📚 Line of Fire by Peter David

4/2023 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

A short, YA story following Worf at Starfleet Academy. It feels like the first three books (of which this is the middle book) were written as a full-length (~300 page) book and then split into thirds; it references events from its predecessor, and ends with a “To be continued…”. This is the first of this series of Trek books I’d come across, and while not being a full story, it’s fine for what it is.

Really, the weirdest part is that the primary Starfleet Academy instructor is a Professor Trump. Rather unfortunate choice of character name, that one.

Michael holding LIne of Fire

📚 The Children of Kings by David Stern

3/2023 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

A pre-TOS adventure with Captain Pike just a few months into his captaincy of the Enterprise with Spock and Number One under his command. A Klingon/Orion/Starfleet dustup gets a little confusing trying to keep track of the players and motivations, with a somewhat out-of-left-field twist at the end that seemed a little too convenient for my tastes.

One amusing bit: The author’s endnote indicates that he thought of this as something of a prequel to the 2009 Star Trek rebook (so still in the Prime universe), though he still pictured Jeffrey Hunter as Pike rather than Bruce Greenwood; meanwhile, having recently enjoyed the first season of Strange New Worlds, I found myself more often picturing Anson Mount as Pike. The more actors we have inhabiting key roles, the more the mental visualizations start to shift as you read, I guess.

Michael holding The Children of Kings

Nic Cage is a Trekkie

Here’s a fun snippet of an interview between Nic Cage and Kevin Polowy, where Nic definitively declares himself a Trekkie:

Video originally posted to Twitter by Kevin; I downloaded it to add subtitles. Transcript below as well.

…speaking of Massive Weight, the last time I talked to Pedro, he said he wanted to recruit you into the Star Wars fold. How do you feel about this? Has there been any movement on this?

I’m — No, is the answer, and I’m, I’m not really down. I’m a Trekkie, man, I’m on the Star Trek, I’m on the Enterprise, that’s where I roll.

Oh! Okay — I didn’t know this about you.

Yeah, well, this is the first interview of the new year, you might at well get something that no one knows.

But that’s a fact. I grew up watching Shatner, I thought Pine was terrific in the movies, I think the movies are outstanding, and I like the political and the sociological —

To me what science fiction is really all about, and why it’s such an important genre, is that is really where you can say whatever you want, however you feel, you put it on a different planet, you put it in a different time, in the future, and you can, without people just jumping on you. You can really express your thoughts, like Orwell, or whomever, in the science fiction format. And Star Trek really embraced that, I thought they got into some serious stuff.

This is a great nugget of information, and now we have to make that happen, we’re gonna put this out to the internet: Nic Cage for Star Trek, 2023. It’s gotta happen.

But I’m not, I’m not in the Star Wars family, I’m in the Star Trek family.

Got it, got it. We’ll put it in the record. I’ll break the news to Pedro for you.

Okay, thank you.

📚 Sacrifices of War by Kevin Ryan

68/2022 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Wraps up all the threads quite nicely, in a way that I didn’t expect when I started the first book – by revisiting Errand of Mercy. While the episode always mentioned that the Federation and the Klingon Empire were at the brink of war, the combination of TOS’s weekly adventure format and ‘60s TV styles always meant that it never really felt that dire. By exploring the buildup of tensions between the powers over six books and several bloody encounters in space, on the ground, and on space stations, the events of the episode, and even Kirk and Kor’s frustration at being prevented from going to war, gain much more weight and solidity.

Michael holding Sacrifices of War

📚 Demands of Honor by Kevin Ryan

67/2022 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

As we approach the end of this hexology, it’s worth noting that it’s doing a really neat job of exploring the state of affairs with and within the Klingon empire from both Starfleet and Klingon viewpoints. While these are some of the more violent Trek novels I’ve read, it works well to give weight to the interactions hear referenced and see onscreen in TOS episodes.

Michael holding Demands of Honor

📚 River of Blood by Kevin Ryan

65/2022 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

A strong conclusion to the trilogy, culminating in an all-out battle between invading Klingons and Starfleet defenders on a starbase that takes up the majority of the book. Something of the literary equivalent of the final act CGI battle of any given Marvel movie. The threads wrap up satisfyingly well, with a few nicely placed ties to future events and characters. Though I rated each standalone book at three stars, taken together, the trilogy as a whole is definitely above average for Trek novels. (Though all books do suffer from occasional typos missed in the editing passes; in this one, the starbase’s first mention is given the designation Starbase 43, but in the next paragraph it becomes Starbase 42 and remains there for the rest of the book.) Also, keep an eye out on the character names — many throughout the series are named for notable people in Trek’s real-world past.

Michael holding River of Blood

📚 Killing Blow by Kevin Ryan

64/2022 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

As with many mid-points of trilogies, not quite as strong as the first, though still better than average. Some flashback scenes are written in with the main narrative and occasionally mildly confusing when scenes switch between present and past battles, and there are a few unfortunate typos swapping similarly named characters. Once those are accounted for, though, a decent enough middle chapter.

Michael holding Killing Blow.

📚 The Edge of the Sword by Kevin Ryan

63/2022 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

TOS events as seen trough the eyes of a disguised Klingon operative serving as part of the Enterprise’s security crew. On the one hand, it’s a combination of common tropes: the outsider/enemy coming to understand humanity through living among them and a “lower decks” view of life on a starship. On the other hand, it’s done quite well, without being too “wink-wink, nudge-nudge, remember this bit?” when the book’s events intersect with known missions. A good start to the trilogy (or hexology, I suppose, as there is another trilogy following the events of this one).

Michael holding The Edge of the Sword.

📚 Past Prologue by L.A. Graf

52/2022 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️

More time travel shenanigans to get everything wrapped up means more opportunity to get a little confused as to which version of each character is in which setting, but it works out in the end. And the final scene is actually a nice way to finish things off.

But once again, the back cover blurb is wrong, but has just enough relation to make me think that there were some major rewrites and the blurbs were written from the original pitch instead of the final work for some reason.

Michael holding Past Prologue