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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 29 2013, 09:12 AM   #241
Paper Moon
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I think the text is somewhat vague on the question, but, to me, anyway, it's still very obvious that Garak and Parmak are in "a relationship." I readily grant that this is a subjective conclusion, but it is not one I arrive at arbitrarily.

The banter of their conversation throughout the book, but particularly during their dinner with Picard and Crusher; Garak's describing Parmak as his conscience; their games of kotra with kanar before bed; the very strong implication that they live together; the degree to which they are both clearly overcome with emotion upon their reunion after Garak's "death"; the intimacy of their conversation at the very end of the book, with Parmak preemptively forgiving Garak.

They clearly have a very close relationship. And Garak is explicitly stated to "love" Parmak.

So, are they "in a relationship"? Are they "involved"?

To answer that, we need to examine the ways that we normally conclude that fictional characters are in a relationship. I will address each one in the context of this story.

1) We are told they are married. As far as I can tell, we have very little evidence about how Cardassians consummate relationships, especially outside of the old aristocracy. Certainly in post-war Cardassia, with all its societal upheaval, it would not be surprising if an old institution like marriage were on its way out. So this approach may not have been an option for McCormack, given in-universe constraints.

2) We are told they are having sex. Garak and Parmak are old, at least in the sense that they aren't young. From what I can tell, sex is an important part of relationships between older people, but it's often not the most important thing, the way it can be for young couples. Sex may not be the most meaningful way Garak and Parmak have to be intimate (assuming they are a couple); that's certainly consistent with the characters. Furthermore, discussing Garak's sex life would, I think, have felt out of style for the novel that McCormack was crafting. So this approach was also not an option for McCormack.

3) They refer to each other as lovers. Garak would never do this so bluntly, so, again, another option removed for McCormack. (Although, I think it is notable that Garak refers to Parmak as his dear friend [or whatever it is he precisely says]– that may be as explicit as Garak could believably get.)

4) Others refer to them as lovers. This would never happen in this story. Any character doing so would be gossiping in a way that none of those people in a position to know would. Furthermore, because of the constraints of the story and its characters, only a few people would know about Garak and Parmak anyway.

5) The characters in question are shown behaving as a couple does, doing the things that couples are recognizable for doing. In my opinion, this is what McCormack does with Garak and Parmak, in the examples I noted above and in the quotes which Jarvisimo provided.

Then there is the whole issue of what it actually means to be involved with someone, both in the real world and in a fictional narrative. Do you have to be having sex? Do you have to be married? Do you have to be in love?

These are very big questions. For my money, I think what we see, what we are explicitly told, of Garak and Parmak's relationship is consistent with a description of two people who are involved. But that's, in part, due to my personal conception of what such a couple looks like, how they behave, so it can be hard to justify, without writing a dissertation, anyway.

For various reasons, I think McCormack would have had a hard time stating more explicitly that Garak and Parmak were in a relationship in a way that didn't inappropriately break the fourth wall. However, I also think that she provides plenty of evidence to make it clear that Garak and Parmak are, in fact, "in a relationship."
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Old December 29 2013, 10:09 AM   #242
TJ Sinclair
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Mimi wrote: View Post
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.
The "hiding it for political reasons" angle was indeed part of a couple of edits I had to revert, so that's certainly at least some anonymous editor's reasoning for why the book didn't just "come out and say it." Which, of course, is complete BS.

I could see two reasons for Garak being secretive about a hypothetical relationship (with anyone, of any gender). The first is out of a desire to protect his partner from his enemies, the second would be simply because it's not anyone's business and while he's much more truthful now, he still won't voluntarily shine the spotlight on his personal life.

But given that The Crimson Shadow presents us with a lesbian couple whose relationship no Cardassian seems to think twice about, I doubt "hiding a homosexual lover for political reasons" would be anywhere in Garak or Una McCormack's thought process.
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Old December 29 2013, 11:25 AM   #243
Jarvisimo
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I agree with Paper Moon, but I don't want to force an issue that has no overt statement. I also hope the edits on the Garak article I've made suggest the intimacy of their relationship without making a blunt statement about it.
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Old December 29 2013, 04:00 PM   #244
lvsxy808
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I have an image of Una rubbing her hands together in glee at this discussion, thinking "It worked! It worked!"

Personally I'm on the side of "a very close relationship of support and affection and dedication, but not necessarily romantic or sexual as we would understand it." But as I said earlier, I'm perfectly happy to let the ambiguity stand. If they are romantic, that's lovely. If they're just two older men growing comfortable with each other as they age, that's fine too.

.
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Old December 29 2013, 04:55 PM   #245
Mimi
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Clearly, we're going to need another Garak book! Just so we are certain.

[plzmoregarakbook].

Last edited by Mimi; December 29 2013 at 05:06 PM.
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Old December 29 2013, 09:58 PM   #246
Una McCormack
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

lvsxy808 wrote: View Post
I have an image of Una rubbing her hands together in glee at this discussion, thinking "It worked! It worked!"
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Old December 29 2013, 10:28 PM   #247
Elias Vaughn
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Well played.
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Old December 29 2013, 10:36 PM   #248
JWolf
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Una McCormack wrote: View Post
lvsxy808 wrote: View Post
I have an image of Una rubbing her hands together in glee at this discussion, thinking "It worked! It worked!"
Now all we need are the minions.
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Old December 30 2013, 05:04 AM   #249
Mimi
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

This is beautiful, our work here is done.

Somewhere, the wiki war rages.
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Old December 30 2013, 07:45 PM   #250
Reanok
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Excellent novel I really liked this story dealing with aftermath of Bacco's assination and uncovering the people responsible for the crime.This book was an excellent scifi/ mystery novel.

Last edited by Reanok; December 31 2013 at 07:19 PM.
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Old December 31 2013, 06:36 AM   #251
TJ Sinclair
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Reanok wrote: View Post
Excellent novel I really liked this story dealing with aftermath of Bacco's assignation and uncovering the people responsible for the crime.This book was an excellent scifi/ mystery novel.
I was unaware that Nan was having a secret liaison. Was it with Akaar? Or maybe that's who Garak was in love with...

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Old December 31 2013, 02:27 PM   #252
Mimi
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

If Nan/Garak was a thing, I think sarcasm levels would hit critical mass.
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Old December 31 2013, 03:01 PM   #253
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

JWolf wrote: View Post
Una McCormack wrote: View Post
lvsxy808 wrote: View Post
I have an image of Una rubbing her hands together in glee at this discussion, thinking "It worked! It worked!"
Now all we need are the minions.
Here you go.
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Old December 31 2013, 07:20 PM   #254
Reanok
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

TJ Sinclair wrote: View Post
Reanok wrote: View Post
Excellent novel I really liked this story dealing with aftermath of Bacco's assignation and uncovering the people responsible for the crime.This book was an excellent scifi/ mystery novel.
I was unaware that Nan was having a secret liaison. Was it with Akaar? Or maybe that's who Garak was in love with...

No nan Bacco didn't have that kind of relationship with Garak sorry I meant I liked the storyline of Picard and Garak investigated the cardassians who were responsible for having her killed off and didn't want to be apart of the khitomer accords.
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Old December 31 2013, 09:11 PM   #255
summerinohio
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Re: TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Can I read this one without reading Revelation and Dust?
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