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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Misc. Star Trek > Trek Literature

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

View Poll Results: Rate Cast No Shadow.
Outstanding 19 32.20%
Above Average 30 50.85%
Average 9 15.25%
Below Average 0 0%
Poor 1 1.69%
Voters: 59. You may not vote on this poll

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Old August 2 2011, 12:33 AM   #46
Jedi_Master
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Re: Star Trek: Cast No Shadow Review Thread

JoeZhang wrote: View Post
BrotherBenny wrote: View Post
You forget that
But the problem is not with her being a vulcan but that the reasoning behind her motivation is maybe the most clichéd (just behind "I was abused as a child!") in modern fiction, her species is irrelevant in that regard, she could be a talking octopus for all the difference it makes to the use of that tired plot point.

Just because the "childhood trauma" has been used many times in fiction does NOT mean that no writer can use it ever ever ever. If plot devices were banned after a certain number of uses, then the world of fiction would be bare.
An individual reader can certainly look for the "new" and "interesting" in fiction, but seeing as this book was a tie in novel written about a universe that has had a lot of fictional exploration - expecting something new and exciting from it or any other Star Trek book every single time is IMO unreasonable. We buy these

A Vulcan's emotions do run very, very deep. They are also taught to control and suppress and have greater mental acuity and recall than humans. So a traumatic event would really impact their entire life, in a way that is deeper and more real than a human, especially if they chose to conceal the traumatic events.

Swallow's use of that plot device was necessary if he was to portray Valeris as a sympathetic character. Perhaps it would have been more "interesting" if she was a coldly calculating menace, but that also has been done in other novels.

The book was a great story overall, and one that delved into a very interesting period of time.

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Old August 2 2011, 02:08 AM   #47
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Re: Star Trek: Cast No Shadow Review Thread

Jedi_Master wrote: View Post
Swallow's use of that plot device was necessary if he was to portray Valeris as a sympathetic character. Perhaps it would have been more "interesting" if she was a coldly calculating menace, but that also has been done in other novels.
I didn't walk away from Cast No Shadow with any inkling of Valeris as a sympathetic character, and while I am not the author, I can't see how the idea of making her sympathetic ever entered into his mind. (He is free to correct me if I am wrong.) The conclusion of her story in the book makes the fact that she isn't a sympathetic character crystal clear.



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Old August 2 2011, 02:23 AM   #48
Jedi_Master
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Re: Star Trek: Cast No Shadow Review Thread

FatherRob wrote: View Post
Jedi_Master wrote: View Post
Swallow's use of that plot device was necessary if he was to portray Valeris as a sympathetic character. Perhaps it would have been more "interesting" if she was a coldly calculating menace, but that also has been done in other novels.
I didn't walk away from Cast No Shadow with any inkling of Valeris as a sympathetic character, and while I am not the author, I can't see how the idea of making her sympathetic ever entered into his mind. (He is free to correct me if I am wrong.) The conclusion of her story in the book makes the fact that she isn't a sympathetic character crystal clear.



Rob+

I have a somewhat opposite view. Star Trek VI positioned her as a traitor and a murderer - without giving any context to her decision. This book seems to be designed to provide that context, flesh out her character, explain her thought process, and do so in an entertaining framework. It also highlights the motivations and actions of various types of "traitors".

As to her final action:
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Old August 2 2011, 08:54 AM   #49
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Re: Star Trek: Cast No Shadow Review Thread

Jedi_Master wrote: View Post


Just because the "childhood trauma" has been used many times in fiction does NOT mean that no writer can use it ever ever ever.
Now I think about it, the other thing that's bugging me is a very particular Star Trek cliche - "Vulcans are a very emotional people no matter how they try and repress it" - that's been done to death as well over the last decade.
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Old August 3 2011, 07:16 AM   #50
Jedi_Master
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Re: Star Trek: Cast No Shadow Review Thread

JoeZhang wrote: View Post
Jedi_Master wrote: View Post


Just because the "childhood trauma" has been used many times in fiction does NOT mean that no writer can use it ever ever ever.
Now I think about it, the other thing that's bugging me is a very particular Star Trek cliche - "Vulcans are a very emotional people no matter how they try and repress it" - that's been done to death as well over the last decade.

