Review of Star Trek TNG: Q-Squared by Peter David

SFFaudio Review

Star Trek: Q-SquaredStar Trek: The Next Generation: Q-Squared
By Peter David; Read by John de Lancie
2 Cassettes – 3 hours [ABRIDGED]
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio
Published: 1994
ISBN: 0671891804
Themes: / Science Fiction / Star Trek / Q / Gods / Time / Multiple Universes /

You have no idea how screwed up this is.
— Q to Picard, Q-Squared

All the Star Trek talk floating around the internet has stirred my interest, so I dug out one of the first (and best) Star Trek audiobooks from my permanent stash. I sit here with hopes that the Paramount powers-that-be stop considering prequels. Does anyone want to see someone other than Nimoy play Mr. Spock? The future is wide open – pick a place out there and tell some great stories.

Before a cane stretches out from stage left to drag me off, I’ll get back to the review at hand. Q-Squared has everything I love in a Star Trek audiobook. First, it’s a big story. One that would be difficult to film for various reasons. Second, there are lots of pieces of Star Trek mythos throughout. You know, the kind of thing that makes a Trekker think “I remember that!” and sends him/her to watch the episode it occurred in. Third, the sound effects create the Star Trek feel without being overpowering. This is a luxury that these audiobooks have – the sound of a turbolift door, a few beeps, and the listener is on the bridge of the Enterprise without a sentence of prose. And fourth, an excellent reader. John de Lancie not only voices Q, the character he played on the screen, but he also skillfully portrays all the other characters.

In the book, Q has been given the difficult task of keeping an eye on Trelane who is a character from the Original Series episode entitled “The Squire of Gothos”. Peter David makes quick work of connecting Trelane to the Q Continuum. Unfortunately for Picard and crew, Trelane is even farther off plumb than he was in Kirk’s heyday – a fact demonstrated by the fact that he considers ripping apart the universe to be a valuable use of his spare time. To the Star Trek: The Next Generation characters, this results in the intersection of at least three well-conceived alternate universes. As the story moves forward, the universes flip like cards being shuffled in a deck.

Luckily, the audiobook is brilliantly abridged and edited. Though the universes shifted quickly, I had no problem keeping one Picard from another. This audiobook, if it was a Star Trek episode, would consistently be considered one of the finest the show had to offer. There are lots of copies of this one around – I urge you to find one.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of Star Trek: New Frontier: Stone and Anvil by Peter David

Star Trek Audiobook - Stone and Anvil by Peter DavidStar Trek New Frontier: Stone and Anvil
By Peter David; Read by Joe Morton
4 CD’s; 4 hours [ABRIDGED]
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: 2003
ISBN: 0743533283 (CD), 0743533275 (Cassette)
Themes: / Science Fiction / Star Trek / New Frontier / Federation / Murder / Genetic engineering /

Peter David’s Star Trek: New Frontier series has been consistently excellent. Stone and Anvil is the 14th book in the series, six of which have been produced as audiobooks.

This book has Ensign Janos of the USS Excalibur under suspicion of murder. Captain Mackenzie Calhoun doesn’t believe Janos is guilty, and investigates. Through flashbacks into Calhoun’s past, the mystery is unraveled, culminating in a confrontation between Calhoun’s Excalibur and Picard’s Enterprise, and an exploration of the ethics and practice of genetic engineering.

Personally, I’ve had a lot of fun with Peter David’s novels. I think it’s safe to say that he’s my favorite of the Trek novelists – among my favorites are his Imzadi and Q Squared. In the New Frontier novels, he has the sandbox all to himself, and he seems to be enjoying himself. Along with the character of Calhoun, he brings in several secondary characters from TNG – for example, his wife is Captain Elizabeth Shelby of the USS Trident, who first appeared in the TNG episode The Best of Both Worlds. Ambassador Spock plays a role, and the Enterprise and crew show up as well. David’s playful style is infectious, and the result is very entertaining.

Joe Morton narrates, which is wonderful. He plays the moments perfectly. One thing that sticks in my mind about this one is the confrontation between Captains Calhoun and Picard. Morton successfully paints the picture with his voice, convincingly acting each character. Another: Calhoun’s handling of the infamous Kobayashi Maru exam. Morton’s timing, whether adding tension or humor, is impeccable.

Stone and Anvil, like all of the New Frontier novels I’ve read, is a cut above the average Star Trek novel. There is no need to go to the beginning and listen to the others before listening to this, but after you hear this one, you’ll want to.

Listen to an excerpt.

A few updates to give you here… First, please…

SFFaudio News

A few updates to give you here…

First, please check out our Featured Selections pages. These replaced our “New Releases” page, which was getting difficult to maintain. We’ll keep you updated here whenever we find an interesting new release. One upcoming audiobook that I’m excited about is Random House’s unabridged A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. Amazon shows a release date in January. Stay tuned…

Second, Jesse and I have just started a discussion group over on Yahoogroups – find it here. Join and discuss! We’d love to see you there.

Third, there is no third thing!

An old Python joke… I’m listening to a Monty Python album right now on Rhapsody. I see they’ve got some Firesign Theatre there too! Cool – clicking now. I would love your comments on internet music services, of which Rhapsody is just one. $9.95/month lets me play anything I want as much as I want, 79 cents/track to write to a CD. Anyone having a better experience? Mail me!

Other things we’re looking at:

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis and The Wanderer by Fritz Leiber, both from Recorded Books.

The latest Star Trek audiobook from Simon and Schuster, Stone and Anvil by Peter David.

Anne Manx and the Trouble on Chromius, an award-winning audio drama starring Claudia Christian from The Radio Repertory Company of America.

From Audible.com, The Best of Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine, Sep-Nov 2003.

Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers!

Posted by Scott D. Danielson