Sunday, 12 January 2014

A Novel Start to 2014

Welcome to the new range of books from Simon and Schuster for 2014!!!

Let's dispense with the waffle and cut to the meaty stuff. Book four of The Fall is already out on general sale (I spotted a copy in Glasgow a few weeks back) and this month we get the finale of this brilliant quintology...

The Fall: Peaceable Kingdoms

Courtesy of Simon and Schuster
The Federation is rocked to its core as the Typhon Pact is suspected of being behind a barbarous act that shatters the fragile peace of the Alpha Quadrant. An original Star Trek novel, this is the final part of a five-book story arc that takes place over a sixty-day period, but it is not necessary to read each novel in order to follow the storyline (although we at Some Kind of Star Trek are trying valiantly to do that), which involves all aspects of The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine universes.

This series has been so memorable and cleverly woven together by the five authors. To review them as a team we have read them separately but one or two contributors are planning to read them in sequence of release. Whether it's action, characterisation, politics or just a fine read then this has had it all plus the kitchen sink in there for good measure. A must of 2013 and an essential purchase for the New Year.

Peaceable Kingdoms will be available in the UK from January 16th 2014.

Voyager: Protectors

Courtesy of Simon and Schuster
Following the destruction of four fleet vessels at the hands of the Omega Continuum, the USS Voyager and USS Demeter set course for a region of the Delta Quadrant far beyond anything previously explored. Captain Chakotay is determined to prove to Starfleet Command that the fleet's ongoing mission is vital to Federation interests…and the key to doing so may lie in a distress call Voyager received nine years earlier, but could not investigate.

Meanwhile, Vice Admiral Kathryn Janeway is recalled to the Alpha Quadrant for an evaluation period to determine her next assignment. Given the trauma she has recently endured, Admiral Akaar, Starfleet's Commander-in-Chief, questions Janeway's fitness to command the fleet. Janeway's primary concern remains the fleet's safety. For their mission to continue, she must find a way to secure the resources they require. But the uncertainty of her superior officers has left her powerless to act in theirbest interests. The USS Galen is dispatched to return Janeway to Earth and tasked thereafter with a mission to a remote Starbase in the Beta Quadrant where an individual they believe to be a member of the Caeliar gestalt has been recovered. The Doctor's experience with Seven of Nine is vital to their efforts, but he soon discovers that their patient is more than meets the eye.

As the remaining fleet struggles to communicate with a dangerous and mysterious alien technology that may hold the key to unlocking an ancient civilization, Janeway searches for the path to her future and The Doctor finds himself forced to betray one he holds dear to prevent the spread of a new plague now ravaging several Federation worlds.

So February will see the first Voyager novel for some time takes us back into the Delta Quadrant - but are we really fussed with all the shenanigans going on with Deep Space Nine and the Picard-led Enterprise? Well, we'll find out in February and I can say that this is one book we are hotly anticipating due to the noticable absence of Janeway and co. 

The Original Series: No Time Like the Past
Stardate 6422.5. A diplomatic mission to the planet Yusub erupts in violence when ruthless Orion raiders attempt to disrupt the crucial negotiations by force. Caught in the midst of tense and dangerous situation, Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise finds an unexpected ally in the form of an enigmatic stranger who calls herself "Annika Seven."

Stardate 53786.1. Seven of Nine is taking part in an archaeological expedition on an obscure planetoid in the Delta Quadrant when a disastrous turn of events puts Voyager's away team in jeopardy-and transports Seven across time and space to Yusub, where she comes face to face with one of Starfleet's greatest legends.

Stardate 6422.5. Kirk knows better than most the danger that even a single castaway from the future can pose to the timeline, so he and Seven embark on a hazardous quest to return her to her own era. But there are others who crave the knowledge Seven possesses, and they will stop at nothing to obtain it-even if this means seizing control of the Enterprise!

Calm it down there. Yes, really - Kirk and Seven. Either a novelised match in Heaven or something that in years to come will be regarded as the biggest crash since Troi helmed the Enterprise (D or E it makes no difference). Hopefully Greg Cox has pulled a gem out of the bag that will top last year's average helping, The Weight of Worlds. We know to some degree that he can handle The Original Series but the real test is mixing up two very different generations and two of the most popular characters in that. Good to see that we get another helping of Voyager this year even if it is under The Original Series banner. (Cover art not approved in the UK; novel due March 2014).

