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

View Poll Results: How would you rate Zero Sum Game?
Outstanding 38 22.22%
Above Average 78 45.61%
Average 45 26.32%
Below Average 8 4.68%
Poor 2 1.17%
Voters: 171. You may not vote on this poll

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Old January 3 2011, 05:21 PM   #511
JWolf
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Christopher wrote: View Post
JWolf wrote: View Post
This thread is off-topic. It contains spoilers that are not contained in spoiler codes. The topic does not have (spoilers) in it so there should be no out-in-the-open spoilers. But for those reading this thread who have yet to read Zero Sum Game I want to thank you for spoiling it for them.
It is a given that the review thread for a novel will contain spoilers for that novel. And the thread title makes it clear that it's a review thread.
Newbies may not know that. I thought the rule of thumb was (spoilers) in the topic of no open spoilers allowed in the thread.
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Old January 3 2011, 06:26 PM   #512
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

JWolf wrote: View Post
Newbies may not know that. I thought the rule of thumb was (spoilers) in the topic of no open spoilers allowed in the thread.
Newbies may not "know" that but they don't need to, it is very obvious that in this thread ZSG is going to be discussed and shouldn't be reading it if they haven't read the book and don't want to be spoiled.

I am personally a stickler for not spoiling things all willy-nilly but there does become a point where excessive spoiler warnings and babying internet goers goes too far.

And also regarding this post:

JWolf wrote: View Post
This thread is off-topic. It contains spoilers that are not contained in spoiler codes. The topic does not have (spoilers) in it so there should be no out-in-the-open spoilers. But for those reading this thread who have yet to read Zero Sum Game I want to thank you for spoiling it for them.
You need to stop trolling threads like this, it's not the first time you've done it, if you don't have something to add to the discussion then why are you posting? especially since what you posted was wrong. Discussion of Section 31 and its actions as related to ZSG is on topic for this thread, and the spoilers are fine.
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Old January 3 2011, 09:41 PM   #513
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

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flandry84 wrote: View Post
/\Depends on whose truth of the situation you mean,I suppose.
That's a useless standard. If truth is treated as subjective or situational -- let alone if you allow every individual to determine the righteousness of their own acts -- then any evil act can be justified. By Stalin's or Mao's "truth of the situation," their purges and mass executions were righteous acts. By Torquemada's "truth of the situation," torturing and killing people who didn't share his religious doctrines was a holy responsibility. There have to be more objective standards of right and wrong. People's actions have to be held accountable by the standards of others, by the standards of society as a whole, not just by their own rationalizations for their own actions.
I think there are two separate issues here: the question of objectivity, and then the question of society's standards.

For human society to function, it seems there need to be moral and ethical standards established by the society to which its members must all (at least theoretically) be held. I think everybody here would agree that a society should strive to make sure those standards and their application are as just and equitable as possible.

That strikes me as distinct from the notion of objectivity. Numbers does not equate to objectivity. Even unanimous agreement does not make a moral or ethical judgment any less subjective.

That's problematic for obvious reasons, but then, the subjectivity of ethical and moral standards does indeed seem to be a difficult problem that we as individuals and society as a whole must grapple with, and have always grappled with.
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Old January 3 2011, 09:55 PM   #514
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Okay, I'm finally ready to weigh in on the book. I've been running it over in my head a couple of days, and here goes:

I was disappointed. Destiny, especially Mere Mortals, was some of the best fiction I've ever read, Star Trek or not. I rank it right up there with Dune as one of the most entertaining and well-written books I've read in my short life.

Maybe Destiny set the bar too high for what I was expecting for Zero Sum Game. While the Destiny novels had lots of internal dialogue (from what I remember), ZSG was almost a straight shoot-em-up novel. Everything moved very quickly and it seemed like it was over before it even began. ZSG wasn't bad, and it was certainly better than "Starship X visits lost Federation colony to overthrow Overlord Y and restore democracy to planet Z" novel, but it's not going to be very memorable for me.

I think there could have been more Bashir/Sarina interaction, some more scenes on the Aventine, and just some more time taken with some other characters and situations. It felt really rushed near the end and that disappointed me.

I also wished I had the Section 31 one bit at the end ruined for me by a thread title here, that may have lessened my enjoyment for it, though. I'm still excited about reading the rest of the Typhon Pact series and anything else David Mack has to offer though.
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Old January 3 2011, 10:04 PM   #515
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

flemm wrote: View Post
That strikes me as distinct from the notion of objectivity. Numbers does not equate to objectivity. Even unanimous agreement does not make a moral or ethical judgment any less subjective.
Granted. But my point is that it makes no sense to state that the morality of people's actions should be defined solely by their own standards. If anything, that's tautological, since most people believe that their own choices are justified. Corrupt people, as I've said repeatedly, generally don't think of themselves as corrupt. So a purely solipsistic standard of morality is useless here.
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Old January 4 2011, 11:50 AM   #516
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Some of those details that I did not like:

-I generally liked the development of the Breen. If the Dominion couldn't be the anti-Federation that it was originally envisioned as, this will do. My only minor nitpick is again how one little detail about an alien species or place is blown up to completely define them. The Breen outfit is admittedly a smidge bigger detail than the ad nauseum references to baseball and Cestus III and Klingon opera, but not that much bigger in my opinion.

