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Old September 15 2012, 03:48 PM   #1
F. King Daniel
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What if... ETERNAL TIDE SPOILERS

What if Janeway had to go into Omega instead of Eden in order to save the multiverse? What if The Eternal Tide wasn't about bringing her back for keeps, but to give her a better and more worthy death? Would your opinions of the book have been different?

I think I'd have still loved it to bits. It's one of my all-time favourites. Although I'm defintely more excited to see the next book with Janeway than I would have been the next one with Captain Eden.
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Old September 15 2012, 04:33 PM   #2
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Re: What if... ETERNAL TIDE SPOILERS

They tried the "more worthy death" thing in "Yesterday's Enterprise," and it was kind of silly. I don't care for the idea of picking and choosing what deaths are more "worthy" or "noble." Especially since different people can disagree on which deaths are worthy or not. I think Tasha's death in "Skin of Evil" was fantastically handled, because it was honest and acknowledged the randomness of the dangers that can take people's lives, and really let us feel the grief of her loss. I feel that "Yesterday's Enterprise" was an insult to the viewers' intelligence by comparison, dismissing that honest, mature portrayal of death as "unworthy" and replacing it with a cliched, juvenile fantasy of "heroic sacrifice" -- a sacrifice which then got turned into something even worse when we found out alt-Tasha's ultimate fate from Sela, so really, what was the point?

I also don't think Kirk's death in Generations was unworthy. Okay, so he was on a bridge that fell down, it wasn't some big spectacular epic, but why the hell should that matter? He sacrificed himself to save lives. He placed doing his job over his personal safety, just as he always had, and that's exactly how I would've expected him to go out. It shouldn't have been glamorous or melodramatic, because that's not who Jim Kirk was, despite the myths that have grown up around him. He was just a soldier doing his duty, putting himself on the line to protect other people, even people he'd never met. And that's exactly how he went out, and it was exactly right for who he was. I think bringing him back just to give him some more melodramatic, larger-than-life sacrifice would've served his character badly, diminished his death rather than "improving" it.

So if you give a character a do-over on how they died, there's no guarantee the audience will all agree on which was the "better" death. I think Janeway's demise in Before Dishonor was very heroic -- despite having been assimilated, her consciousness held on to the bitter end, and in a critical moment, motivated by her deep bond of love to Seven of Nine, she reasserted herself and resisted the Borg's control, thereby saving not only Seven but the entire Earth. That sounds like a very classic heroic sacrifice to me. I don't see what's "unworthy" about it, or what would constitute a "better" death. Certainly there are elements of the surrounding plot that I can understand readers being dissatisfied with, but that particular aspect of the book was one of my favorite parts.
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Old September 15 2012, 05:01 PM   #3
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Re: What if... ETERNAL TIDE SPOILERS

@op, For me? Not really.

Amanda Rogers would still have been brought back with a few lines only to die ignominiously.
Eden's mystery origins would have still had an abrupt and horrible end(I thought everything about the o-continuum silly)
The reason for janeway's [brief] return would still have been poor, and the way (with kes) would still have felt hammy.
The characters I've enjoyed reading in the previous books would still have been little more then bit parts here(and I know I often have the reverse opinion when it comes to the enterprise e, but I actually like the original voy characters, in point of fact moreso then any tv voy character save the doctor. * le shrug*).

Although I hate the character Janeway became after eps like tuvix & endgame, I'd pretty much steeled myself for her return here - the problem was I didn't really like the rest of the book anyway
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Old September 15 2012, 10:17 PM   #4
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Re: What if... ETERNAL TIDE SPOILERS

I know the question is would my opinions be different; I'll get to that in a moment.

To be honest, I think the plot detail you describe would have been irritating to most readers, regardless of where they stand on the issue of Janeway and her resurrection.

