content by

Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — Rising Son

Rising Son
S.D. Perry
Publication Date: January 2003
Timeline: April-August 2376; the Epilogue of this book syncs up with the Epilogue of Mission Gamma, Book Four: Lesser Evil

Progress: A Gamma Quadrant Tosk (the species we met in “Captive Pursuit”) discovers a mysterious “crystalline chunk of matter the size of a fist, of a luminous tint that seemed to shift between orange and red.” Touching it transports him elsewhere for an instant, and this experience instills in the Tosk a desire to find “something that was not the Hunt.”

Jake records a log on the shuttle Venture, recapping his decision (prompted by Bajoran prophecy) to enter the wormhole in search of his father. Unfortunately, he’s come up empty. Systems failing, Jake believes the end is near, and then thinks he hears the voice of the Emissary telling him that everything is going to be all right.

[Read more]

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — The Lives of Dax

The Lives of Dax
Edited by Marco Palmieri; featuring stories by Garfield Reeves-Stevens and Judith Reeves-Stevens, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Jeffrey Lang, Michael Jan Friedman, Jeffrey Lang, S. D. Perry, Susan Wright, Robert Simpson, Steven Barnes, and Julia Ecklar [as L. A. Graf]
Publication Date: December 1999
Timeline: 2075 – 2375

In Memoriam: Back in my review of Gateways #4: Demons of Air and Darkness, I dedicated this reread series to Aron Eisenberg’s memory. It saddens me to hereby note the recent loss of two other major Trek figures: D. C. Fontana and René Auberjonois. Requiescat in pace.

“Dax is a living anthology—a collection of stories,” writes editor Marco Palmieri in the introduction to this book, which serves as an exploration of Dax’s intricate tapestry.

Because of this book’s structure, and unique concept, in which the Dax symbiont serves as our unifying narrative element, we’re going to change our format review and talk about each story in the order in which it appears. And then, as usual, some closing thoughts.

[Read more]

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — Mission Gamma, Book Four: Lesser Evil

Mission Gamma, Book Four: Lesser Evil
Robert Simpson
Publication Date: November 2002
Timeline: August 2376, following Mission Gamma, Book Three: Cathedral; plus various flashbacks (2347, 2349, 2355, 2369)

Progress: Judith—Joseph Sisko’s daughter by his second wife Rebecca, and therefore Benjamin Sisko’s half-sister (referred to as his sister in the episodes “Past Tense, Part I” and “Homefront”, before the revelation that a wormhole alien worked through Joseph Sisko’s first wife, Sarah, to conceive the Emissary)—is worried about her father’s condition. Joseph has been spending a lot of time alone in his room and Judith feels like she can’t get through to him. She shares her concerns with Kasidy Yates, who suggests someone else who may have more luck engaging with Joseph… Enter the O’Brien family!

[Read more]

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — Mission Gamma, Book Three: Cathedral

Mission Gamma, Book Three: Cathedral
Written by Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels
Publication Date: October 2002
Timeline: July 2376; following Mission Gamma, Book Two: This Gray Spirit

Progress: Ro and Sergeant Shul visit Shar’s quarters, where Thriss committed suicide. They gain zh’Thane’s consent to examine the scene in case it was murder rather than suicide, but they find no evidence of foul play.

Shar passes up the shuttle Sagan’s latest expedition, and mourns the loss of Thriss in his quarters aboard the Defiant instead, feeling like he may be overtaken by the same depression that led her to end her life. The Defiant then encounters an alien vessel pursuing another smaller ship, which has taken heavy damage. The crew appears to be an insectoid race. Universal translators fail to decipher their language, and after a brief exchange of fire, the Defiant drives the pursuer away and attempts to help their prey’s injured crew. Communication with the Sagan is lost.

[Read more]

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — Mission Gamma, Book Two: This Gray Spirit

Mission Gamma, Book Two: This Gray Spirit
Written by Heather Jarman
Publication Date: September 2002
Timeline: July 2376; following Mission Gamma, Book One: Twilight

Progress: Continuing its mission of exploration, the Defiant inadvertently activates a subspace “snare” that releases a swarm of nanobots into the ship and damages all energy systems. Immediately after, an alien vessel positions itself near the ship and attempts to communicate with the Defiant, but the universal translators are initially unable to decode the messages. An alien away team beams into the Defiant’s engineering section. Fearing hostile intent, since they appear to be attempting to interfere with the warp core, Nog phasers one of the intruders. After the universal translators finally kick in, the crew learns that these aliens, the Yrythny, were trying to help. As the Yrythny “technologist” Tlaral explains, they have been subject to many such attacks by the Magiesterial Cheka Kingdom. The Cheka wish to exploit the Yrythny’s unique genetic provenance: in the distant past the ancient Others created a “Turn Key” in the Yrythny’s genome, accelerating their evolution. Vaughn accepts an offer of help from Tlaral that will take the Defiant to Vanìmel, the Yrythny homeworld.

