RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 138,261
Posts: 5,349,332
Members: 24,614
Currently online: 532
Newest member: robyn

TrekToday headlines

Retro Review: His Way
By: Michelle on Jul 26

MicroWarriors Releases Next Week
By: T'Bonz on Jul 25

Ships Of The Line Design Contest
By: T'Bonz on Jul 25

Next Weekend: Shore Leave 36!
By: T'Bonz on Jul 25

True Trek History To Be Penned
By: T'Bonz on Jul 25

Insight Editions Announces Three Trek Books For 2015
By: T'Bonz on Jul 24

To Be Takei Review by Spencer Blohm
By: T'Bonz on Jul 24

Mulgrew: Playing Red
By: T'Bonz on Jul 24

Hallmark 2015 Trek Ornaments
By: T'Bonz on Jul 24

Funko Mini Spock
By: T'Bonz on Jul 23


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Misc. Star Trek > Trek Literature

Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

View Poll Results: Grade "Star Trek: Destiny: Gods of Night"
Excellent 105 69.08%
Above Average 35 23.03%
Average 8 5.26%
Below Average 2 1.32%
Poor 2 1.32%
Voters: 152. You may not vote on this poll

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old January 31 2009, 04:36 PM   #421
Jono
Rear Admiral
 
Jono's Avatar
 
Location: Australia
Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

Never commented so I thought I would...

I was disappointed by the book. Maybe it was the hype heaved on it beforehand but I didn't think it was all that enjoyable. I didn't care at all for the plight of Riker and Troi or even Picard and co. Too many unfamiliar characters for me to really care since I haven't read anything in the post TNG era apart from the DS9 relaunch. In fact only Tuvok got my interest in the Titan section due to the fact he was one of the few Voyager characters I found interesting. I was interested to see the stellar cartography character on the Titan was from DS9, but not really enough to read any of the Titan back story relating to her or Tuvok. Riker and Troi were among my least favourites from TNG.

Ezri Dax as a captain was mildly interesting but only so much as how she got to that point in relation to where the DS9 relaunch was at that point. Once again Ezri was not one of my favourite characters from DS9. Worf on the other hand was one of my favourite characters on DS9 so his parts were somewhat interesting.

I guess my enjoyment of the series has suffered from my lack of involvment with the TNG relaunch (A Time to series, Before Dishonour, The Sum of, etc) and the Titan series. Plus my limited viewing of Enterprise and not reading any ENT literature could be a factor but I found the first book to be underwhelming. The Ranger's defense of Khitomer was probably my high point

In the end I gave it an average.
Jono is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31 2009, 05:05 PM   #422
Allyn Gibson
Vice Admiral
 
Allyn Gibson's Avatar
 
Location: South Pennsyltucky
View Allyn Gibson's Twitter Profile Send a message via AIM to Allyn Gibson Send a message via Yahoo to Allyn Gibson
Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

KRAD wrote: View Post
She first appeared in Q & A, and the character was my creation.
Not to quibble, Keith, but Kadohata (and Leybenzon for that matter) appears in Captain's Glory from late 2006, a full year prior to Q&A. Technically, Kadohata made it into print there first, but there's nothing... unique about her there; it's really just the name of someone in Picard's crew. I've wondered if that something Margaret did, dropping the names in at the galley stage, just so that Captain's Glory could be consistent with the post-Nemesis fiction.
__________________
"When David Marcus cited the great thinkers of history -- "Newton, Einstein, Surak" -- Newt Gingrich did not make his list." -- 24 January 2012

allyngibson.net
Allyn Gibson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31 2009, 05:10 PM   #423
Allyn Gibson
Vice Admiral
 
Allyn Gibson's Avatar
 
Location: South Pennsyltucky
View Allyn Gibson's Twitter Profile Send a message via AIM to Allyn Gibson Send a message via Yahoo to Allyn Gibson
Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

Jean-Luc Picard wrote: View Post
Coming back to the topic of DS9 being out of sync (sorry, it's probably a tired subject for discussion), I realised while reading "Mere Mortals" why it bothers me so much. It's because part of the series - namely Dax and Bowers (and, less importantly, Leishman and Tarses) - has moved on without it. We can't view, say, Dax in relation to Kira and Vaughn anymore, because we don't know what's going on with them.

