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Old July 19 2008, 10:08 PM   #16
tenmei
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

So, no new Counselor then? That I can live with - assuming there'll be a counselor, we just won't have them as a regular character.
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Old July 19 2008, 10:23 PM   #17
Christopher
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

tenmei wrote: View Post
Right, maybe the instability in the crew is a key issue that Picard is trying to deal with. But it doesn't stop me wishing that we'd got a permanent crew from the second novel or thereabouts and we're getting to the fourth novel - and we're still getting changes.
Well, we can't change the past. All I (or Picard) can do is try to put together a crew that can be stable from this point forward. GTTS is several months after BD and is a lead-in to Destiny and what follows; think of it as a season premiere of sorts, a new start.

It seemed to me that Picard was quite willing to ingore the views of the new crew in favour of the views of his older crew. Picard expresses his point of view, the older crew agree with that - and the new crew disagree but they're ignored despite them being on the side of their orders from Starfleet.
I don't think that's a fair assessment. Picard considered their input, but he still made his own decision, as is his right as a captain.

Besides, as I said, you can't judge the character based solely on one book. There have been hundreds and hundreds of TNG episodes, novels, and stories.



Hmmm. I mean, I like the way that Titan doesn't focus on the senior staff but I like the fact we know who the senior staff is - so I'm hoping this won't change and when we get senior staff meetings the senior staff will actually be there (has Rager been in any of the staff meetings on Titan, has she actually done anything in four books ?).
Tell you what: instead of dwelling on what you're afraid might or might not happen in the book, why don't you make things easy for yourself and just read it? Then you'll know.


David Mack wrote: View Post
T'Ryssa Chen has a more nebulous job description -- contact specialist, science expert, and relief conn officer.
Uhh, since when was Trys a relief conn officer? I didn't establish that.


tenmei wrote: View Post
So, no new Counselor then? That I can live with - assuming there'll be a counselor, we just won't have them as a regular character.
Deanna basically did two jobs, counselor for the crew and contact specialist advising the captain on diplomatic and contact situations, alien psychology, etc. T'Lana apparently had the same dual role, but there's no reason to assume that every counselor would. Naturally the ship has a counselor (and you'll find out who it is if you read the book), but I assume a normal counselor would not be posted on the bridge as a matter of course.
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Old July 19 2008, 10:30 PM   #18
Thrawn
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

Christopher - thanks for the long reply. I think it's fantastic that all the authors hang around on these boards and respond to our comments; none of the other tv shows or novel series I read has anything similar, so it's a real privilege.

Regarding the crew shuffling - I also thought it was ambiguous whether or not T'Lana would leave, so I wasn't expecting that, and as for Leybenzon, even if he was scripted to have left the ship, why kill him off so suddenly? No one liked him enough for that to be an effective Dramatic Moment, and it seemed to me that all it did was take a potentially interesting character, reduce him to one dimension, and eliminate him. Like I said, a waste of resources. Even if you and David Mack didn't want him on the ship, why not leave him alive for later authors to play with if they wanted?

As for T'Ryssa, well, it seemed to me that most of her character was something like "I am smart and awesome enough to know that I'm an annoying unprofessional person, but I'm cute enough that I don't have to do anything about it, so everyone else gets to deal!" And after a book in which many people were criticizing several of the new characters for a lack of Starfleet professionalism, a new character who not only doesn't have any but basically refuses to do anything about it seemed like salt in the wound. The constant punning, sleeping around, and lack of respect for authority made her into what I feel is a pretty common archetype in bad, male-centered entertainment; I didn't mean to insult you or anything by saying that, I apologize if any offense was felt, it's just an archetype that I personally think is really irritating. Just about every time she did a neurotic, annoying rant that made everyone smile despite themselves I had an "oh please" moment. I'd have kicked her off the ship. Though, if nothing else, the fact that Kadohata hated her at first made me like Kadohata more...

Actually, I didn't mention this in my previous post, but I really loved what you did with Kadohata; I was hoping for similarly layered characterizations of T'Lana and Leybenzon, because I knew you'd be able to pull that off and make real and interesting people out of the confusion of the earlier books. I was disappointed that you didn't, whether by your or by editorial decision.

