Spoilers DSC: Wonderlands by Una McCormack Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Markonian, May 18, 2021.

?

Rate DSC: Wonderlands

  1. Outstanding

    13 vote(s)
    56.5%
  2. Above Average

    8 vote(s)
    34.8%
  3. Average

    2 vote(s)
    8.7%
  4. Below Average

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Poor

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Admiral Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2012
    Location:
    Derbyshire, UK
    STAR TREK - DISCOVERY

    Wonderlands
    Una McCormack
    18th May 2021

    <title image>

    Blurb
    In a desperate attempt to prevent the artificial intelligence known as Control from seizing crucial information that could destroy all sentient life, Commander Michael Burnham donned the "Red Angel" time-travel suit and guided the USS Discovery into the future and out of harm’s way. But something has gone terribly wrong, and Burnham has somehow arrived in a place far different from anything she could have imagined—more than nine hundred years out of her time, with Discovery nowhere to be found, and where the mysterious and cataclysmic event known as “the Burn” has utterly decimated Starfleet and, with it, the United Federation of Planets. How then can she possibly exist day-to-day in this strange place? What worlds are out there waiting to be discovered? Do any remnants of Starfleet and the Federation possibly endure? With more questions than answers, Burnham must nevertheless forge new friendships and new alliances if she hopes to survive this future long enough for the Discovery crew to find her…
     
  2. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Admiral Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2012
    Location:
    Derbyshire, UK
    A new Discovery novel is out!
    In anticipation I've re-read the 3051 portions of the ST: DTI novella "The Collectors".
    Which takes place before the end of the Temporal Wars, and well before the Burn occurs in 3064.

    I find it astounding how the distant, mysterious futures of the 26th century (ENT: "Azati Prime", STO: "Ragnarok"), 2769 (STO: "Time and Tide"), 29th century (VOY: "Relativity") and Timot Danlen's time (a.k.a. Daniels, 3050s, ENT: "Cold War", STO 31st century ship classes) are now somewhere between antiquity (600 years between Enterprise-J and Voyager-J) and history (Temporal Wars).

    (I mean, we're past the latest eras of BattleTech and The Mézga Family!)

    As a ship fan, I'm particularly looking forward to learning about Starfleet ships and facilities, although we know from Season 3 that Burnham doesn't meet Starfleet Actual until she's reunited with Discovery.

    Ships and facilities so far:
    Former Federation Spaceport Devaloka (a.k.a. Sahil's relay station)
    Starbase 906 (renamed Starbase Vanguard)
    Nirvana-class flyer (Burnham's courier ship)
    --Burnham's courier ship Alice
    USS Yelchin NCC-4774-E --> "[Burnham] wondered what the ship had been like; who had crewed her; the story behind its name. She touched her heart, saluting what had been lost."
    Eden-class vessel
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2021
    Leto_II likes this.
  3. Leto_II

    Leto_II Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2013
    Location:
    Room 303, The Heart O' The City Hotel
    Just grabbed my copy at Barnes & Noble, and will be starting it shortly. Looking forward to it — Una’s Tilly-novel was absolutely great, and looking forward to seeing what she’s done here.
     
    Markonian likes this.
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    I appreciate it, but keep in mind that the DTI series is set in the post-Destiny novel continuity and is thus not consistent with current screen canon.
     
    Ronald Held and Markonian like this.
  5. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Admiral Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2012
    Location:
    Derbyshire, UK
    Indeed. It's more about the "flavor".

    Similarly, BattleTech novels I've been reading are also set in a 31st century environment where the large super-government fell and left the sprawling Human-controlled space to decay socially and technologically.
     
  6. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2001
    New logo but still using Redrail Superfast on the title page!
     
    Leto_II likes this.
  7. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    Location:
    On the USS Sovereign
    Mine arrived, should start it today.
     
  8. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Admiral Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2012
    Location:
    Derbyshire, UK
    Finished!
    Voted Outstanding (I always vote outstanding - take that, school teachers who said "A is perfection and perfection is unattainable"!)

    Spoiler-free tidbits.
    Marshak and Culbreath receive shoutouts. Weren't they Diane Carey-level controversial?
    Cardassians! A Una McCormack staple.
    Not that I expected anything, but there's no references to previous "The Future" elements, like Vorgons, 29th century Starfleet, or Daniels. While the worldbuilding for the 32nd century is still in its infancy, I hope that in the long run we revisit "classic" future elements and weave them into the new context. Did Starfleet decommission Wells- and Ouroboros-class starships at the end of the Temporal Wars, or just strip them of their temporal features?

    Spoiler stuff:
    Just kidding!

    The future was presented in a credible manner - marrying the technological marvels with a post-post-scarcity society. While not stated outright, it really felt like the Federation had expanded beyond 24th century Local Space - there are and could be worlds all across the Milky Way. As a result, it also makes sense that the Federation's "empire" wasn't replaced by simply another empire - the post-Federated galaxy has become largely stateless.

