I'm trying to become a little more regular with these. As ever, previous entries: Nasat: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=191032 Tzenkethi: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=191740 Pahkwa-thanh: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=192415 Thallonians: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=193123 Efrosians: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=193999 Neyel: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=195151 Orions: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=239293 Breen: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?p=9544096#post9544096 Gorn: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=244690 Plus, the rambling Cardassian Chronicles: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=237637 And, Tellarite, Andorian, Vulcan families: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=245059 ..... That last one is relevant, because I think it's time we had another discussion on one of the most important and divisive alien cultures in Trek lit, the Andorians. The Andorian arc in the modern novels has only recently concluded, having stretched across more than a decade real-time, a very impressive span by any count. In that time, it's grown from an examination of a single character to a sweeping examination of an entire society, and has relatively comfortably adapted itself to incorporate new canonical information that initially was seen to clash with the overall portrayal. The Andorians were always popular among certain fans (no names will be mentioned here ), probably because they were pleasingly exotic. Among a stream of human-looking Original Series aliens, we had a blue-skinned, antenna-sporting race about which we knew little, but who were apparently allies of Humans while being known nonetheless for their violent ways. The Deep Space Nine Relaunch decided to explore them, and introduced what became one of their defining traits (even Star Trek Online picked it up): the interpretation of their four-way marriage as a four-sex biology and a four-gender culture. It also established the Andorians as a slowly declining race, who faced gradual (and, many books later, imminent) extinction. The 'race on a slow but sure route to extinction' story has of course cropped up elsewhere, both before and after the Trek Lit Andorians (See: Hyach, krogan), but rarely in such depth and detail. In one of those early DS9 relaunch books, This Gray Spirit if I remember rightly, Ro Laren notes that the Andorian tendency to rage and violence is rooted not in malice or in nature, but in pain - and thus was something she sympathized with. The Andorians have been defined in the novels by quiet desperation and a growing, underlying frustration. In fact, and very interestingly, Enterprise coincidentally chose to play them in a similar way, if for different reasons, which just contributes further to the idea that this is a culture often being pushed to boiling point by sheer frustrated anger. In Enterprise it was centuries of paternalistic suspicion and bullying from the Vulcans, the attempt to hold their passionate race in check in a manner similar to Coridan and Earth, both of which also chafed somewhat under Vulcan quasi-rule but never lashed out so aggressively. In the novels, their gradual population decline and the threat of extinction - to say nothing of the increasingly selfless attitude they're expected to exhibit - led to a similar undercurrent. Eventually, the apparent betrayal or neglect of their allies pushed them over the edge. One thing I enjoyed about the Andorian arc was how it grew in scope. It began as an exploration of one character, Thirishar ch'Thane, and his dilemma in balancing individual desire with socially constructed duty, and the complexities of the personal situation he found himself in. From there, the scope widened to include his entire culture, and the ideological, philosophical and political divisions the crisis was generating or exacerbating. Eventually, with a little help from the Borg and the Tholians, the situation of Shar's willing exile from Andor was mirrored in Andor's willing exile from the Federation. With The Fall, the story arc finally came to its (happy) end, with the genetic crisis cured, the Andorian species saved, Andor rejoining the Federation (in high profile, at that, given the Andorian-led administration elected in 2385), and Shar - who lost his zhavey, his four mates (including both zhen-partners), and his child - helping save his people by relying on his friends from Deep Space Nine - Bashir, Dax and (not publicly known) Prynn Tenmei. The Andorians in Trek became a tragic culture, crippled by factors beyond their control, and defined by their slow-burning pain and frustration. They also represent one of (if not the most) extensive and successful arcs in the modern continuity, elevating Andorians to "tier one race" status before Enterprise did the same. Personally, I think there has rarely been such an emotionally gripping examination of a Trek culture's trials and journey, unless it's the Cardassians, who began theirs on TV. Personally, I'm a big fan of Trek Lit Andorians. And that's why they call it the blues.