Reviews of stories from Strange New Worlds 9 may contain minor spoilers.
"Staying the Course" is an excellent story about Worf and Alexander by Paul C. Tseng. The episode "Firstborn" (TNG) gave us a glimpse into a possible future where Alexander became a Klingon diplomat (a seeming contradiction of terms), but came back in time to make himself more of a warrior, believing this could prevent his father's death. In that episode Worf said he now realized that Alexander had his own destiny, and that it would be a great one. We get to see that great destiny in this story.
It's a touching portrayal of Klingon honor and the loyalty between father and son. Tseng succesfully draws on what we already know of Worf and Alexanders past and portrays a plausible, and very moving future.
"Solace in Bloom" by Jeff D. Jaques reintroduces Picard's friend Louis and the Atlantis project from the episode "Family" (TNG). It takes place during the war with the Dominion. When I first read the story I thought it was a great idea to take that character and that project and use them as the basis for a story. When I had a chance to watch "Family" again, I appreciated "Solace in Bloom" even more.
The story features flashbacks of Louis and Picard growing up. In "Family" there is an exchange between Louis and Picard refering to the very events portrayed in the flashbacks. Jaques succesfully takes a couple of obscure lines of dialogue and turns them into a great character story.
In terms of sheer entertainment value, one of the real highlights of this book is the Enterprise story "Rounding a Corner Already Turned" by Allison Cain. If you don't know what happens in this story, don't let anyone tell you untill you read it for yourself. By the third page you will know what I mean.
Reviews of other stories to follow . . .