Review of Star Trek: Vulcan’s Soul: Exodus by Sherman and Shwartz

Science Fiction Audiobook Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Star Trek Vulcan's Soul: Exodus by Josepha Sherman and Susan ShwartzStar Trek: Vulcan’s Soul: Exodus
By Josepha Sherman and Susan Shwartz; Read by Richard Poe
6 Cassettes – 8.5 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Recorded Books
Published: 2005
ISBN: 141930920X
Themes: / Science Fiction / Star Trek / Vulcans /

I have read the previous works by Josepha Sherman and Susan Shwartz, titled Star Trek: Vulcan’s Forge and Star Trek: Vulcan’s Heart, and both were excellent. Star Trek: Vulcan’s Soul: Exodus is no different. All are excellent meditations on what it means to be Vulcan, and Exodus delves into the planet’s history, back to the time of Surak, the Vulcan who guided his race into suppressing their emotions and adhering to logic. The main focus of this novel is a group of Vulcans who are preparing to leave the planet. These people eventually become the Romulans, and their story will continue into the next books, titled Exiles and Epiphany. Plus, a story that takes place in the 24th Century after the Dominion War, where the Romulan homeworlds are threatened by the alien Watraii. Spock and his wife Saavik, as well as centenarian Admirals Uhura and Chekov, assemble a fleet of Federation, Klingon and
Romulan ships, against Starfleet orders, to deal with them. (I guess if McCoy can still be alive to take a tour of the Enterprise-D 100+ years after his first tour as Kirk’s chief medical officer, then I guess Uhura and Chekov can still be alive after the Dominion War.)

I also like the addition and update of another Original Series character, The Romulan Commander from “The Enterprise Incident”, and I’m pleased to see she’s finally been given a name: Charvonek.

The audiobook is read by Richard Poe(who played Gul Evek in several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager). You’d think that his deep, distinctive voice would make it hard to give voice to the women in his story, but he manages admirably. He also does well at giving emotion to the characters, applying just the right anger and sadness, and even adding breathlessness to fight scenes. I can’t wait to hear the next book.

Ed. – This audiobook is the first Unabridged Star Trek novel we’ve come across. Recorded Books has very recently published an Unabridged version of the second book in the series, Star Trek: Vulcan’s Soul: Exiles, also read by Richard Poe.

Review of Star Trek: Captain’s Glory by Shatner with Reeves-Stevens

Science Fiction Audiobook Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Star Trek: Captain's Glory by William Shatner with Judith and Garfield Reeves-StevensStar Trek: Captain’s Glory
By William Shatner with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Read by William Shatner
3 CD’s – 3 hours – [ABRIDGED]
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio
Published: 2006
ISBN: 0743539621
Themes: / Science Fiction / Star Trek / Space Travel / Aliens /

40 years of Star Trek. In the last year I’ve heard quite a bit about that, and it really is amazing when you sit down and think about it. In 40 years, there have been five television series, ten movies, and hundreds of novels, and even though the last series was cancelled, the franchise still has a very strong fan base. Truly something. Why is it so popular? To me, the answer is simple, and threefold. First, it was the first television show I ever watched that spoke to me about bigger issues. Sure, it wasn’t always lofty, it wasn’t always touching. But sometimes it was, and I liked it. Second, it was optimistic. It presented a future where many of the daily troubles we deal with are ancient history. And third, despite the optimistic future, the characters were people, even if they were aliens. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are still amongst my favorite all-time characters, even after all the fiction (science or not) I’ve consumed since discovering the series back in the 70’s.

Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are all in Captain’s Glory, the latest Shatner/Reeves-Stevens collaborative Star Trek novel. Like most of the previous Star Trek Simon and Schuster Audio titles, this one is abridged, and presented with sound effects and music. William Shatner narrates, and does a fine job with it. Of course, he performs Kirk to perfection. Since Kirk is the main character, that works out real nice, but the novel is populated with characters from all the incarnations of Star Trek on the screen (except for Enterprise) and don’t expect good impersonations. Janeway, Picard, Riker, Troi, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, and others are all here.

The authors do a good job using characters that should be there in the timeline. The story takes place after Star Trek: Nemesis, but at the same time on a timeline that belongs to these novels alone. Scotty was moved forward in time in a TNG episode, and Kirk was in a movie. (Listen to Shatner’s The Return to find out how and why Kirk is still alive…) Spock is long-lived and appeared in a TNG episode, as did McCoy, even though he was quite old. This novel refers often to events that occurred not only on the screen, but also in previous novels in the ongoing series.