Enterprise: Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Having survived its first major crisis, the Federation turns to nation-building as Admiral Jonathan Archer works to bring the worlds of the powerful Rigel system into the young union of the United Federation of Planets. But factions both within the Federation and among its enemies oppose the alliance, and Archer will need all the skills of his former Enterprise crewmates to prevent them from plunging Rigel into a system wide war.

Christopher L Bennett is back with another chunk of Enterprise-that-isn't-actually-Enterprise with Tower of Babel. I (Clive) wasn't a fan of the 2013 offering A Choice of Futures and my review didn't hold back. This time our resident Archer-ite Carl will be handling the novel. Rumour is that this is a much better read so we might get a pleasant surprise but it has to be less of a political drag and more upbeat. While it does focus on the characters of Enterprise the strands holding it to that name are getting a little worn. Drop the moniker and just go with Rise of the Federation. Note for Carl if you're reading, the picture of Pothos is dedicated to you (cover art unconfirmed - book released April!).

The Original Series: Serpents in the Garden

Early in his five-year mission commanding the USS Enterprise, Captain James T. Kirk found himself caught up in a growing conflict on the planet Neural. To maintain the balance of power against a force being armed by the Klingons, he provided weapons to his friends, the Hill People. Years later, Admiral Kirk learns that the Klingon presence on the planet has grown considerably, in possible violation of the Treaty of Organia. Did his impulse as a young captain turn out disastrously wrong? Should he - could he - have done more to eliminate the Klingon threat? To find out, he embarks on a secret mission back to Neural - where he might just be the only person who can prevent an interstellar war.

Ahhh. He doesn't trust the Klingons does he that Admiral Kirk! Tracing back events before The Original Series and seen in the second season story A Private Little War we're expecting Klingons, rifles and the odd Mugato to be thrown together here. Surely any novel that deals with Klingons is a sure-fire winner. This will mark Jeff Mariotte's follow up to The Folded World which was a mighty good read. I hope this is just as good and we'll discover just how much in May which is also when the Klingon Art of War will be available.

The Lost Era: One Constant Era

A novel from The Lost Era. When John Harriman took command of the U.S.S. Enterprise-B, it was the most benighted launch of a starship in more than 200 years. This is that story, as well as that of the powerful officer who believed in Captain Harriman and convinced him not to resign his command.

Now if I'm correct here that reference to a powerful officer is alluding to the fan-produced and Tim Russ-directed Of Gods and Men which states that Chekov was the man who helped save Harriman's career following the apparent death of Kirk on the Enterprise-B. I'm not familiar with The Lost Era but I think it's self-explanatory from the title. I know there were a rack of titles a few years back that focused on the Enterprise-B but I never managed to get to them. This now comes along and should make up for at least some of that blip in my reading. I liked the character of Harriman to some degree but by god was he a bad choice to captain that ship. We'll see this on shelves in June.

The Next Generation: Light Fantastic

The continuation of the epic story begun in the New York Times bestselling The Next Generation trilogy Cold Equations is here (later this year). A now-resurrected Data and his android "daughter" Lal must face off against the holographic entity James Moriarity, who is determined to acquire android bodies in order to live a "real-world" immortal life.

That's a lot of "quotes" there which doesn't sit well. Now this was one of those books that HAD to happen I suppose. There was no way to avoid the finale of Cold Equations so a reborn Data story was always going to be on the books. Interested? Yes, but there are more stellar titles competing for our money this year and that's before we even reach the release date of Light Fantastic which is set for July.

Seekers: Second Nature

Image from David Mack's website
Despite heroic efforts, the Andorian species is headed for extinction. Its slow march toward oblivion has reached a tipping point, one from which there will be no hope of return. With countless lives at stake, the leaders of Andor, the Federation, and the Typhon Pact all scheme to twist the crisis to their political gain-at any price. Unwilling to be a mere bystander to tragedy, Doctor Julian Bashir risks everything to find a cure for the Andorians. But his courage will come at a terrible cost…

We at Some Kind of Star Trek have ranked this as the must buy novel of the year. Taking a totally different line on the universe and boarding a ship that isn't from the mainstream has proved a hit in the past. We're expecting big things from this series and doubt we'll be disappointed considering it's the work of Dayton Ward, David Mack and Kevin Dilmore. Apparently following on from Vanguard it's not a completely new step but I don't expect many be familiar faces from the TV shows.

Beyond that release in August the year has yet to be revealed. What do we think then? A good selection or retreading ground? Are the new titles of a good original nature? What are your experiences with the authors we'll be seeing in print in 2014? Why not let us know...

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