#13

Oblivion by Michael Jan Friedman

I promise this blog won’t turn into a “which Star Trek book did Anna read today” blog. I swear! I mean it!

Okay, so, yeah. Another book in Friedman’s Stargazer series. This one is much more memorable and interesting that the last one, so I’m happy about that. It also provided another example of the paradoxes of time travel. In this case, it was that the first time Picard meets Guinan is also the second time she has met Picard. Don’t try to think too hard on that one or you’ll hurt yourself.

One thing I’ve noticed with this series is that like television episodes, the each book focuses on different characters from among the crew, and the focus shifts from book to book. For example, the Asmunds play a large role in the last book, Three, but they are only mentioned and not see or heard from in this one. The nice thing about this is that Friedman has been given the opportunity to develop a large set of characters that are mainly of his own creation, and he’s been able to further their development over time (and a series of books). I think that is when authors get to have fun in the Star Trek universe.

#12

Three by Michael Jan Friedman

Like The Valiant, Three takes an element from TOS and imagines what might have happened to it in the years between Kirk and young Picard. In this case, the element is the mirror universe that Kirk visited via a transporter malfunction. Alternate histories and crossovers seem to be an irresistible element of the Star Trek canon, so I am not surprised to see it show up in Friedman’s Stargazer series.

The story was okay, but the plot and action did not move quite as dramatically as it has in previous books. Aside from providing more character development with the Asmunds and Ensign Nikolas, the book adds nothing to the story of the USS Stargazer and her crew.

#11

The Valiant by Michael Jan Friedman

I was a little concerned when most of the way through the first chapter I realized that the inspiration for the story came from the TOS episode entitled “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” Given that this was the second pilot episode of the original series, I should probably temper my opinion of it; however, I still don’t care for the episode’s treatment of the characters as compared to what they would become.

That said, this turned out to be a better story than I hoped. Since I have managed to read out of order most of Friedman’s stories about Picard and the Stargazer, I already knew some of what was going to happen, but that didn’t deter from my enjoyment of the book.

The book opens with a more detailed exposition of the events that occurred on the SS Valiant more than two centuries before Kirk’s Enterprise discovers the ships recorder that was sent back towards Earth before its destruction. The story then shifts to the USS Stargazer, almost three-hundred years after the events on the Valiant. Lieutenant Commander Picard is serving as second officer, and even in that position several of the crew, including the first officer, think he is too young and inexperienced.

This becomes even more of an issue when the captain is killed and the first officer is incapacitated. Through the course of events, Picard is forced to assume command, and although the story is presumably about the galactic barrier and the ramifications of the events on the Valiant, it really shines best as the story of Picard trying on the shoes of command and finding that they fit perfectly.

#10

Reunion by Michael Jan Friedman

Last night, I decided to do a bit of reading before bed, and grabbed the third book in the Stargazer series. So far, it has been an interesting series, and Michael Jan Friedman is quickly rising in the ranks of Star Trek authors that I enjoy reading. I had read about a quarter of the book when I hit my limit of references to past events I wasn’t aware of. That’s when I stopped reading and did some investigating online. Turns out, Friedman wrote two books prior to the Stargazer series that introduced the characters and provided the setup for the series.

The first book is this one, Reunion. It takes place sometime around third or fourth season of The Next Generation, judging by Wesley Crusher’s rank and the Troi/Riker relationship status. I read (and had owned) this book years ago when it was first published in the early 90s, but I had forgotten enough of it that re-reading felt like reading it for the first time.

The Picard of this book is the Picard we are most familiar with, and with the exception of Worf, he is the only character from the core TNG group that is given sufficient attention to grow and develop through the story.

It has elements of a murder mystery, but without the cleverness of a Christie or Sayers plot. Still, quite satisfying for Star Trek, and a lot less dark than I remembered it being. Of course, I’m quite a bit older and more experienced than I was when I first read the book. Worf gets quality time, and the opportunity to view himself in the mirror via Idun Asmund, a human woman who was raised by Klingons.

Next up is The Valiant, which is the book that sets up the series I’ve already begun to read. Sort of a spoiler, since I know the outcome, but I still need to learn the details.

I’m hoping that I’ll have gorged myself on enough Star Trek by the time I’ve finished the series that I can move on to other, slightly more challenging books. On the other hand, I’ve kick-started the reading thing, which makes me happy.