Das Raumschiff Titan setzt seine abenteuerliche Entdeckungsreise fort!
Als die Titan auf eine Raumverzerrung trifft, wird sie aus dem Warp geworfen. Sie findet sich in einem Schlachtfeld wieder, in dem die zerstörten Überreste eines Schiffes treiben. Das, wie sich herausstellt, niemals eine Mannschaft hatte. Auf der Suche nach Antworten entfernt das Außenteam den Computerkern. Nachdem das Gerät wieder hergestellt ist, wird klar, dass es sich nicht bloß um einen Computer handelt, sondern um eine Künstliche Intelligenz.
Sie gibt sich als SecondGen White-Blue zu erkennen und entstammt einer Zivilisation, die sich aus empfindungsfähigen Computern zusammensetzt. Vor geraumer Zeit waren diese Künstlichen Intelligenzen damit beauftragt worden, die erste Verteidigungslinie gegen eine zerstörerische Macht zu stellen, die so allverzehrend ist, dass Generationen um Generationen unaufhörlich Krieg geführt haben, um diesen Schrecken zurückzuschlagen. Captain Riker bietet ihnen Hilfe an, aber die Jahre des Krieges haben die KI argwöhnisch und misstrauisch werden lassen, besonders gegenüber organischen Wesen.
Aber das Blatt wendet sich. Die Macht gewinnt die Oberhand. Wenn sie freikommt, wird sie alles in diesem System zerstören. Und anschließend seine sinnlose Zerstörung ins Herz der Föderation tragen.
James Swallow is a New York Times, Sunday Times and Amazon #1 bestselling author and scriptwriter, a BAFTA nominee, a former journalist and the award-winning writer of over sixty books, along with scripts for video games, comics, radio and television.
AIRSIDE, his new stand-alone thriller, is out now from Welbeck; OUTLAW, the 6th Marc Dane novel, is published by Bonnier, and the 4th book in the series - SHADOW - is available in the USA from Forge.
His writing includes the Marc Dane action thrillers, the Sundowners steampunk Westerns and fiction from the worlds of Star Trek, Marvel, Tom Clancy, Warhammer 40000, Doctor Who, 24, Deus Ex, Stargate, 2000AD and many more.
The marketing of this book (front cover and inside excerpt) make it seem like this book would centre around a return of Minuet as a love interest for Riker, which I was pretty skeptical about.
Fortunately that angle was a little misleading - the actual story is much more about Titan's encounter with a race of intelligent machines, who are locked in an intergalactic war that could have far-ranging consequences. I won't spoil how Minuet gets involved, but she's much more complicated than the hologram we meet in "11001001" and fits well into a classic Star Trek story about diplomacy, ethics and the meaning of sentient life.
This is probably my favourite of the Titan books so far. While the cover makes it look like a romance novel, don't be fooled; just enjoy the characters and the story. And, really, it's the first book in the series where I really bought into all of the characters beyond just being familiar with the ones borrowed from pre-existing TV series. In part, that may be due to appearance in multiple books prior to now, but it's starting to feel like they're a crew, which is nice.
Once again with the universe-shaking adventure, though. There's been enough written on the book elsewhere to avoid a complete synopsis, but let's just say the barriers between our universe and subspace are trying to break down to let in a truly gigantic life form that will just consume everything it touches. I'm starting to feel like it's impossible to have lower stakes in the modern Trek universe and hoping I come across an adventure that doesn't need such far reaching possible consequences.
That said, I really enjoyed most of the character interaction in this one, particularly with the interaction of some synthetic life forms to shake things up a bit, and the story holds together fairly well.
