Star Trek: Mere Anarchy (Omnibus 2009)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Damian, Apr 7, 2020.

  1. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    "Things Fall Apart" by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore:

    I started reading my Omnibus print edition of Mere Anarchy. Unlike my review of my Day of Honor omnibus, where I reviewed each novel of the series separately (mostly because they were full size novels in that case), this time I decided to include all the stories in one thread. Since they are short stories that are part of a greater whole.

    So I just finished "Things Fall Apart". This is the set-up story and it takes place sometime between Kirk taking command of the Enterprise and "Where No Man Has Gone Before". The planet that is at the center of the entire series is Mestiko. In this story it depicts a disaster that befalls the planet due to a passing pulsar (referred to as 'the pulse' by the natives). The Federation has a team of observing scientists on the planet since they are on the threshold of potentially holding first contact with the planet. Some on the planet are aware. The government knows about the coming cataclysm but in an effort to prevent panic has hidden this information from the people. There are a few people that know of the Federation presence and ask if there is anything they can do to help. Word does eventually get out to the population leading to the predictable looting and property destruction as people panic.

    We learn the Enterprise has been sent to try to help avert the disaster and they have a plan. However not all goes as planned. While the planet is not completely destroyed, it does result in a cataclysm that has left the planet a virtual disaster area on a planetary scale. The story ends as the Federation is sending aid ships but we are left with the impression that it will take decades for any sort of recovery to take place (which is the overriding plot of the series I gather).

    So far I liked the first story. There is a bit of a debate on the Prime Directive and how much Starfleet should interfere, however, at the end of the day they go all in on helping. Though they do continue to try to keep their presence hidden from the general population so as to not add to the panic or stress the inhabitants any more than they already are. There is a mention that some in the Federation want to incorrectly use the PD as an excuse to do nothing--but Kirk and co. quickly dismiss that option. Captain Kirk is still in his early stages of his command of the Enterprise and still getting a feel for his new crew. Sulu gets some early experience at the help when Lt. Kelso is injured. And there is a good scene with Dr. Piper as he admonishes Kirk for putting too much blame on his shoulders. He reminds Kirk that the only alternative was to do nothing which would have led to the extinction of all life on Mestiko. Things didn't go as planned, but because of what they did the planet has a fighting chance. Piper basically fills in the role that McCoy would have. And it does help Kirk to remember that wallowing in pity helps no one.
     
    JonnyQuest037 and AJ Hawker like this.
  2. Bryan Levy

    Bryan Levy Ensign Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2020
    This and Probe arrived two days ago. I already started Probe and look forward to actually reading this post and commenting when I finish and start Mere Anarchy!
     
    Damian likes this.
  3. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Mere Anarchy Has some really good stories in it. I was really glad all the stories were published in a trade paperback.You get to see the Enterprise go through challenges in this anthology of stories.
     
    Damian likes this.
  4. Leto_II

    Leto_II Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2013
    Location:
    Room 303, The Heart O' The City Hotel
    ^ Multiple Enterprises, actually (this series also covers the NCC-1701-A). ;)
     
    Damian likes this.
  5. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Location:
    Desert City
    And the refit Enterprise, which is "an almost totally new Enterprise!"
     
    Damian likes this.
  6. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Location:
    King Daniel Beyond
    Except that one untouched room in engineering where the tardigrade eggs are.
     
  7. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Location:
    Parsippany, New Jersey, USA
    I read this anthology back in 2009 but I haven't gone back to it since, so my memories of it are a bit hazy at this point. I remember enjoying it, though. I should go back and revisit it.
     
  8. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    "The Centre Cannot Hold" by Mike W. Barr:

    It took me a bit longer to read this story than I expected. Anyway, it takes place in 2267, during the 2nd season of the original series. It features the familiar crew, including Chekov, Sulu and Uhura at their familiar places. I this novel Mestiko has suffered a terrible cataclysm as expected after the events of the first story. We learn here that the Klingons are interested in bringing Mestiko into the fold due to it's strategic location. And it falls under the rules of the Organian Peace Treaty. Commander Kor makes a return here and again looks forward to matching wits with Captain Kirk. The Federation has developed satellites that are supposed to help hasten the recovery of the planets ecosystem. However one of the satellites is sabotaged and strikes an orphanage. Obviously this does not paint Starfleet in a favorable light. However, whenever the Klingons are around you can expect trouble. We find their are elements in the planetary government that are more favorable to joining the Klingon Empire.