[Read more]

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — Mission Gamma, Book One: Twilight

Mission Gamma, Book One: Twilight
Written by David R. George III
Publication Date: September 2002
Timeline: May—July 2376; following Gateways #4: Demons of Air and Darkness and “Horn and Ivory”

Progress: As best I can determine, at just over five hundred pages of small print, this is the second longest Star Trek novel ever published. It’s comprised of seventy-two chapters divided into four main sections.

Deep breath.

[Read more]

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — Divided We Fall

Divided We Fall: #1-4
Written by John J. Ordover & David Mack
Illustrated by Andrew Currie, Richard Bennett, David Roach, Michael Collins, John Nyberg
Publication Date: May-August 2001
Timeline: May or June 2376, sometime between Section 31: Abyss and Mission Gamma Book One: Twilight.

[Note: The Memory Beta entry for the shuttle Chaffee, featured in Divided We Fall, suggests that this story takes place before the novel Gateways #4: Demons of Air and Darkness. However, based on this mighty flowchart, this story occurs after Demons of Air and Darkness. In either case, it’s clearly before the start of the Mission Gamma series.]

Progress: The Enterprise-E receives a distress call from the Trill diplomatic transport Tynan, a ship carrying the Trill Ambassador Odan. By the time the Enterprise arrives on the scene, Odan’s damaged transport has crashed on a nearby planet, and they discover that Odan’s current host—Kareel—is too critically injured to survive. Dr. Crusher extracts the Odan symbiont, too weak to be implanted in another host, and keeps it alive in a fluid environment. Deanna Troi enters said, and is able to communicate with it, thereby learning that a faction of un-joined Trill, the Purists, are behind this and other attacks on joined Trill throughout the Federation.

[Read more]

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — Gateways #4: Demons of Air and Darkness and “Horn and Ivory”

Gateways #4: Demons of Air and Darkness
Written by Keith R.A. DeCandido
Publication Date: September 2001
Timeline: April & May 2376; two weeks after Section 31: Abyss

“Horn and Ivory”
Written by Keith R.A. DeCandido
Publication Date: September 2001
Timeline: Immediately after Gateways #4; also, 27,600 BC

[Read more]

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — Section 31: Abyss

Section 31: Abyss
Written by David Weddle and Jeffrey Lang
Publication Date: July 2001
Timeline: April 2376, three months after “What You Leave Behind”; two weeks after Avatar, Book One and Two

Progress: As Section 31: Abyss opens, something large—very large—is headed to DS9. This turns out to be Nog’s plan from Avatar, Book Two to solve the problem of the station’s power needs since the loss of its core: with the assistance of nine other Federation ships, Nog successfully transports Empok Nor, by warp, into the orbit of DS9. What a fantastic opening set piece.

[Read more]

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — A Stitch in Time

A Stitch in Time
Written by Andrew J. Robinson
Publication Date: May 2000
Timeline: 2376 is the novel’s “main” present, but given that it’s a memoir connecting the past to that present, numerous other years are visited: 2349, 2352, 2356, 2360, 2364, 2368, late 2374, and much of 2375

Progress: As was pointed out by Keith R. A. DeCandido in the comments section of my discussion of Avatar, Book One, this entire 400-page narrative is the “letter” sent by Garak to Doctor Bashir in that other novel. Though originally published as the twenty-seventh and final standalone title in the numbered Ds9 novel series, A Stitch in Time was later incorporated into the Relaunch line, and with good reason. Though much of the book focuses on Garak’s upbringing on Cardassia Prime and his career as an operative of the Obsidian Order, the novel also chronicles his experiences on the planet after its decimation at the hands of the Dominion, thereby offering a post-finale glimpse into a world trying to rebuild itself and find a new path forward.

[Read more]

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — Avatar, Book Two

Avatar, Book Two
Written by S. D. Perry
Publication Date: May 2001
Timeline: Immediately after Avatar, Book One; three months after “What You Leave Behind”; by general consensus, April 2376

Progress: A nifty Prologue takes us back to the Founders’ homeworld, where Odo is having a hard time convincing the Great Link that solids are simply different from shapeshifters, not necessarily bad, and that peace with solids is possible.

Back on DS9, Kira examines the book of prophecy Ro has given her, trying to determine its authenticity. Jake, aboard the Venture, revisits the text of the prophecy Istani gave him—which is comprised of the missing pages from Kira’s book—as he nears the wormhole.

