Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Watching the Clock

Star Trek DTI: Watching the Clock
© 2011 Christopher L. Bennett
512 pages

Time travel! It's a staple of Star Trek. No crew among the show's five series has been able to resist gallavanting around in the timestream, not even in the movies. But for every temporal adventure, there's a mess left behind to clean up...and that ornerous task falls to the Department of Temporal Investigations. DS9's "Trials and Tribble-lations" introduced us to Agents Lucsly and Dulmur, two humorless grey-suited cosmic bureaucrats    whose are renoun for their skill at keeping the timeline pristine. The two are joined by a Deltan and a DTI newbie on two distinct cases that span the book, involve both the USS Titan and the USS Enterprise. The narrative is dense; Bennett somehow makes temporal mechanics seem sensible in the light of both current quantum theory and the time travel we've seen on screen. Frequent flashbacks ensure that a narrative rich in exposition is peppered too with action and humor, and no time-traveling incident in the entire Trek canon goes without being mentioned. Bennett even works in Deep Space Nine's Millenium series.

Bennett has given life two two stiffs, managed offer a view of time that makes all the myriad temporal incidents seem as though they could have occurred in the same universe, and initiated an altogether unique series in Trek literature. Its success has been followed by a sequel, Forgotten History, which establishes DTI's beginnings in the TOS era.

The End of Eternity, Isaac Asimov (which Bennett cites)

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