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

View Poll Results: Rate A Choice of Futures.
Outstanding 54 50.00%
Above Average 40 37.04%
Average 10 9.26%
Below Average 2 1.85%
Poor 2 1.85%
Voters: 108. You may not vote on this poll

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Old June 16 2013, 03:50 PM   #1
Sho
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ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)


Coming our way on June 25th is one of the most hotly anticipated releases of the year, Christopher L. Bennett's A Choice of Futures. It's the first entry in the new Rise of the Federation series of novels (the second confirmed entry, Tower of Babel, will also be penned by Mr. Bennett), meant to flesh out our understanding of the early years of the Federation after its founding in 2161. It will do so using the characters we know from Enterprise, and so additionally faces the challenge of breathing new life into that novel series (after the last one didn't rank so well with the forum audience and reports of low sales e.g. in the German market).

Perhaps underscoring the significance of the book is its lengthy official blurb:

A new nation has arisen from the ashes of the Romulan War: the United Federation of Planets, an unprecedented union of diverse species cooperating for the good of all. Admiral Jonathan Archer—the former captain of the Earth starship Enterprise, whose efforts made this union possible—envisions a vibrant Federation promoting galactic peace and a multispecies Starfleet dedicated to exploring strange new worlds. Archer’s former crewmates, including Captain T’Pol of the U.S.S. Endeavour and Captain Malcolm Reed of the U.S.S. Pioneer, work with him to secure that bright future. Yet others within the Federation see its purpose as chiefly military, a united defense against a dangerous galaxy, while some of its neighbors view that military might with suspicion and fear. And getting the member nations, their space fleets, and even their technologies to work together as a unified whole is an ongoing challenge.

When a new threat emerges from a force so alien and hostile that negotiation seems impossible, a group of unaligned worlds asks Starfleet to come to its defense, and the Federation’s leaders seize the opportunity to build their reputation as an interstellar power. But Archer fears the conflict is building toward an unnecessary war, potentially taking the young nation down a path it was never meant to follow. Archer and his allies strive to find a better solution . . . but old foes are working secretly to sabotage their efforts and ensure that the great experiment called the Federation comes to a quick and bloody end.
Sadly neither Simon & Schuster nor Amazon have excerpts up at this time.
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Old June 16 2013, 03:54 PM   #2
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

Well, apparently my copy is waiting for me at Perfect Books. So...
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Old June 16 2013, 03:58 PM   #3
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

^ One of the disadvantages of no longer reading on dead trees is that that doesn't ever happen ...
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Old June 16 2013, 04:01 PM   #4
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

I'm looking forward to Rise of the Federation for a number of reasons, not the least bit being this is closer to what I wanted from Enterprise than I actually got from the series. I enjoyed ENT and think it was an underrated series but I felt it split the difference between the more interesting period of "we don't know what's going on in the universe beyond having met the Vulcans and are still learning how to be a utopia" and "The Federation has begun, we've fixed Earth, so now what?"

I don't know how much freedom Christopher has for writing this work but it's also interesting to wonder how the personal lives of characters have developed. This is the "middle" part of their lives and the big challenges in their existence have been overcome. Will Archer ever have a personal life or is he married to the Federation? What about the other characters who have gone on to have their own careers? How have they changed now they've become icons of a sort?

I also like Christopher's writing because he does tend to ask the kind of questions you don't usually get in the shows themselves. How do the Bozeman's crew react to the modern world, how does a 1980s housewife, and so on. Seeing an experience Archer trying to create the "vision" of Starfleet should be fun, especially since the ENT-era Alpha Quadrant really was a [insert expletive] and a military alliance to defend themselves isn't an unreasonable request.

I'm expecting not moral ambiguity (Archer is clearly in the right) but the questions hinted at in the intro to be more nuanced than usual.
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Old June 16 2013, 04:09 PM   #5
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

I think being driven to fill in gaps is a theme in Christopher's career as a Trek writer, so I agree this gig is right up his alley. I guess what I'm curious to see is whether there's going to be any big surprises along the way, beyond just connecting the dots, where I think we can pretty much rely on him to do a good, diligently thought-out job. Of course it's hard to put in any upheaval without explaining why later generation never explicitly referenced those events, though ...

