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Old May 28 2013, 04:34 AM   #1
rfmcdpei
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MyrU: The Last Generation by A. S. Harris Review Thread (Spoilers!)

The Last Generation, an entry in the Myriad Universes line scripted by Andrew Steven Harris and illustrated by Gordon Purcell, stands out for a few reasons. For starters, it's the only graphic novel entry in the Myriad Universes series, the only one published by IDW instead of Pocket, and--so far as I can tell--the only Myriad Universes entry lacking a full review thread here in the Trek Literature forum. Googling trekbbs.com, I've found a September 2008 post by the author introducing his series and two posts--one in November 2008 and September 2009--reacting very briefly top elements of the series, but nothing more substantial. Since I recently bought the IDW omnibus containing this and other Trek graphic novels, it struck me as incumbent upon me to start one.

This Myriad Universes entry is set in the context of the Klingon conquest of Earth, following the successful assassination of the Federation president by the Khitomer plotters in 2293. The eventual war isn't explored in detail, although we do know that Earth fell sometime in the 2240s (alt-Riker saw the Klingon destruction of the lunar cities as a small child) and that by the time of the graphic novel, Vulcan is an independent state with a High Command that provides material support to the Terran rebels, particularly to the Excelsior commander by Hikaru Sulu and his first officer Rachel Garrett. On the Earth, Picard, leading a resistance cell including his lover a blinded Guinan, lovers Ro Laren and Tasha Yar, his maimed nephew, and an angry young Wesley Crusher who wants to prove himself in battle, acquires an advanced android, Data, to determine possible weaknesses to be used against the Klingons (Worf is the warlord in control of Earth, incidentally). When Data's analysis reveals that the current timeline is the product of tampering by the 29th century temporal agent Braxton, Picard sets out to fix the timeline. But can he?

At least one of the reviews over at Goodreads criticizes The Last Generation as being little more than fan fiction, a transposition of known characters into different situations. This is a true, but I think this criticism misses that such is the whole point of the Myriad Universe series. How would the Interstellar Union's Hikaru Sulu fare in rescuing his daughter from the savages of 40 Eridani A-II? What if Janeway's great gamble with the Borg against Species 8472 failed? What would Kirk do in the service of a United Earth after Terra Prime forced a rupture with the emergent Coalition species? The Myriad Universes stories play upon the established convention in Trek of the same people getting together to do things in any number of different timelines, and The Last Generation is no different. Others suggest that this timeline borrows heavily from "Yesterday's Enterprise", but I don't see it; without going into too much revealing detail, the causal mechanisms behind the timelines resulting in the Klingon conquests are rather different, as are the timelines themselves.

I enjoyed The Last Generation quite a bit. Gordon Purcell's art was familiar to me from his years working on DC Comics' lines, while I quite liked Harris' writing with its twists and turns. Harris successfully used characters from across the series--Janeway, Vaughn, and Jellico are mentioned in passing as members of other resistance cells, Wesley gets O'Brien and Annika Hansen and Hawk to work with him, Picard even has a Xenexian ally with a scarred face--to explore a very different timeline and the possibilities of fixing it. (I quite liked seeing Rachel Garrett feature prominently, not least since I liked Well of Souls. Also, I think that The Last Generation confirms that, without human foster parents to take him through the processes described by Norbert Elias, Worf would have become a monster.)

A 2008 interview with Harris suggests that The Last Generation was intended to be the first in a series of IDW-Pocket collaborations, building upon and exploring the universe created in the novels. This doesn't seem to have come to pass. Based on the successes of The Last Generation, it's a pity that's the case.
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