Synthesis kicks off after the previous book with Riker, Vale, Troi and the crew of the Titan encountering a species of AI's (who happen to use a drive that tears-up sub-space a like the ST:TNG episode Forces of Nature! :D ) while engaging in the investigation of the wreck of a ship that they encounter that turns out to be a member of the AI species known as White-Blue! Strait away from the outset Synthesis really starts with the challenging questions as Torvig and Riker etc all come across and have to deal with their viewpoints on AI's as well as the rest of the crew! :D Riker and Troi's is naturally affected by their experiences with Data and Torvig of course see a lot in common with them given his cybernetic nature to begin with! :D
At the same time the ship thanks in part to White-Blue, because more self-aware and makes it presence felt! :D This puts an interesting spin on things as she being the ship Titan is still loyal to Riker and crew but is still getting to know herself which gives the decisions that they would normally make a debate of sorts which gives the crew dynamic a serious shaking up! :D This affects the Chief Engineer Xin in a strong way as he sees her as his child which changes his usual attitude! :D
The way that the AI's interact with her splits their society and that combined with their instinctive arrogance also upsets the apple cart as well as the story progresses with Vale in particular pulling them up there presumed superiority! :D In fact as the story progresses this comes to the fore as one side of the AI's led by Red-Gold trumps up the justification to try and take Titan by force! :D This of course leads to a brilliantly staged fight sequence in and out of the ship that really has you on a knife edge as it is expertly taken on by the crew! :D The AI's use the tactic of a thousand cuts as Riker points out so not only do you have the battle on the outside but the running battle on the inside! :D It is at this point the the AI of Titan has to make a decision and that establishes a trust between her and he crew that really works brilliantly! :D In the context of the wider story this gels together in ways that you would not expect at all and really sets things up for the teaming up against the Null which is the big bad of the book! :D
The Null itself is a very strange organism that lives in subspace and its very nature is what led to the creation of the AI's in the first place! :D This nature when revealed to the second generation AI's really brings their sentient nature to the fore as they start to question everything but at the same time showing that they have as much honour and right to stand as the Titan crew which again resonates down the line as Riker offers them aid and Diplomatic contact! :D This of course rocks them a little given what has gone on before! :D Cyan-Gray is especially rocked back on her heals especially given how her and the Titan's crew originally met! :D This makes though for a classic example of Federation diplomacy though and Riker still making the attempt show the Federation in the best light which is at the core of the USS Titan and the Luna classes and by the extent the Federations mission statement! :D The book is full of character POV as well and the building up the characters experiences from Tuvok, Decal etc to Riker and Troi and Torvig And Whit-Blue etc are all amongst other like Vale, Cyan-Gray and Tuvok and Ree who continues to be a very unusual Doctor! :D
The ramifications though for the Federations AI is big given the fact that their computer cores have been shown to be capable of creating sentience both through Holograms and AI's! :D So no doubt their will be ramifications down the line in regards to this! :D The volunteering of White-Blue to be part of their ship as he points out to Riker will also help to to balance out the organic nature of the crew as well give the lack of AI's onboard! :D The book is packed full of humour as well even the given the stakes that everyone aboard and AI's are facing! :D The AI's insisting on reparations and White-Blue simply allowing himself into the ship much to Riker's amusement 'Doesn't anyone knock first anymore?!' are two such examples in a book full of heroics and action! :D
Synthesis from start to finish doesn't shy away from big questions as well as taking the reader on a really roller-caster ride on encountering a new culture! :D At the same time it crams in character development all over the place, packs in the action and adventure , does incredible world building from the backstory of the AI's to the how they have developed, to the Null and it's subspace realms through ramming home a Eco message and then runs with it leading to a book that leaves question hanging to be followed up in later books and a potential new ally for the Federation ans well as very different crew member! :D Synthesises is a break-neck read from start to finish full of revelations and preconceptions being shook up and is action throughout! :D Brilliant crisp high five highly recommended! :D Go and get it and have the next one bought already! :D
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
I love the STAR TREK: TITAN series that follows the adventures of Captain Riker and Counselor Troi as they do their own spin-off series from the Enterprise. It may all be non-canon now, albeit the Titan is still technically canon, but I love it anyway. This book follows them discovering a race of AI beings that are dealing with a space-based natural disaster. The Titan crew has lingering prejudice against artificial beings due to the Borg. We also get an amazing new addition to the crew in the ship coming alive. I love ship AI as characters and especially liked in Andromeda. It's a shame the book chooses not to make the character a permanent part of the crew, which I thought was a crying shame. Still, really fun book.
Review: This is the first Titan book that I really enjoyed. 4.5 stars.
Summary: Riker is supposed to be taking a holiday in the holodeck when suddenly Titan drops out of warp; they hit a pocket of spatial distortion and find the remains of a a starship, possibly destroyed in battle.
