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

View Poll Results: Rate A Choice of Futures.
Outstanding 54 50.47%
Above Average 39 36.45%
Average 10 9.35%
Below Average 2 1.87%
Poor 2 1.87%
Voters: 107. You may not vote on this poll

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Old August 2 2013, 08:19 PM   #211
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

Solid but unspectacular. Much better than the immediate sequels to the TV series, but not living up to it's full potential yet.

I really enjoyed all the callbacks and references to other Treks. There were so many, I'm sure loads sailed right over my head. I wish I'd kept notes while reading so I could point out some of the little tidbits that made me smile.
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Old August 2 2013, 08:46 PM   #212
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

The 'small universe' syndrome has caught some flack, but I didn't have a problem with it. The military has many families with histories going back generations. It seems likely that they will be involved in major events, and following them seems to me to be a valid approach.

It was very much a 'setting the scene' novel, but the political angle was the most interesting - I'd have liked a little more of it. That and some more background to the ships of Starfleet - particularly the later NX's and refits.

My major gripe was that both of the 'ship' stories were resolved with a slightly heavy emphasis on the way forward being exploration and understanding. I'm not arguing against that - it's at the heart of Star Trek, but to have two stories making the same point seemed a bit much.

I'm certainly looking forward to the next one !
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Old August 3 2013, 04:11 PM   #213
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

Relayer1 wrote: View Post
It was very much a 'setting the scene' novel, but the political angle was the most interesting - I'd have liked a little more of it.
There will be a lot of politics in Book 2.


My major gripe was that both of the 'ship' stories were resolved with a slightly heavy emphasis on the way forward being exploration and understanding. I'm not arguing against that - it's at the heart of Star Trek, but to have two stories making the same point seemed a bit much.
Well, that's what themes are for -- to unify the parts of a whole. Besides, it wouldn't have had as much impact on the Federation if they'd given conflicting messages.

Anyway, as I see it, they're not quite the same -- the Endeavour plot's resolution relies more on diplomacy, while the Pioneer one relies more on science and exploration. Although there is some overlap.
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Old August 3 2013, 08:27 PM   #214
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

I thought it was Outstanding. I'm actually a big ENT fan, but I thought that after The Good That Men Do the novel line kind of floundered and didn't really live up to its potential. I was excited when I found out that Christopher would be writing the continuation of the ENT line, mostly because I had just recently finished reading The Buried Age (which quickly became one of my favorite Trek novels), so I was looking forward to seeing what Christopher could bring to the ENT era.

I'm pleased to say that I was not disappointed. I can understand where people are coming from with their complaints about "small universe syndrome," but none of that bothered me at all because I love "continuity porn." I think it adds a certain level of fun to the story. And I don't see such references as Samuel Abraham Kirk, the Williams' family proclivity for Roman names, Tobin Dax, Caroline Paris, Maltuvis, and so on, as being a symptom of "small universe syndrome" so much as the author sort of "filling in the cracks" of the Star Trek universe, so to speak. Like Christopher has mentioned several times in this thread, just about all of the little continuity nods he made in this book were based on or inspired by minor references peppered throughout Trek, both on-screen and in other novels. I don't see the problem with him taking those hints and fleshing them out. It makes the Trek universe feel more alive, rather than a series of totally separate events which all occur in a vacuum.

I enjoyed how there were several different facets to this story. There was the political/military storyline featuring Archer, T'Pol, Hoshi, Phlox, and Shran as Endeavour sort of takes over for Enterprise in being the focal vessel during the major socio-political events of early Federation history (i.e. the stuff that kids will be reading about in history books in the future). It was cool to see Garos again; he seemed like a prime candidate for a recurring antagonist in ENT, but that story thread was never picked up in the show. I also thought it was nice to see the Malurian species get a little fleshed out and developed some, so that they (and Garos) were more than just a basic reptilian-ish species who liked to wear masks and deceive people. It looks like Garos is going to continue to play some kind of role in ROTF, which I'm looking forward to seeing.