Like you said, the book was primarily about the character arcs, and so since I had some trouble with a few of them it diminished my enjoyment. The setting was outstanding - your novels have some of the greatest sci-fi ideas to appear in Star Trek in years. I really hope that this enormous thinking entity thing finds its way back into the novels at some point, because by the end of the book I was every bit as interested in that thing as a character as I was in all the actual people. Taking a wild idea like that and giving it personality (subtly, not like Q or Nagilum) was fascinating. The Borg were almost an afterthought, a way to get into the story with this creature and a way to underscore the familial theme of the book, and I liked that a lot. If there had to be so many Borg stories in a row, this was definitely the way to take one. There was a lot I loved about this novel.

I guess maybe my expectations were too high; this is the first time there's been a character in any of your books I haven't really enjoyed. Based on the quality of your earlier novels, I was expecting you to come in to the slightly clumsy TNG Relaunch and fix it, turning everything into people that made sense and long term arcs that connected. Now that I know that a lot of the decisions to remove characters, etc, weren't your fault I realize what a hard job writing the first third of this book must have been, and I suppose it was the best it could've been. But it's really odd to me how all the other ongoing book series I've read - NF, DS9 Relaunch, Gorkon, Titan, Vanguard, A Time To... - kept long term arcs going, but this series seems determined to reinvent itself every book. It's jarring.

I liked Before Dishonor a lot; I thought it didn't fit into the ongoing story well, but on its own it was a pretty entertaining romp. I feel pretty much the same way about this; the ongoing story is still frustrating, but the standalone plot is pretty entertaining. Fair enough?
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Old July 19 2008, 11:37 PM   #19
Christopher
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

Thrawn wrote: View Post
Regarding the crew shuffling - I also thought it was ambiguous whether or not T'Lana would leave, so I wasn't expecting that, and as for Leybenzon, even if he was scripted to have left the ship, why kill him off so suddenly? No one liked him enough for that to be an effective Dramatic Moment, and it seemed to me that all it did was take a potentially interesting character, reduce him to one dimension, and eliminate him. Like I said, a waste of resources. Even if you and David Mack didn't want him on the ship, why not leave him alive for later authors to play with if they wanted?
We wanted to kill someone off to underline, basically, that we meant business with this new story development. I had a choice of T'Lana or Leybenzon, and I wanted to leave T'Lana around for possible redemption.

Besides, I really don't have much sympathy for characters who think of combat as a desirable thing. I wanted to make a point about what that mentality leads to.


As for T'Ryssa, well, it seemed to me that most of her character was something like "I am smart and awesome enough to know that I'm an annoying unprofessional person, but I'm cute enough that I don't have to do anything about it, so everyone else gets to deal!"
Actually I kinda like that.

And after a book in which many people were criticizing several of the new characters for a lack of Starfleet professionalism, a new character who not only doesn't have any but basically refuses to do anything about it seemed like salt in the wound.
First of all, I don't think a little unruliness is in the same category as throwing your captain in the brig. Second, I think you're confusing style with substance. She maintains her irreverence, but she mellows over the course of the book and is a better officer at the end than she started out being.

The constant punning, sleeping around, and lack of respect for authority made her into what I feel is a pretty common archetype in bad, male-centered entertainment; I didn't mean to insult you or anything by saying that, I apologize if any offense was felt, it's just an archetype that I personally think is really irritating.
Like Trys said, she doesn't lack respect for authority, she's just not very good at following it. She took (or was alluded to having taken) three lovers in the course of a book that spans several months, which makes her probably less active than Riker or Bashir, say. And the puns? That's just me. You should see some of the puns I wanted to use but didn't. (Worf gives T'Ryssa a speech about how he's grown and matured, and she replies, "Good to know you're not a static Klingon.")


Actually, I didn't mention this in my previous post, but I really loved what you did with Kadohata; I was hoping for similarly layered characterizations of T'Lana and Leybenzon, because I knew you'd be able to pull that off and make real and interesting people out of the confusion of the earlier books. I was disappointed that you didn't, whether by your or by editorial decision.
To be honest, I don't think I could've done much with Leybenzon. I appreciate what Keith was going for with the character, but I wouldn't have been the right author to tackle a character like that effectively. I bet Dave could've done something interesting with him, but it wasn't in the cards.


