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

View Poll Results: Grade "Star Trek: Destiny: Gods of Night"
Excellent 105 68.63%
Above Average 36 23.53%
Average 8 5.23%
Below Average 2 1.31%
Poor 2 1.31%
Voters: 153. You may not vote on this poll

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Old May 19 2009, 01:57 AM   #436
Bain Sidhe
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

This is my first post to this board, and I wanted to take the opportunity, since Mr. Mack is so kind as to chat with the fans here on TrekBBS, to share just how much I loved the Destiny trilogy.

After Nemesis, I walked away from Trek fandom for several years. I was so bitterly disappointed with how the movie ended things for the TNG crew that I lost all interest. I started following the TNG relaunch novels with Death in Winter, which rectified the biggest mistake the Powers That Be made in not going anywhere with the Picard and Crusher relationship, and have read all the TNG relaunch novels since. I have enjoyed them all, but Destiny is just a stupendous work, both in terms of writing quality and storyline. Very, very well done.

I never watched Enterprise, but your story thread about Captain Hernandez and the Columbia got me interested in the 22nd century era, so I started watching old reruns on the Sci Fi channel. I also had never read the Titan series, but was inspired to order the other titles in the series after finishing Destiny.

But I came to the trilogy as a TNG fan, and while I was disappointed that the Enterprise has less to do than the Titan, Aventine, and Columbia, I was pleased with the way all of the TNG characters were written. I, for one, did especially appreciate the way you handled Picard. I was glad you didn't let him be the Hero Who Saves The Day in the end - indeed, for a man facing his absolute worst nightmare scenario, it's amazing that he stays as sane as he does. I wish Beverly had had a bit larger of a role, more akin to Deanna, but I really enjoyed the parts she did have, particularly the scenes in Gods of Night and the fun ER triage scene in Mere Mortals. I do understand you had to juggle five or six different major plot threads, so this is really just a minor complaint. But, as a Picard fan, it can be difficult for authors to fully appreciate all of the nuances of his character, and I think you did a very good job. I found his erratic behavior and decision making to be right in line with someone who stands to lose everything he has ever wanted or loved to an enemy who has haunted his nightmares for years, and his catharsis in Lost Souls - first with Riker, and then on the bridge - was the most emotionally satisfying part of the trilogy for me.

After Nemesis, I closed the door on my interest in Star Trek and moved on to other things, and just assumed that chapter in my life was over, except for the occasional rewatching of movies and series DVDs. So thank you, David - and all of the other relaunch writers - for making me excited about Star Trek again. I've since read A Singular Destiny (which was fabulous, as to be expected coming from KRAD) and Over a Torrent Sea, and am eagerly awaiting Losing the Peace. I know this hasn't been a very critically in-depth review, but I just wanted to express my thanks and give you a "kudos" and a "well done!" I sincerely hope to read some more Treklit from you in the future, especially another TNG novel. Thanks for making my favorite all-time series relevant to me again!
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Old May 19 2009, 02:32 AM   #437
T'Ressa Dax
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

David Mack wrote: View Post
^ 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.

I thought it was nice to have the Enterpise and Picard not be the ones to warp in and save the day for a change. So in my opinion you did just fine.
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Old May 19 2009, 02:53 AM   #438
Astraea
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

I really did like the fact that Picard wasn't the one to save the day - I mean, it's completely realistic that he would break down when confronted with what appears to be the inevitable demise of his entire civilization at the hands of the Borg - but it simultaneously managed to be surprising, because as a Star Trek fan, you're just so used to the concept that Picard and the crew of the Enterprise can do anything. I agree completely with Sci - it was unpleasant, but it was believeable and handled well.
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Old May 19 2009, 03:52 AM   #439
Trent Roman
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

Ahem. Spoilers for Book 1 only, yes?

I've read through the rest of the thread. Some interesting conversation there; particularly Baerbel and Claudia taking Troi's side, which is fascinating because I didn't know she had a side to be had. I thought the whole thing was quite straightforward, besides the medical gaffes, but obviously some people see issues there I hadn't seen. Particularly curious about this talk about Ree's bedside manner and options and 'coping time'; I guess I never thought of it in that sense since it's not the way I would react: I want my physician to be my physician, not my buddy or my shrink, to move with all possible haste when there's a life-threatening situation at hand, and to tell me when I'm making choices which are, medically speaking, idiotic and suicidal. Elsewhere, I'm surprised to see how others reacted to the ENT-E storyline, citing character moments and development that passed me by entirely, and I am really the only one to think that the Caeliar are bastards?

