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

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Old August 31 2012, 05:12 PM   #31
hbquikcomjamesl
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Re: Literate Trek Novels

Re: Haldeman,

I would say that Planet of Judgment was the better of the two novels released at the time (the other being Marshak & Culbreath's The Price of the Phoenix), but only about average for the Bantam era.

World Without End fell into the period when Bantam had fallen into a rut, and literally every other novel was garbage on the theme of "Kirk leads a landing party on a visit to a primitive society that turns out to be something other than what it seems," and while it was arguably the best of the four novels on that theme, it wasn't especially good, and wasn't especially true to the Star Trek milieu.

Alan Dean Foster's Star Trek Log series led me to his The Tar-Aiym Krang, and his other Flinx novels, and his other Humanx Commonwealth novels, and most of his other works, and David Gerrold's script of "The Trouble with Tribbles," and his book about the episode's genesis, production, and aftermath, led me to When HARLIE Was One. But Haldeman's Star Trek novels did not impart to me any interest in seeking out his other works.
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Old August 31 2012, 05:17 PM   #32
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Re: Literate Trek Novels

Lindley wrote: View Post
Articles of the Federation is sort of Star Trek meets The West Wing, if that seems interesting. It's a little bit tied into the ongoing continuity of the post-series novels, while still standing well on its own..
The problem of Articles is that it is a great read, but it doesn't have depth per se. It's a set of problems the characters solve, but it's not a set of subtextual problems the author is resolving. It is very tv-like, in the sense that it is mainly plot and story, with smart-ish dialogue. I wouldn't put it in a 'literary' envelope that the OP suggested: I think it is excellent 'tie-in', paying homage and playing with the bits of Trek. But it doesn't deconstruct the source material, nor present a complex subtext, like perhaps 'literature' does?

Stitch does do that, since that was an interest on the actor's part. He is often all subtext in interviews!
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Old August 31 2012, 05:26 PM   #33
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Re: Literate Trek Novels

hbquikcomjamesl wrote: View Post
I would say that Planet of Judgment was the better of the two novels released at the time (the other being Marshak & Culbreath's The Price of the Phoenix), but only about average for the Bantam era.
Oh, I disagree. I'd say it's one of Bantam's best, second only to David Gerrold's The Galactic Whirlpool. Of course, that's faint praise, since most of Bantam's output wasn't that great, and I'm sure PoJ is below Haldeman's usual level. But while not perfect, it's one of the more intriguing concepts that Bantam did, it shows a good grasp of Trek continuity and characters (though it adds some things that Trek didn't have but arguably should have, like body armor and better military procedure for landing parties, reflecting Haldeman's own military experience), and it delves more into the characters than most of the Bantams did (for instance, giving us our first prose portrayal of McCoy's divorce, though it had been addressed earlier in two issues of Gold Key's ST comic). Its main drawback is that it introduces a number of supporting characters (including a roman a clef of James Blish), sets up a romantic triangle among them, and then seems to forget about them in the last half of the book.


World Without End fell into the period when Bantam had fallen into a rut, and literally every other novel was garbage on the theme of "Kirk leads a landing party on a visit to a primitive society that turns out to be something other than what it seems," and while it was arguably the best of the four novels on that theme, it wasn't especially good, and wasn't especially true to the Star Trek milieu.
Well, a lot of the elements of that "milieu" that conflict with the book weren't established until after it was written, so I think that's a little harsh. It wasn't a great book, but it had some interesting worldbuilding and made a decent attempt to flesh out Klingon culture, just in a different way than later creators did.
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Old August 31 2012, 06:05 PM   #34
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Re: Literate Trek Novels

Jarvisimo wrote: View Post
I did include Faulks in little line up because of his brilliant Bond novel, which was very Flemming.
I didn't like it at all, though I've never read the Fleming novels.

I much preferred Jeffrey Deaver's Bond novel, even though Faulkes is regarded by critics as a literary heavyweight and Deaver as 'merely' a popular author.
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Old August 31 2012, 06:11 PM   #35
Thrawn
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Re: Literate Trek Novels

I would say:

- Anything by Una McCormack counts
- A Stitch In Time, definitely
- Serpents Among The Ruins or the Crucible Trilogy from DRG3
- The entire Vanguard series, start to finish - 8 books, starts with Harbinger, by David Mack
- The Destiny Trilogy, by David Mack (now in omnibus!)

