Library Computer: Review “Star Trek Titan: Over A Torrent Sea”

This week the Library Computer visits the planet Droplet, as Christopher L. Bennett continues adventures of the starship Titan with the fifth book in the series, taking them "Over a Torrent Sea". We also wrap up our Destiny Trilogy giveaway trivia contest

 


REVIEW – Star Trek Titan: Over a Torrent Sea – by Christopher L. Bennett

In the wake of the Borg disaster depicted in the Destiny trilogy, Starfleet is busy rebuilding the Federation (and its allies) in nearly every conceivable way. Everybody wishes to play their part, so imagine the chagrin of the crew of the USS Titan when they are ordered out of Federation space once again to resume their mission of exploration. Nevertheless, the brass and the politicians assure Riker and company that this is exactly what the people of the Federation need – a renewed sense of hope rooted in the optimism and exploratory zeal of the Federation’s glory days. Thus begins Christopher L. Bennett’s latest contribution to the Titan series, "Over a Torrent Sea".

After several weeks of ongoing exploration, the crew enters an unusual star system with an aquatic planet, dubbed ‘Droplet’… it’s an endless ocean with a massive hurricane and unique life forms – only the Titan crew has no idea just how unique they will prove to be. Multiple Prime Directive issues begin to surface – at Droplet and elsewhere, abductions take place, life’s little miracles come to pass, and more new waves of exploration begin. Weighing in around 350 pages, one might be tempted to think of "Over a Torrent Sea" as a light read, but Bennett ensures that this outing isn’t even remotely light… not for Riker, not for the crew, and not for the reader.

Bennett, once again, proves his reputation as a world-builder, creating an entire biosphere out of thin and thicker water, a biosphere that is intimately connected with the way the story will unfold and effect everyone involved. Bennett also excels in making this an outstanding story of exploration. Weapons are minimal in the tale, and are used sparingly, stringent efforts are made to protect the integrity of the world they are visiting, and even when disaster strikes the massive ocean, the crew holds fast to their ideals as they struggle to cope with the crippling after-effects of what can only be called the greatest natural disaster in the history of the planet.

While "Over a Torrent Sea" is very scientifically in-depth, the science is rarely used as technobabble, an appreciated quality given the rampant opportunities the story offers such a temptation. The depth of the story, however, does not prevent Bennett from instilling the story with his usual witty humor and banter, resulting in this voyage of the starship Titan finally feeling like every last part of the Titan puzzle had finally come together. The ship’s crew, still struggling with the aftermath of the Destiny trilogy, take on a real and vital role to the development of several of the central stories in the book, and, while some may criticize the story choices that surrounded Dr. Ree’s actions in the latter half of the story, they provided an interesting diversion from the main storylines on the water-bound planet. Make no mistake, while heavy – Bennett’s book thrives on the personal stories of the Titan crew… giving it a bouyancy and direction that is appealing and welcome in the world of Star Trek literature. Not to be quickly skimmed over are the emotional and psychological challenges of Tuvok, Ree, Keru, and (especially) Lavena. Truth be told, this is her book (and I am not just saying that because she is on the cover). The exposition of their minds and hearts make this a voyage to be taken by anyone, even the casual Star Trek fan.

In "Over a Torrent Sea", Bennett has restored a sense of exploration and boldness that the Next Generation never had and that, in spite of every attempt, Voyager and Enterprise never quite got close on. In this installment of Titan’s ongoing mission, Bennett sets up Will Riker and his crew as the heir-apparent to Jim Kirk and company in the new Federation that will, of necessity, be born (or perhaps, I should say, that will evolve) out of the ashes that the Borg have left behind.

With all due respect to David Mack’s Destiny trilogy, "Over a Torrent Sea" is the most complete, entertaining, and though provoking Star Trek book to have appeared in the past year. Christopher L. Bennett’s tale is not to be missed, and, I believe, the one that will set the mark by which every Star Trek novel this year will be judged (with the possible exception of Alan Dean Foster’s Star Trek movie adaptation).

 
"Titan: Over A Torrent Sea" available now at Amazon and other book stores

SIGNED DESTINY TRILOGY CONTEST OVER

The TrekMovie trivia contest giving away three sets of the Destiny Trilogy, signed by author David Mack is now over. The winner of the final question has been selected.