An away team checks out one of the larger ship fragments. They are attacked by small drones, and are nearly killed--but Commander Vale manages to shut down the computer core just in time, though she takes a nasty shock in the process. They bring one of the drones back to Titan where they decide it's similar to but not Borg tech. Ra-Havreii says the ship's data systems are an order of magnitude more advanced than Starfleet's, though the rest of the ship seems less so, aside from the weapons.
While the science team is studying the drone, it shoots out a beam of emerald lightning and starts interfacing with the ship. Security runs in an blasts it, but Chaka thinks it was just trying to download data from the ship so it could communicate with them. They isolate it in a cargo bay and transfer language protocols to it. It says its name is White-Blue and that it meant them no harm. It tells them its shipframe's destruction was an incursion event by the Null, which was trying to destroy them simply because they exist.
Suddenly, Vale calls for a red alert; a vessel emerged from one of the spatial shears. It is a member of White-Blue's Sentry Coalition, and it perceives Titan as a threat. Its superior AI easily breaks through Titan's shield frequency, directly damaging the warp nacelles. White-Blue asks for system access, and when it is denied, it easily takes it anyway. It scans Titan's system in seconds, then transmits a signal to the attacking Sentry shipframe and it ceases fire. The ship grabs Titan in a tractor beam and insists on reparations for the damage, towing it toward the nearby double-star system.
Riker orders the computer's code to be reviewed for changes. Xin notices something wrong, but thinks Sethe stupidly made the changes by accident.
Titan is taken to the Sentry AI world, a hellish planet orbited by constructed moon that they call the FirstGen, essentially giant computers. Titan is repaired swiftly and efficiently.
They beam down to one of the moons and meet more of the AI Sentries. They act like individuals with distinct personalities. They are also more hostile than White-Blue and tell Titan they shouldn't have interfered and that they are intruders. Ultimately, a compromised is reached where White-Blue will work with Titan on the repairs, but Red-Gold is clearly unhappy with that decision.
Xin is recreates the ship's consoles in the holodeck and uses them to restart the system, but something goes haywire during the reboot: the holodeck manifests a humanoid that tries to take on all the holodeck characters at once, and says that it is the Titan. White-Blue's interaction with the computer caused it to become sentient.
Riker confronts White-Blue and it admits that it did give the computer a gentle push towards sentience; Riker puts it under armed guard. Titan appears as Minuet via the holo-emitters and insists she will obey the caption.
The senior crew discuss contingencies in the Captain's yacht. White-Blue expresses envy to Xin in humanoids' ability to procreate; he says the Sentries have no means of propagating themselves.
Tuvok and an away team go to the nearby ice planet supervise the deuterium transfer by the AI. Cyan-Gray asks about Vulcan emotionlessness and tells Tuvok the Sentry cannot turn off their emotions in that way. Dakal remains on the shuttle and notices the FirstGen artificial moon is outputting a signal, which the Sentry say it hasn't done in a long time. Just as they're finishing up loading the deuterium, a spatial anomaly forms and tendril-like strands of protomatter appear from the rip in subspace, attacking the Sentry bots. Cyan-Gray says it's the Null.
The Null attacks Tuvok's shuttle, easily ripping it apart; the away team manages to beam out just before the ship it totally destroyed, but not to the ice planet.
Pazlar says the protomatter behaves like a cancer, and that it is absorbing the AI ships that it's attacking. Riker wants to use a tricobalt warheads to attack the Null composite in both normal space and subspace simultaneously, but Titan says she will not allow the crew to be put at such risk. Eventually she relents to Riker's command and the weapons are launched; the Null is sent screaming into its dimensional void. White-Blue says the Null can't be destroyed, only sent back to it's subspace realm.
Despite saving the day, Red-Gold confronts Titan with a fleet of AI's and tells them they must go back to the space dock or be destroyed.
Tuvok thinks the AI's may have shunted the transporter beam away from the ice planet; he devises that they are on the artificial moon FirstGen Zero-Three. He tries to communicate with it, but seemingly gets no reply. They see a pyramid-shaped structure and head towards it.
