Series: Titan (#7)
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Space Opera
Publication Date: 2012
Following his mind-meld with a terraforming device, Tuvok is plagued by the knowledge of planetary creation and destruction. But as Titan searches for answers, the greatest threat may be a divisive new Starfleet policy . . .
Fallen Gods is easily my favourite Titan novel so far. Not only is it an excellent story in its own right, it also provides much-needed follow-up to both Seize the Fire and Paths of Disharmony. This is not a Typhon Pact novel, but it slots into the gaps of that series very neatly, showing that the effects of those events are not limited to the direct chain of seven books alone. The events of the Typhon Pact series, Paths of Disharmony in particular, should have a lasting impact on the series, and here is where we first see it.
With Andor having left the Federation, Andorian personnel are recalled to their homeworld. Even those who do not wish to go are reassigned by Starfleet. It’s a Cold War level paranoia that Martin writes incredibly well, especially with the Titan‘s seven Andorian crewmembers. Putting Riker in the position of choosing between oaths to Starfleet and loyalty to his crew is bound to create tension, and the fact that Titan is famed for its diverse crew makes the choice hit all the harder. Star Trek has always been very good at showing the individual fallout of wide-ranging political decisions, and Fallen Gods is no different. The Andorian plotline is by no means resolved during this book, but it does take several interesting turns, making brilliant use of Trek‘s rich history.
While the Andorian crisis is bubbling away in the background, we also have a straighter science fiction mystery to be investigated. Martin’s acknowledgements show how much research went into this, which is always nice to see in a science fiction book, and it follows on nicely from the ecosculpting seen in Seize the Fire. Tuvok of course plays a prominent role, but Fallen Gods also marks a triumphant return for SecondGen White-Blue. It’s always interesting to see how one author uses the creation of another, and between James Swallow and Michael A. Martin, White-Blue has a strong and clear arc of development. Character arcs and plot points converge perfectly throughout this book, and there’s never a lull.
Perhaps most impressive of all are the aliens original to this book. And I mean original. They’re the sort of truly alien aliens that would be incredibly hard to pull off on screen even with today’s mega budgets. The beings who dwell in the ruins of the Whetu’irawaru are completely nonhuman, and beautifully written. Cephalopods with few recognisable features, they appear to be a race of gender-neutral beings. The only pronouns given are hir and s/he. In this they echo the four-gendered Andorians in showing the diversity Trek can offer. They too are a species on the brink of extinction, though in this case it’s a pulsar rather than genetic issues that are to blame. Regardless, the anti-science and regressive Trasher movement are a great parable for so much of what is wrong with the world, and Eid’dyl is a wonderful point of view for it all.
Fallen Gods is not only the best Titan novel yet, it’s up there with some of my very favourite Star Trek experiences.An absolute masterclass in science fiction storytelling.