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Old January 24 2009, 05:11 PM   #91
KRAD
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Re: A Singular Destiny review thread (possible spoilers)

Last night, I appeared on Destinies: The Voice of Science Fiction, a radio show out of the University of Stony Brook's WUSB. The show has been archived at Captain Phil Online. I talk quite a bit about A Singular Destiny (as well as my Farscape comic book work).

(BTW, if you check out the Destinies archive section on the same site, you can find more interviews with me, as well as with such Trek folk as Allen Asherman, Greg Cox, Peter David, Glenn Greenberg, Glenn Hauman, Mark Lenard, and Tim Russ.)
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Old January 24 2009, 06:33 PM   #92
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Re: A Singular Destiny review thread (possible spoilers)

^^So you were talking about A Singular Destiny on a show called Destinies? Somehow that seems incongruous....
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Old January 24 2009, 06:48 PM   #93
Jean-Luc Picard
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Re: A Singular Destiny review thread (possible spoilers)

KRAD wrote: View Post
Last night, I appeared on Destinies: The Voice of Science Fiction, a radio show out of the University of Stony Brook's WUSB. The show has been archived at Captain Phil Online. I talk quite a bit about A Singular Destiny (as well as my Farscape comic book work).

(BTW, if you check out the Destinies archive section on the same site, you can find more interviews with me, as well as with such Trek folk as Allen Asherman, Greg Cox, Peter David, Glenn Greenberg, Glenn Hauman, Mark Lenard, and Tim Russ.)
I'll check it out
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Old January 24 2009, 07:32 PM   #94
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Re: A Singular Destiny review thread (possible spoilers)

KRAD wrote: View Post
Last night, I appeared on Destinies: The Voice of Science Fiction, a radio show out of the University of Stony Brook's WUSB. The show has been archived at Captain Phil Online. I talk quite a bit about A Singular Destiny (as well as my Farscape comic book work).

(BTW, if you check out the Destinies archive section on the same site, you can find more interviews with me, as well as with such Trek folk as Allen Asherman, Greg Cox, Peter David, Glenn Greenberg, Glenn Hauman, Mark Lenard, and Tim Russ.)
Good Show.
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Old January 24 2009, 10:48 PM   #95
Baerbel Haddrell
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Re: A Singular Destiny review thread (possible spoilers)

Defcon wrote: View Post
Baerbel Haddrell wrote: View Post
I think I will never figure out this spoiler coding here and there is so much now on the tip of my tongue...
Just type your text and highlight it. Then you have to click on the very last symbol in the line where you can turn on bold, italic etc. (the smiley with a X as mouth). Next you have to type what the spoiler is about in the box that will pop up. Just confirm and it should work.
Thank you. On the other hand, if I get this wrong there will be quite a few people eager to rip my head off.

Better not risk it...
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Old January 25 2009, 12:07 AM   #96
Defcon
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Re: A Singular Destiny review thread (possible spoilers)

Baerbel Haddrell wrote: View Post
Defcon wrote: View Post
Baerbel Haddrell wrote: View Post
I think I will never figure out this spoiler coding here and there is so much now on the tip of my tongue...
Just type your text and highlight it. Then you have to click on the very last symbol in the line where you can turn on bold, italic etc. (the smiley with a X as mouth). Next you have to type what the spoiler is about in the box that will pop up. Just confirm and it should work.
Thank you. On the other hand, if I get this wrong there will be quite a few people eager to rip my head off.

Better not risk it...
Maybe you could make a trial-run with a non-spoiler text.
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Old January 25 2009, 04:13 AM   #97
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Re: A Singular Destiny review thread (possible spoilers)

I just ordered my copy. Amazon just loves me, I order so many things there.
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Old January 25 2009, 06:41 AM   #98
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Re: A Singular Destiny review thread (possible spoilers)

Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD!


This novel was definitely an interesting read; it took a lot of chances, I think, and some worked and some didn't. If nothing else, I think the primary mission of this one was to show What Happens Next on a galactic scale after Destiny, and to really fulfill that trilogy's promise of "everything is different now", and in that regard it succeeds brilliantly. The plot is all interconnected, but covers a lot of ground, both personal and political. I'm a fan.

It also seemed to me as though a lot of the book was built around taking the projects KRAD has put a lot of work into (Bacco, Gorkon/Klingons, SCE) and a bunch of books he likes (Final Reflection, etc) and updating them into the post-Destiny timeline, and here I think the book is less successful. Sure, it's nice to see a lot of these people again, but there's just so much name-dropping that I question whether a casual fan would really be able to keep up. And, mind you, I *LOVE* this vast interconnected universe that Star Trek is these days; I felt that all the cameos and shout-outs in Destiny greatly added to the experience.

But here, it just really felt like too much. Like, is there some prior story about Dax and the Ferengi ambassador I've forgotten? And I've never read SCE, and while I know enough about their reputation to find the "they made a planet disappear" joke be funny, I found the chapter devoted to catching up on those characters hard to follow; similarly, despite having finished A Burning House a month ago, I was already fuzzy enough on the names of some of those characters that I had to be running to Memory Beta in those sequences just to make sure I wasn't missing anything. I'm all for a wider universe sort of approach, but it seems like with every successive novel, KRAD assumes more and more readers share his obsession with keeping lists of every obscure character and species in the universe, and for the first time, I think it did detracted from this story somewhat.

