Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Warped, by K. W. Jeter ISBN 0671567810
Three out of five stars
This story takes a long time to develop and has a bizarre and very dissatisfying resolution. Bajor is once again subject to political instability, while there is a series of unusual murders on DS9. The instigating factor is discovered to be an unusual form of holodeck that somehow penetrates into the deepest psychological reaches of the patrons.
The entity responsible for the difficulties is a human former business associate of Quark’s named McHogue. Yet, Quark is adamant that there is something disturbingly different about him. There is a coup on Bajor with a new government taking power, and they have financial backing from the Cardassians. The new Bajoran leader names McHogue their minister of international trade and there is a plan to build a massive city of pleasure based on the unusual form of holodecks.
With such a complex plot and so many tangential movements, it takes about 200 pages before the complete background is established, even before the main crisis arrives. It turns out that McHogue’s goals are far greater than was first thought, he plans on modifying the very fabric of the universe.
Against long odds, Commander Sisko is able to confront McHogue, but the mechanism where he defeats McHogue is very thinly and unappealingly described. It is not out of bounds to put it into the “then a miracle happens” bucket. It is as if the author created a complex situation where the galaxy is at stake and the outlook is grim and had no real idea how to save the day.