In the past eight years Pocket Books has been taking Star Trek novels to a new level by embarking on an ‘eighth season’ of Deep Space Nine in book form. With two new DS9 ‘relaunch’ novels fast approaching it may seem intimidating to jump in, so the Library Computer brings you an updated guide to the series and how you can get caught up on all the previous action.
THE ESSENTIAL DEEP SPACE NINE RELAUNCH
Although each of the five Trek series has books set after their finales (on TV or in Film), the post-finale DS9 book universe is the most realized. The ‘relaunch’ book series began in May 2001, two years after the TV series ended. Set in the aftermath of the final episode of the series, "What You Leave Behind", the authors had to compensate for the loss of Benjamin Sisko, and compensate they did. Through thirty-five separate books and countless storylines, Deep Space Nine remains alive and well on the printed (or electronic) page. With the upcoming release of "The Soul Key", we thought it might be a good idea to update our rundown of the ‘essential’ Deep Space Nine relaunch. Although there are many fine books in the series, the following are the ones which are absolutely indispensable for those considering picking the series up to read the next installment.
Avatar, Books 1 and 2
by S. D. Perry
I recall reading the two books of the Avatar series with a great deal of excitement and anticipating. Here was what I, as a DS9 fan, had been waiting for: the continuation of the story beyond the end of the series. S. D. Perry did not disappoint. Perry’s duology set the stage (and the bar) for everything that came later.
A sneak attack on the station leads pretty much everyone in the Alpha Quadrant to assume that the War is back on, while we are introduced to an almost entirely new staff aboard the station. The effects of Sisko’s disappearance and the prophecies concerning his child swirl around Kasidy Yates, and Jake Sisko elects to embark on a journey of his own.
by David R. George III
This is one hefty book. No matter, "Twilight" by David R. George III was one of the most immersive experiences I can recall in reading a Star Trek novel (at least, until his outstanding work on the life of Leonard McCoy in the Crucible trilogy). In "Twilight", the Defiant heads out for the Gamma Quadrant on a mission of exploration, forcing Commander Elias Vaughn, the Defiant’s commander, to face his own personal demons while, at the same time, spearheading what everyone hopes will be a new day for the Defiant and the future of Federation presence in the Gamma Qadrant. At the same time, a move begins back on DS9 to bring Bajor into the Federation, while relationships begin to form among some unlikely candidates.
by Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels
There’s no greater way to learn about yourself than to lose nearly everything that makes you who you are; or so Julian Bashir, Ezri Dax, and Nog discover while studying an ancient artifact in the Gamma Quadrant. Martin and Mangels managed to explore the emotional aspects of physical change while, at the same time, delivering an energetic tale aboard the Defiant. At the same time, back on Bajor, things aren’t going so well for Cardassian/Bajoran relations, or for the Bajoran faith. "Cathedral" is a book that met head-on the challenge of expressing religion in the midst of a science fiction universe, and did an outstanding job of it.
by S. D. Perry
To be blunt, I think you either had to love "Rising Son" or hate it (and most fans love it, some even counting it as the best of the entire relaunch). "Rising Son" is Jake Sisko’s story, showing what happened with him between the events of the Avatar dulogy and the end of the Mission Gamma series. From spending time aboard a tramp freighter with space pirates to questing to discover the truth about his father’s fate, S. D. Perry took a break from the Starfleet and Bajoran view of much of the relaunch, and really went to town with Jake’s story. Those who wish to follow Jake’s evolution more closely will want to make sure they read this tale, but it is an otherwise dispensable entry into the series.
by S.D. Perry
"Unity" was the first hardcover Star Trek book I had bought and read in a long time. My preference is usually to buy the audio version of hardcover books. By the time that "Unity" arrived, however, I was firmly entrenched in the DS9 relaunch, and many fans were anticipating this just about as much as the second part of "The Best of Both Worlds". "Unity" definitely delivered.
In Perry’s book, the Defiant returns from her Gamma Quadrant excursion just in time to find herself in the midst of a system-wide shutdown around the station, with a familiar (to us) alien presence running amuck, Bajor’s future in the balance, and some major revelations being prepared in the Celestial Temple.
