Series: Voyager: Full Circle (#10)
Genre: Space Opera
Publication Date: 2020
Lieutenant Harry Kim is a man beset by problems. The love of his life is dying. His unborn daughter lives only thanks to a gestation tank. He’s been thrust into command of a ship that’s falling apart. Oh, and he’s also stuck at the outer edge of the Galaxy with no way home . . .
As The Next Generation finale reminds us, all good things must come to an end. Voyager‘s first finale brought a successful resolution to the crew’s trip through the Delta Quadrant, making it home after seven years of wandering. Now, with the literary universe superseded by the new canon of Picard and Discovery, it’s only natural that the voyages come to an end once again, and the relaunch novels come to a halt. With Beyer being heavily involved in the new television offerings, To Lose the Earth comes after a two year break, but it’s a sign of both Beyer’s dedication to the story and the franchise’s commitment to fans that we get this final offering. Yes, there might well be contractual obligations involved as well, but it’s nice to see a conclusion to the stories that kept Star Trek alive in the gap between Enterprise and Discovery.
Throughout this book we get appearances from the Department of Temporal Investigation, and see their interest in the Krenim Imperium. It’s all hints and rumours at the moment, but it seems clear that this ties into the recently announced Coda trilogy that will wrap up this canon of Star Trek novels for good. This is something I’m very excited to see, and thankfully Beyer’s laying of the groundwork in no way detracts from the main narrative of To Lose the Earth.
We pick up right where Architects of Infinity left off. The Galen is gone, and the rest of the Full Circle fleet are being menaced by an unstoppable alien armada. It’s no real surprise that Harry Kim survives the cliffhanger, but it is a surprise just how much the novel focuses on him. Kim was often underutilised on the show, at one point even dying and being replaced by a version from another timeline, but in the relaunch novels he has really come into his own. To Lose the Earth also continues the fine tradition of having Harry left in charge of a ship only for something terrible to happen to it. Beyer really puts him through the wringer here, both physically and emotionally. Kim and Conlon’s relationship has been bubbling away in the background for a few books now, and shining a focus on it here shows a romance that is a great deal messier than the TV show ever dived into, and all the more compelling for it.
To Lose the Earth is as fine a finale as Endgame before it. The bonds between Voyager‘s crew has never been more important, there is a real weight behind every choice, and it manages to strike a perfect balance between science fiction ideas and a perfectly executed and tightly-plotted narrative, all while giving characters room to breathe. The Voyager relaunch breathed new life into my favourite Star Trek series, and just as I was then, I’m sad to see that their journey is once more at an end.