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

View Poll Results: Rate The Crimson Shadow.
Outstanding 71 67.62%
Above Average 28 26.67%
Average 4 3.81%
Below Average 2 1.90%
Poor 0 0%
Voters: 105. You may not vote on this poll

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Old October 8 2013, 01:55 AM   #151
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

SolidusRaccoon wrote: View Post
Mage and I think the cover up would do more damage than that actually assassination. If someone else knows, if some else leaks the info the fallout would be much worse. Once it is known that both Starfleet and the Cardassian government hid the truth, all heck would break loose.
Well, that's the question, isn't it? Setting aside the question of how this will impact Cardassian politics -- because, remember, Ganar resigned because she realized that Starfleet Intelligence would eventually find out she had learned from the CIB that a True Way member may have done it, but failed to alert the Federation government of CIB's suspicions [in part because she did not want to admit that she could not control CIB] -- let's consider things from a Federation-centric perspective.

Is Starfleet hiding the truth? Setting aside the semantic question of whether or not two people -- Picard and Akaar -- can be said to represent all of Starfleet as an institution... Consider what they know:

They know the CIB thinks the True Way did it. They know that Garak thinks the True Way did it. They know that Ganar thought the True Way did it, and resigned to avoid the wrath of a Federation government angry that she didn't immediately tell them she thinks a True Way member did it.

What they don't have is actual evidence that the True Way did it. They have a suspicion -- a suspicion they harbor, in essence, because they trust the judgment of Elim Garak. They have a suspicion that they did not share with the President Pro Tempore in part because of lack of evidence -- which is a reasonable reason -- and in part because they don't trust Ishan to have a reasonable, proportional reaction. They are worried that a disproportionate reaction from Ishan will lead to a sundering of the UFP/CU alliance, and therefore to the Khitomer powers being weakened before the Typhon Pact.

Now, is that a "cover-up?" I'm not sure. I'd call it a cover-up if they had actual evidence... but they don't. In essence, all they have is the word of Elim Garak.

By the same token, there's an argument to be made that this sort of suspicion shouldn't be hidden from the civilian leadership just because the military disapproves of them. On the other hand -- you gotta ask yourself if it's responsible to report to the President every conspiracy theory your field men hold -- and Picard is a field man, at the end of the day. I don't know. But I'd be surprised if there weren't suspicions like that held in real life by military officers that aren't reported to their civilian governments for lack of evidence.

And I think Themet was just a poorly done caricature by Miss. McCormack. I waiting for him to twirl his mustache and tie a widow to train tracks. And the most interesting thing was that Cardassia First actually had some very valid concerns.
Nothing about Themet struck me as unrealistic. He seemed like a very typical nationalist, of the sort you find in all societies. Nationalists like him thrive on exploiting legitimate concerns for the benefit of their extremist, authoritarian agendas. [E.g., Tea Party fanatics complaining about legit problems with Obamacare, or Golden Dawn in Greece complaining about E.U.-imposed austerity measures.] Heck, Cardassia First was literally named after a real organization [albeit one whose members were mostly more moderate or more liberal than its most famous spokesman].

The government signing a secret agreement with the Federation, which the people can not see until after it has been signed.
I'm sorry, but this complaint is complete bullshit. This is how all treaties in real life are negotiated; you can't hash out agreements between sovereign states in a public committee room, because then nothing can get done.

What happens from there is, they're signed... and then they have to go to their states' respective legislatures for ratification! And that's when the public gets to review the specific treaty document, and pressure their democratically-elected legislators to either support or oppose the treaty draft, just like any other bill. The treaty is not binding law until -- no, unless -- the democratically-elected legislature ratifies it.

Meanwhile -- yeah, the exact document wasn't yet available for public view, but the relevant details were all leaked to the public well before the treaty went to the Cardassian Assembly and Federation Council. It's not like this was classified secret -- it was negotiated in private for practical matters, for later public veto or ratification, but it wasn't a state secret that subjected the leakers to potential prosecution.

And besides -- the negative aspects of the treaty were ones Garak convinced the Feds to change.

