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

View Poll Results: Rate Brinkmanship.
Outstanding 25 27.47%
Above Average 44 48.35%
Average 16 17.58%
Below Average 4 4.40%
Poor 2 2.20%
Voters: 91. You may not vote on this poll

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Old October 3 2012, 11:00 PM   #91
Una McCormack
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Re: TP: Brinkmanship by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Is that really in the Kindle edition? Crumbs. Not what I wrote and not in my paperback. And yet I kind of like it...

Thank you to everyone who has taken time to post their thoughts about the book: I've been really enjoying reading all the interesting discussion. I wish I had time at the moment to respond in depth, but term has just started and I'm run off my feet.
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Old October 3 2012, 11:54 PM   #92
MatthiasRussell
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Re: TP: Brinkmanship by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Soooo . . . Ezri didn't ask Picard, "Am I overreacting?" in the print edition and McCormack didn't write it that way? How did that line get into the kindle edition!?!
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Old October 4 2012, 12:06 AM   #93
Una McCormack
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Re: TP: Brinkmanship by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

MatthiasRussell wrote: View Post

So after another Typhon Pact book about the UFP teetering on the verge of war instead of about explorers making peace with strange new worlds, Dax’s words pretty much summarize my feelings on where the Typhon Pact series continuing theme. “Rushing from crisis to crisis, we’re changing. And what will we become? Will there be any room for those of us who want to understand other civilizations? Am I overeating?”
I wrote "overreacting".
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Old October 4 2012, 12:33 AM   #94
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Re: TP: Brinkmanship by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

HAHAHA, my bad. I guess spell check didn't catch that one when I was typing. Perhaps it was a Freudian slip.

So the Kindle is correct, I just need better editorial control for myself.

Now I'm laughing imaging Ezri ranting to Picard and then asking, "Am I over-eating!?!"
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Old October 4 2012, 07:31 AM   #95
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Re: TP: Brinkmanship by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I'm convinced spell check is in the hands of some particularly mischievous gremlins. Rivalled only by the autocorrect pixies.
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Old October 4 2012, 06:02 PM   #96
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Re: TP: Brinkmanship by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I just finished brinkmanship on my nook color fantastic read and no errors the nook rules e readers 5 out of 5 great conclusion to the typhon pact.
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Old October 4 2012, 08:13 PM   #97
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Re: TP: Brinkmanship by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I was very much looking forward to this book having enjoyed all of Una McCormack's other contributions to Trek Lit, and I wasn't disappointed!

I thought the whole story was very well executed; especially the part involving the undercover operatives on Ab-Tzenketh. Efheny and Alex were both interesting characters, moving in their own ways; her quiet desperation to submerge herself within Tzenkethi society contrasted with his obvious fear and disgust with the world he had found himself trapped on. Plus the complicating factor of Cory who found herself mixed up in a situation she had no hope of comprehending and yet still daring to betray the fact that she had imagined there was something more out there than her lowly position in society would ever naturally reveal. Efheny and Alex both came across as unlikeable at times and yet I found myself feeling extremely sympathetic toward them and could understand why they acted the way they did. The numb relief Efheny felt at the end as she submitted herself to her fate was palpable; as if she was the embodiment of the weariness everyone in the Federation, the Pact and other involved worlds must feel after years of assorted conflicts, wars, subterfuge and uncertainty for the future.

Meanwhile on the Aventine... I wasn't sure what to make of Peter Alden at first; he could quite easily have become just a random character from Ezri's past, there to provide a little Tzenkethi flavoured intrigue before disappearing off into the night. But he definitely grew on me the further I read; his impending (ongoing?) mental breakdown was disconcerting especially the way Starfleet seemed quite content to allow him to actively serve regardless of whether this was any good for him or not, and the way his initially affable manner disguised a very much changed man from the person Ezri was expecting to work with on the mission. As I got to the final pages of the book I realised that I knew almost nothing more about Peter than when he was introduced at the beginning of the story, which didn't really bother me although I would like him to show up again at some point in the future. Not least because I'm interested about what will happen to Cory now and how Peter will go about helping her to adjust to the new world she has found herself in.

As for the Venette Convention; they puzzled me a little. I struggled to understand how such an old civilisation has managed to remain isolated from interstellar politics to the extent that they seemed to have done. I enjoyed them for what they were and I thought it was an unusual take on an alien race but I'm not quite sure whether I can buy the fact that the lead diplomats of their world were so shocked and appalled at the way the rest of the galaxy conducts itself. But I admit that as we only got a small glimpse of their society there may be much more to them than meets the eye and I'd be very happy to see the Convention featured again so that we can learn more about them. Having said that, I did enjoy the fact that 'high level' meetings were held quite openly in public spaces and it made me wonder as to whether that sort of thing could be made to work in the real world. So from that perspective the Venetans were a success.