And that seems odd to me.
It's not odd, not really. There are stories of Dax and Bowers still to be told in the Deep Space Nine fiction, just as there are stories of Dax and Bowers that can be told in the post-Nemesis fiction. It's really no different than classic Trek novels in the late 80's telling movie-era stories followed by television series-era stories, or the Star Wars novels jumping around from era to era.

Yes, knowing where Dax and Bowers ends may take some... potential drama out of the Deep Space Nine novels. But there's also an opportunity to show how Dax gets to the Aventine.
__________________
"When David Marcus cited the great thinkers of history -- "Newton, Einstein, Surak" -- Newt Gingrich did not make his list." -- 24 January 2012

allyngibson.net
Allyn Gibson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31 2009, 06:18 PM   #424
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

^^And I've never really bought the idea that knowing characters will survive diminishes the drama. Drama comes from seeing how the characters live their lives, not just whether.
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31 2009, 06:42 PM   #425
Jean-Luc Picard
Lieutenant
 
Jean-Luc Picard's Avatar
 
Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

I don't mind seeing Dax and Bowers in the DS9 Relaunch even though I know they're going to survive...that's not an issue for me. But I also find it kinda weird that they can't really be shaped by their past with Kira, Vaughn, and their former crewmates because nothing can be referenced.
Jean-Luc Picard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31 2009, 08:57 PM   #426
KRAD
Keith R.A. DeCandido
 
KRAD's Avatar
 
Location: New York City
View KRAD's Twitter Profile
Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
KRAD wrote: View Post
She first appeared in Q & A, and the character was my creation.
Not to quibble, Keith, but Kadohata (and Leybenzon for that matter) appears in Captain's Glory from late 2006, a full year prior to Q&A.
Okay, fair enough. But I still came up with the character.
__________________
Keith R.A. DeCandido
Blog | Facebook | Twitter

"Even when you turn your back, you're facing something."
KRAD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31 2009, 09:17 PM   #427
Jean-Luc Picard
Lieutenant
 
Jean-Luc Picard's Avatar
 
Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

KRAD wrote: View Post
Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
KRAD wrote: View Post
She first appeared in Q & A, and the character was my creation.
Not to quibble, Keith, but Kadohata (and Leybenzon for that matter) appears in Captain's Glory from late 2006, a full year prior to Q&A.
Okay, fair enough. But I still came up with the character.
Talking of which, may I ask how you being creating new characters like Kadohata? What do you develop first - the personality so that s/he can bounce off the existing cast, the background, the appearance? I'm really interested in the creative processes that go on behind these books.
Jean-Luc Picard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31 2009, 09:47 PM   #428
KRAD
Keith R.A. DeCandido
 
KRAD's Avatar
 
Location: New York City
View KRAD's Twitter Profile
Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

^ As with so many questions about writing, the answer is "it depends."

My first thought with Kadohata was to have a character who just had a child, and had a husband and children on her homeworld. (I went with Cestus III because I'd already developed so much detail on that world in A Time for War, a Time for Peace and Articles of the Federation.) I wanted to reverse the stereotype of the male officer who has a wife and children back home, which we'd seen plenty of times (Gold and Jellico, to name two).

I also liked the idea of someone who had been on the ship in the past, and who was one of the 985 or so other people serving on the Enterprise-D that we never saw in seven years of TNG.

With Leybenzon, the object was to have a mustang -- someone who raised through the ranks during the Dominion War without having attended the Academy. Aside from DS9, the franchise hasn't been good about dealing with enlisted personnel, which is something we addressed quite a bit in S.C.E., and I wanted to take it a step further and do the officer who didn't want to be an officer, who didn't even really like officers.
__________________
Keith R.A. DeCandido
Blog | Facebook | Twitter

"Even when you turn your back, you're facing something."
KRAD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31 2009, 09:54 PM   #429
Jean-Luc Picard
Lieutenant
 
Jean-Luc Picard's Avatar
 
Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

KRAD wrote: View Post
^ As with so many questions about writing, the answer is "it depends."

My first thought with Kadohata was to have a character who just had a child, and had a husband and children on her homeworld. (I went with Cestus III because I'd already developed so much detail on that world in A Time for War, a Time for Peace and Articles of the Federation.) I wanted to reverse the stereotype of the male officer who has a wife and children back home, which we'd seen plenty of times (Gold and Jellico, to name two).