I guess I'm wondering whether this one will have us all nodding along in agreement, or whether there is any controversy lurking between the pages.
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Old June 16 2013, 04:17 PM   #6
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

^I'm hoping there will be a couple of surprises, and a couple of cases where something that was referenced turns out to be unlike what anyone expected it to be.
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Old June 16 2013, 04:22 PM   #7
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

Also, I'm okay with the Pre-TOS period being filled with incidents we've never heard about it. Just because the characters don't mention it doesn't mean something hasn't happened. One thing I'd like to see in the future is some more interactions with abandoned plot races. Xindi, Tandarans (who appear to be a Federation-level species), and Suliban.

Personally, I'd love for some humans to not entirely be happy with an unprovoked mass murder of its citizens. Also, the Tandarans not being Federation founding members but a race that is still vital to securing the Quadrant's position.
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Old June 16 2013, 04:32 PM   #8
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

Christopher wrote: View Post
^I'm hoping there will be a couple of surprises, and a couple of cases where something that was referenced turns out to be unlike what anyone expected it to be.
I can't wait to read it!
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Old June 16 2013, 04:50 PM   #9
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

Sho called it "...one of the most hotly anticipated releases of the year" , and i must agree. As with all of Christopher's releases, i wait with baited breathe. I'm hoping Christopher becomes the "Kirsten MF Beyer" of the Enterprise time period. Can't Wait!
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Old June 16 2013, 05:01 PM   #10
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

This Enterprise novel is the I've been looking forward to reading the most this year. I can't wait to my copy ASAP! This Enterprise was at the top of my list books to get and read I'm so glad we'll be getting more Enterprise novels to read . Including another book next year.

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Old June 16 2013, 05:07 PM   #11
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

Charles Phipps wrote: View Post
One thing I'd like to see in the future is some more interactions with abandoned plot races. Xindi, Tandarans (who appear to be a Federation-level species), and Suliban.
Personally I'd just as soon never hear of Xindi, Tandarans and Suliban again, but I felt the same about the Temporal Cold War and Christopher aced that one. I'm sure he would do the same with the Xindi and Co. should the need arise. Just because I disliked them on TV doesn't mean they couldn't be interesting if used well...
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Old June 16 2013, 05:10 PM   #12
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

Relayer1 wrote: View Post
Personally I'd just as soon never hear of Xindi, Tandarans and Suliban again, but I felt the same about the Temporal Cold War and Christopher aced that one. I'm sure he would do the same with the Xindi and Co. should the need arise. Just because I disliked them on TV doesn't mean they couldn't be interesting if used well...
I see this in my head.

Xindi: Wow! This Federation is like what we had on our own world. Can we join?

Human: GRRRRRRR.
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Old June 16 2013, 05:44 PM   #13
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

Archer is looking grim on that cover!
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Old June 16 2013, 06:56 PM   #14
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

Charles Phipps wrote: View Post
Also, I'm okay with the Pre-TOS period being filled with incidents we've never heard about it. Just because the characters don't mention it doesn't mean something hasn't happened.
True. How often does, say, the Spanish-American War or the Teapot Dome scandal come up in everyday conversation between 21st-century Americans?


One thing I'd like to see in the future is some more interactions with abandoned plot races. Xindi, Tandarans (who appear to be a Federation-level species), and Suliban.
One of those races will be seen in ACOF.


Personally, I'd love for some humans to not entirely be happy with an unprovoked mass murder of its citizens.
If you're referring to the Xindi attack, ENT showed us examples of human xenophobia increasing in its wake, in "Home" and especially in "Demons"/"Terra Prime." So that's already been addressed in canon. As for "unprovoked," of course the Xindi were tricked into the attack by the Sphere-Builders, so in that sense they were provoked, or rather, used.

Keep in mind, though, that due to the duration of the Romulan War, ACOF picks up a good seven years after the end of the TV series, eight after the resolution of the Xindi crisis. And the years-long struggle against the Romulans would've kind of pushed feelings about the Xindi into the background, especially since Xindi territory is so far away that further interaction in the near future is unlikely to be frequent.
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Old June 16 2013, 07:13 PM   #15
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

Christopher wrote: View Post
True. How often does, say, the Spanish-American War or the Teapot Dome scandal come up in everyday conversation between 21st-century Americans?
I actually had a similar thought earlier, but dropped it again because the people we've been following are hardly average 24th-century humans for example - they have reason (and have been seen to) reference historic events that relate to their own line of work, either as a source of inspiration or because they might be more directly affected by and aware of the consequences than average citizens. I'd expect US military and political leaders to be much more likely to reference the Spanish-American war than someone working in a bakery (then again, maybe the Spanish-American war had significant repercussions for pastry culture?).
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