I was glad Picard took something of a backseat for this novel and was happy that Crusher moved to the fore of the story from time to time; she rarely seems to get enough focus in the novels. Her tentative friendship with Ilka was very nicely drawn and I thought there was an interesting and rather sad parallel between their respective positions within the hierarchies they belonged to; Crusher's realisation that Ilka was prevented from acting freely in her profession because there was always more at stake for her than just the negotiations at hand and then the revelation of Beverley's own relative lack of self-determination, the horrible feeling of having been used by something far more powerful than herself. I think it was important that she cut Picard off and didn't let him offer meaningless platitudes because in truth there was nothing that could be said that would make it better.

Overall, I thought Brinkmanship was a great addition to the Typhon Pact run of novels. It's a book that spoke to me of 'the little people', the cogs in the machine that keep the whole going despite having no true control of their ultimate destiny, also those who do have a modicum of power but are tempered by the society or organisation they find themselves operating in whether because of internal or external reasons, and finally how the different systems we put in place to try and stop things from spiralling apart can never work perfectly in an imperfect galaxy filled with imperfect people all trying to unsuccessfully control their fears.

tl;dr - Thanks for the excellent book Una, I'll look forward to your next one.

Last edited by Misco; October 4 2012 at 10:26 PM.
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Old October 4 2012, 09:30 PM   #98
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Re: TP: Brinkmanship by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Misco wrote: View Post
I did enjoy the fact that 'high level' meetings were held quite openly in public spaces
If the Venetans are serious about interacting with other spacefaring nations in the long-term, it would be interesting to see them realize how their fully open society could in itself be a means of destabilizing foreign representatives. Undermining the nerve of political opponents would be quite easy, if they learned to understand themselves in that way, to see their remarkably honest and inclusive ways as a "weapon". It might allow them to reconcile their current and long-standing sense of identity with the shocking realization (that surely must now be dawning on them) that they can't trust most outsiders to act like Venetans. Perhaps they can regain a sense of stability if they learn to find security and comfort in the fact that they're playing by different rules than everyone else, and that this gives them the advantage - on their home turf at least - if they can just learn to grasp the shape of the board and see things in terms of advantage and disadvantage. It would be a difficult transition, I'd imagine, but perhaps a more acceptable one than the alternatives, e.g. becoming more manipulative themselves. They don't have to surrender who they are, they can continue playing by different rules, so long as they come to understand the shape of the game. They might realize they already have the means to play this game of politics and prosper in it, without having to become something distasteful to their sensibilities.

After all, through no intention of the Venetans, the Federation, Ferengi and Cardassian delegations were reduced to a game of "where's my chair?" as soon as they entered the meeting space, causing quiet uncertainty and minor distress . (That was rather amusing to me, by the way - the Venetans being set up as an "elevated" society of noble, cultured beings with a highly orderly society, only for our first look at them to be something that throws the protagonists - and the reader - off balance by suggesting the sort of cheerful chaos that doesn't seem to befit noble statesmen and "space elf" societies). If the Venetans ever realize that they throw people off balance simply be being who they are, then they might come to see that they have choices other than "stick your head in the sand" or "betray yourselves by acting distastefully". Hmmm. I hope we do see the Venetans again. They're slow to change and insular, and might as likely just fold back in and become isolationist than actually work through their recent upsets toward a new set of assumptions, but I think there's great potential in them....

PS: Crusher's friend with the bag of sweets was another nice touch.
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Old October 4 2012, 10:05 PM   #99
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Re: TP: Brinkmanship by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

timothy wrote: View Post
. . . 5 out of 5 great conclusion to the typhon pact.
Conclusion to the Typhon pact!?!


Another thing came to mind that has stuck with me from this novel. When the Enterprise is dispached to pick up the Cardassian negotiator, Akaar says something like. "She's a democrat, our kind of Cardassian."

This rubbed me the wrong way. The UFP is a democracy (more accurately a Republic) but it has allies that are not democracies. For example, the Klingons have been allies for a long time and they have a type of Oligarchy government. Akaar himself comes from a planet that, last we saw, was not a democracy. Then you have the Romulans, which have a Republican goverment but are historically at odds with the UFP. So should the negotiator being a democrat matter? Was this a statement of partiality?
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Old October 4 2012, 11:16 PM   #100
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Re: TP: Brinkmanship by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

MatthiasRussell wrote: View Post
Another thing came to mind that has stuck with me from this novel. When the Enterprise is dispached to pick up the Cardassian negotiator, Akaar says something like. "She's a democrat, our kind of Cardassian."

