© 2009 Kirsten Beyer
Not five years after the good ship Voyager returned home from involuntary exile in the Delta Quadrant, Starfleet wants her to return to the stomping grounds of the Kazon, Hirogen, and other such ferocious species. She won’t be going alone this time, but accompanied by six other vessels. Their mission is to see what, if anything, remains of the Borg collective, mend fences Voyager had to leave broken in her haste to return home, and seek out new life and civilizations. Although the Voyager family has felt the strain of recent years — most of the ensemble has gone their separate ways — the Delta Quadrant is destined to bring them together again.
The first sight anyone from the Voyager family sees upon arrival in the Delta Quadrant is a massive cube, hanging in space as if expecting their arrival. Onboard are the bodies of various species from throughout the quadrant — offerings made to the Borg by a culture that reveres them. Contact with this multi-species civilization is destined to be interesting. Unworthy offers mystery and is clearing laying the foundation for several more books to come, but Beyer shines most in character development and related drama, and there’s much to be had. Seven is still adjusting to life as a post-Caliar ex-Borg, Tom and Harry are on the outs, and at least four characters struggle to find their place on this new Voyager. While I tended to find the televised version of Chakotay a bit…uninspired, Beyer’s Chakotay is believable and sympathetic. Beyer’s provocative Counselor Cambridge* (introduced in Full Circle) is especially adept at drawing this out of his patients. Cambridge is also the source of much of Unworthy‘s humor, not that it lacks elsewhere: Beyer incorporates more humor into her novels than any other Trek author I’ve read, recently or in the past.
Unworthy makes me hope that PocketBooks and CBS keep Beyer in the captain’s chair of the new Voyager. The characters are strong and the path ahead promising. Although the book’s sequel is not yet published, Beyer contributed a story to the Voyager anthology Distant Shores, so I’m looking forward to that.
- Voyager Relaunch at TvTropes. I recently discovered that Tropes, one of my favorite websites, has extensive articles on the Trek lit universe.
- Unworthy at Memory Alpha
- Kirsten Beyer at Memory Alpha
*According to TrekBBS, Beyer had Laurie in mind when she wrote Cambridge.