I also liked the idea of someone who had been on the ship in the past, and who was one of the 985 or so other people serving on the Enterprise-D that we never saw in seven years of TNG.

With Leybenzon, the object was to have a mustang -- someone who raised through the ranks during the Dominion War without having attended the Academy. Aside from DS9, the franchise hasn't been good about dealing with enlisted personnel, which is something we addressed quite a bit in S.C.E., and I wanted to take it a step further and do the officer who didn't want to be an officer, who didn't even really like officers.
I'd say Kadohata is one of your best creations - she's a worthy replacement for Data, and a surprisingly complex character. While I wasn't too keen on Leybenzon, you definitely succeeded in making him the kind of enlisted war horse that you intended. I love seeing the Dominion War have impact on characters outside of DS9; it sometimes feels as though only Sisko et al. were involved.

On another (hopefully not too sycophantic :P) note, I just ordered "Articles of the Federation" and can't wait to read it. I'm sure it'll live up to all the hype!
Jean-Luc Picard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 17 2009, 10:35 PM   #430
Trent Roman
Rear Admiral
 
Trent Roman's Avatar
 
Location: The Palace of Pernicious Pleasures
Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

"RISE FROM YOUR GRAVE!"

Hem. I'm resurrecting this thread because I only just finished Gods of Night (yes, I know, I'm behind; in my defence, it took forever for the next two books to show up in stores and I didn't want to read Book 1 without the other two handy in case I wanted to read them straight through... which I do!), and figured I'd write a few somethings about it (which, knowing me, will probably turn into several paragraphs of somethings). I've not read the rest of this twenty-two page thread because I wanted to get my impressions down direct and quickly; I'll probably be going through it afterwards, so feel free to disregard any issues I raise there answered.

Overall, I quite enjoyed the book. I wouldn't go as far as to say that it's Mack's best work--Wildfire still holds that title--but it's certainly up there, fast-paced, intriguing and otherwise enjoyable; it definitely makes one want to go straight to the next book. I’m a sucker for epic-scaled stories, and this certainly qualifies as one, with its multiplicity of quadrants, casts and timeframes. I like how the various settings mixes things up with regards to the type of story (action, mystery, etc.) and mood (driven, despondent, etc.), which adds to the over kaleidoscopic effect of reading the book, although I’ll admit by the end I had a clear favourite plotline. Unlike most reviews where I start with what I like then move into what didn’t work for me, here I think it would be better to start with what bugged me and then save the best for last.

The least interesting of the various plotlines was, unfortunately, the ENT-E. This is kind of a bummer for me, where TNG has always been my favourite series and I haven’t been overall impressed by the overall direction and quality of the TNG Relaunch thus far. I had thought Greater than the Sum had managed to breathe new life into a series that had been spinning its wheels, but the ENT-E scenes here fall back into the earlier funk: the TV characters are adrift, moodily going through the motions, and the new characters are little more than sketches. This is the plotline I felt was despondent, a kind of heavy lethargy that doesn’t marry well with the fact that the ENT-E, on the frontlines, and captained by an expert on the foe, should be a locus for action and innovation in the conflict with the Borg. When I would turn to a chapter featuring them towards the end, I would often feel less enthused than the others: asking myself why that should be so, I think one of the main troubles for me here is a lack of problem-solving. Where the other plotlines are in the process of discovering things, the ENT-E, apart from figuring out that the Borg are coming from the Azure Nebula, aren’t doing anything to address the problem conceptually. They’re not acting, they’re reacting; and this, for most of their ‘screen time’. Hopefully now that they’re in the Nebula and, I presume, soon to link up with the Aventine, they’ll start contributing to the plot instead of merely featuring in it.