While I do recall some discussion about whether Janeway's death was a "worthy" one - as well as protests from some fans that the death wasn't handled in a manner they thought did justice to the character - the main issue always seemed to be the fact that she died at all. Had The Eternal Tide been the final adventure of Janeway, those who disagreed with the move to kill her would be saying "you brought her back briefly only to throw it away and kill her again. She's still dead, so what's the point?" Maybe they would indeed find the new death "worthier" or more in keeping with how they wanted to see the character handled - and maybe they'd find some satisfaction in that - but I think any concerns over the nature of her death were only ever a secondary layer of irritation; the main sore point was the death itself. So I assume that those fans who disagreed with the decision to kill Janeway would find her "better" death a pointless exercise - if you're going to give the impression that a "mistake" was made and Janeway's death needed "fixing" (because that's what it would look like to many readers), the quesion some fans would ask is "why fix the manner of her death and not fix her death" - which was the point they had issue with.

Meanwhile, those who had no issue with the death but weren't strongly opposed to resurrection either would perhaps be thinking "well, that was pointless. She's back and gone again". It might even look more amusing than dramatic - "oh my god, they killed Kathryn!" - or else the very act of giving her a second shot at death might be seen to diminish any point to the original. I don't really see even these "neutral" readers being too impressed. That's just me of course, I could be wrong.

As for those fans who think resurrection diminishes the emotional realities of death and how we cope with it, and so reduces the power and impact of the fiction, they might well be even more displeased with "returning for a supposedly better death" than the "returning to life" story we got. My own opinion...well, I very much liked The Eternal Tide, as anyone who read my review of it knows, and I thought highly of the sensitive way in which Beyer handled the resurrection. Personally, though, if it were up to me, resurrection would be a no-no regardless of the character. Even if I thought a death was handled poorly, it just doesn't sit right with me to "undo" it. However, that's just me - the decision was of course not mine and I'm grateful that the resurrection was handled well and tackled by an author who knows what she's doing. Great care was taken by Beyer not to diminish the pain, loss and growth experienced by the Voyager characters since they lost Janeway, so it was, as resurrections go, a far less "damaging" one than I might have feared; not truly a reset button emotionally, thank Q. And I would indeed rather have a living Janeway than a dead one - I just wouldn't violate my "no resurrections" rule over her (or any character).

However, the idea of bringing her back just for a second shot at death, I would have found much harder to swallow. If you can shout 'take two!' and keep trying until you get the death you want...well, I see that as considerably more dangerous to my personal tastes regarding death in fiction than a clean resurrection. At least a resurrection like the one Janeway got is rooted in a desire to have the character live again - it's cheating the realities of death, yes, but death isn't truly the issue there. Making the manner of death the important thing...I wouldn't be very impressed with that, to be honest.

That's my patented Nasat Wall of Text on the question
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Old September 15 2012, 11:41 PM   #5
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Re: What if... ETERNAL TIDE SPOILERS

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
While I do recall some discussion about whether Janeway's death was a "worthy" one - as well as protests from some fans that the death wasn't handled in a manner they thought did justice to the character - the main issue always seemed to be the fact that she died at all. Had The Eternal Tide been the final adventure of Janeway, those who disagreed with the move to kill her would be saying "you brought her back briefly only to throw it away and kill her again. She's still dead, so what's the point?" Maybe they would indeed find the new death "worthier" or more in keeping with how they wanted to see the character handled - and maybe they'd find some satisfaction in that - but I think any concerns over the nature of her death were only ever a secondary layer of irritation; the main sore point was the death itself. So I assume that those fans who disagreed with the decision to kill Janeway would find her "better" death a pointless exercise - if you're going to give the impression that a "mistake" was made and Janeway's death needed "fixing" (because that's what it would look like to many readers), the quesion some fans would ask is "why fix the manner of her death and not fix her death" - which was the point they had issue with.
Exactly. If Janeway had been brought back in The Eternal Tide only to be killed again for the sake of a cleaner death I would not have been nearly as impressed by the book as I was.

Even though I was not impressed by the manner of her death in the first place, I am by no means an advocate for the "take two" idea when it comes to character deaths. If a character is dead and someone plans to bring them back, bring them back for good (i.e. the rest of their natural lifespan) or don't do it at all.

I honestly wouldn't be satisfied with simply "fixing" the manner of death, and as you said, why not fix her death entirely?

In this instance it should be that the character is brought back or not at all. There really isn't a middle ground.
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Old September 16 2012, 12:57 PM   #6
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Re: What if... ETERNAL TIDE SPOILERS

To clarify, when I mentioned Janeway's "unworthy" death, it wasn't the manner of her demise (helping to save Earth is a big deal) but the novel itself. Even though I enjoyed the comic bookish action of Before Dishonor, her death didn't seem profound enough. I wasn't as emotionally engaged as I'd have liked to be.

