Star Trek: Myriad Universes: Infinity's Prism Paperback – Jul 22 2008
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About the Author
Christopher L. Bennett is a lifelong resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, with bachelor’s degrees in physics and history from the University of Cincinnati. He has written critically acclaimed Star Trek novels as well as shorter works including stories in anniversary anthologies. Beyond Star Trek, he has penned the novels X-Men: Watchers on the Walls and Spider-Man: Drowned in Thunder. His original work includes the hard science fiction superhero novel Only Superhuman, as well as several novelettes in Analog and other science fiction magazines. More information and annotations can be found at home.fuse.net/ChristopherLBennett, and the author’s blog can be found at ChristopherLBennett.wordpress.com.
William Leisner is the author of the acclaimed novels Star Trek: The Next Generation: Losing the Peace, and A Less Perfect Union (from the Myriad Universes collection Infinity's Prism). He is a three-time winner of the late, lamented Star Trek: Strange New Worlds competition, as contributed tales to the official celebration of Star Trek's 40th anniversary in 2006, and TNG's 20th Anniversary in 2007. A native of Rochester, New York, he currently lives in Minneapolis.
James Swallow is a BAFTA-nominated author of three New York Times bestsellers, including Star Trek: The Fall: The Poisoned Chalice, and he remains the only British writer to have worked on a Star Trek television show. His fiction includes the Sundowners series of original steampunk westerns, the bestselling novelization of The Butterfly Effect, and stories from the worlds of 24, Doctor Who, Warhammer 40,000, and Stargate. His other credits feature scripts for videogames and audio, including Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Disney Infinity, Fable: The Journey, Battlestar Galactica, and Blake’s 7. He lives in London.
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Top Customer Reviews
With that in mind, THIS book is the exact opposite. I wrote in my "E and R" review that it carried all the trademark flaws of alternate history, but not only does "IP" lack these flaws, it also has (in all three stories) another positive alternative history quality that I had forgotten until just now: It ends with an indefinite conclusion. Why is that a positive quality? Because Star Trek (hey, history in general) doesn't have a finite ending. There is no "The End" or "...and they lived happily ever after...in space." because it's a tale that is meant to go on and on.
So needless to say, the stories were good, but for those of you still undecided, I'm gonna give you a little taste of what to expect.
While "A Less Perfect Union" was probably my least favourite story in this anthology, it was still a gem. To be fair, one of the reasons I didn't like it so much as the other two stories was probably because this one is based mostly on "Enterprise" and "The Original Series", which I have seen the least of the five Trek series.
Near the end of Enterprise's run they had an encounter with an Earth isolationist group called Terra Prime, intent on routing all non-humans from Earth space, and restricting Earth's stellar movements to commercial rather than exploratory goals.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
For this review, I'll tackle each story individually and then look at the themes that run through each of them and how they fit together as a whole, in comparison to the rest of recent Star Trek books. For brief story summaries, go the the book's Amazon Page.
A Less Perfect Union is a great start to the collection. First of all, the story flows in a natural fashion, particularly if you have a rough grasp of the background of the original series. These alternate or 'myriad' universes as they call them can create authorial nightmares in terms of exposition and development. Because of the established characters and the mental acknowledgement the reader has that these are going to be different, particularly The Original Series characters, its way too easy to overload on plot exposition and positioning characters within the new universe, but this story just does that very well. Particularly by gradually introducing characters in a natural fashion, like Doctor McCoy. The story itself isn't all that strong, mostly because a significant plot point requires a significant oversight by a major character, but the strength of the universe as a realistic and well-developed setting really makes this story work.
Places of Exile is in my opinion the weakest story of the three, but not really by the fault of the author, who did a fine job of building the characters of the arguably the worst Star Trek series. Where the story kind of hiccups is in Species 8472/Scourge/Groundskeepers, which I can't really blame the author for again because they were really difficult to flesh out. I was intrigued by the general plot premise, and thought the developing of the Delta Coalition to be just a whole lot of fun to experienced. Immigration issues are touched on in a political way, but again like a great deal of this collection just flows naturally. One thing that I really appreciated is the consequences of the deaths of the major characters. B'Elanna's collapse after the death of Tom was totally believable, espeically since it reminded my of the earlier seasons of Voyager, before it all descended into madness. Not only that, I missed Tuvok. There were moments where I just wanted to see Tuvok. So while the plot is a bit iffy, again the new setting works really well, the development of the Delta Coalition was natural (if way too fast timewise. No way Voyager could create a Delta Federation in under two years.) and well fleshed out, and they touched a grand scale that was great to see.
