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

View Poll Results: Rate Peaceable Kingdoms.
Outstanding 18 20.69%
Above Average 36 41.38%
Average 29 33.33%
Below Average 3 3.45%
Poor 1 1.15%
Voters: 87. You may not vote on this poll

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Old January 7 2014, 08:23 PM   #91
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Gul Re'jal wrote: View Post
Turning out to be someone set for the good of the Federation, even though in a misguided manner, somehow felt disappointing. Even his being a "simple" Bejoran collaborator, in spite of also being a Bajoran hero as he fought the Cardassians later, doesn't impress me.
I had similar thoughts during the read, but was rather glad he wasn't something so 'evil'. I liked that he was someone out for the good of the Federation with a mixed-up past - I just wished he had been more complexly presented. Not necessarily likeable or even charismatic, but not someone you want to see fall necessarily. How Ishan was referred to/appeared in Books 1-2, and somewhat 3, not at all 4-5?
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Old January 7 2014, 09:34 PM   #92
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Gul Re'jal wrote: View Post
So, while I liked all five books, this one included, the solution didn't live up to the tension and atmosphere that had been built up to that point.
Agreed. The conclusion was the weakest book of the series, which is unfortunate given the general quality. The epilogue with President zh'Tarash, showing us that the Federation is back in good hands, was appreciated (and certainly satisfying) but the build-up seemed to demand greater payoff. This series was rather uncomfortably balanced at times between having each novel serve as a standalone and forming part of a continuous story - as much as I loved the Kira portions of Revelation and Dust, for instance, none of it had any relevance to the wider plot. As an entry in the meta-arc of star Trek novels, that book was great; as an entry in The Fall, it seems a little out of place.

I think the idea of Ishan Anjar was a good one, and a lot of what we had in Peaceable Kingdoms specifically and the series as a whole was interesting, potentially very provocative. Unfortunately, I can't say The Fall really pulled it off - or perhaps my expectations for Trek novels are simply too high by this point. From the start, I was actually hoping that Ishan wouldn't turn out to be "evil", that he would simply be an unpleasant political opportunist, unsuited for the office of president but fully legal and unconnected to any criminal actions. That preventing the Federation from heading down a troubling path would be harder than simply finding evidence that Ishan arranged Bacco's death, so discrediting him completely. It would indeed be convenient if you could shut down (what you perceive to be) disagreeable politics or dangerous trends simply by proving the politicians in question to be total frauds and murderers who have duped everyone. Having the assassination of Bacco come back to Ishan was thus a bit disappointing, though on the other hand his genuinely well-intentioned motive soothed the burn a little. I was relieved that he was pursuing an agenda perceived to be for the Federation's own good, rather than intentionally seeking to harm it.

As with Ishan himself, the thematic exploration of the Federation's current internal tensions, its shifting worldview and self-examination (mirrored in the existential dilemma faced by their newest ally, Cardassia) was a rich and worthy topic that wasn't handled quite as well as it should have been. More exploration of the Cardassia situation in light of the Federation's influence might have been nice, and spread out more evenly across the series. As it was, we had four books about the Federation (oh-and-Cardassia's-sort-of-important) and one book about Cardassia (oh-and-the-Federation-is-sort-of-important). Again, the stand-alone Vs arc problem rears its head. The implications of Garak-as-Castellan really need to be explored, especially in a series that centres on a murderer and liar claiming power.

Bacco's assassination worked as an effective hook for the series - I really like the character (the novels always did a fantastic job making her a respectable and likeable politician - I'd vote for her), and so her loss was genuinely meaningful to me. The series earns points here - the death wasn't for shock value, it served the story and its aftermath is a worthy topic for exploration. I'm also pleased that the long-running Andorian arc has been resolved - that was definitely the most welcome development by series end (besides, perhaps, Bashir having at last found peace with himself). Having invested in a story arc for a decade, it's nice to see it brought to an effective conclusion, and the confrontation in Andor orbit in A Ceremony of Losses was, for me, the highlight of the series. One of the relatively few times in Trek that the future of a major civilization truly hangs in the balance.

