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Old August 13 2008, 02:12 AM   #144
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

Finished GTTS last night. Enjoyable, solid read. Good character development, leisurely pace, tied up some lose ends with the Borg that had been floating around from TNG and VOY both on screen and in the books. I'm a fan of Miyazaki's films and I definitely recognized his influence on this book.

The novel focused mainly on the characters and their relationships, so will my review.

I was glad to see that the Picard/Crusher wedding was "off-screen". The main focus on their relationship was more properly the issue of having a child from a thematic viewpoint so Christopher correctly focused there.

The way Christopher tapped into Picard's "multiple personalities" (not in the clinical sense) of Sarek, Locutus, and Kamin was inspired. I hope to see more writers explore what it means to have 3 or 4 different lives in Picard's head from which he can draw experience and insight.

Worf and LaForge were not the focus of this novel, but both got a good scene. Worf discussing honor with Choudhury was the kind of observation about Klingon culture I expect to see in a KRAD novel (I mean that as high compliment). I got an ironic chuckle when Elfiki worried that LaForge would judge her based on her appearance.

Of the three "mutineers" I was glad Kodohata was the editorial/authorial choice to remain a cast member. I would have picked her if I could only have 1. Too bad Leybenzon had to go though. KRAD did a nice job establishing his character in Q&A. Was there any thought given to allowing him to stay on serving under Choudhury? It seems her peaceful nature could have been a good influence on him over time. Oh well. I suppose his fate reflects Christopher's opinion of Leybenzon's world-view. T'Lana...well she didn't work especially well for me but she leaves with some dignity intact.

Of the trio of newcomers I was most interested in Choudhury. She has a personal philosophy unique among other Trek regular cast members. The tactics she employed against the Borg were well considered. Its fun when the heroes are using new tricks against the villains. I look forward to Choudhury being a window into a culture I have little personal experience with and it makes me interested to consult non-fiction resources to learn more about it.

Chen seems to fit nicely into the "kid" archetype. Its a nice touch that just as Picard has begun forging a new family of his own this foundling comes into his life obviously in need of a strong family support system. Not every one of her wisecracks worked for me...but lets face it Spider-Man and Buffy have some misses in the humor department too.

Elfiki was the character I got to know least which was strange considering the scientific/exploration bent to the tale. Hopefully David Mack will have more to say about the character and hopefully he'll do as a good a job establishing her as KRAD did with Kodohata/Leybenzon and Christopher did with Choudhury/Chen.

So all in all nice job Christopher. Despite being an encounter with the Borg this felt like a calm between storms. A Time to Kill, Heal, For War/Peace brought a very strong close to the pre-Nemesis TNG storyline. It reinvigorated my waning interest in the TNG cast. So far both Q&A and GTTS have continued to leave me with a positive outlook on the future of TNG. I'm very excited where Destiny and Losing the Peace will take the Enterprise crew and for Christopher's next work in Over a Torrent Sea.
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