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

View Poll Results: Rate The Crimson Shadow.
Outstanding 66 67.35%
Above Average 26 26.53%
Average 4 4.08%
Below Average 2 2.04%
Poor 0 0%
Voters: 98. You may not vote on this poll

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Old December 20 2013, 08:45 PM   #226
Reanok
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I hope to read this novel sometime . I've read the other books in this series and they were terrific stories!
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Old December 27 2013, 11:26 AM   #227
TJ Sinclair
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Okay, so before I get into an edit war over on Memory Beta... am I missing something here? There's several (anonymous) editors who keep insisting that Garak and Parmak are in a romantic relationship.

Now, I certainly see some subtext between the two, but no more than there ever was with Garak and Bashir. The kiss at the end seemed to be more in benediction, a reflection of philia or agape rather than eros.

Or am I completely missing something, and the two are actually a couple? They certainly could be, but it doesn't seem to me that they are, or that the text indicates such.

Has Una said anything about it?
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Old December 27 2013, 12:48 PM   #228
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

It's heavily implied, but nothing definitive in the text itself in my opinion.

Una gave a pretty spoiler-heavy interview about TCS to trek.fm's Literary Treks, but I'm not sure at the moment if that topic came up.
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Old December 27 2013, 03:40 PM   #229
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

True it is subtextual. The two scenes most important are the (i) one when Garak reveals himself to Parmak after his assassination, and (ii) After the Fall.

Una at the end of Chapter Ten wrote:
Less than a quarter of an hour passed before Kelas Parmak arrived.
The two men embraced. Parmak, when he could speak, did so with a tragic mixture of relief and reproach.
"How could you do this to me?"
"I'm sorry," Garak said, his voice thick. "Will you forgive me?"
"Forgive you? Oh, Elim. When have I ever not forgiven you?"
Una McCormack in After the Fall wrote:
[...] Garak read on; not to annoy his companion, whom he loved, but because he was near the end of his book, which he loved too. Breathlessly, he watched Anne Elliot read the letter than Captain Wentworth had written, and, slowly, he began to relax as they put aside their history and escaped the choices of the past. When he came to the end, he closed the book and pressed it between his hands, holding its world to him for as long as he could. [...]
"I'll be there in a moment," Garak called back, and then, softly, said to Parmak, "Why do I feel as if I'm about to hear a sentence passed?"
"Why do you feel as if you should?"
They stared at each other. THen Garak looked down at his hands. They were shaking. Parmak, seeing this, took them within his. "You;ll be fine. It's all going to be fine."
"I hope so."
"I know so." The doctor leaned in and - quickly, affectionately - pressed his lips against the other man's brow. "I trust you," he said. "I forgive you."
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Old December 27 2013, 03:54 PM   #230
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

And the letter too, with the repetition of "My dearest Kelas". In truth the text is not overt about a sexual relationship, but it is certainly clear that these two aging men love one another, that they are 'companions' or 'partners' who spend their time together and are either platonically loving (with a certain tactility - this is Garak of course!) or sexual. I also wonder if it is suggested that Kelas cohabits with Garak, rather than just gardens with him. Certainly I don't think it is intended that he leaves the night of the dinner with the Picards.

Let us not forget that Garak on TV was introduced as sexually ambiguous - something that was done deliberately (and even aggressively) by writers, director and actor, but was too much for 1993 and put on the shelf. Andrew Robinson jokes about it in the Companion (alas not with me at present, but doesn't he say how he thinks of Garak as omnisexual?).

And in TCS his sexual admiration for men emerges in his frank review of Temet:

Una in chapter three wrote:
He'd seen Temet on many 'casts, of course. You couldn't get away from him these days. He was in his mid-thirties, and handsome, but in an obvious way that had never held much appeal for Garak.
I would leave it like that, although I did edit either the Akret or Parmak article to refer to the latter as Garak's partner. Perhaps 'companion' or 'dearest friend' are more appropriate.
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Old December 27 2013, 03:54 PM   #231
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I don't think those quotes are at all clear as to the nature of their relationship. In fact, they seem purposefully vague. I can read them as yes, they're in a romantic relationship. Alternatively, I can read them as being in a lifelong friendship that is closer to brotherhood. Either relationship could offer the same love and support. It's in the eye of the beholder, though.
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Old December 27 2013, 04:04 PM   #232
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

JeBuS wrote: View Post
I don't think those quotes are at all clear as to the nature of their relationship. In fact, they seem purposefully vague. I can read them as yes, they're in a romantic relationship. Alternatively, I can read them as being in a lifelong friendship that is closer to brotherhood. Either relationship could offer the same love and support. It's in the eye of the beholder, though.
Yah, I agree, they are purposefully vague. Which is true to Una's style - she never makes a fuss out of these things. But perhaps also true about a book whose central concerns are about subtle changes in culture and the effects of emerging from repressive cultures.
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Old December 27 2013, 04:16 PM   #233
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Defcon wrote: View Post
It's heavily implied, but nothing definitive in the text itself in my opinion.

