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Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

Star Trek: Coda — Unpacking the Epic Conclusion to the Trek Litverse

As I talked about in my informal primer for this trilogy, these three books by Dayton Ward, James Swallow and David Mack represent the culmination of decades of interconnected storylines across a hundred plus volumes in multiple series.

Now that the whole shebang is out in the wild, and you’ve hopefully had the chance to read it, I’d like to share some thoughts on this massive litverse finale, as well as invite you to share your own thoughts and reactions to what is undeniably an emotionally charged trilogy.

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

I thought it might be fun to talk about one of my beloved childhood books, which—long before Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One—centers on 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.

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Prelude to a Coda — What You Need to Know Ahead of Star Trek’s Most Epic Novel Trilogy

This week officially kicked off what promises to be the most epic literary trilogy in all the decades of Star Trek’s publishing history…

Let’s take that in for a moment. With an estimated 700 franchise novels, the next three months will give us a series crossover trilogy to rival fifty-plus years of printed Trek stories.

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Millennium: An Essential Guide to One of TV’s Most Fascinating Shows

“Who cares?”

This simple question, asked in the last title card of Millennium’s opening credits, challenges its characters as much as it does us viewers. Since its premiere, Millennium (1996-1999), a series created by Chris Carter of The X-Files fame, made it clear that it would be wrestling with the theme of evil in a way never before seen on network television. Edmund Burke’s famous line, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” is just one of many responses to darkness illustrated by the series’ fascinating exploration of serial killers, eschatology, and millennialism of all stripes, writ large against a cosmically mysterious, often profoundly unsettling universe.

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — What We Might Be Leaving Behind

Between August 7th 2019 and Feb 24th 2021 I was privileged to talk about all of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine relaunch books (full list with linked reviews below) in this space.

It’s been an exhilarating ride, with some tremendous warp-speed intervals on state-of-the-art narratives and, let’s say, a few stretches of impulse power on second-tier vessels.

Given the scope of this review series, I thought it might be nice to (1) write a brief retrospective (2) offer up a core list of quality titles that I think can be enjoyed without much preamble and can act as gateway texts to jump into the series at various points.

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — Original Sin

Original Sin
David R. George III
Publication Date: September 2017

Timeline: February-March 2380, approximately one year prior to the 2381 section of Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts of Empire, and March 2386, following Ascendance and The Long Mirage

Progress: The bulk of this novel consists of chapters that alternate between 2380 and 2386. Here are the essential events of these two plotlines told sequentially:

2380: A Bajoran named Radovan, who’s been dealt some tough blows, falls in with the Ohalavaru, the religious followers of the texts of Ohalu (see Unity and more recently Sacraments of Fire).

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — I, The Constable

I, The Constable
Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann
Publication Date: November 2017

Timeline: late January 2386, following The Long Mirage

Progress: Quark learns that his uncle Frin has died, and Frin owned a number of taverns on Ferenginar. Quark reasons that, as the nearest male relative of Frin’s, these establishments should go to him (“Wives serve, brothers inherit’—that’s the 139th Rule”), but under Grand Nagus Rom the Rule has been amended under the Bill of Opportunities: brothers still inherit, but after wives and children. That doesn’t stop Quark from heading back to the homeworld to look into Frin’s marital situation and try and claim some of the action. Then he goes MIA, however, and Captain Ro asks Odo, who’s been spending much of his downtime reading hard-boiled noir fiction, to locate Quark.

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — Enigma Tales

Enigma Tales
Una McCormack
Publication Date: June 2017
Timeline: Late 2386, one year after The Missing, which was set in November 2385 (though internal references may place it somewhat later)

Progress: Doctor Pulaski is invited to Cardassia Prime to receive the Distinguished Impact Medal from the University of the Union for her work on the Andorian reproductive crisis, and she invites Peter Alden to join her on the trip. Once there they are greeted by Metok Efheny, who shows them around.

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Star Trek: Picard: The Dark Veil Is a Must-Read Addition to Trek Canon

Star Trek: Picard: The Dark Veil
James Swallow
Publication Date: January 2021
Timeline: 2386

This media tie-in is a superlative accomplishment.

Regardless of your level of enthusiasm for Star Trek: Picard, if you have any interest at all in the future of the Trek universe in the wake of Star Trek: Nemesis—specifically, the fates of William Riker, Deanna Troi, and yes, albeit tangentially, Jean-Luc Picard himself—you must read this book.

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — The Long Mirage

The Long Mirage
David R. George III
Publication Date: February 2017
Timeline: January 2386, following The Fall: Revelation and Dust, Sacraments of Fire, and Ascendance

Progress: In a brief prologue, the Bashir 62 holosuite program provides the environment for a waitress in a Las Vegas diner to witness a conversation between two characters we will later figure out are Morn and Vic Fontaine.

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — Rules of Accusation

Rules of Accusation
Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann
Publication Date: July 2016
Timeline: 2371, December 2385 (after The Missing, before Sacraments of Fire)

Progress: In a Prelude set in 2371, a Kalpazan forger and art collector by the name of Bartleby creates a duplicate of what we will soon figure out is the original Sacred Scroll containing the legendary Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, created by Gint ten thousand years ago. The identity of Bartleby’s client is not revealed.

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — Force and Motion

Jeffrey Lang
Publication Date: June 2016
Timeline: early January 2386; numerous flashbacks, going back almost four decades

Progress: With the 2381 Borg attack underway, Benjamin Maxwell, last referenced in this reread series in Gateways #4: Demons of Air and Darkness, is serving time at the Starfleet Penal Colony on Waiheke Island, New Zealand, Earth. He applies to serve in the effort to repel the Borg, but his application is turned down (a major concern is that the Cardassians fighting on the Federation side would react poorly to his presence).

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — Ascendance

David R. George III
Publication Date: December 2015

Timeline: December 2377-February 2378, December 2385-January 2386; a direct continuation of both of the timelines in Sacraments of Fire

Progress: After Odo’s attempt to link with the potential Changeling being held at Newton Outpost, the creature first breaches its containment area and then the station itself, escaping into space and using gravity to propel itself out of the Larrisint system. Two casualties and six injured scientists result from its flight to freedom, and Odo himself remains in his gelatinous state after the aborted link. Security Chef Selten receives a distinct telepathic impression from the creature that it is driven by a need or purpose, seeking something specific in outer space.

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — Sacraments of Fire

Sacraments of Fire
David R. George III
Publication Date: July 2015

Timeline: September-December 2385, immediately after The Fall: Revelation and Dust; and also 2377, on the heels of The Soul Key

Progress: Following the events of Warpath, Fearful Symmetry, and The Soul Key, Iliana Ghemor joins the Ascendants, taking on the role of The Fire for this group of confrontation-eager religious zealots. Still obsessed with Kira, Iliana has her sights on Bajor. After leading the Ascendants in an attack on an Eav’oq colony, Iliana ends up commandeering the Ascendant’s main weapon and heading toward Bajor.

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — The Missing

The Missing
Una McCormack
Publication Date: December 2014
Timeline: November 2385; after the Fall miniseries

Progress: Dr. Katherine Pulaski, passionate in her pursuit of a multi-cultural scientific enterprise that will not only yield valuable insights but also achieve what diplomacy by itself cannot, is allocated the Olympic-class starship Athene Donald. Its delightfully multi-species crew sets out on an explicit mission of exploration. Joined Trill Maurita Tanj is the ship’s commanding officer, and other crew members include Klingons, Cardassians, Romulans, a Ferengi, and even a representative of the Tzenkethi Coalition named Metiger Ter Yai-A.

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