    The story moves at a rapid clip, which is to be expected since it's a novella. Sometimes that can be a disadvantage because you can't really do the character building you can do in a full size novel. However, I never felt the story suffered. It helps that this is a continuing story, each story building off the last. So Barr doesn't have establish as many characters since some are carried over. He does introduce us to some new characters, such as Traal and maTara, and Sinclair on the Enterprise. He gives you just enough background that they aren't blank characters, but he doesn't sacrifice the important elements of the story to do that. Overall I was satisfied with the continuation of the story Barr presents, and while it is part of the greater whole, he also tells his own story, with a clear beginning, middle and resolution that leaves just enough loose ends for the story to continue.

    Next up will be Dave Galanter's story "Shadows of the Indignant"--which takes place between the conclusion of the 5YM and TMP. A lost years story. Hopefully I'll be able to move through this one quicker. I recently just got "The Higher Frontier" by Christopher and I want to complete this saga before moving on to that (esp. since Christopher noted it's in the same 'universe' as Mere Anarchy).
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    You must mean The Higher Frontier. Unsettling is Alan Dean Foster's Kelvin novel.
     
  10. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    OMG, I'm sorry. I have no idea how I mixed those two up, esp. since I just got "The Higher Frontier". That's what I get for posting something when I'm tired I guess :whistle:

    Just for accuracy's sake I edited my prior post.
     
  11. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    I forgot that Mike W. Barr wrote one of the Mere Anarchy novella.
    According to Memory Alpha he also wrote a full length novel Gemini, was that any good?
    I don't remember what I thought of his MA novella, but I really enjoyed his TOS comics, and I'd be curious to check out a prose novel by him.
     
  12. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    I read the the Tos Novel Gemini by Mike Barr I thought it was an interesting Tos story.
     
  13. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    "Shadows of the Indignant" by Dave Galanter:

    Got through this a bit quicker this time. This is the 'lost years' part of the collection, taking place sometime between the end of the 5YM and TMP (it felt a bit closer to the end of the 5YM). Admiral Kirk suspects something it amiss at Mestiko. They are getting supplies from somewhere other than the Federation and Kirk believes the Klingons are covertly supplying some factions of Mestiko. So he decides to undertake his own covert mission to see what's going on and he 'drafts' McCoy to help him. McCoy has resigned form Starfleet and is not too happy about going on a Starfleet mission, even if it's unofficial. But at the end of the day he can't turn down his old friend so he goes. They first stop at a supply depot to see what information they can learn and one person leads to another, then another until they find who is really the kingpin of it all. And it's someone who's willing to kill to preserve his status. I won't give away the ending, but it's someone who's interested in having power and things they are using the Klingons (which we all know is probably more the reverse). Raya, the leader of the Mestiko people, makes an appearance here and is an unwitting pawn in all this. She does seem to come out a bit wiser after the incident.

    Overall another good story. Like Barr's story it builds off the events from the last one and leaves some threads for the next story which is Christopher's story. We learn that the satellites left in the previous story are doing a good job, though Mestiko is still years away from returning to some semblance or normalcy. But they are cutting the time that will take. Also Galanter does depict the change in uniform style, with some members wearing the TMP era uniforms and some still wearing the older style uniforms during the 5YM. He does note their appearing like pajamas (it sounds like Galanter wasn't a huge fan--neither was I frankly, except for Kirk's admirals uniform--TMP is my favorite film but not a huge fan of the primary uniform used). Captain Decker makes a brief appearance as well as he is on his way to work on the Enterprise refit. Galanter places a subtle reference to the friction between Decker and Kirk as McCoy offhandedly wonders about Kirk's reaction to Decker being given command of his ship.

    Also for those who are fans of The Lost Years collection it does not appear this book contradicts those stories. I didn't catch any references to that collection of books (though if someone knows of any I'd be happy to learn what they are), but I didn't see anything that would contradict those stories either. It does carry on some of the spirit of those stories, with Kirk not being a deskbound admiral. He is still going out on 'missions' of a sort.
     
  14. Bryan Levy

    Bryan Levy Ensign Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2020
    I read Mere Anarchy a couple of weeks ago. What I liked about it was that it was about something. I’ve read over 90 Trek books in the last year. In the early days of Trek fiction, there was always a kernel of a sci-fi idea behind the books. Then, they shifted to more of an adventure style, pew-pew stuff. Mere Anarchy really seemed to have one of those sci-fi ideas, what do we owe to others, what does first contact look like, that sort of stuff. I really enjoyed all of it.
     
