Tales of the Dominion WarBy Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at July 31, 2004 - 11:12 PM GMT
Title: Star Trek: Tales of the Dominion War
Editor: Keith R.A. DeCandido
Release Date: August 2004
Format: Trade Paperback
Reading an anthology is a totally different kind of reading experience than reading a novel. In many ways it can be more satisfying - and reading an anthology doesn't get much more satisfying than the new collection Tales of the Dominion War.
Featuring stories from a wide range of popular authors, Tales of the Dominion War is one of this years must read titles. Edited by Keith R.A. DeCandido, this anthology gathers together twelve stories that span the Star Trek universe and provide for the reader a unique overview of the war and the fight to protect the Alpha quadrant from the overwhelming forces of the Dominion and their allies.
Michael Jan Friedman, Greg Cox, Keith DeCandido, Josepha Sherman and Susan Shwartz, Heather Jarman and Jeffrey Lang, David Mack, Dave Galanter, Howard Weinstein, Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore, Robert Greenberger, Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin and Peter David all leave an impression as they take the reader on a journey to explore various facets of the war from different points of view. Also included at the end of the volume is a Dominion War timeline that takes into account not only on screen events but events established in the novels and short stories.
There are stories that illuminate events we know took place but we never got much detail on such as one of the pivotal moments of the war, the fall of Betazed. Keith R.A. DeCandido takes it upon himself to place the reader on Betazed when it falls under Dominion attack in "The Ceremony of Innocence is Drowned". Through Lwaxana Troi we experience the lightening quick attack against an almost defenseless population.
Another crucial moment in the war is the Breen attack against Earth. Both "Eleven Hours Out" by Dave Galanter and Howard Weinstein's "Safe Harbors", a sweet little story that perfectly captures the camaraderie between Scotty and McCoy, tackle the Breen attack but from totally different perspectives. "Eleven Hours Out", set on Earth during the attack, provides not only a vivid description of the destruction and the aftermath of the attack but also manages to be a nice character piece for Jean-Luc Picard.
In Star Trek: Nemesis we were introduced to a clone named Shinzon and told that he served the Romulan Empire with distinction during the Dominion War. In "Twilight's Wrath" David Mack not only tells Shinzon's tale in spectacular heart pounding fashion but also manages to clear up some of that movie's other incongruities.
As agreeable as it is to have events we've wondered about clarified, the stories that don't elucidate previously known events were just as enjoyable for their distinctiveness. "Night of the Vulture" by Greg Cox has an entirely different tone. With a palpable sense of menace, Cox spins a tale that cleverly utilizes his unique storytelling gifts, the Jem'Hadar, and an old menace, the Beta XII-A entity.
"Blood Sacrifice" by Josepha Sherman and Susan Shwartz takes us to Romulus where on the eve of the Romulans entry into the war Ambassador Spock finds himself trying to unravel the mysterious motivation behind the assassination of the Romulan Emperor.
"Mirror Eyes" marks the first time that Heather Jarman and Jeffrey Lang have collaborated on a story. Based on "Mirror Eyes" I certainly look forward to anything else these two should cook up together. Told in first person, through the journal entries of a Tal Shiar agent working undercover on Deep Space 9, "Mirror Eyes" is both riveting and poignant.
Some of the stories utilize literary-based characters such as "Field Expediency" by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore that features the crew of U.S.S. da Vinci from the Starfleet Corps Engineers series in a story that perfectly captures the spirit of that series.
In a nod to the Stargazer series "What Dreams May Come" by Michael Jan Friedman opens the volume with a story set early in the war where nothing is quite as it seems. Told from the perspective of Sejeel, a pampered Vorta who has been lulled into a sense of complacency, "What Dreams May Come" is classic Michael Jan Friedman.
Robert Greenberger's "A Song Well Sung" highlights Commander Klag of the I.K.S. Gorkon in the ultimate survivors tale while Peter David spins a fantastical New Frontier story, "Stone Cold Truths", that only he could tell.
Rounding out the volume is the final story "Requital" by Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels. Set concurrently with Deep Space Nine's final episode "What You Leave Behind", for me this story was the saddest and most difficult to read because you can't help but recognize the parallels to our own world.
It is not often that I read a story anthology and can honestly say that I enjoyed every one. I can say that about Tales of the Dominion War. Each and every story has something singular to offer. Don't be surprised if when you finish this volume you find yourself compelled to start all over again.
Jacqueline Bundy reviews Star Trek books for the Trek Nation, writes monthly columns for the TrekWeb newsletter and the Star Trek Galactic News, and hosts the Yahoo Star Trek Books Group weekly chat.