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Old August 9 2008, 03:08 PM   #136
Baerbel Haddrell
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

Thank you for your interesting comments. There is not a lot I can add, just one point or two:

Your explanation about T`Lana makes sense but still, I don`t want to meet that woman again and don`t see how she can ever be a counsellor I would like to discuss my most private thoughts and fears with. I am not a scientist. I understand now that “insanity” is not the word I should have used but something more general like “mental issues”. T`Lana has a lot of them and combined with the limitations her personality has, it would be better for her and everybody else if she would find a new career.

Calhoun as Wolverine and Trys as Spider-Man or Human Torch – that is amusing. Well, they are all super-heroes and therefore in good company. As I said, they are both free spirits, original thinkers and not afraid to say what they think and do what they think is right. They also have a very open attitude towards sexuality and a sense of humour. They are dark and light but have a lot in common I like.

Thank you again for this enjoyable and interesting book.
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Old August 9 2008, 05:37 PM   #137
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

Baerbel Haddrell wrote: View Post
Your explanation about T`Lana makes sense but still, I don`t want to meet that woman again and don`t see how she can ever be a counsellor I would like to discuss my most private thoughts and fears with. I am not a scientist. I understand now that “insanity” is not the word I should have used but something more general like “mental issues”. T`Lana has a lot of them and combined with the limitations her personality has, it would be better for her and everybody else if she would find a new career.
Well, of course no one would ask you to choose a therapist you couldn't trust or feel comfortable with. The patient-therapist relationship depends entirely on trust. And T'Lana's professional enough that she should be able to recognize that, which is no doubt part of the reason she realized she needed to transfer off the Enterprise.

And you're right that her problems make her currently unqualified to function as a therapist. But as a therapist, she would never assume that someone's personality problems are incurable. After all, her problems are a direct result of the traumas she suffered in the Dominion War, so it would be illogical to assume they're permanent parts of her nature as a person. Nog wasn't born with an artificial leg, and T'Lana wasn't born with her neuroses. They're just different kinds of war wounds. T'Lana has a lot of work to do, a lot of healing and introspection to go through, before she can be qualified to work as a therapist again. But she could emerge as a better, wiser therapist as a result.
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Old August 9 2008, 10:27 PM   #138
Baerbel Haddrell
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

I wish that were true that no one in the Star Trek universe, meaning Starfleet, would ask an officer to go to a therapist he or she doesn`t trust or feel comfortable with. “A Time to…” was showing an extreme when that counsellor “treated” Picard in ways against his will that were nothing else but torture. He had no say whatsoever when that happened. I can`t give specific examples right now but I remember there were cases when the captain or another high ranking officer ordered someone to go to the counsellor on board and talk about the problem in question. If I would have been ordered to go to T`Lana or even that counsellor from hell in “A Time To…”, I would be extremely careful what I say and that conversation would not be helpful, it would probably even cause more stress and anxiety to a person who already feels vulnerable. I could see that Counsellors have a lot of power and are able to remove a person from duty.

OK, I am hoping that T`Lana will handle her problems better than Leybenzon did.
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Old August 10 2008, 12:09 AM   #139
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

I finally got in touch with Borders about the copy I ordered since they have stopped stocking Trek books in my area. They ordered it about eigth days ago and it still hasn't come in. I'm heading into Pittsburgh tomorrow so I'll, hopefully, find a copy then.
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Old August 11 2008, 02:29 PM   #140
dukesman
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

Hello Chris,

It's been a long time since I've reviewed any Trek literature in the fourms. It's not that I haven't been reading any, just no time these days. GTTS was very entertaining and made me want to say some nice things about it, though, so here goes...

I first have to admit I have not read The Buried Age, Q&A, or Before Dishonor...so the recaps of previous storylines didn't bother me at all...in fact, I appreciated the fact that these little notes filled in the gaps for me without dragging the story down, a very hard thing to do!

I'll be honest, I expected a lot of Borg action but what I found was very rewarding. Several key scenes between various characters - Picard and Beverly, Geordi and Elfiki, Hugh and Rebekah, Worf and Choudhury (did I spell that correctly?) - served to deepen my understanding of them and raised my enjoyment of this story. I esp liked Worf's speech with Choudhury about honor. Well done. And even though there could have been some romantic implications there, I like the fact that he thinks of Jadzia at that moment.