This rubbed me the wrong way. The UFP is a democracy (more accurately a Republic) but it has allies that are not democracies. For example, the Klingons have been allies for a long time and they have a type of Oligarchy government. Akaar himself comes from a planet that, last we saw, was not a democracy. Then you have the Romulans, which have a Republican goverment but are historically at odds with the UFP. So should the negotiator being a democrat matter? Was this a statement of partiality?
I think it was more an acknowledgement that Cardassians have, politically, been trouble for much of the time the Federation has known them, and that the political movement on Cardassia that finally put an end to that and accepted the Federation's friendship was the democrat movement. Akaar was, as I read it, simply saying "yes, I know Cardassians can be trouble, but this Cardassian's record is of involvement with the social/ideological/political platform that's compatible with our methods and our way of doing things, and so you can be reassured a little, in that she probably doesn't have an agenda that might work against us, or that she'll be resentful of us". I don't think any sweeping judgement was being made regarding how the Federation interacts with alien powers in general; I think it was tailored quite specifically to the situation in the Union.

That said, the Federation may have a non-interference policy, but of course they still have preferences and outcomes they're rooting for. A sense that the Reunion Party and its ilk are the "good Cardassians" and the Directorate, etc, the "bad ones" is indeed going to be present, I'd expect. The Federation wants the democrats in power on Cardassia, not the militarists.
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Old October 5 2012, 12:13 AM   #101
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Re: TP: Brinkmanship by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Shouldn't the fact that the negotiator was representing the Cardassian government show that she was a participant in a democratic republic? It is kind of a given. Akaar didn't say, "The Cardassians have a democratically elected government now." The statement seemed to be about the negotiator specifically. Besides the political leadings she has, she is still a Cardassian and they are new to this form of representative government. Her actions in the negotiations seemed more representative of a "Cardassian" than a "Democrat." Pointing out that she is a democrat seems partly irrellevant and partly judgemental of other political persuasions.

Plus, as I said, Romulans are democrats and Klingons are militant. So does one form of government really incline a people to be friendlier with the UFP? They may be democratic, but they are still Cardassians. A culture doesn't change in a few years time.

To quote Ezri- "Am I overreacting!?!"
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Old October 5 2012, 12:15 AM   #102
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Re: TP: Brinkmanship by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Una McCormack wrote: View Post
I'm convinced spell check is in the hands of some particularly mischievous gremlins. Rivalled only by the autocorrect pixies.
I'm sorry for the off-topic post, but: http://www.pidjin.net/2012/07/03/fgiht/
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Old October 5 2012, 01:06 AM   #103
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Re: TP: Brinkmanship by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

MatthiasRussell wrote: View Post
Shouldn't the fact that the negotiator was representing the Cardassian government show that she was a participant in a democratic republic? It is kind of a given. Akaar didn't say, "The Cardassians have a democratically elected government now." The statement seemed to be about the negotiator specifically.
You're of course right that regardless of her leanings she'd be involved in the new Cardassian political system and so representing a democratic government, but we know too that some of those involved in that system don't actually want it to work, and seek a return to military rule. The Directorate went along with the democracy thing because they didn't have enough support on the ground to kick off a conflict and decided they'd be better off participating, at least in a grudging manner, and for now. They're stuck with a democracy but don't like it and many would steer it back to the "old ways" if possible. Akaar was mentioning Detrek's background, particularly her work for the Rejal administration and her support of Ghemor, to show that she was one of the Cardassian politicians who promoted the democratic platform rather than begrudgingly participating. So I assume, anyway.
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Old October 5 2012, 01:20 AM   #104
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Re: TP: Brinkmanship by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I think that it was a clear a sign as any that the Cardassian Union has got its house in order and is firmly making efforts to avoid the mistakes of the past. There is mention of the fact that the civil servants are in charge on Prime nowadays and whether you think that is actually a good thing() or not it is a step very much in the right direction.

Of course with Gul Macet seemly being the most senior officer in the Central Command it should not be too surprising that the military has given up its political power.

One thing that I really liked was the role of the Cardassians in the resolution of this crisis. They basically weaponized their old reputation and bluster and used it to push the Tzenkethi to the edge and forced them to pull back before events spiraled out of control. A very effective use of the Cardassians...
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Old October 5 2012, 01:31 AM   #105
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Re: TP: Brinkmanship by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

^ The "complication of Cardassians" trick was very well played, I agree. It was good to see Cardassia and the Federation getting closer, cementing their alliance. I particularly liked Akaar's statement regarding his intentions for the future - he pretty much stated that Cardassia was going to be in tight with the UFP, more so than the Klingons, it seemed. Not only allies, but with a "special relationship". At least if things worked the way he and the government wanted them.

I certainly approve of this idea - Cardassia was an interesting rival, but now it's more interesting as a friend.

And I was very pleased that Dygan was made a comfortable member of the crew, trusting and trusted, rather than being the "problematic Cardassian"
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