Cardassia allowing the Federation to dictate policy. Even though the war is long over, a new government is in charge, and Cardassia is an ally of the Federation. I don't think the US is still telling Germany, Japan, and Italy how to run things.
Other posters have already pointed out that the U.S. was running the show in its occupied WW2-era enemies for far longer than the UFP has been dominating Cardassia. Indeed, handing over day-to-day autonomy to a new local democracy just one year after the war [as seen in A Stitch in Time and Cardassia: The Lotus Flower] and restoring full sovereignty only ten years after the war is positively fast-paced compared to the punishment we exacted from Germany.

But I'd just like to point out that you're kidding yourself if you think the German, Italian, or Japanese governments don't still reply to a U.S. command to jump by asking, "How high?"
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Last edited by Sci; October 8 2013 at 02:33 AM.
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Old October 9 2013, 12:13 AM   #152
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

Finished it, and on reflection voted Above Average. The book suffers a bit in the plot not being strong, in my opinion, but the characterization is so good it carries the weight nicely.
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Old October 9 2013, 02:28 AM   #153
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

Wow. Great read.

Easily the best Trek book this year. And Una McCormack's second-best. (Still hard to top "The Never Ending Sacrifice.")

When I finished this book, I did something I've never done with a Star Trek book before. I flipped back to Page 1 and I started reading it a second time. It was that good.

This one had 2 plot twists that took me completely by surprise. The first was Blok really being Glynn Dygan. The second was Garak's "death" - though that one I kind of wondered about, since it said his car blew up but not that he was inside it.

Still, for a few chapters I really thought that Garak was dead. (Wonderful thing about the ongoing continuity is the real sense of jeopardy it creates for the characters.)

Since I am a huuuuge Garak fan I really got a kick out of this one and where he ended up. As usual Ms. McCormack has a wonderful grasp on her Cardassians and Garak in particular.

Anyhow I gave this one an outstanding. Very nicely done.
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Old October 9 2013, 03:37 AM   #154
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

DorkBoy [TM] wrote: View Post
This one had 2 plot twists that took me completely by surprise. The first was Blok really being Glynn Dygan. The second was Garak's "death".
Agreed twice. Great stuff.
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Old October 14 2013, 03:02 AM   #155
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

So, like I did in the RaD thread, I'll post my initial thoughts, from before reading the thread first, followed by some responses to what others have said.

***

[written at 5am, immediately after finishing the book]

AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! MIND BLOWN!!!!!!

GARAK AS CASTELLAN
GARAK AND PARMAK
GARAK AND PICARD

WORLDBUILDING
NEW CARDASSIA
LITERARY PROSE

GAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

***

[written over the course of a few days, as I had time]

Spoilers abound.

The Crimson Shadow is a masterpiece of TrekLit and science fiction. Brinkmanship convinced me that Una McCormack had ascended to the realm of TrekLit writers who could consistently deliver. For my money, The Crimson Shadow has secured her a place among the best TrekLit writers we have, full stop. The novel is arguably the best Trek novel ever published. (Arguably, as in, we’d probably argue. But I do not give such an endorsement lightly.)

I cannot think of a single thing I disliked about this book. Garak is masterfully written. The relationship developed between Garak and Picard is every bit as brilliant as could’ve been imagined. Garak’s cadences and mannerisms are perfect.

But it’s not just that McCormack has given us a carbon copy of the Garak from the show. She has given us a Garak who has grown. Can you imagine the Garak we saw on TV running for public office? No, absolutely not. But McCormack recognized the seeds that were laid throughout the entire series of a Garak who has renounced the old ways; she also recognized the seeds that Andrew J. Robinson himself put into A Stitch In Time, over 10 years ago, that hinted, in the slightest of ways, that Garak was being forced by circumstance into public leadership.

Sometimes, Trek novels that feature one story with familiar characters and another with unfamiliar characters can feel laggy and choppy, with the familiar character story moving along smoothly, and the other getting more bogged down than molasses in winter. Not so here. Garan, Nemeny, Mhevet, Blok, Dekreny, they are all pleasures to read.

