STAR TREK: GATEWAYS, a Seven Book OmniTREK series Part 2 - Mania.com



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STAR TREK: GATEWAYS, a Seven Book OmniTREK series Part 2

CINESCAPE reviews advanced copies of the new crossover novel series

By Chris Wyatt     October 18, 2001


STAR TREK: GATEWAYS, the new multi-book crossover, kicks off in Kirk's time with ONE SMALL STEP.
© 2001 Pocket Books
The series kicks off with ONE SMALL STEP by Susan Wright, featuring the classic TREK crew. In this, the strongest novel in the GATEWAYS series, Wright postulates a sequel to the episode "That Which Survives". Due to a transporter glitch Kirk and the others are momentarily stuck on a dead planetoid. With nothing else to do, they explore a mysterious alien base. Deep inside they uncover one of the gateways. With the possibility of Klingons close at hand, Starfleet orders the Enterprise to make sure that such an amazing technology doesn't fall into enemy handsan order that becomes more complex as a new race of aliens arrive, claiming ownership of the base.

Wright does an absolutely incredible job of capturing the spirit and characters of Classic TREK. The result is an exciting and well-written novel that lays down a foundation for the rest of the series.















STAR TREK: GATEWAYS BOOK 1, ONE SMALL STEP

Grade: A-

Author(s): Susan Wright


Publisher: Pocket Books


Price: $6.99

 


The novel-only offshoot, CHALLENGER, takes up the STAR TREK: GATEWAYS thread in CHAINMAIL.

Book two is by Diane Carey. Called CHAINMAIL, it focuses on STAR TREK: CHALLENGER. Commander Nick Keller of the U.S.S. Challenger is astounded when a gateway opens near him. But unlike some of the other gateways, this one opens into another dimension. Keller must then not only balance a sticky diplomatic situation with the local alien warriors, called the Blood Many, but also deal with a race of confused inter-dimensional travelers that disrupt local commerce.

CHAINMAIL is a low point of the GATEWAYS series. A somewhat confused prose style and a tendency toward gratuitous gore, bog down an already weak plot. Still, there are elements to like in the novel. Carey does a good job with natural sounding dialogue, and her description of life in an alternative dimension shows real imagination. Nonetheless, if there's a single GATEWAYS book to miss, this one's it.















STAR TREK: CHALLENGER, GATEWAYS BOOK 2, CHAINMAIL

Grade: D+

Author(s): Diane Carey


Publisher: Pocket Books


Price: $6.99

 


The NEXT GEN crew tackles the mystery of the Iconian GATEWAYS in DOORS INTO CHAOS.

With book three the series warps into high gear. Written by series co-creator Robert Greenberger, DOORS INTO CHAOS centers on the characters of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION. Because the book takes place in Federation space, the true extent of the gateway problem is realized. Already almost exhausted from the war with the Dominion, the Federation is worried about whether they have the resources to deal with the problem on their own. Commander Riker takes charge of the Enterprise as Captain Picard is sent on a special diplomatic mission to solicit help from other Alpha Quadrant species.

Greenberger does an excellent job with the mind-boggling task of capturing the length and breadth of the TREK universe in a single novel. The book has to include so many characters and species that it would seem impossible to give them all their due...and yet Greenberger does it. And even with everything else happening in the novel, it still has the time to create some of the most exciting space battles ever put on the page.















STAR TREK: CHALLENGER, GATEWAYS BOOK 3, DOORS
INTO CHAOS

Grade: B+

Author(s): Robert Greenberger


Publisher: Pocket Books


Price: $6.99

 


DEMONS OF AIR AND DARKNESS brings the DS9 crew into the STAR TREK: GATEWAYS series.

Also occurring in Federation space, book four is STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE, DEMONS OF AIR AND DARKNESS by Keith R.A. DeCandido. Happening at the same time as the events in DOORS INTO CHAOS, this novel is also quite an accomplishment. Colonel Kira Nerys is forced into action when radiation from a recently opened gateway threatens to kill everyone on a newly colonized world. The Deep Space Nine crew has to, in effect, facilitate the rapid evacuation of an entire planet. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Nog searches for a way to shut the gateways down.

