Geordi La Forge has always been one of my favorite Star Trek characters; I grew up watching The Next Generation with my parents, and while Picard was awesome in a Dad sort of way and Riker was the cool older brother type, La Forge was always my favorite character (we'll leave aside my... affection for Ensign Ro when I watched reruns, ahem...). Unfortunately, he never seems in my mind to get a whole lot of attention and from what I've read of the TNG relaunch it's been mostly "Oh, La Forge is doing something in engineering, hum drum." So this book was really exciting to me with Geordi as the central character, and since I really liked his cameo in Timeless having the book aboard Challenger
was really intriguing too. Throw in Scotty, Nog, and Guinan (the characters I knew about going in) and I was looking forward to one of more unusual but fascinating collection of characters in awhile.
Overall, I'd say the book really lived up to my expectations: kudos to Dave
for a well-written book. There were parts I didn't really understand, but I figure that's just the science and science-y jargon going over my head.
If I have one complaint about the book overall, I feel like the ending was too... permanent and reset-button-y. Everything was wrapped up and La Forge is back on Enterprise
(granted with Leah) and I don't expect we'll see this cast together anymore. Which is a shame, because I thought they jelled really well and would've made for a cool group of miracle workers. Geordi as Captain of Challenger with Dr. Brahms, Nog, Guinan, Barclay, Doctor Ogawa, Qat'qa, and Vol? Sign me up! Sure, sure, maybe we don't need another starship getting its own titles, but the ocassional anthology starring Challenger, Aventine
, and one or two other famous starships that don't get much attention (Excelsior
?) would be a fun read.
Kudos though for making me think about halfway through that hey, maybe this would be a permanent game-changing move for Geordi and company before Challenger
got whisked away to the void.
Some other more scattered thoughts:
It feels like this book was a tale of two halves. Almost like two episodes even; episode 1, sort of a pilot, was the story of Intrepid
, Bok, and Rasmussen, where we met all the players and their relationships. Episode 2 was following up on the mystery of the trans-slipstream wake and being stranded in intergalactic space with Romulan "guests." I kept wondering if Bok's flight to the Big Bang would have repercussions later, but obviously not. Overall Episode 1 wasn't as interesting as Episode 2, although the Split Infinite was a pretty awesome idea even if I didn't really understand it.
I know Rasmussen didn't actually kill the time-travelling professor whose pod he stole, but still... what a despicable move.
The emotional stuff this book hit on for Geordi was pretty intense - closure for Hera's
disappearance, confronting Sela, and of course revisiting his attraction to Leah Brahms - and kindling a real romance there. Does this mean Geordi finally gets to shed the "storyline" of always looking to hook up with a girl because he's incredibly awkward?
Kudos to Captain Montgomery Scott for going out like a hero, and who knows, maybe there's a possibility of him returning. But I'd rather not - like Barry Allen, Scotty deserves to rest after dying to save the universe.
With the exception of Transporter Chief/First Officer Carolan, who I never really got a handle on, this book features some great original characters - the highlights of course are Qat'qa and Vol. An octopoidal engineer with a Cockney accent? Brilliant! Well... maybe the Cockney wore a bit thin, but still overall brilliant. And Qat'qa... haha, that docking maneuver Challenger
pulled and her mad joy flying the Romulan leviathan were fantastic.
"Would you like hot chocolate?"
The back half of the novel did a lot more with Sela than I would have expected - I don't recall this Half-Breed stuff coming up before? And the commander... Varaan?... is her half-brother?
I was a bit... surprised... by the explanation for why Nog was tactical officer (and why La Forge was flight controller for Enterprise
back in the day). Are Starfleet officers really cross-trained enough that they can simply sign on to an "empty slot" that isn't their "real interest" in hopes that a position in their "real interest" will open up later? I mean with Nog it makes some sense given his wartime experience and the fact that Challenger
is a dedicated engineering ship... thought you'd think he'd be more likely to get the spot of Chief Engineer by spending more time as Chief Engineer maybe on other starships. But are we saying that Starfleet assigned La Forge - whose aspiration was engineering - to their brand new flagship as A-shift Flight Control officer rather than, I dunno, the best pilot in the fleet?
Anyway, not to end on a nitpick, sorry. But this is getting rather long. So overall, fantastic, but I'd like it better if the ending wasn't apparently so cut and dried. So what happens now to Nog and Vol and Qat'qa? I'd hate to think we'll never see those latter two again. What happens to Barclay's, err... almost-beginnings-of-romance?