Saturday, May 30, 2015

Trek Novels - Star Trek: The Next Generation - Q-Squared

Since I just looked at a pretty sub-par Trek novel, I think it’s time to head back to the man known as Peter David. He probably does good Trek novels, right? I found today’s paperback novel a few years ago in a used book store in Columbia. It’s a small store but they pack a lot of books in there. I’ve gotten a few from there and I still go there sometimes to see what they have. The cover called out to me. I mean, it has Picard, Q, and the original “Flim-flam” man known as Trelane.

Q-Squared was released in 1994. I had known about Peter David as a comic writer, but I had not been introduced to his Trek writing until I read this book. As you can tell by the cover, it involves the TNG crew. I’m not sure on when this is supposed to take place. I know it has to take place after the episode “Parallels” (for some reason I want to call it “Parallax”) since the events of that episode is mentioned here. I know it doesn’t take place after the end of the show since some stuff doesn’t get mentioned. I’ll get to that later.

Star Trek: The Next Generation – Q-Squared
Writer: Peter David

BRIEF BLURB: Picard and the crew get a visit from Q and he has brought along Trelane to keep him out of trouble. Unfortunately, things go south with Trelane and the entire universe gets put in danger.

 We start out with our Enterprise crew (Track B) investigating a temporal anomaly. Suddenly, things start to get weird as Q shows up with Trelane, the Squire of Gothos. It turns out that Trelane is a part of the Q Continuum and Q was ordered to mentor him. He’s brought Trelane to the Enterprise since Trelane has issues in dealing with mortals. Picard reluctantly agrees to this and it goes pretty badly with the two beings being forced to leave. Q scolds Trelane afterwards. Unfortunately, things go worst for Trelane when a darker, more malevolent version of him finds him and basically absorbs him into his being.

This dark Trelane terrorizes the Enterprise crew. Q comes back and tries to stop him but is unable to since this Trelane is pretty powerful. Trelane almost kills Q but he is able to escape to an alternate universe and find its Enterprise (Track A). This universe is really similar but different to our regular universe and its set during the time of the first season. Jack Crusher (Beverly’s husband) is still alive and captain of the Enterprise with Picard as his first officer. Wesley died as a child and those two split up. Dr. Beverly Howard now serves on the Enterprise and starts an intimate relationship with Picard.

Q and Trelane show up and bring their fight to this Enterprise. Trelane also takes an interest in Capt. Crusher. Trelane ends up defeating and possibly killing Q, but Q somehow survives and ends up getting sent back through time and into creation itself. He inadvertedly sets in motion the events from the TOS episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before”. He also sees how the Trelane of that universe gained access to a force called “The Heart of Storms.” This force made this Trelane into the dark version that tried to kill him. He also finds out that Trelane plans to use this force in order to re-create the universe.

We then get introduced to another Enterprise in another universe (Track C). Track C is basically the altered timeline from “Yesterday’s Enterprise” with a couple of changes. The Enterprise-D finds the Enterprise-C but they are all dead. All of the Enterprise-D’s in these three universes end up getting sent to a planet called Terminus. It’s eventually revealed that Trelane created the planet in order to do his machinations.

 He then starts his plans and everything goes screwy. People from the three universes end up running into each other and it’s a fight to survive. Trelane makes Capt. Crusher go insane and Track C’s crew thinks it’s all some sort of Klingon trick. A weakened Q contacts our Picard and they team up to stop Trelane. Picard transports down to the planet and challenges Trelane to a fencing dual… I think I should have had some Queen playing in the background. Thanks to Picard’s distraction, Q reluctantly kills Trelane and everything more or less sets back to normal. While the regular universe isn’t phased by this much, the other two have a long road ahead because of some major casualties.

If my really truncated synopsis doesn’t do it for you, then you should just go and find the book since this was a pretty awesome read. Just about everything about the book is pretty good. The dialogue is pure Peter David. The story is really good and everyone is more or less in character. If I had to give this a nickname, I’d call it “Crisis on Multiple Enterprises” or something. It may look long, but it doesn’t read that way. While it does bear a little resemblance to the TNG finale, “All Good Things…”, the book goes in a completely different direction from that already good episode.

First off, I thought Trelane made for a good villain. This wasn’t the Trelane we first saw in “The Squire of Gothos” even though we get that version here too. Dark Trelane was far more manipulative and destructive than Q ever was in the series. I also liked that we got to see a different side of Q here. He gets beaten badly and he also shows great concern for Trelane. We see a lot on both characters here and its all good. I also liked the pretty weird way everything is laid out with both characters. It’s like reading a weird Grant Morrison comic… hey, that’s a good thing sometimes.

I also liked the parallel universe aspect. David spent a lot of time setting up things in Track A with that crew. While we get different versions of Picard and Dr. Crusher, we get other versions of Riker, Troi, Data, and Worf. We also get a lot of surprises in that universe from other characters. The three universes converging on one other is really the highlight of the book. It’s like David read Crisis on Infinite Earths and wanted to see a Trek version of that.

I don’t have any big negatives with the book. I did think that David could be a little too “David” with some of our regular characters. I also thought Worf calling someone a “bastard” was actually weird. I’d think they have a Klingon term for that word. Also, it’s not really accessible to non-fans of the show. That’s not really a dislike on my end, but it could be for someone doesn’t know much about TNG. This book was really made for the fans.

Overall, this was a great read and I can’t recommend it enough. Well, I’m outta here. I have two more things to talk about this month and I’ll be done. One of them is an adaptation of a pretty cool book and the other is a long-forgotten TV show. Until then, Peace and God Bless. 

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