Star Trek: Coda

When I dipped a toe in the waters of the Star Trek tie-in towards the end of last year1 I had no idea that the Trek Litverse was just about to wind itself up:

Following the conclusion of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on television, the success of the series’ continuation in book form, known as the DS9 relaunch (about which I’ve written extensively in this space—see here for an overview and index to individual book reviews), inspired a shared continuity across almost all Trek novels being published at the time. Authors and editors worked closely to keep this continuity as tight as possible across twenty years (2001-2021) of multi-book series storytelling, in the process giving rise to a vast tapestry of interconnected stories that some fans refer to as the Trek Litverse.

That enormous Litverse, at least in its current form, is now concluding. In September, October and November we’ll see the publication of three volumes that will stand as the epic final chapter, called Star Trek: Coda, of the decades-long mega-story:

  • Moments Asunder by Dayton Ward (September 28)
  • The Ashes of Tomorrow by James Swallow (October 26)
  • Oblivion’s Gate by David Mack (November 30)

Clearly I was about thirty years too late to start catching up2 with the Trek Litverse at this late stage in the game, but I decided that if they were just about to wind the whole thing up with a bang then it'd be a shame to miss out on the final round of fun for a bunch of characters I mostly greatly enjoyed in their original run.

Having finished the last of the Coda trilogy a couple of weeks ago, I think it's fair to say that they wrapped up the story with WAY-more-than-one-bang. There was an awful lot of fanservice going on across three volumes of story, but given the nature of the story that was precisely what I was expecting. Not having folllowed the details of the Star Trek Litverse I was mildly taken aback at the number of familiar characters from the TV shows who turned out, several years after we last saw them in their respective TV shows, to be on hand in the vicinity of their former commanders when needed. The former Major Kira Nerys being a Vedek now, resident on Bajor, was no big surprise, but what led to Odo serving on the replacement Deep Space Nine, with Ro Laren (Ensign Ro when we last saw her in season 7 of TNG) as the DS9 station commander?3 That's what I get for being a couple of decades behind in my reading, I guess...

The basic point being that for anyone who established some liking for the 1980s/1990s-era Star Trek universe over the years and isn't put off by the but-this-isn't-ever-what-we-saw-on-tv-or-the-big-screen premise,4 this trilogy is a fun ride. I'm not tempted right now to dive into two decades of Star Trek Litverse material, but I'm glad it's there if I'm in the mood.

  1. What can I say? I was in the mood for something lightweight to distract me at a stressful time work-wise and otherwise. Also, I was exploring the pros and cons of an Audible subscription I'd acquired earlier last year to enjoy the first volume of the adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Sandman stories (which, for what it's worth, worked far better than I'd imagined they would when stripped of their visual component) and was in the mood to see how well a more conventional audiobook adaptation would work for me. Star Trek seemed to fit the bill. 
  2. My mid-2021 dip into the Trek Litverse consisted of a trilogy set in the TOS era consisting of Greg Cox's Captain to Captain, David Mack's Best Defense and Dayton Ward and Kevin Dillmore's Purgatory's Key, followed by a two-parter by Kirsten Beyer set in on Voyager in the Janeway-gets-sent-back-to-the-Delta-quadrant era, Architects of Infinity and To Lose the Earth. Not, by definition, a comprehensive picture of what's happened in the Trek Litverse over a couple of decades, but sufficiently entertaining to persuade me that my earlier inclination to look down on material that never got near a TV or movie screen as inherently less satisfying might have been too harsh. 
  3. True, the plan was that her character might end up on the DS9 TV series, but that was - forgive the expression in this context - in a different timeline. 
  4. I used to think that novelisations based to filmed material were fine - perhaps influenced by the James Blish tie-ins back in the day but I always held the original material at arms'-length, uncomfortably aware that if it wasn't on TV then by definition it hadn't been in the mind of the show's writers.