wars, a number of Borg attacks, all kinds of battles and yet of them only Geordi rose in rank- from Lt jg to Lt Cmdr- in 7 years. So for someone to go from Ensign to Capt in 6 that must be some kinda exceptional person or exceptional circumstances. Both exceptions I don’t associate with Ezri Dax.

Second, filmed Trek takes precedence over written Trek, according to Paramount and the various show producers. So I take my que from the filmed version, where a Starfleet officer toils for 7 years rising in rank not at all [Worf] or only goes up in rank by one or two notches[Geordi]- not five as Ezri is written to have done: [Ensign–Lt jg—Lt—Lt Cmdr–Cmdr—Capt].

That level of promotion is too unbelievable to me, given what I’ve seen on the shows- which I remind you are the basis of these books, not the other way around- and if I had been reading these novels and gotten to that portion I would’ve stopped reading out of incredulity. You and other readers seem to have made allowance for it, all I can say is you’ve got a better imagination than I.

For me to, truly enjoy a book, I need to feel something is grounded in reality. The book is set in space, with fantastical elements and fantastical situations, but the characters must remain grounded to something I can relate to and their history must be recognizable to my contemporary sensibilites. Nowhere in contemporary history would I find that quick a promotion, and thus I find it hard to relate to that storyline.

I really enjoyed A Singular Destiny, myself. I thought it worked, both on the level of galactic politics and on the individual character level. I gotta admit, I really liked Sonek Pran. He’s a different personality than we’re used to seeing, but that was refreshing to me. I also found that I enjoyed most of the other characters, too. maybe it’s because I’ve been following along with all the books and am well-ensconced in their various arcs, but I still found them compelling, and the book thus worked for me.

And, yup, there were lots of easter eggs. :)

#19 – “Second, filmed Trek takes precedence over written Trek, according to Paramount and the various show producers.”

That’s as may be, but until and unless Paramount goes back to TNG, or DS9, or VOY, or ENT, there is no longer any filmed Trek for those series to take precedence, and the print-Trek is therefore what we have.

Filmed Trek has established in a number of instances a precedent for rapid rises in rank for various characters. The fact that most of the main TNG characters didn’t have such a career track (in some cases by their own choice) isn’t, IMHO, a basis to say that no one else can. And I believe that the explanation, as written, for Ezri’s career path does hold water in the context of what has been established before.

#19: It’s the inabiity of characters like Worf and others to rise through the ranks that I find less than credible and very unrealistic, not Dax’s promotion. In particular, that applies to Riker, for whom the writers had to invent a less-than-convincing adulation of Picard to explain his continuing refusal to accept command.

The truth is that those characters were not given comand of their own vessels because to do so would effectively write them out of the series.

Novels do not suffer from such constraints, and are free develop character in a more realtistic manner.

Dax’s raise comes against a background of significant depletion of Starfleet ranks both during the Dominion war and against the Borg. Starfleet has fewer ships and fewer officers. Dax made a deliberate decision to transfer to the command track because, frankly, she wanted to change her life. In particular, she has finally learned to draw more from the memories and wisdom from her past.

Frankly, Dax’s development is much more believable than the comparative lack of development shown by the core members of the TNG crew.

BTW, I don’t recall any such hissy fits when Sulu was given a command. Could the gender factor be playing a role in how people react to Dax’s rise?

And by the Way, Nog was Promoted from Cadet to Lieutenant in 2 Years. And that not in the Book Series, but in the real Series.
And Dax was also Lieutenant after the Dominion War. You should look the Series again, mein Freund.


Sulu was a commander during the entire film series- lots of years where he gained experience and wisdom. He didn’t just go from ensign to Capt in six.


You’re correct Nog went from Cadet to Lt in 2 yrs. Geordi went from Lt jg to Lt Cmdr in 2yrs. But he stayed that way for the next 5. Data didn’t progress at all. Sisko was promoted once. On balance I’ll take the filmed version of promotion over this particular novel.

I forgot about Ezri’s rise to Lt jg in the final episode of DS9. So Lt jg to Capt in six years – that’s Lt. jg—-Lt—-Lt Cmdr—-Cmdr—-Capt. That doesn’t make much sense to me. But hell what do I know, I haven’t read these novels. Heck, if Ezri’s a captain I’m sure Nog is a Fleet Admiral by now.


I get your point that the novel presents a set of circumstances where Ezri would become Capt. All I am saying is that I don’t find that premise believable given what I have seen of Trek on film. Until I read that novel I guess I probably never will be convinced otherwise.