They take White-Blue to astrometrics; it is quite impressed with how far Titan has traveled, and says the Sentry cannot travel far from their current location since it's been their duty to contain the Null infection for centuries. White-Blue agrees to answer their questions, knowing that he will be censured because of it. It says the Null is a single entity, and they have been losing ground to it as it presses in closer to their planetary system.
Tuvok's team passes giant gouges in the moon as they head toward the pyramid, where they're greeted by bots that behave erratically. They believe the Null attacked Zero-Three, which may have given it brain damage. A bit steals one of their tricorders, then let's them into the pyramid.
Xin recommends they use Titan to collate White-Blue's data; she determines the next Null incursion will be in 15-20 hours, and exponentially larger. They ask White-Blue to take their findings to the Governance Kernel. To speak directly to the council, Riker agrees to a neural implant (based on Borg tech), but Vale countermands him and insists that she undergo the procedure.
White-Blue attends the conference of the Government Kernel and presents his findings; they are rejected outright, but surprisingly, Red-Gold takes his side. It also says that it's time to create a new ThirdGen AI, which is already happening aboard Titan, and that they should dismantle Titan and take it by force. Vale tells White-Blue to go warn Riker and says she will confront the council herself.
Zero-Three speaks with the away team, saying it intervened to saved them, and says it was forced into exile. It tells them the origin of the AI and the Null to spite the others for its exile. The Makers were organics who created a dimensional framework, doorways to subspace, that let the Null invade our universe, killing many worlds. Only the Zero and One series know that the Makers created the AI's to stop the Null incursion.
Red-Gold enacts a coup on the Governance Kernel by weaponizing his software. It attacks Christine when she intervenes, tearing her apart. Dr. Ree yanks her connection and she tells Riker to go to red alert.
Titan breaks free of the dock, but Red-Gold and other Sentries board the ship. On the moon, Tuvok deduces the damage to Zero-Three is from an attempt to enter the Null's realm. Tuvok convinces it that is fatalist logic is flawed, and it decides to leave orbit and return to the other Sentry.
Riker tells the Titan avatar to change the gravity emitters to emit a dekyon pulse that will render the Sentry inert, but will also require her to store herself in the data core, where she will remain dormant unless someone reactivates her. She is reluctant at first, but ultimately agrees to it. The ship goes dark, the pulse is emitted, and the AI's are rendered inactive. Riker has all but one of them beamed off the ship.
They reactivate the remaining Red-Gold drone and he tells them to turn over Titan's avatar to him. They reactivate the avatar, but before anything can be decided, a spatial shear opens and the FirstGen planetoid appears, followed by the Null. Zero-Three is greatly distressed that he caused the Null incursion, and gives the away team data for their tricorder right before they're beamed back to Titan. Zero-Three plunges into the Demon-class planet's gravity well.
The Null is growing at an exponential rate, on track to consume all the matter in the system. White-Blue asks why the Titan doesn't just leave, but Riker says it's not what they do; they will help the Sentry if the AI will just trust them.
Red-Gold is destroyed by the Null. Titan unleashes the last of its tricobalt warheads, but the Null swats them down and continues to replenish itself from subspace.
White-Blue explains that Red-Gold wanted to create a ThirdGen AI that was pure programming without a physical shell, i.e. Titan's sentient computer. She realizes this is the only way to save her crew and agrees to do it, though Riker doesn't want her to sacrifice herself. She asks Torvig to flip the switch, and the ship fires her into subspace through the deflector. Free of her titanium shell, she takes joy in sealing the subspace tears, destroying the Null in normal space.
With their directive complete, the AI are unsure what to do; Riker extends them an invitation to join the Federation, but tells them that have to stop using their slipstream drive.
Xin deletes the Minuet program from the holodeck; he thought of her as his daughter and feels a profound loss.
