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

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Old July 4 2011, 01:01 PM   #16
Trek Survivor
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Re: Before Dishonour....seriously?!

This really is a terrible, terrible book.

I more or less enjoyed the rest of the post-Nemesis' TNG stuff (particularly "Death In Winter" and "Greater Than The Sum"), though was annoyed at the dependence on the Borg.

But "Before Dishonour"... eessh. It was painful. When you get lines like "Geordi had never noticed how much the computer voice sounded like Lwaxana TroI" (NUDGE, NUDGE, WINK, WINK READERS, AREN'T I THE FUNNIEZ!?!) you start to lose the will to live.

He was never my favourite Trek author, but I enjoyed David's early 1990s work. Unfortunately, since somebody obviously stroked his ego and told him the "New Frontier" books were actually good (with a superhero captain who can jump impossible heights and may as well be called Superman; and hey, even Picard swoons when he meets him!), David's output has been dreadful, culminating in this atrocity to Trek lit.

I'm on book 2 of "Destiny" though, and am enjoying it. Not in the same (horrific) league as "Before Dishonour". In fact, "Before Dishonour" is in its very own league because there are, quite simply, no other Trek books as bad. *

* Possible slight over-reaction, but do you get that I don't like this book? :-)
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Old July 4 2011, 01:02 PM   #17
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Re: Before Dishonour....seriously?!

^Mackenzie Calhoun isn't Superman.

He's Wolverine.
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Old July 4 2011, 01:51 PM   #18
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Re: Before Dishonour....seriously?!

Trek Survivor wrote: View Post
there are, quite simply, no other Trek books as bad. *

* Possible slight over-reaction
Yeah, or you've never read "Triangle" by Marshak & Culbreath, "Into the Nebula" by Gene DeWeese or "The Laertian Gamble" by Robert Sheckley...
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Old July 4 2011, 06:28 PM   #19
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Re: Before Dishonour....seriously?!

Christopher wrote: View Post
^Mackenzie Calhoun isn't Superman.

He's Wolverine.
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Old July 4 2011, 07:07 PM   #20
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Re: Before Dishonour....seriously?!

Well, I have finished Before Dishonour, and while my opinion remains unchanged(in short: ewwwwwwwwgetitoffgetitoff), I've resolved to continue on. If I'm really honest, the cringeworthy moments in BD were simply the icing on the cake, I was pulling a Spockbrow the moment the Cube sucked Janeway into a wall, and the first time I put the book down and said "WTF is this" to myself was when the author decided that a sentient Borg cube was a good idea. Especially considering that the excuse for that particular foolishness was so nonsensical it actually felt out of place in Star Trek, a universe famous for nonsensical technobabble.

I hadn't made the connection with Q-Squared, and to be honest I'm astounded that the same author is responsible for both books; was he struck on the head repeatedly in the interim years? :P

So, up next; Greater Than The Sum, and I can only hope I'll no have to force myself to read to the end of this one
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Old July 4 2011, 07:19 PM   #21
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Re: Before Dishonour....seriously?!

I don't see what's wrong with the idea of Borg technology being sentient without an organic component. Isn't that the whole idea behind the Borg, that the overarching collective program enslaves the minds of the living beings it assimilates? And the walls gaining the ability to absorb matter into them is merely an extrapolation from the Borg's use of nanotechnology. If it's assumed that all their technology is assembled from nanites, then it should have the ability to transform or to deconstruct matter on a molecular level. It's basically your classic "gray goo" nanotech scenario. One may quibble about the extremes to which it was taken in Before Dishonor, but the underlying concept is sound.
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Old July 4 2011, 07:20 PM   #22
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Re: Before Dishonour....seriously?!

Mac can't be Wolverine. he has a scar. and he's too tall.

but he IS the best there is and what he does and what he does isn't pretty.
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Old July 4 2011, 07:33 PM   #23
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Re: Before Dishonour....seriously?!

Christopher wrote: View Post
One may quibble about the extremes to which it was taken in Before Dishonor, but the underlying concept is sound.
I'm a bit disappointed that it wasn't depicted that way in the series. The borg ships should've been just as dangerous as the drones to an away team instead of just sitting there letting strange little creatures prance around their hallways and shoot out their nodes. Heck, the ships should've been considerably more dangerous than the drones. Prehensile hoses and robot arms snaring people and holding them in place like flypaper, hallways moving and reconfiguring themselves at the drop of a hat, grey-goo puddles of nanites flooding sections that were boarded or damaged like antibodies and assimilating anything that wasn't already part of the ship.
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Old July 4 2011, 07:35 PM   #24
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Re: Before Dishonour....seriously?!

too expensive.
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Old July 4 2011, 08:15 PM   #25
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Re: Before Dishonour....seriously?!

