The Autobiography of Benjamin Sisko in Review
The Autobiography of Benjamin Sisko tells the remarkable life of Deep Space 9’s commander. It’s the upcoming next installment in a series of books entitled “The Autobiography of [insert captain’s name here].” Since these books have so far been about Kirk, Spock, Picard and Janeway, it’s only fair that Sisko be the next captain to receive the “autobiography” treatment. Whereas the previous entries were penned by veteran authors David A Goodman and Una McCormack, this is the first novel by Derek Tyler Attico, who previously wrote the DS9 short story “The Dreamer and the Dream” for one of the Strange New Worlds fanfic anthologies. This change in authorship introduces a fresh perspective on Sisko’s life, offering fans a new voice to interpret and delve into the experiences of the Deep Space 9 commander.
The adage “Write what you know” is evident in Derek Tyler Attico’s approach, colouring his perspective of Benjamin Sisko’s life through the voice of Sisko himself. The book’s narrative benefits from having various sections, skillfully following on from Sisko’s disappearance in the DS9 series finale, “What You Leave Behind”. It’s a fantastically innovative method of conveying Benjamin Sisko’s autobiography while also having some unintended allegorical parallels to the Bible. Like Jesus, Sisko has left his corporeal plane of existence, leaving a potentially life-changing literary record in his wake. This elevates the novel beyond simply a traditional character narrative.
As Ben grows up in the 24th century, how he relates to technology and the world around him is handled in a unique way that makes the character relatable to us today. This commonality creates a bridge between the character and the book’s readers, fostering a deeper connection. Along the way, there are memorable events that add depth to the story. These events not only shape Sisko’s character but also provide readers with poignant moments that enhance understanding of his journey.
We gradually see how his various relationships shape Benjamin Sisko’s identity and the book provides tremendous insight into his relationships. If there’s any downside to them, it’s that there are slightly too many coincidental appearances by pre-established characters to make the tale totally believable.
On the other hand, the novel serves as a superb way to mark the 30th anniversary of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It provides extremely valuable insight into the reasons why Sisko selected each of DS9’s senior officers — i.e., the show’s main cast — and has a surprise ending which Star Trek fans are sure to love.
The chapters are short and succinct, making the book an easy read, and the events described make the novel an immensely enjoyable page-turner. It genuinely feels like it allows us the opportunity to become intimately familiar with Benjamin Sisko in a way that not even the DS9 TV series did. For instance, Sisko — more than any other Star Trek captain — was regarded, by the show’s writing staff, as a builder. The book excellently shows us the roots of this personality trait.
You can also expect to find a vast array of different species in this book. An exploration of African-American culture is definitely a fascinating highlight. The novel goes into very well considered backstory of how the people of the 24th century reach a situation where inclusivity is a fantastic ethos in the United Federation of Planets. As someone who was brought up by a black man myself but who has only ever faced racism by a black person who bullied me because I am white, I was slightly concerned that, at first, the book seemed to show racism as only committed by white people towards black people. However, by the end, the novel brilliantly shows that everyone is welcomed into the UFP, no matter their race or colour. This obviously aligns with Gene Roddenberry’s visionary ethos of a future where humanity embraces diversity. In this way, the book commendably reinforces the optimistic and inclusive vision of Star Trek‘s creator.
The novel’s publishing is historically compelling too. Originally scheduled for October 2023 but postponed to November of the same year, the novel first showed up accidentally on the shelves of London’s Forbidden Planet store. Even when told they had published the book before its official release date, the shop opted to keep it on sale due to popular demand. The accidental early release, coupled with the decision to maintain its availability, speaks to the eagerness of fans to delve into Benjamin Sisko’s autobiography. It’s understandable considering that the book is a classic, featuring delightful interior images which are full colour and grant us some outstanding visuals from Sisko’s thrilling life.
All in all, this is an excellent book that provides a profound understanding of how Benjamin Sisko evolves into the distinguished figure from Star Trek lore. An amazing record of him, the novel gives us great insights into the evolution of this wonderful character we know and love from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, allowing readers to deepen appreciation for him even more. Despite a few misprints and a potentially triggering reference, there’s also a veritable feast of brilliant Easter eggs for Trekkies to enjoy. Basically, all your favourite DS9 episodes are referred to here, as are many other highly popular Star Trek productions. Another tremendous facet is that readers who haven’t read any other Star Trek books will nevertheless be able to read and enjoy this one. Ultimately, this novel is a delight, a treasure trove of memories from Benjamin Sisko written in his own words, and definitely worth reading. Kudos and congratulations to author Derek Tyler Attico for publishing his first novel and managing to write such an amazing book. May he go on to write many more.
The Autobiography of Benjamin Sisko is officially scheduled for release on 21 November 2023.
Webmaster of WarpFactorTrek, Dan is an avid Star Trek fan who lives in Aberdeen, Scotland. Dan has loved Star Trek ever since discovering it in his childhood. He worked as an administrator, for six years, on the encyclopedic Star Trek website Memory Alpha, which involved studying the making of the various series and films. He has been mentioned in the official Star Trek Magazine, has qualified from a Star Trek course taught at Glasgow Clyde College, and coordinated the SubSpace Chatter (formerly The Scotch Trekker) YouTube channel, which regularly featured live interviews with the cast and crew of Star Trek.