Book Stats

  • A Deep Space Nine relaunch novel
  • Published by Pocket Books in 2017
  • Space Opera
  • 384 pages


Benjamin Sisko once again sits on the bridge of a Starfleet vessel. Yet no sooner does the USS Robinson‘s voyage through the Gamma Quadrant begin, than a devastating assault robs the crew of their most precious asset: Their children . . .


I can’t quite believe what I’m about to type here. This is a Star Trek book, published late in the Litverse chronology, that is about going into space and seeking out strange new worlds. There’s no end-of-the-world scenario, no fate of the universe at stake. Just one little ship and an alien encounter. Even better, it’s set in the Gamma Quadrant, far from the political shenanigans that dominated Trek of the period. Heck, the Dominion isn’t even featured in this one. Even though it was written by an author whose work I don’t particularly get along with, the prospect of actual stellar trekking had me cautiously optimistic. Unfortunately, that optimism hit roadblocks straight away.

This is a bizarrely structured novel, which was always going to be a sticking point for me. There’s a prologue, and an epilogue. The section in between is simply called ‘chapters.’ Only the chapters aren’t numbered or named. The book is one long sequence of alternating viewpoints. One in the present, one six years in the past.

The present day section is exactly what the blurb promises. The Robinson‘s children – including Sisko’s daughter – are abducted by aliens for reasons unknown. It’s honestly a great setup, especially as the crew run into translation issues and a megastructure. Two things that appeal to me very much. Leaving aside my ambivalence towards the writing style, this is finally the Star Trek I wanted to read. It has interesting aliens, cool science, and a sprinkling of moral quandaries. Good stuff.

The problem stems from the other half of the book. You see, six years before all this, Sisko’s daughter was kidnapped by religious extremists. This leads to a (not terribly interesting) investigation and chase, with all the religious chicanery I was hoping we’d left behind by this point. These flashback sections would detract from the primary arc regardless of their content, but there’s a bigger issue at work here.

In this one novel we have two stories, both of which are about Sisko losing his daughter and trying to get her back. Clearly, the aim was for thematic and emotional symmetry. The actual outcome is that the book becomes highly repetitive. From the start, it’s clear that Sisko will get his daughter back in the past, because she’s there in the present. There are also far too many scenes of Sisko and Kassidy worrying and fretting. Understandable behaviour, to be sure, but emotional writing simply isn’t David R. George III’s strength

Despite having a some good ideas, Original Sin is something of a damp squib, weighed down by its split narrative, and unable to choose a single narrative to excel at. Perhaps, in another timeline, this story is two novellas, and that timeline is a better place for a reader to be.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Deeper Dive: The Road Not Taken

This is not just Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Original Sin. It is Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Gamma: Original Sin. The Gamma subheading clearly refers to the Quadrant in which the present-day narrative occurs. It was likely going to be the subheading for an entire series of adventures focused on Sisko and his new crew. Ultimately, however, the Litverse was cancelled shortly after this book’s publication. Aside from the Coda trilogy, this would be the last time we saw this version of the Deep Space Nine crew.

I haver to say, the DS9 relaunch is my least favourite part of the Litverse, and I am not all that sad to bid it a farewell. The relaunch became a classic Ship of Theseus, with characters shed and accrued over the course of twenty-plus books, and the station barely featuring in many stories. Even so, one can’t help but wonder about the stories that will never be told. I would dearly have liked to see more of Captain Dax and the Aventine, and the Bashir-O’Brien partnership surely had mileage in it yet. Here too was the one place where politics never felt out of place, much as I personally grew tired of seeing the Alpha Quadrant on the brink of war.

There will always be more stories, and the chances of seeing familiar faces returning to the screen has never been higher. So for now let’s raise a glass of raktajino to the Deep Space Nine relaunch novels. We hardly knew them.

One response to “BOOK REVIEW: Original Sin, by David R. George III”

  1. MONTHLY ROUNDUP: April 2023 – At Boundary's Edge Avatar

    […] Book: Original Sin, by David R. George III […]


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