It's been years since I read BD. With the aftermath so well fleshed out in Full Circle et cetera, perhaps I should have a re-read.

Deranged Nasat wrote:
That's my patented Nasat Wall of Text on the question
Always appreciated!
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Old September 16 2012, 07:19 PM   #7
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Re: What if... ETERNAL TIDE SPOILERS

Don't, in my opinion BD is a horrid book.
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Old September 17 2012, 03:55 PM   #8
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Re: What if... ETERNAL TIDE SPOILERS

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
However, the idea of bringing her back just for a second shot at death, I would have found much harder to swallow. If you can shout 'take two!' and keep trying until you get the death you want...well, I see that as considerably more dangerous to my personal tastes regarding death in fiction than a clean resurrection. At least a resurrection like the one Janeway got is rooted in a desire to have the character live again - it's cheating the realities of death, yes, but death isn't truly the issue there. Making the manner of death the important thing...I wouldn't be very impressed with that, to be honest.
Yes. This reminds me of Jean Grey, supposedly the most dying and returning character in comics. To appease those people who were angry that in 1986 they resurrected the character, they decided the best way to "fix" that "mistake" was to kill her again in 2004, thus ensuring that 1, you contribute to the dying again meme thing and the Jean haters just have more to complain about, and 2, you create a group of "BRING BACK JEAN!" fans to complain and demand her resurrection, which is inevitable because it's comics. I am so glad Beyer didn't do that with Janeway.
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Old September 17 2012, 05:27 PM   #9
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Re: What if... ETERNAL TIDE SPOILERS

Although I must admit, repeated death and resurrection is a good fit for a character associated with the name "Phoenix."
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Old September 17 2012, 05:31 PM   #10
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Re: What if... ETERNAL TIDE SPOILERS

Why am I suddenly thinking about "The Continuing Death of Generalissimo Francisco Franco." ("Our top headline: Generalissimo Franco is still dead.")
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Old September 17 2012, 08:47 PM   #11
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Re: What if... ETERNAL TIDE SPOILERS

I am sorry Chris there is nothing worthy about Kirk's death. Icons need to go out saving something huge. Just look at how Superman was killed, it was a blaze of glory and in a way no one else could. Kirk deserved the same treatment. He is an icon of the highest order. Now, I understand that this is all about perspective so there may not be a "right answer" here, but from my point of view, Kirk got the shaft. It would have been so much sweeter if he had died saving the universe instead of a planet and a people that we have never heard of. Now this does not make these people irrelevant or less deserving of needing to be saved, but I think that the story to kill off Kirk needed to be grander.
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Old September 17 2012, 09:12 PM   #12
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Re: What if... ETERNAL TIDE SPOILERS

Enterpriserules wrote: View Post
I am sorry Chris there is nothing worthy about Kirk's death. Icons need to go out saving something huge.
He saved a whole planet.


Just look at how Superman was killed, it was a blaze of glory and in a way no one else could. Kirk deserved the same treatment. He is an icon of the highest order.
See, that's just it. That was never what he was meant to be. Roddenberry specifically created Star Trek to get away from the larger-than-life, cartoony melodramas that dominated TV science fiction. He saw no reason why a futuristic setting couldn't be approached with the same character realism and maturity as any adult drama, whether a cop show or a courtroom show or a Western or a hospital show. The characters weren't meant to be exaggerated fantasy heroes; they were meant to be realistic human beings who simply happened to live and work on a spaceship in the future. Kirk was meant to be an everyman protagonist, not Flash Gordon.