Riker, Troi, and Ree are about to have dinner when red alert is called. Riker runs to the cargo bay where an intruder is breaking in to find White-Blue, who asks to join the crew.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Possible spoilers ahead. After the disaster that was Over a Torrent Sea, I was pleased to find this novel to be much, much better. It still didn't have that zing that I keep waiting to find in the Titan saga, but it came close. In this iteration, the Titan's crew runs across a race of sentient computer machines that are at war with some kind of subspace-dwelling monster. The computers themselves are interesting characters, although their dialogue is a bit corny. An interesting touch is the Titan's computer itself, given the gift of sentience by one of the machines. It chooses to present itself in the form of Minuet, which explains the front cover. Some intriguing ethical dilemmas arise throughout the novel, both in this regard and others. Overall, it reads kind of like a TV episode. I won't summarize the plot, but I will say that there are some pretty good action-packed pages in here. It's not always a page-turner, but it's a good, fun, interesting story. I hope the Titan saga gets better from here, but unfortunately I have several books on my reading list in between this and the next Titan novel.
I found this one of the stronger Titan instalments so far, however the cover art is strangely misleading. It's been coming for a while but this is the book that solidified my dislike of Vale. From the A Time to... series, her characterisation has been one dimensional and not always consistent, and honestly I'm just a bit sick of how rude she is all the time, for an important member of a first contact team. Same goes for Xin Ra-Havreii, who in 6 books hasn't shown any redeeming qualities that I can remember.
This is also yet another Titan storyline where they're dealing with a huge galaxy ending threat and lots of death. It's getting really old.
Having said that, Swallow's writing style is engaging and this made for a fairly quick read. While I am sick of the repetitive themes in this series, this was my favourite of the societies we're introduced to, and the treknobabble wasn't as intense as the last instalment. I enjoyed the action scenes and am looking forward to seeing more from the new addition to the crew.
I decided to read this book because I really liked another book by James Swallow. I was pretty impressed by his work in Cast No Shadow. I was thinking - hey, James Swallow did such a good job with that book, he'll be great in this book.
I was somewhat disappointed by this book. The AIs, the Null, and the characters were 2D-ish. The subplot where an away team led by Tuvok got stuck while trying to get more fuel and in the story met the FirstGen AI with a death wish. Death wish as in a "nihilistic, there is no hope, why keep fighting" mode as opposed a death ride where we take out as many enemies as possible before we die. This subplot felt a little contrived. There could be a better way.
On the whole, it does fit into the Star Trek: Titan universe of exploration.
Okay, after some pretty action heavy Titan adventures in Destiny and relationship driven one in Over A Torrent Sea I sort of wanted a little action. some weird gizmos, some little humor, moments where the most unlikely of people stood up to do the right thing when they had every reason not a little boldly going where no one had gone before and just a dash of modern day ethical issues disguised as Science Fiction. Y'know, Star Trek.
And what do you know, Synthesis delivers all of that and more. If Titan were a TV series this wouldn't have just been a good series of episodes but some amazing one.
3.5 stars. Started a little slow for my tastes but picked up toward the end. In fact, the last few chapters feature some great space battles. The long chapters made it hard to find good stopping places. I’m the kind of reader that likes to read entire chapters at a time. One great thing about this book was some decent character development and good use of some minor characters. Overall, pretty good.
And exciting and thought provoking Star Trek novel
This book has everything great about Star Trek. Exploring the unknown, meeting crazy new aliens, fighting battles against impossible odds, and being put into situations where The right answer it’s both hard to realize and except. I started reading, and I couldn’t put it down until I finished. Afterword, I was sorry that it was done.
Titan investigating a mass destruction zone discovered a machine intelligent AI, soon follows an attack by a organism that had been working to destroy everything it makes contact with. The SO society wants nothing to do with organic life but we don't always get things done because we want it's happening.
William T. Riker and the diverse crew of the U.S.S. Titan are back, this time in the hands of British author James Swallow. Following on from the lackluster Over A Torrent Sea (by Christopher L Bennet), I was hoping that Mr. Swallow could inject some fun and action into this spinoff book series.
Titan encounters an AI race fighting a war against an entity called the Null. The sentries of the race don’t want Titan involved except for an individual called White-Blue that creates an AI of Titan itself (based on Riker’s holodeck program Minuet).
The plot is fine, but the pacing feels kind of slow. It took me longer than usual to finish the ending.