It was also rewarding seeing Cardassia left in a better place than it's been since... well, since we've known them. Even if there is (perhaps?) an uncomfortable note of hypocrisy in there somewhere - namely, that it's okay to put a murderer and liar in charge of the government so long as he's on your side. Again, this was an area where the Federation-Cardassian relationship, and how each effects the other's self-perception, needed to be emphasised a bit more, I think.

I've not done this before, but I'm going to rate each book out of 10.

Revelation and Dust: 7/10. Beautiful book, but more effective as part of the larger Trek novel meta-arc than it is as the first of a miniseries. The assassination is handled well, but a lot of plot points - Kira, Odo, etc - are clearly set-up for new Deep Space Nine stories (yay), not this actual mini-series (boo).

Moment that made me smile: Bacco and Sozzerozs exchanging baseball metaphors.

The Crimson Shadow: 8/10. Another very well-written Una McCormack novel with an unusual focus. Beautiful prose, as expected with this author. Although I find the idea of Garak in charge to be a bit too "fannish" in concept, within the context of the novel 'verse's ongoing development, McCormack makes it work. Also, she gets a big thumbs up for remembering Parmak. My only real complaint is that the Enterprise crew sort of feel like they're just there, and don't have the impact of even the slightest minor Cardassian character (although Picard and Crusher did get some nice moments, admittedly).

Moment that made me smile: Garak's letter to Bashir - "Hi. It's me. I'm not dead but I might be in charge of the government instead. More to follow". Classic! Garak must have enjoyed writing that one.

A Ceremony of Losses: 10/10. Mack has a real gift for crafting complex and evocative situations where everything is going to hell and the stakes are huge, while keeping it personal and character-driven. Never is there an easy consequence-free answer or decision, even when you're committed to what you're certain is right. There's a stark, fierce beauty to the book (very Andorian, really). Mack always knows how to bring emotion and meaning into the complicated world of politics, he understands how people work and he paces things perfectly. I'm impressed as usual with how uplifting his books can be despite their inherent cynicism.

Moment that made me smile: Shar and zh'Thiin as Pinky and the Brain.

The Poisoned Chalice: 7/10. Well-written, but disappointingly lacking in many of the Titan characters. No Ree? No Ra-Havreii? At least Chaka and Sethe made an appearance. That said, those characters who were used were used well. I loved seeing Riker's promotion (please, please don't undo this) and Vale in command of her own ship. Vale's Magna Roman First Officer was a very enjoyable new character. The book had a real sense of solemnity to it; it took the situation seriously and was definitely the "darkest" entry in the series. Best scene: Troi trying to mollify the Andorians, after they're snubbed outside the memorial service on Luna.

Moment that made me smile: Torvig: "Did we do something illegal?" I want to give that Choblik a hug.

Peaceable Kingdoms: 5/10. Solidly written, and good use of Crusher, an oft-neglected character (Brinkmanship also made good use of her, so maybe that's changing). The return to exploration and the advent of the zh'Tarash administration were uplifting, so the conclusion was satisfying... the resolution to the Ishan issue wasn't as successful, though. Maybe it's my high expectations for Trek novels now, but I thought a lot more could have been done with this. Not a bad book by any means, but a weak conclusion.

Moment that made me smile: "You're not going to quote Kirk to me again, are you?" Nice call back to the wonderful Losing the Peace, and (now that I think about it) a nice reminder that L.J Akaar was one of the characters to benefit the most from this series. I know that some Trek BBS regulars (KingDaniel, you come to mind) previously found him bland and uninteresting. Did this series redeem him in your eyes? I thought all of The Fall books presented him well.
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Last edited by Deranged Nasat; January 7 2014 at 10:18 PM.
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Old January 7 2014, 11:48 PM   #93
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
The epilogue with President zh'Tarash, showing us that the Federation is back in good hands, was appreciated (and certainly satisfying)
I found it sooooo unnecessary. That whole speech "we're 'gooder' than best" and "holier than angels" was grating on me. Everyone was so perfect, ready to SERVE, with a halo over their heads. How Federation of them.

Too cute, too sweet, too romantic-comedish-happy-endish for my taste.
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Old January 7 2014, 11:57 PM   #94
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

The implications of Garak-as-Castellan really need to be explored, especially in a series that centres on a murderer and liar claiming power.
They dropped that ball on that one. He's such an interesting and important character and they don't give him nearly enough page time.

