(My apologies, but I am still not sure how to italicize in headers. Crud.)
[Begin non-spoiler section]
Anyway, just two days ago I picked up Synthesis, the most recent entry in the Star Trek: Titan series, otherwise known as the Ongoing Adventures of Captain Riker (post-Nemesis). Written by James Swallow, who isn't a stranger to Trek books.
At least, I think it's the most recent entry. I tend to lag behind in these things lately. I didn't even read the Destiny trilogy until over a year after. The struggle of the daily grind has set me back time and again.
After looking: Yes, the next Titan book is supposedly being released October 2010. Synthesis was November 2009. I'm only half a year arrears.
Anyway, I really love love the cover, and it was really cool to see Minuet on the cover as a kind of "easter egg" for long-time TNG fans. Well, I guess "easter egg" isn't the appropriate term, but you get the idea. Whatever the case, it was a cool surprise and has made me look forward to the book for months.
I thought it was very ironic that the cover makes no allusion to the action-packed peril-filled alien encounter teased at length on the back cover. Similarly, the back cover makes no mention of Minuet. You just have to already know who she is, and why it's really cool to see her again, after so long, and especially with Riker and Troi. Again, that's a treat for the fans. Thanks!
I can't seem to get over how in every single Titan book they gets their asses kicked. (Can I say "ass" on this website without an adult-content label? Dunno. Going to just do it anyway.) Every single book, without fail, it seems. Sometimes by clever aliens, sometimes by unusual technology, and sometimes by a big rock. I'm not joking about the rock, sadly enough. Yes, I can easily accept that space is a dangerous place to work, and especially uncharted space, and even more so in a universe filled with aggressive sentients like Trek has. I am willing to grant that the books focus on stories of peril, and what the readership doesn't see are the months and months of humdrum between the novels. But, come on, it's starting to feel pretty redundant! "How are we getting our asses kicked this week, Captain?" What irks me more even is that the Titan's crew doesn't seem to process their close calls. I mean, when I commit an act of monumental error and almost kill myself, such as falling asleep at the wheel on the Interstate, I tend to at least recognize the fact and try to do better. The Titan crew doesn't. Not within in the book, and certainly not between them. I mean, I do realize these are not drawnout philosophical treatments of life and death. These are casual-reading action books, and that's a big reason I choose to read them. Besides the great mix of SF ideas and concepts, and the Trek I love, and some good writing from time to time (depending on the author), I get to just sit back and enjoy the ride. That's not a criticism! In fact, it's an essential quality of the Roddenberry concept: socially progressive thought and philosophical encouragement and scientific awareness delivered in packets of entertainment. At least, that's how I understand it, from listening to tapes of the man's discussions. But even within that context, can I please have a little believable human reactions? I know these are supposed to be heros and all cavalier about danger, but even the bravest people I've seen who aren't insane seem to express "whoo, that was close; I can't believe I just did that"