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Star Trek: Vanguard: Declassified (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 28. Juni 2011
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David Mack is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty-five novels, including the Star Trek Destiny and Cold Equations trilogies. He co-developed the acclaimed Star Trek Vanguard series and its sequel, Star Trek: Seekers. His writing credits span several media, including television (for episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), film, short fiction, magazines, comic books, computer games, and live theater. He currently resides in New York City.
Marco Palmieri is a popular editor, writer, and walking encyclopedia of Star Trek lore. He lives with his family in New York City.
Dayton Ward is the New York Times bestselling author of the science fiction novels The Last World War, Counterstrike: The Last World War—Book II, and The Genesis Protocol, and the Star Trek novels Legacies: Purgatory’s Key, Elusive Salvation, Armageddon’s Arrow, The Fall: Peaceable Kingdom, Seekers: Point of Divergence (with Kevin Dilmore), From History’s Shadow, That Which Divides, In the Name of Honor, Open Secrets, and Paths of Disharmony. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri, with his wife and daughters. Visit him on the web at DaytonWard.com.
Kevin Dilmore has teamed with author Dayton Ward for fifteen years on novels, shorter fiction, and other writings within and outside the Star Trek universe. His short stories have appeared in anthologies including Native Lands by Crazy 8 Press. By day, Kevin works as a senior writer for Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2014, a short film written by Kevin, “Outside of Town,” was selected for screening in the Short Film Corner of the Cannes Film Festival. A graduate of the University of Kansas, Kevin lives in Overland Park, Kansas.
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All the stories are quite interesting and give more background or bring the VANGUARD-saga a bit more along. All the writers are old hands at ST and it certainly shows - as it shows, that they coordinated the contents of their stories. Quite satisfying, all in all.
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And best of all in Vanguard, there are rarely any "character building" or "learning experiences" among the characters. The characters are all flawed adults when they are introduced. They are still flawed (mostly the same way) four years later. The same character with a drinking problem in the first novel still has one in Declassified.
Declassified continues this. The best of the four stories are by Dayton Ward and David Mack but the other two are very good as well. Four stories are longer and meatier than the typical short story but short enough they can be easily enjoyed in a single setting.
Finally, though a very powerful story arc is present throughout the Vanguard series, the individual stories and novels are surprisingly easy to follow on their own.
The Star Trek: Vanguard series is the best Star Trek literature has to offer today.
"Almost Tomorrow" by Dayton Ward, which takes place prior to "Harbinger", shows how Federation officers on Starbase 47 smoked out Klingon spy Anna Sandesjo. It also chronicles, with mild steaminess, the beginning of Sandesjo's sexual relationship with intelligence officer T'Prynn, and fleshes out the back stories of other core characters before ending rather abruptly. (Rating: 3/5)
"Hard News" by Kevin Dilmore follows journalist Tim Pennington as he assists a young woman whose journalistic aspirations have entangled her in a dangerous web of crime and corruption. The events in "Hard News" take place during or shortly after those recounted in "Reap the Whirlwind" (Vanguard #3). If you're eager to know how Pennington feels about shapely women in sexy outfits, you'll not want to miss this one. (3/5)
In "The Ruins of Noble Men", when the Federation decides it has overextended itself in the Taurus Reach, two Vanguard officers must persuade the stubborn inhabitants of a scientific colony that they must evacuate. A decade earlier, some members of Vanguard's original crew faced a similar dilemma at an endangered colony. In the novella's sunny denouement, Palmieri pays homage to Gene Roddenberry's optimistic view that with reason, understanding, and a bit of courage you can solve virtually any problem. "Ruins" takes place shortly after "Precipice". "Ruins" is easily the best of the contributions and the one with the deepest ties to classic Trek. (4/5)
David Mack wrote "Precipice", so it's not surprising that his contribution, "The Stars Look Down", feels like a continuation of that novel. Adventurer Cervantes Quinn and Starfleet Intelligence officer Bridy Mac embark on a dangerous mission to capture a new cache of Shedai technology and prevent the Klingons from gaining access to it. Silly banter and tense action ensue, as does tragedy. Of the novellas collected here, "Stars" is the one most likely to have an impact on the forthcoming novel "What Judgments Come" (Vanguard #5). (3.5/5.0)
None of these novellas are bad, but, on the whole, they're not terribly deep, exciting, or revelatory. Dedicated Vanguard fans will appreciate having something to tide them over; everybody else can safely skip this one. None of the novellas (except perhaps "Ruins") stand well on their own; there's no point in reading "Declassified" before completing the first four Vanguard novels. (Average rating: 3.4/5.0)
Dayton Ward's well-written prequel "Almost Tomorrow" does much to not only introduce a new reader into the series and its characters (all of whom he has a wonderful grasp on - especially Commodore Reyes), but also into the station and the secrets it holds, without spoiling any of the intrigue from the first 5 full-length books. Of course, it also didn't hurt that a lot of the story got to focus on the U.S.S. Sagittarius and her incredible crew. Captain Nassir and Commodore Reyes have to fight for my heart I'm afraid!