Especially at the end when Ward shows Garak appearing in front of the Federation council on the viewer telling them he has caught an important member of the True Way. It was just glossed over.

Garak running Cardasia while trying to hunt down the True Way would've been a hell of a lot more entertaining than reading chapters upon chapters of Beverly Crusher searching through a former Bajoran mining camp ... so disappointing. Nobody really likes Beverly Crusher.
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Old January 7 2014, 11:57 PM   #95
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

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Old January 8 2014, 12:21 AM   #96
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I have feeling Picard likes her.
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Old January 8 2014, 01:00 AM   #97
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

JeBuS wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
Describing the setting is a "minute detail?" This is a traditional task of all novels.
I wish I felt like arguing with you about this, but I don't. Simply put, a whole lot of writing went into describing the physical details down on the planet. Those details never affected the plot in any manner. I would go back and find a few paragraphs for you, but it's really not worth the effort. And as I said, that was only one example of wasted detail work.
So, in other words, you don't think novels should describe their settings. Gotcha.

You know, your argument would be stronger if you didn't frame it in terms of, "I didn't like this, so the people who made it are incompetent." I contend that the story was not "chopped up" by the flashbacks -- that the flashbacks were an important part of the story that helped frame the themes and characters.
I agree that the flashbacks were an important part of the story. I just think they were inserted at the wrong spots and at the wrong frequency. Several could have been combined, with no ill effect on the pacing.
In what way did they hurt the pacing? How would you structure them instead?

What was "comic book villainy" about the mercenaries?
Seriously? How does an elite team of special operatives constantly get foiled by one guy, a couple of security officers, and a couple of doctors?
1. Your framing of those scenes relies upon an implicit assumption that those Starfleet Security officers and that "one guy" -- himself a former Starfleet officer and Starfleet Intelligence operative and former Maquis fighter -- are not themselves elite. I think the novel made it clear that they are, in fact, elite officers.

2. Nothing in this novel or its predecessors established that the mercenaries were "elite." If anything, the example of Blackwater I think rather proves that mercenaries are often undisciplined and unreliable; this is true in reality, and I see no reason why it wouldn't be true of Baras's personal "Blackwater."

That trap aboard the freighter? I mean, it was like watching Mr Bean, The Spy Who Shagged me.
I am aware of no installment in the Austin Powers series wherein a ship sent out a false distress signal but was in reality rigged to explode if repairs were attempted.

I am not familiar with the Mr. Bean series, and therefore cannot comment.

I don't see what was particularly comedic about those scenes; I found them entertainingly tense and suspenseful.

In a mini-series about the consequences of a presidential assassination, the novel about the assassination itself is unnecessary? I disagree.
And yet, followup novels in The Fall did the job of summing up the assassination in a few paragraphs.
"In the Pale Moonlight" did the job of summing up the Federation's desperation to win the Dominion War in just a couple of scenes. I still think showing us the war in the "Station Occupation" arc at the start of DS9 Season Six was a good idea.

Star Trek: First Contact did a good job of summing up Picard's traumatization by the Borg in just a few scenes. I still think it was a good idea to make "The Best of Both Worlds, Parts I & II."

The assassination was the only thing that linked the book to the rest of The Fall,
No. It also set up the new Deep Space 9, and set up Bashir's emotional arc in A Ceremony of Losses. Remember, part of Bashir's psychological process in deciding to rebel against Baras was seeing the President he had believed in, for whom in part he had committed murder for, die right in front of him. Bacco was one of the last few things about the Federation he still had faith in; her loss left him to perceive the Federation government as no longer possessing moral legitimacy.

That is not at all the argument I'm making. The argument I am making is that there was a whole lot of unnecessary content in The Fall.
I don't think you and I have the same definition of "necessity."

A "tight" novel, or a "tight" series should be the goal.
I don't think any particular novel or series has an inherent obligation to be "tight" or "loose." The story should be told in the manner the artist feels is best.

Sci wrote: View Post
If Revelation and Dust was one of the worst novels you have ever read, then you have had a startlingly positive literary history and have managed to avoid a huge percentage of published novels that are far, far inferior.
You're probably not wrong about this. Why would I purposefully go looking to read bad lit when there's so much good out there?
You shouldn't. But you should have a better sense of perspective and proportion about what is and is not "the worst" in order to more adequately compare the quality of any particular work of art to that of the majority of works of art created in the world.

