SPOILER ALERT -- Review Myriad Universes: Infinity's Prism

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by KingstonTrekker, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. KingstonTrekker

    KingstonTrekker Commander Red Shirt

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    I obtained my copy of this trade paperback the middle of last week and finished the third story late last night. I have read virtually all of the Star Trek fiction from Pocket Books (with the exception of the Klingon Empire and New Frontier series...they just never "clicked" with me) and Myriad Universes is a very welcome new format!!!

    The first story, "A Less Perfect Union," was simply wonderful. William Leisner did an excellent job of writing for Pike, Kirk, McCoy, Sarek, and of course T'Pol in this alternate universe tale. I felt that this story brought some much-needed closure to Star Trek:Enterprise by building upon that series' vision of interstellar co-operation and optimism about humanity's potential. As a fan of Enterprise, I have never seen T'Pol written so perfectly. Her evolution and growth throughout the story parallelled the path of Earth's belated entry into the Coalition. The end of the story was excellent...an aged Sarek and the Romulan Commander from BOT, in the TNG-equivalent era, leaving on the Coalition ship Enterprise for peace talks with the Romulans. The fact that the Coalition ship is named Enterprise signifies that United Earth did eventually join the Coalition. I won't deny the fact that this was my favourite tale from Infinity's Prism.

    The second story, "Places of Exile," is a well-told Voyager story. Although I prefer Bennett's TOS work (Ex Machina was incredible...can we please have a follow-up novel? :) he is a very skilled writer with any Trek era. One of Bennett's greatest talents is his creation of alien cultures, and he brings wonderful depth to the various species depicted in this story, particularly the Vostigye, the Voth, and of course Species 8472. However, my attention did begin to drift when the story became somewhat convulted with discussions about additional timelines and realities...plot complications which threatened to really bog down the story's flow. I also could not make myself like this story's version of Annnika Hansen; she was as interesting as wallpaper until her Borg memories were re-awakened. Fortunately everything came together in the end and this story presents an intriguing alternate path which the U.S.S. Voyager could have (and perhaps should have) taken at the end of the series' third season.

    The final story, "Seeds of Dissent," reminded me most of the Mirror Universe. Perhaps this is because DS9 visited the Mirror Universe on so many occasions. It might be because The Khanate is eerily similar to the brutal empires of the Mirror Universe. In any event, this excellent tale depicts an intriguing universe in which Khan won and the Alpha Quadrant is controlled by human augments. I did find a few of the story's elements to be a bit too "convenient," such as there being SO MANY 20th/21st century characters seen or referenced in the various series ALL present together on the Botany Bay. I also found it hard to swallow that the vessel's centuries-old hull, which was designed for sub-light travel, could withstand the stresses of self-propelled warp speeds (despite whatever modifications were made by the Defiance's crew). The Kira/Dukat romance was also quite awkward and, for me, rang hollow. Despite these concerns, James Swallow told an excellent tale; Princeps Bashir, Ezri Dax, and O'Brian are all intriguing characters in this story. However, of the three stories, I felt that this one ended too prematurely. I would have liked to have witnessed the aftermath of both the Illustrious' arrival at the Defiance and the escape of the rebels on the Botany Bay. Did the information stored in the Botany Bay's memory banks bring about the fall of The Khanate and lead to the formation of a new political and social order in the Alpha Quadrant? Like "A Less Perfect Union" this story could have "jumped ahead" at the end to give us more closure.

    Overall, this is an excellent collection of stories!!!!
     
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  2. cbp44189

    cbp44189 Commander Red Shirt

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    Sounds good, I'll have to pick it up.
     
  3. William Leisner

    William Leisner Scribbler Rear Admiral

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    Thank you, thank you very much! :D
     
  4. Man of Steel

    Man of Steel Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I am looking forward to reading this book as well but wont get around to it until later this week when I arrive back in the states. I hope James Swallows is just as spataculer as his Terok Nor story was
     
  5. Dancing Doctor

    Dancing Doctor Admiral Admiral

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    Trust me, you won't be disappointed. The best 16 USD + tax you'll spend until the next Myriad Universes comes out.*

    *Or 15.45 USD (roughly) with a Barnes and Noble member card
     
  6. Man of Steel

    Man of Steel Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    God bless the American Economy which is much easier to use then the Israeli Shekel system. So much coins and I can't even use half of them. :(
     
  7. Dancing Doctor

    Dancing Doctor Admiral Admiral

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    Really? *feels like an ignorant American not knowing about Israeli economics*
     
  8. Man of Steel

    Man of Steel Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Thats because the economy here is really bad now. Plus, the dollar value changes daily so no one knows what to expect.
     
  9. Stag

    Stag Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Agreed with the OP review. Great collection!!!!

    Mr. Leisner, well done sir!! Loved your work here!

    No offense meant to the other authors -

    Christopher, you know I still love you as one of my faves, I am just not that big of a VOY fan so I could not enjoy some of the character interactions and relations as much since I don't know much of the VOY backstory, although a nice job killing off some characters in a creative fashion right off the bat.

    Mr. Swallow, also loved your work, but agree with the OP, the story left me wanting more - what happened next?? Make something up and post it here - anything, a thought you had, the clippings off the edit room floor, your outline - inquiring minds want, nay, need to know!!
     
  10. William Leisner

    William Leisner Scribbler Rear Admiral

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    Thank you!
     
