Star Trek
The Next Generation
The Sky's The Limit

Editor: Marco Palmieri
Pocket Books
RRP: 9.99, US $16.00, Cdn $18.99
ISBN-13: 978 0 7434 9255 3
ISBN-10: 0 7434 9255 2
Available 05 November 2007

Swimming through the nothingness that fills the distance between the seas of stars, the
Enterprise holds its course, towards adventure, towards danger, towards the future...

Star Trek: the Next Generation: The Sky's the Limit is a new collection from some of the best Trek writers around. The book contains thirteen self contained Next Generation stories, with an excerpt from the Star Trek manga.

Each of the stories has a piece at the front to place the stories in their correct historical place as well as a write up on each author.

The book opens with Meet With Triumph and Disaster by Michael Schuster and Steve Mollmann, which details the story of Captain Thomas Halloway, who oversaw the construction of the Enterprise D and should have been its first Captain. Although the story contains little in the way of action it is a well written character piece.

Acts of Compassion by Dayton and Kevin Dilmore is a Yar and Crusher story. During the delicate peace negotiations between the Federation and the Cardassians, they have to travel deep into Cardassian territory to rescues injured Starfleet personnel. Thematically this is a re-visitation to Kirk's problems with trusting the Klingons. Given their history, can both sides put away their animosity, or will old prejudices put Yar and Crusher in danger?

Redshift by Richard C. White is a Pulaski story. Although it hung on a structure of the Enterprise being attacked, this is another character piece and will please fans of the Data/Pulaski problem. The story also has the added benefit of humanising the good doctor; I often felt that in the show she was portrayed as a one dimensional character, so it's nice to have some insight into what was going on in her head.

Among the Clouds by Scott Pearson is a real attempt to portray an alien civilisation. When the Enterprise picks up a distress call that is hundreds of years old, although they are too late to avert the disaster, they are surprised by what they find. Not to be outdone in having a particular individual carry the bulk of the story Pearson has plumped for Geordi.

Thinking of You by Greg Cox takes Ro Laren, Reg Barclay and throws in Lwaxana Troi for a story that centres around terrorists. Rather than learning any great new depths of understanding of the characters this is a much more straight forward action adventure tale, nothing wrong with that.

Turncoats by Susan Shwartz and this time we have Ensign Stefan DeSeve in another rip roaring action story of sacrifice and Romulans.

Ordinary Days by James Swallow and what would at first seem to be an odd choice, a Wesley story, actually turns out to be very enjoyable. If only he could have been this well written in the show he wouldn't have turned out to be the Adric of Star Trek.

Twould Ring the Bells of Heaven by Amy Sisson and another successful attempt at portraying a truly alien life form as Troi takes command of her first away mission, with Data at her side.

Friends with the Sparrows by Christopher L. Bennett and following the events in Generations Data first goes a little weird and then decides to go a lot weird. It's a story that is unusual for Star Trek, but well written and well worth a slice of your time. You could take out the references to Trek and this would still be a good science fiction story.

Suicide Note by Geoff Trowbridge and finally someone has gotten around to telling us what happened to Jarok's note to his family. I found this a very touching story as Picard returns to Jarok's family to fulfil his promise, although the reception that he gets is not the one that he was expecting.

Four Lights by Keith R. A. DeCandido sees DeCandido on top form. The Enterprise picks up survivors from a Cardassian ship in distress, only for Picard to discover that one of the passengers is the self same Madred who had tortured him. Did he break him, well Decandido cleverly leaves that up to the reader.

'Til Death by Bob Ingersoll & Thomas F. Zahler and finally Riker gets a look in. Obviously being Riker, this is an action adventure romp. So, if you want to know how to cure a dirty great hole in your trunk, then look no further.

On the Spot by David A. McIntee is a Worf and Spot the cat story, I kid you not. The Enterprise is invaded, can Spot repel them? The story is not as silly as it sounds and is really about Worf coming to terms with the fact that warriors can come in all shapes and sizes.

Trust Yourself When all Men Doubt You by Michael Schuster & Steve Mollmann is the bookend story, the clue is in the title as both plunder the same poem and tell us what really happened to Captain Thomas Halloway and no, I won't spoil it by telling you.

The book is rounded off with a fairly unimpressive manga version of Trek.

So another good collection for Next Gen fans, without a dog amongst the stories. There is enough variety here that everyone should find something they like.

Charles Packer

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