Related to this plotline, and while I’m complaining: billions of dead, on Ramatis and elsewhere? Really? Billions? This seems unnecessary, and doesn’t work well from a story perspective. Naturally, we’ve always known what a threat the Borg are, and events like this must have been routine occurrences on the edges of Borg territories: planets stripped, species wiped out or nearly so. But having it happen to massively-populated Federation worlds changes things. Firstly, the scale is too great to be affecting. The destruction wreaked by the Borg invasion is a lot more effectively rendered when told from the perspective of the starships and such that have to engage them, because you can actually feel the loss; a billion is just a word on a page, and a planet I’ve never heard of to boot. Yet this kind of devastation demands an impact; to be so dismissive of this kind of loss of life feels cheap. Obviously the book is already quite long and can’t linger on every battle, but the scale of destruction should have been reined in to something more manageable, easier to relate to. Secondly, the idea of the Federation losing several worlds at the beginning of the book already negatively colours the outcome; there’s a sense that the casualties are so massive that, in a way, Our Heroes have already failed to a certain degree. And the idea that you can’t win, that failure is inevitable, just isn’t Star Trek. I know the Federation survives, of course, because there are more books after this, but one has to be careful with the scale of the slaughter or else it’ll be difficult to justify how the spirit of the Federation survives.

The Borg. Ah, the Borg—I never thought, at the time, that I would miss Voyager’s Borg, but I do: those Borg managed to add some sense that the Borg had a civilization and culture in addition to being a kind of force of nature; an incredibly destructive entity, but not one without complexity. I remember the TNG-R promising us that the Borg would be scary again, but apparently making the Borg scary involved turning them EVIL! and murderous, which isn’t scary because it’s every other damn villain out there. I’d mentioned this back around Resistance and Before Dishonor, and it was pointed out that this was just one cube, but apparently the Collective as a whole has now become malicious, hell-bent on destruction and, you know, EVIL!; dull villains indeed (fortunately, the book has better villains in Foyle and the Caeliar). I mourn the loss of assimilation particularly; that had always been the true horror of the Borg, that they represented a fate worse than death, the enslavement of will. Crusher and LaForge speak to this, on the fact that fighting the Borg means killing their victims (nothing to be done about that, though; like slave battalions conscripted to fight for the Confederates). Without that, the Borg become any generic species to outgun and outnumber Our Heroes. I, like Picard, am curious to know what the reason for turning the Borg into the Snidely Whiplash Fancollective will be this time, although I have my own theory on that. Of course, one of the problem with the Borg in Voyager was overuse, and there’s the same problem here: instead of being thrilled by their return en masse, one’s reaction after several subpar Borg stories is more “yeah, yeah, more Borg, let’s get it over with, shall we?” I feel there should have been more time between the TNG-R’s Borg arc and Destiny, or else (preferably) the TNG-R Borg arc shouldn’t have happened in the first place, looking forward to preserving the ‘specialness’ of their use in Destiny. I will say this for the Borg in this book, however: they’re used relatively sparingly despite always being in the background, which is the way the Borg should be used, and the relative lack of contact between Our Heroes and the Borg also keeps their EVIL!ness from getting too melodramatic.

On the plus side, though, the ENT-E plotline was interspaced with those little sequences of other crews and organizations confronting the Borg threat, which are amongst the highlights of the book. The sacrifice of the Ranger at Khitomer was in true Trek tradition—to a certain extent, one felt more connected to them for the brief moment in which they appeared than to supporting cast elsewhere in the book. I was a bit bummed that the scene at Starbase 234 was about Owen Paris bumbling his way to get a message out; his frantic and accident-prone last minutes made what should have been a heroic last stand into something more like a dark tragicomedy. Still, I was somewhat moved by the fact that the last packet was something addressed to his son rather than, as I had initially thought, critical data re: the Borg, so I suppose there’s some thematic resonance to the notion of frailty, physical and—as the contents of the message later reveal—emotional. Despite being sideshows to the main events, Chapter 15—Bacco, Martok, and Tom Paris—would have been my favourite part of the book, had it not been eclipsed by the climatic events at Erigol. Bacco is exactly as I remember her from Articles…, dynamic, no-nonsense and ready to kick butt. Her scene captures the scope of the conflict better than any other in the book, a bird’s eye view of the war without, for that matter, becoming impersonal, due to the clashing personalities at work in the Palais. Martok had an appropriately rousing scene, and it’s good to see players other than the Federation involved in this conflict (now to get the Romulans onboard). And the scene with Paris did in a handful of pages for a bit part character what Before Dishonor couldn’t for a lead, actually deliver a sense of loss and closure. If Janeway was to have died, I wish it had been here instead; I’m certain it would have been better for it.

