Everyone’s got their favorite Star Trek Captain – they’ve all have amazing and inspiring attributes that it’s almost impossible to pick between them. You would think that being one of the producers, writers and indeed creators of Star Trek: Voyager would mean that Jeri Taylor would know the character of Captain Kathryn Janeway about as well as anyone possibly could, and judging by Mosaic, this is absolutely true.
Published in 1996, Mosaic was considered ‘canon’ by Star Trek: Voyager writing staff for most of its run.
The story is set during Star Trek: Voyagers second season (Kes and the Kazon appear here) and Janeway’s attempts to rescue an away team consisting of Tuvok, Kim, Neelix, Kes and others from a planet, all the while trying to defend Voyager from a surprise attack by a fierce Kazon sect that leaves her fighting a desperate battle on two fronts: while she duels the Kazon warship in the gaseous mists of a murky nebula, she is also being plagued by mysterious dreams. It’s through these dreams we are let into a few secrets of Janeways past, secrets she’s tried to keep hidden even from herself.
As good and exciting as the Delta Quadrant exploits are, the real meat of the story comes via flashbacks that shine insight into one of my favorite Star Trek characters.
We get fascinating glimpses into Janeways life, from her her childhood in Indiana (Jeri Taylor is also from Indiana), her relationships with her family and of course, her decision to join Starfleet – in particular choosing the command track route. You’ll see the intimate moments that defined her as a person: her first time solving a math problem, her relationships with her father and sister and important first meetings with Admiral Owen Paris and a certain Vulcan security chief that help develop the characters of Tom Paris and indeed Tuvok himself.
Mosaic is the most in depth look at Janeways psyche that I think we’ve ever seen or read. It sheds new light on Voyager episodes such as ‘Coda’ and ‘Hunters’ and you’ll definitely feel like you’ll understand her loneliness, isolation and that almost maniacal need to get her crew back safely home. I like to think of Mosaic as a companion piece to ‘Tapestry’ as we learn as much here about what makes Janeway who she is as we did about Picard in that phenomenal TNG episode.
Jeri Taylor’s writing style is fast paced and very descriptive. She sets scenes very well – it’s like you’re there with the characters. It’s also almost entirely character driven and as you’d expect all the characters act and feel exactly as they should, but the real revelation here is the ‘voice’ Taylor has found for Janeway herself. Simply put, through reading about her early triumphs and tragedies I felt like I knew Janeway so much better when I’d finished Mosaic than I did after watching seven seasons of Voyager.
For the sake of thoroughness, I also listened through the abridged audio book of Mosaic and it was also brilliant. Read with aplomb by Janeway herself, Kate Mulgrew. Mulgrew’s performance was spot on and she seemed to be enjoying herself (her ‘Doctor’ is so much fun) which meant I did too, and as with all Simon & Schuster Star Trek audios, the production values are great with all the music and SFX really drawing you in to this fascinating look at my favorite Star Trek Captain.
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