And Kirk himself was the last person who would've defined himself as some grand, larger-than-life hero. As far as he was concerned, he was just a man dedicated to doing his duty. As long as he made a difference, that was all that mattered to him. And so that's what matters to me. I don't give a fig about spectacle or pandering to the audience; what matters to me is whether the character is effectively served. To me, the most telling moment in Kirk's final battle is when Picard has just pulled him off the rickety bridge that almost killed him... and without a second's hesitation, he climbs right back onto it! He's just been rescued from the jaws of death and leaps right back in without pause, because he's still got a job to do. It's the very casualness of that self-sacrifice, the lack of hoopla surrounding that critical moment of decision, that made it such a powerful statement of who James Kirk was. Not some larger-than-life cosmic hero, but just a man who unhesitatingly put others before himself. That simple devotion to helping others is, to me, infinitely more spectacular than all the grand space battles and explosions you could possibly throw into a movie.


Now, I understand that this is all about perspective so there may not be a "right answer" here, but from my point of view, Kirk got the shaft. It would have been so much sweeter if he had died saving the universe instead of a planet and a people that we have never heard of.
And I think that's just far too melodramatic, and rather a ludicrous over-escalation compared to other Trek movies. The most Kirk ever saved from immediate peril in any prior movie was the Earth, although one could surmise he averted possible, more widespread destruction in the future by stopping Khan and Kruge from getting the Genesis Device, by keeping the Sha Ka Ree "god" from getting a starship, and by staving off war with the Klingons. Still, he never faced an existential threat to even the galaxy, let alone the whole universe (unless you count "The Alternative Factor," which contradicts the rest of Trek canon in a number of ways and is probably apocryphal, not to mention completely idiotic).


Now this does not make these people irrelevant or less deserving of needing to be saved, but I think that the story to kill off Kirk needed to be grander.
Pardon me for being harsh, but having suffered the death of my father only a couple of years ago, I feel quite strongly about this: I'm frankly repulsed by the concept that death should be portrayed as "grand" or good in any way. Death is an ugly, painful, frustrating thing. It hurts. It's supposed to. Glamorizing death is an idea that disgusts me. We should be angry when the characters we care about are taken from us. We should feel that it's a waste and a lost opportunity. Because that's an honest portrayal of what death is. Painting it as some noble, grand, triumphant thing that we can feel good about is simply a lie. We should celebrate the lives of the people we care about. That's the part that can be grand and noble and worthy of our admiration.
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Old September 17 2012, 09:34 PM   #13
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Re: What if... ETERNAL TIDE SPOILERS

Christopher wrote: View Post
Enterpriserules wrote: View Post
I am sorry Chris there is nothing worthy about Kirk's death. Icons need to go out saving something huge.
He saved a whole planet.


Just look at how Superman was killed, it was a blaze of glory and in a way no one else could. Kirk deserved the same treatment. He is an icon of the highest order.
See, that's just it. That was never what he was meant to be. Roddenberry specifically created Star Trek to get away from the larger-than-life, cartoony melodramas that dominated TV science fiction. He saw no reason why a futuristic setting couldn't be approached with the same character realism and maturity as any adult drama, whether a cop show or a courtroom show or a Western or a hospital show. The characters weren't meant to be exaggerated fantasy heroes; they were meant to be realistic human beings who simply happened to live and work on a spaceship in the future. Kirk was meant to be an everyman protagonist, not Flash Gordon.

And Kirk himself was the last person who would've defined himself as some grand, larger-than-life hero. As far as he was concerned, he was just a man dedicated to doing his duty. As long as he made a difference, that was all that mattered to him. And so that's what matters to me. I don't give a fig about spectacle or pandering to the audience; what matters to me is whether the character is effectively served. To me, the most telling moment in Kirk's final battle is when Picard has just pulled him off the rickety bridge that almost killed him... and without a second's hesitation, he climbs right back onto it! He's just been rescued from the jaws of death and leaps right back in without pause, because he's still got a job to do. It's the very casualness of that self-sacrifice, the lack of hoopla surrounding that critical moment of decision, that made it such a powerful statement of who James Kirk was. Not some larger-than-life cosmic hero, but just a man who unhesitatingly put others before himself. That simple devotion to helping others is, to me, infinitely more spectacular than all the grand space battles and explosions you could possibly throw into a movie.


