A review... well... a response. I don't trust myself to write any sort of critical review the way I'm feeling right now. Before I get into spoilers, I want to share a story with anyone who isn't sure whether they want to read this trilogy or not. Now, I *am* an emotional person, but I've never experienced anything like this while reading a book.
I was reading a key sequence of the book on the subway. It was the sequence involving five planets. I was drawn into the book so intensely and so violently, I have no memory whatsoever what was going on in the real world. I got to the end of the sequence where there was some breathing room. I felt myself physically coming back into the real world from the Star Trek world I was experiencing. As this was happening, I heard someone near me say. "Wow. That was so cute". I looked up, and everyone I looked at was either staring at me, or darting their eyes away so that they wouldn't look like they were staring at me. I have no idea whatsoever what I did while I was reading to garner such attention. No clue. But I've never been the centre of attention on the subway before either consciously or unconsciously like that... that's how affected I was. Go read this book! It's one of a kind.
David, and everyone involved with this... Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
As a lover of Star Trek, thank you.
As someone who loves kick-ass books in general, thank you.
As a guy hoping to devote his life to peacemaking and non-violent resistance, but has been experiencing serious doubts, thank you.
I don't think I'll be able to fully explain what reading this book over the past hours has meant to me, but I can try.
I don't even know where to start, really, just thinking about the whole emotional roller coaster this has been. I started this trilogy thinking it would be a great ride. But, once the Caeliar were introduced as these sort of ominous isolationist pacifists, I was fairly certain that the ending would involve our noble heroes convincing the Caeliar to put their pacifistic ideals aside to exterminate the implacable foe for which there is no other possible way of engaging and surviving. I was still looking forward to reading it, and thinking it would be awesome. But I thought it would be another 'might makes right' shindig.
I had been looking forward to 'Greater than the Sum' ever since I learned Bennett would be writing a book with the Borg, because I thought that would be how Christopher would tackle the Borg. That he'd find the creative peacemakers solution. When the ending to that was essentially destroying the Borg threat, I thought "Man, if Chris can't find a non-violent way of handling the Borg, no one can." Never in a million years did I think that Destiny would end with such a hopeful message for non-violent solutions.
"To find and protect cultures of peace and nonviolence." Wow. Wow.
I'm tingly all over. I've grown up with Star Trek, especially this newer time line. Star Trek's world, especially this time line and incarnation of it is more 'real' to me than any other but the real world I physically inhabit. So the devastation hit me hard. I didn't think Qonos or Vulcan or Andor (or Earth for that matter) would be totally devastated... but I didn't know for sure. And because of this childhood growing up with these characters, these worlds... I felt completely invested in them - and I knew there were going to be big changes, so I wasn't sure if these planets were 'safe' or not. And reading the segment of the five planets invasion... I felt physically transported from the real world into the Star Trek world. And like I wrote above, I have no idea what I did in this real world while I was inhabiting the Star trek world. All I know is that it was something that made everybody stare at me.
And to go from that experience to a resolution that affirmed everything that I believe is important about the world. A resolution that could face the Borg... the unstoppable force, the closest thing to a biblical Satan of the Star Trek world, and face it through redemption... I was reading the lead-up to this in a coffee shop, and I did my best not to make too much of a scene, but I allowed myself at least a bit of table pounding enthusiasm.
I know this is fiction... but fiction can be very powerful. Fiction can change the world.
I've read Star Trek books that made me happy and hopeful before. That have taken me in a time of questioning my commitment to nonviolence, and inspired me to continue in this path, to keep working at being an activist. Christopher Bennett is particularly good at this.
But this book has taken that to the Nth degree. It's been a combination of things... my own self-doubt about what I want to do with my life... my resignation towards a violent solution towards the Borg problem... feeling particularly emotionally vulnerable... but this trilogy, in particular this book, has really completely destroyed me and put me back together in a way that I didn't think books could. This book is definitely on the list of books that have changed *my* world.
Also, on a lighter note... I think I'm getting a little fanboy crush on Choudhury... If things don't work out between her and Worf... any writers keen on a dashing young peace activist named Ben crossing paths with the Enterprise and sweeping Jasminder off her feet? Anyone? Anyone?
Kidding aside, I can't wait to see where her relationship with Worf goes. Choudhury is easily my favourite Treklit character, and it was a HUGE relief for me seeing her survive.
And kudos on the tight structure! After book one, I really wondered about the point of the whole Aventine murder mystery. I didn't get why it was there, and felt a bit disappointed by it. Now I get it. The disappointment is gone. It really feels like absolutely every element was needed and used. Well done, sir.
Alright, that's my emotional written outpouring. OH!
I almost forgot!
David - You got to talk to Geddy Lee? AWESOME! And he's reading/read the trilogy? (at least that's what I got from the acknowledgments...) AMAZING!
I can not WAIT to read all the follow-ups that are coming out over the next year. I'm watching the Star Trek world grow and change, and I love what I'm seeing, the directions things are going in. This is a world I know I'm going to continue to be amazed by as more and more adventures unfold.