Really struggled to keep engaged with this book but that could be completely because of timing. It was an interesting story about AI, and synthetic intelligence. I look forward to how this impacts the future of this storyline
Titan's ongoing journey into the unknown leads them to an area of space full of subspace distortions. They respond to a distress call and find what looks like a critically damaged ship in the remains of a battle. Commander Vale's away team finds the ship unsuitable for humanoid life, and salvages a computer module from the ship before returning to Titan. To their surprise, the console turns out to be SecondGen WhiteBlue, a sentient artificial intelligence from a whole race of AIs, the Sentry Coalition.
Captain Riker and his crew find themselves in a first contact situation like none they've encountered before. The Sentry Coalition wants nothing to do with Titan beyond repairing damage to the ship caused by their initial misunderstanding, but it's clear there's a threat. WhiteBlue was nearly destroyed by the Null, an incursive force from a subspace realm. The Sentry Coalition was created to stop it, but are losing their centuries old battle. As much as they distrust organic beings, they need Titan's help.
I enjoyed this new look at artificial intelligence, and yet another race battling behind the scenes to keep the larger galaxy safe from an intractable force.
"Synthesis" by James Swallow is not only a great Star Trek story, it is a wonderful tale of science-fiction all by itself. You will experience the grand dynamics of the USS Titan's entire crew, all the diverse aliens who make up the ever expanding Federation are also a huge part of the story's main group of characters.
The main antagonists in this book are the artificial life forms found by the crew of the Titan within an unexplored region of the galaxy. They are "living computers" or more exactly, machines who are self-aware and live for the purpose of their continued existence. At an early point in the story, one of them bonds with the Titan's main computer system and this causes it to become self-aware as well.
You'll have to read the book to find out what happens next, I won't spoil the resolution for you, and I won't tell you anything about the extremely dangerous path the crew of the Titan has to endure in order to get there.
Lastly, the part with Torvig observing his own species while on the holodeck was quite moving. That lone segment of this fascinating and remarkable story is worth the purchase of this whole book.
"It was okay" just about sums it up. I liked it better than Nightfall, one of Swallow's Stargate novels, but I just don't care for his writing that much. According to his bio in the back of this book, he pitched the story ideas for two episodes of Star Trek: Voyager, "One" and "Memorial"--but did not actually write the screenplay for either. I liked both of those episodes, and I think he can come up with some great stories. I just don't like how he writes them.
My main problem with this book was that I found it too long, and too boring in the beginning. It picks up once the Null makes an appearance, instead of just being talked about cryptically. The AI civilization was a cool idea, but there was too much arguing between the various factions within that civilization. Overall, this book wasn't for me, but perhaps others might enjoy it--and have, judging by the number of three- and four-star ratings.
The Titan series continues in their next big adventure. Riker's ship is back to its main mission of exploring, and they find a new race of self-aware machines in uncharted space. This leads to a series of complications, including the Titan's own computer getting something if an evolutionary boost.
After the series of cross-overs and grim events, this is a much better read in my opinion. There are a lot of plot twists and some really good scenes that should appeal to sci-fi fans. I really liked the interaction among the complex and varied crew.
I've really been enjoying the Titan books, and I think this is one of the better ones. I'm hoping for a lot more adventures of the ship under Riker's command.
Not much Destiny or Typhon Pact influence here, which I guess is OK. The Titan series tends to visit fairly alien environments/cultures, and the machine culture in Synthesis is quite interesting. One thing I really like was that they were neither obviously superior or obviously inferior to the Starfleet crew, just sufficiently different that both sides could surprise the other.
The extradimensional Null and the awakened computer were both a bit to deus-ex-machina to me though. They cancelled each other out a bit too neatly in the end.
A very entertaining book, though not what I expected. Author James Swallow doesn't have a lot of Star Trek novels to his credit, so perhaps that is part of the reason this book seems a little less "Trekie" and a little more "Heady" that your run-of-the-mill ST novel. Still, quite entertaining and a must-read book for those following the exploits of the former crew members of the Enterprise and Voyage, in the "post Destiny" Star Trek Universe.
Another great installment in Titan. My only disappointment is in the few tiny pieces of information we got concerning the larger ST Universe. Those who follow the novels know there have been a few major "whacks" to the plot and continuity in the last couple of years and each new book that comes out I anticipate how they will deal with all of that. This one mostly skirts those issues...though those not happy with the overall direction of the novels might take that as a strength.