[Read more]

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — Avatar, Book One

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. A rough cut of the Ira Steven Behr- and David Zappone-helmed commemorative documentary, What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, premiered in select locations; the finished version was shown theatrically this year, and has just beamed down to Blu-ray and DVD. While the series finale, “What We Leave Behind,” resolved the final season’s central Dominion war arc with genuine thrills and panache, it left the fate of key characters—most significantly Captain Benjamin Sisko, a.k.a. The Emissary—unresolved. Keith R. A. DeCandido quite rightly points out in his rewatch review that “the end of the war is not the same as the end of the show,” and that one of the series pilot’s major themes, namely Bajor’s entrance into the Federation, “was totally ignored” by the finale. Here’s DeCandido’s summary of the characters’ situations when the curtain falls:

DS9 ended with half the crew scattered to the nine winds. Sisko’s off with the Prophets, Odo’s off with the Great Link, Worf’s off to be a diplomat, Garak’s off to rebuild Cardassia, and O’Brien’s off to teach at Starfleet Academy. But Quark’s still at the bar, Kira’s in charge, Bashir and Dax and Nog are all still around, as are Jake and Yates.

The documentary What We Left Behind, aware of these dangling threads, features a reunion not only of the show’s main cast (minus Avery Brooks) but also of the core writing staff. Ira Behr challenges this writing team, comprised of Ronald D. Moore, Robert Hewitt Wolfe, Hans Beimler, and René Eschevierra, to come up with ideas about a hypothetical eighth season of DS9, if such a show were going to debut now and were to kick off with an in-universe time gap that roughly mirrored how much time has elapsed since the finale—about two decades. As a longtime fan it was fun to watch these writers interact and break the story for a theoretical Season 8 opener, and this turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the documentary.

It was also accompanied by a certain sense of déjà vu.

[The question of what happens after the series finale was already answered in tie-in fiction]

Reading The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Young Adult Novels

I entered 2018—which marks the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s 25th anniversary—lacking the time to re-watch the series but nevertheless harboring a desire to spend time in its extended universe. To satisfy that impulse I read some of the Malibu DS9 comics, I listened to the various DS9 soundtracks, and I watched the supplemental features on the DVD sets. In mid-October I was fortunate enough to attend the L.A. premiere of the marvelous commemorative documentary What We Left Behind, where I had the pleasure of meeting some of the show’s cast and crew, a truly memorable experience. And all through 2018 there was another way in which I kept the DS9 flames burning: by reading some of the show’s tie-in books.

Including novelizations, anthologies, cross-overs, and the official re-launch stories, there are almost one hundred adult DS9 fiction books. These certainly merit a full discussion, or several—and indeed have been covered, piecemeal at least, elsewhere. I’d read some of these novels decades ago and enjoyed them, but as with the show itself, I realized I didn’t have the time to work my way through them now in any systematic way. That’s when I remembered that between 1994 and 1998 twelve young-adult DS9 novels were published concurrently with the adult books. I hadn’t seen much written on them. They looked breezy and fun; they promised a playful recreation of the show’s key characters, particularly Jake and Nog; and they were short enough that I could read the entire series. Also, DS9 itself can be somewhat gloomy, and the idea of a less grim, more high-spirited approach provided additional allure.

And so here we are.

[Read more]

On Gardner Dozois, Short Fiction, and 150 “New” Writers For Your Consideration

On Sunday May 27th Gardner Dozois passed away. On Friday June 1st, essentially through happenstance, I ended up buying several boxes containing hundreds of used copies of Analog and Asimov’s, most of the latter from Dozois’s incredible editorial reign. Unpacking these and perusing their contents accentuated the sense of loss I’d been experiencing since Dozois died, but the experience also hit me in another way. The sheer volume of his editorial contributions was staggering. (And I wasn’t even thinking of his thirty-five years of annual reprint Year’s Best collections, or his many other anthologies, or his consistently interesting short fiction reviews in Locus). How many writers had Dozois discovered and encouraged and promoted over the years? How many voices had he amplified?

In a 2013 interview, Dozois said, “Even after all these years, finding a really first-rate story is still a thrill, one I want to share with others.” I know I’m not alone in feeling a deep sense of gratitude that Dozois did indeed share so many first-rate stories with us through the decades.

[Read more]

Video Games and ’80s Nostalgia Worth Revisiting: Gillian Rubinstein’s Space Demons Trilogy

With Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One still dazzling viewers across the nation, I thought it might be fun to talk about one of my beloved childhood books, which is—as you may have guessed—about life inside a video game. Press enter for Gillian Rubinstein’s Space Demons!

Here’s the first paperback edition’s back copy:

They came pouring across the screen like alien and menacing insects. Excitement hit him like a fist in the pit of his stomach. Life suddenly seemed more interesting. He re-set his watch and began to play Space Demons again.

The description emphasizes the visceral reaction evoked by the game, and implies its habit-forming power, both of which the novel develops in memorable detail.

[A remarkable introduction to the possibilities of science fiction…]

Our Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices.