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

View Poll Results: Grade "The Needs of the Many"
Excellent 7 17.95%
Above Average 9 23.08%
Average 10 25.64%
Below Average 5 12.82%
Poor 8 20.51%
Voters: 39. You may not vote on this poll

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Old April 1 2010, 03:39 PM   #61
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

I thought the whole point of the MACO's in Enterprise was that they were the proto-redshirts. I figured that when the Federation was formed everything merged into the Federation Star Fleet and they pretty much became the security division.

Admittedly the MACO's always handled themselves far better than the hapless dolts in TOS, which probably better resembled Malcolm's fairly useless team from seasons 1 and 2.

Bah, it's not like the Enterprise people ever really knew what they were doing anyway.
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Old April 1 2010, 06:17 PM   #62
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Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

Well... I've finished the book. It kept me entertained while I was reading, but at the end I wasn't really satisfied.

I can't deny that it's exactly what Mr. Martin promised in his recent interview: a bunch of vignettes helping to establish a sense of where the Federation of Star Trek: Online is. But I don't think it really qualifies as a novel. If you're expecting any sort of a narrative, look elsewhere.
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Old April 1 2010, 06:18 PM   #63
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Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

so basically it's the Farlander Papers
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Old April 1 2010, 06:29 PM   #64
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Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

Garm Bel Iblis wrote: View Post
so basically it's the Farlander Papers
I haven't read the original version of the papers from the floppy release of the game - just the expanded version in the strategy guide. But frankly, the version I read had a definite narrative. It got a bit dry and boring whenever Farlander's ship launched, compared to Stackpole and Allston (), but it's a perfectly serviceable narrative work.
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Old April 1 2010, 09:06 PM   #65
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Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

Just finished it, found it... interesting. Besides mentioned above I got the feeling that Jake's father never returned from the realm of the Prophets when he was talking to Kassidy. I did find the last paragraph of the book reminded me of the end of Captain Sisko's log entry in the DS9 ep. 'In The Pale Moonlight'. Anyone else get that or am I loosing it?
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Old April 3 2010, 02:04 PM   #66
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Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
Garm Bel Iblis wrote: View Post
How about when the MACo pulls out a knife and gets all creepy? I seriously think there are people like Mister martin who think all soldiers are a bunch of thugs ready to wipe out the Na'Vi for their unobtanium.
Forgive my intrusion, but having read this chapter I'm confused.

Was not the whole point to show how this man has been damaged by the experiences of a lengthy and bloody war? That the traumas and sacrifices and experiences have scarred him? That he can never be the same after what he has experienced? That seems far more realistic to me than a prideful "defending your country! Off to war! Come back and everything's fine!" attitude. If a soldier who has been through such a traumatic series of events wasn't a bit...offputting, "creepy" as you put it, isn't something wrong? He's creepy because he's damaged, because the sacrifices and traumas weigh so heavily on him, no? Those who go to war can rarely truly come back unscathed, as you of course must know if you were active military yourself. What I'm saying is, I don't see any anti-soldier sentiment here- unless you think presenting soldiers as damaged and traumatized is anti-soldier? No, surely not. An attitude of prideful invincibility in regards to soldiers is surely much more offensive, because it's untrue, as any number of veterans of wars both "just" and "unjust" would tell us? There is no doubt an anti-militiarism sentiment to this writing, a distaste for war and awareness of the terrible dangers of a culture consumed by war and sacrifice to the detriment of anything else (such as sadly happens when you're fighting for survival as the Federation supposedly was in the Undine war). But anti-militarism is not anti-military. An attitude that takes hold over a culture at war is something entirely different from the individuals involved in fighting or directing it. Indeed, front-line soldiers will be the primary victims of it, because the brunt of it falls on them.

Sorry to repeat, but I don't see any overt dislike of soldiers, merely of militiaristic attitudes, such as take hold in soldiers and non-soldiers alike in a culture obsessed with war (and a culture fighting for its very survival like the UFP is here will obviously be obsessed with war- it can't afford not to be). Yet look at the openly disparaging comments in this thread- "peacemonger", "peacenik", "code pink", and the like. As if supporting the cause of peace is a bad thing! Pacifists are NOT anti-soldier, they're opposed to militiaristic attitudes- such as the idea that people going off to war just waltz back okay, proud and strong having fought "for their country!", as opposed to all-too often traumatized and damaged, sometimes for the rest of their lives. In fact, the reason many people are pacifists in the first place is because they understand the sacrifices and traumas soldiers face very well indeed, and don't want those truths hidden behind nationalistic, prideful masks about the glory of service? The gritty reality of war is always in their minds.

I suppose what I'm saying is- what's the real issue here? That soldiers are being presented as the "bad guys"? Because so far I don't see it (though I admit I haven't read the whole book yet). I don't see anyone saying that soldiers- the individual men and women- are thugs out to "kill children" or "take the Na'vi's unobtanium", just that they are sapient beings who, if placed in traumatic situations, as they often are of course, might well end up in a bad way- and isn't it telling that Jake is "creeped out"- that this veteran is now someone those back home are wary and scared of? He can never truly come back to the home he sacrificed so much to protect, which is the terrible tragedy of the situation. Surely this is a highly sensitive portrayal of the soldier- a being who chose to face traumas and make sacrifices who is now unable to be fully accepted by those not so touched. Jake can't truly understand, and is repulsed.

No-one who has faced war head-on for any length of time can ever truly return, I'd humbly submit. I think that's the point, and I don't see it as offensive to soldiers at all- unless the offense is suggesting that military service is all pride and medals and patriotism, and not also rolling around in the dirt bleeding? Sure, many people find great pride in military service. My family also has a history of willing service- my paternal grandfather, for one, was never anything but proud of his long years in service, including going to war (including the Second World War). But sometimes I suspect some people forget that the pride can only ever be one side of the equation. My grandfather, for what it's worth, didn't fare too badly, but not all soldiers are as lucky.
I really like this post. It makes sense to me.
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Old April 4 2010, 12:19 AM   #67
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Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

I read the first chapter in the bookstore and put it right back on the shelf. I don't know if the author was being anti-soldier or anything like that, but it doesn't matter because he's just a really poor writer . I'd say that he plagiarized World War Z, except that World War Z was actually enjoyable to read. Max Brooks's use of military slang in World War Z was a little uneven, but nowhere near the cliche density of this hoary old garbage. Sample passage:

"Ah yeah, the TR-116, my sweetheart. We called her the T-Rex for short. I dropped sites on the nearest Tricycle and popped its dome with a clean three round burst. His Deano buddies closed on me. I thumbed the selector switch to full-auto and I managed to put down two more of the Tricycles before my T-Rex snapped shut on an empty chamber. I had no time to ram home a fresh mag before they were on me, and with more Squids dying in space by the minute I had to work quick. So I pulled out my Shark toothpick and..."

That's not an actual line from the book, but close enough. That's just bad writing right there. Really bad. It reads like a parody, written by one of my high school students. And then ho boy when the grunt pulls out his k-bar and starts getting all creepy and Full Metal Jacket-y on Jake, that's when I just groaned and closed the book. I can't emphasize enough how much it seemed like a really poor man's Star Trek version of World War Z.
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Old April 4 2010, 01:27 AM   #68
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Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

I have not met a soldier who ever acted like that and in my time of service I met World War II to Iraq War Vets. Like I said before, the author should have watched the Vet interviews with the Band of Brothers DVD for a good idea on how Vets actually act.
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Old April 4 2010, 01:40 AM   #69
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Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

ProwlAlpha wrote: View Post
I have not met a soldier who ever acted like that and in my time of service I met World War II to Iraq War Vets. Like I said before, the author should have watched the Vet interviews with the Band of Brothers DVD for a good idea on how Vets actually act.
I've met vets who did and vets who didn't.

Veterans run the whole spectrum of behavior. Some veterans are douchebags and some veterans are honorable people. Some veterans are dangerous sociopaths and some are people you could trust with your lives.

To say that "this" way or "that" way is how veterans "really" act is fundamentally disingenuous; the only thing all veterans have in common is that they're veterans of military service.