-I'm not sure if I should be relieved how little an update we got about life aboard DS9 in the intervening years. Kira's gone. The fate of the Dominion is apparently still up in the air. The station has gone through one commander before its current captain. No word on Nog or a first officer. I'm genuinely starting to pine for the days when crew rosters never changed. All that's left is Bashir and Quark.

-Despite what we did learn, I can't say that I bought that Bashir was so lonely. What suddenly now it's so hard to make friends? Yeah, didn't buy it.

-Also did not buy that Sarina was Bashir's lost love who got away. I'd say that was Dax. That's what made them getting together at the end of the show so nice in my opinion.

-Then again, I guess I'm not sure what I'm supposed to make of the DS9R's treatment of Bashir. Why is he being made to look like such a naive child? Especially after what he, and everyone else, endured during the war? The bear? Yeah, that's stupid. So grow him out of it.

-Oh my. How I wanted to punch Ezri in the face here. She seems to have this pattern of condescending and marginalizing her crew's concerns. I nearly tossed the book when Bowers rightfully expressed anger at how he was not told about the hidden Klingon fleet. Ezri just tosses his concerns aside in front of the crew and leaves the bridge. Were I Bowers, I'd have walked right in to her ready room and asked for a transfer if that's how she's going to be about it. Then later she tells an officer just doing her job and providing an update "Thanks for stating the obvious." Hey you can sit and spin then Captain.

-Subsequently, I guess I'm just not seeing the big deal about the Aventine. Cool looking ship and all, but this crew is unremarkable, Bowers especially. I think it's one ship and crew too many for this line.

-Uh, shouldn't the fact that the Romulans perfected phased cloaking be a much greater reason to freak out than slipstream drive? It seemed like such a huge development that is casually mentioned and then tossed aside. I mean, who is to stay they don't have warbirds literally holding station out of phase right in the Palais and Starfleet Headquarters listening in on every conversation?

-Perhaps if we really got some nitty gritty on slipstream I'd be more worried about it falling into the wrong hands. It may very well end up being no different than warp drive in that it will get the ship to its destination precisely when the character development scenes need a break. But can a ship in slipstream detect what is going on in real space? Can sensors detect a ship going by at slipstream? Or are they basically invisible? Precisely how much faster are then than standard warp drives? Right now, slipstream is no different than warp to me.
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Old January 4 2011, 03:56 PM   #517
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Sxottlan wrote: View Post
Some of those details that I did not like:

-I generally liked the development of the Breen. If the Dominion couldn't be the anti-Federation that it was originally envisioned as, this will do. My only minor nitpick is again how one little detail about an alien species or place is blown up to completely define them. The Breen outfit is admittedly a smidge bigger detail than the ad nauseum references to baseball and Cestus III and Klingon opera, but not that much bigger in my opinion.
Well, it's not just about the outfit, it's about reconciling the mutually contradictory fragments of information we were given about the Breen over the years. (Kira and Dukat stole their uniforms, but nobody knows what they look like. People who've been to the Breen homeworld describe it as a cold wasteland, but Weyoun claims they don't live in cold conditions at all. And so on.) Dave just used the costumes as a vehicle for explaining those contradictions, and I found that quite clever.


-Despite what we did learn, I can't say that I bought that Bashir was so lonely. What suddenly now it's so hard to make friends? Yeah, didn't buy it.
I think it's more that he was clinging to his memories of what DS9 had once been like, and that was holding him back from admitting that that stage of his life was over and it was time to move forward. He wasn't lonely because he couldn't make new friends, he was lonely because he was too busy pining for his old friends. And in order to break out of that and start making new connections, he had to let go of DS9 and admit it was time to move on. At least, that's how I interpreted it.
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Old January 4 2011, 04:03 PM   #518
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Christopher wrote: View Post
I think it's more that he was clinging to his memories of what DS9 had once been like, and that was holding him back from admitting that that stage of his life was over and it was time to move forward. He wasn't lonely because he couldn't make new friends, he was lonely because he was too busy pining for his old friends. And in order to break out of that and start making new connections, he had to let go of DS9 and admit it was time to move on. At least, that's how I interpreted it.
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Old January 5 2011, 04:02 AM   #519
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

I just finished ZSG and I am once again in awe at the Mack.

