Overall, a very disappointing
conclusion to the series. The only story worth reading is the one
featuring Captain Picard.
I did not read all of the novellas contained in this book. The first
one I read was the conclusion to Kira's story from
Demons of Air and
Darkness. From that, I discovered the conclusions to each of the first
six novels don't necessarily conclude, or even continue, the Gateways
plot. They simply complete the individual stories, and are much more
focused on single characters, so that they don't even contribute much to
the story that preceded them. All we want to know is how the Captain (or
Colonel, in Kira's case) returns to their ship. My first intention was
to read the entire book, even though I was not aware of the
circumstances that preceded them. I thought it might further
understanding of the Gateways. Since that was not the case, I was not
interested in most of the stories.
ONE GIANT LEAP concludes Kirk's story, and is very boring. Most of
the time, I didn't even recognize Kirk as the person who was thinking or
manages to destroy the Gateway that was stolen by the Petraw, while jumping
through right beforehand to get to Earth. In doing so, he probably prevented
the Petraw from dominating the Gateways during his time, so that they
took longer to understand it, thus delaying their incursion into the
Alpha Quadrant until the time of The Next Generation. One hilarious line
was uttered by Kirk in this story. He wonders how stupid somebody would
have to be to spend their life in a ship trying to get home to the Alpha
Quadrant if they were lost so far from home! Take that, Voyager! The
Gateways seem to operate very differently here, using thought to form a
destination. Is that how the Gateways are supposed to work, and nobody
knows this? I wonder if we get the motivation of the Petraw if I had
read the first novel in this series. Based on what I saw here, I have no
interest in doing so.
I did not even browse through EXODUS, the Challenger section of the
book. It has no interest to me.
HORN AND IVORY, the Deep Space Nine segment, is almost as bad as
Kirk's story. It tells us absolutely nothing, as Kira is transported to
a time thirty thousand years into Bajor's past, fighting for rebels
against an overpowering empire. The situation is a very light parallel
of Kira's own situation, in that she gets to follow a General around as
his situation gets ever worse, and he loses faith, because all that he
has built up is being destroyed, even if they seem to have won the war.
Eventually, the Bajora will take over the whole planet, but not for now.
I wonder why the Fire Caves were called by that name, before the Pagh-wraiths
were imprisoned there? I thought it was because of them that the caves
had that name. The end of the story is stupid, except that Kira regains
her faith in herself. I must point out that she only started losing her
self-confidence in Demons of Air and Darkness, and that
it wasn't apparent
in the other Relaunch novels. The fact that it was fixed so quickly
makes the earlier part feel false. I have trouble believing that Kira
could afterwards find no mention of the Empire she fought against, but
could find streets named after the general she fought with, thirty
thousand years later! Finally, the Iconian Observer seemed to know way too
much about what he was doing, and was way too enthusiastic to help get
rid of the radiation, compared to the Iconians met by Picard at the end
of the book. The entire story seems explained away as an out-of-body
experience -yuck. The author felt very different in this story from the
novel. He did a whole lot of summarizing, which should not have been
necessary. The story was mildly interesting, but completely off-topic.
Even the Gateway used by Kira at the end seemed to betray the internal
continuity of the series.
The Voyager segment, IN THE QUEUE, seemed very stupid. I started
reading it because Picard and crew seemed to be involved. That was not
to be, however, as Q showed up and seemed to be playing one of his
games. I browsed through the rest of the story, and it appears that the Q
are responsible for giving the Iconians Gateway technology in the first
place. I didn't want to learn any more than that.
I barely even browsed DEATH AFTER LIFE, the New Frontier section, as
by this time, I was not interested in the rest of the story by
characters I didn't know. It seems to take place in some form of the
afterlife. The two captains seem to get home fine, though, before the
Gateways go offline. Or something. It didn't add anything
whatsoever to the knowledge of the Gateways.
The only story that focused on the Gateways, and
offered some sorts of resolutions was the Next Generation segment, THE OTHER SIDE.
It is the only story (that I read) that actually deals with the crew
outside of the person who stepped through the Gateway. Not having read
the TNG novel, I don't really know or understand the subtle politics
going on, but could appreciate it, anyway. But to say that a Gateway was
on Titan, a moon of Jupiter? Try Saturn; so much for
proofreading. It's good to be able to study one so close to home,
Picard travels to a world where the Iconians Sentries are trying to
figure out how to deal with the crisis. I don't know why they consider
it to be a crisis, and the author doesn't seem to care. They send him on
a hunt for the Master Resonator, which act as an emergency cutoff switch
for the Gateways. It seems very contrived that the cutoff is keyed to
Picard only. I suppose that means Shinzon could have reactivated them, if he
found out. Since everybody could see and hear the floating head, though,
(evidenced by young Chanik's observations) wouldn't somebody be able to
recognize the French language and figure it out? LaForge was even there,
presumably recording the conversation. Even if he doesn't know French
now, he could translate it later. Somebody should also wonder how he
managed to reopen one gateway to send that ship back to the Delta
Quadrant near Janeway -doesn't that mean he should be able to do the
same for Voyager?
The best moments dealt with Picard among the natives who lived in the
shadow of the disintegrating Iconian technology. Although he says he
tries to stay true to the Prime Directive, he doesn't try very hard,
influencing Chanik, winemaking, and even the justice system!
Undoubtedly, Chanik will grow to lead these people. The sequence was
This author also got to write a little about each of the other
characters, from the other books in this era. I appreciated the
interaction between Vaughn and ch'Thane, and hope that the other authors
of the DS9 relaunch make some notes on these events.
Finally, the TIMELINE, while a good idea, was very confusing, with
notes everywhere, as well as explanations of discrepancies, and so
forth. The authors used italics and bold to differentiate between
novels, TV episodes and stories, but something more was needed. They also
used a counter-intuitive paragraphing method, which led to more
confusion. I applaud the attempt, however.
It would have been nice to have one of the authors deal with the
aftermath of the Gateway crisis. Presumably -hopefully, the continuity
that seems to be creeping into the novels will bring it up in their
respective series. I agree with Picard that the Petraw had to be let go,
as death is the only justice many of the allied species would accept for
them, but the Federation would not. Banish them, as happened with the
Furies in that series.
This book was greatly disappointing, as it was just a jumping off
point for nearly every author to do something different with their
characters, without continuing the Gateway series. The only segment
worth reading even remotely was Picard's journey, and even that barely
dealt with the Gateways at all.