Each year brings another Strange New Worlds anthology. And for eight years I have looked at them on the shelf, thumbed through them, but never picked one up for myself. This year I finally bought one and was delighted by theses stories written by fans who have little if any work professionally published before. While I am not planning on reviewing every story in the book, I do want to progressively share some of the highlights.
Reviews may contain minor spoilers.
Tribbles, Tribbles and More Tribbles
Tribbles are perhaps the most beloved non-humanoid aliens in the Star Trek universe. The very word has worked its way into mainstream vocabulary right along side so many other trek-isms. Three stories in this volume deal with the prolific furballs. I will comment on two of them. I will leave the third one for you to discover rather than give away the ending of that story.
The first tale of Tribbles is "A Bad Day for Koloth," by David DeLee. This story picks up where "The Trouble with Tribbles" (TOS) ends. Scotty beamed the tribbles over to the Klingon ship, now we see the results of that prank from the Klingon's point of view. It takes a classic moment from a classic story and adds a new, light-hearted chapter. "A Bad Day for Koloth" benefits greatly from the tapestry of information we now have about Klingon culture—it takes advantage of the insights and vocabulary that we have gained over forty years of Star Trek. This makes the story much more "complete" than it could have been back when the original episode aired.
Ryan M. Williams' story "The Tribble's Pagh" deals with a Tribble infestation on Bajor - tribbles that came back during the Defiant's trip to the past ("Trials and Tribble-ations," DS9). Williams does a very good job of capturing the rich background of Deep Space Nine, it's characters, and the Bajoran culture. He also provides some insights into Tribble biology. There's a brief explanation from Doctor Bashir of how the Tribbles can be 'born pregnant' (as Doctor McCoy observed long before). Another passage gives insight into their anatomy, "...the Tribble was extending fleshy nubs through its fur, which used suction to grip surfaces. It accounted for their amazing ability to climb wall and get into anything. When a tribble was picked up, the nubs retracted back beneath the protective fur."