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Old April 9 2013, 02:19 PM   #568
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Re: VOY: The Eternal Tide by Kirsten Beyer Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Reanimating this thread because I've finally read all four of these. Like many before me I had not been a Voyager reader (nor even a Voyager fan really), but given the raging adoration on these boards for the books (and the fact that I got an iTunes card for Christmas), I downloaded them and have just finished the series.

And again, like so many before me, I have to say that these books have made me a fan of the Voyager characters and stories in a way that was inconceivable to me before. Kirsten Beyer really has done a remarkable job revitalising the series and I hope she gets the chance to continue to do so.

I had actually completely spoiled myself on the events of all the books thanks to Memory Beta and Kirsten's interview. But that's fine, it was my own doing. And just because you think you know what's coming doesn't mean you actually know what's coming. So it didn't really affect my enjoyment of them at all. Out of the four I'd say that Children was my favourite and Unworthy was my least favourite, but that's really all relative when you're working at such a high level in the first place.

As to The Eternal Tide:

I don't really give a toss about the whole Janeway-dead-or-alive brouhaha one way or the other, so that she was resurrected in this story was purely a matter of whether the story was well told. Obviously, it was. I agree with some others that it's a shame that the return of Janeway seemed to require the departure of Eden, especially since it really felt like I had only just met her considering I blazed through all the books so quickly. I realise that Kirsten may not have intended to go down precisely this path had the editors not requested that she do so, so I can't really blame her for that. And it's always better to want more of a character than less.

It was way back in the depths of the thread that DerangedNasat commented on the "meta" nature of the story, especially as regards Q's arguments with q about whether Janeway should be resurrected at all. To me the "meta" also occurred later where (if I'm understanding it right) it is revealed that Eden literally would not exist if not for the fact that Janeway were dead. Just as the character of Eden would not have been created if the character of Janeway hadn't been killed off, so the multi-verse specifically created Eden as a living being in order to solve the problem that Janeway couldn't solve because she was dead. Eden literally was a replacement for Janeway in the multiverse's plan.

I confess I got a bit muddled on some of the more technobabbly (or perhaps temporo-babbly) aspects of the plot. Let me see if I can get it straight:
  • The Anschlasom accidentally broke Omega and let it through into the multiverse, and in doing so also created the Q continuum as we know it.
  • In the other timeline, Janeway succeeded in solving the problem and resealing Omega. Job's a good'un. Except that that was undone by the events of "Endgame."
  • Once back in the AQ, Janeway refused to allow Voyager to return to the DQ, which left the Q-Omega imbalance still unresolved.
  • The multiverse then went about killing Janeway in every universe it could find, to make sure the Full Circle mission would go ahead.
  • When Tallar and Jobin fell into a rift, it gave them Eden, with the intention that she would at some point restore the balance by destroying the Q and resealing Omega.
  • With Janeway dead and Eden in command, events were now in place to resolve Omega, since Janeway herself was unknowingly refusing to do it.
  • The existence of q was basically a lucky break in that he could be equal to Eden and seal Omega without destroying all the rest of the Q.
Is that right? Also, the return of Janeway herself was not part of the multiverse's plan, but rather an example of q overriding that plan. Unless, as has been suggested, the return of Janeway was part of the plan (but only after the Full Circle mission could no longer be blocked and was already underway) so that she could facilitate the Q allowing q to sacrifice himself. But then that's inconsistent with the multiverse wanting to restore the balance as it originally was - it wouldn't care that it was extinguishing the Q people from existence. Or was it that the balance was no longer capable of being restored by the destruction of the Q, so it had to be q? See, I'm a bit muddled.

On to the new characters. I adore Cambridge. I don't remember the last character who made me laugh out loud so much while reading. Him dressing up as Chaotica is perfect, and putting him and the Doctor together in TET was a master stroke. I especially loved:
Doctor: You are the most unpleasant, unprofessional, unlikeable person ever to have worn a Starfleet uniform.
Cambridge: You don't get out much, do you?

I also enjoy Cmdr O'Donnell, Cpt Farkas, and many of the others. Conlon hasn't really done a lot for me - I don't remember her as being especially distinctive in the SCE stories and that seems to have continued here. Not that there's anything wrong with her, just that she didn't really stand out to me. And Sharak seems a bit of a missed opportunity - there hasn't been chance to spend any time with him really, and having the first Tamarian in Starfleet learn how to speak Fed Standard is probably necessary to make the concept work but at the same time seems to gut the character of what should make him unique. Ah well.

I also want to thank Kirsten for the inclusion of another gay couple vital to the story - Eden's "uncles." From Full Circle on they were established as a gay couple in not so many words because 24th century people simply wouldn't see it that way, but still in such a way that it was obvious to the reader, and yet in a total shrug-shoulders this-is-how-it-is-let's-move-on way, which is of course exactly how it should be. What's even better is that no-one in the course of all the pages of all the threads on this board discussing all four books has mentioned them at all as far as I can see, which speaks to me of how utterly unremarkable it is to readers that the captain of Voyager should be the daughter of a gay couple. So basically I'm happy from both the writing and the audience POV on that.

As to why Tallar and Jobin were Eden's "uncles" instead of her "fathers" (as someone asked upthread), don't forget that they didn't want her to know the circumstances of her "birth." She was created from them, yes, but they preferred to pretend they had simply "found" her, so in those circumstances the word "uncle" might better serve to cloak the truth. But note that as things got more desperate towards the end of the book, both Tallar and Jobin referred to Eden as their "daughter", proving how they really felt about her regardless of where she came from. And that speaks to the current-day issue of adoption for gay couples. Biology may stop them from conceiving on their own, but that doesn't mean they don't want a child together, so the multiverse gave them one. I'm sure that's how it seems to anyone who adopts a child. Eden was adopted, q was conceived. But in the end they were equal.

So upshot is - double plus yay. Thank you for some lovely stories, Kirsten. I anxiously await your next.

TrekLit/DS9-R fans! Want a different vision of the Ascendant conflict and the DS9 time gap?

Read DS9 SEASON 10 and DS9 SEASON 11 !
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