Chuckle. There must be a lot of Star Trek fiction that you avoid then. Trek lit is one of the most cliche cluttered environments in fiction.
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Old August 3 2011, 09:28 AM   #51
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Re: Star Trek: Cast No Shadow Review Thread

Chuckle. There must be a lot of Star Trek fiction that you avoid then. Trek lit is one of the most cliche cluttered environments in fiction.
Sure it's the nature of franchise fiction but even then you get the odd jem which is why I continue to pick up books. Well except for the Enterprise books, I'd rather have a prostate exam on stage than read another Enterprise book...
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Old August 3 2011, 01:11 PM   #52
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Re: Star Trek: Cast No Shadow Review Thread

My copy just arrived, so I'll likely read it - or most of it -tonight. I really enjoyed Day of the Vipers and Synthesis, as well as Swallow's Myriad Universe story, so I'm looking forward to this.
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Old August 3 2011, 01:14 PM   #53
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Re: Star Trek: Cast No Shadow Review Thread

JoeZhang wrote: View Post
Sure it's the nature of franchise fiction but even then you get the odd jem which is why I continue to pick up books. Well except for the Enterprise books, I'd rather have a prostate exam on stage than read another Enterprise book...
Just remember not to clinch too tightly when you hear the snap of the glove. We'll be watching...

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Old August 3 2011, 09:45 PM   #54
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Re: Star Trek: Cast No Shadow Review Thread

Finished.

I certainly enjoyed it - Swallow is always a good writer - but I do agree it was a bit generic. It didn't have the same shining originality as his earlier Trek stories. That isn't to condemn it as such - it's a perfectly good Trek novel, and I'd give it an "Average" rating. Swallow's previous novels Day of the Vipers and Synthesis got "Outstanding", and his Myriad Universe story "Above Average", so this isn't as good as his other works. There's nothing particularly wrong with it, though, and it's a perfectly solid story that gave me my regular fix of continuity-conforming Trek lit. However, it is struggling against the content a Valeris novel simply had to have - Klingons and troubled Vulcans. As others have pointed out upthread, both of these have been used so often it's hard to make them truly memorable.

More below.



So, overall, it was perfectly enjoyable but nothing special. By James Swallow standards it was a bit disappointing, but I do keep in mind that Swallow's quality is such that disappointing for him doesn't mean lack of quality. Also, he was struggling against some very over-used aspects of the Trek 'verse by virtue of it being the Valeris novel, and this means he's having to fight upstream. Not the best Trek lit, but I have no real complaints.
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Old August 3 2011, 10:04 PM   #55
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Re: Star Trek: Cast No Shadow Review Thread

Nasat:

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Old August 3 2011, 10:13 PM   #56
Deranged Nasat
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Re: Star Trek: Cast No Shadow Review Thread

ToddCam wrote: View Post
Nasat:

That's a point. That is indeed the most interesting established fact about the race, and I agree that exploring it (particularly in a manner that dealt with some of the odd layers of assumptions and/or aversions that can be read into the on-screen portrayal, one way or the other) would have been nice. On the other hand, I suppose it was also nice that Swallow didn't try to shoehorn them in if they didn't really fit.
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Last edited by Deranged Nasat; August 3 2011 at 11:18 PM.
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Old August 4 2011, 12:21 AM   #57
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Re: Star Trek: Cast No Shadow Review Thread

Jedi_Master wrote: View Post
JoeZhang wrote: View Post
Jedi_Master wrote: View Post


Just because the "childhood trauma" has been used many times in fiction does NOT mean that no writer can use it ever ever ever.
Now I think about it, the other thing that's bugging me is a very particular Star Trek cliche - "Vulcans are a very emotional people no matter how they try and repress it" - that's been done to death as well over the last decade.

Chuckle. There must be a lot of Star Trek fiction that you avoid then. Trek lit is one of the most cliche cluttered environments in fiction.
You must not read much. I'll admit they might not be the greatest thing in the history of literature, but I wouldn't go that far.
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Old August 4 2011, 09:13 PM   #58
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Re: Star Trek: Cast No Shadow Review Thread

I'm about half way through the book and I am loving it. I wish there was more in the "Sulu/Excelsior" line. I could see them doing an entire series on this and it being popular.
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Old August 8 2011, 05:45 PM   #59
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Re: Star Trek: Cast No Shadow Review Thread

About half or so through. Liking it a lot, will post more later.
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Old August 8 2011, 08:45 PM   #60
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Re: Star Trek: Cast No Shadow Review Thread

I finished it yesterday. I neither thought it was great or was trash.
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