While another reviewer seemed to have trouble with Kevin Dilmore's effort "Hard News" it is, in my opinion, simply his finest work to date. It is an incredible and at times painful tale of a character that is very, very human and one of which I was never particularly fond. The story is a brilliant bit of "missing piece" story-telling, taking place between two of the books in the timeline. It is also a rare 1st person tale that we don't often get in Trek books for obvious reasons. Dilmore made me love a character that I was put-off of in the first novel and that it no easy task.
My happiest surprise was Marco Palmieri's first and only contribution to the series. "The Ruins of Noble Men" became my favorite of the book and also provided me with my favorite line from the book. It was expertly crafted, and although the chapters bounce between both time and central characters, I never lost my way.
And finally in "The Stars Look Down" David Mack once again shows off why he carries the reputation that he does. He fears almost nothing. The final tale in the book revolves around his favorite character and it shows. Mack gives Cervantes Quinn his Don Quixote soul and never, ever apologizes for it. He's probably the most heart-breaking character in Trek to date.
It's strange - sometimes I think the Trek authors are better at, and I get more out of, the shorter character studies than in full-length novels. Also, it's at times when I read books like this that I wonder whether younger readers would ever really "get" the meat of the author's tales. Several times the books hit me hard emotionally and I had to wonder if it was because I might be a bit "longer in the tooth" than the average Trek reader. I'm not sure. All I know is that I'm okay with that.
All in all, Declassified is a perfect sampling of why the Vanguard series may be the best Trek series ever written and published. I couldn't recommend it highly enough.
Dayton Ward's "Almost Tomorrow" is the only true prequel in the book. While major roles are given to Reyes, Jetanien, and T'Prynn (inlcuding her "compromising" of Anna Sandesjo), the crew of the Sagittarius returns and the story is much better for it. Captain Nassir is probably one of my favorite Star Trek CO's, and it's always good to see Terrell again. All the members of the crew are portrayed well as a close-knit family. One thing that surprised me though - I could have sworn I read several times earlier in the series that the Sagittarius was unarmed, but here the ship gets into a pitched phaser/disruptor duel. I recently reread the series but didn't have "Reap the Whirlwind" with me... was the issue of Sagittarius' armament addressed within?
Dilmore and Ward write very well as a team. Separately, Ward's standalone story is fine but Dilmore's first-person tale of Tim Pennington's search for work in the aftermath of the Jinoteur incident is boring and hard to follow, though it does pick up a little at the end. Unfortunately, Pennington is a much more interesting and likeable character when we get out of his head and get to observe him as foil to Quinn and T'Prynn.
Marco Palmieri has the toughest job among the four authors: tell both the tale of Desai and Fisher's assignment to investigate a Starfleet officer's death on a remote colony and the past chronicle of starship captain Deigo Reyes' standoff with Gorkon on another troubled colony (both stories are linked by Dr. Fisher). The ending of the investigation is a little hard to accept at face value, and Palmieri at one point attempts to retroactively install gay marriage into the Star Trek universe in a way that hardly advances the story and ends up looking like political activism. However, he does an excellent job depicting Reyes as a starship commander, not to mention developing the characters of both Gorkon and the late Hallie Gannon, who serves as Reyes' XO and turns out to be an expert on Klingon culture and language. For an author who has not previously written of these characters (though I understand he helped developed Vanguard), Palmieri excels.
David Mack has always been the foremost author in the Vanguard series, and as such he is the most appropriate writer to take on the future direction of the saga. "The Stars Look Down" features Quinn and Bridget McLellan in an action-filled search for the source of an occurrence of the Gen.. er, I mean Jinoteur pattern. There are plenty of disruptor shots and explosions to be had, and they all lead up to a very climactic ending. The ending seems slightly hurried despite the significant events that take place, though overall the story is fine. Lastly, despite all the important things Cervantes Quinn has done in the Vanguard series of late, I honestly have to say I prefer Fat Drunk Quinn to Redneck Ninja Quinn.
I am a little apprehensive about the direction in which the series now appears to be heading, but this team of authors is very talented and should be able to make good things happen.
In short: If you like Vanguard, this book isn't quite the pinnacle of the series, but will not disappoint.
Maybe knowing as much as I do from having read the series dulled some of the magic for me, as I didn't enjoy this as much as I did the previous books in the series; much of what we already know is rehashed in the telling, but what we also get are more in-depth looks at characters both very familiar and slightly so, and really get to know them. This is what drew me deeper in and kept me reading. "The Ruins of Noble Men" was easily my favorite, with its twist on the plot and the uplifting ending; on the other hand "Hard News" and "The Stars Look Down" both left me feeling empty and saddened at the end, particularly "The Stars Look Down" because it follows a formula that's been done many times before across the genre.
All in all, I recommend this book to readers of the Vanguard series, but don't recommend it as a "first" novel, simply because so much is revealed of what has come before. It definitely left me eager to see the next book in the series!