Because if Revelation and Dust is one of the worst you've ever read, then you've never actually read a bad book.

Paper Moon wrote: View Post
Sci, I really appreciate your thoughtful replies! I haven't had a chance to properly respond yet, but I hope to do so tomorrow.
Thank you! I really am fascinated by discussions about what the political content of Star Trek says or argues about the political culture in real life.





star trek wrote: View Post
I don't know if wards hands were tied by the editors or what but I felt like the ending book could've done something more. There was an obvious theme throughout they couldve played on that more. Maybe have a divide between the hawkish war types and the peaceable types. Show it escalating within starfleet, the council and the politicians running for president. It reaches a point where the federation is starting to crack, maybe people expect a civil war, then somehow Picard brings it back ... Something grand, epic, an ending worthy of a five novel series.
Every now and then, I play with the idea of a Federation civil war in my head. Inevitably, I conclude that you can't do it without fatally subverting the essential dramatic integrity of Star Trek. Star Trek, at the end of the day, is not Battlestar Galactica; it is a story about hope, not despair. It may at times be bittersweet, but that is not supposed to be its fundamental nature.

Really, I think that Star Trek: Destiny got about as dark as you can get without killing Star Trek's soul.

Jarvisimo wrote: View Post
Some of the recap conversations also changed aspects of characterisation in the prior books in sometimes unfortunate ways, making opponent characters akin to the more cliche villains seen in Poisoned Chalice and Peaceable Kingdoms. One example is the captain of the Warspite, who seemed to have changed from the overzealous hawk of A Ceremony of Losses into a potential conspirator in a conversation between Akaar and Riker (as in directly compared with Bashir's assassin). This is though Akaar knew in Losses that Unverzagt was receiving direct communications from the President in an official, if unconventional and (for him) frustrating, manner. However that change of tone regarding such characters I guess really occurred in Chalice?
I didn't perceive things that way (and I don't remember that scene about Captain Unverzagt in Peaceable Kingdoms). If anything, I felt that what Peaceable Kingdoms established about the existence of a percentage of Starfleet captains who were moved up as a result of the Borg Invasion and consequently are more militant in their outlook, made Unverzagt's personality in A Ceremony of Losses make more sense. Before, I had simply taken him as being too blinded by his military obligation to obey his commander-in-chief -- too much of a "just following orders" sort of person -- to perceive the moral illegitimacy of his orders. In retrospect, though, it makes more sense to interpret him as someone who has embraced militarism because he feels that the Federation's peaceful foreign policy failed them against the Borg's existential threat. It helps explain why he seemed to be so easily willing to condemn Bashir and company as disloyal -- for militarism often blinds its adherents to what true loyalty means.

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
It was also rewarding seeing Cardassia left in a better place than it's been since... well, since we've known them. Even if there is (perhaps?) an uncomfortable note of hypocrisy in there somewhere - namely, that it's okay to put a murderer and liar in charge of the government so long as he's on your side.
1. Welcome back, Deranged Nasat!

2. I think there are some important differences between...



Again, this was an area where the Federation-Cardassian relationship, and how each effects the other's self-perception, needed to be emphasised a bit more, I think.
I for one look forward to more stories about Castellan Garak from future Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novels.

* * *

My biggest complaint about Star Trek: The Fall?

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Old January 8 2014, 01:45 AM   #98
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Sci wrote: View Post
I think there are some important differences between...

All excellent points, Sci. I do agree that a direct comparison isn't justified (as usual you've made a very good case there, and I'm not disputing any of it), but I do think it's an issue that needs exploring, and I'm not convinced that the series delved quite as deep into the matter as it should. Not a fatal error by any means, but it leaves a slight uneasiness that, for me, detracts a little from the overall impact of the story. My description upthread is rather hyperbolic, I admit; certainly the series made absolutely no assertion that "it's okay if they're on our side", but such a conclusion could potentially be read into it if one wanted to, and I think that confronting those possible implications a bit more rigorously would have been useful.