Onto the other plotlines. I liked the Aventine and Titan bits about equally, but will start with Aventine where Titan has an unfair advantage. The thing with Aventine is, quite simply, that we don’t really know the people. Don’t get me wrong: I think David Mack does a good job with what he has, using various foibles and habits to flesh out the characters even as they’re being introduced, like Bowers’ fondness for protocol or Leishman’s mischievous tendencies, and the way they work together signals that, though we’re seeing this crew in media res, there’s history there (it helps that this history is relatively brief, since a number of them have only recently been introduced to each other). Nonetheless, we’re basically having to learn a whole new crew on the fly, which makes two with Columbia, and this crew is simply not pressured the way Columbia’s is to make them really stand out. That said, if the characterization in this book holds strong for the next two, then I trust Aventine will feel like familiar territory by the end of the book. Then there’s also Ezri Dax; I know Ezri transferred to command in the DS9R, that it’s been four or five years since, and that hers was a battlefield promotion from second officer, but it still feels strange to see a character best remembered as a flailing ensign in the captain’s chair. Obviously, this is perilous territory because one doesn’t want to screw over the DS9R, but I wish there was something different in her characterization, some sign—even if only cosmetic—that the character had grown, because, apart from giving orders and being more assertive, there isn’t enough of a break with the old Ezri. I assume she’s relying heavily on her past hosts’ experiences; maybe something stylistic related to that.

Those quibbles aside, the plotline is an engaging one. It’s curious that in a book about a Borg invasion, it’s the dark, creaking corridors of Columbia’s husk which is the most menacing, with a palpable, Gothic atmosphere even before our ‘ghost’ starts killing folk off. Combine that with the subspace phenomena, which one knows will, naturally, tie in some way with the Borg threat, and you’ve got a moderately large and complex mystery to unravel, the incremental process of which is quite fun to watch, and the fact that one can slot in elements from the other plotlines as they develop in conjunction lets the attentive reader participate in the process, which makes for the best of mysteries. This is also where Kedair shows her worth as a character (apropos of nothing, I actually thought Takarans were a new species until I looked it up). Those scenes from the Caeliar ‘ghost’ were interestingly written, linguistically; and I assume that his ‘dissolution’ was a kind of suicide, the apparent futility of his situation combined with the ethical violations he now realized he’s committed?

This brings me to my theory regarding the Borg: when Dax and the rest board the shuttlecraft, I couldn’t help but notice how the Caeliar is described as having organic tubes going in and out of its body—an image reminiscent of Borg physiology. And we know the Borg have pushed far enough into the Gamma Quadrant for the remains of a cube to have been found by the Defiant, like Columbia, so I’m going to guess that the Borg passed overhead, detected the energy signatures of the Caeliar the Defiant and Aventine could not because, well, they’re Borg, and, not recognizing it, tried to beam down to assimilate it. It failed, for the same reason assimilating the Founder failed—the Caeliar are too fluid, thanks to their ‘catoms’—but not without each leaving an indelible mark on the other. The Caeliar assumes a shape resembling the Borg when it finally reconstitutes itself, and the Borg become infected with this ‘hunger’, which then, somehow, expresses itself as a campaign of genocide against the Federation (because a Starfleet ship was the last to have dealt a significant blow to the Collective?).

So far, the crew of the Titan have only had three writers/team, but David Mack slips seamlessly into their ranks as he picks up the characters. Visiting this ship, from top to bottom, feels familiar in the way that I would have expected from the Enterprise, but the characterizations are so much more solid here, more defined; it’s the crew with the greater history (that we’ve been able to ‘look in on’ through the books), and the multifarious interpersonal relationships animating the crew dynamic really come through here. A lot of the characters come across well: Ra-Havreii and Pazlar, Keru and Torvig, or else Pazlar, Tuvok and Vale as they try to disentangle the enigma of the hidden star system and the subspace corridors. While this mystery doesn’t receive as much attention as the wreck of Columbia, it’s still enjoyable to watch the Titan crew do what they do best: find new phenomena and investigate, particularly since it relates back so well to what’s happening elsewhere in the book (and, with all those clues, the surprise [to me] entrance of Hernandez is a forehead-smacking, “of course!” moment). The scientific and investigative angle, also present tactically, with Keru, Torvig and their holodeck simulation, is particularly appreciated given the (melo)drama animating the lead characters.

