Star Trek: Coda
Book I: Moments Asunder
By Dayton Ward
Story by: Dayton Ward, James Swallow, and David Mack
Based on Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager.
Published by: Gallery Books
“The assault has not yet begun. The assault has continued since time immemorial. The assault will never begin, and yet will continue for eternity.”
For as long as there have been Star Trek, there have been Star Trek novels.
Since 2001, Gallery Books and their parent company Simon & Schuster have provided the backbone of Star Trek’s modern expanded universe. They have grabbed the batons left by each respective series’ finales and provided fans and readers decades of new adventures with the legendary crews. All while introducing new ships, characters, and series into their ever-expanding line.
Now, as the franchise starts to shift on television screens and these icons return to us in new shows, so must the tie-in novels and casts. Star Trek: Coda brings us an ambitious and sprawling “bookend trilogy” tasked with the prose-based Kobayashi Maru of wrapping up the publishing line’s history, canon, and plot. While also clearing the sector space for the new, incoming novels AND providing a solid single Star Trek experience throughout.
No pressure, right?
However, in large part, Star Trek: Coda’s Moments Asunder first installment nails it! Despite the grand pressures and fan expectations leveed at its feet, Moments Asunder, shepherded by longtime Trek scribe Dayton Ward, is a driving, blockbuster opening gambit for the storied and beloved expanded universe’s curtain call. Ward provides these character and their respective series’ a fittingly epic ending, befitting their decades of service to the fandom.
We open on instantly apocalyptic stakes. And a persistently driving plot that sustains throughout the whole of the novel. Something is feasting on time, accelerating the decay of parallel universes and alternative timelines peppered throughout the Star Trek canon. Worse still, nothing in the universe seems powerful enough to stop them. Not even the mighty Guardian of Forever or the Travelers; represented in this book by Wesley Crusher, who attained “higher being” status in the A Time To…novel series.
With his nearly omnipotent back to the wall, Wesley enlists the help of his mother and adoptive father, Jean-Luc Picard. Picard is pulled along with the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise into a conflict for the fate of reality against a seemingly unstoppable foe. Who is further armed with a vicious and deadly new servitor race called the Naga that can kill with a single touch and cut through a ship’s hull and shields like nothing at all.
At first, Moments Asunder opening seems a little daunting, pulling from almost every past novel series and event crossover (for ex. A Time To…, Star Trek: Destiny, and Typhon Pact/The Fall). However, it is positively packed with lore and callbacks to previous books. Book I: Moments Asunder stands as shockingly accessible for new readers. Thanks to Dayton Ward’s immensely readable prose and firmly grounded take on Star Trek in general.
Ward’s breathless plotting and powerful characterizations keep you from ever feeling left out. The franchise icons, like Picard, Geordi LaForge, Worf, Ezri Dax, and even more still, sound and carry themselves like the heroes we’ve always loved. While other, book-only characters, such as the stars of the Titan and Department of Temporal Investigations series fame, are presented in such a way that celebrates their time in canon (while also providing plenty of context for readers meeting them for the first time).
That said, the opening novel’s breathlessness and speed do work against it slightly. As there is so much to introduce and establish regarding the trilogy’s main antagonists and plot, specific moments and characters feel a bit rushed. Because of this, it allowed elements to be dropped as soon as they were introduced for more forward momentum.
This is then further underlined slightly by Star Trek: Coda’s willingness to be brutal in terms of character deaths. And trust me when I do say “brutal.” The Naga are an instant external threat to any characters in play. Still, the impressive thing is the existential, almost cosmic horror level threat Ward and the writing team establish in the trilogy’s overall stakes. But once the actual bodies start to pile up, some of the moments hit slightly weaker simply because we didn’t get to spend much time with them in the place because we were learning what we needed to know for the trilogy’s narrative superstructure.
But even this does little to dampen the fun and tie-in novel writing skill at play in Star Trek: Coda: Book 1: Moments Asunder. A book that somehow deals with literal decades of storytelling and STILL makes it all feel brand new and vital again. As long as there is Star Trek on our screens, there will be too Star Trek on our bookshelves. Star Trek: Coda looks to be sending this expanded universe off into its new incarnation with plenty of pomp, fireworks, and splashy Star Trek storytelling