  15. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 1999
    Location:
    New York City
    My very specific instruction to Dave was to do a story that made use of Kirk's rank. The only reason he even knew about what was going on was because he was an administrator rather than a ship captain. Pretty much every Admiral Kirk story is about how he should really be a captain and has him acting like a captain, and just being called "Admiral." I wanted to have Kirk actually be an admiral for this story, because that's part of his life at this stage.
     
    JonnyQuest037 likes this.
  16. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    Yes, I did pick up on that. When he's arguing with McCoy at one point about his job he makes it clear the only reason he picked up on what was going on was because he was an Admiral and had access to that information. Dave Galanter did a good job on that front. You get the impression that he misses being a captain and there's a bit of foreshadowing to TMP when he uses the V'ger emergency to get his command back (when Kirk reflects to McCoy no admiral goes backwards McCoy pointedly tells him he would never let that stop him).

    But it's clear his being an admiral was key to the success of this mission. And I thought it fit in well enough with the other Lost Years stories at least in spirit. Kirk in all the stories I've read during that era is not content to be a desk-bound paper pusher. Even as an admiral he wanted to make a difference.

    And I never thought of Kirk as anything other than an admiral in this story. But honestly, even in the other Lost Years books I always thought of him as an admiral in those stories as well. True he went out on missions, but honestly, like I noted, I don't see Kirk as the behind the desk type. Whatever his rank, he'd always want to be in the thick of it.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2020
  17. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    "The Darkness Drops Again" by Christopher Bennett:

    This story takes place focuses over several years between TMP and TWOK. It starts off January 2274, about a year of so after TMP. There is trouble on Mestiko for Raya's government. The people are growing impatient with the slow progress and have become xenophobic. A fanatical religious group is gaining in popularity, promising a quicker return to what Mestiko was without alien technology, plants and animals. They eventually are successful in driving out Raya's government, and all alien influences save for one surprise. Dr. Lon insists on staying behind to try to preserve the work he has done as best as possible. He is surgically altered to look like a native and remains behind. Meanwhile Raya and her supporters are exiled and decide to make a new home on the Kazarite homeworld who were one of the ones helping Mestiko until they were deported. Raya is angered at Captain Kirk for not doing more to help her and becomes bitter. However, Kirk is limited in what he can do most namely by the Prime Directive, and also later we learn there is wisdom in his 'lack' of action.
    The story then jumps to 2279. Kirk is now an Admiral once again, Commandant of Starfleet Academy, with Spock in command of the Enterprise. We also learn Chekov has left for the Reliant by this time and most of Kirk's command crew is in and out of missions and not always available to the Enterprise. Kirk has made arrangements, however, to use the Enterprise as his flagship and occasionally will use the ship for missions he needs to go on, leaving Spock in command of the ship and Kirk of the mission. Meanwhile on Mestiko all is not well. Not surprisingly the planet is regressing without help. Resources are misused the government is becoming more oppressive. Dr. Lon has gone native to an extent, taking a wife and having a son, and he is fighting for the freedom of the Mestikans. And Raya makes broadcasts that are smuggled in and is gaining in popularity. Partly because she has become critical of the Federation, though realizing they still need outside help. Eventually the government agrees to free election, though the religious leaders attempt to thwart the free elections. The Reliant has come to assist and Captain Terrell makes an impassioned plea to convince the military not to interfere. Raya is voted leader once again, but is more the wiser. On the way Captain Spock uses his debate skills to convince her that while she is bitter at Admiral Kirk, she slowly realizes there was some wisdom in his lack of action. Sometimes things have to hit rock bottom before your rise again. Mestiko needed to realize for itself that there is nothing wrong with asking for help, and at the same time during their exile they have gained strength in their independence. The story concludes in 2283 during Kirk's brief retirement and romance of Antonia as indicated in Generations.
    Christopher's book covers the greatest time period. Oddly, his story is probably about the same length as the previous stories, yet his story 'feels' the longest. I don't mean that in a bad way. This almost felt like a longer novel as he covers a lot of ground. It was an enjoyable story, probably my favorite thus far, though all the stories have been good to this point. During Raya's journey back to Mestiko Spock is in command of the Enterprise and Admiral Kirk is not aboard. It was nice to see a Captain Spock part of the story truly on his own in command and having to puzzle things out for himself. He's certainly influenced by Kirk to some extent but he has clearly charted his own command style. I liked that angle a lot. Seeing KRAD's comment about how he asked Dave Galanter to focus on the admiral part of Admiral Kirk's character pre-TMP I wonder if he asked Christopher to give us a Captain Spock sans Kirk moment in his story. Christopher does a bit of continuity building as well, explaining something of the transition of the Enterprise as an exploratory vessel after TMP to it's eventual role as a training ship in TWOK. Also I believe Christopher has indicated he's not a huge fan of the TWOK style uniforms and there is perhaps a slight criticism when Raya notes that the new uniforms seem more militaristic than there previous uniforms. Admiral Morrow also makes an appearance and Christopher perhaps does a bit of continuity fixing when Morrow has some difficulty recalling specific dates and even noting he always had difficulty remembering that information in detail. I imagine that's an attempt to provide and explanation why Morrow incorrectly stated the Enterprise was 20 years old in TSFS when it was in fact 40 years old. I always call Christopher and Greg Cox as our continuity fix it guys. A lot of authors do that to some extent, but it seems in almost every book they right they set out to puzzle some of the continuity errors we see in canon sometimes. As a continuity junkie myself, I always appreciate it.
    It's amusing in a way. Both of them say continuity errors don't really bother them. It's fiction after all. And they're right. If nothing else mistakes happen no matter how tight you make things. Yet they always seem to address them, and usually in a way that makes you go "hmm, ok, yeah, I can buy that". It does sometimes make me wonder if it bugs them just a little teensy bit. Like even just a wince when they see an obvious continuity error :ouch:
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    By my reckoning, it's only about four months after.


