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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Q-Squared (Star Trek: The Next Generation) (abridged audiobook) by Peter David

A thoroughly entertaining audiobook experience

Published in 1994 by Simon and Schuster Audio Division
Read by John de Lancie
Duration: 2 hours, 59 minutes

I picked this one up at a library sale - they were clearing out all of their audiobooks on cassette. So, I picked up a bunch of them and dusted off the Sony Walkman (literally) and gave it a listen. Back in the day (1994) most audiobooks were edited to about 3 hours. This book was originally over 400 pages long so it was edited extensively as well, although the cover does not admit to it. That being said, the editing was very well done here. This could have been an extraordinarily confusing book considering that it bounces around in 3 different universes, but the editors have demonstrated a great deal of skill. All that being said, Q-Squared is not an audiobook for the Star Trek newbie.

John de Lancie as Q
In the original Star Trek, Captain Kirk and company encountered Trelane, a being of extraordinary power but very little maturity who called himself "the Squire of Gothos." Trelane captured the Enterprise, verbally sparred with Spock and Kirk and finally ended up in a sword fight with Kirk. He was just about to beat Kirk when Trelane's parents interceded and took their very naughty boy away and set the Enterprise free.

Peter David goes ahead and makes Trelane a member of the Q Continuum and has Q, the character from Star Trek: The Next Generation serve as Trelane's godfather. Trelane is basically working as an apprentice under Q as a favor to Q's friends, Trelane's parents. Trelane and Q come to Captain Picard's Enterprise to learn about humans and see how they operate.

But, Trelane gets a bellyfull of being told he's a nuisance and that he shouldn't use his awesome powers to make people he dislikes disappear. Trelane comes up with a plan...

There is a theory that there are actually multiple universes out there, not just one. This book follows three of them. The first is the standard Star Trek storyline. The second is a storyline in which the Federation and the Klingons are at war and the Federation is losing badly. The third is one in which Jack Crusher, husband of Dr. Beverly Crusher and best friend of Captain Picard is not dead. In fact, he is the Captain of the Enterprise, newly divorced from Dr. Crusher and Picard and Dr. Crusher are having a secret torrid affair.

Trelane's plan to get even with the Enterprise involves melting away the "walls" that separate these universes (and all of them, I suppose), blocking the Q Continuum from interfering and killing Q. But, Q does not die and the injured Q works his way through all 3 universes to fight Trelane with Picard's help. It is entertaining to listen to the interaction amongst them all and painful to listen to Trelane do his best to make Jack Crusher a source of even more pain for Dr. Crusher and Picard.

Trelane and his harpsichord in the original 
Star Trek series
The audiobook is read by John De Lancie, the actor who portrayed Q in the Star Trek: The Next Generation television shows. He captures the voice of his own character perfectly (of course) but he also nails the voice of Trelane as well with a manic and injured tone that captures his insanity and his dangerous side. Throw in some decent sound effects (including what has to be the loudest turbolift in Star Fleet...) and an interesting twist to the musical score that includes a harpsichord being played as Trelane's insanity builds to a crescendo (Trelane really enjoys the harpsichord) at the end of the book and you have a thoroughly entertaining audiobook experience.

I rate this audiobook 5 stars out of 5.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: Q-Squared by Peter David.

Reviewed on June 19, 2012.

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