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

View Poll Results: Rate Seize The Fire.
Outstanding 6 5.31%
Above Average 24 21.24%
Average 32 28.32%
Below Average 33 29.20%
Poor 18 15.93%
Voters: 113. You may not vote on this poll

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Old December 14 2010, 12:04 AM   #136
TerraUnam
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Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

JD wrote: View Post
Same here. I'm a huge Titan fan, and I was really looking forward to this one, but I'm quickly losing enthusiasm. Usually I still try to tell myself that it could still be good, I know SZG got alot of mixed reviews, but so far I've been liking it. Sadly in the case the reviews are so overwhelmingly negative that it's really killing my anticipation. I'm still gonna read it, since I already payed for it, but that's pretty much the only reason now.

Just out of curiosity, are there any major events in the story that would have a big impact on future books?
Depends on how the impact of the terraforming tech that was downloaded into certain Titan crew members is handled in future books.

Seems like this was purposely written as an open-ended book that way. The fact that we didn't get to see exactly WHO is responsible for creating the terraforming probe leads me to suspect we'll revisit this story line in future books.
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Old December 14 2010, 08:16 AM   #137
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Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

Although it looks like I probably enjoyed this book more than a lot of people posting here, I didn't have to struggle to finish, there were still plenty of problems. I know Martin was one of the co-creators of the series but I didn't get a feel for the Titan crew and it just seemed like a lot of conversations that didn't seem like natural conversations. They came across like people telling each other things they should know and it was just a cheap way of imparting information to the reader.

The plot wasn't that engaging for me and one of the solutions with the ecosculpture was a big deux ex machina.

On the plus side, I liked the Gorn stuff a lot more than the Titan parts. Hmmm, that makes a pattern with ZSG and StF, the alien sections are more interesting than our heroes.

And I liked the name "ecosculpture".

I rated it below average. Just too many issues and I don't know why this story took 150 pages more to tell than ZSG.
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Old December 20 2010, 04:25 PM   #138
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Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

Well I finished it but wow it was hard work.

It felt like there was a great story here involving the Gorn using the Ecosculpter and the Titan trying to stop them before the Typhon Pact fleet arrived - it could have dealt with the Gorn's fertility problems - maybe have Titan try to figure out another way of helping them in an attempt to get them to leave the Pact. Instead it got swamped by Prime Directive issues, the other Gorn vessel, the senseless trip to the planet & then from pretty much nowhere the Ecosculpter being sentient! It's like we can't have a Titan book without some big alien intelligence somewhere along the line. Oh and Tuvok's terraforming issues - what the hell was that!

The Prime Directive stuff was painful and really when facing an enemy fleet and the possible destruction of a planet do you really send your two senior officers down to collect data - I mean really! Then again this did seem to be the book of stupid Riker decisions all in all.

Oh and this can be a problem in every Titan book but was really obvious here - there are so many characters to introduce that sometimes it overwhelms the story - for the first 100 or so pages it felt like we just got character descriptions. This reached its nadir in Troi dropping off Natasha having a chat with T'pel and then also acknowledging the other kids in the nursery by name - why do it.
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Old December 20 2010, 06:50 PM   #139
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Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

You know something?

I have pretty high standards. I haven't liked much this year. Zero Sum Game was a huge disappointment. And I even made a whole separate thread complaining about Riker in this book, just based on being irritated with the first 2/3 of it.

But now that I've actually finished this book, I'm going to say something that I don't think anyone else in here has actually said. I...actually...mostly liked it.

Don't get me wrong - this book exemplified a number of long-running problems with Titan, Trek, and Treklit in spades. To wit:

1) Prime Directive nonsense - totally absurd. "We have to stand by and watch a society disappear because we can't interfere with them" obviously defeats the purpose of the law in the first place. This is stupid.

2) Riker being mopey. Made a whole thread about it. Irritating as hell.

3) Martin's tendency to rely overmuch on his own backstories and previous books. Red King wasn't anything about Titan at all, but rather a bunch of leftover stories from his work on Excelsior, and Tuvok's whole thing in this novel read as more of the same. Didn't have anything to do with anything else in the whole novel.

4) Every damn Titan book is about some planet or other about to be wiped from existence. There's plenty of interesting shit in the universe that isn't mega-deadly.

5) It did the same thing Zero Sum Game did, where there was actually only one interesting development, and it was dropped as a cliffhanger, otherwise changing nothing and doing nothing to advance any ongoing plotlines or character arcs.