Una gave a pretty spoiler-heavy interview about TCS to trek.fm's Literary Treks, but I'm not sure at the moment if that topic came up.
No, it never did. Among many themes, the podcast dealt with Garak's penitential actions and some other (somewhat Jungian/archetypical) Christian religious themes in the text; contemporary political and German post WW2 influences; her British perspective on an American TV product and critiquing it through writing; and Garak's relationship with Picard (and somewhat Sisko - I really like Una's idea that Garak did not respect Sisko as an intellectual, but could - and did - Picard. The interviewer, I think, disagreed, but never was mean - trying to suggest otherwise).
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Old December 27 2013, 04:59 PM   #234
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Personally, I didn't see them as being in a relationship. At least not yet. Garak's internal monologue is generally pretty up front with the reader- I don't think there would be any question if they were in a relationship. Its not something he'd hide.

Parmak and Garak seem to have more of a romantic friendship at the moment. In fact, Garak seems to be surprisingly affectionate with all of his friends. If you look back through the book, he's constantly making physical contact with others. Parmak is the only one we've actually seen returning those gestures, where as the others mostly pulled away.

The sense I get from Garak is he might be a little too dysfunctional for a relationship at the moment. This is a guy who has lost two loves of his life. And depending on how you read his relationship with Bashir, potentially a third. That takes a lot out of you. I think there's definitely still room for another with Parmak, it just might take some time for that to actually develop. Or it might stay forever platonic.

It would be nice to learn more about Parmak in the future, outside of his relationship with Garak. We honestly don't know all that much about him. I can't even think of a description of what he looks like being said in either A Stitch in Time or The Crimson Shadow. We know he is a doctor, we know his backstory with Garak, and we know he's roughly Garak's age. He was also good friends with Alon. But that's honestly about it. Is he married? What does he do other than 'doctor'? Does he have family?

Regardless of how the relationship plays out though, I hope we see more of it. Their banter with each other was a great part of the book. I really like that Parmak is supportive without taking the same 'preachy' tone as Bashir often does. Parmak seems to trust Garak to make his own choices, but is always there to offer input.
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Old December 27 2013, 09:15 PM   #235
Masiral
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Una McCormack in After the Fall wrote:
"I know so." The doctor leaned in and - quickly, affectionately - pressed his lips against the other man's brow. "I trust you," he said. "I forgive you."
I think this kiss is more of a long-time friend/companion/brother sort of thing - like Aragorn kissing Boromir's brow when he dies (in the movie at least, I don't remember if that happens in the book).
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Old December 28 2013, 09:48 AM   #236
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Okay, thanks for weighing in, everyone. I'm glad I'm not the only one that sees intentional ambiguity rather than "hey, hey, they're knocking boots and hiding it to save Garak's political career!"

Whatever a reader might interpret, the text does not conclusively indicate a romantic relationship, nor does it emphatically rule one out. Thus, I don't think Garak or Parmak's articles on Memory Beta should reference them as anything more than close friends.
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Old December 28 2013, 10:33 AM   #237
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Yeah, definitely - although I would phrase that he spent much of his time with his "very dear friend" or companion Kelas Parmak. They are so tender, so full of love and care for one another. One needn't be having sex to be with one's current love, and that's what this seems at least. It's like one is reading Charles and Sebastiaan (another ambiguous relationship, though clearly one of love), but much older and much wiser. And like Waugh it is rather beautiful and playful prose.