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Old May 19 2009, 04:07 AM   #440
Sci
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

Trent Roman wrote: View Post
and I am really the only one to think that the Caeliar are bastards?
Probably not. My attitude towards the Caeliar is that they're morally compromised, but they're not complete bastards. I'm not willing to make all these assumptions about their culture -- the presumption of the absolute stagnation of their culture and arts, for instance -- that you have. And I think we should bear in mind that they probably go to great lengths to make sure that the civilizations they've displaced can survive, even thrive, in their new locales. But I also agree that they're guilty of what we would consider some fairly horrific sentient rights violations, including kidnapping, unjust imprisonment, imprisonment without due process, and forced relocation of entire cultures.

But, by the same token, they're a species that is truly dedicated to non-violence, and they proved willing to sacrifice themselves, even by the millions, in the name of preserving other peoples' -- even their enemies' -- lives. That shouldn't be written off.

In other words... they're people.
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Old May 19 2009, 04:26 AM   #441
Trent Roman
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

Sci wrote: View Post
But, by the same token, they're a species that is truly dedicated to non-violence, and they proved willing to sacrifice themselves, even by the millions, in the name of preserving other peoples' -- even their enemies' -- lives. That shouldn't be written off.
I actually consider that a bad thing, a sign of how doctrinarian and inflexible their thinking is if they're willing to let millions die--even if voluntarily--to save a mere handful of people. Some will say that arithmetic shouldn't decide matters of life or death, but I consider that psychotically disproportionate in terms of loss/gain.

Although, and perhaps David Mack can address this when he comes upon it, the Caeliar's claim that millions had died for Graylock et al. didn't make much sense to me: if they hadn't entered the corridor when the Columbia's survivors had pressed them to, the city would have been destroyed by the shockwave, no?

Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
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Old May 19 2009, 06:08 AM   #442
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

^ Well, to borrow an oft-used phrase ... "It's complicated."

The Caeliar's reluctance to enter the temporally unstable passages at the end of Gods of Night was rooted in their desire to avoid causing damage to their objective timeline; they valued its preservation over their own lives.

However, the decision to sacrifice themselves was compromised by the presence of the Columbia personnel, who would not even have been there had the Caeliar not taken them captive. From the Caeliar's perspective, deciding to sacrifice themselves to preserve the timeline was their choice to make as a society; sacrificing the humans was not their choice to make.

In other words, the Caeliar rationalized one violation of the humans' sovereignty -- their freedom -- by telling themselves that it was necessary to protect their own seclusion, and because the humans would not be unduly harmed. But when the result of their decisions brought the possibility of death to the humans for whom they had accepted custody and responsibility, they were unable to accept that outcome.

It is, admittedly, a moral and ethical gray area. Which sins can be rationalized and which cannot? Hence ... this discussion.
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Old May 19 2009, 03:32 PM   #443
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

Bain Sidhe wrote: View Post
I've since read A Singular Destiny (which was fabulous, as to be expected coming from KRAD)
Thanks so much! And I assume you also enjoyed Q & A, though you didn't mention it by name.....

BTW, as a TNG fan, let me recommend a few books to you:

We did a nine-book series that provided the lead-up to Nemesis, which helped set up the status quo established by the movie (Worf returning to Starfleet, Riker getting a command, Riker and Troi deciding to marry, the apparent loss of Data's emotion chip). They include:

A Time to be Born by John Vornholt
A Time to Die by John Vornholt
A Time to Sow by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
A Time to Harvest by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
A Time to Love by Robert Greenberger
A Time to Hate by Robert Greenberger
A Time to Kill by David Mack
A Time to Heal by David Mack
A Time for War, a Time for Peace by Keith R.A. DeCandido

In addition, for the 20th anniversary of the show in 2007, there was a short-story anthology called The Sky's the Limit, which featured a dozen stories taking place all throughout the onscreen run of the characters, from just before "Encounter at Farpoint" to just after Nemesis.
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Old May 19 2009, 05:35 PM   #444
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

Trent Roman wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
But, by the same token, they're a species that is truly dedicated to non-violence, and they proved willing to sacrifice themselves, even by the millions, in the name of preserving other peoples' -- even their enemies' -- lives. That shouldn't be written off.
I actually consider that a bad thing, a sign of how doctrinarian and inflexible their thinking is if they're willing to let millions die--even if voluntarily--to save a mere handful of people. Some will say that arithmetic shouldn't decide matters of life or death, but I consider that psychotically disproportionate in terms of loss/gain.
*shrugs* This may just boil down to personal temperament, but to me, the willingness of millions of people to die to protect a smaller number of people is something to interpret positively -- an act of genuine altruism, not merely a sign of dogmatism and inflexibility.