The story is classic Star Trek material. An entity with incredible power cruises through the galaxy, causing all kinds of havoc. Warp engines are failing all over the quadrant as the entity does its thing. Then Kirk and friends get involved. When his son is taken (see previous books), all bets are off as Kirk’s actions to get him back pit him not only against the entity, but against Starfleet and Picard.

The abridgement is quite well-done. I had no problem following any of it, and I enjoyed it a great deal. I felt that this was the best of the Shatner novels, with the exception of The Return. It was good fun.

Wow. I just wrote an entire review of a Star Trek novel without mentioning how much I hope the next movie isn’t a prequel. Maybe next time.


  • SFFaudio’s very own Star Trek page – if it’s Star Trek, and on audio, you can find it here.
  • Simon and Schuster’s Star Trek page – an informative page on the hundreds of Star Trek novels published by Simon and Schuster

    Posted by Scott D. Danielson

  • 2 new BBC Radio programmes of interest…

    Online Audio

    Our UK correspondent codenamed “Roy” writes:

    “Just spotted an item in the latest Radio Times that might be of interest to at least a section of the SFFAudio audience…….

    Online Audio - BBC Radio 2Star Trek At 40 – Where No-One Has Gone Before
    Broadcaster: BBC Radio 2
    Broadcast: Tuesday October 3rd – 20:30-21:30

    Roy sez: “I don’t suppose this will be the only Star Trek anniversary documentary and it remains to be seen if this will have any unique insights, but I for one will be tuned in. It will likely be available via ‘listen again‘ for a week or so, but archiving of R2 is not perhaps as comprehensive as other BBC stations.”

    And over on Radio 4:

    Online Audio - BBC Radio 4Tomorrow, Today!
    Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4
    Broadcast: Friday October 6th – 11:30-12:00

    A new four part comedy series, a spoof on life in the BBC’s Light Entertainment Unit: A BBC Producer in 1961 struggles to make a radio soap set in the unimaginably futuristic world of 2006.

    Roy sez: “Much of the BBC’s radio comedy output has been poorly received by both critics & listeners over the last few years so I wouldn’t hold my breath for anything on the scale of Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy, but the cast looks pretty high-powered (Peter Bowles, Cheryl Campbell and John Fortune amongst other British stalwarts) so I live in hope.”

    We do to. Thanks Roy!

    Audiofy – Star Trek

    SFFaudio News

    Audiofy Ad

    Audiofy sells audiobooks on SD chips, which makes them instantly ready for many different devices, including my laptop and my Dell Pocket PC. A couple of their Star Trek titles are on their way to us for review, so I’ll let you all know how the experience is. But for now, they are offering a special on those Star Trek titles in honor of Trek’s 40th anniversary, so I wanted to make sure you all know about it. The titles are reprinted from Simon and Schuster – see SFFaudio’s Star Trek coverage here for more details on the titles. Enjoy!

    Posted by Scott D. Danielson

    Star Trek: The Opportunity

    SFFaudio Commentary

    Science Fiction Audiobook - Star Trek Vulcan's Soul Vol. 1Simon and Schuster Audio has been publishing Star Trek audiobooks regularly since the late 1980’s. The most recent audiobook in the series (Vulcan’s Soul, Vol. 1 by Sherman and Shwartz) was published in 2004. This loosely coincides with the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise. Has Star Trek finished its run on audio?

    I mention all this because it seems to me that they are missing an opportunity. And because I like the darn things. Since me liking them is not enough of an incentive for them to make these audiobooks, let’s discuss what I view as the missed opportunity.

    A quick perusal of the Star Trek wing in the local bookstore shows that Pocket Books has started publishing a series about the crew of the U.S.S. Titan, which is the ship that Riker and Troi were headed for at the end of Star Trek: Nemesis. With nothing at all happening on the screen for Star Trek, it seems to me that picking up this series of novels, applying the excellent production standards of the previous Star Trek audiobooks… well, they’d be the only show in town, so to speak. Why not produce them while there is no other place to get Star Trek?

    Now, I have to assume that the Titan novels are good stories. I haven’t read them, but that would be an obvious prerequisite. I sure hope they are. But just as obvious to me is that a series like that on audio has an excellent chance of success because of a few reasons. First, there is no Star Trek on the screen, yet the buzz of film number 11 is keeping the series on the mind of fans. Second, if film number 11 actually ends up being a prequel, the appetite for Trek’s other incarnations will increase, but will not be satisfied. And third, a Titan series with Riker commanding is something that Star Trek fans would LOVE to see, yet the chances of that actually coming together on the screen is slim. Enter audio, stage left, to fill this desire.

    How about it, Simon and Schuster?

    Click here for SFFaudio’s Star Trek page.

    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