I also liked seeing the Orion triplets again, and I'm curious to find out how their role as leaders in the Orion Syndicate will continue to affect interstellar affairs in future ROTF novels. Again (and this is all just my personal opinion, of course) the Orions were someone I was expecting to play some sort of recurring villain role when ENT first premiered. I was disappointed that it didn't happen, and moreso that they didn't even appear until Season Four, so I'm glad that Christopher decided to expand their role in this story.

My personal favorite storyline was that of the U.S.S. Pioneer, which covered the scientific/exploratory aspect of the novel, something that the ENT era desperately needed after the last six or seven years spent focusing on the Romulan War and its build-up. Malcolm Reed is actually one of my favorite ENT characters, so I was very happy to see him take center-stage in this subplot. I felt for the long-suffering Malcolm when he discovered he would never father any children, but I thought that was a brilliant addition by Christopher. Malcolm was already hard enough on himself, and with the family name and passing it on being such a big deal to the Reeds, the fact that he can't do that only adds to Malcolm's mostly self-imposed burden. It reminded me of Picard's reaction to the deaths of his brother and nephew in Generations.

It's great to see a Trek captain who has doubts about himself, instead of the typical self-assured, commanding presence we're used to seeing. That works well on a TV series that requires the status quo to be maintained from episode to episode, but for an ongoing narrative in a novel it wouldn't work as well. That, and it would have been very much out-of-character for Malcolm. He treated his captaincy as something that required automatic obedience and respect; and it does, but that kind of respect isn't the sort that brings out the best in your crew. To obtain that, you need to truly earn their loyalty and their trust. And Malcolm was able to learn that, thanks to a combination of the Pioneer's dire situation and Travis Mayweather's guidance. Pairing the optimistic, effusive Travis with the cynical, reserved Malcolm was a stroke of genius. Malcolm probably went through the strongest arc and development in this novel, something he sorely needed after being criminally underused in ENT, which instead focused most of its attention on the Big Three of Archer, T'Pol, and Tucker.

Speaking of Tucker, I, for one, am curious to see where his story goes from here. It's clear that he doesn't entirely like working for Section 31, but he also believes that their presence is a necessary evil in the current political climate. Based on where he ends up in the epilogue of To Brave the Storm, though, I wonder if something will eventually happen that causes him to change his mind and get out of the spy game.

The diplomatic storyline with Soval and Bryce Shumar trying to salvage the Federation's first contact with Sauria was interesting, too. I liked seeing the Saurian species and culture get expanded upon, and I'm definitely curious to see how the Orion Syndicate's new "friendship" with Maltuvis plays into the next novel, if at all.

Well, that went on a lot longer than I thought it would. My post, that is, not the book! Suffice to say that I loved A Choice of Futures, and if Christopher is able to carry the same qualities that made me enjoy this one over to Tower of Babel, then I'll be a very happy reader indeed.
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Old August 4 2013, 12:23 AM   #215
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

^Great review, thanks!
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Old August 5 2013, 04:30 PM   #216
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

Christopher wrote: View Post
Relayer1 wrote: View Post
It was very much a 'setting the scene' novel, but the political angle was the most interesting - I'd have liked a little more of it.
There will be a lot of politics in Book 2.
I'm very glad to hear it !

Christopher wrote: View Post
Relayer1 wrote: View Post
My major gripe was that both of the 'ship' stories were resolved with a slightly heavy emphasis on the way forward being exploration and understanding. I'm not arguing against that - it's at the heart of Star Trek, but to have two stories making the same point seemed a bit much.
Well, that's what themes are for -- to unify the parts of a whole. Besides, it wouldn't have had as much impact on the Federation if they'd given conflicting messages.

Anyway, as I see it, they're not quite the same -- the Endeavour plot's resolution relies more on diplomacy, while the Pioneer one relies more on science and exploration. Although there is some overlap.
I can't argue with that. It's true !

Skywalker wrote: View Post
Speaking of Tucker, I, for one, am curious to see where his story goes from here. It's clear that he doesn't entirely like working for Section 31, but he also believes that their presence is a necessary evil in the current political climate. Based on where he ends up in the epilogue of To Brave the Storm, though, I wonder if something will eventually happen that causes him to change his mind and get out of the spy game.
I realise that Trips situation is already established so your hands are tied, but I just can't imagine him not contacting his family or at least his old friends from Enterprise who could be relied on to keep his secret, even if he was still under cover.