Choudhury's "pendulum attack" against the Borg ship. Excellent imagery - movie quality!

Very interesting aliens as well - you certainly do like gigantic multifaceted lifeforms don't you? (Orion's Hounds is my favorite Titan novel by far!)

I never got the feeling of "here we go again" with any facet of the story - even with the inclusion of Hugh and Guinan. Everything had that "moving forward" quality to it and it seems Picard's new crew (and family life) are finally starting to gel, despite all of the quirky and uneven parts. One can't help but smile for the captain! Until the end anyway...damn, damn damn!!!

I'm interested to see where this all goes and Destiny has a great setup!

Thanks for a great novel!
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Old August 11 2008, 06:34 PM   #141
Christopher
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

Defcon wrote: View Post
I usually like most of Christopher's Stuff, but Greater than the Sum didn't work for me at all.
Sorry to hear that. I read your review, and I wanted to clarify one thing:

One would think that the novel would improve once it hits the actual plot, but sadly this isn’t the case. The main reason for that is that the overall theme of family and children is totally oppressing any kind of flow that the story could have otherwise. You want to have an overall theme carried through the whole novel? Fine, no problem with that, but do it with subtlety and don’t slap it over everything in the novel. Here, it's totally pushing the actual Borg plot into the background and is nothing but annoying in the end.
I think you've misconstrued the purpose of the book. The Borg were not the "actual" plot of the novel. They were the McGuffin. We'd already had two novels centering on the Borg and were about to have a trilogy driven by them, so I was going for a change of pace, a more character-driven and exploration-driven tale. The hunt for the Einstein was just the means to set the character and exploration storylines in motion.


dukesman wrote: View Post
I first have to admit I have not read The Buried Age, Q&A, or Before Dishonor...so the recaps of previous storylines didn't bother me at all...in fact, I appreciated the fact that these little notes filled in the gaps for me without dragging the story down, a very hard thing to do!
Well, that's the goal -- to make each book accessible to the reader without requiring them to be familiar with any previous works. Sure, that runs the risk of feeling redundant to those who have read those works, but it wouldn't be fair to exclude newcomers on those grounds.


I'm interested to see where this all goes and Destiny has a great setup!

Thanks for a great novel!
Thank you!
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Old August 11 2008, 06:45 PM   #142
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

You did a very good job tying in the loose threads left by Voyager and TNG with the Borg. I liked the small throwaway lines on how some of the Borg came from Battle Wolf 359. It made perfect sense.
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Old August 11 2008, 06:57 PM   #143
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

Christopher wrote: View Post
One would think that the novel would improve once it hits the actual plot, but sadly this isn’t the case. The main reason for that is that the overall theme of family and children is totally oppressing any kind of flow that the story could have otherwise. You want to have an overall theme carried through the whole novel? Fine, no problem with that, but do it with subtlety and don’t slap it over everything in the novel. Here, it's totally pushing the actual Borg plot into the background and is nothing but annoying in the end.
I think you've misconstrued the purpose of the book. The Borg were not the "actual" plot of the novel. They were the McGuffin. We'd already had two novels centering on the Borg and were about to have a trilogy driven by them, so I was going for a change of pace, a more character-driven and exploration-driven tale. The hunt for the Einstein was just the means to set the character and exploration storylines in motion.
I think I've used the wrong word when I wrote "plot", I actually meant the "event" of the novel (as in what is physically happening in the novel beside the recapping and character stuff). I like character stuff, too, but, unless it is a short story, only in a healthy mix with "action" (not in the the fights and deaths sense, but in the sense that something is actually happening), and for me in GttS the character stuff was just overshadowing everything too much.

ETA:

Sorry to hear that.
Don't sweat over it. Every author has at least one "Get out of jail" card with me, just make sure I like your Titan book more and everything is fine.

Last edited by Defcon; August 11 2008 at 07:05 PM.
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Old August 13 2008, 01:12 AM   #144
EnochRoot
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

Finished GTTS last night. Enjoyable, solid read. Good character development, leisurely pace, tied up some lose ends with the Borg that had been floating around from TNG and VOY both on screen and in the books. I'm a fan of Miyazaki's films and I definitely recognized his influence on this book.

The novel focused mainly on the characters and their relationships, so will my review.

I was glad to see that the Picard/Crusher wedding was "off-screen". The main focus on their relationship was more properly the issue of having a child from a thematic viewpoint so Christopher correctly focused there.