The worldbuilding, is, of course, magnificent. The same deftness which McCormack displayed in describing Ab-Tzenketh in Brinkmanship is present in full force here.

All of the Enterprise characters are handled perfectly here. My concerns about McCormack’s handling of Picard in Brinkmanship are totally washed away here, as are my complaints about her inattention to the non-canon characters. (Šmrhová, in particular, shines in this novel.)

I read a large part of this novel in one night. At about 3am, I said to myself, “Alright, I’ll finish this chapter and then go to sleep.” And then Garak’s skimmer blew up. I was skeptical that he really was dead– this is Garak we’re talking about, remember?– but it seemed oh-so-very possible that McCormack was making a point: the situation is so bad that even Garak is not immune. Needless to say, I finished the book that night.

The continued presence of Ziyal in Garak’s life is a stroke of genius whose inclusion pleases me to no end. With the two major resurrections of previously-deceased characters this year, it was nice to see a realistic depiction of how people actually continue to have relationships with loved ones who have passed on.

The last chapter is truly exquisite. For the entire novel, we had been getting hints about Garak and Parmak. And here, we get a reveal that isn’t so much of a reveal as it is an unsarcastic way of saying, “Oh, hadn’t you noticed?” And the way they’re depicted together is so beautiful. The tenderness of an old couple. The forgiving nature of old friends. The dignity of care.

(And the intimacy of Garak confiding his fears about public leadership!)

Bashir’s letter is the perfect way to end the book. It is not a jubilant cry of victory. It is an honest, pleading missive of caution, one which rings true to Bashir’s character. It ties together the entire arc of Elim Garak from “Past Prologue” to The Crimson Shadow in one tidy, elegant letter. Marvelous.

There is so much more I wish to say about this novel, but I shall have to stop here. Outstanding, 10/10, and arguably the best Trek novel ever published.

***

Elias Vaughn in a Mask wrote: View Post
Don't forget about Martok!

DavetheAvatar wrote: View Post
I bet this is what we're gonna see. Though the blurbs suggest that Riker (of all people??) actually knows who is behind it, so I wonder how that will fit in.

Nob Akimoto wrote: View Post
Great book, do wish we could have an audio book version with Sir Patrick and Andrew Robinson exchanging lines. That would be the only thing that could make it better.
Yes please.

Relayer1 wrote: View Post
Thrawn wrote: View Post
This was GREAT. I'm on a trip and don't have time for a long post, perhaps later, but goddamn this was fantastic. McCormack's best yet.
Better than Never Ending Sacrifice ?
Yes. Easily.

Jarvisimo wrote: View Post
rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Jarvisimo wrote: View Post
the ideas of accents and haircuts, the use of but not focus on the Oralian Way and Paladine's daughter, Kel, the physicality and fondness of Garak and Parmak's relationship, etc.
That was a very close friendship, right, not anything romantic? I read it as the former, though I was delighted to note in passing that Garak was unimpressed by Temet's handsomeness. Canonical novelverse confirmation of Garak being non-heterosexual, if there hadn't been already, right?

This wealth of unlaboured detail reminded one of (and indeed deliberately alluded to) the grandfather Garak/Cardassia text, of course, A Stitch in Time, but far further developed.
It was remarkable.
Regarding Garak and Parmak: I think she intentionally left it a bit ambiguous, but I think their relationship is more romantic than non-romantic. It's interesting, though: Una puts nothing in the text to suggest a sexual relationship between them, which might make you think it's platonic.

But what I got out of it was that their relationship is romantic in the way that two widowers might fall in love late in life. Yes, they are probably having sex at some point, but they're both much too old for it to be the main focus.

Regarding A Stitch in Time: yeah, this is definitely the successor to that work. What a treat for us.

