A Stitch in Time

Andrew J. Robinson

Book cover

Deep Space 9 is the best Star Trek series. Elim Garak, the Cardassian tailor and ex-spy, is the best recurring character on Deep Space 9 (sorry, Martok and Weyoun…tough competition). This book tells the backstory of Garak, and is written by Andrew Robinson, the actor who played him!

I am a big Star Trek fan but have never read Star Trek novels. I made an exception for this because Garak is so awesome and I wanted to learn more about him. Despite being written by an actor rather than a writer, I found this book to be very well written. Perhaps Robinson is so practiced at inhabiting the character that it’s easy for him to write in his voice. I’m curious how much of this backstory Robinson already had in mind when he played Garak, and how much he made up for this book.

Deep Space 9 made Cardassians into, in my opinion, the most interesting non-human species in the Star Trek universe. Most others are generally one-sided and can be summarized by a single adjective: logical Vulcans, warlike Klingons, greedy Ferengi, etc. Cardassians don’t really fit that mold. While introduced in The Next Generation, they were really built out in DS9. They are definitely not portrayed as an admirable species, with the end of their brutal occupation of the planet Bajor kicking off the series. There are strong elements of fascism in Cardassian society, but it would be a vast oversimplification to say that Cardassians=fascists. From the early seasons of DS9, we were introduced to Cardassians who didn’t simply go along with their society, including Marritza, Ziyal, Damar, and of course Garak. ASIT does a great amount of coloring in the background of Cardassian society, which we only see glimpses of in the show: Garak’s training at an elite boarding school, his life as an undercover operative, the events leading to his disgrace and banishment to Terok Nor/Deep Space 9, and even his participation in the reconstruction of Cardassian society following the end of the Dominion occupation.

Having watched Season 7 of DS9, and preferably the whole thing, is definitely a prerequisite for reading this book, as it assumes a lot of knowledge about the events that transpire.

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars