Nerys Ghemor wrote:
I would say, though, that the amount of imagination behind it was excellent, as was the obvious thought put into what a nonhumanoid perspective might be like. The Cethente scene was wonderfully executed, and though I still have a special first-place award in that for Diane Duane that will not be dislodged, this is probably the best other-author attempt I've seen at capturing truly disparate, non-humanoid mindsets that I've ever seen in Trek lit.
Thank you. I'm very flattered.
Regarding the squales...this is just my personal preference, but I would have liked to see a native name--or even a literal translation of a native name--of the squales take over as Lavena and the Titan crew learned more about their culture. Heck...even if they just called themselves "the People," even that, or if it's necessary to translate it, a Selkie term equating to that would've been fine to use. At least to me, there's a lot of power in names and I think that once they established communications, the most polite thing would've been to default to whatever name the squales had chosen for themselves.
I think their real name for themselves is probably so complicated that any translation would be at least half a page long.
In one version of the spec novel this was based on, in which the planet orbited Tau Ceti and the aliens were more dolphinlike, I called them Taucetes, which basically means "Tau whales" as well as "Tau Ceti inhabitants." That was a nice name (and certainly better than my initial choice of "delphs"), but clearly not applicable here.
The Dr. Ree subplot...I know some people here have said it felt contrived. And it WAS very out-of-the-blue. Yet...maybe it's just me, but I felt like Ree did deserve some sort of penance for not accepting Troi's wishes during Destiny. Even in the 21st century, if someone refuses medical assistance, it is not permitted to intervene, and I saw no evidence presented in any of the debate threads about that issue that Troi was not in sound mind when giving said refusal. Plus, I am glad to see that, whether or not you agree with the idea of having an abortion, that it is acknowledged what a major impact it has on the mother, even in a case where it's not followed through on.
I still don't see how attitudes toward abortion have anything to do with it. As Destiny
clearly established, the baby was certain to die anyway, whether by miscarriage (the technical term for which is spontaneous abortion) or by medical abortion. The only difference was that the former case would be fatal to the mother as well. As far as I know, every rational anti-abortion position makes exceptions where the life of the mother is concerned -- particularly when the baby's death is inevitable in any case. So while this may be a patient-consent issue, it is not an abortion-rights issue.
Anyway, I don't agree that Ree did anything wrong. Deanna was being quite irrational in refusing treatment; she wasn't protecting the baby by refusing, just committing suicide. She knew that, yet she did it anyway, proving she absolutely was not of sound mind. Ree's medical choice wasn't about determining whether the baby would live or die (since death was the only option short of Caeliar intervention), but about whether the mother would. I don't accept that people have a right to commit suicide. If someone swallows a bottle of sleeping pills, it's absurd to call it a breach of medical ethics if a doctor pumps his stomach against his will.
The point wasn't that Ree had sinned and needed penance. The point was that his actions to save Deanna's life created emotional distress and fear in her and that she
needed to work through that residual phobia, as well as the lasting aftereffects of her first miscarriage.
One last note on plot. I really liked the description of the squales' beliefs, AND that Lavena responded to Riker's Biblical quote without condemnation. That was a very moving passage and with its placement, I felt the intro to the Book of John really...resonated, for lack of a better word. I think that was a gutsy thing to write, especially seeing the way anything related to Christianity tends to be received by some Trek fans. I did, though, note the way Lavena referred to Riker's breadth of knowledge, that he would quote from the Bible. It gave the feeling that in the 24th century, that's considered somewhat arcane and not a part of normal culture. If that's the case...then go, Riker! Glad he felt able to say that without shame.
Why would there be shame? Just because the Federation is a secular culture doesn't mean it treats religious literature as if it were pornographic or something. I mean, our society doesn't believe in the Greek gods anymore, but that doesn't mean anyone has reason to be ashamed of quoting The Odyssey
. I'm non-religious myself, but I recognize the Bible as a significant literary and cultural work, and I was referencing that (or having Riker reference it) in those terms, as a literary illustration of the Logos
concept I was defining.
Besides, characters in TOS quoted the Bible
all the time, and Picard and Janeway dropped the occasional allusion to it here and there. And of course in SCE, Captain Gold is Jewish and married to a rabbi, and we've seen the occasional practicing Muslim in the lit as well.
The last note I have is stylistic. There were times where parentheses were used where I really didn't care for it. That's the typographical equivalent of mumbling and kind of says "not important, not important," about whatever's between them. And sometimes the information between them either WAS important or was quite funny and deserved to have more of an impact than the way it was typed allowed it to have.
Parentheticals aren't meant to indicate lack of importance -- merely that the content of the parentheses is not part of the main sentence but a separate idea being interpolated therein. Stuff in parentheses isn't structurally
crucial (i.e. it could be removed from the sentence without affecting the meaning of the sentence around it), but that doesn't mean the information it conveys isn't important.