The way Christopher tapped into Picard's "multiple personalities" (not in the clinical sense) of Sarek, Locutus, and Kamin was inspired. I hope to see more writers explore what it means to have 3 or 4 different lives in Picard's head from which he can draw experience and insight.

Worf and LaForge were not the focus of this novel, but both got a good scene. Worf discussing honor with Choudhury was the kind of observation about Klingon culture I expect to see in a KRAD novel (I mean that as high compliment). I got an ironic chuckle when Elfiki worried that LaForge would judge her based on her appearance.

Of the three "mutineers" I was glad Kodohata was the editorial/authorial choice to remain a cast member. I would have picked her if I could only have 1. Too bad Leybenzon had to go though. KRAD did a nice job establishing his character in Q&A. Was there any thought given to allowing him to stay on serving under Choudhury? It seems her peaceful nature could have been a good influence on him over time. Oh well. I suppose his fate reflects Christopher's opinion of Leybenzon's world-view. T'Lana...well she didn't work especially well for me but she leaves with some dignity intact.

Of the trio of newcomers I was most interested in Choudhury. She has a personal philosophy unique among other Trek regular cast members. The tactics she employed against the Borg were well considered. Its fun when the heroes are using new tricks against the villains. I look forward to Choudhury being a window into a culture I have little personal experience with and it makes me interested to consult non-fiction resources to learn more about it.

Chen seems to fit nicely into the "kid" archetype. Its a nice touch that just as Picard has begun forging a new family of his own this foundling comes into his life obviously in need of a strong family support system. Not every one of her wisecracks worked for me...but lets face it Spider-Man and Buffy have some misses in the humor department too.

Elfiki was the character I got to know least which was strange considering the scientific/exploration bent to the tale. Hopefully David Mack will have more to say about the character and hopefully he'll do as a good a job establishing her as KRAD did with Kodohata/Leybenzon and Christopher did with Choudhury/Chen.

So all in all nice job Christopher. Despite being an encounter with the Borg this felt like a calm between storms. A Time to Kill, Heal, For War/Peace brought a very strong close to the pre-Nemesis TNG storyline. It reinvigorated my waning interest in the TNG cast. So far both Q&A and GTTS have continued to leave me with a positive outlook on the future of TNG. I'm very excited where Destiny and Losing the Peace will take the Enterprise crew and for Christopher's next work in Over a Torrent Sea.
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Old August 13 2008, 02:42 AM   #145
Christopher
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

EnochRoot wrote: View Post
Finished GTTS last night. Enjoyable, solid read. Good character development, leisurely pace, tied up some lose ends with the Borg that had been floating around from TNG and VOY both on screen and in the books.
Thanks!

I was glad to see that the Picard/Crusher wedding was "off-screen". The main focus on their relationship was more properly the issue of having a child from a thematic viewpoint so Christopher correctly focused there.
The credit for that decision goes to Margaret Clark, my editor on this book.


The way Christopher tapped into Picard's "multiple personalities" (not in the clinical sense) of Sarek, Locutus, and Kamin was inspired. I hope to see more writers explore what it means to have 3 or 4 different lives in Picard's head from which he can draw experience and insight.
Keith DeCandido already explored that to a degree in his comics miniseries Perchance to Dream, which was an influence on me in writing this.


Of the three "mutineers" I was glad Kodohata was the editorial/authorial choice to remain a cast member. I would have picked her if I could only have 1. Too bad Leybenzon had to go though. KRAD did a nice job establishing his character in Q&A. Was there any thought given to allowing him to stay on serving under Choudhury? It seems her peaceful nature could have been a good influence on him over time.
Interesting thought, but no, that was never considered as far as I know.
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Old August 14 2008, 10:11 AM   #146
Idoliside
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

I finished GTTS last night, after getting not much sleep and sleeping in the day i ploughed through the novel whilst being over-tired and couldnt sleep...

The writing style here def reads like a Chris L Bennett novel, it was very similar to Orions Hounds in my opinion. Not just because they were covering some of the same area as the Luna class but for exploring the unknown, which Chris does very well.

The amount of scientific theory behind everything is brilliant and it's good to read an exploration novel after all the borg scares, mirror realities and divergant universes. And not just exploration of space, but also of life and people. Having this being mirrored in what was happening to the star cluster was nice, especially since it revolved around pro-creation.