"Unity" was, in essence, the finale of the ‘eighth season’ of Deep Space Nine and the beginning of the ‘ninth’.
Worlds of Deep Space Nine Volumes 2 & 3
"Unity" was followed by a three volume series that contained two stories each, known collectively as "Worlds of Deep Space Nine". The stories focused on Cardassia (The Lotus Flower), Andor (Paradigm), Trill (Unjoined), Bajor (Fragments and Omens), Frenginar (Satisfaction Is Not Guaranteed), and the Dominion (Olympus Descending). Each of these stories spins out some of the characters and events of the preceding works and addresses their intricacies and unanswered questions in very manageable ways. Of particular importance to the past and future of the relaunch series are volumes 2 and 3 for Mangels and Martin’s "Unjoined" (which resolves questions surrounding the aliens from "Unity"), Kym’s "Fragments and Omens" (centered on Bajoran affairs in the wake of several differing events in "Unity") and George’s "Olympus Descending" (which sets the stage for the next novel by sending the station’s resident Jem’Hadar on a violent rampage that places both Kira and Ro at the end of his furious
by David Mack
You can usually count on David Mack to deliver a bloodbath, but in "Warpath" he inherits the aftermath of one perpetrated by Taran’atar. While something may not be ‘quite right’ with him, you can be sure that, when David Mack is guiding your fate, that someone, somewhere, is engineering your ‘not quite right’ moment… and Mack leads Taran’atar and us right down the garden path to "Fearful Symmetry”, which has now taken the next spot on the essential list.
by Olivia Woods
Really two different stories with a common locus, “Fearful Symmetry” had one significant downside – the brevity of both stories. And yet, in spite of their length, they are absolutely essential to having any clue about what has really been going on in the preceding two books. We begin to discover more about Ben Sisko (I think it’s safe to admit at this point that he isn’t dead or missing anymore) and his role in the multi-verse, while crossing the Cardassian border and looking at the life of the former Obsidian Order infiltrator, Illiana Gehmor. Her treatment at the hands of Gul Dukat and her fury over the circumstances surrounding the demise of her parents leads her patently insane. While the story was missing a degree of impact (in last year’s review of the book I carachterized the stories as ‘sparklers on the Fourth of July’), Woods used these books to set up one heck of an adventure… to be revealed in the August 2009 release of “The Soul Key”.
There you have it, seven outstanding novels, a ‘perhaps’ tale of Jake Sisko, three short novels, and an essential dual-book that, taken together, will give you all the exposure you need to enjoy "The Soul Key" on all cylinders. Certainly every book of the Relaunch tells a part of the tale that will enrich the reader’s journey, but these stories will truly set the stage for what is to come.
Further post-finale DS9 reading
It’s worth noting that several other projects are also set after the finale of Deep Space Nine, though their level of connection with the official relaunch project varies.
- Though published after "Rising Son", "The Left Hand of Destiny" Books 1 and 2, written by J. G. Hertzler and Jeffrey Lang precede the other books of the Relaunch, and feature –predictably- Worf and Martok. While they were published under the DS9 Relaunch banner, they serve as a stand-alone tale.
- The N-Vector graphic mini-series from Wildstorm is set in the weeks between the end of the series and the events of "Avatar", and features Tiris Jast and the Defiant.
- Andrew (Garak) Robinson’s "A Stitch In Time" is, perhaps, one of the most outstanding works by an actor-turned-author in the history of Star Trek fiction. Filled with accounts of Garak’s youth, but with a framing story that takes place before the Relaunch really begins, "A Stitch In Time" is (retroactively) considered a part of the Relaunch, and, while not essential to the storyline, is definitely worth a read.
- "The Lives of Dax" anthology features a framing story set in the aftermath of the Dominion War, but includes tales spread throughout the many centuries of the Dax symboiant’s existence.
- Thought often believed to be a part of the Relaunch, the three books of the Millennium mini-series are not a part of this series, and form something of an alternate reality look at the end of the Deep Space Nine saga.