And I'll say it again:

Martin has portrayed very thoughtful, honorable military officers in his prior works. To take what appears to be one character from this novel and claim that he always writes that way is fundamentally inaccurate at best, and dishonest at worst.
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Old April 4 2010, 03:47 AM   #70
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Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

ProwlAlpha wrote: View Post
I have not met a soldier who ever acted like that and in my time of service I met World War II to Iraq War Vets. Like I said before, the author should have watched the Vet interviews with the Band of Brothers DVD for a good idea on how Vets actually act.
Um I have provided counseling services to Iraq War vets and I have dealt with clients who have spoken and acted like Stiles.
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Old April 4 2010, 05:53 AM   #71
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Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

ProwlAlpha wrote: View Post
I have not met a soldier who ever acted like that and in my time of service I met World War II to Iraq War Vets. Like I said before, the author should have watched the Vet interviews with the Band of Brothers DVD for a good idea on how Vets actually act.
You know, I was actually going to recommend that same DVD before you said it. We Stand Alone Together is an EXCELLENT look at real veterans...humble men who have their scars, yes--but the majority of them actually have it together. And contrary to common misconception, just because they weren't in Vietnam or Iraq--just because they fought in a war that were (and are) less contested by the public--doesn't mean those guys didn't go through a lot of rough stuff, that they didn't see things that would haunt them forever. One word, folks: BASTOGNE.

It really makes you wonder how much the difference might actually be in how the military is treated after they return home.

The great thing about Band of Brothers was that it presented a BALANCED picture of the military. Some people ended up really thriving in that environment. Winters, for one, and even with all he suffered, Guarnere stands out as someone who would've had every excuse in the world to be bitter and yet he is not. Others clearly suffered seriously...Compton and Nixon definitely had problems. (But they DID make something of themselves when they got home, don't forget.)

I think what it sounds like people are pointing out about this book is a lack of balance. The military is actually a diverse bunch, like any group of people. But to just portray them with ONE voice, as though that's all there is and there's no need to go deeper...that's where the problem comes in. Without balance, what evidence is there that there's anything but someone's ideology in play?
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Old April 4 2010, 11:36 AM   #72
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Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

Interesting to see so many people getting upset over a novelization of a video game series that I believe some of the writers of the novels have already stated isn't part of the Trek Lit verse. I haven't read the book yet, planning on picking it up this week sometime but whatever my feelings will be on it I know that it will be taken in the context of that video game universe. I'm personally looking forward to the continued Path of 2409 updates whenever they return.
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Old April 4 2010, 05:15 PM   #73
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Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

^ 2409 timeline has been completed and is in the book (I'm assuming that's why they stopped posting them on the site).
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Old April 4 2010, 06:01 PM   #74
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Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

If the book is supposed to be a bunch of random interviews by Jake Sisko, it's possible he just picked out the most "colourful" (read: psychotic) soldier to interview, the same way "reality TV" tends to follow rich nutcases rather than regular boring people.
If, of course, he interviews loads of MACO's and they're all equally nuts everyone may be right. It's also possible the author may have been following a directive from the game developers to portray the soldiers as dangerous lunatics.
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Old April 4 2010, 06:12 PM   #75
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Re: Star Trek: Online: The Needs of the Many - Discussion (Spoilers)

That kind of directive is one worth being disobeyed, if that were the case.

As for Jake, that would actually be very poor journalistic integrity there. Going for sensationalism and ratings rather than the truth is against every ethic of the profession and really WOULD put him down with the bottom-feeding reality TV hucksters rather than making him a real reporter. If his goal was to portray what Federation soldiers were like, he should've interviewed enough to get a balanced picture. (Then again, considering where "journalistic integrity" is in the 21st century, I think it's too much to expect that ANY inkling of the concept will be left by the 24th.)

AND I just thought of something else. It's actually very much out of character for Jake. He seemed to have a lot more respect for soldiers than that, both the people he was raised with, and those he encountered in "Nor the Battle to the Strong."

But if the authorial intent is to imply that the psychos ARE the typical soldier and that Jake DID somehow do his due diligence...then that says more about the author and editor than anything else by FAR.
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