Una McCormack wrote: View Post
Thank you to everyone who has expressed such enthusiasm for the book! I wrote it in a big burst of energetic and riotous joy/passion and I've been so looking forward to seeing what people would make of it. I wanted a fast and exhilarating but not slight read, and it sounds like I've pulled this off. Phew! And thank you again.
You absolutely succeeded. You seemed to take many cues from A Stitch In Time; at the risk of sounding presumptuous, I think you should send a copy of The Crimson Shadow to Mr. Robinson. I bet he'd be floored (in the best way possible).
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Old October 14 2013, 05:20 AM   #156
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

Indeed, A Stitch in Time, The Never-Ending Sacrifice, and The Crimson Shadow can almost be seen as a grand trilogy of Cardassia. (Or perhaps one might add in Cardassia: The Lotus Flower and call it a grand quadrilogy of Cardassia.)
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Old October 15 2013, 11:42 AM   #157
Jarvisimo
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

Paper Moon wrote: View Post
So, like I did in the RaD thread, I'll post my initial thoughts, from before reading the thread first, followed by some responses to what others have said.

***

[written at 5am, immediately after finishing the book]

AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! MIND BLOWN!!!!!!

GARAK AS CASTELLAN
GARAK AND PARMAK
GARAK AND PICARD

WORLDBUILDING
NEW CARDASSIA
LITERARY PROSE

GAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

***

[written over the course of a few days, as I had time]

Spoilers abound.

The Crimson Shadow is a masterpiece of TrekLit and science fiction. Brinkmanship convinced me that Una McCormack had ascended to the realm of TrekLit writers who could consistently deliver. For my money, The Crimson Shadow has secured her a place among the best TrekLit writers we have, full stop. The novel is arguably the best Trek novel ever published. (Arguably, as in, we’d probably argue. But I do not give such an endorsement lightly.)

I cannot think of a single thing I disliked about this book. Garak is masterfully written. The relationship developed between Garak and Picard is every bit as brilliant as could’ve been imagined. Garak’s cadences and mannerisms are perfect.

But it’s not just that McCormack has given us a carbon copy of the Garak from the show. She has given us a Garak who has grown. Can you imagine the Garak we saw on TV running for public office? No, absolutely not. But McCormack recognized the seeds that were laid throughout the entire series of a Garak who has renounced the old ways; she also recognized the seeds that Andrew J. Robinson himself put into A Stitch In Time, over 10 years ago, that hinted, in the slightest of ways, that Garak was being forced by circumstance into public leadership.

Sometimes, Trek novels that feature one story with familiar characters and another with unfamiliar characters can feel laggy and choppy, with the familiar character story moving along smoothly, and the other getting more bogged down than molasses in winter. Not so here. Garan, Nemeny, Mhevet, Blok, Dekreny, they are all pleasures to read.

The worldbuilding, is, of course, magnificent. The same deftness which McCormack displayed in describing Ab-Tzenketh in Brinkmanship is present in full force here.

All of the Enterprise characters are handled perfectly here. My concerns about McCormack’s handling of Picard in Brinkmanship are totally washed away here, as are my complaints about her inattention to the non-canon characters. (Šmrhová, in particular, shines in this novel.)

I read a large part of this novel in one night. At about 3am, I said to myself, “Alright, I’ll finish this chapter and then go to sleep.” And then Garak’s skimmer blew up. I was skeptical that he really was dead– this is Garak we’re talking about, remember?– but it seemed oh-so-very possible that McCormack was making a point: the situation is so bad that even Garak is not immune. Needless to say, I finished the book that night.

The continued presence of Ziyal in Garak’s life is a stroke of genius whose inclusion pleases me to no end. With the two major resurrections of previously-deceased characters this year, it was nice to see a realistic depiction of how people actually continue to have relationships with loved ones who have passed on.

The last chapter is truly exquisite. For the entire novel, we had been getting hints about Garak and Parmak. And here, we get a reveal that isn’t so much of a reveal as it is an unsarcastic way of saying, “Oh, hadn’t you noticed?” And the way they’re depicted together is so beautiful. The tenderness of an old couple. The forgiving nature of old friends. The dignity of care.

(And the intimacy of Garak confiding his fears about public leadership!)