Those are probably the best. A lot of the stuff that takes place after Destiny is also really good, but the interconnected continuity can be a bit much for new readers. Destiny is really accessible, though, and totally great.
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Old August 31 2012, 06:12 PM   #36
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Re: Literate Trek Novels

Captaindemotion wrote: View Post
I much preferred Jeffrey Deaver's Bond novel, even though Faulkes is regarded by critics as a literary heavyweight and Deaver as 'merely' a popular author.
I think that's such a spurious distinction, between "literary" and "popular" fiction. Generally it's the more popular stuff that endures through the ages. In Shakespeare's time, plays were popular entertainment, the TV of the era, and it was his sonnets and epic poems that were considered his serious literary accomplishments, but today who remembers Venus and Adonais or A Lover's Complaint? And Arthur Conan Doyle hated that his lowbrow Sherlock Holmes stories got all the attention while his classy literary work was overlooked, but it's Holmes that's endured through the generations. I think it's because the stuff that satisfies the elites of a given place and time is tailored to their ideals and expectations and thus doesn't translate so well to other generations and cultures, while the more popular stuff has more universal appeal.

So I think all that literary-vs.-popular stuff is just a form of elitism, an attempt to subdivide people into approved and disapproved cliques. It's got nothing to do with what's actually well-written or fulfilling. "Literary" is just another subgenre.
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Old August 31 2012, 06:16 PM   #37
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Re: Literate Trek Novels

^ In addition to this, I think the Ian Fleming Bonds are amongst the very best novels that I have ever read - they weren't popular by accident.

As to their literary merits, they may not qualify as art, but they are superb reads...
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Old August 31 2012, 06:44 PM   #38
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Re: Literate Trek Novels

Christopher wrote: View Post
Captaindemotion wrote: View Post
I much preferred Jeffrey Deaver's Bond novel, even though Faulkes is regarded by critics as a literary heavyweight and Deaver as 'merely' a popular author.
I think that's such a spurious distinction, between "literary" and "popular" fiction.
Oh, I absolutely agree - that's why I was careful to place the word 'merely' in inverted commas and to state that that it was critics who held this view.

I feel compelled to include a link to what is almost certainly the most snobbish, irritating and pretentious article I have ever read. Read it and prepare to be angered and never to want to read anything by the writer again.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010...on-edward-docx
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Old August 31 2012, 06:50 PM   #39
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Re: Literate Trek Novels

Edward Docx? Is he a writer or an MS Word file?

I wonder why you British Isles folks call them inverted commas while Americans call them quotation marks. I mean, only the initial ones are actually inverted, and only in certain fonts.
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Old August 31 2012, 06:54 PM   #40
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Re: Literate Trek Novels

^I'd never heard of him before the article and I never hope to hear of him again. I'm still not entirely sure he isn't a Private Eye/ The Onion-type send up.

No idea re the inverted commas/ quotation marks thing. I'd actually use the latter expression as often as the former - it's really a 50/50 random thing and this time I just happened to opt for IC.
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Old August 31 2012, 07:13 PM   #41
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Re: Literate Trek Novels

Thrawn wrote: View Post
the Crucible Trilogy from DRG3
Crucible: McCoy was fantastic, no question about it. However, I was less impressed with the other two. Crucible: Spock was all right but by the time I got to Kirk it just seemed like an attempt to have a trilogy for the sake of having a trilogy.
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Old August 31 2012, 10:54 PM   #42
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Re: Literate Trek Novels

I was reading Brian W. Aldiss's Trillion Year Spree last night, and he cited a 1966 review of Bram Stoker's novels which seem vaguely relevant to this conversation:

The trouble, it is usually said, is that whatever his gifts as an inventor of spine-chilling situations, he does not "write well". The phrase is used, generally, as though its meaning were self-evident. But any such assumption would be optimistic. It is a sign, perhaps, as much as anything, that we remain slaves of the intentional fallacy in literature, pathetically ready to accept writers according to their ambitions rather than their achievements. We will suppose, for instance, that George Moore must in some mysterious way be a better writer than Bram Stoker, even if Stoker is still read and Moore on the whole is not, because Moore spent a lot of time and energy carrying out on about his dedication to high art while Stoker churned out bestsellers in the spare moments of an otherwise busy life. Moore, in his later books, writes with extreme care and self-conscious artistry, but the result is unreadable; Stoker, whatever else may be said of him, is still intensely readable. So which, in the final analysis, writes better?
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Old August 31 2012, 11:20 PM   #43
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Re: Literate Trek Novels

How could I forget David R. George III's Crucible: McCoy - Provenance of Shadows? A wonderful, brilliant look at the lives of Dr. McCoy -- both the one he led in TOS, and the one he led in the alternate timeline of "The City on the Edge of Forever." Brilliant, introspective book that casts the entirety of TOS in a new light.
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Old September 1 2012, 11:28 AM   #44
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Re: Literate Trek Novels

On the question of someone who doesn't read tie-in fiction approaching through an author, not the IP, there was this wonderful article on Tor.com a year or so ago about Ford and The Final Reflection

Pre-existing Universe, Very Original Story: John M Ford's The Final Reflection
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Old September 1 2012, 02:25 PM   #45
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Re: Literate Trek Novels

I don't think I've noticed anyone mention Margaret Wander Bonanno's Burning Dreams, the novel about Christopher Pike's life. I thought this novel had real literary merit, and it reminded me greatly of Heinlein's early work.
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