Set in 2257, the next novel in Simon & Schuster’s Star Trek: Discovery series, released under their Gallery Books imprint is an emotional tale that highlights one of my favorite characters in the series, Dr. Hugh Culber.
Culber’s death in Season One of Discovery was a shock, and made me furious. But then as the events of Season Two played out, well, we know what happened. This novel, written by Dave Galanter, who has written previous Trek novels I will look forward to digging into, takes us into the period between Culber’s death and return, as we join him in the mycelial network that the Discovery uses to transit vast distances in a blink of an eye.
We aren’t the only one joining him in the network, we bump into a familiar tardigrade (and there is the mention of omniscient beings and a continuum), but they Discovery becomes stuck in the network as well, while in transit to help stem an outbreak of blood-burn.
Galanter’s prose excels at bringing the day to day life of the ship to the reader, but within a few pages, readers will be able to suss out what is going on, and you have to wait for the characters to catch up to you.
You see, there are what can’t possibly be continuity errors (they aren’t) that pop up throughout the narrative set on the Discovery. And at we know continuity is incredibly important in Trek, this is the wild west of the The Original Series being broadcast, or the early days of PocketBook novels where things could change like that. We fans are eagle-eyed, and know our future history.
So if they aren’t continuity errors with the characters, well, obviously, we’re dealing with a parallel timeline. And then I waited for the rest of the characters to catch up with me.
The characters are the same, though subtly different, and that allows the emotional moments to resonate as Culber and Paul Stamets, the ship’s mycelial engineer, are reunited and realize that love can span not only one universe, but countless ones.
The human condition is explored, even as first contact is made with an alien species that are also trapped in the network, and Galanter’s handle on the characters, their mannerisms and way of speaking makes this feel not only like great Trek, but great Discovery!
It’s a quieter novel than the Enterprise War, which preceded it, but like every novel in the Discovery and Picard lines to date, they are undeniably Trek, considered to be canon, and layer out the characters and the universe fantastically.
And as an aside, there are many things I loved in Galanter’s book, the use of the five note hello from CE3K, some familiar line lifts used as nods and homage, and I loved spending time with Culber – still my favorite character.
The Human Adventure continues, as Simon & Schuster continues with their Star Trek voyages through their Gallery Books imprint, and next time I delve into Die Standing! Let’s fly! Boldly go…
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