I also felt that Sonek Pran was a fantastic character, but putting such a huge emotional event in the last 70 pages of this book, and the fact that Pran was a character that we just met, seemed to rob that event of a lot of the emotional weight it was trying to have. It just seemed tossed off and annoying. I think, for me personally, it would've had a lot more impact if we'd met Pran with his wife already dead, depressed and reeling in a dead-end job, and shown him regain his prior joy in life as the story went on. As it was, despite really enjoying Pran and his characterization and hoping we see him again, I didn't buy the end at all.

Finally, I wish that the existence of the Typhon Pact hadn't been dropped online before this book came out; it would've been better if that'd been a total surprise. It was a brilliant plot development, well foreshadowed and explored in the novel, but I'd pretty much predicted what it was going to be in advance. That's not KRAD's fault, but it did detract from the book for me.

On the plus side, I did love seeing the Aventine again, especially Kedair's brief investigation of the mine on Capella, and I thought that crew was well-characterized and fun to have around. I loved all of the stuff back at the Federation government; in this case, I'd forgotten all the names of characters, but KRAD didn't require me to know them to enjoy the scenes. The spirit and power of Articles of the Federation came through cleanly, without me feeling like there was something I was missing (which was happening to me for a lot of the rest of the book), and I remain very impressed with how important to the Trek universe Bacco and her staff have become.

I also liked seeing how the Klingon Empire and the Romulan Empire(s) were coping with the changes, and the political situation there; that whole situation was one of the more interesting currents in Articles, and it's great to see the Borg invasion used as a plot point to further move around and complicate those alliances and politics. I look forward to reading about the future relationships developing here. (To think, a story lasting over 200 years with all these three powers in various states of conflict and peace, and there are still new twists and developments to see!)

In all, I think the large-scale continuity of the Trek universe these days is both its greatest advantage and biggest flaw; it requires a lot of balance, on the part of the authors, to use that continuity in a way that makes the universe feel huge and detailed without making the reader constantly feel like they're missing out on backstory and details. I thought Destiny nailed it perfectly, and ASD went a bit too far in the excessive detail department. But aside from that, this was an excellent glimpse at Destiny's aftermath, and (if it hadn't been blown in advance) would've been a truly surprising new political development in the galaxy.

8/10
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Old January 25 2009, 06:56 AM   #99
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Re: A Singular Destiny review thread (possible spoilers)

Thanks for the review! I appreciate the detailed criticisms...


Thrawn wrote: View Post
Like, is there some prior story about Dax and the Ferengi ambassador I've forgotten?
Nope. I leave the explanation of that particular relationship to another story for another time.
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Old January 25 2009, 07:06 AM   #100
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Re: A Singular Destiny review thread (possible spoilers)

KRAD wrote: View Post
Thanks for the review! I appreciate the detailed criticisms...


Thrawn wrote: View Post
Like, is there some prior story about Dax and the Ferengi ambassador I've forgotten?
Nope. I leave the explanation of that particular relationship to another story for another time.
Fair enough. And it was certainly believable, either way. The problem was that the book had so many of those cute little references in it that it became hard to tell what was new and what was winking at past stories.

But that sounds really negative, it's still a pretty minor complaint; it was definitely a fun read, and a necessary follow-up to Destiny.
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Old January 25 2009, 09:10 AM   #101
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Re: A Singular Destiny review thread (possible spoilers)

Hartzilla2007 wrote: View Post
This thread is starting to need funeral music.
"Oh starless night of boundless black..."
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Old January 25 2009, 10:07 AM   #102
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Re: A Singular Destiny review thread (possible spoilers)

Woo hoo. UPS just delivered my copy.

Can't wait to read it.
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Old January 25 2009, 10:40 AM   #103
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Re: A Singular Destiny review thread (possible spoilers)

Obtained a copy yesterday. Had to ask for them to search the back, but it was there.

Trudging my way through the MU anthology now (pretty dull to be honest), but I think I might read The Children of Hurin next. I need to build up another to-read pile.
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Old January 25 2009, 03:24 PM   #104
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Re: A Singular Destiny review thread (possible spoilers)

Thrawn wrote: View Post
The problem was that the book had so many of those cute little references in it that it became hard to tell what was new and what was winking at past stories.
But is that really relevant to the story itself? Most works of fiction contain references to events from the characters' past, even if they're standalones or series premieres. "The Cage" referred back to the recent Rigel VII battle, "Encounter at Farpoint" referred back to Riker & Troi's history, "Emissary" referred back to the death of Jennifer Sisko, "Caretaker" referred back to Tom Paris's criminal career, etc. In those cases, the viewer didn't wonder "Is this based on some earlier story?" And it wouldn't have mattered if it had been. If you're reading a Trek novel and constantly pulling yourself out of the story to wonder if each reference to the past is an allusion to some earlier novel, then you're creating unnecessary distractions for yourself. That's something to be curious about afterward, but it isn't important to know while you're reading. All that matters is whether its significance to this particular story is clear.
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Old January 25 2009, 04:50 PM   #105
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Re: A Singular Destiny review thread (possible spoilers)

If you're reading a Trek novel and constantly pulling yourself out of the story to wonder if each reference to the past is an allusion to some earlier novel, then you're creating unnecessary distractions for yourself.
I'm not sure that blaming the readers is the way to go here. Surely the writers of Trek fiction are at least as much at fault (to the extent that it's worth talking in terms of blame and fault about something as trivial as this). It's true that most works of fiction contain such back-references, but most works of fiction aren't part of the current Star Trek fiction's continuity, which so delights in fanwank that most of the time back-references are to some other work. Filling books with such continuity nods creates an environment where people are inevitably going to be expecting and looking for them all the time, and wondering if they've missed something when a bit of it doesn't look familiar. It may not be what authors want to have happen, but it's something they've earned nonetheless.
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