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Old July 26 2008, 04:23 AM   #41
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

I *love* the new security officer. Very awesome. I'll be quite sad if she dies in Destiny, as I'd love to see her approach to security explored more. So far, the major 'wow' moment of the book has been Worf's conversation with her after he's seen her fight from a tactical station for the first time.

I also really appreciated this scene, because just the other day, the island I work at hosted a 'Festival of India' day, and, in the midst of eating some absolutely fantastic vegetarian food, I got a chance to talk to a woman selling copies of the Bhagavad Gita. I tried to understand her faith, and learn about her spirituality, but it seemed very... static and self-centred. I left feeling a bit disappointed. What attracts me to my particular mode of Christianity is it's altruistic nature, and the importance of self-sacrifice for the good of the world. What this woman was telling me about reminded me too much of the health and wealth gospel, and the concept that one should do good for personal rewards, rather than for the sake of increasing goodness in the world.

Reading Choudhoury reflecting on her faith, especially mere days after talking to this woman has helped remind me that one woman's perspective on a faith shouldn't sour me on the religion as a whole, just as I wouldn't want Lee Strobel or Pat Robertson to cause someone else to dismiss all of Christianity. (Or, to get closer to my personal roots, I wouldn't anyone to dismiss Anabaptists because of the group of radical violent Anabaptists that took over Munster) It's also made me much more curious about Krishna and Hinduism. Choudhoury's faith is one I find much easier to engage and explore than the bookseller's, even though I do still find parts of it difficult to... not understand, but... I guess, I take issue with the idea that according to the story Choudhoury tells, action must be violent, when it seems to me like someone who has such a holistic concept of 'security' would also realize that action can be non-violent. Though I don't know what action could be taken against the Borg that would be succesful as well as non-violent, what with the Borg being the Borg.

Although, it's that very argument that I always refuse to kowtow too when people challenge my pacifism with 'Well, the Nazi's had to be fought. Hitler had to be stopped through violence' when I believe that isn't necessarily true, looking at a number of examples of succesful non-violent actions against the Nazi's in Europe. I believe that if people were to bring the same level of sacrifice and discipline to peacemaking and non-violent resistance that has always been brought to bear in war and violent solutions, that we would see that peace by peaceful means isn't just an idealistic pipe dream.

Maybe I'm saying this too early, having not finished the book, but my one disappointment so far is that it seems violence is being shown as the way to beat the Borg, even by a character like Choudhoury, when one of the reasons I was really looking forward to reading a book with Borg in it by Christopher Bennett was because I wanted to see how Bennett would craft a creative, non-violent solution to the dilemma of the book, as he so often does.

But, that's a very small complaint from me. One I won't even know is valid until I've finished it. As can be seen by this post, this book has already made me do a lot of thinking and soul-searching, which is the important part of what I was expecting and hoping for from a Bennett book.

Heh, I thought that was going to be the end of my post, but I just remembered something else.

I'm also intrigued by the portrayal of Worf, and his discription of Klingon honour. It almost reminds me a bit of more Anabaptist or Christological views of the Old Testament. That all the violence of the Old Testament was merely God controlling and making less 'bad' the violence that was swirling out of control at the time. Like, the statement 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth' was not God's ideal, but God compromising, so that punishment would not be hugely out of proportion to the crime.

But similar to the way Anabaptists explaining away Old Testament violence makes me uneasy at the way it doesn't seem to let the text speak for itself as a product of it's time and culture (even if letting that text speak for itself also makes me uncomfortable at it's bloodthirstiness and, in my eyes, evilness) so too does Christopher's explanation of Klingon honour. I like it. A lot. Very much. Like Chaudhoury's faith, I can have a lot more respect for this sort of Klingon honour then what I've come to see it as through the show... but it doesn't really ring true to me with previous portrayals of Klingons, or even Worf. I can't back this up, though. And I'd like to be wrong, and see that Christopher's way of looking at Klingons be very valid and in line with what we've seen before. I'd be very curious to see what KRAD thought when he first read Worf's statements on honour and Kahless wanting to limit and control war.

Looking over this post as a whole is making me wonder if maybe I think way too much about Star Trek... but that's the main thing that I love so much about Star Trek. That these fictional stories about fictional worlds and aliens and characters cause me to think so much about the world I actually inhabit.

Last edited by bennyrex; July 26 2008 at 04:26 AM. Reason: changed 'Borg book' to 'book with Borg in it'
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