The week three question was:

What Star Trek: Corps of Engineers character first appeared in an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine co-written by David Mack?

The correct answer is Fabian Stevens. Congrats to Peter R. of Ulricehamn Västergötland, Sweden. for getting that tough question (submitted by Mack himself) right.

NEXT TIME…
Coming up next, we we will be reviewing the first Voyager Book in years, Kristen Beyer’s "Star Trek: Voyager: Full Circle", which will bring the Voyager story in line with the Titan and TNG stories in the Post-Destiny timeframe. Expect our review shortly before the book is released in mid to late March. 


Our next book to review: "Star Trek: Voyager: Full Circle"

newest oldest
Todd

first! looking forward to the Voyager novel, will be good to see how they fit in with current events…

Ben Luna

I’ve really liked the Titan series. My only wish is now for some of this great material be worked into a direct to DVD or television movie.

locutus_of_borg

A Titan tv series of DVD movie would be awsome! im sure Frakes would do it!

Carol

I loved this book and the whole Titan series.

Doomsponge

I have to admit, on reading his stuff, Bennett was born for writing Trek novels. His previous stuff, starting with the disturbingly superb Ex Machina has shown he’s a wonderfully thought out, detailed writer with a rare ability to make the science integral, but not overwhelming. And a habit of explaining odd scietific loopholes (like why the stars streak by). His stuff’s deep, charming, thoughtful and very, very Trek.

His annotations on his website help, too. Just a shame we don’t get the novels over here until a few months after the US, if we get them at all.

SirMartman

Sexy Fish!

I understand Kirk more

:o)

justcorbly

Personally, I’d give the edge to Mack’s series, but Bennett’s newest is a very strong book indeed. (I’ve never been fond of waterworld stories. Dunno why. Maybe Kevin Costner knows.)

The discussions about the Prime Directive in the book are on target. Let’s hope the debate spreads to Starfleet HQ.

7 – I totally agree on your statements about the Prime Directive. I’ll be curious to see if other authors bring this up in their works. Perhaps KRAD will have to write the next great West Wing Trek book on the topic…

Rob+

I have said this before and will again. Christopher Bennett is TREK’s best writer today. His novels are rich with detail, tons of data that ties in with what we’ve seen and read in the past and his characterizations are right on the money. His works are incredibly, dense visual paintings that would serve as the perfect springboard for future filmed episodes or movies.

I cannot wait to read anything upon which he puts his literary stamp! I cannot recommend him enough.

One note: I think it is a sad telling comment that a section dedicated to reading gets so few comments, but one where countless readers criticize the look of the new Enterprise gets hundreds.

Are we becoming so passive that we are a people of lookers, but nor readers? As a writer myself, also a reader and a former high school English/US HIstory teacher, it saddens me to see that so few people read like we should.

Ahem: climbing down off my soapbox now…

Steve T. NY

Glad to see another Titan book, but before the Destiny trilogy, Titan was thought to have crashed on a planet, and there were crew members scattered through time. I think it was Sword of Damicles. Does anyone know what the next book was after that and before the destiny series?

justcorbly

#10 Doug:

Stay on your soapbox and scoot over to make room for me.

Buckeye Trek

Had no intention of reading this book until I read the review. Destiny was awesome, but I was never that interested in Titan before. The other books were ok but not OMG. The review makes this one sound awesome. Will pick it up today. Hope it delivers.

By the way #10, I agree with you 100%. Have fun in Chicago. I hear that its a bit colder there than in SoCal.

T.U.M.

Looks like a winner. I’ve enjoyed all the Titan books. one minor quibble – Shouldn’t it be “Torrential Sea” rather than “Torrent Sea?” Maybe it’s some technical term I’m not familiar with.

Also, Robert’s MMV, but the TNG I watched never lacked for exploration – it was its raison d’etre.

Dr. Diehard

Now this sounds like Star Trek. I’m going to pick this up. I’ve read all the Titan books and this kind of thing is what I’m looking to read.

To Robert: Thanks so much for that immensely flattering review.

11: “Glad to see another Titan book, but before the Destiny trilogy, Titan was thought to have crashed on a planet, and there were crew members scattered through time. I think it was Sword of Damicles. Does anyone know what the next book was after that and before the destiny series?”

