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Literature / Star Trek: Gemworld

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A duology of books in the Star Trek Novelverse.

From the back cover of Book One:

Dazzling to behold, Gemworld is one of the wonders of The Federation: an artificial world composed entirely of crystal, its atmosphere held in place by a sophisticated network of force fields. Home to a half dozen different sentient races, this singular world is a low-gravity playpen of mammoth spires, endless fractal staircases, gemstone arcs, and dazzling prisms, all carefully nurtured by the planet's many inhabitants — until now. Lieutenant Melora Pazlar, who previously served on Deep Space Nine, is currently stationed aboard the Starship Enterprise where an urgent telepathic summons alerts her to the danger threatening her homeworld. The crystals that once sheltered her people, and several other alien species, are now growing at a vastly accelerated and uncontrollable rate, wreaking havoc throughout the planet. Captain Picard orders the Enterprise on a rescue mission to Gemworld, but they arrive to find a world in chaos — and an unexpected menace that traps the crew of the Enterprise along with the fragile civilization they hoped to save.

Not to be confused with the magical dimension Gemworld from the Verse of DC Comics (most prominent in Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld).

These novels contains examples of:

  • The Atoner: Melora Pazlar by the end of the second book, after killing a fellow native of Gemworld in a fit of anger.
    “Captain, I must atone for what I've done, and that means solitude and reflection for many shadow marks. My family and the Exalted Ones will then meet to discuss my fate. I know this is a time of great rejoicing all over Gemworld, but I can't take part in that. And I can't simply return to my duties as if nothing has happened”.
  • Body Horror: Elaysians who choose to serve and tend the Gendlii have growths of this intelligent fungus sprouting from their bodies, all over.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Averted with the Frills, who despite being reasonably friendly are perfectly happy to eat other sapient beings. If you respond to them with the fear of a prey animal, they'll attack and eat you. The Gemworld Accords do place limits on their feeding, though - typically they consume the bodies of other races following death.
  • Canon Immigrant: As stated, Melora Pazlar first appeared in an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, before joining the characters of Star Trek: The Next Generation here. She would go on to feature in Star Trek: Titan.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Melora Pazlar is a one-off character here given her own novel duology. Her race, the Elaysians, therefore get their own "day in the limelight".
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: The Eldritch Abomination responsible for the Negative Space Wedgie threatening Gemworld is actually responsive to diplomacy. Deanna Troi is able to negotiate a peace with it, convincing the intelligence to call off its attack.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Melora Pazlar's basic default attitude when not on Gemworld. Struggling to adapt to gravity much higher than what she's used to, she becomes very defensive. She reads most forms of pity as patronizing.
  • Fungus Humongous: The Gendlii, a Starfish Alien giant fungus which grows over part of the planet - and sometimes the people tending it.
  • Good Old Ways: Melora Pazlar suggests that the Elaysians of centuries past were a far more open-minded and generally admirable culture than they are today. Barclay agrees that the modern leaders are far too interested in bickering to live up to the great example of the noble Elaysians of history.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The unique crystalline shards possessed by each of the six races must be collected by the heroes; all six are required to shut down the planet's Shell.
  • A House Divided: Gemworld during the crisis, but most especially the Elaysian leaders. Barclay calls them out on it:
    This is not how your ancestors survived, by ignoring a problem...The inhabitants of Gemworld have gotten soft. You prefer to bicker and fix blame instead of finding a solution. I'm sorry...that's not how the Ancients would have faced this ...The question is - will you act like your ancestors? Will you do what it takes to survive? Or would you prefer to hide in this room and bicker?”
  • I Believe I Can Fly: Elaysians, due to Gemworld's lack of meaningful gravity.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The Frills.
  • Interspecies Romance: Pazlar and Barclay (Elaysian/Human). The emotional and psychological differences aren’t too extensive, but given Elaysian fragility, the physical aspects might have proven problematic.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: Lipuls and their Dream Ships.
  • Meaningful Funeral: Zuka Juno's funeral, whereby his body is taken to the Blood Prism for consumption by Frills.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The shards needed to shut down the Shell. Justified in that everything's crystal on Gemworld.
  • Negative Space Wedgie.
  • Not a Game: Flying with the Frills. To quote thrill-seeker Keefe Nordine:
    "On Earth, there are people who like to swim with the sharks...well, we wanted to fly with the Frills - test ourselves, be around danger. After all, Gemworld is about as far away as you can go and still be in the Federation. The Frills tested us, just like they tested you. Unfortunately, I was the only one who passed. They ate the rest of them and let me sort of a souvenir, I think..."
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Tangre Bertoran, and indeed most of the Jeptah (as the ruling elite are called). In contrast to most of the “normal” folk encountered on Gemworld (who tend to be pleasant and welcoming enough), the Jeptah - and Bertoran in particular - resent Starfleet’s presence. Rather than actually let the visitors help, they insist that all the rules and customs be followed precisely, and complicate the plans to save the planet considerably.
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone
  • Sarcastic Devotee: Tangre Bertoran to Barclay, after Barclay winds up in a position of great power.
    “You're no longer a proxy. Now you're Acting Senior Engineer of the Elaysians. You can only be removed by the Exalted Ones, and we could never convene enough members at this time. So, Mr. Barclay, you represent me and all of our people in the gravest matter we have faced in a million years. Congratulations!”
  • Starfish Aliens: Most of the species on Gemworld. There's the Lipuls (telepathic worm/jellyfish who live inside crystals) the Alpusta (which resemble black sea urchins and spin webs like a spider), the Yilterns (colonial creatures which live and work in giant close-knit swarms), Frills (like moray eels with wings) and Gendlii (an intelligent fungus).
  • Starfish Language: To communicate with the Gendlii, you have to eat a portion of it.
  • Talking in Your Dreams: The Lipul contact Melora Pazlar in this manner, to convince her to return to Gemworld. Apparently, this is also how they explore other worlds, reaching alien minds through their "dream-ships".
  • Transplanted Humans: Well, transplanted Elaysians anyway. The Elaysians are not native to Gemworld; the Lipuls introduced them from...elsewhere. This serves essentially as The Reveal.
  • Zero-G Spot: Inevitable on Gemworld.