Star Trek
The Next Generation
A Time to Hate

Author: Robert Greenberger
Pocket Books
RRP 6.99, US $6.99, Cdn $10.50
ISBN 0 7434 6289 0
Available 02 August 2004

Chaos is sweeping through the once peaceful planet of Sigma IV. It leaves cities ravaged and burning husks and thousands dead. A mysterious new virus spreading through the population was once blamed for the carnage but now it seems as though there is a much simpler answer to the population of an entire planer apparently going insane. They are simply doing what comes naturally, for centuries the prosperity and peace of Delta Sigma IV have been an illusion, the inhabitants doped by the Liscom gas, a gas that was slowly killing them off...

Now for the first time the Bader and Dorset of Delta Sigma IV must learn how to control the notoriously violent nature of both their races. And yet again it falls to Picard and the Enterprise-E to save the population of the planet from themselves. With a solution that may be no better than the problem. Meanwhile to solve both the personal and planetary problems that dog them Will and Kyle Riker must unite. Doing what they can to help Delta Sigma IV will bind both men closer than ever, lead to triumph and eventually lead to tragedy.

A Time to Hate is a book that mixes emotive moments with action. It falls too heavily on the emotional side though. The planet is in the midst of civil conflict and the crew are right in the middle - which often means the firing line, so this is understandable.

The problem with the previous book (A Time to Love) was its lack of impression that the planet was at war with itself. It felt more like choreographed moments of action than a consistent planetary problem. But, with this book. The plotlines tie in better with the action and the pace is contrasted well.

The Rikers share much of the action with Vale and her security personnel and the author makes good use of smaller time characters to express what is going on in regards to the more active parts of the story.

Picard and Dr Crusher have a more balanced and peaceful adventure. While this is a style that reflects the differing roles of the crew, it also seems a little too clean. Very rarely do the two mix, very rarely does Picard or Dr Crusher get involved in anything more dangerous than a room full of politicians. In a situation where a whole planet is rioting, it seemed a little unusual that such little crossover occurred.

As I mentioned earlier, the book does concentrate heavily on emotion. This is magnified because of the taut relationship between Kyle and Will Riker. This was handled well, but much of it was ground previously trodden in other books like Deny Thy Father.

A Time to Hate does more than any other book in the series in showing how the bonds between the crew of the Enterprise-D/Enterprise-E slowly break down. The ending is an anticlimax, due to the fact that the mystery ended halfway through and the events after that never really regained any momentum. However the ending is extremely emotive and has the power to move both through joy and tragedy.

An average book, to be honest, that lacks that little extra that helped make the others in the series that much more readable.

Charlie Brine

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