01/09/2009. Contributed by Sue Davies
pub: Pocket Books/Simon and Schuster. 708 page enlarged paperback. Price: £ 12.99 (UK); $18.00 (US); $21.00 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-4165-5639-8.
check out website: www.simonsays.co.uk and www.startrek.com
This issue is of a bundled set of novels comprising 'Twilight' and 'This Gray Spirit' previously published individually in 2002.
'Star Trek: Deep Space 9' came to a conclusion on TV some years back but has acquired an after-life in novel form. Instead of the spin-off novels that tend to form part of the in-series continuity these novels have set out to continue the story after the finale. In other words, they do get to play in the toy-box but whether they are allowed to break the toys is another matter.
DS9 never reached the audience of other Star Treks possibly because of fierce competition or possibly because audiences had more than enough 'Star Trek' already. I was never a huge fan and lost interest long before the end. One of its strong points was that it was the series had a continuing story arc that you needed to follow but of course this was also a weak point if like me you were only a sporadic viewer.
The series of novels beginning with 'Avatar' are considered to be Season 8 of DS9 and introduce new characters alongside some of the originals. The main change is Elias Vaughan, the hundred year-old commander is the station's new executive officer and Kira Nerys is the station commander. Various other characters are introduced, including Prynne the helmswoman of the Defiant, and Vaughan's estranged daughter, an Andorran called Thirishar Ch'Thane and Ro Laren previously of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'.
In 'Twilight', Commander Vaughan is taking the Defiant 'to boldly go' and half of DS9 it would appear. Included in his crew are the aforementioned Prynne, Shar alongside Ezri Dax and her lover, Doctor Julian Bashir.
Opening with an explosion when Vaughan fears Prynne is dead, the narrative becomes an exploration of second chances, fractured relationships and all mirrored by the exploration of uncharted space, just like the good old days without the 60s sexism. First contact leads to a mission to save new friends from a desperate threat which could also end all life as we know it.
Back at the DS9 station, we meet Kira, Ro and Quark again. Bajor has been accepted into the Federation and Kira is uncertain what this means for the future and has to cope with some major diplomacy whilst contemplating her future outside the church.
There's a certain satisfaction in reading about established characters. For a start, it's easier on the brain if you already have a physical form to relate the character to. For the writer, there is inherent danger in using beloved characters in the wrong way. Everyone knows better than the writer to have a smattering of new characters to put into the mix and make it a little less safe.
Over all, it's an involving read but it's got a hefty page count and I've only read one out of the two volumes. It's probably more for the established fans but even casual viewers like me can get a good story out of it. Bound together, these two novels are rather hefty for bedtime reading. Don't get me started on the size of the font. For those of you already needing reading glasses you might need to go up a grade for this.
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Stephen Hunt's novels - USA