There are no TTN novels between Sword of Damocles and Destiny. You haven’t missed anything.

14: “Shouldn’t it be “Torrential Sea” rather than “Torrent Sea?” Maybe it’s some technical term I’m not familiar with.”

It’s a line from Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem “The Cloud.”

http://www.web-books.com/Classics/Poetry/Anthology/Shelley/Cloud.htm

OM

“Over A Torrent Sea

Synopsis: Riker is assigned by Starfleet to find a way to stop the latest Star Trek movie from being pirated over bittorrent and other download sites. The problem is that he and his fellow Next Generation crew are torn between doing their duty, or helping JJ Abrams’ reimaging efforts result in an EPIC FAIL, thus opening the way for a new TNG flick! The fate of the Federation – and the Universe – now lies in the hand of a director seeking redemption for a film he was not responsible for – but should have been!

Carlg

Hmph, 16 posts in before a JJ slam. Well, being on-topic was nice for a bit…

*Ahem*

I read Mr. Bennett’s first Trek book, “Ex Machina” a while ago, and I found it an OK read, but a bit dry. I did really like the characterization of Natira, and the inclusion of truly alien aliens in the Enterprise crew (and the intriguing logistics of McCoy’s department having to know how to treat all of them).
Anyways, I was at the bookstore browsing and I was skimming through “Greater Than the Sum”, and I was really impressed! All the ‘voices’ of the TNG characters sounded spot-on, and the Borg at the end were truly frightening.
You have really upped your game, Mr. Bennett — it looks like I’m gonna have to blaze through all the Titan novels now to get to this one… :D

Craig

I enjoyed ready many star trek books until they started to follow the same path. It seems that most of the books since the end of Voyager have focused on dark plots and the end of the star trek universe as Gene Roddenberry envisioned. Star Trek is about how humanity outgrows it current status and becomes a united front amid the chaos of the galaxy. Star Trek shows how humanity “grows up” and is no longer subject to the petty differences of today. It just seems that the books now focus on the negative side of things, including death, destructions, chaos of the federation, etc… What ever happen to the basic principle of Star Trek…”to explore strange new worlds…too boldly go where no one has gone before…” Star Trek just seems to be focused on dark plots and the destruction of what has taken 20-30 years to build up.

I enjoyed and purchased the older books that focused on the exploration aspect (I am 32…so not part of the old guard as you might think). It seems the current books try to follow the Star Wars line by trying to create an expanded universe concept. This “expanded universe” is just plain garbage in my opinion. I miss the stand alone books that were enjoyable to read and once you completed the book, it was done and everything was OK at the end.

When they go back to the old way, I will go back and start buying the books again.

19: ” What ever happen to the basic principle of Star Trek…”to explore strange new worlds…too boldly go where no one has gone before…” Star Trek just seems to be focused on dark plots and the destruction of what has taken 20-30 years to build up.”

OVER A TORRENT SEA is definitely about exploring a strange new world. Yes, some characters are dealing with the aftermath of some recent cataclysmic events, but the overall story of the novel is not about darkness and destruction. I was actually going for a light, fun, change-of-pace book as a contrast to the grim events it follows on.

And in Dave Mack’s defense, I should add that although the DESTINY trilogy involves some devastating events, it’s ultimately a very positive and optimistic tale that reaffirms the core values of ST.

Sci

#20 – Exactly. Destiny was not about the end of the Federation — it was about Federation citizens who proved they were not willing to renounce Federation values even in the face of their own deaths. I think that’s more than worthy of Roddenberry’s vision of a better future.

Star Trek was never about humanity changing into something better than it is today, because what it is today is pretty good. Star Trek was about humanity learning to live up to its present potential, not fundamentally change its nature. That means that death and darkness are part of the Trekverse ALONG WITH enlightenment.

mjmjr91

I’m 260 pages out of 380 pages into the third Titan novel, Orion’s Hounds. If Hounds is any indication of the quality of Over a Torrent Sea, I can’t wait till after I read Sword of Damocles. Having read the Destiny Trilogy, I have a pretty good handle on one of the major events of Damocles so I may just skip it and read Over a Torrent Sea.

to Christopher Bennett: I’d love to see you at the helm of a new Trek television series, sir. Your narrative style is just what Trek needs.