    This is familiar for me. In a ongoing German science-fiction novel series (Maddrax), the Human civilization inhabiting Earth's surface in 2012 was crushed by a comet impact, and only pockets of technological societies remained. The world is too disconnected for new empires too rise.

    In contrast, BattleTech exists in a world controlled by mighty empires after the Star League fell but mirrors the 31st century setting and the rapid technological decline due to lack of interstellar infrastructure to maintain e.g. shipbuilding.

    Bottom line, this new era feels believable and lived-in. Its inhabitants have credible motivations instead of "let's take my helmet off on this unknown planet because the plot gotta plot"-induced single-mindedness.

    From a socio-political perspective, the replacement of a moneyless society by a more cutthroat economy is a great way of bringing philosophy into Star Trek - a staple for the franchise. In that, I felt very much reminded of the medical system on the Confederacy of the Worlds of the First Quadrant (CoWoFiQua?) from VOY.

    FInal point: if you remember the name-dropped adventures of Book and Burnham from the episode "People of Earth", you'll be pleased that they are expanded upon in this book. I was secretly nervous that the book may have been written before the season was complete and not tie in as nicely as it did.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    If something is controversial, then by definition, some people must be more positive toward it than others.
     
    seigezunt and Markonian like this.
  10. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    No, of course not. On being controversial, they left Diane Carey in the dust.
     
    seigezunt and Markonian like this.
  11. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Admiral Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2012
    Location:
    Derbyshire, UK
    Do we know the fate of Burnham's ship?
    In Season 3, it kinda appeared, then vanished. Maybe it fell down a particle fountain or something?
     
  12. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    Ok, here's a question. I won't see season 3 of Discovery until it comes out on Blu-Ray. I started reading the book but I'm wondering, is there any reason I should wait to read the book until I see season 3 first?

    I had read The Enterprise War before seeing season 2, and in that case I actually found that a huge benefit as certain things I saw in season 2 made sense after reading the book.

    Would the same be true of Wonderlands? I just don't want to see any major spoilers. Little things don't bother me. I just don't want to ruin any major plot lines from season 3 if they are revealed in the novel.

    I mean, I already saw some references to something called "The Burn"--which I gather from the 1st chapter was something that ended warp drive and Starfleet's ability to travel faster than light, which in turn apparently led to the fall, or at least decimation of the Federation (so obviously some things have already been revealed, but I guess I'd call that background stuff that would probably be quickly brought up with the start of Season 3 so I'm not too worried about that).
     
    Markonian likes this.
  13. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Admiral Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2012
    Location:
    Derbyshire, UK
    @Damian, excellent question!

    Wonderlands is set between episode 1 and episode 2 of Season 3, so it essentially spoils the season premiere but not the plots of the remaining season.

    Ideally, I'd recommend watching the first ep, then reading this book.
    However, if you were fine with The Enterprise War before seeing S2, and already having a basic idea about the Burn, you are fine to read this one.
     
    Damian likes this.
  14. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Admiral Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2012
    Location:
    Derbyshire, UK
    Spoiler question!
    In Wonderlands, Burnham receives the Yelchin black box early on from Book. In "People of Earth", we see a flashback of Burnham receiving the blackbox from an alien courier. Is this reconcilable, e.g. she receives a second black box from the same ship?
     
  15. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    I think I'll wait until the DSC S3 DVD set comes out (Amazon lists both DVD and Blu-Ray as coming out this Apollo Day) before I get this one. (And while I could now get the Blu-Ray instead of the DVD, I'd be spending an extra buck-and-a-half for something I'd only be able to watch in the living room, and as it happens, my second-hand Blu-Ray player takes several minutes to mount a disc).

    And as it happens, I'm still not finished with PIC season 1 (I've been too busy).
     
    Markonian likes this.
  16. Judith Sisko

    Judith Sisko Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2002
    Location:
    OK
    Glad to know I'm not the only one wondering about this!
     
    Markonian likes this.
  17. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    Ok, thanks. It seems I already spoiled the season premiere so I'll soldier on (plus, frankly now that I started it and am already getting into it I'd hate to set it aside for the next couple of weeks--but if there were major Season 3 spoilers other than the premiere I probably would have).

    As long as there are no other major season 3 spoilers that's fine.
     
    Markonian likes this.
  18. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    Location:
    On the USS Sovereign
    Just started. Una, where did you get the idea to have cosplayers, I mean reenactors in the novel?
     
    Markonian likes this.
  19. Leto_II

    Leto_II Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2013
    Location:
    Room 303, The Heart O' The City Hotel
    Also, John M. Ford's The Final Reflection. Based on what I had a chance to read late last night right before bed (the first 85 pages or so), it seems to be implied that
    Federation councilor Priya Tagore might possibly be a 31st Century-descendant of Dr. Emanuel Tagore, and is someone who lived directly through the events of "The Burn."
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2021
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Well, it does also spoil the surprise revealed at the end of episode 2...
    that Burnham is in the future for a year before Discovery arrives.
     
    Markonian likes this.