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Old January 9 2014, 10:43 AM   #180
lvsxy808
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Re: TF: The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

Always late to the party on these things. General rating - above average, nudging slightly up towards excellent!


Markonian wrote: View Post
In-universe, three years have passed since Titan's last adventure (2382 - 2385). I wonder whether the crew experienced more action in the meantime, or whether it's been hinted at that it were "three ordinary years, nothing special happend today."?

Yeah, this niggled me slightly. Not enough to ruin it, but it did kind of feel like this carried on almost directly from Fallen Gods despite there being such a long time in between. Has nothing changed in the meantime? The ranks, as someone said. Tuvok calling the events of StF and FG 'recent.' No progress on the White-Blue problem.

In general I like the novels to have tighter continuation rather than massive time gaps in between, so this wouldn't be a problem for me ordinarily except that FG must have taken place fairly soon after Disharmony, which is several years ago now.

And, if the Titan really has been out there that long, how does it get back to Earth so quickly, as someone else questioned? It's not a Vesta-class, it just can't move that fast. Not deal-breakers, any of these, but definite quibbles.


James Swallow wrote: View Post
...m'colleague...
*Applause*


Reanok wrote: View Post
So Ishan could be the next President and is up to no good when comes to his political ambitions of of getting what he wants and Getting rid of people who want find out the truth about Cardassians of the true way killing Nan Bacco..
I assumed Ishan was in on it too. Except that why would a man whose entire background comes from hating Cardassians then go and use Cardassians to do his dirty work? It seems incongruous that he would want anything to do with them. If he did, it would paint him more as a man desperate to achieve power at any cost, no matter who he has to work with, rather than someone who is misguided but ultimately believes what he is doing is right, as I currently see him. The only way to resolve that is if he didn't know - if he gave the general order but left the details to Velk.



Jarvisimo wrote: View Post
I loved some of the cameos, such as Martok...

Yes, these kind of things were very nice, and as you say create a feeling of one big universe rather than lots of disconnected bits and pieces. While ostensibly a Titan novel, this also had DS9 characters (Nog, Dax, Bashir), TNG characters (Riker, Troi, Picard) and even Voyager characters (Tuvok).

I share someone else's mild disappointment that Vale was the only Titan-only character to get any major focus (and she started off in TNG herself), but I really enjoyed her storyline. And I suppose Keru got a bit of attention too. Can we get him laid soon, please?

Which really leads into what I suppose is my major complaint, even though it's not really that major. To wit - this doesn't feel like an actual Titan novel. This kind of storyline is not what Titan is there for - it was designed to be the ultimate new-worlds-new-civilizations series, not a spy thriller. In fact this is the novel of the series so far that is deepest into that arc plot, that has no plotline that is not connected to the arc plot, unlike the previous three. The characters are simply not doing the jobs they're supposed to be doing.

To be fair the characters themselves know that, and I was fairly sure the author knew that too (confirmed by the Trek.fm interview). And I guess that it was a necessary evil if you wanted the Titan crew to be involved in these events at all (likewise the fudge about the return travel time). So I can understand the reasons for all those choices, and I certainly enjoyed reading the book enormously, don't get me wrong. It's just that it's not... Titan.


Cobalt Frost wrote: View Post
Thanks for bringing back Blue-White. He's one of my favorite TrekLit characters.

Yes yes, a thousand times yes. I loved White-Blue in Synthesis, and was furious when MAM decided to effectively kill him off in StF and FG. It made no sense to me character-wise, it seemed like actual character assassination rather than just character inconsistency, as if MAM simply wanted to get rid of the character and didn't care how. So I was thrilled that you found a way to bring him back. More White-Blue please!

I also loved that Nog got such a focus. I always worry that he ends up being a bit of a background character - the science characters on DS9 usually end up getting less attention simply because it's not a science-oriented show, even if they have to be there for 'senior staff' reasons. So I was glad to see him get his due and earn his money as a main-credits character.


Sci wrote: View Post
Between these, the Chelsea Manning/Edward Snowden/Wikileaks parallels in A Ceremony of Losses, the America First/Tea Party parallels in both Ceremony and The Crimson Shadow, the clear Bacco assassination/September 11 parallels in Revelation and Dust, the general indictment of nationalism and belligerence in Ishan Anjar -- I suspect that while The Fall may have started out as an attempt to do a dramatic, Star Trek-meets-JFK-assassination story, it has in some ways evolved into a commentary on the broader trends of the post-9/11 American political culture.

Yes, all of this jumped out at me too - it's been a definite theme of the series. Each book has taken some kind of contemporary or recent-past political crisis and woven it into the Star Trek tapestry in a seamless and skilful way, and it's been fascinating to read. Excellent work to all the authors on this.


Emh wrote: View Post
...as well as the surprise return of Tom Riker (complete with references to Imzadi II and Double Helix: Quarantine). Lastly, I really liked Commander Atia and I hope we see more of her in the future.

I caught the Quarantine reference - what was the Imzadi one?

Also agree on Atia. I'm not familiar with the Magna Romanii or the Lahit, but I'm fascinated to see more of both.


Markonian wrote: View Post
tomswift2002 wrote: View Post
JWolf wrote: View Post

I would say we can treat the previous Titan book like it never happened.
With the mention of Titan charting the "Gum Nebula" in the story, I think the author was probably also trying to forget the other two books as well.
Martin's book weren't universally bad. Remember, they did a great job of fleshing out the Gorn Hegemony (keeping The Gorn Crisis in continuity). The Hranrarii were cool and unsual (because of being amphibious) aliens of the week. The Vela Pulsar was fascinating "space porn". Torvig's relationship with White-Blue was continued.

And don't forget we got a cool Andorian starship and the old transporter-duplication was brought back (still needing resolution). Especially Seize the Fire was a thriller, with its Gorn vs Gorn action and the evolving encounters between Titan and the Gorn flotilla.

Yeah, I agree that MAM's books weren't complete rubbish - the work with the Gorn was excellent. But like the White-Blue thing, I loathed the transporter duplicate thing. God I hated that. There is no doubt that James Swallow is the man to continue the Titan series, if I had my druthers.


***


EDIT: I just remembered a couple of editing mistakes I wanted to bring up. In at least two places, you used the word 'succession' when referring to the Andorians, when you meant 'secession.' Probably just an auto-correct mistake, but still, it should have been caught by the editor. Andor itself was inconsistent - sometimes you called it Andor, sometimes Andoria. I wondered if perhaps Andor was the physical planet while Andoria was the political entity, but that wasn't consistent either. Again, should have been caught by the editor. Also, the characters of Torvig Bu-Kar-Nguv and Y'Lira Modan both order their names like Bajorans, family name first (as did the long-departed Orilly Malar). So they should rightly have been referred to as Ensign Torvig and Lieutenant Y'Lira. I recall a couple of places where this wasn't done right. And you had Keru abbreviate Torvig's name to 'Tor', whereas David Mack had previously established the abbreviation was 'Vig' somewhere in the Destiny books. (IMO Tor makes more sense than Vig, but hey, he's an alien.)

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Last edited by lvsxy808; January 9 2014 at 10:58 AM.
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