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Old August 1 2008, 11:09 PM   #91
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

Wow, lotsa reviews all at once. Here we go:

tenmei wrote: View Post
Christopher, you advised me to read the book before I commented on the cast shake up - and, now, halfway through the novel, I have to say that whilst the story is good, I think that it would have been nice to see T'Lana remain onboard the Enterprise. Partly because she had an interesting dynamic with Picard (and the fact that Worf's subconscious attraction to her was more fun than his attraction to Jasminder) and partly because I think it would have been interesting to see Trys react against such a character as T'Lana.
Yeah, that would've been nice. But characters sometimes don't end up going where they're originally expected or intended to, and it was felt that T'Lana's and Leybenzon's actions in Before Dishonor pretty much made it unfeasible for them to remain part of the crew (unlike Kadohata, who came around and redeemed herself).

Personally I wouldn't have found a Worf-T'Lana romance all that interesting; they basically would've just been trying to out-stoic each other. As for a potential T'Lana-Trys interaction, that could've been interesting, but also it would've been a little too on the nose to have a judgmental Vulcan constantly watching over Trys. Plus I don't think I would've been allowed to have two Vulcan (or half-Vulcan) women in the same bridge crew. That, and they have somewhat overlapping jobs.

The one thing that annoys me is that, at times, when Trys is in a scene some of the other characters are made to look like idiots just to make her look clever - and I'm not sure this was completely necessary, or if it was, necessary to the extent that it was done.
Could you specify which scenes you think that's happening in? I certainly wasn't trying to do anything of the sort. Naturally I had to demonstrate why this new character was worth having on the crew, but I didn't want it to be at anyone else's expense.

I also realised, after the above-mentioned (and, in-novel-mentioned) thing about the Enterprise crew being female heavy - it's also "Asian" Ancestry Heavy. Choudhry (Indian), Elfiki (Egyptian), Kadohata (Japanese), T'Rys (Japanese) and Joanna Faur (Israeli ?) which is kinda pretty cool too.
T'Ryssa Chen is of Chinese ancestry, not Japanese. Never been a Japanese person named Chen, as far as I know. She may also have a bit of Greek in her, given that her mother's name is Antigone.

And given that the majority of the human race is Asian, it's nice to see that better-represented in Trek for once.

I may be wrong about Faur but an internet search reveals Faur seems to be a popular Israeli surname.
No idea. I was actually spelling it Farr in my first draft until I reread Q&A. That's how clueless I am about her.

DeeEss57 wrote: View Post
Had to feel sorry for Picard, though. Here is he trying to deal with another Borg incursion and new senior staff and Beverly is all over him about procreation. Burdens of command, I suppose.
Well, I think there's reason to feel sorry for Beverly, too. Here she is, all ready to start a long-overdue married life and become a mother again, and her husband, a man who theoretically cherishes his family lineage and has every reason to make fatherhood a priority, lets his neuroses and fears get in the way of that and uses the burdens of command as his excuse. Frankly, I think the only way I was able to make him sympathetic was by coming up with a deeper motivation that had nothing to do with the Borg. (And it was a good chance to show something TNG never did: long-term consequences of "The Inner Light.")

I liked Necheyev's apology, it was definitely in the vein of TNG. I think a lot of TNG fans don't like her much because on the series she came across rather cold and demanding. But she had a job to do, too, and I don't think she really enjoyed the more unpleasant aspects of her job. Thanks for lightening her up, Christopher!
I was just building on what TNG itself established in "Journey's End." That episode put Picard and Nechayev on a friendlier footing, yet for whatever reason, the novels took her back in a more adversarial direction. I thought she was more interesting once she became a little more sympathetic -- it helped see her as more than just your stereotypical hardnosed admiral, as someone you could respect even when you disagreed with her priorities or methods.

Besides, after Picard defied Starfleet orders and saved the Earth twice in three months, it would've been unbelievable if the admiralty had continued to distrust him.

The battle tactics of Choudhury was pretty inventive, I thought. I liked it. Using one's head instead of overwhelming force. Kinda cool!
It took some doing to figure out how to apply martial-arts principles to starship combat.

SiorX wrote: View Post
One of the things I was a bit skeptical about was the Picard & Crusher storyline. There's always a danger that when you pair up two characters, and one of them's the focus of most stories, the other just becomes fodder for emotional angst - the generic wife'n'kid whose pictures the hero can carry around and anguish over. (One thing I've really liked about the relaunch has been the extra page time Crusher's gotten as a character in her own right. I think there's still a great deal of potential there, and I'd hate to see that get lost in the shuffle.)

Of course, we don't know yet how that's going to play out in later books, but I like the way it was handled here. What I got from Picard's story arc was that he had to learn to nip those tendencies in the bud. If later books give us a Picard who remembers this lesson, then I think GttS's set their story on an excellent trajectory for proving Picard doesn't have to be a lone wolf to be a hero, and that his family don't have to be a liability. Not to mention making the Crusher-Picard dynamic an interesting new heart to the crew's interaction.
Sounds good to me. (I like the avatar, by the way.)

I was also a bit wary when I read this thread and heard Trys described. Spunky young girl with a wacky sense of humour and a problem with authority sets off all my alarm bells in Star Trek, because nobody does an obnoxious Mary Sues quite like Trek. That's why it pays to withold judgement, because she ended up being one of my favourite things in the book; likable without being irritating. I enjoyed her very much. She's a total tonic to the stick-up-arse syndrome to which so many Starfleet officers are prone.
Glad to hear it. I was aware there was a risk of her being perceived as a Mary Sue, and I tried to avoid that. (I'm still puzzled by one fan's reaction in the comments of the review, jumping to the conclusion that she was a Mary Sue because, allegedly, a name ending in -yssa is a warning sign of Mary Sue-ness. Huh?)

In fact, I really love the new crew. I feel like we're going forward into the next round of the relaunch with a set of characters about whom I'm really interested in learning more. Hope we're in it for the long haul with them this time 'round.
I hope so, too.
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