Nemo Me Impune Lacessit

Monday, 1 October 2007

Book Review — The Lives of Dax

Filed under: Reading — Tags: , , , , — mikewb1971 @ 4:05 AM (04:05)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – The Lives of Dax, edited by Marco Palmieri

Mass-market paperback edition, 385 pages, released in 2003

The Lives of Dax is an anthology set in the Star Trek franchise, specifically the Deep Space Nine subset. This particular book covers the life of Dax through its first “incarnation” (Lela) to its most recent (Ezri), in the order of occurrence in the character’s life.

Ezri – “Second star to the right . . . by Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens – This is the story that sets the stage for the rest of the book. It takes place on the Deep Space Nine station shortly after Jadzia Dax was killed, and Ezri is still getting used to playing the host role as a “joined” Trill. Ezri is in one of DS9’s holosuites, seeking out Vic Fontaine, for advice. Ezri reveals to Vic that she had never intended to be a host, but that the host originally planned for Dax was killed, and Ezri was the only Trill available in the time needed.

Lela – First Steps by Kristine Kathryn Rusch – Lela was Dax’s first host in the 2060’s AD (or CE, if you prefer), shortly after the events of First Contact and is the first female elected to the Trill ruling council. During her term, she manages to convince the council of the error of its policy of Trill refusing contact with any other spacefaring species except the Vulcans.

Tobin – Dead Man’s Hand by Jeffrey Lang – Tobin is a passenger aboard the starship Heisenberg, en route to Alpha Centauri, in the 2150’s (the Earth-Romulan War is mentioned), as the ship is ambushed and boarded by hostile Romulans.

Emony – Old Souls by Michael Jan FriedmanLeonard McCoy is attending Ole Miss, and not sure what he wants to do with his life. His roommate is Sinnit Arvad, a native of Tessma IV – Sinnit insists that he’s the best at everything, and pushes himself to put some accomplishments behind the attitude. When Sinnit loses a gymnastics competition at Ole Miss, he tries to kill Emony Dax, who is one of the judges.

Audrid – Sins of the Mother by S.D. Perry – Audrid Dax writes a letter to her host’s daughter, Neema, detailing the circumstances of how Neema’s father was killed on a top-secret joint Trill / Starfleet mission to a comet. The mission was commanded by Capt. Christopher Pike, and probably took place in the 2250’s. The landing party finds signs of a lifeform that seems related to the Trill symbiots. The mission takes a turn for the worse when the new lifeform turns out to be hostile, and takes over the body of Neema’s father through his spacesuit. Pike and the other team members kill the host, and the whole mission is covered up.

Torias – Infinity by Susan Wright – Torias Dax is working for Starfleet’s research and development division to build a warp-ten-capable stardrive. Everything looks OK in simulation – real-life flight tests turn out to be a different story.

Joran – Allegro Ouroboros in D Minor by S.D. Perry and Robert Simpson – Joran Dax is a composer working on a particularly difficult piece, while police investigator Verjil Gard is tracking down the first serial killer that Trill society has seen since they harnessed electricity.

Curzon – The Music Between the Notes by Steven Barnes – Curzon is stationed at Pelios Station as a diplomat, and Ensign Benjamin Sisko is assigned there as supporting staff. Curzon is there negotiating with the Bactricans, who want to join the Federation, when a living ship from the Azziz shows up and docks at the station.

Jadzia – Reflections by L.A. Graf – This story is a follow-up to the DS9 episode Invasive Procedures, where Dax is stolen from Jadzia. In the story, Jadzia and Capt. Sisko go to the Trill homeworld after Jadzia’s sister Ziranne ends up with a symbiote. They track down Verad, who stole Dax away from Jadzia in the episode, finding him in a mental institution, only to discover that a sort of black market in symbiotes has sprung up, where they are swapped from host to host, kind of like a time-share plan.

Ezri – “. . . and straight on ’til morning” by – After Ezri tells all of this to Vic Fontaine, she realizes that everything will work out after all, and that the previous hosts’ memories weren’t as overwhelming as she had thought.

I have a few quibbles with the way the Trill conduct business –

  1. The way the hosts seem to be considered a bit disposable reminds me of the Stargate franchise, only that the Trill symbiotes don’t confer to the hosts any special powers such as regeneration, longevity, or increased speed and strength.
  2. How can anyone be surprised that some sort of black market in symbiotes would develop? Everyone in Trill society is told that being a host is the be-all and end-all of life from the time they can understand speech. Add to that the facts that not everyone is biologically capable of being a host, and there’s a limited supply of symbiotes. Duh.

None of this is any fault of the above authors – they’re limited by the storytelling framework created by Roddenberry and Co. that holds the fallacious doctrine of altruism up as something to aspire to – look at the way that Sisko treats Quark, for example.


FOR FURTHER REFERENCE

  1. The Lives of Dax at Memory Alpha
  2. \

  3. The Lives of Dax at Memory Beta
  4. The Lives of Dax at Wikipedia

NOTES

  1. Approximate reading level – 11.8

Copyright © 2007 Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.
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