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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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01/01/2005 Archived Entry: "Trek book review: Maker"

Star Trek: Stargazer: Maker
by Michael Jan Friedman
Publisher: Pocket Books

Review by Kathryn Ramage

Maker is the latest book in the Stargazer series by Michael Jan Friedman, which recounts the adventures of a younger Captain Jean-Luc Picard in command of his first starship. In particular, this book refers to events in one earlier novel -- The Valiant -- which I haven't read, but from the backstory given here and characters' conversations, I gather that:

A.) People from beyond the barrier at the rim of the galaxy, descendants of the crew of another starship who were transformed into super-powerful psychic, silver-eyed beings (a la Gary Mitchell in the Original Series episode Where No Man Has Gone Before) fought a war with another race called the Nuyyad from outside the galaxy and enlisted Picard's help.

B.) Picard got laid. One might be inclined to say "great for him!", except that the woman he was involved with lied and betrayed him in the earlier book, so that the good captain has some difficulty trusting her when she shows up again and asks for his assistance in this novel.

Why have she and her people returned to request Picard's help this time? Herein lies the plot of Maker: one of the Nuyyad has hyper-evolved into a being of incredibly vast and godlike powers, stolen a ship, and kidnapped a former member of the Stargazer crew, Andreas Nikolas. This creature, Brakmaktin, has killed everyone else on the ship, and destroys everyone else he comes in contact with, but keeps Nikolas alive for reasons of his own. Picard and the Stargazer crew must find Brakmaktin and try to stop him somehow before he reaches inhabited space and causes even greater devastation.

Nikolas' story is the most compelling part of the book, as he finds himself at the mercy of this monstrous being who can do just about anything and witnesses one horrific event after another. Some of the deaths Brakmaktin causes are disturbingly gory and imaginative, echoing the horror stories of Clive Barker or Harlan Ellison's I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream (a phrase almost identical to this title is used when Picard finally confronts and is tortured by Brakmaktin near the end of the novel; I have to wonder if it's a deliberate reference to Ellison's short story). Everything that happens between Picard and his lying lady-love, and with the crew aboard the Stargazer coping with the Nuyyad who assists them in their search pales in comparison. I admit I skimmed over the parts of the story set on the Stargazer, hoping to get back to what was happening with Nikolas and Brakmaktin as quickly as possible. It is for these scenes I recommend this book.

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