DeCandido's style fits well with Greenberger's. Real highlights of this book include Kira's rapport with a reformed Jem'Hadar named Taran'tar and the dangerous trouble that Quark gets himself into while trying to negotiate with the Iconians.















STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE, GATEWAYS BOOK 4, DEMONS OF AIR AND DARKNESS

Grade: B

Author(s): Keith R.A. DeCandido


Publisher: Pocket Books


Price: $6.99

 


Voyager gets drawn into the GATEWAYS saga in NO MAN'S LAND.

Book five is the surprise gem of the gateways series. With the events of STAR TREK: VOYAGER happening so far away from the Federation it would be easy for the Voyager entry to seem tacked-on. Yet, writer Christie Golden does a great job of sidestepping the problem with her novel NO MAN'S LAND.

While traveling through an unusual section of space, gateways begin popping up out of nowhere. Vessels from an extraordinary number of formerly unknown races emerge confused, and in need of assistance. Captain Janeway and her crew are up to the task and create a caravan, herding the disparate races through uncharted spatial anomalies. While crossing one-by-one through a nebula, the crew of one of the ships is murdered. Voyager must solve the murder quickly, before everyone else in the caravan riots, setting off a small-scale war.

Lighter than the books that precede it, NO MAN'S LAND has some golden moments of comic relief. Furthermore, it offers both an interesting SF premise and elements of a good old-fashioned whodunit. It alternatively makes you laugh, and puts you on the edge of your seat.















STAR TREK: VOYAGER, GATEWAYS BOOK 5, NO MAN'S LAND

Grade: A

Author(s): Christie Golden


Publisher: Pocket Books


Price: $6.99

 


The NEW FRONTIER novel-only spin-off joins the STAR TREK: GATEWAYS crossover with COLD WARS.

Legendary TREK and comics writer Peter David handles book six, STAR TREK: NEW FRONTIER, COLD WARS. Feuding alien races, long separated by the gulfs of space, use the newly opened gateways to rekindle their age-old war. Captain Calhoun of the Excalibur and his partner Captain Shelby of the Trident must stop the bloodshed, and deal with the threat of the gateways.

David is a good writer, but the concept of feuding races was already included in books two, three and five of the series, so by the time you get to book six, the device is a little played out. The book is so distanced and irrelevant to the rest of the GATEWAYS entries, that it seems like just an excuse to get the NEW FRONTIER people involved somehow. Still, fans shouldn't miss David's prose, which is on the level of anything he's ever done.















STAR TREK: NEW FRONTIERS, GATEWAYS BOOK 6, COLD WARS

Grade: C+

Author(s): Peter David


Publisher: Pocket Books


Price: $6.99

 


The STAR TREK: GATEWAYS series concludes with the anthology hardcover, WHAT LAY BEYOND.

Everything concludes with book seven, WHAT LAY BEYOND. Instead of one continuous tale this book acts as an anthology, collecting short stories that resolve the cliffhangers of each book. Depending on your point of view, WHAT LAY BEYOND is either an intriguing way to tie all the stories in the series together, or it's a blatant marketing technique, designed to sell as many books as possible. Either way, readers should be made aware of the fact that if they want the endings to any single book in the series, they're going to have to pick this one up as well, even though it's a more expensive hardback.

Whether it's a sales ploy or not, WHAT LAY BEYOND is a good book. Each story is appropriate for the novel it concludes, the unbelievable CHAINMAIL ending being the only one that remains unsatisfying. Highlights include a very cool Q cameo, interesting snapshots of Bjorian history, and great Riker/Troi banter. Don't expect to pick this one up on it's own and understand what's going on; but if you've read and enjoyed an individual book in the GATEWAYS series, then this one well worth your time.















STAR TREK: GATEWAYS, BOOK 7, WHAT LAY BEYOND

Grade: B+

Author(s): Various authors


Publisher: Pocket Books


Price: $24.99

 


Thanks to John J. Ordover for helping us make this trek through TREK.

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