Star Trek 884: The Big Game

884. The Big Game

PUBLICATION: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine #4, Pocket Books, November 1993

CREATORS: Sandy Schofield (pen name for the collaborative team of Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch)

STARDATE: Unknown (between The Storyteller and Progress)

PLOT: Quark invites a number of known rogues to his first annual high stakes poker championship, but when one of the competitors is murdered, Odo enters the tournament to ferret out the killer. Meanwhile, the station is rocked by subspace disturbances that also threaten nearby Bajoran and Cardassian ships. The Cardassians are blaming DS9 and threatening war. Down at Quark's, a power outage covers an attempted murder, but Odo captures the killer who tried to cop a plea by giving Sisko information on his subspace problems. Seems they are caused by the Ghost Riders, phased hunters out to capture energy creatures called the Espiritu. O'Brien modifies some runabouts to go into phased space and the Riders are bumped back into normal space. Meanwhile, Odo continues to play and wins the whole pot against Grand Nagus Zek's final hand, despite having just learned the game (he knows people) and the many cheating schemes of the participants. He gives all the money to the Bajoran Children's Fund.

CONTINUITY: Among the players at Quark's game, we find Zek and his son Krax (The Nagus), Berlinghoff Rasmussen (A Matter of Time), Cynthia Jones who is a descendent of Cyrano Jones (The Trouble with Tribbles) and has a sterile tribble with her, the Duras Sisters (last seen in Past Prologue), and Etana Jol (The Game). Other characters on show include Danar (Past Prologue), George Primmin (The Passenger, Move Along Home) and of course Maihar'du. This may just be the first appearance of Bashir's tuxedo (Our Man Bashir). The Ghost Riders use phase cloak technology stolen from the Romulans (The Next Phase, its events are mentioned).

DIVERGENCES: I'll leave the likelihood of Garak, Lursa and B'Etor being good poker players up to you. Bashir should be an incredible card counter because he's a mutant, but this his portrayal is correct for the first season. The crawl spaces used by Jake and Nog don't resemble anything we've seen on the station. The Bajorans make use of Federation runabouts. Odo seems to think he won't be able to get a smell out of his clothes, but as he's proven earlier in the book, he doesn't own any clothes. And he doesn't have a sense of smell (If Wishes Were Horses).

REVIEW: Rather enjoyable, especially the poker elements. And while the "station shaking because of subspace phenomenon" subplot is something we've seen again and again, the reason behind the station's troubles is at least original and pays off nicely. The best thing about the novel is that the characters are all well captured, their voices recognizable. This is an especially good representation of the Odo-Quark relationship, Odo proving himself better at the art of the bluff. Good bits for almost every character, in fact, including Garak. The book does awkwardly transition between the various subplots by consistently going back in time a few moments rather than show simultaneous action. This device can work, but not here where it undercuts momentum. A couple of small mistakes (like a non-humanoid suddenly being described as humanoid, for example) can be distracting. Overall though, a good character piece with some ideas we haven't seen before.


De said...

The first batch of DS9 books were pretty good, this one in particular. I remember smiling upon seeing Rasmussen's name.

If you haven't already, give Betrayal a go. I thought it really captured the voice of the first season.


