Somewhere outside normal space and time, a tavern called 'The
Captains Table' exists; your only entry requirement is that
you hold the rank of captain, the only fee for the drinks
is a story...
together here are nine more stories from 'The Captains Table',
a collection of short stories told, in the first person, by
the captains themselves and provided by a different author
for each. In this anthology the captains which get to tell
their personal tales are Riker, Picard, Shelby, Klag, Kira,
Archer, Sulu, Chakotay and Gold.
that the format is pretty much open ended, Cap, who runs the
bar just asks for a story, without the restriction that it
be a true story. This, then, should have given the authors
unlimited scope to flex their imaginations, unfortunately
only two of the authors felt comfortable enough to take this
licence and run with it.
Friedman's Picard story Darkness and Peter David's
Shelby story Pain Management are fairly straight forward
tales of daring do, involving personal development. Indeed
they are so similar that they both start with the respective
captains crashing their shuttles. Klags, Kira's, Sulu and
Chakotay's stories are of a more personal family nature.
The first story that impressed me, and started to use the
possibilities of the format, was Riker's Improvisation
on an Opel Sea by Michael Martin and Andy Mangels, which
takes what could have been a boring honeymoon for Riker and
Deanna and turns it into a tale of eighteenth century pirate
daring do set on another planet. It's all flashing blades
with the possibility of a bit of bodice ripping.
Ordover's Captain Gold's story An Easy Fast is not
really about Gold at all, but then the bar tab is paid with
a story, not necessarily a true or personal one. Whilst the
story was interesting and engaging it did seem to have stolen
its narrative structure from The Four Feathers though
this might have been the author's intention and should possibly
be seen as a reinterpretation.
For me the tale which did the format the most justice was
Louisa M. Swann's Archer story; Have Beagle, Will Travel:
The Legend of Porthos. In which you not only discover
that Porthos is a clone, but that the original was non other
than the great Porthos, spy extraordinaire and one of the
most proficient operative to come out of the BIA - Beagle
Intelligence Agency. The poor canine is saddled with Captain
Archer on a mission to rescue the renowned scientist Doctor
that over half the captains have appeared in the television
series, it's fairly brave of any of the authors to try and
give voice to the captains. The intonations and speech pattern
are, in some cases, just too well known. For the most part
they succeed very well and in the few cases when you'd question
whether a particular captain would speak in a particular manner,
it did not distract from the high level of story telling involved.
writing cannot be faulted, the majority of authors have long
professional CV's of this kind of thing, but it's just a shame
that more of them didn't take the opportunity to push the
boundaries of their characters.
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