A Facebook post by Keith R. A. DeCandido, about a book review someone had written on A Time for War, A Time for Peace, got me thinking about the next book in that series’ line: Articles of the Federation; (which, basically, is about Nanietta Bacco’s first 100 days [and, more], as the United Federation of Planets lawfully-elected new president). Coming to the halls of power fresh off the trail from a hotly-contested election, and the scandal-ripe resignation of Min Zife, this Cestus III powerhouse must try to unite her government, deal with the collapsing Romulan Empire and keep the Klingons from mounting a full-scale war over the conspiracy that was Tezwa; all while bringing a quadrant rife with confusion and mistrust to some semblance of peace, to implement order and control over a powder-keg that could blow at any second.
First, I must confess this, right-off-the-bat: it took 8 1/2 years for me to read this phenomenal book. (I have, since – apologized to Keith, and – have sung his praises over its brilliance, as-often as I can.) When I began reading it in June 2005, I found it boring, I couldn’t finish it; and-so, it went onto the shelf. But, Nan Bacco remained a constant, if-not memorable and commanding presence, in the novels that kept us going for the next nine years. It was her assassination, at the commencement ceremonies aboard the recently-rebuilt Deep Space Nine II, in David R. George III’s Star Trek The Fall: Revelation and Dust, that compelled me to revisit Articles of the Federation. See, President Bacco’s death came on the cusp of President John F. Kennedy’s somber 50th anniversary, as well; for me, Bacco’s death was, almost – as real, as JFK’s was, half a century ago. I remember reading those unbelievable passages over and over, mentally willing them not to be true… She couldn’t be gone!
Well, I guess it was fate, then, that I remembered Articles; as I was thirsty for anything, that might help me grieve! I needed to ‘hear’ her voice, to ‘see’ her, hale-and-hearty, in command, and – full of the fire that made her such a favorite amongst us readers. Keith was able to bring her to life so-vividly, too. I, now – couldn’t put Articles of the Federation down! It was brilliant! I’m not ashamed to say this, Articles is in my ‘Top Five List’ of the best Star Trek novels, ever-written.
It’s been about a year, since I read it, but I found another surprise, tonight, (while skimming it’s pages, to refresh my memory). Keith’s dedication (had I seen it, last year) gives great insight into what’s to play-out amidst these pages: history. It reads: For George, John, Thomas, James, James, John, Andrew, Martin, William, John, James, Zachary, Millard, Franklin, James, Abraham, Andrew, Ulysses, Rutherford, James, Chester, Grover, Benjamin, William, Theodore, William, Woodrow, Warren, Calvin, Herbert, Franklin, Harry, Dwight, John, Lyndon, Richard, Gerald, Jimmy, Ronald, George, Bill and George, for almost two hundred and thirty years of service.
Of course, with Articles of the Federation, Keith sprinkles-in the revered [then] 219 year history of the UFP, beginning in 2161. Keith manages to take us on a tour of, not-only the Palais de la Concorde, but he gives us the behind-the-scenes beaurocracy of the Federation Council and the wrangling inside the halls of justice, as well; from the nominations of Bacco’s cabinet and the inner-mechanizations of having those nominations passed and realized, to the state funeral of the beloved Jaresh-Inyo, all the way to a political current-events show called Illuminating the City of Light, (which is shown in several diverse locations throughout the book), Keith leaves no stone unturned. Mr. DeCandido breathes-life into a plethora of new characters who walk these hallowed halls, making-up Bacco’s administration, as-well-as the leaders and dignitaries of dozens of worlds, while remembering the storied-histories of the 14 [named] presidents, who’ve come before her.
Is Articles of the Federation canon? Absolutely-not; but it damn-well should be, because it provides the best reference to the rough-and-tumble life of Federation politics, (that reflects our own current-affairs, today), and how one woman rose above the fray to become the quadrant’s best hope for peace and posterity, for the 150-plus worlds that make up the United Federation of Planets. It gives us President Nanietta Bacco, penultimate leader of a free people, and the incomparable, hellfire, ‘don’t tread on me’ Commander-In-Chief of Starfleet.
In my closing, I’m going to mirror Keith DeCandido’s poignant dedication, by paying homage to these fictional leaders, from a future, as-yet, unseen. For Haroun, T’Maran, Avaranthi, Mazda, Kenneth, Lorne, Hiram, Ra-Ghoratreii, Thelianaresth, T’Pragh, Amitra, Jaresh, Min, Nanietta, and, now – Kellissar, for almost two hundred and twenty five years of service; boldly leading us to where no one has gone before…
Thanks, folks! That’s all for me. I highly-recommend Articles of the Federation, by Keith R. A. DeCandido, as a must read, for anyone who loves politics, or – Nan Bacco, for that matter. I’m looking-forward to some great novels over the next few-months, too. I’m reading David Mack’s Section 31: Disavowed, right now; yes… It’s a nail-biter! And, don’t forget to check out the eBooks, that are garnering some great reviews; as they’re fantastic!
‘Til, next-time, see ya ‘out there…’
Lt. Eric Cone