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.
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"