I have to say, I find Troi’s medical condition confusing and her reaction nonsensical. From what I understood, it’s her mitochondrial DNA that was damaged by her previous ‘pregnancy’… so what does that have to do with a hysterectomy? Just because the eggs are bad doesn’t mean the womb itself is bad; just remove the ovaries, no? At one point Ree talks about oncology—does Troi have cancer? Is that why he wants a hysterectomy? I thought this point could have been clearer. On the other side, Troi’s reaction is similarly extreme. Clinging to the unviable foetus despite the risk to her life makes zero sense. If the mitochondrial DNA is the sole problem, then when they do get back to the AQ she could splice intact mtDNA from Lwaxana, or even borrow one of Lwaxana’s eggs altogether (I’ve no doubt she would jump at the opportunity to help her daughter conceive). If the womb’s the problem (too?), then there’s always surrogate pregnancy, and that’s just considering today’s technology; for all we know, by the 24th century they would have artificial wombs providing a gestational environment for foetuses. And, of course, there’s always adoption; even the 24th century must have kids in need of a good home. Troi’s acting like this is here last chance at motherhood, like live birth is the only way to go, when she has a whole range of options available, with the particular benefit that these won’t kill her. Her behavior here is stupid and selfish: by risking death for an unviable foetus, she’s making an already painful situation worse, and depriving a potential future child of a mother for the sake of one already doomed. You’ll say that it’s an emotional reaction, and of course it is, but as a student of psychology Troi should be better placed than most to be able to recognize her emotions interfering with her correct decision making and act accordingly. Don’t get me wrong, I support the right to die, but this is a stupid, needless suicide.

And shame on Riker for being such a pussy about it, too. What happened to this one-time man of action, now twisting himself into knots when he knows the right course of action to take but doesn’t want to move because he wants to be ‘supportive’? Because he’s worried about their marriage? You want to reach in and smack him: hey, numbnuts, would you rather be a divorcé or a widower? Better a dead marriage than a dead wife, obviously. As if his lack of assertiveness isn’t bad enough, he then starts abusing his authority/undermining the authority of his own XO and CMO, pandering to his wife’s insistence on keeping the non-viable foetus and then even going on a mission with spectacularly impaired judgment and a ticking uterine timebomb. At least it lets Vale and Ree show their strengths as characters (assuming the hysterectomy thing is my lack of understanding), being incredibly patient and accommodating, and after Vale had warned Riker precisely of situations like this when they first set out, she practically deserves beatification for not planting her boot up his butt. (And I laughed at Ree’s view of mammalian reproduction as ‘parasitic’—people get so pissed sometimes when you describe it that way.)

I’m not sure I care much for this particular (sub)plotline. I thought it was very affecting at first, and Troi’s session with Counselor Hajj (who, incidentally, is still made of awesome and win) was powerful and moving (particularly when she realized she was blaming the foetus). But I couldn’t see why this was still an issue after Troi’s apparent epiphany that she was doing this without reason; it was more of a drag on the overall book than otherwise. Fortunately, as previously mentioned, there’s a lot more going on aboard Titan than this, and I was always interested to see how the others were getting along; a plot like this has the potential to get all huffy and diva-esque in the wrong hands, and it’s worth mentioning that the space it actually takes is kept in check. And although I think the Caeliar are lying or self-deceived about how technologically advanced they are, I’ve got to figure that Troi bumping into them means that whatever medical technology they have will help her, which I’m kind of two minds about. Well, not really, in the sense that of course I want Riker and Troi to have their kid and be happy, certainly considering the way, as mentioned, that the book opens already with such devastation that it would be a welcome counterpoint, but I’ll admit there’s a smaller part of me that doesn’t want to see Troi (and Riker) rewarded for her dumb, mule-headed and self-centered behavior.
__________________
Obdurants and Amusings - Behind the Shampoo Curtain
Trent Roman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 17 2009, 10:35 PM   #431
Trent Roman
Rear Admiral
 
Trent Roman's Avatar
 
Location: The Palace of Pernicious Pleasures
Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

(Freaking post length limits...)

