Monday, February 9, 2009

Star Trek: A Singular Destiny by Keith R. A. DeCandido

I don't think there's any writer out there, past or present, who has ever had such a complete and total grasp of the Star Trek Universe as Keith R. A. DeCandido (aka KRAD). I used to be amazed at how well he tied all five TV shows together; with this book, he ties in damn near the entire "Expanded Universe" of Star Trek fiction. Which is saying a lot, because it's nowhere near as nice and tidy as the Star Wars EU.

The book itself deals with the fallout from the massive Borg invasion told in last year's Star Trek: Destiny trilogy. All the major powers are trying to rebuild, and the question becomes whether or not they will become isolationist as they tend to their own problems, or if they can still stand together. And of course there are always those who use chaos as their chance to prey on others for their own benefit.

The way this book tells the story is mostly through the eyes of Sonek Pran, a man who's father was half-human and half-betazoid, and his mother was half-vulcan and half-bajoran. So he's a Bajoran/Betazoid/Human/Vulcan. He's also based on Arlo Guthrie, which inspired me to photoshop this picture of him:

You should be able to click on it to view it larger and see more of the details... he's got Betazoid eyes, a Bajoran nose and Vulcan ears.

Anyway, he's a great character, but he's only one part of the story; other parts are told from all over the Star Trek universe, from the Klingon High Council to the Federation President to Captain Dax on the USS Aventine. Between each chapter is a glimpse at a public or private record from somewhere else in the quadrant, which help to drive home the extent of the damage of the Borg invasion. And there are still quite a few more shockers in there.

And as if that wasn't enough, the story is full of easter eggs, side references and inclusions that eagle-eyed fans may or may not catch. The only one I'm going to blurt out here was the inclusion of the Elisiar, an Edoan musical instrument that was only ever previously used in the old Power Records Star Trek Book & Record set in the 1970s! It was the first Star Trek Book & Record I ever got, and I loved that thing. I played it into the ground. So it just blew my mind to see it included here.

If you haven't read the six-book Borg saga but want to jump into the new novels that will reflect how it's changed the face of Star Trek literature, this is a great jumping-on point. If you've already read the Destiny Trilogy then it's even more amazing. All in all, this is just one damn fantastic book.

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