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

View Poll Results: Rate By the Book
Outstanding 0 0%
Above Average 9 47.37%
Average 8 42.11%
Below Average 2 10.53%
Poor 0 0%
Voters: 19. You may not vote on this poll

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Old January 8 2014, 08:27 PM   #1
Defcon
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ENT: By the Book by D.W. Smith & K.K. Rusch Review Thread (Spoilers)

Next round of the Classic Review Threads.

Enterprise: By the Book by Dean Wesley Smith & Kristine Kathryn Rusch



Blurb:

In their first few weeks in space, Captain Jonathan Archer and the crew of the Enterprise™ have already discovered several new species and explored strange new worlds. But each planet brings new discoveries...and new dangers.

The Fazi, whose ultraregulated culture ranges from strict conversation protocols to unvarying building designs, inhabit half of a planet discovered by the Enterprise. But after a disasterous first contact with the ruler of the Fazi, Archer must depend on Vulcan science officer T'Pol and communication specialist Hoshi Sato to help him mend relations with the people of this planet, and unravel the mystery of the other creatures living on the world.

Excerpt

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My review from 2004:

The only real unusual thing in this novel is the RPG some of the crewmembers are playing. It’s good to get to know some of the more “unimportant” crewmembers like Cutler and Mayweather better, but there aren’t enough ties to the main plot, so it’s a little bit to unrelated to it for my taste.
The characterizations are O.K. , but sometimes it’s slightly over the top for Archer in my opinion. At some points he’s too “eager” to argue with T’Pol. Granted, especially at the beginning of the Enterprise’s mission he was very suspicious about the Vulcan science officer, but it’s just to much here for me.

The main plot about the first contact(s) isn’t very innovative and a tad to simple to make something special out of “By the Book”. You could summarize the whole novel with one phrase : “No first contact is like the other.” The predictable end, that archer sees the logic in letting develop the relationship of the two races of the planet on their own in the end doesn’t help much either in making it something unique.


Overall “By the Book” is a typical D.W. Smith / K.K. Rusch novel, definitely no gem, but if you’re searching for a solid novel from the beginning stages of the Enterprise’s mission you can “Buy the Book”.
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Old January 8 2014, 11:59 PM   #2
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Re: ENT: By the Book by D.W. Smith & K.K. Rusch Review Thread (Spoiler

I kind of enjoyed this one. I thought they nailed Archer, who was a character I basically always hated, but I sort of hated him because he was the type of person I usually dislike, not because the writing was bad, if that makes any sense. He seemed like a real person in this novel, even if kind of a frustrating incompetent one.

...this isn't sounding like praise, but actually it is. I hate Enterprise, but I pretty much dug this novel.

Better than I expected, anyway.
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Old January 9 2014, 01:22 AM   #3
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Re: ENT: By the Book by D.W. Smith & K.K. Rusch Review Thread (Spoiler

I liked that there was an RPG in the book, but it seemed like Smith & Rusch had had RPGs described to them by someone who knew someone who played them.
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Old January 9 2014, 05:59 AM   #4
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Re: ENT: By the Book by D.W. Smith & K.K. Rusch Review Thread (Spoiler

The only thing I remember about this book is that I read it. I think that right there says a lot about it's quality. I voted average.
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Old January 9 2014, 06:07 AM   #5
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Re: ENT: By the Book by D.W. Smith & K.K. Rusch Review Thread (Spoiler

I enjoyed this. I definitely remember the RPG elements. IIRC from "Voyages..." it was written w/ the authors only reading the scripts of the first few episodes.
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Old January 9 2014, 06:17 AM   #6
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Re: ENT: By the Book by D.W. Smith & K.K. Rusch Review Thread (Spoiler

I was surprised by this one in liking it as much as I did. I mean, now many early books for a new series are good? The RPG bits are pretty fun.
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Old January 10 2014, 07:20 AM   #7
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Re: ENT: By the Book by D.W. Smith & K.K. Rusch Review Thread (Spoiler

