Roger's Reviews > A Time to Be Born

A Time to Be Born by John Vornholt
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Oct 16, 09

Read in December, 2006

This review summarizes the entire "A Time To..." series of Star Trek: The Next Generation books, a nine part series drawn from a collective of authors.

Reading Star Trek books has always been my occasional guilty pleasure. When I started reading them when I was younger and REALLY into TNG, they still occupied the lower shelf on anyone's display shelf, if they even warranted consorting with "serious" books at all - a stigma hung around the Sci Fi's genre neck to varying degrees in perpetuity, even to this day. They weren't terribly deep in theme, usually, but provided a great fix for the trek geek in me. It was like extending the series run with more episodes. That changed with this series.

Told in the run up to the events of Star Trek: Nemesis, this series salvaged, even if not officially, the worst imaginable end to a great series of 176 episodes and four movies. Providing context for absolutely mind-bogglingly bad writing after the fact was the most immediate grace of the series, but it went far deeper still. Even though it was episodic in nature, with different sets of conflicts challenging the Enterprise in different installments, the series carried the same themes throughout the entire series as readers marched toward the fracturing destiny we knew awaited her crew. Aging, finding relevance in a changed world, PTSD after a recent horrific war, reinvention of the self, and embracing destiny realized the characters and their futures convincingly. We even get to say goodbye to a Wesley Crusher who is more flawed than we had known (and been annoyed by) in a way that dignifies the character as he never really was during the series run and certainly wasn't in the final film. Most importantly, the impending death of Data is given the context of a series of emotional struggles we never got to see on-screen, almost making his baffling sacrifice in Nemesis understandable.

Star Trek books are still a somewhat sheepish pleasure for me occasionally, but with the A Time To... series, I can actually call some of them truly quality writing.
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