I don’t watch (or even own a) TV, consequently I rarely read fan fiction, because I’d never know the characters it’s all about. Aside from her *excellent* short stories, Fletcher DeLancey writes about the Star Trek universe, and so I was not too willing to tackle one of her novel-sized works. ‘Without a Front’, however, starts with the Voyager leaving the planet of Alsea, and the story develops without falling back on the series.
So, problem solved for the reviewer? Not quite. The problem is the ‘LABELS’ to be assigned to the reviews. Obviously, as a spin-off, this could be termed a ‘Star Trek Uber’, but it stands on its own. And though the main protagonists are both female, Alseans can conceive regardless of gender, so ‘F/F’ doesn’t seem to fit, either. I’ll take the coward’s way out, and leave the labelling to the Rev…
Andira Tal is the ‘Lancer’, the highest office on Alsea, and she is devastated to watch the Voyager leave, having fallen in love with Captain Janeway. Not only that, the new replicator technology, that needs to be introduced into Alsea’s economy, creates no end of problems for the head of state.
Salomen Opah heads a farm, and is thus a member of the ‘producer’ caste. When she stands in for another member of her caste in the Council, she and Andira instantly develop both dislike and respect for one another. She challenges the lancer to a ‘moon’ of sharing each other’s places.
Alseans are all capable of ’empathy’, but some of them are more so than others. It turns out that Salomen has the gift in extraordinary measure, but has never been trained how to focus it. Andira agrees to fill in on the training.
It is really impossible to summarise the interaction of Andira and Salomen, and while these are the main characters of this story, there are more besides — Micah, Andira’s chief guard and friend, or Herot, Salomen’s brother, are but two of the dramatis personae described in detail, that also contribute to the development of the plot.
Fletcher DeLancey does not shy away from confrontations, in fact, some of the most intense moments in the story are just about that. The reader may well be left breathless; a roller-coaster ride comes to mind. Come to think of it, it is also a perfect example of the ‘fear and pity’ principle I learned about in literature classes 🙂
By word count, ‘Without a Front’ takes up about one third of the bible, so set some time aside to read it. But it is time well spent; characters, plot, and editing are flawless, but then I’ve come to expect that of this author.
Highly recommended reading.
Just wanted to say this is one of my all-time favorites. I liked "Without a Front" so much, that I actually decided to read Fletcher's ST:U stories. The odd thing about this is that I'm generally not a Sci-Fi fan.The book was well-written, the characters well-developed and the story well told. After I finished reading it, I did something I'd never done before–I wrote the author and told her how much I enjoyed her work.
Here's what I did:I changed "uber" to "original" but left the "Voyager" tag so that readers interested in Voyager-like fics would be able to find it easily.
It's set in within an original setting, so it should technically fit under original. 🙂 One of the characters was introduced in a ST:V story, that's true, but the context is original. 🙂
After reading the review, I'm decided that the f/f, Voyager, uber labels would fit well. If after reading the piece you don't agree, please let us know.Thanks, Rev