Secondly, I find it hard to swallow that Ezri would have the level of maturity required to become a Capt. From what I saw of her character onscreen, it is bizzare to think of her in that role. If it was Major Kira or Jadzia, then I would say absolutely believable. But Ezri is another story- obviously one contained in the novels which I haven’t read, lol.

I agree with the review to a point. I liked the story, but didn’t love it. It just seemed to be missing something, though I couldn’t put my finger on what that something was. Destiny was well written and a Singular Destiny seemed to flow out of the recent trilogy really well. I liked the character of Sonek Pran, but I don’t feel there is any need to bring him back as a central character. I assume that we will continue to see him as an advisor to President Bacco. I don’t know if the UFP has any term limits for the president, but I hope Bacco stays around for a while.

Am in total agreement with #17. Reading the casualty list, I felt like the characters in DS9’s “In The Pale Moonlight”. I looked through the the list until I found a friend. It seemed like a very relevant moment in the wake of an apocalypse. We can’t expect an event of this magnitude to happen without some fallout to each of us.

All that being said, I loved Dax’s character. I can see why many of you have difficulty seeing her as a captain, but war has a tendency to do things to people that we can’t always foresee. Also, the reason why Worf is not a captain in the novels has more to do with the fact that he left Starfleet to be an Ambassador and his extreme loyalty to captain Picard than any oversight on the part of the writers.

Looking forward to more great reading!

#25: TOS was on for three years. Three is smaller than six. Events in the movies did not play out ove “lots of years.”

But, as I said, even granting all that, it is unrealistic and not credible that Sulu would have remained without his own command for that long.

Officers in military organziations like Starfleet simply do not sit in coveted assignments for years and years. Even if no “up or out” policy is in effect, what about the pressure from all the younger officers moving up the ranks?

Those characters could not get their own commands because they would then have left the show. That wasn’t going to happen. To deal with that, the writers invented unconvincing gambits like Worf’s and Riker’s adulation for Picard. Such things weren’t ncessary in TOS, but the movies had to invent scenarios for getting the core crew back together after they went their separate ways.

As has been said, it is not at all unusual for an officer, during times of war and conflict, to go from the junior ranks to command in fewer than six years. To not rise is considered a sign of failure.

The novels adequately explain and justify both Dax’s personal development and her career development. Those who won’t read the books, or reject any character development off the screen, lack standing to comment on this.

…All I am saying is that I don’t find that premise believable given what I have seen of Trek on film.

Ezri’s promotion came during a time of war and hardship for the Federation that was significantly worse than anything depicted on screen.

It’s also important that the Dax who got those promotions wasn’t the same Dax who fretted about Bashir and stressed out on DS9. She gave up Bashir, she gave up counseling, and she moved to the command track and served there as a junior officer based on her own choices. That she made those choices tells us that she has changed. It’s called maturity.

Ugh. Decades spent by Roddenberry and others constructing a futuristic utopian society only to have it all tossed into the fire for no apparent reason other than being deconstructivist. How post-post-modern.

I keep reading posts stating that Ezri was promoted from ensign to lieutenant in the final episode of Deep Space Nine, but it was Nog who received a promotion to lieutenant in the final episode. Ezri received her promotion to lieutenant (j.g.) in “Afterimage”, the 3rd episode of season 7.

I like how they wrote Ezri as captain, but Picard was the only person who became a captain earlier than Kirk, and now Ezri is earlier? Great, so she saved the day, maybe promoted to first officer, but not staying as captain.


You justify the novels well. I appreciate the effort, but like I said previously, I haven’t read them and thus I don’t buy into the premise. It sounds like bad fanfic to me, but if you bought it, good for you. I apparently “lack standing” to comment any further, lol.

#34 Valar1:

The entire arc of Dax moving into a captain’s chair takes place in the novels. If you haven’t read them, how can you possibly comment on it?

It’s a bit like someone complaining about a Klingon serving as a Starfleet officer on the bridge of the Enterprise but who acknowledges never watching TNG.

Read the DS9 relaunch books that include Dax. Read the Destiny series. If you still don’t like what happened with Dax, Fair enough. But to reject that character’s development without any exposure to the fiction in which it took place seems more than arbitrary.

On the subject of Captain Dax and why Data, Worf, Geordi, etc never ascended to a higher rank or why it took so long.

I think the Riker sub-plot in Best of Both Worlds could be applied to those characters as well. The conversation between Riker and Troi in Ten Forward about how Riker liked where he was and concerns over career became secondary.

I think that those characters were happy where there were as people. Also we did see Worf struggle with stepping out of his Security role where he was comfortable. The same with Geordi, most engineers aren’t in the service to have their own command.

