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Book Review: Collateral Damage

Star Trek The Next Generation: Collateral Damage by David Mack
The ‘Star Trek’ novel -verse as it exists now will be rendered non-canon by the upcoming ‘Star Trek: Picard’ show. This possible last novel in the now current novel-verse is not profound in form nor is it the epitome of literary accomplishment. Picard is put on trial for his part in a conspiracy/coup. He has white man’s tears and gets away with it all.

Crusher has no personality or plot or thoughts of her own. Very very old ‘TNG’ eps are strip-mined for plot points: The Husnock, Okona and Nausicaans. Various people in this make no responsible or positive cultural identity. Picard makes strategic choices but gets away with it due to people excusing scandal and internal divisions.

Old faces like Lavelle and Naomi Wildman show up. Quantum comms are a thing. Taurik and Vorik are twins. A baddie has furious rage and ferociousness. Picard’s plot has no morality or moral significance. A baddie spews a tirade of abuse. The novel-verse would be better without this. The ‘cool guy’ Okona is the subject of endemic and tangible and overt hostility even as Mack devotes chapters to his sexist adventuring.

Women are made out to be either hysterical or wallflowers. Mack acts as though Picard’s comeuppance (he will never be an Admiral, that‘s all) is profoundly undeserved; despite damning evidence. Picard is the subject of relentless platitudes and enforced positivity.
I deeply resented how Picard got away with everything and was lickarsed and called a hero. Yet Bashir was driven out and left catatonic in the vicious conclusion of his plotline. Why does Picard get so much unquestioning loyalty and obedience? Picard gets away with it because he is well known and had some respect in the UFP. Recall how everyone turned their backs on Bashir and yet Picard on trial provokes an outraged response due to social worship of him. FFS.

Mack tries to fortify Picard’s integrity. No. He’s not a steadfast character, nor is he morally elevated. This is probably the last ‘TNG reboot’ novel due to the upcoming ‘Star Trek: Picard’. @@. Picard’s won public respect. Bashir got callous indifference and TPTB shrank his life. Good thing the novel-verse is ending its current form, it wasn’t going anywhere good.

This was a grandiose convolution that was inevitably appalling. Crusher is incurious. TPTB were bafflingly cold to Bashir yet Picard escapes serious censure and still tries to claim moral leadership. The novel-verse and the end of the Borg, the downing of Section 31, Bashir’s miserable end, the destruction of DS9 and it’s rebuilding and the neglected Typhoon Pact, Picard and Crusher’s wedding and their crotch goblin will all be wiped out by ‘Star Trek: Picard’ which will render the novels non-canon. What a waste. But maybe not.

Best Lines:
“A catastrophe they unleashed on the galaxy.”

“Our monuments were vaporized, as every trace of our history, our culture, our literature, our music, our heritage was disintegrated.”

“Never ask for anything. Not for help, or favors, or mercy. What we want, we take. What we have, we keep.”

“A planet and a people left in ruins,”

“What precisely did you think would happen as a consequence of that discussion, captain?”

“You and I define ‘good character’ very differently.”

“You knew there was something wrong about what you’d done. If there hadn’t been, you wouldn’t have been so careful never to speak of it in your logs.”

“How readily and profoundly you and crew benefited.”

“Collective neglect and denial of an entire world’s destruction.”

“The calamity it brought down upon.”

“Use it?”
“Without hesitation or pity.”
Tags: book review, star trek
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