Thursday, August 14, 2008

 

Star Trek: Myriad Universes: Echoes and Refractions

I'm informed by reliable sources that the omnibus Star Trek: Myriad Universes: Echoes and Refractions, which includes my short novel Brave New World, is now available in stores. In the last week or two that I've been on the road, a few reviews and related pieces have appeared online about the book.

The site TrekMovie (which also features an interview with me on the story, Star Trek, and sf in general), has given my contribution a fairly glowing review:
In quite possibly the most though provoking of the six Myriad Universes tales, Chris Roberson explores the practical and philosophical implications of the proliferation of both mechanical life forms (in the wake of Dr. Noonien Soong’s wildly successful android program) and the ability to migrate the consciousness from the organic to the positronic mind of an android.

Roberson makes effective use if the work of TNG’s pioneers of artificial life (Soong and Dr. Ira Graves) to create a storyline replete with plenty of action and an unparalleled depth of thought that brings the volume to an effective conclusion. Throughout the story we meet many new and interesting android characters, each of them playing a role in exploring the questions of existence on their own terms.

Brave New World presents many ideas that are somewhat foreign to the various Star Trek television series. While Trek is often used as a lens to examine the human condition, Roberson attempts to drill down to the essence of sentience, and where it is to be found. When the examination is complete, nothing is ever the same again.

While the story itself is fast paced, interesting, and surprisingly humorous for the subject matter, the real payoff of Roberson’s work is the epilogue, which ends the tale in a manner that can only be called pure science fiction at its best.
Another Trek site, TrekWeb, has also weighed in with the following review:
Chris Roberson proves he should be writing more Trek stories with Brave New World. Doctor Soong was successful in his experiments and now cybernetics is common throughout the Federation. Several years before, Data mysteriously disappeared and the crew of the Enterprise has always wondered why he left. When Picard receives a mysterious message from him asking the Enterprise to come into the Neutral Zone, he must decide if he can trust his former officer. And, is it really Data? The epilogue is unnecessary, but the rest of the story provides excellent character arcs and surprises.
And a fan blog, Musings of a fandom geek, has done an overview of the omnibus, and seems to have enjoyed my story as well:
Closing out this second volume, newcomer Chris Roberson weaves a tale of a more personal nature than the others that have gone before, which takes its place as my favourite story from the book. Here, Noonien Soong’s research proceeds ahead of schedule, leading to his creating Data long before the Crystalline Entity arrives to interrupt his work. The Soong-type android is unveiled to the Federation, and more are soon created. The story picks up in 2378, with androids now recognised as sentient beings, although with some limitations on their rights. The technique used by Ira Graves in the TNG episode “The Schizoid Man” has been developed here, too, and people have been permitted to transfer their minds to android bodies in the event of bodily deterioration.
[snip]
The questions of morality, spirituality, and science raised are extremely thought-provoking, as is the spotlight thrown on the role and impact of technology, which forms the heart of the story.
Has anyone here had a chance to check out the book yet? I'm curious to hear the reactions of readers with a prior familiarity with my work, as well.

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Comments:
Shoot. I think they had the book out at Comic Con, but for some reason I was thinking "Mirror" not "Myriad" and didn't pick it up. The booth worker from Pocket Books was letting me take anything that interested me. But I didn't want to seem TOO greedy...
 
That was probably the first Myriad Universes omnibus they had at CCI, the one before this one.

But one can never be "too greedy" when it comes to free books...
 
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