29 MayWatching the Clock 18

Did you know I started a Star Trek book club on Goodreads? No? Well then what are you waiting for, go join!

DTI Watching the ClockIn preparation for the club’s first official pick – DTI: Forgotten History by Christopher L Bennett – I wanted to read the first book in this new Trek series. Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations: Watching the Clock by Christopher L Bennett asks the question.. when our favourite characters go mucking about with time travel, who deals with the repercussions?

Enter the DTI team.

If you’ve seen the Deep Space 9 episode “Trials and Tribble-ations”, then you’ve already met two of this book’s main characters. Lucsly and Dulmur are introduced in that episode, investigating the temporal incident where the Defiant ends up back in the NCC-1701′s era. And though this incident is mentioned in the book, it’s not what the story is about.

The Department of Temporal Investigations is tasked with protecting the timeline and making sure nobody violates the Temporal Prime Directive. Of course with personalities like Kirk, Picard, Janeway et al who keep mucking about with time travel, the DTI have their work cutout for them.

The story largely centers around Lucsly and Dulmur, though we’re introduced to other DTI agents and their DTI duties.

I have to say, I really enjoyed this book. Time travel Trek episodes tend to be some of my favorites, so so I can’t say I’m surprised I liked this one. I especially liked the fact that while it is a Trek book, it’s not Starfleet-centric. It’s nice to see another slice of Federation life. The fact that for once Starfleet has a watchdog is great. As fun as it is for our known crews to go jumping around time all willy-nilly, there are consequences to their travels.

I also enjoyed the fact that this book showed us more than one team from the department, and that each team member’s experiences are different. Though my initial impressions was that the story was going to be told from Dulmur’s point of view, it actually goes between our leads. The book also jumps back and forth within it’s own timeline as it world builds for the DTI. I can imagine it was a tricky for the author to have so many jumps between time and character, and not confuse the reader with all the threads he was telling. He did a masterful job of keeping things tied up together.

Many of the storylines we find in the various TV series were brought together as well, which is an effort in itself.

My only complaint with this is that while I didn’t find the jumps in time confusing, the time stamps themselves were. I’ve never had an easy time figuring out Trek’s stardates, so the alternative calendars added a bit more confusion for me. However if I ignored them and just focused on the Downtime / Present time indicators I had no trouble following the timelines.

I’d also like to warn interested readers that this book has a high level of tech talk and technobabble in it. Though I enjoy the technical side (I play an engineer in the Trek RPG I’m a member of, so I’m used to techspeak myself), I can see people who aren’t used to it having to pay a bit more attention.

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It had shades of Men in Black, James Bond, and many other spy books. I give this four stars! Can’t wait to sink my teeth into the next one.

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