David cgc wrote: View Post
I'm a bit disappointed that it wasn't depicted that way in the series. The borg ships should've been just as dangerous as the drones to an away team instead of just sitting there letting strange little creatures prance around their hallways and shoot out their nodes. Heck, the ships should've been considerably more dangerous than the drones. Prehensile hoses and robot arms snaring people and holding them in place like flypaper, hallways moving and reconfiguring themselves at the drop of a hat, grey-goo puddles of nanites flooding sections that were boarded or damaged like antibodies and assimilating anything that wasn't already part of the ship.
We did see a hint of that in "Q Who," the FX shot of the cube's damaged section beginning to repair itself, but that was never followed up on due to budget limitations.
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Old July 4 2011, 08:21 PM   #26
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Re: Before Dishonour....seriously?!

I'm actually skim-re-reading BD now, and I have to say I'd be quite curious to hear PD's own thoughts on it. His somewhat eccentric style of writing with regards to Trek is nothing new, it just reaches a new level in this book. As of page 183 though, nothing particularly outrageous has happened, and that's almost half of it. Obviously the Pluto thing is a bit OTT, but that may have been the point. Personally I find it tiresome when readers critique writing for being ludicrous or such without allowing for the possibility that that may have been the author's intention. Granted it's not (nor should it be) everyone's cup of tea, but just because one finds an author's style isn't to their liking doesn't make it a bad book.

Unfortunately, I think a number of readers can't see past the death of Janeway to critique the book on any other level.

I had a lot of problems with one of the Titan books...I think it was Sword of Damocles...because the author's style wasn't what I was used to in a Trek book. I doubt I'll go back to it as a consequence, but I can appreciate that the author was writing the book they wanted to write. Just because I didn't like their style doesn't mean it's a "bad" book; it just means it wasn't what I was looking for.

It's ironic that people can read novels about a series that preached IDIC, but then dismiss anything they don't like as being "bad" rather than "different" or "not really what I was hoping for".

So yeah, shame we don't have PD's take on his book; I'd be curious to hear his thoughts on what he was going for and what he thinks of the final product.
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Old July 4 2011, 10:39 PM   #27
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Re: Before Dishonour....seriously?!

DonIago wrote: View Post
So yeah, shame we don't have PD's take on his book; I'd be curious to hear his thoughts on what he was going for and what he thinks of the final product.
Check out PAD's blog. He has discussed it there.
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Old July 4 2011, 10:49 PM   #28
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Re: Before Dishonour....seriously?!

^ AFAIK, he only commented that a lot of people that didn't like it they didn't like Janeway or Seven or the Borg, and that he thought it was funny people would've bought it in the first place if they weren't interested. And that it wasn't his call to kill Janeway, and that he didn't have any of KRAD's Q&A to read or read about while writing.

All in all, not much. Nothing about the tone or the success, etc.
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Old July 5 2011, 03:42 AM   #29
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Re: Before Dishonour....seriously?!

Christopher wrote: View Post
I don't see what's wrong with the idea of Borg technology being sentient without an organic component. Isn't that the whole idea behind the Borg, that the overarching collective program enslaves the minds of the living beings it assimilates? And the walls gaining the ability to absorb matter into them is merely an extrapolation from the Borg's use of nanotechnology. If it's assumed that all their technology is assembled from nanites, then it should have the ability to transform or to deconstruct matter on a molecular level. It's basically your classic "gray goo" nanotech scenario. One may quibble about the extremes to which it was taken in Before Dishonor, but the underlying concept is sound.
I'm not so convinced to be frank. The Borg were always presented as a fusion of organic and technological, and it was that fusion which defined them. In BD, there were essentially no Borg as we had seen them, there was a sentient cube puppeteering a number of disconnected drones and Janeway; it was not a Collective. EDIT: Indeed is it not specifically stated in First Contact that neither the Borg's organic nor technological components can function without the other?

In addition, the Borg's nanotechnology has always been presented as Constructors, rather than Smart Matter. By which I mean; the individual nanoprobes are nonsentient robots designed to construct or reconstruct macro-scale technology according to preset programming or direct instruction. The technology itself is not actually made up of nanoprobes.

Regardless, it was actually the horribly contrived "trauma" nonsense I was referring to, the concept that the big bad Enterprise was so mean to the poor little cubie-woobie that it somehow metamorphosed into a sentient creature bent on revenge. First, refer to the argument I make above as to why I find that dubious, but second and more than that, we've seen cubes "experience" circumstances as "traumatic", perhaps even moreso, than were presented in Resistance, yet none of them turned into melty-walled emos.

Anywho, I've just finished Greater Than The Sum, and my sense of despondency has lifted enough after the experience to attempt the Destiny trilogy next. I really enjoyed this one; the technobabble was much more plausible, the characterisation was much more consistent, and the concept of planetary geological processes resulting in evolved intelligence was inspired. Furthermore, it felt like a Star Trek story, although I realise that's a subjective concept.

Hell, I wish they'd put this story up on the big screen in place of Nemesis
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Old July 5 2011, 03:52 AM   #30
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Re: Before Dishonour....seriously?!

^ Just in case you hadn't made this connection yet, Christopher is the author of that book. So that's good then
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