Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Worlds of Deep Space Nine (Volume 2)

Worlds of Deep Space Nine, Volume 2: Trill and Bajor
© 2005 Martin, Mangels, and Kym
380 pages

On the cover:  Nicole de Boer as Lieutenant Ezri Dax; Avery Brooks as Captain Benjamin Sisko.

S.D. Perry's Unity ended the first major phase of Star Trek relaunch literature, bringing multiple Deep Space Nine storylines together and capping them off with the assassination of Bajor's prime minister on the eve of its admission into the United Federation of Planets. The assassin, working on behalf of the government of Trill, operated on the concealed knowledge that the minister was posessed by a parasite genetically related to the symbionts of the Trill homeworld.  Trill's government, highly protective of the symbionts that so many of its leaders are joined to, was desperate to hide the symbiont/parasite connection.  In the midst of this chaos, Benjamin Sisko returned to the land of the living just in time for the birth of his daughter; previously, in "What you Leave Behind", he vanished into the etheral realm of the Prophets, aliens who occupy a nearby wormhole and are the objects of Bajoran religion.

Worlds of Deep Space Nine is a three-part series that explore the aftermath of Unity while TNG launched its own arc which eventually culiminated in Destiny. The book contains two novellas that are set four days apart from the other and on their respective worlds. In Unjoined, authors Martin and Mangels depict a Trill on the edge of chaos. Its streets are filled with citizens brimming with anger, demanding full transparency from the government -- and some, giving into fear, demanding an end to the custom of joining. After Lieutenant Ezri Dax and Lieutenant Commander Julian Bashir are called to Trill to give testimony at an official inquiry into Trill's role in the assassination, terrorist groups target the symbionts and government officials while Dax discovers buried history that may forever change Trill.  While the political story and cultural examinations are interesting enough, Unjoined is most notable for me in seeing Lieutenant Dax come into her own as a character: she's finally adjusted to being joined, and her experiences since then are setting her on a path away from her old life.

Fragments and Omen's major theme is adjustment: Bajor is now a member of the Federation,  and while the general populace is looking forward to the future, there are others who fear Bajor's individuality will be left behind. Jake Sisko is also trying to find a life for himself now that his father has returned -- and Ben Sisko believes that he was sent back because Bajor is about to undergo a crisis.  While Kym's novella is perfectly enjoyable to read for DS9 fans, it lacks the active punch of Martin and Mangels: it's more a prolouge for what is to come, though readers are only teased by this in the last chapter of the book.

I haven't read a novel from the Deep Space Nine relaunch for five years: I bought this and another book in the "Words of Deep Space Nine" series, but found both too dense to get in. I'm apparantly better at reading now, for this read was smooth sailing. In the five years that have past, I've forgotten most of the details of Unity, but was able to piece them together from this book's infrequent exposition. While Unjoined is the Dax-and-Bashir show, Fragments and Omens draws from most of DS9's officer ensemble plus a Bajoran politician or two.

Good read for general Trek readers, particularly Unjoined. As said, Fragments and Omens is mostly prologue.


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