The setting was outstanding - your novels have some of the greatest sci-fi ideas to appear in Star Trek in years. I really hope that this enormous thinking entity thing finds its way back into the novels at some point, because by the end of the book I was every bit as interested in that thing as a character as I was in all the actual people. Taking a wild idea like that and giving it personality (subtly, not like Q or Nagilum) was fascinating.
That's really nice to hear. It was an interesting challenge I set for myself, to depict an alien mind without having it speak a word, but it really helped make it different from your usual alien.

Basically, I just wanted to do something I hadn't done before. I'd done planet-dwelling civilizations, I'd done spacegoing intelligences, so I wanted to do something that was neither.

The Borg were almost an afterthought, a way to get into the story with this creature and a way to underscore the familial theme of the book, and I liked that a lot. If there had to be so many Borg stories in a row, this was definitely the way to take one. There was a lot I loved about this novel.
That's also nice to hear. I did want it to be as much a change of pace as possible.


I guess maybe my expectations were too high; this is the first time there's been a character in any of your books I haven't really enjoyed.
I guess I should take that as a compliment, but I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to make T'Ryssa as appealing to you as she is to me.

Based on the quality of your earlier novels, I was expecting you to come in to the slightly clumsy TNG Relaunch and fix it, turning everything into people that made sense and long term arcs that connected. Now that I know that a lot of the decisions to remove characters, etc, weren't your fault I realize what a hard job writing the first third of this book must have been, and I suppose it was the best it could've been. But it's really odd to me how all the other ongoing book series I've read - NF, DS9 Relaunch, Gorkon, Titan, Vanguard, A Time To... - kept long term arcs going, but this series seems determined to reinvent itself every book. It's jarring.
Well, the authors of the 2008-9 TNG books -- myself, Dave Mack, and William Leisner -- have been keeping in regular contact and coordinating our efforts to keep things reasonably consistent from here on. Although different books won't necessarily focus on the same characters to the same degree.
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Old July 19 2008, 11:50 PM   #20
Thrawn
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

Christopher wrote: View Post
We wanted to kill someone off to underline, basically, that we meant business with this new story development. I had a choice of T'Lana or Leybenzon, and I wanted to leave T'Lana around for possible redemption.

Besides, I really don't have much sympathy for characters who think of combat as a desirable thing. I wanted to make a point about what that mentality leads to.
Fair enough, I suppose, but I never thought that Leybenzon loved combat, just that he understood it and found the real officers unclear and arbitrary. Which I thought was an interesting conflict. Oh well.
Actually I kinda like that.
That's good - you wrote it, you're supposed to . I disagree, but I'm sure others won't. Really, that's the jist of it - the character isn't unrealistic, she's just a sort of character that annoys me a lot. To each his own, right?
(Worf gives T'Ryssa a speech about how he's grown and matured, and she replies, "Good to know you're not a static Klingon.")
THAT's funny
That's really nice to hear. It was an interesting challenge I set for myself, to depict an alien mind without having it speak a word, but it really helped make it different from your usual alien.
Plus, I loved the idea of, all over the ship, anytime any two people are really getting into each other and having a private moment POOF suddenly appears a creepy gray semi-person, staring at them. A couple of the scenes where that happened really made me laugh.
Well, the authors of the 2008-9 TNG books -- myself, Dave Mack, and William Leisner -- have been keeping in regular contact and coordinating our efforts to keep things reasonably consistent from here on. Although different books won't necessarily focus on the same characters to the same degree.
That's really good to hear. I'm looking forward to this new crew starting to build some storytelling momentum.
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Old July 20 2008, 12:00 AM   #21
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

Christopher wrote: View Post
You should see some of the puns I wanted to use but didn't. (Worf gives T'Ryssa a speech about how he's grown and matured, and she replies, "Good to know you're not a static Klingon.")
I'd like to take this opportunity to say a huge public THANK YOU to Margaret Clark for preventing that groaner from getting into print.
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Old July 20 2008, 12:17 AM   #22
tenmei
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

GTTS is several months after BD and is a lead-in to Destiny and what follows; think of it as a season premiere of sorts, a new start.
That I can deal with. I just hope these new people will stick around for long enough for us to get familiar with and see some character development from them!
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Old July 20 2008, 12:42 AM   #23
Christopher
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

