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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Mist
Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Pocket Books, 271 pages

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Mist
Dean Wesley Smith
Dean Wesley Smith, a Spider-Man fan since issue #1, started his own comic store in the mid-70s, then sold it to go into writing full-time. He is also the editor and co-publisher of Pulphouse: A Fiction Magazine and has four Hugo Award nominations for Best Editor. In 1989 he won a World Fantasy Award with his wife, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, for their work on Pulphouse. He has written or co-written at least a half- dozen novels and over 60 short stories, including a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel, an Aliens novel, a Star Trek: The Next Generation novel, and a Spider-Man short story.

ISFDB Bibliography

Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Kristine Kathryn Rusch is the former Editor of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (1991 to 1997) She won a Hugo Winner for Best Editor in 1993. Her novels include The White Mists of Power, The Fey series and Hitler's Angel.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Alexander von Thorn

The Captain's Table is a bar in the interstices of space and time, where ship captains from past and present gather to exchange stories, in the tradition of Gavagan's Bar or Callahan's. All who have stood on the deck with the responsibility over life and death are welcome here, especially when they have a tale to tell. Each in turn, the starship captains of the Star Trek universe come to share drinks and stories. The third book in this series is told in the first person by Benjamin Sisko, commander of Deep Space Nine and occasional captain of the Federation starship Defiant. Unfortunately, The Captain's Table seems like more of a marketing device than a literary one.

The tale within the tale begins with a distress call from an ancient Earth ship lost for nearly two centuries. A mysterious species known as "the Mist" issued the call to lure a Federation ship into their space, five star systems somehow hidden from the rest of the universe through some sort of molecular phase shift. The Mist is in the middle of a civil war, in which one faction intends to seize control of Deep Space Nine and use its armament to overpower their lightly-armed opponents; the Defiant has been summoned to somehow thwart the rebels. One faction of the Mist shift Deep Space Nine into their space, and the unexpected disappearance of the station causes Cardassians and Klingons to scramble to seize control of the Wormhole, while Sisko and the Defiant manoeuvre their way through the mazes of Mist politics. This becomes a race against the clock, as ordinary matter, people and ships, can only be in Mist-space for a couple of hours before they can never shift back.

This story is flawed in several respects. The premise is barely justified with a bit of hand-waving, not even meeting the loose standards of science fiction that usually apply in Star Trek. Although the authors have managed to capture the diction and personality of the main characters, they don't expand the characterization at all; none of them make any changes of experience or situation. The first-person viewpoint is wasted; the authors show nothing of the inner Sisko which differs from the character well-known to viewers and readers. Even the television series has "station log" voice-overs that show more internalization than this novel has.

The tale is set within the framing device of The Captain's Table. Sisko is vacationing on Bajor, and finds an unlikely tavern with a sign in English. He wanders in and finds himself in a much more multi-racial milieu than one would ever normally find on the Bajoran homeworld. In it, he meets Sotugh, the Klingon captain who is his nemesis in much of the encounter with the Mist, as well as some other characters, including an enigmatic bartender named Cap.

But the framing story doesn't do much either. The events in the tavern don't really affect Sisko. The tavern itself is a rather clichéd nexus between worlds with no specific location; it isn't really rationalized except as "magic."  The most significant character revelation is that Sisko has a taste for jambalaya, not really a surprise. The story rambles off into a confused dénouement which has Captain Janeway entering the tavern and being urged to tell a story. This last bit is a bit distracting, and properly belongs in the next novel in the series. After this, the book ends in a ten-page bio of Benjamin Sisko, which summarizes the events of the first five seasons of Deep Space Nine.

The Mist is a cute idea for a story which is largely unrealized. It doesn't add much to the compendium of Star Trek novels. It seems more of a contract fulfillment than a story written for readers. Completists may wish to pick up a copy.

Copyright © 1998 by Alexander von Thorn

Alexander von Thorn works two jobs, at The Worldhouse (Toronto's oldest game store) and in the network control centre of UUNET Canada. In his spare time, he is active in several fan and community organizations, including the Toronto in 2003 Worldcon bid. He is also a game designer, novelist-in-training (with the Ink*Specs, the Downsview speculative fiction writing circle), feeder of one dog and two cats, and avid watcher of bad television. He rarely sleeps.

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