I tried and failed once again to complete the 50 book challenge last year. However, I did a little better than the year before, and probably would have read at least two more books if I hadn’t made a cross country move.
- The Empty Chair by Diane Duane (fiction)
- A Librarian Is To Read by Betty Vogel (non-fiction)
- Wordplay: The Official Companion Book by Will Shortz (non-fiction)
- Death in Winter by Michael Jan Friedman (fiction)
- Puss ‘n Cahoots: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery by Rita Mae Brown (fiction)
- So Say We All: An Unauthorized Collection of Thoughts and Opinions on Battlestar Galactica (Smart Pop series) edited by Richard Hatch (non-fiction)
- Solstice Wood by Patricia A. McKillip (fiction)
- Gauntlet by Michael Jan Friedman (fiction)
- Progenitor by Michael Jan Friedman (fiction)
- Reunion by Michael Jan Friedman (fiction)
- The Valiant by Michael Jan Friedman (fiction)
- Three by Michael Jan Friedman (fiction)
- Oblivion by Michael Jan Friedman (fiction)
- Enigma by Michael Jan Friedman (fiction)
- Maker by Michael Jan Friedman (fiction)
- Journey Between Worlds by Sylvia Louise Engdahl (fiction)
- Orphan’s Quest by Pat Nelson Childs (fiction)
- The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (fiction)
- Towards Zero by Agatha Christie (fiction)
- At Bertram’s Hotel by Agatha Christie (fiction)
- Nemesis by Agatha Christie (fiction)
- Ordeal By Innocence by Agatha Christie (fiction)
- First Have Something To Say by Walt Crawford (non-fiction)
- Social Software in Libraries by Meredith Farkas (non-fiction)
- Beer & Food: An American History by Bob Skilnik (non-fiction)
- Guinness – The 250-Year Quest for the Perfect Pint by Bill Yenne (non-fiction)
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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.