Star Trek TNG: The Sky’s the Limit
© 2007 various
The original Star Trek struggled in ratings, especially after being shifted to a late-evening slot of doom in its third season, and was canceled prematurely in 1969. It proved to be rather more difficult to kill than that, however, flourishing in syndication and leading to persistent demands for a return, or at least a movie. Surprisingly, The Motion Picture didn’t smother interest in more, and in the 1980s Star Trek and the Enterprise returned with a new show. Although it struggled in the beginning, hindered by manskirts and characters who weren’t quite sure who they were, it would be The Next Generation that built the behemoth that was late-90s Star Trek. Surely its 20th anniversary was worth celebrating!
The Sky’s the Limit brings more to the table than Constellations, spanning the entire TNG run from before its first season until after Nemesis, when Picard is struggling with the question of what advice he might give to Captain Riker, now leaving the Enterprise for his own command. As with Constellations, there are a variety of authors and genres,and most of the characters have their moment in the spotlight, even more minor ones like Barclay and Tasha Yar. Unlike Constellations, here stories are closely mapped to episodes and movies; the Barcley story, for instance, happens while the Enterprise is off doing something else, leaving him and Ro Laren to assist Lwaxana Troi (Hazard pay, anyone?). Another story is a direct sequel to “Darmok”, as the Enterprise continues to establish a means of reliable communication with a people who seem to speak only in literary references. That one goes into the complexities of language-building and is penned by Christopher L. Bennett, who contributed to all four anniversary anthologies. The collection is replete with fascinating stories, like one that puts Riker on his death bed, or another that follows Wesley in an alternate history where he tried to avoid his destiny — not to mention Picard’s Dominion War encounter with Gul Madred, the sinister figure so expertly played by David Warner.