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Old January 21 2009, 09:27 PM   #503
David Mack
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Thrawn wrote: View Post
David Mack: I salute you. This is an incredible achievement, and a phenomenal trilogy.
Thanks, very kind of you to say.

Since much of the general praise has been said, here are a few specific observations/questions:

1) To me, this is primarily Hernandez's trilogy, and I must give you a particular kudos on her emotional journey. I think her sections of book 2 might be my favorite material in the entire series, nearly bringing me to tears a couple of times. I'm wondering about the relationship between Inyx and her, though - most of the series felt intricately plotted and detailed, like clockwork (in a good way! Very fitting with the title "Destiny") but the moment where he asked her to live because he was being selfish, and she told him it made him more human, seemed spontaneous and entirely joyful. Was that outlined, or did that relationship grow more as you wrote it?
Good question. You are correct — in a very real sense, the trilogy is about Hernandez's journey more than it's about the other characters' roles. That was an intentional bit of misdirection on my part.

As for her friendship with Inyx, the broad strokes of it were planned in advance, but that specific interaction was one that occurred to me as I was writing the scene. The texture of their relationship (and also of Inyx's connection with Sedín) developed organically during the writing process.

2) I don't know why, but I adore Lonnoc Kedair. Damn nifty to bring the Takarans back, and turn that into such a compelling character (she felt it her calling to defend them, etc) and breakdown in book 3. I'm really hoping we get to see the Aventine in a more central role in a future series.
I enjoyed creating that character, and not just because I cast the role with Lena Headey while I was writing. As for seeing more of Kedair and the Aventine crew, be sure to pick up Keith DeCandido's new book, A Singular Destiny.

3) My only real complaint with the whole series is that our captains have very little agency in the climax; (…snip…) Did you see some significance to that - Destiny, it's out of our hands, something like that - that I missed…?
No, you're right about that. It is one of the principal flaws of the entire trilogy, and I was aware of it even at the outline stage.

Much as I sought more directly active roles for the commanding officers, the story demanded something else from me and from them. I've heard some good suggestions about how the Dax storyline might have been improved, and I wish I'd thought of them.

As for Riker's and Picard's stories, I eventually concluded that part of what the trilogy is "about" is learning to accept that we are sometimes at the mercy of events and forces beyond ourselves. To the extent that it works, I take the credit; to the extent that it fails, I accept the blame.

4) Finally, I'm not a writer and I don't think I can specifically explain what I mean, but somewhere between A Time To Kill/Heal (which I read just a couple books before starting Destiny) and Destiny, your style has matured noticeably for the better. The prose seemed mostly invisible in the Kill/Heal pair, moving the action along beautifully but not really drawing attention to itself, but in this book there were several passages I came across that I had to re-read just to savor the language (particularly in the 5 planet attack sequence and, of course, the very end). Just wanted to say I noticed, and I'm very impressed.
Gracias, most appreciated. I hope you'll check out my first original novel, The Calling, when it comes out in July. I just turned in the copy-edited manuscript to my editor today, and I think it has shaped up nicely on many levels.

5) And, finally, thank you for ending on such a stirring statement of fundamental optimism. I used to read a lot more sci-fi than I do now, but lately most of what I've found has seemed either resigned or fearful of the future. Such a powerfully hopeful end to such a terrifying villain was something I didn't expect, and deeply appreciate.
That was the idea that I felt made the trilogy worth doing: The notion that the key to victory and survival for the Federation lay not in its ability to work violence, but in the nobility of its ideals; and that compassion and healing are more powerful engines for positive change than brute force.

I really didn't think you could top Reap The Whirlwind but... damn.
Well, it's hardly a fair fight, is it? I mean, three books against one… … but I'm grateful for your generous praise.
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