Saturday, 30 April 2016

New Beginnings in A Pocket Full of Lies

Tiff is back with the latest on Kirsten Beyer's ever impressive Voyager novel series...

To say I was eager to read Kirsten Beyer’s latest novel was an understatement. 

But before I continue, I must warn you that this review contains spoilers.

Following on from Atonement, this new novel is the unofficial start of a new plotline as the previous arc finished with the last novel. the main thrust of which is the appearance of another Kathryn Janeway.

The novel starts of solidly with the ramifications from the events in Atonement still clearly present.

Nancy Conlon’s recovery from Seriareen possession has proved slow and difficult, both she and her partner Harry Kim have suffered greatly, the latter sinking into a state of depression and anxiety.

But now the author addresses one of the biggest ‘reset’ conclusions from Voyager’s seven season run, Year of Hell.

Beyer has attempted (and succeeded) in taking on an exciting and intricate challenge here but her detailed knowledge the subject has allowed her to blend back-story and conjecture into a satisfying tale.

The story balances on the actions of the Krenim species and their refusal to allow what they call a ‘chaotic variable’ to exist and threaten their imagined ‘perfect timeline’. This variable is of course Admiral Katherine Janeway.

Proceeding with their abduction, the Krenim actually take an incarnation of Janeway from her younger life, the episode Shattered.

Beyer’s encyclopaedic knowledge really flexes itself here, as we enter the foray of two Janeways and the villainous designs of the Krenim.

We also get a chance to revisit another previously neglected character, Thomas Riker (born of a transporter accident yet a sentient independent person from the more familiar Will); Chakotay comments that …“two identical people choosing very different paths become pale reflections of each other.”

Beyer asks the reader to reflect on matters of destiny and the nature of the single identity in its uniquity.

As viewers, we were able to witness all of the events of the Year of Hell from safely behind the fourth wall. Here we are forced to share and allow the characters of Voyager to have that memory thrust upon them with cruel reality and unavoidable memory.

Seven of Nine describes the similarities she sees in ‘our’ Janeway’s eyes which convince her that she is Janeway: “a specific combination of defiance and pain.”

It is at times painful to read as we secretly wish that none of them should have to know or feel the horrors of that year, but there is hope yet for reasoning. Janeway herself acknowledges some relief that of the many versions of her that she witnessed die, most were following a similar path to her, affording her some comfort in her chosen path in life.

Kirsten Beyer stated previously that the story of the ‘other’ Janeway was in need of telling, and I found her viewpoint that they were better versions of their own selves because of the ‘Year of Hell’ compelling and convincing.

Classic themes are abound, courage, forgiveness, redemption and destiny of course

Tuvok battles with Loss, the Krenim protagonist demonstrates courage, even the omnipotent Q ponders familial immortality.

It seems as though no one, not even a Q can escape destiny.

Hands down this is one of the best Star Trek books I have ever read.

I can’t wait to see what Kirsten Beyer has in store for us next. 

Are you a fan of the new Voyager novels? Keep watching Some Kind of Star Trek for Tiff's interview with author Kirsten Beyer!

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