📚 The Weight of Worlds by Greg Cox

28/2023 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Kirk and Spock travel to another universe as the Enterprise crew try to counter an invasion by aliens on a religious crusade. The alien’s religion didn’t really make sense to me, their gravity-controlling weapons seemed to work mostly as required by the plot, and Cox’s referential style is as present as ever. (I feel like I harp on this, mentioning it in every review of one of his books, but it really stands out every time. He’s not a bad writer at all, he just has this stylistic quirk that likely doesn’t stick out nearly as much to some people as much as it does to me.) Not a bad adventure, but not top-tier, either.

Me holding The Weight of Worlds

📚 Apocalypse Girl Dreaming by Jennifer Brozek

27/2023 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

A collection of short fiction, with a mix of urban fantasy, “weird west” (supernatural western), and science fiction. I’ve enjoyed Brozek’s work as an editor in the past, and picked this up from her at Norwescon to sample her work as an author. I enjoyed these, especially as several were interconnected—generally not directly, but through being set in one or another of the worlds she’s created in her longer works. Short stories are often a fun way to dip into a world, and having a few to sample from a few different worlds was a nice way to get a feel for them beyond what a single story can do. That said, my favorite was a stand-alone story set in Seattle, playing with the “Pigs on Parade” statues that went up around the city in the early 2000s.

Me holding Apocalypse Girl Dreaming

📚 Unspoken Truth by Margaret Wander Bonnano

26/2023 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

A Saavik-centric story, mostly set after the events of Star Trek IV, but with flashbacks to her youth. The first half of the book is mostly planetary exploration with a dash of mystery surrounding Saavik’s past; the latter half takes that mystery and becomes a somewhat odd spy story, with various disguised motivations. I found the latter half far less engaging than the first, but overall, I liked diving more into Saavik’s character and fleshing out some of the wider consequences of the Star Trek II/III/IV trilogy. Also, though not a comedic adventure, one brief mention of a character “stepping over a Thermian’s tentacles” in a bar did make me laugh out loud.

Me holding Unspoken Truth

📚 Interference by Sue Burke

25/2023 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

As fascinating as the first. Centuries after the events of the first book, another expedition from Earth arrives at Pax. Their ethnocentric assumptions cause enough difficulties, but when another sentience makes itself known, it all gets worse. More really neat explorations of how cultures change and adapt, how those changes influence communication and understanding, the biology of plant life, and alien intelligences. I’m excited to see that a third book should arrive next year.

Me holding Interference

📚 Cast No Shadow by James Swallow

24/2023 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Set seven years after the events of Star Trek VI, this does a good job of fleshing out Valeris and exploring the motivations and rationale behind her actions. It also follows up on some of the practical and political fallout for the Klingon empire of the events in the film. Definitely one of the stronger Trek novels I’ve read.

Me holding Cast No Shadow

📚 Semiosis by Sue Burke

23/2023 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Fascinating story of colonists struggling to survive on a new planet and working to communicate with the intelligences already on this world. Rather than a single central protagonist, the first few chapters are almost individual standalone stories, jumping a few decades at a time, before events accelerate towards the latter half of the book into a somewhat more traditional narrative. Really neat ideas on how very different species might find ways to communicate with each other. Enjoyed this enough that I just ordered its sequel.

Michael holding Semiosis

📚 The Uplift War by David Brin

20/2023 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I find it kind of fascinating that Brin wrote his first three Uplift novels (particularly the second and third) as obviously connected and part of the same universe, but not directly continuing the story, even when the story is obviously unfinished. The events of Startide Rising are referred to and influence the events of this story, and the same overall mystery is a major driving element of both, but they’re otherwise unconnected. It’s a neat way to approach a very fully realized universe. I also really enjoy the way Brin creates aliens (both extraterrestrial and terrestrial) and other intelligences; close enough to human to be relatable, but also different enough to be alien. I’ve really enjoyed all of his first three Uplift novels, and one of these days plan to continue on to the second trilogy.

Michael holding The Uplift War

📚 Allegiance in Exile by David R. George III

19/2023 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Not quite what I expected. There’s a pretty standard Trek adventure as a framing story (with a surprising connection to post-TOS Trek that I’m curious about), but it’s really more focused on Sulu and his having to deal with a tragic event. Not bad, just be aware the back cover blurb is a very small part of the actual plot.

Michael holding Allegiance in Exile