Star Trek: Tales from the Captain’s Table, edited by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Pocket Books, 2005)

Following on the heels of their Tales from the Captain’s Table miniseries from a few years ago, a group of Star Trek authors have turned in a whole new collection, featuring many of the newer captains added to the literary canon. The concept remains the same: somewhere outside of normal space and time, there’s a bar where only captains can go, and where the price of a drink is a story of some sort. It’s a place where captains from any time, place or race, be they seafaring or space faring, get together to have a good time and spin some yarns.
Having covered all the traditional Star Trek captains in the last go-around, the authors were forced to stretch a little this time, but with the expansion of the Star Trek fiction line, we’ve seen a nice crop of new captains. Thus, there are stories told by and about Jonathan Archer of the first Enterprise, Chakotay from Voyager, David Gold from S.C.E’s U.S.S. da Vinci, Kira from Deep Space 9, Klag from the I.K.S. Gorkon, Picard in his Stargazer days, Riker as the new captain of the U.S.S. Titan, Shelby from New Frontier’s U.S.S. Trident, and Demora Sulu from the U.S.S. Enterprise B. It’s an interesting selection of characters, and a fair representation of the diverse Star Trek fiction Pocket’s been putting out of late. It’s certainly an all-star cast of Trek writers, including Christie Golden, John J. Ordover, Michael Jan Friedman, Peter David, and Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels.
The stories themselves are generally pretty good, ranging from the serious to the overblown to the comical (Archer’s story, in particular, goes right over the top and keeps on going, intentionally). Were it not for the fact that some of these stories seem to play fast and loose with reality (as captain tales sometimes must) I’d suggest this to be the perfect sampler of Star Trek fiction, since we have representatives from just about all of the fiction lines being supported at the moment. It’s an entertaining collection, and one that should appeal to even the most casual of Trek fan, though I’m not sure how well it would serve as an entry-level book. Certainly, I think we can expect to see another volume once they’ve accumulated more captains with stories to tell.

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