The other thing we need to note is that while the TNG gang did survive a few minor wars and Borg invasions they never faced a Starfleet wide conflict like the more recent times have produced. It has also been in the post Dominion War era that they have received major promotions (Captain Riker, First Officer Worf).

This follows with Dax’s promotion. The Federation suffered extensive losses in the Dominion War and I imagine alot of folks were stuck with battlefield promotions and were rushed out of the academy. On top of that the invasion of 7,000 Borg Cubes cut down the numbers of Starfleet Captain’s hanging around as well.

Also we only knew Ezri when she was freshly and unexpectedly joined and then thrust into the world of her former host. Of course she was confused and flakey.

I agree with the above posters — Dax’s journey is a compelling and plausible one for me and I’m only halfway through the Mission Gamma books, and can see how this happens.

So seriously, read the books to see if its plausible before you decide its not.

Here’s the thing:

I was disappointed when Terry Farrel left DS9. She was sexy, dignified and intelligent, and was able to project the maturity of her symbiont perfectly.

They replaced her with a piece of eye-candy who was simply put in to attract teenage boys. Nicole de Boer just didn’t carry on the Dax character properly.

I picked up “Gods of Night” to try to get back into Trek books, and Captain Dax threw me right out.

I won’t comment on “7,000 Borg cubes” (why not 25,000?) or any of the other unintentionally funny machinations I’ve seen in these books. I just won’t read them.


“So seriously, read the books to see if its plausible before you decide its not.”

I appreciate the fairness of your position. You want me to read them to see how Dax’s promotion is explained. I’m saying that just on face value- it sounds silly. Now that I’ve read the post above yours that says “7000 Borg cubes” attacked the federation, and apparently the federation survives, my skepticism about this series is even more raised. I guess it boils down to the skill of the author in selling this premise to the readers.

You think your dissapointment stems simply from the super-high standard set by Destiny?

After all, “recovery” books have to happen–and they’re rarely as exciting as the previous books. But they help to give the reader a chance to take a deep breath.

#39 Valar1:

Trek is fiction, not history. I think the assessment of a writer’s ideas must be made based on how successfully those ideas are transferred into compelling fiction. David Mack’s Destiny trilogy is compelling fiction that can stand on its own merits even without any supporting Trek scaffolding, something I cannot say for some other Trek novels I’ve read.

In other words, I don’t accept that readers should denounce a series of books or a character’s development in those books simply because they believe “it sounds silly.” Unless they’ve rea the books, such a charge is not credible.

One of the pleasure’s I find in Trek fiction is that the characters are not frozen, either in time or personal development. I’ve always found it unconvincingly unrealistic to suppose that so many TNG characters, including Picard, would remain together for so long. It adds an unnecessary layer of disbelief that I must suspend. By the same token, I don’t particuarly enjoy TOS novels that don’t encompass any character development and read like novelized scripts that never made air. I’m not interested in seeng the TOS crew react the same way they always have to pretty much the same challenges.

On the other hand, Dax’s rise to command, during a time of war, seems to be much more realistic. And frankly, her develpment is explained and justified much more convincingly than are the frozen careers of the TNG crew.

Again, read the relevant novels if you want to acquire the credibility to comment on this issue.

As for the Borg, two of the weaknesses in TNG’s portrayal of the Borg — an expansionist race in command of at least one quadrant — were these: Why were they so annoyed with humans? Why didn’t they just focus their obviously overwhelming force advantage and wipe out the Federation once and for all? There was always an unexplained contradiction between the Borg’s anger at humans, on the one hand, and their habit of sending only one or two Borg vessels to attack Earth, on the other.

Mack answers those questions in the Destiny trilogy, and it makes for very good reading. Do yourself a favor and read them because they are some of the best Trek fiction ever, on screen or off.

#38: Nicole de Boer just didn’t carry on the Dax character properly.

The character that was written for de Boer would not have made much of a captain, or even entertained the idea. Neither would a number of other incarnations of Dax.

But that version of Ezri Dax did not survive much beyond the end of the Dominion War.

The Dax you like — Farrel’s version — was allowed to grow, change and mature. Why deny Ezri Dax the same potential?

40 – I definately agree that some novels that serve as connectors or as ‘recovery’ need to be fundamentally different, taken KRAD’s previous ‘connector work’, “Q&A”. It could have simply fallen to the level of filler, but it didn’t.

I felt that there was a lot of potential in “ASD”, but that it just fell flat. Not sure what else to say other than that…


The answer is, partially, in your first paragraph. Because it is filmed Trek, that portrayal is who she is as a person. An insecure counselor portrayed by a replacement actress who is cute as a button, but didn’t live up to her predecessor’s legacy.