But the real star of the show is the Columbia plotline, which, though seemingly the most removed from the nominal topic of the Borg invasion, endears itself by being relentlessly driven, suspenseful, culturally intriguing, ethically challenging, and all-around engrossing; all the strengths and essentially none of the weaknesses of the other plotlines. By the end of the book, I would perk up whenever I turned the page and saw “2168” printed there. It, too, involves a largely unknown cast if one or two of them I recall from Kobayashi Maru, but the events that unfold are of such constant intensity that it doesn’t take long for each character to become sharply delineated in the reader’s mind, etched in memory by the way they react (or don’t) to the towering obstacles before them. It also helps that there are really only a handful of major players, mostly with the mutineers to better explain their motivations, although it does leave Hernandez’ side somewhat underdeveloped; of the four who refuse to participate, only Hernandez herself is clearly defined; Fletcher gets some attention, but I don’t really know anything about Valerian or Metzger. Still, that’s a minor issue because it’s the dilemma that the crew is put into that animates characterization, and where Hernandez represents her side quite well (willing to sacrifice, or at least suspend, the freedom of her and her crew to protect Earth from the Caeliar), it is more important to know why the mutineers have chosen to act the way they do, particularly given the destruction the escape attempt then wreaks. I also like that, being closer to us in time, there a greater sense of national belonging, colloquial speech and fallibility to the Columbia crew; they’re in the process of becoming the Starfleet of later generations, but still have a ways to go.

There is an odd but welcome symmetry between the villains of the piece, Foyle and his more ardent followers on the one hand and the Caeliar on the other; in a sense, one almost feels as though these war criminals basically deserve each other. Both massively and callously overreact to protect their own interests, and both seem to vacillate between asking for the readers’ sympathy and demonstrating why they don’t deserve any. The latter aspect is really critical in maintaining the interest in the storyline: you’re disgusted by what they do but those moments of empathy, the rage at the Caeliar’s casual violations of freedom, or the massive loses they suffer in turn, keeps one interested in the fates of characters/groups who might otherwise be too degenerate to solicit anything but contempt. For the mutineers, it isn’t Foyle himself but rather his acolytes who communicate this the best; you want to feel bad for Pembleton, even after he starts casually tossing about suggestions of murder, because you understand the longing for the family he has left behind, all the more frustrating for being so close and yet out of reach, temporally and geographically; or when Thayer states, quite simply, that she’s taking action now because she doesn’t want to die a prisoner, it keys into a basic and universal desire for freedom denied and the rebellion against injustice, such that initially, and despite the risk to Earth, you’re cheering them on, hoping that they’ll be able to make a successful escape; it also reminds one that the Caeliar are, however they might gild their cages, collectively criminals against which it is legitimate to struggle. At first, of course, because Foyle soon shows himself as ruthless as he is efficient, able to exploit the Caeliar’s ideological weaknesses but utterly without scruples as he slaughters millions and tortures his own personnel—and to a certain extent, these actions are all the more shocking in that you can understand their motivations but find the results abhorrent, and therefore can’t help but wonder what that initial affiliation means you might do if you were in that situation. You could say, perhaps, that the Caeliar’s collective decision-making (a bit like the Borg, come to think of it) makes them all guilty for the crimes of their civilization, but Foyle’s actions outstrip any sense of proportional response and goes way beyond the bounds of allowable self-defence. There was no mourning on my part when he disintegrated in the subspace tunnel, though I felt sorry for the rest of the crew, stuck in orbit in months and then dead before they could realize what was happening.