- And let’s not forget the Starfleet Corps of Engineers’ contribution to the DS9 relaunch legacy. With five different stories that pair the SCE cast up with the continuing storyline, each of these stories is filled with action and events, the ramifications of which do impact the following books in the series.
DS9 RELAUNCH TIMELINE
Confused? With the high degree of inter-connectivity of the Relaunch tales, and the varying release dates, its easy to get turned around. What follows is the suggested order for reading the various novels, comics, and stories that make up the Deep Space Nine Relaunch. The above ‘Essentials’ are in bold and future books are in italics.
1. The Left Hand of Destiny
2. The Lives of Dax (framing story only)
3. N-Vector (Wildstorm Graphic mini-series)
4. A Stitch in Time
5. The Calling (from the DS9 anthology Prophecy and Change)
6. The Dream Box (a stage play by Andrew (Garak) Robinson)
7. TNG: Maximum Warp (features a cameo appearance of the Defiant under command of Tiris Jast)
8. Avatar Book 1
9. Avatar Book 2
10. SCE: Cold Fusion (features repairs in the aftermath of Avatar)
12. Demons of Air and Darkness
13. Horn and Ivory
15. Divided We Fall (Wildstorm Graphic mini-series; takes place concurrently with Twilight)
16. The Brave and the Bold IV: The Final Artifact (takes place concurrently with Twilight)
17. This Gray Spirit
19. SCE: Aftermath (featuring O’Brien on Earth)
20. Lesser Evil
21. Rising Son (Takes place between the end of Avatar and the beginning of Unity)
23. Trill: Unjoined (from Worlds of Deep Space Nine Vol. 2)
24. SCE: Wounds (features Julian Bashir)
25. The Officer’s Club (from the Tales from the Captain’s Table anthology)
26. Bajor: Fragments and Omens (from Worlds of Deep Space Nine Vol. 2)
27. Andor: Paradigm (from Worlds of Deep Space Nine Vol. 1)
28. Ferenginar: Satisfaction is Not Guaranteed (from Worlds of Deep Space Nine Vol. 1)
29. SCE: Malefictorum (featuring Kira Nerys, Quark, Ro Laren and Treir)
30. Cardassia: The Lotus Flower (from Worlds of Deep Space Nine Vol. 3)
31. SCE: Lost Time (featuring Kira Nerys, Elias Vaughn, Ezri Dax, Nog and Elim Garak)
32. The Dominion: Olympus Descending (from Worlds of Deep Space Nine Vol. 3)
33. Saturn’s Children (from the Mirror Universe anthology: Obsidian Alliances, providing a look at the mirror universe characters last seen in the episode "The Emperor’s New Cloak". The story bridges the gap between the episode and the novel "Warpath".)
35. Fearful Symmetry
36. The Soul Key (July 2009)
37. The Never Ending Sacrifice (August 2009)
38. The Rough Beasts of Empire (December 2010)
Hard to Timeline or Expansive:
- SCE: Aftermath (featuring O’Brien on Earth)
- SCE: Malefictorum (featuring Kira Nerys, Quark, Ro Laren and Treir)
- SCE: Lost Time (featuring Kira Nerys, Elias Vaughn, Ezri Dax, Nog and Elim Garak)
- Saturn’s Children (from the Mirror Universe anthology: Obsidian Alliances, providing a look at the mirror universe characters last seen in the episode "The Emperor’s New Cloak". The story bridges the gap between the episode and the novel "Warpath".)
More info on the DS9 relaunch at Memory Beta (the non-canon Star Trek wiki)
Next Up: The Relaunch Continues
Coming later this week, TrekMovie brings you our review of Olivia Woods’ follow-up to “Fearful Symmetry”, “The Soul Key”. Break out your leather! (or is that your latex? I always forget what they make the clothes out of in the Mirror Universe.). And in August we will review Una McCormack’s "The Never Ending Sacrifice" which delves into the post-Dominion War Cardassian Empire.