William Leisner wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
You should see some of the puns I wanted to use but didn't. (Worf gives T'Ryssa a speech about how he's grown and matured, and she replies, "Good to know you're not a static Klingon.")
I'd like to take this opportunity to say a huge public THANK YOU to Margaret Clark for preventing that groaner from getting into print.
Actually Margaret never saw that one. I ended up having Worf give that speech to Kadohata, so it would've been redundant to have him give it to Trys. But there were a number of wisecracks that I did trim out in the second draft when Margaret thought I'd taken the character a little too far.
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Old July 20 2008, 12:56 AM   #24
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

Christopher wrote: View Post
David Mack wrote: View Post
T'Ryssa Chen has a more nebulous job description -- contact specialist, science expert, and relief conn officer.
Uhh, since when was Trys a relief conn officer? I didn't establish that.
Honestly, I have no idea. I didn't establish it, either, but my editors insisted it's part of her job description. Maybe they're hoping it will be the literary equivalent of "build it and they will come."
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Old July 20 2008, 05:26 AM   #25
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

William Leisner wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
You should see some of the puns I wanted to use but didn't. (Worf gives T'Ryssa a speech about how he's grown and matured, and she replies, "Good to know you're not a static Klingon.")
I'd like to take this opportunity to say a huge public THANK YOU to Margaret Clark for preventing that groaner from getting into print.
On the other hand, I think I am going to have to contact my editor at TrekMovie and ask him to change my review.

I've been waiting for a good Worf joke out somewhere around Uranus...

Rob+
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Old July 20 2008, 08:06 AM   #26
Baerbel Haddrell
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

William Leisner wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
You should see some of the puns I wanted to use but didn't. (Worf gives T'Ryssa a speech about how he's grown and matured, and she replies, "Good to know you're not a static Klingon.")
I'd like to take this opportunity to say a huge public THANK YOU to Margaret Clark for preventing that groaner from getting into print.
I think it is a good groaner .

This time I am not waiting until Amazon UK finally gets the book. I paid in advance and asked my comic and SF shop to send it to me as soon as they get it which should be several weeks earlier.

I enjoyed reading the discussions so far and can`t wait to get the book!
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Old July 20 2008, 08:09 AM   #27
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

William Leisner wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
You should see some of the puns I wanted to use but didn't. (Worf gives T'Ryssa a speech about how he's grown and matured, and she replies, "Good to know you're not a static Klingon.")
I'd like to take this opportunity to say a huge public THANK YOU to Margaret Clark for preventing that groaner from getting into print.
Dammit, I want at least ONE Eav'oq joke to make it into a novel.
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Old July 23 2008, 04:21 PM   #28
Christopher
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

David Mack wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
David Mack wrote: View Post
T'Ryssa Chen has a more nebulous job description -- contact specialist, science expert, and relief conn officer.
Uhh, since when was Trys a relief conn officer? I didn't establish that.
Honestly, I have no idea. I didn't establish it, either, but my editors insisted it's part of her job description. Maybe they're hoping it will be the literary equivalent of "build it and they will come."
Forgot to respond to this before, but I guess this makes sense. It potentially gives Trys something to do in stories that don't involve contact/diplomatic situations.
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Old July 23 2008, 04:40 PM   #29
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

David Mack wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
David Mack wrote: View Post
T'Ryssa Chen has a more nebulous job description -- contact specialist, science expert, and relief conn officer.
Uhh, since when was Trys a relief conn officer? I didn't establish that.
Honestly, I have no idea. I didn't establish it, either, but my editors insisted it's part of her job description. Maybe they're hoping it will be the literary equivalent of "build it and they will come."
They're trying to make up for the Deanna Troi piloting nightmares.

E-D: Crashed into a planet.
E-E: Crashed into a ship (well that was ordered and probably why Picard sent her to the helm).
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Old July 23 2008, 05:39 PM   #30
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

^^That joke is tired, unfunny, and inaccurate, and far too suggestive of ugly sexist humor about woman drivers. The E-D was heading for a crash landing anyway; it's to Deanna's credit that she brought it down in one piece with no casualties. Please, let's kill the "Deanna can't drive" joke and bury it deep in the ground where it belongs.
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