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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – The 34th Rule by Armin Shimerman & David R. George III (Review)

This September and October, we’re taking a look at the jam-packed 1994 to 1995 season of Star Trek, including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Check back daily for the latest review.

The 34th Rule is a particularly notable piece of Star Trek fiction. It is the first Star Trek novel credited to a main cast member while their show was still on the air. Armin Shimerman, Eric A. Sitwell and David R. George III had pitched the idea for The 34th Rule as an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. When the producers were not interested in developing the idea, Shimerman and George decided to expand the idea out into a full-length novel. The 34th Rule was released during the seventh season of Deep Space Nine.

Shimerman was not the first actor to be credited on a Star Trek novel. William Shatner had already launched his own “Shatner-verse” series of novels following the “resurrection” of James Tiberius Kirk after his death in Star Trek: Generations. However, Shatner was pretty much done with the franchise at this point – having officially passed the torch to his successors as part of Generations. However, Shimerman was the first to publish a novel while the show was on the air.

The 34th Rule is a decidedly ambitious piece of work. It is clumsy in places, perhaps a little heavy-handed and on the nose. Nevertheless, it is a well-constructed and thoughtful Star Trek epic – one the feels in keeping with the mood of Deep Space Nine, even if it occasionally veers a little too far.

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Star Trek: Myriad Universes – Shattered Light: The Embrace of Cold Architects by David R. George III (Review)

This January and February, we’ll be finishing up our look at the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation and moving on to the third year of the show, both recently and lovingly remastered for high definition. Check back daily for the latest review.

We’ll be supplementing our coverage of the episodes with some additional materials – mainly novels and comics and films.

It’s amazing to think what happens if you shift events just a little to the left or a little to the right. Part of what’s most fascinating about David R. George III’s The Embrace of Cold Architects is that the alternate universe isn’t created by altering the outcome of any major event. Instead, the alternate universe is created by shifting a single date slightly forward in time. Moving one event out of its original context – in this case the conference from The Offspring – and transposing it later into the third season of the show has any number of radically unforeseen side effects.

Of course, this all feels like very clever meta-commentary by author David R. George III. As much as The Embrace of Cold Architects is about shifting around the order of events inside the narrative, it’s also about shifting around the framing structure itself. The Embrace of Cold Architects doesn’t just offer a glimpse of what might have happened had certain events within the framework of Star Trek: The Next Generation occurred out of their previously-established context, it is also about reimagining The Next Generation itself.

Quite a lot of The Embrace of Cold Architects feels like glimpse of an alternate version of The Next Generation, one where the show itself has been shifted so that it might be written in the context of the War on the Terror.

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