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The directions which the Star Trek universes might have taken

Echoes and Refractions - Keith R.A. DeCandido, Geoff Trowbridge, Chris Roberson

Having enjoyed the first and third of the "Myriad Universe" collections of Star Trek novellas set in alternate universes, I looked forward to reading the middle one. When it arrived, I dug in and wasn't disappointed by the stories inside, all of which involve major reimaginings of the Trek universes with which fans are familiar.

"The Chimes at Midnight" by Geoff Trowbridge Premised on a "what if" dating back to the animated series of Spock dying as a child, it imagines the role his replacement, an Andorian named Thelen, would have done during the events chronicled in the Star Trek movies. This was my least favorite of the three, in part because of the setting (let's face it, most of the original Star Trek movies were not the franchise at their best) and the story doesn't so much end as trail off.

 

"A Gutted World" by Keith R. A. DeCandido — This one takes the very premise of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine series and runs with it in a different direction by premising a Cardassian discovery of the wormhole prior to their abandonment of Bajor. Using the entire series as a template, DeCandido then examines the impact of the discovery of the Dominion on an even less prepared Alpha Quadrant. It's a very grim story (which is part of the fun), though DeCandido's seeming need to name check dozens of characters from most of the various series and non-canon works gets tiresome pretty quickly.

 

Brave New World by Chris Roberson — Drawing together elements from throughout the Next Generation series, Roberson imagines a Federation in which Data was just the first of thousands of androids. This was my favorite of the three, both for the story itself (in which the Enterprise-E visits an android world) and Roberson's re-imagining of the Next Generation universe in which androids and the technology to create them is commonplace. His story hints at any number of rich possibilities, suggesting the considerable amount of thought the author put into realizing the world depicted in his story.

As with the other two collections, Echoes and Refractions offers entertaining storytelling that offers something refreshing for even longtime fans of the franchise. As with the others, I found myself wanting to delve further into the possibilities of the universes the authors imagine (well, DCandido's and Roberson's at any rate), but evidently the concept wasn't viewed as a success. For this, however, little blame can be attached to the authors, for their tales are never less than entertaining.