Star Trek the Next Generation: Q Squared
© 1994 Peter David
On Stardate 2124.5, Captain Kirk and the Enterprise had a memorable experience with an impish creature named Trelane, a being of extraordinary power but the maturity of a child. Now Trelane is back, this time to play with Captain Picard and a different Enterprise....and right behind him is his godfather Q, beginning him to behave. Trelane, as it turns out, is a member of the Q Continuum, and Q has the task of grooming him to be a responsible adult. Naturally, the universe is doomed. After a tongue-lashing from the good captain, Trelane runs away and returns having discovered how to harness the power of universal chaos to give everyone on the Enterprise a really bad day....by collapsing three parallel universes into one another. Such is how Peter David starts off another fantastic Q novel.
In "Q-in-Law", the fun came from bouncing lively characters like Q and Lwaxana Troi off of one another. Here, David explores various what-if scenarios: what if Worf was rising star in the Klingon empire, and not a disgraced orphan? What if William Riker hadn't been rescued by Nervala IV, but captured by Romulans? What if Jack Crusher hadn't died? And what if Picard and Beverly Crusher had acted on their attraction...? When Trelane begins forcing the universes together, chaos ensues, and a thrilling story unfolds as the characters navigate their way though an increasingly insane and ever-changing reality.
Although a novel that touches base with metaphysical notions like multiverses can confusing, especially when temporal shenanigans are thrown in, Q Squared manages to grow busy with action without ever losing the reader, and it's wonderfully funny despite how serious things get. The action is frantic, and as Picard and the others lose control, astonished laughter is sometimes the only response to what they're enduring.
Q Squared is an excellent bit of Trek literature, supremely entertaining on its own merits and doubly so for knitting together various temporal elements of TOS and TNG together. I understand David did the same with his pre-Destiny TNG Relaunch novel, Q&A. If so, I might have to read it....even if it DOES have the Borg destroying Pluto.