Anniversaries are funny old events. They’re a celebration of the past while at the same time, an opportunity to look to the future. This is especially the case with ‘Q & A’, written for ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’s 20th anniversary in 2007, it looks to the very first meeting we had with Picard, et al as well looking forward to what is next in store for our intrepid crew.
The crew is settling back to normality after a series of adventures against the Romulans and the Borg and we examine the relationships of several new crew members who replaced those that either passed away such as Data or moved onto pastures new, Riker and Troi.
LaForge is also a focus of this story, unsure of his place on the Enterprise-E with so many of his friends absent. Seeds of a romance with new second officer, Miranda Kadohata, are sown here. This storyline isn’t necessarily tied up by the end of the book but has no doubt laid a foundation for later tales.
Amid all of the new faces and a mission of exploration is the omnipotent Q. Having been present from the very beginning of ‘The Next Generation’, he’s the perfect narrator for this anniversary story. He is concerned about the mysterious They who seem to be higher up the food chain than the Q. He enlists Picard and his crew to help him in his mission to save the universe.
Keith DeCandido has been writing ‘Star Trek’ stories for over a decade and his fan credentials are certainly not in doubt. The man knows his ‘Star Trek’, especially all the minor characters that the average won’t recognise. Further to that, his ability to tie them all together without seeming too cheesy is excellent and natural.
The Q plot however is a bit weak and is quite similar to other Q-based novels such as ‘Q-Continuum’ series but that’s not really the point of the book.
In the interest of disclosure ‘Q & A’ is the first ‘Star Trek’ novel I’ve read in about a decade and it’s the perfect book to return to. Full of nods and winks to various characters that have appeared on the show over the course of seven seasons and four films, it’s a lovely trip down memory lane.
Don’t worry too much about the main plot with its lack of drama, just enjoy life on the Enterprise.
(pub: Pocket Books/Simon and Schuster. 304 page paperback. Price: £ 6.99 (UK), $ 7.99 (US), $ 9.50 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-4165-2741-1)
check out website:. www.simonandschuster.co.uk