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Star Trek: Terok Nor – Night of the Wolves by S.D. Perry & Britta Dennison (Review)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is twenty years old this year. To celebrate, I’m taking a look at the first season. Check back daily for the latest review or retrospective.

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

Prequels are a tricky business. Not just because we already know the ending – after all, we love adapting old familiar stories in new ways, and knowing the outcome can easily lend a project an air of grand tragedy or irony. However, the temptation with prequels is to make it all make sense, to tie absolutely everything up in a neat little bow, resolving all the plot threads and removing any hint of ambiguity or mystery from the original work – less of a story in its own right and more of a “fill in the blanks” approach.

James Swallow’s Day of the Vipers occasionally fell into this trap as it offered an account of the Cardassian plot to take control of Bajor, but it managed to offer its own insights and character development – giving us a suitably complex and self-justifying version of Gul Dukat. Night of the Wolves is somewhat less successful at avoiding the same problems, with a plot that appears to have been fashioned by linking off-hand references and back story from various early episodes together.

We get Odo and Kira meeting for the first time; an account of the liberation of Gallitep; a back story for a young Damar; the roots of Natima Lang’s dissatisfaction with the Central Command. None of these threads seem to build to anything insightful or clever, instead playing out predictably – pretty much exactly as we might have imagined them.

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Star Trek – Cast No Shadow by James Swallow (Review)

This August, to celebrate the upcoming release of Star Trek: Into Darkness on DVD and blu ray, we’re taking a look at the Star Trek movies featuring the original cast. Movie reviews are every Tuesday and Thursday.

We’ll be supplementing our coverage of the movies with tie-ins around (and related to) the films. We’ll be doing one of these every week day. This is one such article.

Valeris is a fascinating character who gets a bit lost in the scope of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Given the film’s focus on bidding a fond farewell to the iconic crew of the Enterprise, it’s understandable that the newest addition to the crew should get pushed aside. It’s even more notable because Valeris is clearly a stand-in for the character of Saavik, another of Spock’s young female Vulcan protegés, making her not only a newer character, but a substitute for a newer character.

One of the most interesting things about Star Trek tie-in fiction is the scope afforded by the gigantic shared universe. Across the dozen movies and the seven-hundred episodes of television, there are countless supporting characters and concepts thrown out. Due to plotting necessities and the demands of particular stories, some of these ideas are never truly fleshed out. The sheer volume of tie-in material means that writers do get a chance to develop and expand upon these character which might otherwise be forgotten.

Writing a novel centred on Valeris is a very bold idea, but one which acknowledges just how intriguing the concept of Kim Cattrall’s Vulcan traitor is, despite the fact the film treats her as a minor character at best.


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