Following the disaster that met the U.S.S. da Vinci at
Galvan VI, the survivors must try to live with what happened
and decide how they may best meet the future...
I was taken aback, with so many authors; it looked as if Breakdowns
was written by committee, never a good sign. What you actually
get is four short stories - one long enough to be considered
a novella. If you have not heard of any of the authors they
have to a man/woman a considerable body of work in the TV
spin off field.
Home Fires follows Domenica Corsi's journey home after
the fateful events at Galvin VI, home to a father who for
reasons she has yet to discover, hated her joining Starfleet.
Every family has a secret and its time for Domenica to discover
hers. This is a very poignant story that really revolves around
her relationship with her father. Together they go on a trip
which is really a trip of discovery about the basis of their
relationship and the deep hurt her father still feels about
her joining Starfleet. Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore do a
very good job of making the love and distance, which exists
between father and daughter, real and the resolution of their
relationship, realistic and not at all mawkish.
of Unreason relates the tale of Carol Abramowitz's mission
to Vrinda, where new technology holds out the hope of great
good, but is being used as a weapon of war. Although this
holds some resonance of what had previously happened on the
U.S.S. da Vinci, this is more of a straight forward
science fiction tale that would have stood up even with all
the Star Trek references taken out. The author, Scott
Ciencin, has a very naturalistic use of language and avoids
the many pitfalls of adding techno-babble to his story to
add it weight. The story is engaging and the ending a genuine
surprise. It was a delight to read.
of Nature by Heather Jarman rather stands out from the
other three stories, in that it does not directly deal with
the aftermath of the Galvan VI mission. Indeed, apart from
a few passing references, you would think that it had nothing
in common with the books overall theme. Maybe that's why I
didn't like it. It relates the story of P8 Blues return to
her home planet. What follows appears to be a straight forward
ecological disaster, but when it is discovered that parts
of the population have also disappeared; things should have
taken on a more sinister tone. Unfortunately, the prose is
plodding, with way too much exposition and not enough personal
insight, making it feel a bit of a fish out of water compared
to the other three very personal stories. I did not find the
story engaging and the constant change in P8's name throughout
the text just lead to confusion. It's not that it's a bad
story, as such, it just doesn't sit well with the others.
last story, Breakdowns by Keith R. A. DeCandido, lends
its name to the overall book. At first this started as a rewrite
of Families from The Next Generation. The Captain
comes home with all his doubts and fears after the conclusion
of a tragic mission, into the arms of his family. He even
contemplates leaving Starfleet. The truth is with prose you
can explore so much more than can be shown on a TV screen
and DeCandido does this admirably. The story is, without doubt,
the most engaging in the book, and the most realistic in its
portrayal of the relative's reactions to him visiting them
to explain the demise of their loved ones. Not everyone is
pleased to see him. Why should they be in reality?
Overall the book tells very personal stories, I've not read
the book which presumably preceded this one, but that's not
necessary. These are stories about loss and the need to go
forward after a tragedy - themes which are universal to the
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