Review by C.J. Bunce
The latest of the in-universe Star Trek biography books takes fans of the franchise back to Deep Space Nine–and much earlier. Before he was the Emissary, before he was a Captain, before he was a father and husband, he attended Starfleet Academy. The Autobiography of Benjamin Sisko takes a look back at the early years of Avery Brooks’ acclaimed, multi-faceted character, and Sisko as you last saw him reflects on his entire life for his son Jake. The new entry in Titan Books’ Star Trek Autobiographical Library (which includes Picard, Spock, Janeway, and Kirk) arrives in bookstores tomorrow, and you can pre-order a copy in hardcover now here at Amazon.
The “voice” of Sisko is actually provided by writer Derek Tyler Attico. The framework is a set of data transmitted to the attention of Jake Sisko as part of a key point of Deep Space Nine’s story. Sisko–now the Prophet–recounts memories from his past for Jake, stories a dad would tell his son. For fans of the TV series, expect throwbacks to your favorite episodes, beginning with “The Visitor,” possibly the series’ single best episode.
But it’s more than that. It’s about Sisko’s “This is Your Life” going back to his youth in New Orleans–something fans also know much about already from episodes like “Homefront.” The stories are very much as if the character known only by the letter Q stepped in and gave Sisko his own “Tapestry” experience. A nice touch? Sisko’s mom buying him starship models as a reward.
Sisko goes to the Academy. He experiences the Kobayashi Maru. He has relationships with young women and gains friends. Some of it feels like Wesley Crusher as he planned his way from the Enterprise-D to the Academy, including his adventures with the Dauphin, Nicholas Locarno, and Mordock the Benzite. But Sisko isn’t Wesley. Wesley didn’t have Curzon Dax.
With books in this series, readers can’t help but wonder if it signals the end of stories for these characters. Will they use the new backstory in future novels, and will it be considered part of Sisko “canon”? Which is the best? It largely depends on which captain is your favorite. But the layers and new threads qualify this new “autobiographical” volume as the most interesting.
Books in this series, including this one, incorporate at the book’s center an A.I.-esque series of mocked-up re-creations of photographs of the actor as the character. For this book those were created by Russell Walks. Everyone looks good in the Wrath of Khan era maroon uniforms–with or without the trapunto collar–and re-imagined Sisko is no exception.