BOOK REVIEW: Resistance, by J. M. Dillard

Click here for more Star Trek content

  • A standalone novel
  • Part of the Litverse The Next Generation Relaunch
  • Published by Pocket Books in 2007
  • Space Opera
  • 306 pages
  • ⭐⭐⭐

Returning to diplomatic duty after the rise and fall of Praetor Shinzon, the Enterprise and its crew are ready to put the past behind them. But Captain Picard may not be able to do so, for the voice of the Borg is calling to him once more . . .

Resistance takes us back to a simpler time. Before the Typhon Pact, before there was a new canon of Trek. Back to a time just after Star Trek Nemesis, when the future was wide open to be explored in novels. It’s a slim and straightforward novel, written by a name that will be familiar to long-term Trek readers. Yet even though it takes place early in what would eventually become the Litverse, Resistance has a lot of the hallmarks that would come to define the universe. For better, and for worse.

For its first half, Resistance is essentially a character study of Picard. This is where Dillard excels, just as she did with T’Pol in Surak’s Soul. Characters in The Next Generation didn’t get a whole lot of development as the years went on, but one element that came back a few times was Picard’s traumatic experience at the hands of the Borg. Being assimilated into the being known as Locutus left its mark on the man, as seen in Family, I, Borg, and First Contact. This is the thread that Dillard pulls on, forcing Picard to once again face his greatest demon. Though the Borg would go on to become a centrepiece of the Litverse, here they still feel like a singular threat that can be resolved by the book’s end, in true episodic fashion. Dillard goes as deep into Picard’s psyche as we ever have, with the added complication of Picard being surrounded by unfamilair faces. Because Riker and Troi have departed for the Titan, and there’s a new counsellor around. One who is very much cool and unsympathetic toward his plight.

That first half is the most interesting, because in the second act Picard is all but written out, leaving the rest of the crew to engage in a high-stakes battle against the Borg. The action is all good and well-written, but it’s jarring when you come off the slower first half of the book. What it does well, however, is bringing Worf back into the fold. Worf, a man who was increasingly awkwardly wedged into TNG movies alongside his Deep Space Nine duties, here returns to the TNG storyline in earnest as the ship’s new first officer. What we see of him here is a familiar wrangling of Starfleet duty versus Klingon honour. It’s well-trod ground to be sure, but serves to ease him back in among familiar faces.

Resistance hints at the Litverse crossovers to come, with a cameo appearance by Admiral Janeway, and reference to Seven of Nine. I must say, it’s odd to see Janeway’s insistence that Picard is too close to the Borg threat to be trusted, while Seven is surely even more compromised in that regard. Regardless, all Voyager content is appreciated in these parts. For me, the big missed opportunity is the opening chapters. Picard’s initial mission is to attend peace talks between two warring species. Once the Borg appear though, this story is dropped without a second thought. This is one of the biggest weaknesses of the Litverse, as traditional Star Trek storytelling often played second fiddle to big, epic storylines. I would have liked to see more of the exploration and politics here, no matter how exciting the Borg storyline was.

In spite of a few faults, Resistance is a fun instalment in the TNG relaunch, and a strong character piece for both Picard and Worf. Fans of either character are likely to walk away pleased.

Did you enjoy this book? If so, you may also like:
Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus, by Isaac Asimov
Mars, by Ben Bova
Cold Welcome, by Elizabeth Moon

Published by Alex Hormann

I'm a writer, reader, and farmer, with an interest in all things speculative.

2 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Resistance, by J. M. Dillard

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: