BOOK REVIEW: Homecoming, by Christie Golden

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Rating: 3 out of 5.
  • Book One of the Homecoming duology
  • Part of the Litverse
  • Focuses on the Voyager crew
  • Published by Pocket Books in 2003
  • A domestic Space Opera
  • 262 pages

Captain Janeway has achieved the impossible. After seven years in the Delta Quadrant, she has brought her ship and her crew home safely. But the home they left is not the one the return to. In the post-war Federation, nothing is as it seems . . .

Talk to Star Trek fans about the novels of Voayger, and you’ll hear a lot of praise for Kirsten Beyer’s Full Circle relaunch. But Beyer was not the first to continue Janeway’s voyages after the events of ‘Endgame.’ There was an earlier, and arguably less successful relaunch, penned by Christie Golden. Homecoming is the first of these, and takes place in the immediate aftermath of Voyager‘s final episode.

As a brief aside, ‘Endgame’ is my favourite Trek finale. Few Star Treks end in a wholly satisfying way. The Original Series and Animated Series both end with just another episode. The Next Generation has a great finale, but one that ends with more ‘business as usual’ for the crew. Deep Space Nine mixes satisfying plot arcs with disappointing thematic conclusions. And Enterprise caps off eighteen seasons of Trek far better than it does its own narrative. But Voyager? Voyager set out with a gaol. Get the crew home. And in the end, it succeeded. The final shot of Voyager and Earth is one of the show’s best.

With all that in mind, there aren’t many dangling plot threads to pick up on. Which makes this overstuffed book even more perplexing. The first half is all about the crew adjusting to life at home after a long absence. Think of episodes like TNG’s ‘Family’ and Enterprise‘s ‘Home’ and you won’t be far off. It’s a nice little denouement to go alongside the debriefings and celebrations as families are reunited, but it’s ultimately not that engaging. Especially when time is dedicated to all of this that would have been better spent developing the three plotlines that fight for dominance in the novel’s second half.

First, we have the classic corruption within Starfleet. Being lost in the Delta Quadrant for so long, Voayger didn’t have a chance to face the antagonistic admiral cliché, but that’s addressed here. This thread also brings back Harry Kim’s former girlfriend Libby, who is now a spy for Starfleet Intelligence, in a character move that makes very little sense, but also provides a charming reunion.

Next we have a Borg virus outbreak on Earth, blamed on the Voyager crew. This is an interesting idea, but it does run into one major problem. The Litverse has a lot of Borg stories. And I mean a lot. Picard ran into them on in almost all of the early TNG relaunch novels, and it all culminated in the Destiny trilogy. Unfortunately, there’s not much to distinguish this story from any of those. The Borg are a great idea, but one that definitely became overused.

Thankfully, there is another thread. Holographic rights. This is fascinating for two reasons. The obvious one is that it ties directly into Voyager‘s crew (The Doctor), but above that it’s just a fascinating concept. Holograms demonstrably can become sentient with prolonged use. Yet they are treated as objects. You don’t get much more Star Trek than a moral dilemma like this. being only the first half a story, Homecoming doesn’t go too deeply into this, but it’s easily the part I’m most interested in seeing more of.

Homecoming is a very rocky start to the Voyager relaunch, but it is at least a uniquely Voyager story. And as we all know, one should never judge a Star Trek by its opening act. It’s only in part three that the ball really gets rolling.

Did you enjoy this book? If so, you might also enjoy:
Full Circle, by Kirsten Beyer
Resistance, by J. M. Dillard
Inferno Squad, by Christie Golden

Published by Alex Hormann

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

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