Personally, I'm impressed that McCormack made Garak's ascension to power so convincing. The very idea, "Garak leads the Cardassian government" is one of those concepts that, hearing it out of context, should leave you rolling your eyes, but The Crimson Shadow (and partially by building on Garak's established roles in earlier novels, of course) makes it work. Personally, I can buy that Garak has sought a personal redemption and can now be counted as a "hero", I can buy that Parmak and others have forgiven him, I can buy that the Federation and Picard see him as their favoured choice and recognise his admirable qualities, and I can buy that Cardassia is still, as you say, a young and fledgling democracy that realistically can't be anywhere near as picky as a more stable society would ideally demand. So I can't really fault the in-universe logic. I just think that thematically this needs to be dealt with further.

As I said up thread, one of the weaknesses of the series in my view is that the Cardassians are central to the plot but only one (okay, one-and-a-half) of the books really tackle them extensively. The issue of Garak's murky past does come up in The Crimson Shadow - as Picard says, a complicated place, Cardassia - but isn't really important elsewhere.

(Of course, my loyal followers in the Tzenkethi Coalition maintain that this is all a conspiracy by those treacherous and unstable Federates. Consider: the three powers allied with the Federation are all currently led by an individual who lived aboard a single Starfleet facility during the height of the Dominion War. While genetic miracle worker/rogue agent Julian Bashir was chief medical officer. Coincidence? I think not. I think the Federation has used its sophisticated medical technology to program these three individuals with strange Federation notions, then to maneuver them into positions of influence where they will eventually seize power and start transforming their nations into ideological extensions of the Federation. Deny it all you want, we see right through them).
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Old January 8 2014, 05:31 AM   #99
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
I think there are some important differences between...

All excellent points, Sci. I do agree that a direct comparison isn't justified (as usual you've made a very good case there, and I'm not disputing any of it), but I do think it's an issue that needs exploring, and I'm not convinced that the series delved quite as deep into the matter as it should. Not a fatal error by any means, but it leaves a slight uneasiness that, for me, detracts a little from the overall impact of the story. My description upthread is rather hyperbolic, I admit; certainly the series made absolutely no assertion that "it's okay if they're on our side", but such a conclusion could potentially be read into it if one wanted to, and I think that confronting those possible implications a bit more rigorously would have been useful.

Personally, I'm impressed that McCormack made Garak's ascension to power so convincing. The very idea, "Garak leads the Cardassian government" is one of those concepts that, hearing it out of context, should leave you rolling your eyes, but The Crimson Shadow (and partially by building on Garak's established roles in earlier novels, of course) makes it work. Personally, I can buy that Garak has sought a personal redemption and can now be counted as a "hero", I can buy that Parmak and others have forgiven him, I can buy that the Federation and Picard see him as their favoured choice and recognise his admirable qualities, and I can buy that Cardassia is still, as you say, a young and fledgling democracy that realistically can't be anywhere near as picky as a more stable society would ideally demand. So I can't really fault the in-universe logic. I just think that thematically this needs to be dealt with further.
I completely agree! I would love to see Una McCormack do a story about Cardassia continuing to come to terms with its past. The transitional justice efforts of post-conflict countries like South Africa, Argentina, Chile, etc., could all be mined for great drama.

(Of course, my loyal followers in the Tzenkethi Coalition maintain that this is all a conspiracy by those treacherous and unstable Federates. Consider: the three powers allied with the Federation are all currently led by an individual who lived aboard a single Starfleet facility during the height of the Dominion War. While genetic miracle worker/rogue agent Julian Bashir was chief medical officer. Coincidence? I think not. I think the Federation has used its sophisticated medical technology to program these three individuals with strange Federation notions, then to maneuver them into positions of influence where they will eventually seize power and start transforming their nations into ideological extensions of the Federation. Deny it all you want, we see right through them).




And not just that, but the current Praetor of the Romulan Star Empire was known to behave in a friendly and familiar manner towards Starfleet Captain John Harriman in 2311! And the current Gorn Imperator was put back into power by Captain Jean-Luc Picard during the war!

Federation cultural imperialism!