  11. James Swallow

    James Swallow Writer Captain

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    Thanks for all the comments; as for the ending, that was exactly my intention.
    For me, alternative history stories are about stimulating the reader to wonder "what if?" (or in this case, "what next?") and the close of SoD is meant to do that, rather than tie it all up in a neat bow.
     
  12. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Out of all three, Seeds of Dissent is definitely my favorite. The 'Khanate' was definitely fascinating to see, especially seeing how such an arrogant prick the alternate Bashir is (to be fair, so is pretty much everyone else :p ). I definitely thought it was a cool idea to have Khan himself as a holographic counsellor on all Khanate ships, especially since it has been known to take command itself on some occasions. :guffaw:

    A Less Perfect Union: Very good, as well. Although every time I hear that title, I can't get that damn Schoolhouse Rock song out of my head. :eek: :lol:

    Places of Exile: An interesting take on alternate VOY timelines, although that's the problem: it tends to get bogged down *in* those alternate timelines, especially regarding Species 8472. And I must confess I think the whole thing is rather like 'wishful thinking' - i.e. 'look how better things are' in this timeline. I haven't finished it yet, but I hope that not everybody has lost interest in returning home...

    Can't wait for books 2 and 3. :techman:
     
  13. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well there is always the 3rd book coming out next year.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, that was the chance I took. To me, the best science fiction is fiction that revolves around a conjectural idea rather than just having it as part of the setting; so if I was going to contribute to an alternate-timelines series, I wanted my book to be about alternate timelines, their workings and ramifications. Which tends to get complicated, so it isn't for everyone.

    And originally I was just going to focus on the main series timeline and the PoE timeline, but then I realized that "Before and After" pretty much showed the original Voyager timeline, with the series after that being in an altered one. So I kind of had to acknowledge that one as well. Just be glad I didn't try to deal with "Year of Hell." (Though I'll have some notes on that subject when my annotations go up.)

    Err, are things really better all around? Dozens of the crew are dead, B'Elanna's a terrorist, much more of the quadrant has been ravaged by the Borg/8472 war... and what about the consequences to the Alpha Quadrant? Voyager didn't find the Hirogen comm network when it did, didn't send the Doctor to Prometheus, so that ship would have been either successfully captured by the Romulans or destroyed by Starfleet.


    Not really. There's no plan to revisit timelines from the first two books, certainly not in the third, at any rate. It'll presumably feature three more new timelines.
     
  15. Stag

    Stag Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Hey pal, just because I read some of your work doesn't mean I give you the green light to go ahead and stimulate me - I am not that easy. :lol::lol::lol:

    Seriously, this story does beg for a follow up (or two). It seems like there could be such a rich variety of storylines here. Although the danger is makng it to similar to the 'Mirror, Mirror' universe.
     
  16. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, never mind then. I just figured there might be a chance we could revist these universes in one of the stories. But I guess it makes more sense to do new alternate universes when you only have three spots.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I wouldn't mind seeing some followups as well, eventually, but right now it's better to keep adding new timelines. I know that if I get a second chance to participate in MyrU, I'd want to do a different timeline, and I'm sure I'm not alone. There are just so many possibilities. (Until I found out what the other authors were doing, it didn't even occur to me that one could put the point of divergence decades or centuries before the novel, instead of right at the start like I did. So if I get to go again, I might try to set the divergence as far in the past as possible.)
     
  18. KingstonTrekker

    KingstonTrekker Commander Red Shirt

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    Well, that was the chance I took. To me, the best science fiction is fiction that revolves around a conjectural idea rather than just having it as part of the setting; so if I was going to contribute to an alternate-timelines series, I wanted my book to be about alternate timelines, their workings and ramifications. Which tends to get complicated, so it isn't for everyone.

    And originally I was just going to focus on the main series timeline and the PoE timeline, but then I realized that "Before and After" pretty much showed the original Voyager timeline, with the series after that being in an altered one. So I kind of had to acknowledge that one as well. Just be glad I didn't try to deal with "Year of Hell." (Though I'll have some notes on that subject when my annotations go up.)

    I respect the decision that you made, even if I felt that it complicated the story. I am grateful that you did not throw "Year of Hell" into the mix!!! :)
     
  19. KingstonTrekker

    KingstonTrekker Commander Red Shirt

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    I wouldn't mind seeing some followups as well, eventually, but right now it's better to keep adding new timelines. I know that if I get a second chance to participate in MyrU, I'd want to do a different timeline, and I'm sure I'm not alone. There are just so many possibilities. (Until I found out what the other authors were doing, it didn't even occur to me that one could put the point of divergence decades or centuries before the novel, instead of right at the start like I did. So if I get to go again, I might try to set the divergence as far in the past as possible.)

    Personally, I really hope that you get to write another story in a future entry of this (hopefully ongoing :) series!
    Perhaps something from the TOS era...perhaps an Earth which was destroyed by V'Ger and the aftermath for the Enterprise, its crew, and the Federation?
    (I am suggesting this because, as I have commented before, your novel Ex Machina was tremendous :)

    On a different note, I am looking forward to receiving my copy of Greater Than The Sum...I am very hopeful that, with your impressive track record, you will be able to get the TNG relaunch back on its feet :)
     
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  20. KingstonTrekker

    KingstonTrekker Commander Red Shirt

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    Thanks for all the comments; as for the ending, that was exactly my intention. For me, alternative history stories are about stimulating the reader to wonder "what if?" (or in this case, "what next?") and the close of SoD is meant to do that..

    Well, you succeeded!!! :)