Garak saw the final cut of his interview with Mayrat at home, in the company of Parmak. He watched his friend covertly throughout. It was, he thought, rather like watching a dust storm gather. When they reached the part where Garak announced his candidacy for the castellanship, Parmak made a soft hissing noise, which he swiftly cut off, and listened to the rest of the interview in stony silence. [...]
The piece ended. Garak waited.
“Well,” said Parmak, putting down his glass with a clatter. “I think I can guess whose side he’s going to be on throughout the upcoming cavalcade of speeches and meetings.”
“I know what you’re thinking,” Garak said. “I want to assure you that this is not a decision I came to lightly.”
Parmak stood up and walked toward the window. The memorials were just about visible in the dusk. “You know your own mind best, of course. I doubt there’s anything I could say to stop you doing this. Besides, it all seems well under way already.”
Garak put down his glass and stood up. He walked over to join Parmak. Slowly, hesitantly, he put his hand on the other man’s arm. “Don’t be angry with me. I don’t think I could bear that.”
“Why would I be angry with you?”
“Why would you not?”
“I’m not angry . . . !” Parmak shook his head. “No, I’m not. I’m truly not. But I am worried about you. What I want to know is—are you sure about this, Elim? Are you sure that this is the best choice for you?”
Garak didn’t reply for a while. He turned to look out of the window at the battered city that lay before them. Eventually, he said, in a low voice, “I’m less sure of this than I have been of anything in my life, Kelas. You know the kind of man my father was. You know what power did to him. He was monstrous. As monstrous as Dukat—no, more so, because of how long he was able to indulge his excesses. And for years I molded myself in his image. I tried to make myself like him. You know that better than anyone. . . .” He took a deep breath. “Nobody died this time, Kelas. At least, not by my hand. I played the game, yes—but I did not initiate it, and I did not . . . I did not do all that I might once have done.”
Parmak turned and put his hand upon Garak’s shoulder. “You’re not like him now,” he said. “You haven’t been for a long time.”
“I hope that’s true. I’m terrified it might not be true.”
“I know it’s true,” said Parmak, patting his friend’s shoulder. “Do you think you can win?”
Garak gave him a crooked smile.
“Do you want to win?”
“I certainly don’t want to lose.”
“You mean to Temet?”
“I mean at all.”
“Will you feel safe out there, out in the public eye?”
“With all that security surrounding me? I’ll be the safest I’ve been since I joined the Obsidian Order. And . . .” Garak swallowed. “And there’s the scrutiny, Kelas. The checks and the balances. Most of all, I’ll be safe from myself.”
“I see. So you’ll be safe, from everyone up to and including yourself. Good. But will you be happy, Elim?”
“Probably not. Have you met the kind of idiot who gets elected to the Assembly? I imagine I’ll spend most of my time infuriated. But I certainly won’t be bored.”
Parmak sighed. “I suspect you won’t. And I suspect I won’t get bored watching you.”
A slow smile curved across the lips of Cardassia’s most irrepressible son. “Who knows? It might even turn out to be fun.”
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Old December 28 2013, 01:45 PM   #238
Mimi
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

TJ Sinclair wrote: View Post
"hey, hey, they're knocking boots and hiding it to save Garak's political career!"
Considering we have no evidence on how gay relationships are treated in Cardassia [particularly among older individuals where children are longer an issue], I'd hate to think people would immediately assume that Garak was hiding it. If anything, Garak seems to have given up hiding things.

Edit: Or the author, for that matter.
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Old December 28 2013, 02:16 PM   #239
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

IThere have been two gay relationships between - admittedly only between - Cardassian females in Trek lit - in The Never-Ending Sacrifice and also Mhevet's friends, Coranis and Idrian, in The Crimson Shadow: neither couple hid their relationships. tt may be different with males, with older couples (Coranis and Idrian are presumably middle-aged, like Mhevet).

Also on the issue of hiding things, this was what Andrew Robinson said about Garak.

"I started out playing Garak as someone who doesn't have a defined sexuality. He's not gay, he's not straight, it's a non-issue for him. Basically his sexuality is inclusive. But – it's Star Trek and there were a couple of things working against that. One is that Americans really are very nervous about sexual ambiguity. Also, this is a family show, they have to keep it on the 'straight and narrow', so then I backed off from it. Originally, in that very first episode, I loved the man's absolute fearlessness about presenting himself to an attractive human being. The fact that the attractive human being is a man (Bashir) doesn't make any difference to him, but that was a little too sophisticated I think. For the most part, the writers supported the character beautifully, but in that area they just made a choice they didn't want to go there, and if they don't want to go there I can't, because the writing doesn't support it."
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Old December 28 2013, 03:51 PM   #240
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

But seeing as we're in novels now...problem (partially) resolved.
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