If he gets out of the spying game, it would be even more odd.

Anyway, thanks for the response Christopher. I'd also like to add that it was great to see Bryce Shumar and also to get a British Captain (rather than a French one ).

I loved the book and can't wait for the follow up !
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Last edited by Relayer1; August 5 2013 at 04:45 PM.
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Old August 5 2013, 04:39 PM   #217
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

^I explained why Trip doesn't feel he can face his family and friends anymore. Whether that will last remains to be seen, but he does have a reason for avoiding them.

Basically, the previous books kept Trip from "coming back to life" through a series of hard-luck plot twists and misadventures that kept him from returning to his old life as he wanted. I figured that couldn't keep happening forever, so I needed to find an internal reason why he would've chosen not to go back. Given that, by this point, he'd been "dead" for seven years and gone through many traumatic, life-changing experiences, I could believe that he just felt he was no longer the man he'd been and that it was kinder to his loved ones to let them have closure and move on with their lives.
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Old August 5 2013, 04:52 PM   #218
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

Christopher wrote: View Post
^I explained why Trip doesn't feel he can face his family and friends anymore. Whether that will last remains to be seen, but he does have a reason for avoiding them.

Basically, the previous books kept Trip from "coming back to life" through a series of hard-luck plot twists and misadventures that kept him from returning to his old life as he wanted. I figured that couldn't keep happening forever, so I needed to find an internal reason why he would've chosen not to go back. Given that, by this point, he'd been "dead" for seven years and gone through many traumatic, life-changing experiences, I could believe that he just felt he was no longer the man he'd been and that it was kinder to his loved ones to let them have closure and move on with their lives.
Personally, I couldn't see things that way, and that's why I struggle to see things from his point of view. However, I'm not him...

I can't see the same logic applying to The Enterprise crew though. There could be some mileage in that - we'll just have to wait and see how that pans out.
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Old August 5 2013, 10:08 PM   #219
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

^Count yourself lucky that you can't see things that way. He does because he's been through all sorts of hell and made awful compromises and choices.
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Old August 5 2013, 11:37 PM   #220
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

Christopher wrote: View Post
^Count yourself lucky that you can't see things that way. He does because he's been through all sorts of hell and made awful compromises and choices.
Were I religious, I'd say 'There but by the grace of...' . The sentiment holds true.
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Old August 11 2013, 04:10 AM   #221
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

Haven't read this thread yet, but this is easily the strongest Trek book of the year so far.
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Old August 12 2013, 06:26 PM   #222
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

I voted outstanding. It is far and away the best Enterprise era novel. CLB really captures these characters well and continues each of their stories in a very natural and believable way. Reed's personal story seemed like a nice little call back to E Squared.

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Old August 28 2013, 03:09 AM   #223
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

Just a heads-up in case anyone missed the announcement in the separate thread: the annotations for ROTF:ACOF are now up. They can be accessed from here:

http://home.fuse.net/ChristopherLBen...ion.html#ROTF1
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Old August 28 2013, 05:13 AM   #224
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

Christopher wrote: View Post
Just a heads-up in case anyone missed the announcement in the separate thread: the annotations for ROTF:ACOF are now up. They can be accessed from here:

http://home.fuse.net/ChristopherLBen...ion.html#ROTF1
Awesome! Glad to finally see them up. Thanks for taking the time to do these annotations for your books. They really provide an extra bit of depth to the reading experience.
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Old August 28 2013, 01:29 PM   #225
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Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

Well, I was going to save these for a bit later, since I still have a few days of revisions left on ROTF Book 2, but all my new stuff turned out to get released over the same 2-day span, so what was going to be an incremental site update blossomed into a more sweeping one, so I figured I should get the ACOF annotations done as part of it. What I didn't anticipate is that it'd take me nearly an entire day with very few breaks to do it. If I'd known that, I might have waited.
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