Now, I understand that this is all about perspective so there may not be a "right answer" here, but from my point of view, Kirk got the shaft. It would have been so much sweeter if he had died saving the universe instead of a planet and a people that we have never heard of.
And I think that's just far too melodramatic, and rather a ludicrous over-escalation compared to other Trek movies. The most Kirk ever saved from immediate peril in any prior movie was the Earth, although one could surmise he averted possible, more widespread destruction in the future by stopping Khan and Kruge from getting the Genesis Device, by keeping the Sha Ka Ree "god" from getting a starship, and by staving off war with the Klingons. Still, he never faced an existential threat to even the galaxy, let alone the whole universe (unless you count "The Alternative Factor," which contradicts the rest of Trek canon in a number of ways and is probably apocryphal, not to mention completely idiotic).


Now this does not make these people irrelevant or less deserving of needing to be saved, but I think that the story to kill off Kirk needed to be grander.
Pardon me for being harsh, but having suffered the death of my father only a couple of years ago, I feel quite strongly about this: I'm frankly repulsed by the concept that death should be portrayed as "grand" or good in any way. Death is an ugly, painful, frustrating thing. It hurts. It's supposed to. Glamorizing death is an idea that disgusts me. We should be angry when the characters we care about are taken from us. We should feel that it's a waste and a lost opportunity. Because that's an honest portrayal of what death is. Painting it as some noble, grand, triumphant thing that we can feel good about is simply a lie. We should celebrate the lives of the people we care about. That's the part that can be grand and noble and worthy of our admiration.
Chris I understand your feelings about death and I am sorry to hear about the loss of your father; I can only imagine how hard that will be when it happens to me one day. I remind you that I did say that this is about perspective and yours is different than mine. So, I do not believe that makes you right or wrong, it is your opinion. I am a Christian, so I do not believe death is the end and Christ himself said that no greater love can a person show than to lay down his life for another. So, in that sense, Kirk's death is the ultimate expression of love, dying for a people he does not know and that is beautiful to me.

I say that I want it to be grander, because I feel that it would have been more meaningful to see Kirk dying to protect the Federation or something of that nature. Something that has more meaning to the character, I think that makes for better story-telling. It is why Khan was a great villain, it was personal to Kirk and that made the story all the richer.

Now Chris, you have been on the boards a long time. I think you have a problem trying to be right all the time and not respecting people's opinions. I respect your opinion on Kirk's death and I think that you bring up some great points; but I still disagree. I do not think that makes you right and me wrong or anything in-between. When it comes to the arts and films, judging them is subjective and personal and that is okay because it is about taste and personality and the perspective we bring to it. So I ask that you respect that I can disagree and that be okay, because you are not right and I am not right it is opinion and with something like Trek, that is what makes it fun.
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Old September 17 2012, 11:40 PM   #14
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Re: What if... ETERNAL TIDE SPOILERS

Christopher wrote: View Post
Pardon me for being harsh, but having suffered the death of my father only a couple of years ago, I feel quite strongly about this: I'm frankly repulsed by the concept that death should be portrayed as "grand" or good in any way. Death is an ugly, painful, frustrating thing. It hurts. It's supposed to. Glamorizing death is an idea that disgusts me. We should be angry when the characters we care about are taken from us. We should feel that it's a waste and a lost opportunity. Because that's an honest portrayal of what death is. Painting it as some noble, grand, triumphant thing that we can feel good about is simply a lie. We should celebrate the lives of the people we care about. That's the part that can be grand and noble and worthy of our admiration.
I totally agree with this. I too lost my dad recently. I was angry; I'm still angry, because someone took him away. It's effected me in that I don't want my chosen form of escapism (reading) to remind me of the utter, awfulness that goes on in real life. I can understand that other people feel completely the opposite but to me heroic or noble deaths don't mean anything, since dead is dead and that's the bit the living have to deal with. Comic / cheesy action flick deaths are one thing but the aftermath of death written well I find hard to deal with, because all it ends up doing is taking me back to the room with my once tall, impossible to ignore dad and seeing the small, almost insect-like, muscle- and tendon-shortened corpse that he was the last time I saw him.

I guess that's actually a complement, that the death written about in Star Trek books can do that to me.

Christopher, I'm sorry for your loss.
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Old September 18 2012, 12:40 AM   #15
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Re: What if... ETERNAL TIDE SPOILERS

Christopher wrote: View Post
Although I must admit, repeated death and resurrection is a good fit for a character associated with the name "Phoenix."
Another point I like to make when people complain about it.
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