BOOK REVIEW: The Farther Shore, by Christie Golden

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Rating: 2 out of 5.
  • Book Two of the Homecoming duology
  • Part of the Litverse
  • Focuses on the Voyager crew
  • Published by Pocket Books in 2003
  • A domestic Space Opera
  • 275 pages

A virulent Borg plague spreads across the Earth. With corruption at the heart of Starfleet, only Janeway and her crew can save the planet. But they are scattered. Imprisoned and deceived. Not even the timely arrival of Commander Data may be enough to see them through this crisis . . .

Homecoming set up a lot of plot threads, some of them more interesting than others. Sad to say, it is the least interesting that take precedence in this second volume of the relaunch. As I noted in my review of Homecoming, Borg stories are in abundance, and if you’re not going to do something new with them, you’ll struggle to hold my interest. Now, Voyager had more than its share of run-ins with the cybernetic foe, across five seasons of television. there’s plenty of material to be mined there if you do want to bring the Borg back into play. What frustrates me about The Farther Shore is that the Borg threat is tied directly to First Contact. That, coupled with the involvement of Data, make the book feel more like a problem for Picard and his crew rather than Janeway and hers. In the end, it all feels rather generic. Hardly an auspicious start to the Voyager relaunch.

To make matters worse, the most interesting thread is all but abandoned. Book one set up a revolution for hologram’s rights to personhood. This becomes the B-story here, and aside from a few rather grim references to the holograms involved in seedier programmes, the horrors of sentient technology being treated as slaves is rarely addressed. It’s all swept under the rug in favour of more Borg.

There is another story here, which is so memorable, I forgot to mention it in my previous review. B’Elanna is separate from the crew or almost the entirety of this two-part. Rather than having an engineer alongside the rest of the crew, the story has B’Elanna seeking out her Klingon mother. This involves a trip to Boreth, and a lengthy spiritual voyage in search of a lost family member. This storyline is at least something that makes the most of Voyager – B’Elanna’s split heritage, specifically – but all it really achieves is a prolonged reunion that stretches even more thinly than the first half of Homecoming. Klingon spirituality has never been a favourite of mine, and The Farther Shore continues the trend of it dominating all Klingon character arcs.

In Golden’s favour, she has her actual writing. As you can tell from the page count on these books, it’s short and punchy. The action scenes are where she really excels, which is particularly noticeable in the all guns blazing final confrontation between Janeway and the Borg. It’s not necessarily what I want in my Star trek books, but it is very well done. These books are very quick reads that don’t tax you too much. In that, they hearken back to a simpler time, as the Litverse was just beginning. And while it may have got off to a rocky start, the best is yet to come.

Did you enjoy this book? If so, you might also enjoy:
Greater Than the Sum, by Christopher L. Bennett
Full Circle, by Kirsten Beyer
Blood and Fire, by David Gerrold

Published by Alex Hormann

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

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