A couple of things bugged me though. Namely with the sudden appearance of Hugh and having Picards memories revived all at once.
With Hugh it would have been nice to have a few chapters following what he was doing before he appeared to the enterprise rather than have him suddenly appear out of the blue.
Also having Picards memories of Kamin effect his judgement makes good sense, but seemed a bit too momentary. It seemed as though it was only effecting him for this one choice and seemed to come and go far too quickly. Maybe it was just his reaction to his own pro-creation that brought it on but it did feel a bit rushed.

Other than those two little things the rest was fantastic. I liked bringing back the Mabrae from The Buried Age. I liked the new officer Trys, it's always good to bring in something new and immature into an area of officers and strict regime. Like a breath of fresh air (and probably why picard chose too keep her, deep down).

Great book with a fantastic epilogue. Looking forward to more of your work! And Destiny of course.
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Old August 14 2008, 02:32 PM   #147
Christopher
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

Idoliside wrote: View Post
The writing style here def reads like a Chris L Bennett novel, it was very similar to Orions Hounds in my opinion. Not just because they were covering some of the same area as the Luna class but for exploring the unknown, which Chris does very well.

The amount of scientific theory behind everything is brilliant and it's good to read an exploration novel after all the borg scares, mirror realities and divergant universes. And not just exploration of space, but also of life and people. Having this being mirrored in what was happening to the star cluster was nice, especially since it revolved around pro-creation.
Thanks!

A couple of things bugged me though. Namely with the sudden appearance of Hugh and having Picards memories revived all at once.
With Hugh it would have been nice to have a few chapters following what he was doing before he appeared to the enterprise rather than have him suddenly appear out of the blue.
But that would've taken the surprise out of it. Also, I was hired to write an 85,000-word novel, not a 100,000-word one.

Also having Picards memories of Kamin effect his judgement makes good sense, but seemed a bit too momentary. It seemed as though it was only effecting him for this one choice and seemed to come and go far too quickly. Maybe it was just his reaction to his own pro-creation that brought it on but it did feel a bit rushed.
Well, that couldn't be helped. Realistically, the events of "The Inner Light" were something that should've changed Picard forever, but the producers of the show and films chose to sweep it aside and revert him to normal. The best I could manage was to attempt to retroactively justify why it hadn't had a major effect on his life.

And I certainly hope it won't just disappear again. Now that he's allowed himself to confront these issues and embrace his Kamin memories, I feel those memories should inform him as he becomes a parent in real life.
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Old August 14 2008, 05:51 PM   #148
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

[quote=Christopher;1943643]
Idoliside wrote: View Post
Well, that couldn't be helped. Realistically, the events of "The Inner Light" were something that should've changed Picard forever, but the producers of the show and films chose to sweep it aside and revert him to normal.
Sadly, that happened quite a bit in TNG IMO.
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Old August 14 2008, 08:07 PM   #149
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

Also having Picards memories of Kamin effect his judgement makes good sense, but seemed a bit too momentary. It seemed as though it was only effecting him for this one choice and seemed to come and go far too quickly. Maybe it was just his reaction to his own pro-creation that brought it on but it did feel a bit rushed.
Well, that couldn't be helped. Realistically, the events of "The Inner Light" were something that should've changed Picard forever, but the producers of the show and films chose to sweep it aside and revert him to normal. The best I could manage was to attempt to retroactively justify why it hadn't had a major effect on his life.

And I certainly hope it won't just disappear again. Now that he's allowed himself to confront these issues and embrace his Kamin memories, I feel those memories should inform him as he becomes a parent in real life.
Agreed, i suppose to work it into the story in a melodramatic way it would have to be 100,000 words (as you said earlier) or cut out other important part and make the whole book about Kamin.
Damn episodic TV!
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Old August 14 2008, 08:17 PM   #150
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

While I agree with you all that TNG didn't do enough in following up The Inner Light, I just want to say that Lessons at least gave it some followup, which I enjoyed. Not at all like the great work Christopher did here, but it wasn't entirely swept under the rug either. The fact that there was any followup at all for TNG is somewhat rare.

I haven't chimed in yet, and just want to say that I loved the book Christopher. I love the TNG characters so much that just having things slow down a bit and have them talk about what is going on with them was great. Again, kudos.
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