Blog Archive


5 Things to Like (21) Activities (23) Advice (74) Alien Nation (34) Aliens Say the Darndest Things (8) Alpha Flight (25) Amalgam (53) Ambush Bug (46) Animal Man (17) anime (52) Aquaman (70) Archetypes (14) Archie Heroes (10) Arrowed (20) Asterix (9) Atom (30) Avengers (58) Awards (33) Babylon 5 (140) Batman (677) Battle Shovel (13) Battlestar Galactica (134) Black Canary (22) BnB 2-in1 (40) Books (60) Booster Gold (16) Buck Rogers (11) Buffy (6) Canada (70) Captain America (69) Captain Marvel (55) Cat (156) CCGs (50) Charlton (12) Circles of Hell (6) Class (11) Comics (3959) Comics Code Approved (12) Conan (15) Contest (13) Cooking (15) Crisis (77) Daredevil (33) Dating Kara Zor-El (5) Dating Lois Lane (23) Dating Lucy Lane (13) Dating Princess Diana (11) DCAU (404) Deadman (9) Dial H (128) Dice (10) Dinosaur Island (16) Dinosaurs (67) Director Profiles (9) Doctor Who (1676) Doom Patrol (22) Down the Rabbit Hole (7) Dr. Strange (17) Encyclopedia (28) Fantastic Four (56) Fashion Nightmares (19) Fiasco (14) Films Within Films (6) Flash (83) Flushpoint (86) Foldees (12) French (49) Friday Night Fights (57) Fun with Covers (56) FW Team-Up (37) Galleries (9) Game design (26) Gaming (111) Geekly roundup (762) Geeks Anonymous (47) Geekwear (13) Gimme That Star Trek (60) Godzilla (53) Golden Age (431) Grant Morrison (75) Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction (8) Green Arrow (50) Green Lantern (87) Hawkman (39) Hero Points Podcast (13) Holidays (241) House of Mystery (15) Hulk (44) Human Target (8) Improv (34) Inspiration (45) Intersect (5) Invasion Podcast (44) Iron Man (50) Jack Kirby (87) Jimmy Olsen (74) JLA (94) JSA (25) K9 the Series (30) Kirby Motivationals (18) Krypto (202) Kung Fu (98) Learning to Fly (11) Legion (129) Letters pages (6) Liveblog (12) Lonely Hearts Podcast (21) Lord of the Rings (18) Machine Man Motivationals (10) Man-Thing (6) Marquee (89) Masters of the Universe (9) Memes (39) Memorable Moments (35) Metal Men (5) Metamorpho (65) Millennium (72) Mini-Comics (5) Monday Morning Macking (7) Movies (457) Mr. Terrific (6) Music (73) Nelvana of the Northern Lights (8) Nightmare Fuel (21) Number Ones (59) Obituaries (41) oHOTmu OR NOT? (76) Old52 (11) One Panel (290) Outsiders (165) Panels from Sheena (5) Paper Dolls (7) Play (76) Podcast (488) Polls (5) Questionable Fridays (13) Radio (18) Rants (20) Reaganocomics (8) Recollected (11) Red Bee (26) Red Tornado (10) Reign (563) Retro-Comics (3) Reviews (52) Rom (116) RPGs (539) Sandman (21) Sapphire & Steel (37) Sarah Jane Adventures (70) Saturday Morning Cartoons (5) SBG for Girls (4) Seasons of DWAITAS (100) Secret Origins Podcast (8) Secret Wars (25) SF (30) Shut Up Star Boy (1) Silver Age (368) Siskoid as Editor (34) Siskoid's Mailbox (10) Space 1999 (51) Spectre (20) Spider-Man (100) Spring Cleaning (15) ST non-fiction (19) ST novels: DS9 (8) ST novels: S.C.E. (19) ST novels: The Shat (2) ST novels: TNG (9) ST novels: TOS (13) Star Trek (1711) Streaky (2) Suicide Squad (38) Supergirl (89) Superman (1060) Supershill (11) Swamp Thing (23) Tales from Earth-Prime (7) Team Horrible (4) Teen Titans (83) That Franchise I Never Talk About (53) The Orville (29) The Prisoner (5) The Thing (54) Then and Now (4) Theory (51) Thor (52) Thursdays of Two Worlds (43) Time Capsule (8) Timeslip (7) Tintin (23) Torchwood (62) Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms (5) Toys (65) Turnarounds (7) TV (193) V (6) Waking Life (1) Warehouse 13 (9) Websites (102) What If? (103) Who's This? (203) Whoniverse-B (11) Wikileaked (3) Wonder Woman (82) X-Files (246) X-Men (102) Zero Hour Strikes (26) Zine (5)