I don't really want to trawl through pages of this thread, so if it has already been answered please forgive me for asking it again. Did Bashir's purge program catch the burst transmission of the Marjat's schematics or did it go to points unknown to be resurrected later?

Also, regarding Sarina and Section 31, I had already been spoiled for that but it was hardly unexpected. Any time Bashir is asked to go on a spy mission, I suspect 31's involvement. After all, he is one of their assets whether he wants to be or not.

I'm looking forward to seeing where Seize the Fire goes now.
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Old January 5 2011, 09:07 AM   #520
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Hi Sxottlan,

I feel exactly the same way. The book is okay but pretty straight forward for my taste - no big stunning turns or events.

I generally liked the development of the Breen.
Especially the idea that different races[/SPOILER] belonged to the Breen. Nice touch. But they could've been more developed.

Also did not buy that Sarina was Bashir's lost love who got away.
Oh yeah, totally blew me out of the book. I don't know if David Mack was forced to write it or if it was his idea, but it just came out of the blue. It upset me everytime I read about his deep feelings for her - but you don't really know where they came from. Those emotional paragraphs left me rather uncaring.

Ezir seems to have this pattern of condescending and marginalizing her crew's concerns.
I felt that she was written extra-cool to show her growth from the series. But in my opinion, she ought to be more caring than badmouthing.

Aventine - this crew is unremarkable, Bowers especially. I think it's one ship and crew too many for this line.
Absolutely. Bowers bores me - he's always one step behind Ezri and seemed to be utilized to show-off Ezri's extra-coolnes.

Overall, I was a bit disappointed 'cause I know that David Mack usually writes better novels. I'm on page 120 "Seize The Fire" and already like it better. But David, rest assured, I will continue to buy books with your name on it. :-)
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Old January 5 2011, 11:15 AM   #521
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Tino wrote: View Post
I felt that she was written extra-cool to show her growth from the series. But in my opinion, she ought to be more caring than badmouthing.
Which brings me to another nit, which is the sarcasm. That just appears to be the default style of humor anymore. I can't remember the last time I laughed out loud to any verbal back and forth between characters. With Bacco sarcasm is pretty much everything we get from her. There are other forms of humor that characters can have.

Tino wrote: View Post
Bowers bores me - he's always one step behind Ezri and seemed to be utilized to show-off Ezri's extra-coolnes.
Yeah when it was announced he'd be the first officer, my first thought was, 'What? That background wallpaper character?'

Between him and Christine Vale, we have two book-only first officers who just barely register as interesting characters to me.
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Old January 5 2011, 12:11 PM   #522
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

Sxottlan wrote: View Post
Tino wrote: View Post
I felt that she was written extra-cool to show her growth from the series. But in my opinion, she ought to be more caring than badmouthing.
Which brings me to another nit, which is the sarcasm. That just appears to be the default style of humor anymore. I can't remember the last time I laughed out loud to any verbal back and forth between characters. With Bacco sarcasm is pretty much everything we get from her. There are other forms of humor that characters can have.
Nah. Bacco's default humor is to grump, the fake curmudgeon. The funniest, and most Bacco-ish, thing anyone ever had her write was in the Destiny trilogy. After she's exchanged pleasantries with someone, Esperanza asks why she hasn't exchanged any pleasantries with her. "I see you all day, every day," she grumps.
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Old January 5 2011, 03:58 PM   #523
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

First I must say I really enjoyed the novel. Lots of characters juggled and situations juggled together into an intense and interesting story. The point where Bashir realizes he has to do what he has to do even if it makes him feel terrible I feel will be very important for the character.
Now I do have one little problem with this story and thats the Ferengi. So the Federation has no info on the Breen but the easiest people to buy off in the entire Federation run the banks there. Surely the Breen cannot let these Ferengi move around freely knowing that the Grand Nagus is heavily influenced by the Federation. Rules of Aquisition 62 & 74 would almost guarantee that the Ferengi would provide information to the Federation or anyone else for that matter.
But as I say that was merely one small quibble in what I though was another strong outing from Mr. Mack.
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Old January 5 2011, 04:07 PM   #524
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

^Ahh, but the one thing the Ferengi value more than money is their own survival. The Breen have a well-earned fearsome reputation; the Ferengi might be too afraid to double-cross them by spilling their secrets.

Besides, as the book established, the Breen don't just keep their true selves secret from the Federation, but from one another. They maintain total anonymity except in the company of family and intimates. The Ferengi bankers may live among them, but that doesn't mean they actually know that much about them (except about their finances, of course, though that's a pretty major thing to know).
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Old January 5 2011, 06:18 PM   #525
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Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

i enjoyed it and thought it did a lot for developing the Breen.
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