VGR: Places of Exile

Myriad Universes Infinity's PrismMyriad Universes: Infinity’s Prism: Places of Exile

Midway through Voyager’s journey across the galaxy, Captain Kathryn Janeway and Commander Chakotay must choose whether to brave a deadly war zone or abandon their quest for home. But an attack by Species 8472 cripples the ship, and the stranded crew must make new choices that will reshape their destinies . . . and that  of the Delta Quadrant itself.

  • “[T]he audacity of the story, and its faithfulness to the spirit of what Voyager was supposed to be, is simply outstanding.  Bennett, no stranger to world-building, delves deeply into the task of evolving a reality for the crew of a stranded Voyager that speaks to the hope of acceptance and involvement that many refugees seek when confronted with life in an alien society.” — Robert Lyons,
  • “Bennett creates another fascinating society making this a must for fans of Voyager.” — Jeff Ayers,
  • “It’s Voyager for a post-Ron Moore’s Galactica world, one where decisions have consequences and there’s no reset button. But there’s still hope and optimism. It’s a story that should appeal to Voyager’s fans and critics.” — Steve Roby, Starfleet Library
  • “It’s a great use of many of the characters, with… the kind of fresh thinking I like about Bennett’s Star Trek work.” — John Freeman, Star Trek Magazine #14

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Voyager was… how shall I put it?… a show with abundant unrealized potential.  There were many possibilities in its characters and premise that it rarely fulfilled, preferring to emphasize episodic adventure tales over in-depth development of story and character arcs.  “Scorpion,” the two-parter that bridged the third and fourth seasons, was a crucial example.  When Voyager‘s premise was first announced, many fans expressed concern; Star Trek, they said, should be about boldly questing into the unknown, not retreating from it.  But the producers assured us that the crew would soon enough get over its longing for home and get caught up in the wonders of the Delta Quadrant.  Unfortunately, it was two years before they acted on this assurance.  I first pitched to VGR in its third season, and the producers’ pitch letter for that season told prospective writers, “It’s time for our crew to stop moaning about how far from home they are and begin to embrace their adventure.”  Indeed, that season saw a shift away from search-for-home stories (aside from “False Profits” early in the year).

But then came “Scorpion,” in which Janeway made an insanely dangerous deal with the devil merely to continue making progress along a journey she had no realistic hope of completing in her lifetime.  From that point on, the Rubicon was crossed; the show could never again be about anything but the quest for home.  To me, that makes “Scorpion” the most pivotal moment of decision in the series, the point where it decided once and for all what the show would fundamentally be about.  I was always intrigued by the road they didn’t take, by what might have happened if the characters had committed to building a life in the Delta Quadrant.

Also, since I got to pitch for VGR twice, I came up with a lot of ideas for it.  Many of those ideas had to be scuttled when the show dropped Kes and left behind the region of space it had occupied in the first three seasons.  And none of the others ever made it to the screen.

So naturally, when I learned that Marco Palmieri was developing an alternate-history miniseries, I leaped at the chance to pitch the idea, “What if Voyager had turned back?”  It took over three years for the project to get off the ground, and I was probably one of the first to sign onboard.  Originally I was hoping for a full-length novel, planning to work in as many of my unused ideas as possible.  I ended up having to trim it down considerably, making for a tighter story.  Ideally I would have liked another 10,000 words, but it was good training in concise storytelling.

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  1. ED
    December 3, 2019 at 1:56 pm

    Mr Bennett, as a fan of MYRIAD UNIVERSES may I please ask which timeline* from any of the three books you would most like to write some new story for, assuming you were allowed complete freedom to do so?

    *Aside from your own, of course, an answer which would make this question a little TOO easy. (-;

    • December 3, 2019 at 2:58 pm

      Hmm, I never really thought about it. I wouldn’t want to intrude on the other authors’ worlds without their invitation. One thing I have always wondered about, though, is how STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE happened in “The Chimes at Midnight” — how did they deal with V’Ger in Spock’s absence? For that matter, the whole “Yesteryear” timeline raises a big question about how the Enterprise survived all those situations in TOS where Spock singlehandedly saved the day.

  2. ED
    December 4, 2019 at 9:51 am

    Clearly Thelin of Andor must be a First Officer worthy of the name in his own right! (-:

    Personally I’d love to see more of the LESS PERFECT UNION setting; there’s something fascinating in the idea of a timeline where the two halves of the Federation had to go it alone for the better part of a century (if only the opportunity to work out what that ought to look like, in terms of uniforms & ships designs).

    I also find the United Earth/Interstellar Coalition/Klingon Empire/Romulan Star Empire set-up more than a little fascinating – quite a lot of room to examine Great Power relationships in what must be a fairly tricky diplomatic situation after the memorable Babel Conference depicted in the original short story.

    Having said that my enduring fondness for Andorians, Captain Sulu and the post-WRATH OF KHAN milieu also leaves me passionately interested in TEARS OF ERIDANUS; one can only wonder how ‘Eridanus’ version of the Meiji Restoration will impact the clash between the Interstellar Union and the Klingons.

    Also, the question of how Nausicaans fare in a Starfleet-type organisation has to be worth answering in its own right!

    Thank You as ever Mr Bennett for taking the time & trouble to answer my queries! (-:

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