Obviously, there's some moral ambiguity there insofar as there would have been no NEED to do that had they not taken the Humans prisoner. But my interpretation is that the Caeliar would have been willing to die to save the humans even if they had not contributed to the situation.
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Old May 19 2009, 05:52 PM   #445
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

If we agreed with every aspect of an alien culture's morality, they wouldn't be alien.
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Old May 19 2009, 08:21 PM   #446
Trent Roman
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

David Mack wrote: View Post
The Caeliar's reluctance to enter the temporally unstable passages at the end of Gods of Night was rooted in their desire to avoid causing damage to their objective timeline; they valued its preservation over their own lives. However, the decision to sacrifice themselves was compromised by the presence of the Columbia personnel, who would not even have been there had the Caeliar not taken them captive. From the Caeliar's perspective, deciding to sacrifice themselves to preserve the timeline was their choice to make as a society; sacrificing the humans was not their choice to make.
Thanks for the explanation. It seems, then, that the Caeliar who told Pembleton that the rest of the city had died on their behalf was being disingenuous--those millions would have died one way or the other, whether from the shockwave destroying the planet or the subspace distortion in the corridor. The real sacrifice was ethical, the twelve Caeliar who lived when they otherwise would not (along with the city's inorganic technology), prioritizing one precept--their injunction against killing--over the other, preserving the timeline. I guess, since Axion also wound up in the past, that Hernandez and her people also profited from the same decision. (But three cities escaped, by my count, one of which had no humans on it, so I guess that one managed to fix the temporal distortions before fleeing... which, setting aside another disaster in the intervening two hundred years, means there should be another Caeliar city floating around somewhere in the TNG era in addition to New Erigol). Still, a refusal to make make a (deadly) ethical choice on behalf of others is something I can respect (moreso than mass sacrifice, really); it probably would have been better if they had asked the humans, but since Graylock's people at least were already willing to go back in time, I figure the Caeliar could be certain what the answer to the question "Would you rather die now or risk altering the timeline" would be. I wonder if Hernandez might have given a different answer had she been consulted...

Sci wrote: View Post
*shrugs* This may just boil down to personal temperament, but to me, the willingness of millions of people to die to protect a smaller number of people is something to interpret positively -- an act of genuine altruism, not merely a sign of dogmatism and inflexibility.
Maybe we'll just have to agree to disagree, because I don't see mass suicide for the sake of a handful of people as a good thing. But since, if I understand David correctly, that's not actually what happened, the question is kind of moot.

Christopher wrote: View Post
If we agreed with every aspect of an alien culture's morality, they wouldn't be alien.
Yes, of course--just look at the Klingons, nominal friendlies but who conquer other races and have other divergeant ethical standards besides. I was just surprised that I came off with a more villainous view of the Caeliar than most have expressed.

Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
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Old May 19 2009, 08:36 PM   #447
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

the fate of the other city is revealed in Destiny II
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Old May 19 2009, 09:16 PM   #448
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

^ Actually, it was revealed in Book III, Lost Souls.
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Old May 20 2009, 12:24 AM   #449
Bain Sidhe
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

KRAD wrote: View Post
Bain Sidhe wrote: View Post
I've since read A Singular Destiny (which was fabulous, as to be expected coming from KRAD)
Thanks so much! And I assume you also enjoyed Q & A, though you didn't mention it by name.....
Hello KRAD!

I did love Q&A - prior to Destiny, it was my hands-down my favorite of the relaunch books. (It's still up there, but it's just such a different style of novel from Destiny that it feels unfair to compare them.) Just great characterization and great bits of humor. I loved having an insight into a "normal" (read: non-Borg) mission for the Enterprise, and just seeing all my old TNG friends and getting to know them again in a relaxed setting. It really felt like a good episode of the show, and I mean that in the best way possible.

I will have to check out the A Time To... series, and that anthology. I've got Losing the Peace on pre-order, but I don't think it comes out for a couple of months yet.
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Old May 20 2009, 02:20 AM   #450
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 1: Gods of Night - (SPOILERS)

Bain Sidhe wrote: View Post
I've got Losing the Peace on pre-order, but I don't think it comes out for a couple of months yet.
Just a little bit more than one month now (in the US).
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