Seeds of Dissent is one of the best stories I've ever read period. Despite being the shortest story of the three, it flows in a natural fashion over a short period of time that makes it feel like you have experienced these events. The pacing is masterful, and the creativity on display was masterful. The development of the characters of Julian Bashir and Ezri Dax in particular were very well done. One of the literary techiniques that Swallow uses is a natural perspective shift. As the story begins, it begins through the perspective of Bashir, but as the plot quickens the perspective gradually to Ezri Dax. Not only that, but the characterization of Bashir is wonderful, and the universe-in-a-bottle that is created in the Defiance just feels authentic and very very unique. The only real weakness I feel is the crew of the Botany Bay, who feel like filler rather than actualy characters, but that just seems like a consequence of the direction of the plot. But overall, quite simply on of the best stories I've ever read.
As a whole, these stories work really well together. The universes are each truly unique, touching on great points. Thematically though with each universe, is that the standard Star Trek universe isn't necessarily better. The best example is Places in Exile, where the what-if scenario is explicitly 'better' than how the canon universe turned out to be. In most other alternate universe stories, the universe is distinctly worse, but these scenarios aren't necessarily worse. While A Less Perfect Union and Seeds of Dissent universes had discintly negative turning point, but these universes have a natural feel to them that even the Alternate Universe doesn't have. In the end, the transition from the Alternate Universe to these Myriad Universes is a great transition for the Star Trek book series, that allows a creative foundation while freeing the authors to create very realistic and unique universes. Kudos to the authors for taking this concept and executing it exceptionally well.
The other two stories are equally good, but are much more reference-heavy (especially "Seeds of Dissent"; make sure you've read Greg Cox's Khan books and seen "Tomorrow is Yesterday" (TOS), "11:59" (VOY), and "Future's End" (VOY)) and the casual fan may not get it. Still, great stories.
I like the whole Myriad Universe idea, especially now that the Mirror Universe stuff is about at mined-out as it can be. Good read, can't wait for the sequel next month.
"A Less Perfect Union" features Christopher Pike at the helm and James T. Kirk as his second in command. Characters from throughout the original canon appear, including the animated series. I rated it tops until I read "Seeds of Dissent" the DS9 version in the book.
Again, capturing elements from earlier mainstream stories, it ranks as one of the few stories I've ever read that I could not stop once I had started it, and that is in the Trek universe or any other work of fiction -- and I write from the perspective of a 61 year old Trekker (I was there when it started). When Kirk banished Khan to Ceti Alpha 5, Spock wondered what it would be like to see what crop sprang from the seed they had planted. James Swallow lets us see what happened when Khan won the Eugenics War. Outstanding!
"Places of Exile," the Voyager installment, reads like one of the early Next Generation TV shows -- tea and talk. If you don't have anything else to read, read it, but you won't miss much by skipping it.
But don't let that stop you from buying this book!
You'll enjoy how each story tends to capture the spirit of the original series. Each story, to me, comes with a lesson or moral that the writer is putting out for the audience to pick-up on. I was beside myself with the greatness of 'A Less Than Perfect Union'. This story is a blend of Star Trek: Enterprise and the Original Series. This was your classic original series episode with a twist; what would have happened if Starfleet and the Star Trek universe had not been as open minded and in turn was xenophobic? An elderly T'Pol (seen on the cover) is the last surviving member of Archer's Enterprise and through her, we see the alternate history of Enterprise and Pike/Kirk dealing with an Earth that isn't so great. The last novel, 'Seeds of Dissent' takes on a similar theme of exploring the question of 'who writes the history?' as Khan manages to reign over Earth and a rather interesting group of people threaten Khan's legacy and force a genetically enhanced Bashir to re-evaluate the past. Both of these stories, for me, were on the epic scale and a fun read with an actual lesson.
What you may not like is the quick-pace of many of the stories. While it worked for "A Less Than Perfect Union" and "Seeds of Dissent", it didn't work as well for "Places of Exile". The Voyager story came off as the most fan-fiction of the novellas. This was more like a different take or spoof of "Year of Hell" as there are few lessons to be learned and this was just pure entertainment. It wasn't bad but by the end, the story felt rather forced and cheesey. I also felt that even with this being a 'different view' of Star Trek: Voyager, the characters felt very off and unbelievable. This problem also arises in 'Seeds in Dissent' as Kira and Dukat, as well as Bashir, aren't really given any foundation and read as if they are rather plain and stiff, if not over-the-top.
In all, a good read. Yes, there is a fan-fic lining to some of the stories but that's to be expected. What made 'Infinity's Prism' such a good read was that it accomplished the goal of exploring some interesting 'what if' situations in Trek and as you're reading it, your mind begins to run wild with your own ideas of other stories that could be told. I liked that some stories, such as "A Less Than Perfect Union" weren't just entertaining - it was thought provoking and a great allegory to modern times. I enjoyed the 'dark' theme seen in 'Deep Space Nine' running throughout "Seeds of Dissent" which features a host of DS9 characters. Definitely worth your time and money.