Author: Peter David
Publisher: Pocket Books
407 pages • £6.99
Any space opera that features the line “The bastards ate Pluto!” must be doing something right. If only David’s novel featured more planetary banquets while slimming down the page count. As it is, there’s too much stodge to get through before the fine cuisine.
Although billed as a Next Gen adventure, Before Dishonor is a cross-series affair, bringing together Picard, Ambassador Spock, Seven of Nine and a “Borgified” Janeway. The last may sound like a spoiler, except that she quickly goes down the Locutus route, announcing that the cubist conquerors have evolved to absorb the universe.
The book follows on from Resistance, slammed in these pages a few issues back. However, Before Dishonor turns into a sequel to David’s outstanding 1991 Borg book Vendetta. This posed the question of whether a woman Borg could be restored to humanity, long before Seven of Nine appeared on TV (though David’s vision was much darker). In Before Dishonor, David takes the chance to rework his story with Seven herself, still uncomfortable with her individuality as she prepares to take out the Borg for good.
It’s nowhere near as good as Vendetta, padded with overlong, mostly redundant scenes. But there are good character bits, some great dialogue and some fights between Very Big Dumb Objects as events build to a surprise end. Admittedly, the closing pages look like a transparent set-up for a future book, Star Trek: The Search for… who? That’d be telling.