Bashir’s letter is the perfect way to end the book. It is not a jubilant cry of victory. It is an honest, pleading missive of caution, one which rings true to Bashir’s character. It ties together the entire arc of Elim Garak from “Past Prologue” to The Crimson Shadow in one tidy, elegant letter. Marvelous.

There is so much more I wish to say about this novel, but I shall have to stop here. Outstanding, 10/10, and arguably the best Trek novel ever published.
Paper moon, thanks for your words about my post, and I must agree with yours almost fully 100% too. Certainly this makes me smile '[t]he novel is arguably the best Trek novel ever published,' although I will reread The Never-Ending Sacrifice and [I]Brinkmanship[I] soon to compare. It is a 'Trek novel' whereas some people sadly might not see NES as such. I think NES was a novel anyone could read - it went beyond Trek conventions to create something more contemporary, more directed to any potential reader, than other Trek books. And it just happened to not read like Trek lit, either. And this style continued from and is developed even more in her other novels, but these are all more 'Trek'. But TCS as you correctly identified developed the tv Trek world sandbox, Robinson's excellent portrayal, and the prior literary (and I do mean literary, as I think you do) work of Una and Andrew Robinson to create something as equally new-feeling as NES (or Brinkmanship) in Treklit conventions, but one more firmly anchored because this is such an intimate knowledge of Robinson's magnificent performance, his playing with subtext and more broad literary conventions. I guess subtext was indeed another theme, even a poetic, in the novel I didn't discuss before. This would be true to Robinson himself - I remember in the DS9 companion his disgust for mirror-Garak's lack of subtext.

When I have more time it will be good to discuss Una's excellent novel again. I may be rereading it. And continuing to wish I could write like this.
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Old October 19 2013, 05:15 AM   #158
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

Mimi wrote: View Post
[Also, does anyone have the english name of the book that Garak receives at the end? I'd like to look it up!]
I'll second that question: WHAT THE #*&$$ WAS THE BOOK PICARD GAVE GARAK?
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Old October 19 2013, 05:35 AM   #159
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

hbquikcomjamesl wrote: View Post
Mimi wrote: View Post
[Also, does anyone have the english name of the book that Garak receives at the end? I'd like to look it up!]
I'll second that question: WHAT THE #*&$$ WAS THE BOOK PICARD GAVE GARAK?
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Old October 19 2013, 09:51 PM   #160
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

Can't decide where I should put this (which thread), but I just realized something.

Ishan Anjar shares a surname with Ishan Chaye. Coincidence? I think not!

(Actually, it's very possible that either Una or DRGIII made allusions to this coincidence in either of their novels and I've just forgotten. But still.)
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Old October 19 2013, 11:10 PM   #161
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

Interestiinggg... /fingertent
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Old October 20 2013, 08:39 AM   #162
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

Paper Moon wrote: View Post
Can't decide where I should put this (which thread), but I just realized something.

Ishan Anjar shares a surname with Ishan Chaye. Coincidence? I think not!

(Actually, it's very possible that either Una or DRGIII made allusions to this coincidence in either of their novels and I've just forgotten. But still.)
I haven't recognized any overt references to Chaye or to the events of "Things Past," but I've been aware that President Ishan shares a surname with the victim in Odo's memory in that episode since shortly after it came out. Someone on the BBS posted it. It DOES present some interesting possibilities, if Anjar and Chaye are related....
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Old October 21 2013, 01:01 AM   #163
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

Who knows..."Ishan" could be Bajoran for "Jones" or "Smith".
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Old October 21 2013, 03:36 AM   #164
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

It's late, I haven't read a single post in this thread, so this will be brief.

Read the whole novel in one sitting today. Loved it.

I want a Star Trek: Cardasia weekly crime procedural tv show. Yesterday.

10/10
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Old October 21 2013, 10:33 AM   #165
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack - Review Thread (Spoilers!

George Steinbrenner wrote: View Post
Who knows..."Ishan" could be Bajoran for "Jones" or "Smith".
Whether related to that Ishan or not, there were probably many related Ishans brutalised or killed unjustly during the Occupation. Given how frosty the President was when Picard misstepped during their initial conversation.
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