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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