Homeworlds : Volume three of the Travelers' Tales
The third volume of the Travelers' Tales was recently released and offers up another packed anthology of Stargate stories covering SG1 and Atlantis from established authors and two competition winners. Homeworlds is edited by Sally Malcolm and is currently only available as an ebook from the usual places, I bought my copy from Amazon UK for a very appealing £3.92
I've tried to keep spoiler free but one or two plot aspects will be mentioned in my thoughts on each story (after a brief synopsis) so enjoy, buy the book and let everyone know what you thought. We await more new licensed Stargate novels from Fandemonium.
The Mysteries of Emege by Jo Graham
Athos the homeworld of the Athosian people has been abandoned after the awakening of the Hive thanks in no small part to the arrival of the Atlantis expedition into Pegasus. Teyla recounts an old tale of Emege the once great city of the Athosian culture which relates to the "gifts" the Ancients gave them, sword and shield. Rodney realises this could be literal truth and maybe Emege had drones and energy shields powered by a ZPM. The ruins of Emege are sacred though but Teyla believes she could get permission to investigate them with the ultimate goal of perhaps one day returning the people of Athos back to their homeworld.
Athos was never really fleshed out after the events of Rising so this story gave meat to the bones of the first people the expedition interacted with. It also gives hope for the future of Teyla's people few as they are going forward post events as told in the Legacy series.
In Passing by Susannah Parker Sinard
Jacob Carter and Selmak have passed, Samantha and members of Stargate Command are invited to the funeral on the first permanent Tok'ra settlement in countless generations. Old friends/associates are reunited and there are a few surprises for Sam and much bridge building to be done after the fall of the system lords.
All things pass as Susannah wrote and even our favoured characters move on as is in the real world but we know Selmak and Jacob achieved much together and some of the secrets revealed were most satisfying.
Worshipper by Melissa Scott
Gemmion Saer had served about her queens Hive for many years, her devotion and integration were complete and was perhaps a perfect example of the blending of the two species if slightly one sided. After the rise of Alabaster and the arrangement with the Lanteans the people of Tanator (a feeding colony) are offered the retrovirus which would allow feeding without the risk of death, they have refused much to the surprise of Ice their queen and now the powers of Pegasus meet on Tantor to resolve the issue before the fragile arrangement can be broken.
The ramifications of the retrovirus and deals between Lanteans and Wraith continue to be explored by Melissa, we once again get excellent background into the Wraith culture and the pitfalls the are always surrounding such a complex social interaction.
Blinded by the Light by Barbara Ellisor
SG1 gate to P23-796 and find some creepy trees and an old weathered path leading into the distance, the UAV having completed its search lands and awaits collection. A flash of light is spotted between some trees and the team go to investigate despite a nagging feeling gaining strength for Jack. There is a small mammal camouflaged on a tree trunk, harmless it seems and then the trouble starts and SG1 find themselves in a race for their lives back to the gate.
Barbara was a Gatecon writing competition winner and it's gratifying to see hard work in the amateur writing field be rewarded. Star Trek does something along the same lines with Strange New Worlds. This is a classic SG1 story, the team facing dangers and maybe being a little too reckless but always cleaning up their own embarrassing mistakes.
Second Time Sateda by Ron Francis
Word comes to Atlantis that there are Satedan refugees returning to their homeworld but Ronon has his doubts, the long established choice to refrain from returning to a culled world/settlement has protected thousands over the years from being easy pickings by Wraith scavenging former targets. The team decide to pay Sateda a visit to confirm the identity of these people and if required offer assistance. As they exit the gate they find themselves in a hell of screams and explosions as darts race across the skies and energy bots and gunfire ripple across the city.
Sateda has long been a rich source of storytelling not used to its full extent by the tv series but a favoured resource in literature. Ron combines known flaws of the gate and the endless well of Sateda narrative waiting to be written to offer a story that combines great action and solid character interaction.
Sun-Breaker by Keith R.A. DeCandido
The General Hammond commanded by Colonel Carter receives word from Rak'nor requesting a meeting, he reveals that the Lucian Alliance may have visited a long abandon world once controlled by Heru'ur. With limited scope to confront the Alliance the decision is made to send the Hammond to investigate the planet's star which when scanned seems to have changed status from historically recorded observations. What are the Alliance upto and can Rak'nor and Teal'c shine light onto the mystery while Sam draws the attention away from the convert mission.
The Alliance were always a little difficult to accept in the tv series but in this respect the smaller scale of the story works well with them being the antagonists. It was great to see Jennifer Hailey serving aboard the Hammond and a look at some of tech the Goa'uld played around with in their war against each other and the rest of the galaxy.
The Player on the Other Side by Amy Griswold
The Ancient sociological device which caused so many problems once it got into the hands of Rodney and Lorne once again shows signs that it is manipulating a world and it's people. There is no indication anyone on Atlantis is to blame and Rodney does discover the originating signals are off planet with the device routing them onwards. The team gate to the planet where the new Oracle is located and discover a small settlement which has electrical power and other facilities which together wave a red flag towards any passing Hive.
There is never a bad side to expanding on events or items first introduced in the series especially the "game" and Oracle which were shown to have huge scope and thus it's logical there would be more than one instance of its use. Amy writes a story that side steps the original tale and gives the Lanteans a more complex problem to deal with assuming they are not executed for claiming these people are not the chosen of their god.
Sweet Herbs and Freedom by Suzanne Wood
Linea having escaped from Stargate Command with a handful of gate addresses seeks out a community which will provide her the means to carry on with her abhorrent medical research with the ultimate goal to reek revenge on her own people. She arrives at a world with a thriving settlement and sets herself up as a healer, she hears about the Goa'uld which could offer an interesting line of research but first a few experiments on these people before she moves on.
Linea featured in two episodes of SG1 but I think Suzanne did an excellent job of filling out her backstory and underlining how dangerous and evil this woman actually was. The potential consequences of Linea incorporating Goa'uld medical data into her experiments are terrifying but the story roles really hits the high point with the chance meeting of certain characters on this world, wonderfully done.
Going Home by Aaron Rosenberg
John, Teyla, Ronon and Rodney are back on Earth to be debriefed by the IOA and General O'Neill arranges some R&R but before they can indulge he asks them to do some field work. The SGC is under lock down thanks to an alien infection so the Atlantis team is all they have with the required clearance, the mission to locate and secure a scientist named Dr. Acuna who lives in New York.
Aaron presents a humorous adventure as the Atlantis team get to visit the Big Apple on what turns out to be a more complicated retrieval mission than expected but hey fun and games on the subway, secured apartment blocks, styrofoam miniature stargates and pastrami.
They Shoot Heroes, Don't They? by Geonn Cannon
SG1 gate to a world and come across some children playing what looks like a friendly but intense engagement between Goa'uld and an SG team, the children are shocked to see SG1 standing there and run away. SG1 are invited to stay and are complemented on the accuracy of their outfits and dedication to the part, confusion abounds but Daniel thinks he knows what is going on but dare he tell Jack?
Gotta admit this would have made a great episode of the series if for nothing else than seeing Daniel attempt to explain the idea of cosplay to the rest of the team and the historical precedent of wandering troupes of players being the method of spreading the stories/news of the day. Of course SG1 and the other team's exploits are spread as refugees use the gate system but the fall of the Gods would indeed by epic storytelling.
Overall Homeworlds : Volume three of the Travelers' Tales is a sold anthology although I preferred many of the stories from the first two collections but hey that's just me. At the price and with the hope of more to come it's a no brainer purchase for any fan of Stargate SG1 or Atlantis.