Now Reading

Now Reading: Spaceman Blues by Brian Francis Slattery
Just Finished: Star Trek: Vanguard: Open Secrets by Dayton Ward.

I feel as though I may need to preface my review of this book with a disclaimer of sorts.

I hate to use the words epic and saga as they’ve been horribly abused by both media and public. An epic is simply a long narrative, and a saga is basically a historical account or biography. If I were to use either word, I’d make sure to use them to mean what they really mean.

That having been said, let’s continue.

Open Secrets continues the epic saga of Vanguard Station, or Starbase 47, as it’s officially known. The series is something of a departure from the standard Star Trek novelizations. As with the previous books in the series, the Enterprise is nowhere in sight, though it and her captain are mentioned from time to time, if only to link up with the established timeline.

This story covers the repercussions of the events of the previous book, Reap the Whirlwind. Diego Reyes, commander of the station, is replaced and faces court-martial. Intelligence officer T’Pryn is taken, comatose, back to Vulcan to undergo a desperate healing attempt. And, of course, just enough of the mysterious and powerful Shedai is revealed to keep the space opera fans happy. (Myself included.)

Open Secrets eventually does something that I believe is the mark of a good prequel. (Never mind that this story takes place at the same time as the original series.) I believe that a good prequel will take elements from the original work (whether loose threads, red herrings, or underused symbolism) and connect them together in a way which adds a new layer of understanding to the earlier work, or may alter its meaning entirely. (A bad prequel, of course, consists mostly of improbable meetings, name-dropping, and flimsy reasons why nobody remembers or wants to talk about anything that happened in the prequel when they later meet for the first time.)

The writers of the series have so far also resisted the temptation to bring in any mention of the Q or the Borg, thank goodness. This would have been terribly out of place in what is essentially a story of spies, diplomats, and scientists that work in secrecy.

Though I did grow slightly impatient with the pacing of the book, I did enjoy it, and am looking forward to the next volume.

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2 thoughts on “Now Reading”

  1. After reading some of Carl’s reviews of Vanguard, over at Stainless Steel Droppings, I added this series to my TBR stack. Your review made me move it up in my stack. Is it similar to Deep Space 9? DS9 was my favorite Trek series.

  2. I haven’t read any of the Star Trek books. Are there any that you would recommend to someone who doesn’t read a lot of science fiction?

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