Ossus Library Index Star Trek Index

WHAT LAY BEYOND

A series of novellas, by Susan Wright, Diane Carey, Keith R. A. DeCandido, Christie Golden, Peter David and Robert Greenberger (2001, Pocket Books)
Various Star Trek incarnations
Gateways Conclusion, Book 7

Various crises come to a close, as Captain Picard manages to close the Gateways.

 

 

1+ stars+

Read April 5th to 6th, 2003  
   

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 speaking. Kirk 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, though...

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 well described.

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.

 
   

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