    That scene is one of my proudest achievements in all of my Trek work.

    Not that I recall.


    It's not that continuity errors don't bother me, just that I understand that some imperfection is inevitable in any human creation and that such errors should be kept in perspective. All fiction is an illusion, and the goal is to create an illusion of continuity, which is sometimes more seamless than others. Reconciling discrepancies in the text is just part of contributing to that illusion.
     
  19. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    Oh, ok. I didn't realize it was that soon. I was thinking TMP was in and around 2272.

    Yeah, that was a nice piece of literary work. It was nice to see a little Terrell and Chekov before the tragic events of TWOK. Sometimes it's easy to forget Chekov could have been on the Reliant for a while before TWOK. IIRC the New Earth series I believe noted Chekov have left for the Reliant a few years before TWOK as well. Thinking of New Earth now off hand like "Shadows...." and the Lost Years saga co-existing it does seem this story could co-exist with New Earth as well if you use the 'revised' timeframe for New Earth, which I believe was 2377 or 2378 now.

    Sorry, getting off track now.

    I also really liked seeing Spock get to be a captain without Kirk around. I mean, we've seen him without Kirk but Kirk was still captain of the ship. I think this is the first time I've seen a story with him as the Captain of the Enterprise on his own during this period before TWOK.

    I also saw a character named "Duane"--I assume that's a reference to Diane Duane?

    Ok, true enough. Continuity errors bother me and one of the things I like about novels is when they 'explain' them away. Some explanations are pretty ingenious, some convenient, and some times authors just do the best they can. Like Greg Cox in his "To Reign In Hell" novel when he tried to explain how the Reliant misplaced a planet. Obviously losing a planet is a bit ridiculous on the face of it. How can a starship totally lose a planet. But I give Cox credit for at least giving it his best go and narratively it made sense, even if it didn't scientifically. After all, there's only so much one can do ;) .

    And I liked that you gave an attempt at an explanation as to show why Admiral Morrow might have said the Enterprise was 20 years old. In reality we know the reason probably was that the show started almost 20 years before, and forgetting that in "The Menagerie" it was established that this Enterprise was in service 11 years before that, plus we know April commanded the ship even earlier making the ship to be much older than 20 years. Now in reality it's probably unlikely the chief of Starfleet operations would make such a mistake, but you can't change what was said in TSFS.

    Ok, I'm going on a tangent again. Bottom line is I really liked this story and am looking forward to reading your new novel once I'm done the last 2 stories. Esp. since it's in the same narrative universe as Mere Anarchy and "Ex Machina." I read this story in about 3 days so that's one way I can tell when I liked a story.

    Looking forward to the next story as well, esp. since that one takes place in another favorite era for stories for me, between TFF and TUC.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2020
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    TMP put it at least 2.5 years after the end of the 5-year mission (2.8 years per the novelization), and VGR: "Q2" put the end of said mission in 2270. So it's either the latter half of '72 or sometime in '73, and the novel continuity goes with '73.



    See "Just Another Little Training Cruise" by A.C. Crispin in the Enterprise Logs anthology. It's a Spock/Saavik story about a year into Saavik's time at the Academy.


    Probably.



    It's Howard Weinstein's return to the post-TFF timeframe he previously worked in for several years on DC's Star Trek Volume 2. He's probably written more professionally published fiction in that timeframe than any other person.