- Star Trek: Voyager: String Theory (#1)
- Set between seasons 4 and 5 of Voyager
- Published by Pocket Books in 2005
- Space Opera Adventure
- 362 pages
As Voyager continues its lowly sojourn through the Delta Quadrant, an unusual star system draws the crew’s attention. But the arrival of a vast alien spaceship leads the crew into greater danger than they could ever imagine . . .
Having read the Kirsten Beyer novels beginning with Full Circle and ending with To Lose The Earth, I thought my Voyager reading was finished. Sure there are about two dozen novels set during the course of the show (as there are with most of the Trek series) but these books have rarely interested me. I might pick them up if I see them as I shop, but I don’t seek them out. As a consequence of having been written as the show is coming out, they often have a lack of consequence. You know Torres is going to be fine, because she’s in all seven seasons of the show. Then there are continuity errors such as everyone’s favourite EMH Doc Zimmerman among the characters featured in the earlier novels.
The String Theory trilogy is something a little different. Set between seasons 4 and 5 (the only series break other than the 1 & 2 divide not bridged by a cliffhanger), this trilogy tells a single story that feels more like something from the later Litverse. That’s largely because it was written for the show’s tenth anniversary, but also because all three of the authors involved were also writers for the relaunch series of novels. So in spite of the early chronological setting, it feels a lot more polished around the edges than other books set around the same time.
Jeffrey Lang’s opening novel is almost a standalone, revolving mainly around the first contact between Voyager and a species of interstellar refugees rather than the more cosmic events of the other two books. Cohesion is a proper Star Trek adventure, rife with technobabble and moral dilemmas. Most impressively, however, is the way it handles the ensemble cast. Voyager had a larger cast than any other Trek series of the era (though Deep Space Nine‘s recurring characters do give that show the edge). Quite often, this meant that characters got pushed aside. Chakotay suffered terribly from this, with most of his feature episodes revolving around his spiritual beliefs, which is a problem to be discussed another day. But in this book, Lang gives everyone something to do. Personally, I was a massive fan of how he paired Seven of Nine and Torres, a pairing that was rarely seen on screen, but absolutely works here.
All things considered, this is one of the stronger Voyager books out there, and even if you don’t read the rest of the trilogy, this one is worth a look.
More by Jeffrey Lang
Deep Space Nine: Force & Motion
Deeper Dive: Multi-Author Series
Infinite diversity in infinite combinations. That is one of the great mantras of Star Trek. From a writing perspective, the way the shows of the 90s allowed fresh voices through was monumentally influential in the episodic approach of the show. That’s a trend that continued into the Litverse. Later books would see single authors come to dominate the relaunch. Kirsten Beyer took the helm of Voyager, David R. George III commanded Deep Space Nine, and Dayton Ward relaunched The Next Generation.
In the earlier parts of the Litverse, however, multiple authors worked with a crew at any single time. Titan is a prime example of this Though having a single voice in control of the narrative can be beneficial to long-running series, I’m more a fan of the multi-author approach. It keeps things fresh, shaking things up when needed. And while there will always be authors I don’t enjoy, the odds are in my favour that at least some of these authors will be winners for me.
For original works, I think a steadier hand is needed at the helm, but when you’re talking about an expanded universe, there is strength in diversity.
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