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Old August 3 2008, 03:36 AM   #104
Dancing Doctor
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***




I'm about 40 pages (counting the excerpt from Gods of Night and the "About The Author" pages) and this book has edged out Q&A for favorite TNG Relaunch (sorry KRAD!) and Joy Luck Club for Favorite Book in July (because I started reading it in July. Night of the Wolves is shaping up to be the Favorite Book in August).

I can say, with little doubt, that you've gone a helluva long way towards redeeming the TNG Relaunch.

Much as the Christmas party starting on page 333 and the month between the destruction of the Frankenstein and the imminent sending off of Guinan was "an invigorating time, a much-needed tonic after the crew's latest ordeals with the Borg", so too has Greater Than The Sum served as an excellent breath of fresh air, allowing us to pause a little bit (since, although it resolved the prior Borg plotlines both in canon and lit, was so much more than that, something that the previous TNG-R Borg books failed to become) and prepare ourselves for what is sure to be a most epic onslaught of action and information contained in the Destiny trilogy.

One thing that was most fascinating was the pivotal role family (both biological and chosen) played in the novel. I had been afraid that it would get a bit hokey, but that wasn't the cause. I will admit to feeling a bit like the entity in regards to fully understanding what the author was going for, but I think I understand. It is the relationships with the people around us, the interactions, the reactions, the constant give-and-take, that have helped define who we are and how we act and the way we develop and help others develop. And that family isn't necessarily two parents and a child. It's a group of friends that we can confide in, that we know will be there. Or it's that one special someone who truly cares about whether or not you're okay, and who's there to pick you up when you fall down. It's the crewmates around you, sharing a common goal while having different disciplines. It's all of this and more. And that cutting yourself off from all of that means denying yourself an incredible existence.

And I think that was the best part of the whole book, the theme. Oh, and the puns were great, also. (I liked the "piece of its mind" one best of all).

Trys is quite possibly the most fascinating character I've come across in Trek Lit. It was another awesome facet of this book.

I enjoyed how Picard went from a Never-Ending Sacrifice mentality, to the place where he ended up. The scene where he confides in Beverly about why he kept deferring the talk (and action) about procreation because of his experiences as Kamin is one of the most moving and profound since the mind-meld with Sarek, only this one was deeper since Picard wasn't serving as a conduit this time.

I will admit to muttering Holy shit upon reading the epilogue. My heart felt like it was clutched by an icy hand. I'm actually welcoming the return of the Borg, since that single message terrified me more than Q Who did. And I'm being honest.

I'm also glad the Leybenzon died, since I have never felt he was redeemable. I will once again comment on the irony of his last assignment being a starship named Bhutto, since the two that come to mind (Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto) also died because of their actions. Leybenzon, on some level, wanted to be a martyr, to die for a glorious cause (he essentially says as much), and the two Bhuttos are now regarded as martyrs (rightly or wrongly. In fact, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is called : Shaheed-e-Azam, or The Great Martyr). I would liken Leybenzon's death more to Benazir's, since she willingly went back into a situation that on some level she knew she wouldn't survive from. However, her death didn't really lead to the possibility that Pakistan would be destroyed (more so than it might already have been). Even in death, Leybenzon is unredeemable, and really causes the situation to all FUBAR.

Overall, brilliantly done Christopher. You've gotten me ready for the Destiny trilogy, Over A Torrent Sea, and long nights without sleep wondering what exactly will happen to the Trek 'verse, and how recognizable it'll be after everything but the shouting is over.
"We fall short of our aspirations all the time. What matters is that we keep trying." - Admiral Kathryn Janeway, Atonement
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