6) And most importantly: can we finally get off the "we're all prejudiced / diversity is good" high horse with this series? Good freaking lord. Martin has just about as shallow an understanding of multicultural diversity as can possibly be expressed in a long-running series about a ship full of ACTUAL ALIENS. "Ohh, my main characters are reptiles, eh? Well let's have them be terrified of mammals! Won't that be some interesting role reversal! I can mine that for at least 7 internal Rikermonologues about prejudice! HAHA!" Shut up.

.......BUT. After all that. Yes: I actually liked it. Why?

Well, for everyone who's been clamoring lately for more books like the numbered novels, I think you've gotten your wish. This to me, by about the halfway point, had become a pretty charming nostalgia trip back to the days of numbered TNG novels, when every planet had to be saved, every story was a Prime Directive problem, there could be actual EVIL RADIATION-SCARRED LIZARD MONSTERS as enemies without a sense of irony, and the reset button had to be pressed at the end. I'm not so sure if I was laughing with or laughing at the story, but by the end, I was definitely laughing.

It felt like what Treklit used to be like when I was a kid, before Marco took it and turned it into an Actual Goddamn Story Worth Telling. And, obviously, I much prefer the Actual Goddamn Story Worth Telling. For sure. But so many of the books this year have just been kind of pathetic in general, that having this sort of sprawling, action-filled novel that kept piling on the conflicts, every single conflict being ripped straight out of the Numbered Novel Cliche Generator...felt kind of fun.

Being honest, the TOS novels early in the year looked like they were trying to be numbered novels but really weren't. Inception and Unspoken Truth filled in gaps, and Children Of Kings was this weird sort of alternate universe thing. This one is the first novel we've gotten since...honestly, maybe since the A Time To... novels that really felt like an old-school Giant TNG Novel. And even the A Time To... novels weren't great.

So, you know, all in all, it's maybe a 7/10 at best, but I think I enjoyed it way more than everyone else I've seen in here.

Shrug.

I'm still hoping for something actually genuinely kickass from DRG3 next week, though. We'll see...
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Old December 20 2010, 07:16 PM   #140
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Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

Thrawn wrote: View Post
1) Prime Directive nonsense - totally absurd. "We have to stand by and watch a society disappear because we can't interfere with them" obviously defeats the purpose of the law in the first place. This is stupid.
Is that really a problem endemic to Titan, though? At least in my novels, Riker and the crew have taken a rather liberal approach to the Prime Directive. Indeed, in Orion's Hounds, Riker explicitly said that he was no longer willing to tolerate seeing the PD used as an excuse for doing nothing when others were in need, and in Over a Torrent Sea, Lavena challenged the use of warp technology as the accepted threshold for contact. If they're taking a more conservative approach in StF, then something must've changed in the interim. Or else it's just a difference of authorial interpretation. I freely admit that I was shading Riker and Troi's views of the PD to reflect my own even if it differed from how they were portrayed in the show.


4) Every damn Titan book is about some planet or other about to be wiped from existence. There's plenty of interesting shit in the universe that isn't mega-deadly.
Well, the threat in Over a Torrent Sea, while on a planetary scale, was not existential. It threatened to disrupt the natives' way of life and cause an ecological crisis which, while dangerous in the near term, would eventually stabilize over ensuing generations.

And of course Taking Wing was about Romulan political machinations. I don't recall any planetary-level threats there.
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Old December 20 2010, 07:27 PM   #141
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Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

Regarding 1) - I agree, and I loved both your Titan novels, but the Prime Directive misunderstanding thing has happened several times across several series, and annoys me every time. So it annoyed me again here; that's all I was saying.

And 4) So, out of 10 books (including Destiny), only one book didn't have a planetary-level threat, and one other wasn't existential? Fair enough, but I think my point still stands!
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Old December 21 2010, 01:55 AM   #142
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Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

I always find Mike Martin's work much better on the re-read because he's such a plot-oriented author. He's just not much of a characterizer which is the stuff that really grabs you first time through.

Titan as an Exploration series seems to have a thing for PD in non-conventional situations. We saw it in Over a Torrent Sea and we saw it here. Odds are we'll see it again, I think.
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Old December 23 2010, 07:13 PM   #143
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Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

I rather like it, it played to titan base. which is to explore not some nameless planet for the one million time, but rather the concept that the federation is not as free from it own bias as they might think. We saw this when riker and keru had to put aside their distrust of A.I given the recent borg attacks. Now they play on mammals nature distrust of things rep. This is how titan differs from the other trek novels.
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Old December 24 2010, 04:19 AM   #144
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Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

Warp Coil wrote: View Post
Given the downright negative reviews of Seize the Fire, it's making me afraid to even buy the book. I have to ask - without giving anything away, is there anything important that happens in this book to the Titan crew? Could a Titan fan skip this novel completely without missing anything important? Part of me thinks I'd be better off just passing on this novel so that I don't waste my hard-earned money.
Like you, I was also hesitant to pick up this book based on the many negative comments in this post. However, since I read virtually every Trek novel, I did buy it and it was OK. Not stellar. Not exceptional. Just average.

