Saturday, January 26, 2013

Blogathon 13: Favourite Peter David Star Trek Novels (Part 2)

It looks like Graeme and I share a similar sensibility when it comes to Star Trek and its novels. That feeling of 'fun' is exactly what I love about Peter David's novels. That sense where I can read one in an afternoon and just enjoy myself. That's going to be a fun, entertaining afternoon! They're the sort of books you read in between others...

Just like I've long wondered why Q-Squared wasn't made into a movie, I've wondered why New Frontier wasn't made into a TV series. When Enterprise debuted, I was pissed that they would make THAT and not New Frontier. It seems like a no-brainer. How do you not want to put Mackenzie Calhoun on screen as the newest Star Trek captain? It would settle that old Kirk/Picard debate pretty damn quickly -- the answer is Calhoun, dammit!

Those first four New Frontier books are slight, quick reads. Slimmer than normal books, they're really just one big books divided up into bite-size chunks. And Calhoun is a complete badass. I never tire of retelling the part with the hostages and the quantum torpedos. It's something you've never seen on Star Trek and that felt important to me. New Frontier is funny and touching and adult. More than anything else from that franchise, it seems like it takes itself seriously as adult fare. Not in the way Graeme talks about towards the end of the book series. It just doesn't shy away from adult subjects like sex, death, and intimacy the way the rest of the franchise seemed to. Star Trek always seemed content to spend its time with kids playing as adults to a degree. Very high-minded and serious with no room for the messy subjects of life except in the odd moment. David put those subjects at the forefront and it was much more engaging. It didn't seem like utopia in space, it seemed like people in the future. What humanity would become. The few moments when Star Trek shows would cast off the limitations imposed on them by narrow-minded creator and strive for more.

It's also a book series that's a bit of a treat for longtime fans as David never passes up an opportunity to bring back old character. Half of the cast are pre-existing characters that showed up in the background or for a couple of episodes in a guest role. Calhoun has a feud with Admiral Jelicho that mirrors how everyone else hates that guy. It's a book series that isn't afraid to embrace where it comes from while being completely open. Part of that is that David takes such minor characters that their previous appearances don't really matter. Part of that is that he is so good at developing characters and making them seem more than they are that, again, their previous appearances don't matter. They become his as he created them himself.

Unlike Graeme, I've never really gotten into David's comic writing. I've enjoyed what I've read -- it's just never grabbed me too tightly. I've always preferred his novels -- like the Star Trek stuff or his Babylon 5 ones. I like his prose style. Graeme was entirely right. It's light, 'throwaway' stuff and that's not an insult. You don't want everything to be heavy and Important and all of that. Sometimes, you want to spend an afternoon reading something that seems to turn its own pages, because it's just so much fun. I'm told that's what reading should be like and Peter David is a master of it.

In 30 minutes, we jump to Graeme's Wait, What? co-host Jeff Lester as I kick off our discussion of Dreadstar #1-12.

The 'best of 2012' has continued over at Comics Should be Good!

As well, we're now up to $694.95!

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