Architects of Infinity
(Part of Star Trek: Voyager)
By Kirsten Beyer
Read by: January LaVoy
Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
Release date: 03-27-18
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
An original novel set in the universe of Star Trek: Voyager, from the New York Times bestselling author!
As the Federation Starship Voyager continues to lead the Full Circle Fleet in its exploration of the Delta Quadrant, Admiral Kathryn Janeway remains concerned about the Krenim Imperium and its ability to rewrite time to suit its whims. At Captain Chakotay’s suggestion, however, she orders the fleet to focus its attention on a unique planet in a binary system, where a new element has been discovered. Several biospheres exist on this otherwise uninhabitable world, each containing different atmospheres and features that argue other sentient beings once resided on the surface. Janeway hopes that digging into an old-fashioned scientific mystery will lift the crews’ morale, but she soon realizes that the secrets buried on this world may be part of a much larger puzzle—one that points to the existence of a species whose power to reshape the galaxy might dwarf that of the Krenim.
Meanwhile, Lieutenants Nancy Conlon and Harry Kim continue to struggle with the choices related to Conlon’s degenerative condition. Full Circle’s medical staff discovers a potential solution, but complications will force a fellow officer to confront her people’s troubled past and her own future in ways she never imagined… http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Architects-of-Infinity/Kirsten-Beyer/Star-Trek-Voyager/9781508260974
I will start out saying that January LaVoy narrates this book really well and does an amazing job creating an impression of Janeway as played by Kate Mulgrew without trying to mimic her; I often felt this Janeway was the Janeway I spent many years watching on TV.
My first issue, though, with the story is that it starts out with a prologue that does not have anything, really, to d with this story but is an obvious play to tie up loose ends from a prior tale. But I cannot seem to identify the prior tale in the collection of STAR TREK VOYAGER books, nor are they numbered. In the prologue we hear about a certain officer being assigned to her fleet to keep tabs, but never see him or her in the book. The scary enemy, the Krenim, we hear a few times but they are not intrinsic to the story line.
The book plays on the fleet locating a planet with a new element. There’s some tension evidenced between the crew which spent nigh seven seasons getting themselves back to the alpha quadrant from the barely explored delta quadrant where they were stranded years before after a cataclysmic event. They were instrumental in destroying the threat of the “You will be assimilated” Borg collective. Captain Janeway’s crew, which included a bunch of also-trapped rebels, and one former Star Fleet cadet released from prison, and a rescued Borg of human descent. There were a variety of other species, and a holographic AI acting as the medical officer.
After so much time separated from the rest of Starfleet this crew was totally dependent on each other and became extremely close. After their return, I guess Star Fleet continued to explore the Delta quadrant with a fleet of ships known as “Full Circle.” Janeway is the admiral of this fleet, and the several ships are staffed by old Voyager crew and many others. But, of course the Voyager crew is closer and more trusting of each other; even a little preferential, maybe.
This preference and personal relationships is a big part of the characters’ motivations and actions to succeed. Sometimes this leads them to behave in ways they believe will advance their careers or legacy but which are less than brilliant nd endanger their teams.
So this starts out with the fleet discovering a weird planet with binary sols and a toxic environment. But, there are a bunch of seemingly benign biodomes. Let’s all go down and both investigate and have shore leavefor the entire fleet.
From the beginning this struck me as the way a dumb co-ed would behave in a slasher film. What could go wrong?
Plenty. And, therein lies the story.
We learn a bunch of other stuff that advances the characters with whom I have not kept up since this branch of the Star Trek franchise ended around 2002. Strangely, the powers that be did not offer any movies in this branch. Seven of Nine is still not Star Fleet, Chakotay and Janeway are more than chummy, Tom Paris and Belana Tores are married with children, Harry Kim has a girlfriend with complications.
So, anyone who’s ever seen a horror movie knows hanging out on a new planet, which a strange newly discovered element, is a totally stupid idea — curiosity almost kills the cat. Some of the captains of the fleet ships share my understanding of stupid ideas. Others are so excited to get some shore leave they maybe ignore common sense.
Another interesting plot point involves patient rights, including those of a fetus. Medical, and Star Fleet laws and morals, religious and cultural taboos are explored. To me the way the laws were applied seemed transparent but to others on the crews, not so much.
I thought there were a lot of ideas, events and “science” that were a little unformed and unanswered.
After the plot in this book is solved, another event occurs that I think ties back to the storylines introduced in the prologue. Otherwise that part of the book is totally irrelevant.
As is present in most parts of this franchise, looking at societal, moral, and political issues was a vital part of this series. This was part of Roddenberry’s vision.
Of course it was a total cliff-hanger that is going to make the next book in the series an automatic read for me.
AUTHOR’S Page at S&S: http://www.simonandschuster.com/authors/Kirsten-Beyer/30231583