When Discovery debuted on Paramount Plus or CBS Access or whatever it was, we were perfectly content to wait until it came out on DVD. But Tracy insisted that we watch Picard first run. I do remember there was some discussion on this board at the time, most of it positive. But I had my misgivings (although admittedly not nearly as many as I had had with Discovery). I now intend to watch season one a second time in order to determine both its strengths as well as its weaknesses. Here is what lies ahead...
2. Maps and Legends
3. The End is the Beginning
4. Absolute Candor
5. Stardust City Rag
6. The Impossible Box
8. Broken Pieces
9. Et In Arcadia Ego, Part 1
10. Et In Arcadia Ego, Part 2
I was thinking more that they've been put on "trial" more than once.
PICARD: THE LAST BEST HOPE: This book, by Una McCormack, is a prequel to the Picard television series. The TV show gives us all we really need (by way of flashbacks) to appreciate the backstory; this novel is for those who crave details. The Autobiography of Jen-Luc Picard tells his life story through Nemesis (the last TNG movie), and Picard: LBH picks up after that. It covers the years 2381-2385 (which, those familiar with the TV show recognize as the year of the synth uprising on Mars). It's funny when you think of how many books were set during Kirk's five year mission, and this book covers five years itself.
Plot: The main thrust of the story deals with the discovery that Hobus, the Romulan star, is going to go nova and the Federation's efforts to evacuate the Romulan people. For those who may have wondered why Starfleet would have build an entire "race" of synths for manual labor, this book explains that (to my satisfaction, anyway).
Science: I question the science, though. In Star Trek (2009), it was established that the explosion of Hobis would threaten systems within a 10 lightyear radius. First of all, I've never heard of a nova having that kind of range, but given that, wouldn't it give them 10 years to evacuate the outermost planets? In the TV show, the blast range was scaled back to just the system, but in the book it's back to 10 light years (well, 9.7 at first) again.
Continuity: The story surrounding these events has been touched upon in five different sources, both canon and non-canon: Star Trek (2009), Star Trek: Countdown (comic book series), Picard (TV show), Picard: Countdown (comic book series) and Picard: The Last Best Hope (prose). The canonical sources (movie and TV show) are somewhat skimpy on details, and the non-canonical sources (comic books and prose) are somewhat contradictory.
For example, in Picard: Countdown, the Enterprise must be assigned to the evacuation because it is the flagship; in Last Best Hope, in cannot be for the same reason. Who is in command of the Enterprise during this time period? In Picard: Countdown it is Jean-Luc Picard; in Last Best Hope it is Worf; in Star Trek: Countdown it is Data. But how can it be Data? He was destroyed in Nemesis. Countdown doesn't really make that clear, but nearly 10 years passed between Nemesis and the explosion of Hobus during which anything could have happened. The last we saw of "B4" (Data's duplicate), he was was beginning to access some of Data's downloaded memories. But why was it Worf in Last Best Hope (or, more specifically, why wasn't it Picard)?
Metatext: In addition to having written eight previous Star Trek novels, Una McCormack she is also the author of four Doctor Who novels and her daughter's name is Verity (as in "Lambert"). Once it was decided Captain Picard was to lead the mission but couldn't command the Enterprise, guess the name of the ship to which he was reassigned.
Characters: This book introduces Raffi Musiker and it also details how Bruce Maddox and Agnes Jurati met. Spock is mentioned briefly, but his part in the story is still two years in the future. Laris and Zhaban don't come in until the last page, but that's a flash-forward. Seven-of-Nine is not mentioned at all, but there are still 14 years left to cover between the synth uprising and the beginning of the TV series.
Purpose: I definitely see Last Best Hope as an allegory for current world politics, and the Romulan Nova is certainly the symbol for global warming. I also see some other parallels (pandemic, immigration, etc.) although some are just my interpretation because the events I see foreshadowed hadn't yet happened at the time the book was published. I don't see too many individual roman a clef people, although the Romulan scientist reminds me an awful lot of Anthony Fauci. Here are some examples...
Climate change: It is broadly hinted that the problem with Hobus is not natural, but somehow manmade. (An online source speculates that an attempt by the Tal Shiar to destabilize a transwarp conduit negatively impacted the star. There are other hypotheses as well, but this is the one I like best.) The reason is not specified in the novel.
Climate change deniers: "Suddenly, Picard understood. This was no ploy of Kurrem's to wrongfoot him. He was not trying to discompose Picard; he was not trying to gain some advantage over him in their negotiations. He... simply did not believe [that the Romulan sun would go nova]. A chill went down his spine."
Disputed election results: "For a moment, Picard was at a loss for what to say. How could he counter this? This was beyond denial. This was delusion impervious to evidence or reason."
Fox News: "We receive limited information out here. The [Romulan] senator controls which news services are able to broadcast in the district, and in the past few months we've been able to watch only one."
Bottom line: If you are one of those people who likes details fleshed out and are a fan of the TV show , you will probably enjoy this book. If you haven't seen the show but plan to, you may even decide to read this book first.
Under Characters I forgot to mention the introduction of Elnor and the "warrior nuns" of the Qowat Milat.
Style: I also forgot to mention that each chapter begins with a "Captain's Log"... quite lengthy ones, two pages. Also, whenever a conversation is being held over a communicator or screen, the dialogue of the person who is not physically present is presented in italics for some reason (which I found annoying).