Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Star Trek: SCE: Wounds

Star Trek: SCE: Wounds (Star Trek: Sce)Star Trek: SCE: Wounds by Ilsa J. Bick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My casual reading of the Star Trek: Starfleet Corp of Engineers compilations continues in digital form with "Wounds" which is by far the darkest collection of stories and given what happened to the DaVinci not that long back is saying something. This collection comprises six stories from different authors and continues the excellent narrative the world of the SCE has provided.

MALEFICTORUM by Terri Osborne
After the mysterious death of a crewman the DaVinci security chief is having a hard time to reveal answers to how and why the death aboard ship occured. The fact the crewman was the son of a respected friend further complicates matter but Lieutenant Commander Domenica Corsi is nothing if not professional. Then a second death occurs and the method but not motive is uncovered but now with a line of investigation Corsi and her people have got the scent and rush to prevent a mass murderer from striking across the quadrant.

LOST TIME by Ilsa J. Bick
Deep Space Nine is in trouble as distortion waves pass through the station and continue across the system to impact Bajor itself, tectonic activity on the planet is increasing and even with members of the DaVinci crew on hand things are looking bad. Meanwhile on Empok Nor further investigations continue under the guiding hand of Commander Gomez but as the teams delve ever deeper into the mystery it's Soloman on board DS9 who uncovers the first clue, data and communication from himself but from somewhere else...

IDENTITY CRISIS by John J. Ordover
Commander Gomez is taking some shoreleave at the Recreational Station Hidalgo but after her intended companion had called off his visit she had become friendly with a guy she met on the station but still not over her grief she is unable to allow a relationship to develop. As Gomez is about to leave she is asked to provide some assistance in the stations main control room and while the technology is far from cutting edge she is happy to help. Discovering the system is being stressed by a strange communication she responds and then well things go from bad to worse to apocalyptic.

FABLES OF THE PRIME DIRECTIVE by Cory Rushton
Coroticus III was under the protection of the Federation and as a prewarp society observed for sociological purposes until the Dominion war when the Federation abandoned the planet and the people to occupation by the invading forces. Years later the Federation via Starfleet with its sociologists and the SCE return to the world to see what damage both physically and culturally had been incurred by the native population. Dangers await the team after finding the ruins of their original hidden observation post but is it from the native population changed through their time under the gaze of the gods (Founders) or something else.

SECURITY by Keith R.A. DeCandido
The DaVinci and her crew have been through rough times recently and with new additions to security Domenica Corsi has more than her fair share and now Dr Elizabeth Lense and Julian Bashir while on journey via runabout are missing. One of Corsi's new security team is from Izar a world where Corsi visited when serving on board the Roosevelt, what occurred there is something that she has not revealed to anyone not directly involved but now with life proving once again there are no guarantees she opens up to Fabian Stevens.

WOUNDS by Ilsa J. Bick
The events experienced by Dr Elizabeth Lense and Julian Bashir during the time they were missing and on a world very different to any they knew of are revealed in this story. A world in chaotic turmoil after global nuclear war many years ago and a clash between cultures in regards to the lengths one will go to to preserve life in whatever form that may be. The two Starfleet officers find themselves separated when their vessel crashes and each found by opposing groups with different ideologies and the full horrors of survival at any cost is experienced by both doctors.

Wounds is as a I said a very dark collection of SCE stories but the overall collection is wonderfully interconnected as stories overlap and intermix but you ain't gonna come away from these with a shiny happy feeling that's for sure.

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Friday, 7 December 2018

Female of the Species by Geonn Cannon

STARGATE SG-1: Female of the SpeciesSTARGATE SG-1: Female of the Species by Geonn Cannon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Female of the Species written by Geonn Cannon is the latest full length Stargate novel from Fandemonium / Stargate Novels and was released digitally on November 22nd. As with other releases a paperback is expected at a later date.
The story is set during the final season of the show during the time Vala Mal Doran was being integrated into Stargate Command, not fully trusted and not fully trusting if you recall but one thing Stargate taught the viewer and its own characters that there were many shades of grey. As the ORI continue their advance in the Milky Way Galaxy the threat of the Lucian Alliance does not diminish but with little intelligence on the crime syndicate there are few proactive measures the humans of Earth can take. Vala with her many contacts across the galaxy could be useful but the ORI and Adria have been her primary focus until she receives a call for help from an old associate/partner one Tanis Reynard (S6E8 Forsaken). Upon deciphering the message it indicated that Tanis has been imprisoned at Viaxeiro a prison facility reputed to be the most secure in the galaxy and the hardest to find. Vala proposes a plan to rescue her former partner who would have real time intelligence on the Alliance and despite many concerns General Landry gives the mission the green light. The team gate to Pezjena! a sort of Casablanca where the black market and mercenary/bounty hunters congregate to meet the contact. Vala argues that just her and Sam should be at the meet up given Vala’s reputation for having a female partner and thus the two women walk into a bar (feel free to add any punchline you want).
I’ll leave it there because as you can no doubt guess things start to go wrong immediately setting up the bulk of the novel with its two storylines, the adventures of Sam and Vala away from support and relying on their own skills and intelligence to prevail while SG1 and the SGC look for support and hints as to find Viaxeiro and then rescue their people.

Female of the Species concentrates the majority of its time on the female characters (no real surprise there) and given how many novels have the men front and centre and with plenty to work with Geonn builds upon and creates complex and realistic situations and interactions. Sam of course is a known quantity but the tv show only had so much time to devote to the dynamic of the two women on SG1 and this novel expands upon this and provides a valid step by step growth in trust. The same applies to the many characters we are introduced to at Viaxeiro (which turned out to have a very interesting history and structure) and all this is without relying on the more “action” type adventure of the rest of SG1 as they search for their missing people to keep things moving along. You could very well concentrate fully on the Viaxeiro elements of the novel but even so we get some fun writing with Mitchell and Co (including Dr Lam) rampaging around the galaxy.
Female of the Species is a valuable addition to the Stargate franchise and I for one still believe the tv shows (as with most tv) concentrated too much on male characters although SGA was better than SG1 for female focus and SGU better than both. The Atlantis team we meet on Whispers is a case in point, I would have loved to see some more adventures with that team led my Major Teldy. Some of the production choices I believe were down to the very male writing, directing and producing staff and if Stargate should ever return to the small screen the current and positive trend of bringing in as many voices and views as possible will only produce a better and more inclusive series bringing it into line with the diverse fanbase.

I can highly recommend the novel and you can also check out Geonn’s first Stargate novel “Two Roads” and shorts in the Stargate anthologies Far Horizons, Points of Origin and Homeworlds along with his own novels and stories including the Riley Parra series.

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