The Caeliar, themselves, are a similar study in extremism. They like to talk pretty about their scientific and artistic refinement (which I suspect is less than they claim), but it doesn’t take long to see that they are a desiccated, stagnant and entirely selfish group. Apart from Inyx, their curiosity seems to have died, and though they call themselves artists, they demonstrate next to no creativity in pursuing their future as a civilization, settling for contacting a more advanced civilization and then, I suppose, being told what to do or using them as an example for their own civilizational progress (that the only way they see themselves progressing is technological is, in and of itself, a failure of creativity—imagine what Q could do to these people), or in their failure to diffuse the situation with the MACOs, which as I said may also have to do with a kind of technological lacuna. They appear to have no transporters, either for public transit or for use during the hostage situation; they either don’t have or never bothered to install stun-based weaponry that wouldn’t violate their ossified pacifism; they have control over their own bodies at the atomic level but couldn’t fix a slit throat; and for such an ‘advanced’ civilization, their cloaking pretty much sucks for being detected so easily by Columbia and Titan. They remind one of pre-Reformation Vulcans, or T’Lana, albeit by several orders of magnitude; narrow-minded, self-satisfied and contemptuous of others. Never mind the unjustified imprisonment of Columbia are her crew; like Foyle, their tendency to displace entire civilizations just because they don’t want to be bothered in their single-minded pursuit of a Great Work (capitalized, because their precepts have become so reified as to be a type of secular doctrine) is a gross overreaction, one that condemns billions to forced displacement, which demonstrates that, for all that talk of compassion, they don’t care what happens to other species as long as they don’t get their own hands dirty by direct action or omission. Their pacifism, which initially seems laudable, is soon revealed for what it truly is, a dogma with all the attendant characteristics: emptied of empathy, hypocritical, and held so unquestioningly, so removed to rational thought, that they are incapable of defending themselves and preventing catastrophe. There’s a tangible irony that, after having spent so long trying to find and contact the hyper-advanced galaxy, they prove malicious, and act towards the Caeliar with the same disregard as the Caeliar have inflicted on other species. I’m curious to see, looking towards the next books, whether and how this cataclysm might spur the Caeliar to change, and what role the Columbia crew amongst them will play in that. It’s obvious, with the Titan coming into contact with them now, that the Caeliar should have some role to play, willingly or otherwise, in the crisis with the Borg; if the technology used for displacement can be turned against the Borg or further weaponized, it might prove a solution to the invasion, although simply moving the Borg wouldn’t do anything but change who the victims of the Borg will be, and that’s too callous a solution for what one expects of the Federation, so some modification of the principal should be found.

To sum up:

Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
__________________
Obdurants and Amusings - Behind the Shampoo Curtain
Trent Roman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 18 2009, 01:37 AM   #432
David Mack
Writer
 
David Mack's Avatar
 
Location: New York, NY
View David Mack's Twitter Profile
Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

Wow! Thank you, Trent, for that detailed and and thoughtful review. As you read through the thread, I think you'll find that some of the points you've raised were addressed (especially the myriad issues related to Troi's pregnancy).

I actually agree with a number of your criticisms; in retrospect, I too am disenchanted with how the Enterprise-E story arc turned out in general, and Picard's arc in particular. Mistakes were made with the Troi storyline, mostly because medicine is not my forte.

As you continue reading the trilogy, I will look forward to reading more of your thoughts about it.

Best regards,
David Mack
__________________
~ David Mack | "Where were you when the page was blank?" — Truman Capote

Join me on Facebook & Twitter
David Mack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 18 2009, 09:48 PM   #433
KimM
Rear Admiral
 
KimM's Avatar
 
Location: The poster formerly known as ORSE
Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

Enjoyed the cross-over aspect - like they're all swimming in the same ocean. I know some have issue with the TrekVerse being too small - I sometimes wonder at the convenience of knowing everyone or knowing about everyone else in Starfleet. Husb,bro and father all in military though, and know they create a bond outsiders don't understand. I really enjoyed seeing Ezri again - I confess I hadn't crossed paths with her since The Lives of Dax. It is just like seeing old friends agian. Thanks!
__________________
Just one woman; doing what I can, with what I've got, where I'm at!
KimM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 18 2009, 11:06 PM   #434
Sci
Admiral
 
Sci's Avatar
 
Location: "We hold these truths to be self-evident..."
Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

David Mack wrote: View Post
I actually agree with a number of your criticisms; in retrospect, I too am disenchanted with how the Enterprise-E story arc turned out in general, and Picard's arc in particular.
For whatever it's worth, I thought that while Picard's arc was unpleasant, it struck me as being a very honest and realistic arc that accurately reflected the character, and indeed reflected the larger philosophical themes being explored by the trilogy.

__________________
"Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic Socialism, as I understand it." - George Orwell, 1946
Sci is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 18 2009, 11:34 PM   #435
David Mack
Writer
 
David Mack's Avatar
 
Location: New York, NY
View David Mack's Twitter Profile
Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

^ Yes, that's also true. And I knew that I would be taking a risk by not having Picard be the one to solve the problem and save the day by direct action (though he does make the final resolution possible with his "leap of faith"). I think, however, that I did not do as good a job as I should have in conveying that idea explicitly to the reader. YMMV.
__________________
~ David Mack | "Where were you when the page was blank?" — Truman Capote

Join me on Facebook & Twitter
David Mack is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
david mack, destiny

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 06:19 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.