Corran Horn wrote: View Post
I enjoyed this. I definitely remember the RPG elements. IIRC from "Voyages..." it was written w/ the authors only reading the scripts of the first few episodes.
From what I've heard that appears to have been the case with the first few books of most of the post-TOS series.
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Old January 10 2014, 07:31 PM   #8
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Re: ENT: By the Book by D.W. Smith & K.K. Rusch Review Thread (Spoiler

I like this novel and we got see characters like Liz Cutler have a nice storyarc in this book all of the characters had parts to play in unraveling the mystery of the aliens on the planet they were exploring.
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Old January 10 2014, 08:01 PM   #9
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: ENT: By the Book by D.W. Smith & K.K. Rusch Review Thread (Spoiler

It wasn't a masterpiece, but it wasn't the car crash I thought it would be when I started reading. I have a fondness for early series novels which pre-date the 'solidification' of the characters and universe (Ghost Ship, The Seige and The Escape being the others) and so the cheat, featuring other characters so there was less to get 'wrong' with the main cast, was a bit disappointing.
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Old January 10 2014, 08:30 PM   #10
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Re: ENT: By the Book by D.W. Smith & K.K. Rusch Review Thread (Spoiler

King Daniel Into Darkness wrote: View Post
I have a fondness for early series novels which pre-date the 'solidification' of the characters and universe (Ghost Ship, The Seige and The Escape being the others)
I would submit that Spock Must Die! belongs on this list as well. And probably Mission to Horatius. Not to mention the early Gold Key and UK comics.
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Old January 10 2014, 10:59 PM   #11
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Re: ENT: By the Book by D.W. Smith & K.K. Rusch Review Thread (Spoiler

ronny wrote: View Post
I was surprised by this one in liking it as much as I did. I mean, now many early books for a new series are good? The RPG bits are pretty fun.
My impression was that the authors had found a clever way to write a first ENT novel that was probably commissioned (and mostly written?) well before "Broken Bow" had even aired, and that they made good use of the minor canonical characters and material from the Season One Writer's Bible.

I loved Cutler - she's fun and perky in this novel - and it seemed like the show was planning to groom her for much more... and then, of course, the actress passed away in 2003.

It was disappointing when so many readers had negative reactions to the book.

I had an opportunity to buy Kellie Waymire's autographed trading card at a great price (compared to other cast members'); I guess nobody realised she'd just passed.
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Old January 10 2014, 11:11 PM   #12
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Re: ENT: By the Book by D.W. Smith & K.K. Rusch Review Thread (Spoiler

I'm in general agreement with what seems to be the majority: this is a pretty decent book, surprisingly good for what it is. Nothing too memorable, but nothing regrettable either.
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Old July 28 2014, 06:09 PM   #13
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Re: ENT: By the Book by D.W. Smith & K.K. Rusch Review Thread (Spoiler

Yeah I'll agree with the above - perfectly nice read. Breezed along, nothing groundbreaking but a simple story, decently told, which didn't feel the need to be overly action-based or 'massive' to get the point across; plus by & large I could hear the characters voices well.

Good start. I could almost smell that Hipon as I was reading!
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Old July 28 2014, 07:28 PM   #14
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Re: ENT: By the Book by D.W. Smith & K.K. Rusch Review Thread (Spoiler

I remember I read this book before I had seen a single episode of Enterprise (and the novelization of "Broken Bow" was on back order at my local bookstore). The book set the bar very high for the storytelling for Enterprise----unfortunately the episodes could never get out of the mud.

For a while I thought the authors had also written the Hardy Boys novel "Dungeon Of Doom" years earlier since the RPG elements in "By The Book" are very similar to the RPG game in that book.
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Old July 28 2014, 07:48 PM   #15
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Re: ENT: By the Book by D.W. Smith & K.K. Rusch Review Thread (Spoiler

eh, I put it as below average. The transitions between the main story and the RPG were somewhat jarring in places and I just could not interest myself in the narration of the RPG which in my mind seemed like a terribly boring form of entertainment for the crew. Archer was portrayed as thick headed early on in the series but this book seemed to ratchet that facet of his personality up just a little too much for my tastes. I liked the crustacean species though and enjoyed their involvment in the story.
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