Review by C.J. Bunce

It may seem a long time coming, but the Star Trek tie-in novels and the new era of Star Trek television series are finally becoming one.  On the heels of Disney discarding decades of Star Wars stories written after the original movie trilogy into a bin called the Expanded Universe, Star Trek’s novel writers have embarked on a shoring-up of the franchise’s decades of novels with a single trilogy of novels.  Titled Star Trek Coda, the novels lean into what Star Wars can’t–it’s sci-fi multiverse.  As discussed last week in my review of Rizwan Virk’s The Simulated Multiverse, lots of science fiction relies on the multiple timeline, parallel universe, alternate history tropes to expand opportunities for storytelling, something Star Trek fans have known since 1966.  In the first novel of the Coda trilogy, Moments Asunder, author Dayton Ward takes the crews of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager there and back again, to places that will be both familiar and new to television audiences, while continuing stories–and characters–that fans of the novels will know well.  But the future for some of your favorite Federation heroes is dicey, so take heed.

Wesley Crusher was dead to begin with.  Well, not really.  When television audiences last saw Wesley, except for an appearance at the Riker-Troi wedding (see Star Trek Nemesis) he had taken up with, and taken on another form with the reality-bending being called The Traveler (see TNG: “Journey’s End”).  Moments Asunder begins in a nice nostalgic throwback as older Traveler Wesley approaches an icon of the original series, the Guardian of Forever (see TOS: “The City on the Edge of Forever”).  It’s an attention-getting way to begin what is an action-packed first act that will have readers trying to keep a step ahead, guessing which parallel timeline episode of the hundreds of Star Trek stories will be tapped for the next scene.

A new take on a device that could be like the Tox Uthat emerges (see “Captain’s Holiday”) called the Omnichron, a powerful storage device and tool Wesley must use to stop a race of beings intent upon destruction of the Prime timeline, and all others.  Who is behind this plot?  The villains have aspects of the Borg and Species 9472 and other threats from across the series.  Can they be stopped, and which key characters from the novels and television series will see their end before that can be accomplished?

Fans of TNG episodes like “Time’s Arrow,” “Time Squared,” and two of my own favorites, “Cause and Effect” and “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” –where the Enterprise-D crew sees its end–will be able to jump right into the book regardless of their knowledge of the universe of novels.  Readers may also find a sprinkling of elements from “All Good Things…” and from Voyager, “Relativity,” “Year of Hell,” “Course: Oblivion,” and “Eye of the Needle,” and the overall arch has the feel of elements from the Deep Space Nine episode “The Visitor.”  And don’t worry: there’s no magic Q to come out of nowhere to save the day–at least in the first novel of the trilogy.

Ward includes a four-page foreword to catch anyone up on missing elements leading into this story, which begins about a decade after Wesley becomes a Traveler, and hops back and forth into the past and the distant future.  He also includes an afterword discussing the context of the trilogy.

As with the multiverses of comic books, the sky is the limit here–anything can happen, new characters can be introduced, others can vanish in a snap.  The open question is: Will the characters stay dead?  The truth is that no matter what anyone says, past novels will remain available on Amazon and at used bookstores just like Star Wars’ Expanded Universe–even if a new standalone exploration of Spock and Saavik’s love child may not be in the cards for a bit… until a new corporate owner takes over and it’s back on again.  As with Star Wars, pick your favorite parts of the fandom and enjoy what you want.

Moments Asunder is an engaging read and fun-filled start to the trilogy, full of great throwbacks to all the series, with several surprise characters and incorporated events I didn’t mention above.   Consider this a must-read for anyone planning to dig into the novel side of Star Trek in the near future.  Dayton Ward’s Star Trek Coda novel Moments Asunder is available now here at Amazon from Simon and Schuster’s Gallery Books imprint.  Next up is Act II, James Swallow’s The Ashes of Tomorrow (available here) and Act III, David Mack’s Oblivion’s Gate (available here)–come back soon for reviews of those novels in the trilogy.