Star Trek: Q & A
-Keith R. A. DeCandido
Q – the omnipotent trickster who was introduced to us in ‘Encounter at Farpoint’ and rapidly became one of the most enduring characters in Star Trek – is not an easy character to use in a novel. Like Sideshow Bob, when he appears, he dominates the entire show…or he should. Some of the comics, in which Q is used as little more than a plot device or handy ASB, are frankly terrible; Q is meant to be light-hearted, but playfully serious, and treated with just a dash of menace and sophistication. Alara Rogers - http://www.alara.net/qniverse.html - does such great Q-fic that it’s hard to understand why she doesn’t get paid for it…particularly when Keith R. A. DeCandido...does.
Let me be open here; I have never read anything else by him – at least that I can recall – and I do not think that I will ever pick up another book by him. He’s a fanboy, which is great…except when it’s not. This book is littered with cameos and references to all of the Trek shows, enough to take up valuable dead tree. This book had to be about Q; instead, Q seems to be determined to play nothing more than a puppeteer role. An entire chunk of the book is taken up by fan-wanking references; irritating at the best of times, at their worse, just useless.
But never mind. Picard, still in command of the Enterprise-E, but minus Will Riker, Troi and Data, is faced with a mystery involving a world called Gorsach III. (As Q complains, who came up with that name?) For reasons that are only vaguely stated, seemingly revolving around beings more omnipotent than the omnipotent Q – and, again, Alara Rogers does a much better version of Q and his people – what happens at Gorsach III will determine the fate of the universe. There is really very little new here; the interplay between the old crewmembers and the new ones, while well handled, was of little importance to the overall plot. The plot just builds up…and then it ends, not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with a laugh.
Boring. Just like everything else in the book.
It’s not the best Trek-fic ever, not by a long shot. Q is handled much better in Q-in-Law, or Q-Squared, perhaps even the three-book series by Greg Cox. It does have it’s moments, but, in the end, it’s not worth it.