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Old January 8 2014, 10:45 AM   #100
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Sci wrote: View Post
Of course it does, Sci. It has legitimacy in almost all moral systems (apart from pacifistic ones) and therefore will for almost all persons have a relatavistic legitimacy. There is no way to say, unless one is an absolute and fundamentalist pacificist, that warmongering cannot have a viable and potentially necessary place in one's foreign and domestic policy. Sci, I'm British and one of basic history lessons at school we debate over, and compare and contrast, is the militarism or the 1900s-10s and the lack of militarism of the 1930s in the face of rising fascism. There is no answer, of course, over what should have happened - but in that latter situation, British and French hawks were silenced when perhaps they should not have been. No conflict, no move to conflict, is of course a 'good/bad' action - it's a damning choice, but sometimes militarism is important because sometimes peace itself can be closer to unjustiable and burdened with a worse moral outcome. So, yes, I would argue that warmongering can and does have legitimacy (unless one is a pacifist with an acceptance of either their own, and their tribe's, death in the face of armed oppressors - or one is a pacifist who lets other nations and tribes and people be oppressed). (And this is not to say that the end product of a conflict is rosy or happy, but that sometimes its better to act in arms? and to do so, sometimes there needs to be a more militaristic mentality that can make it easier to take up arms?)

Sci wrote: View Post
Jarvisimo wrote:
Some of the recap conversations also changed aspects of characterisation in the prior books in sometimes unfortunate ways, making opponent characters akin to the more cliche villains seen in Poisoned Chalice and Peaceable Kingdoms. One example is the captain of the Warspite, who seemed to have changed from the overzealous hawk of A Ceremony of Losses into a potential conspirator in a conversation between Akaar and Riker (as in directly compared with Bashir's assassin). This is though Akaar knew in Losses that Unverzagt was receiving direct communications from the President in an official, if unconventional and (for him) frustrating, manner. However that change of tone regarding such characters I guess really occurred in Chalice?
I didn't perceive things that way (and I don't remember that scene about Captain Unverzagt in Peaceable Kingdoms). If anything, I felt that what Peaceable Kingdoms established about the existence of a percentage of Starfleet captains who were moved up as a result of the Borg Invasion and consequently are more militant in their outlook, made Unverzagt's personality in A Ceremony of Losses make more sense. Before, I had simply taken him as being too blinded by his military obligation to obey his commander-in-chief -- too much of a "just following orders" sort of person -- to perceive the moral illegitimacy of his orders. In retrospect, though, it makes more sense to interpret him as someone who has embraced militarism because he feels that the Federation's peaceful foreign policy failed them against the Borg's existential threat. It helps explain why he seemed to be so easily willing to condemn Bashir and company as disloyal -- for militarism often blinds its adherents to what true loyalty means.
Yah, that's what I would think too, but one of the problems of Peaceable Kingdoms is that it does this to the minor antogonists from the series, by telling us too much information without any depth in its endless summative conversations, and condensing more nuanced positions into rather simplistic analyses. Disregarding, as I said above (and which you disagreed with), any validity a hawkish perspective might have:

“It’s possible Ishan is communicating directly with whatever cadre of officers he’s assembled to assist him,” Riker said. “People like Captain Unverzagt of the Warspite, for example. And let’s not forget Seth Maslan from the Lionheart, the one Velk sent to kill Julian Bashir. But, hell, Admiral, some of these people likely don’t even know they’re being duped. After all, there aren’t many starship captains who would refuse a direct order from their commander in chief.”
Akaar replied, “No, but I would expect at least some of them to inquire to their superior officers as to the irregularity of receiving orders that sidestep several links in the chain of command.”
I just hope readers and future writers will be kinder to Captain Unverzagt than his direct comparison with Lt Maslen will suggest by Akaar and Riker suggest. I think it's just a different tone and attitude from what Akaar said to the President at the end of Losses.

Anyway, Sci, your comments are as always in-depth and interesting. I don't know what to make of Peaceable Kingdoms or The Fall at large yet: I enjoyed much of it, and liked the return to exploratory and optimistic values by the series' end. I also liked so much of the details within each book, the expansion of the world as it were that occurred with each text. And I completely agree that more Una McCormack Cardassian novels would be very fine.
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Old January 8 2014, 11:02 AM   #101
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Had to give this book an average. I found the start very slow and took a lot of time for the plot develop. The first third of the book came across as recap after recap and I found it frustrating after a while. I used to think Greater Than The Sum was the book that suffered the most from this but not anymore.

