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Titan: Sword of Damocles by Geoffrey Thorne
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What happens when you mix up theology, a downed ship, the Prime Directive, time phases and Paradox?
Read the darn book if you want to find out how it turns out, silly. ( )
  Eternal.Optimist | Aug 22, 2018 |
Star Trek novels used to be about whatever crew you were reading about showing up at a planet, finding something wacky and then spending the novel solving whatever crisis they stumbled across. You could jump in and out of the Trek novels without much knowledge of prior events beyond which characters you were reading about this week. Rarely did the novels build on one another and create some type of overall cohesive storyline or continuity.

Then came New Frontier and changed the equation. Now it seems as if every Trek novels wants to tie-in to either an on-going series or the entire novel line as a whole. And as with all things Trek, there are some that do it well (New Frontier, DS9) and some that just don't quite spark my interest (Voyager). Somewhere in the middle are the voyages of the Titan, a spin-off from Next Generation featuring the adventures of Captain William T. Riker and his crew. The Titan is an explortion vessel and after spending the first three books dealing with the fall-out of Nemesis, "Sword of Damocles" finally feels as if it's the first official stand-alone episode of this new series.

Not that you can't or shouldn't have read the first three to get everything that's going on here. There are some subplots that will be richer if you know the background, but on the whole this is the first truly independent Titan novel and the best of the series to date. The Titan explores a region of space that disrupts the ability to generate a warp bubble and power the ship. Finding a nearby planet is the culprit, Titan sends a shuttle (they work out some technobabble way to get there) to investigate and ask the planet's inhabitants to cease their experiments in order to allow the ship to go free. The storyline opens up some real-world implications in the application of the Prime Directive that are far more compelling than a lot of the standard Trek episodes that look at if a captain and ship have the right to interfere or not. The argument that it's a nice policy until it bites you out on the frontier is fascinating.

The story does involve time travel, paradoxes and the notion of fate and destiny. However, in a story that could easily have been muddles under the weight of its various eras, paradoxes and solutions, the story stays straight-forward and it's easy to figure out where the characters are and what is happening. The only bad part is that solution becomes fairly evident early on in the crisis and plays out pretty much as you'd expect for a Trek novel.

That's not say it's a bad thing. There's a comfort in the obvious solutions of Trek novels at times and this one is no exception. ( )
1 vote bigorangemichael | Jul 1, 2008 |
I think that, of all the current ongoing concepts in the world of Trek fiction, it is that of Titan that excites me the most. I will very likely renege on that with some other review, but it's true enough now. The latest installment in the series was my favorite yet. It's got some complicated time travel stuff that made my head hurt (and normally I like those sort of things), but the handling of the characters, especially Vale, Dakal, Modan, Xin, Huilan, and (most of all) Jaza made it shine; Dakal is rapidly shaping up to be a favorite character of mine. The amount of exploration that can be done within Titan as well as without continues to impress; I look forward to the series continuing after the Destiny mega-event at the end of the year. (originally written January 2008)
  Stevil2001 | Feb 4, 2008 |
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For Susan, who holds my hand

For Donal, who gave good counsel

For Chris and Barbette, who opened the door
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Stumbling upon a civilization torn between science and faith because of a mysterious, unexplained phenomenon known as the Eye that is visible in the sky over the planet, Captain Riker and the crew of the Titan become caught in the middle of the conflict as they search for the hidden truth about the Eye.… (more)

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