I felt the same way after finishing Zero Sum Game --- and I love David Mack's work. I just felt that ZSG missed many opportunities (e.g. using more DS9 characters, more Dax/Bashir interactions, etc.) and stretched believability beyond the breaking point due to some inane plot twists (and yes, I do realize it is a Star Trek book

Re: Seize The Fire -- I will say that I am not a huge fan of the Titan series --- I have read every book and have found many of them to be average. Just my taste I guess.

Some characters are affected by the events in this book -- Tuvok for sure. However, Martin's clumsy writing and deficits in the area of characterization (which have already been discussed elsewhere in this thread) leave more of a bad taste in the reader's mouth rather than a genuine curiousity as to what lies ahead for Tuvok.

Like I said, I thought it was Average. Would have been nice to have had a stronger book considering the long fallow summer we endured in Trek Lit.

So far, the Typhon Pact series is a middling Average for me. Here's hoping the third and fourth books raise the bar.
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Old December 24 2010, 11:24 PM   #145
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Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

^ I'm still trying hard to get into it. I'm quite sickened that Riker has any reservations about protecting a pre-industrial society from genocide. That should be the right thing to do whether it's a Federation world or not. And the cultural contamination argument is utter BS. Do nothing, and they won't have a culture to contaminate.
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Old December 29 2010, 02:28 AM   #146
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Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

I started the book late last night and read most of it today in one sitting. I'm somewhat new to the Titan series (having only read Taking Wing and Orion's Hounds, and those only after Destiny interested me in their crew), so I looked forward to this book. I enjoyed it well enough. The Gorn and other reptilian races fascinate me, and I appreciated Martin's use of the Gnalish, whom (I presume) Michael Jan Friedman invented in Reunion. The caste system was interesting, and the source, perhaps, of the different appearances of TOS's and ENT's Gorn creatures.

I agree with other posters that the Prime Directive is being abused here. The Gorn, not the Federation, are attempting into interfere with the society in question. Their planet being transformed and their civilization destroyed in the process by an alien object is not in any sense 'natural evolution'. Had Riker intervened immediately, he would have been justified given that he was attempting to end the harm being done by another nation's interference.

Christine Vale seemed odd, dialogue-wise (quoting Groucho Marx and saying 'Take me to your leader'? ), but I've not read many Titan books so I don't know if that's in-character for her or not.

It seems on par with The Romulan War.
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Old December 29 2010, 02:34 AM   #147
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Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

Average. Not spectacular, but not half as bad as some here are trying to paint it.
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Old December 29 2010, 03:34 AM   #148
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Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

Smellincoffee wrote: View Post
...I appreciated Martin's use of the Gnalish, whom (I presume) Michael Jan Friedman invented in Reunion.
He did, but with an asterisk. Sometime after the fact, a fan (maybe even Therin?) suggested to Friedman that the reptilian character Sord from TAS: "The Jihad" might be a Gnalish, and I think that idea has come to be pretty much accepted in the literature. So in a sense, a Gnalish character existed before Reunion, even though the species was invented in that book.


The caste system was interesting, and the source, perhaps, of the different appearances of TOS's and ENT's Gorn creatures.
That was the clear implication. The description of the warrior caste matched that from "Arena," and the description of the technical caste matched that seen in "In a Mirror, Darkly" -- which is consistent with the Gorn in IaMD being the slavemaster of a group of engineers.
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Old December 30 2010, 06:35 PM   #149
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Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

I found it average. Which is to say, much better than, say, that period in the Bantam era, when literally every other novel was a variation on "Enterprise crew gets in over their heads with a primitive society run by a mechanical or otherwise artificial superbeing," written by somebody named Haldeman, or somebody named Eklund.

But I found it disappointing that the "ecosculptor" ended up being destroyed (it seemed an unlikely outcome, given the machine's age and capabilities).
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Old December 30 2010, 07:42 PM   #150
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Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

hbquikcomjamesl wrote: View Post
...written by somebody named Haldeman, or somebody named Eklund.
Oh, good grief. "Somebody named Haldeman?" Joe Haldeman is no mere "somebody." He's one of the most prominent science fiction authors of the latter third of the 20th century. He's the author of The Forever War. He's a multiple award winner.

Gordon Eklund was a pretty prominent SF writer at the time, too. A lot of the Bantam novels were written by "name" authors -- heck, they were edited by Frederik Pohl, himself one of the most famous and prolific SF writers of the 20th century.
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