You’re not talking about “growth,” but a total stepchange. As someone said earlier, let’s make Barclay a captain, or Kevin Riley. It would take a lot of Prozac to get Ezri into the center seat.

I understand that many of us enjoy these novels, I read many of the old novels by Diane Duane, Vonda McKintyre, Marshak/Culbreath (blecch), the Garfield Reeves Stevens’, John Ford, JM Dillard and Peter David. They had many more constraints on them to maintain the status quo, but they focused on our favorite characters, and created some classic, wonderful stories.

Let’s get a good TOS novel out there, set in the 23rd century. Let’s see if anyone can write one anymore.

I was also VERY skeptical about an Ezri Dax on a command track, but after the events of Avatar, you see her get on a road that, while where I’m at (not in the Destiny trilogy yet, only in the Mission Gamma DS9 relaunch books) I am much less skeptical about it paying off dramatically.

So I understand your concerns, I had them as well, and they were nicely answered for me (so far). Dunno about 7000 borg cubes. Kinda wish I hadn’t read that! But hey, I’ve already bough the Destiny books and I’m just reading in order until I get there…

so that’s me.

Why have the Pocket books series become so misguided recently?

DS9 already did the whole Federation-at-war thing and so much of Trek’s appeal is based around it being a future utopia that the whole thrust of the Destiny trilogy strikes me as completely the wrong move. The Federation was already picking itself up off the floor from the Dominion War, and now a Borg invasion arrives to pound it back down again? What is appealing about this?!

I want to read books about the characters I grew to love on the TV having new adventures and exploring new horizons. I do not want to read about them being repeatedly kicked in the gut, having their careers ruined by scandal or injustice, their home cities razed or their ships wrecked by Rent-an-Evil-Alien. Stories about people struggling to pull themselves up out of a hellish situation are not escapism, it’s too much like real life. Trek heroes used to be able to actually save the day before everything went fubar. That was what made them heroes!

Can we please get back to having books that continue the story, rather than ones that try to twist it all into a dystopia?


Your list of old school Trek writers brings back wonderful memories. The one book that really stood out for me was John Ford’s “The Final Reflection”. What an utterly complete and immersive experience that story was. Man I wish he was still with us and writing more Trek.

Sorry about the tangent, please continue discussing the new book.


Because it is filmed Trek, that portrayal is who she is as a person.

I don’t accept that. The novels are as legitimate as anything on screen. It is a dead cinch certainty that the character of Dax will never appear on screen in a TNG/DS9 timeframe. Why lock characters into what they were at one point in time? I have no interest in reading novels or watching TV or movies based on those characters.

I know some folks have a thing about canon in this regard, but i don’t. Canon exists to provide continuity. It is not sacred. In simple terms, canaon means “Don’t violate what’s already happened.” Canon does not, and cannot, predict the future.

In fact, it’s impossible to have canon for events that have not been written about.

I have favorite characters, too, but I have no interest in watching or reading about those characters repeatedly do pretty much the same thing for the same reasons.

The good TOS novel you’re looking for, I’m afraid, would need to be just another epsiodic rehash to meet the canon demands of many.

#46: … so much of Trek’s appeal is based around it being a future utopia…

I’ve never bought into that. And I don’t want my Trek to be escapism. That;s not at all what good science fiction is about.

Life might be good in the Federation, but it is still populated by humans only a few centuries distant from us. That means, they re driven by the same motivations a we are today, and as our ancestors were. Physical want may have been eliminated, but greed, envy, jealousy, fear, etc., will never be eliminated.

More importantly, the rest of the Trek universe is not, and has never been, a utopia. Much of it is hostile to the Federation.

If Trek fiction was about a utopia, there wuld neve have been Klingons, Romulans, Borg, etc.

It would also have been withouot conflict, and, hence, deadly dull.

Old Skool rasies an important issue in #46.

For some foks, the appeal of Trek is its depiction of Roddenberry’s utopian vision, in which we get to watch a small band of heroes.

That’s legitimate.

Others, including myself, take Trek as a more-or-less feasible depiction of our future a few hundred years in the future. The Federation is not so much utopian as it the kind of functioning technological and civil society needed to support routine interstellar flight.

I want my Trek to be strong and realistic stories set within that Federation’s struggle against an indifferent and often hostile galaxy. I expect humans in Trek to behave just as we behave today. (I can’t accept it when Vulcans or Klingons are supposed to have made significant genetic evolution in a matter of a century or two. And, Q annoys me pretty much most of the time. Nor can I watch most TOS or early TNG episodes without cringing.)

That approach to Trek is also legitimate.