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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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09/25/2004 Archived Entry: "Trek book review: Tales of the Dominion War"

Tales of the Dominion War
Edited by Keith R.A. DeCandido
384 Pages, $14.00 (paperback)
Published by Star Trek Books
ISBN: 0743491718

Reviewed by Laurel Sutton

Ah, Deep Space Nine. My favorite of the Trek series (next to the original). People said it was dark and complicated and angsty and all about the characters and you know what? That's why I loved it. There were a lot of characters, so if you got tired of one, there was bound to be someone else you wanted to watch. I think DS9 had the best selection of character actors in secondary parts; they consistently stole the show from the regulars. Just watch Andy Robinson as Garak, if you don't believe me.

Which brings me to Jeffery Combs as Weyoun, the Vorta bad guy. This was a role that could have been so shallow and boring � and it was, in fact, when there were other Vorta involved � but Combs managed to make Weyoun the center of every scene he was in. Even though the Vorta were supposed to be cloned servants with no lives apart from being tools of the Founders, Combs played Weyoun with a strong sexual undertone, as if he was getting off both from being completely submissive to the shapeshifters and completely nasty to the Federation. He always seemed on the verge of orgasm. This constitutes a stellar performance, in my book. Oh, and it didn't hurt that he was totally hot (both as Weyoun and in real life.)

Alas, there are no Weyoun stories in this book, although there is a Vorta or two (pale imitations of the original, unfortunately). It's a good solid collection of stories about the Dominion War, which took up most of the second half of DS9's run; the stories are all by profic writers, so the quality is quite good overall. (To see the listed authors, jump to the end of this review. Impressive!) As with most Trek books these days, there's a mix of series canon and profic stuff, but if you haven't read any profic, don�t worry, you won't get lost. The original characters are interesting and lively, and there's even a good dose of humor ("Mirror Eyes", about a Romulan operative working on DS9; it contains the immortal line "�After I had cleaned up the bloodstains on the counter from the raw steak�"). There are familiar primary characters (Picard, Lwaxana Troi, Scotty and McCoy, Sisko) and one very fine story, titled "A Song Well Sung", about Klag, a Klingon who was in an extremely slashy episode of TNG (A Matter of Honor; Sunbeam says "Apparently, Jean-Luc and the captain of a Klingon vessel grant each other most-favored-boytoy status; the Klingons get Riker. Lotsa of steamy moments ensue. Riker takes a real shine to lanky farouche Klag who returns the favor.").

It's not a good idea to read this book straight through, like I did. It's a book about war, after all, but scene after scene of death and devastation and horror � it's exhausting and depressing. Not to mention timely, though I don't think this book was released as a political statement. Unlike real life, the Dominion War was very much good vs. evil, and even the bad guys (Cardassians) recognized this and switched sides in the end. True to Trek, after Evil was conquered it admitted its mistake and stopped being evil and got forgiven, and even cured of certain death. Somehow I don't think humans will be so fair-minded, even in the 24th century.

And for me, that was the disappointing ending to the last story in this book, "Requital". A human who has been through the worst of the war � fighting for months, barely hanging on, seeing all of his friends killed before him - has a chance to assassinate the leader of Evil. And he almost does, except Sisko, that Prophet in disguise, talks him down off the ledge and he drops the phaser. Yeah, right. Look, anyone desperate enough to put a gun to the head of their worst enemy for the sole purpose of killing them is not going to be talked out of it. He expects to die trying, and that's OK with him. That's the kind of human baseness we needed to see more of in Trek. It was totally absent from TNG and only made a comeback in DS9, which, again, is why I love it so. And Weyoun: Hot-cha!

Contributing authors: Greg Cox � Peter David � Keith R.A. DeCandido � Michael Jan Friedman � Dave Galanter � Robert Greenberger Heather Jarman & Jeffrey Lang � David Mack � Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels � Josepha Sherman & Susan Shwartz � Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore � Howard Weinstein

Replies: 1 Comment

This review: Hot-cha!

Posted by Ginger @ 09/25/2004 09:50 PM PST

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