As for ranking the books within the series, I would go in descending order: 2,3,4,1,5
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Old January 8 2014, 08:29 PM   #102
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Average

This was an extremely unsatisfying ending to 'The Fall' series. I don't have many problems with the writing or story when the book is looked at in a vacuum (hence the generous average grade), but I can't look at it that way since it's part 5 of a 5 book series.

The biggest problem with the book, and series, is the revelation that Ishan is not who he says he is. this comes out of absolutely nowhere. there are no clues dropped in any of the other books, so when we learn the truth, it totally falls flat. And then the entire story gets wrapped up with a nice, big, fat reset button. Outside of Garak becoming Castellan in 'Crimson Shadow' there are no lasting repercussions in the entire series. imo, it all ends up being a waste of time and a poor riff on B5s civil war arc.

Some story points also seem to have been completely glossed over. Last time we see Velk in jail, he has a phaser to his head. How does Riker actually get him out of that predicament? I suppose there is a slight hint that Anjar's man who was supposed to take him out was co-opted by Riker and Akaar, but we're not really sure.

Andoria beginning the story right back in the arms of the Federation also seemed rushed. I didn't get the impression at the end of 'Poisoned Chalice' it would happen so quick and with so little push back from some federation Council members. I suppose I could live with that though.

Outside of 'Crimson Shadow' and Ceremony of Losses'. I just didn't get the sense this was a well thought out story idea by the authors and editors involved. It just seems like lazy story telling. While the entire premise was a bit lame and meant for shock value only, it could have been done well. It simply wasn't. I'm really disappointed how 'The Fall' ended. Meh.
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Old January 8 2014, 08:59 PM   #103
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

flavaflav wrote: View Post
And then the entire story gets wrapped up with a nice, big, fat reset button. Outside of Garak becoming Castellan in 'Crimson Shadow' there are no lasting repercussions in the entire series.
You mean, aside from Nanietta Bacco dying, the Andorian species being saved from extinction, Bashir being drummed out of Starfleet and branded a criminal, White-Blue being revived, Kellessar zh'Tarash being elected President, and Starfleet launching a huge new exploration initiative?

imo, it all ends up being a waste of time and a poor riff on B5s civil war arc.


Oh please. Babylon 5 did not invent the trope of the usurper killing the rightful leader. Baras assassinating Bacco is no more a "ripoff" of President Clarke assassinating President Santiago than Clarke assassinating Santiago was a "ripoff" of Macbeth assassinating Macduff.

Some story points also seem to have been completely glossed over. Last time we see Velk in jail, he has a phaser to his head. How does Riker actually get him out of that predicament? I suppose there is a slight hint that Anjar's man who was supposed to take him out was co-opted by Riker and Akaar, but we're not really sure.
Yes, we are. Because Velk survived.

Of course, other readers who read a scene with that Starfleet lieutenant being recruited and saving Velk would just say that that's not a "necessary" detail and that it's another example of the novel not being "tight" enough.
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Old January 8 2014, 09:13 PM   #104
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I wonder if The Fall would have been better if the Typhon Pact really had been responsible for Bacco's assassination as part of a scheme to weaken the Federation prior to invasion. Peaceable Kingdoms could have been about Ishan plotting a preemptive invasion of the Typhon Pact and our heroes racing to stop him and stave off galactic war. This would have made the "ends justify the means" angle of Ishan's actions more grey. While his actions (ordering unsanctioned covert ops missions and plotting to start a preemptive war) would be seen as very much against the values of the Federation, the threat to the Federation that he is trying to prevent would also be very real. I actually thought we might see this at the end of the novel when several times we got hints that Ishan was willing to launch military strikes against the TP and even hints that he has some plan to crush the TP once and for all. Unfortunately, we never actually saw it but everything got wrapped nicely. As it is, the issues were rather black and white since it was clear that Ishan as well as the Federation captains and admirals doing his bidding, were the "bad guys".
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Old January 9 2014, 12:24 AM   #105
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I'm confused as to what "The Fall" refers to. The fall of... Bashir? The fall of the Cardassian alliance with the Federation?
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