There are moments glimpsed only in shadow, where darkness
rules and evil incarnate thrives. You hope against hope that
in your lifetime evil will be relegated to the shadows. But
what if it wasn't? What if you lived in a universe where your
life is measured only by what you can do for a tyrannical
Empire? What would you do to survive? Would you sell your
soul to free yourself? If you were offered the chance to rule,
would you seize it? If you could free your universe from the
darkness, but only at the cost of your own life, would you
dare pay that price...?
price tag may appear a bit steep at first glance, but it isn't
- for this weighty 450-page tome is really three novels in
one. It's the first of two collections of tales set in the
parallel universe depicted in episodes such as Mirror,
Mirror, with one story for each Star Trek franchise.
This volume covers the timelines of Star Trek: Enterprise,
The Original Series and The
It probably goes without saying that you need to be familiar
with the "Mirror" episodes from the television series - though
not any of the other published visits to this realm, such
as DC Comics' Mirror Universe Saga, Diane Duane's TNG
novel Dark Mirror and a trilogy of books by William
Shatner, because each of those previous literary forays has
been contradicted by subsequent TV episodes. (A possible explanation
for all these divergent Mirror Universes lies in the TNG
episode Parallels, in which Data explains that for
every choice made, the other available choices are made in
parallel universes. Therefore, at various points during the
course of Mirror Universe history, choices made could have
caused alternate universes to branch off, leading to a plethora
of Mirror Universes.)
In addition to the main characters from each TV series, we
also encounter Mirror counterparts of other major players,
including Shran, Arik and Noonien Soong, T'Pau, Kang, Matt
and Will Decker, Admirals Morrow and Cartwright, Saavik, Gorkon,
Pardek, Vash and Gul Madred.
First up is a return visit to the Mirror version of Star
seized power in a heartbeat, daring to place herself against
all the overlords of the Empire. Empress Hoshi Sato knows
the future that could be - now all she has to do is
make sure that it never happens. For her to rule, she must
hold sway not only over a starship from the future but also
over her warlords, the Resistance, and her Andorian husband.
But as quickly and brutally as Hoshi seized power, imperial
rule is snatched away from her...
by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore from a story by Enterprise
writer and producer Mike Sussman, Age of the Empress picks
up right where In
a Mirror, Darkly left off. It's action from
the word go as Empress Hoshi Sato, in control of the USS
Defiant, faces off the combined might of the Terran Empire's
Inspired by In a Mirror, Darkly, there is no interaction
with or participation by any "regular" universe characters
in any of the stories in this collection. They are all set
entirely within the Mirror Universe. However, we do see hints
of the more familiar versions of the protagonists, the people
that they could have been under different circumstances. The
authors get inside their heads in a way that is not possible
during a TV episode, thus demonstrating that these people
are not simply inherently evil, but rather are forced into
their actions and shaped by their environment. For example,
we witness Captain Mayweather striving for excellence in his
career, Reed and Tucker's loyalty in the face of rivalry,
and Sato's capacity to love.
it cannot reach a proper conclusion, owing to its placement
in Mirror Universe history, this tale nevertheless makes fascinating
and engaging reading.
One man can change the future, but does he dare? Spock,
intrigued by the vision of another universe's Federation,
does what no Vulcan, no emperor, has ever done: seize power
in one blinding stroke of mass murder. And at the same instant
that he gains imperial power, Spock sows the seeds for the
Empire's downfall. Is this a form of Vulcan madness, or is
it the coolly logical plan of a man who knows the price his
universe must pay for its freedom...?
Well, what do you think? David Mack's The Sorrows
of Empire thoroughly and convincingly exonerates Spock,
whom you might hitherto have assumed was a bit naive for exposing
his newly founded Republic to the combined might of the Cardassians
and the Klingon Empire (as detailed in the Mirror Universe
episodes of Deep
Like Age of the Empress, this tale picks up the narrative
immediately after the events of a television episode, in this
case Mirror, Mirror. It then covers a period of three
decades, detailing Spock's rise to power as captain, admiral
and finally emperor, and his eventual dissolution of the Empire.
Taking a leaf out of David R George III's recent Crucible
trilogy of Trek books, the author steers a course through
several familiar episodes, or rather the Mirror Universe equivalents
thereof, including Journey to Babel, Elaan of Troyius,
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn
Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
I was a little disappointed that the story doesn't fill in
more details than it does about the events that took place
during the century-long gap that exists between the previous
tale and this one. The writing also goes a little off the
rails and becomes less interesting during portions of the
second half, involving Spock's and the Empire's rivals, when
the Vulcan isn't present.
the most part, however, this is a real page-turner.
Under the ruthless Cardassian/Klingon Alliance, humanity is
a pitiful collection of enslaved and abused peoples. No one
dares question the order, except at peril of their lives.
One man survives by blinding himself to the misery around
him. However, tomb raider Luc Picard resists, just once. And
in that one instant he uncovers a horror beyond the tyranny
of the Alliance. Can a man so beaten down by a lifetime of
oppression stop the destruction...?
Worst of Both Worlds must have posed quite a challenge
to its author, Greg Cox. Because the TNG TV series
never visited the Mirror Universe, the landscape is unfamiliar.
We do know from the DS9 episodes that the Empire and
its Starfleet have fallen by this point, which rules out any
possibility of an evil ISS Enterprise D crew (as previously
depicted in Dark Mirror).
the author combines elements from several of TNG's
most popular episodes, including Captain's Holiday,
Chain of Command and of course The Best of Both
Worlds. His Picard is a freelance relic hunter employed
by the Cardassian Gul Madred (the second time a David Warner
character has been depicted in this anthology). Cox also throws
in a Ceti eel from The Wrath of Kahn, clearly enjoying
the opportunity to paraphrase Kahn's description of how the
creatures "wrap themselves around the cerebral cortex"!
The writing is marred by some clumsy allusions to the fact
that this story is set in a parallel reality. At one point,
Picard wishes that he had a crew to assist him, but decides,
"Not in this universe". A little later, when threatened by
a pair of Klingons, he muses that "it wasn't like any Alliance
doctor was going to waste an artificial heart on a mere human".
The author also gets his timeline a little muddled. He refers
to events at the end of The Sorrows of Empire as having
taken place "over one hundred years ago" when clearly the
dates are less than a century apart.
You could say that The Worst of Both Worlds is the
worst of the three stories in this excellent volume, but only
by a narrow margin.
If you could free a copy of Glass Empires from the
bookshop, but only at the cost of £9.99 (or whatever Amazon
is charging at the moment), would you dare pay that price?
It's well worth it.