Pocket Books, out now
Past deeds haunt the crew of Voyager…
Kirsten Beyer – now one of the writing team on Star Trek Discovery – has been chronicling the journeys of the Voyager crew for the past few years, deftly handling the various pitfalls that were created by the early handling of the characters in the Pocket Book relaunch. One strong strand within this novel deals with the ramifications of B’Elanna Torres’ actions in the earlier stories, and how that’s affected not just her husband Tom Paris, but his relationship with his family. Family courtroom drama wouldn’t seem like a natural habitat for a Star Trek story but it works very well here, with insight into not just Tom but many of those around him. There’s also an intriguing strand regarding Seven, who has returned to Earth. Beyer plays fair and provides all the clues as to what’s happening, but you may well still kick yourself for not putting everything together.
The main part of the book deals with the fleet under Admiral Janeway, as they make contact with a new civilisation, and see beneath the surface. This allows Beyer to discuss the fundamental precepts of the Federation, and indeed fundamental rights in society today, as well as try to explain the way in which the Federation operates without money. (I’m not totally convinced by the arguments but it’s one of the givens of Star Trek, and Beyer makes a good case.) This is all set against a backdrop of some of those who Voyager encountered during their first trip to the Delta Quadrant apparently lining up against them…
Although there’s a great battle sequence towards the end, this isn’t an action-oriented novel: it delves into the characters that we know from the TV show as well as creating and fleshing out others in a well-constructed demonstration of the power of “show, not tell”.
Verdict: A strong continuation of the Voyager story. 8/10