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Old September 2 2008, 12:22 AM   #1
LutherSloan
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My review of "Kobayashi Maru" [SPOILERS!]

I just finished reading the new Enterprise-era novel "Kobayashi Maru", and it exceeded my expectations.

My overall impression of the novel was that the authors took the best parts of the preceding book 'The Good That Men Do', and stepped up the pace and urgency for KM, since it is essentially the lead-in novel to the Earth-Romulan War, not unlike how 'Greater than the Sum' was the lead-in novel to the upcoming 'Destiny' trilogy.

KM starts right where TGTMD left off, with the unsteady Coalition of Planets barely holding itself together, thanks to a series of raids on cargo ships. Quickly the Coalition appears on the verge of war with the Klingons, when several Klingon ships are found responsible for attacks on Earth and allied vessels. However, after talking with Admiral Krell (from the two-part TV series episode involving the virus that destroys the forehead ridges), Captain Archer realizes that the Klingons likely aren't to blame for these attacks, and that something else is going on.

One thing that I didn't understand was why it took so long for Travis Mayweather to hear about the disappearance of the ECS Horizon, his family's vessel. Even though the Enterprise was around the region of space for most of the time during and after the Horizon's disappearance, it still took about two weeks for Travis to hear about it. I found that odd.

This novel also only created more questions regarding the loyalty of the Vulcan officer Sopek (or Chu'eiv as a Romulan). It seemed at the end of the book like he was actually a Romulan who had earned enough trust to become a member of the V'Shar (Vulcan Intelligence Service), and had been working against Trip all along. However, he never really tried to deliberately kill him, even though he had multiple opportunities.

Overall the book does a great job of moving the pieces into place for the Earth/Romulan War, although I felt like things weren't looking too hot for the Coalition with the Romulans' perceived technological advantages.

Rating: 9/10
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Old September 2 2008, 12:53 AM   #2
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Re: My review of "Kobayashi Maru" [SPOILERS!]

Thanks for the review. This book is next to read on my list once I finish with Terry Brooks' newest Shannara novel.


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Old September 2 2008, 06:36 PM   #3
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Re: My review of "Kobayashi Maru" [SPOILERS!]

My review in a word:

5*****. Best. Book. Ever.
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Old September 2 2008, 07:44 PM   #4
Zane Gray
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Re: My review of "Kobayashi Maru" [SPOILERS!]

I'm with you fellars. I'm not sure what the Trek Movie reviewer was thinking. I really liked the book. It's definitely a bridge between the last one and the Romulan war so it's really about setting the scene. If you liked the last one at all though I think you'll really like this one too. Great action, lots of intrigue, excellent characterization.

What I want to know is this: Did any of you get the impression that it was the Vulcans that had developed the remote ship controlling technology to slow Human expansion into deep space, and the Romulans have stolen it somehow and turned it into a weapon?
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Old September 2 2008, 10:41 PM   #5
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Re: My review of "Kobayashi Maru" [SPOILERS!]

Zane Gray wrote: View Post
I Did any of you get the impression that it was the Vulcans that had developed the remote ship controlling technology to slow Human expansion into deep space, and the Romulans have stolen it somehow and turned it into a weapon?

No, it would have been to obvious because Soval has always let it be known how he felt about Earth's expansion into space.

What I want to know is why the Romulans are doing what they are doing? What led to this action?
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Old September 2 2008, 10:46 PM   #6
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Re: My review of "Kobayashi Maru" [SPOILERS!]

Man of Steel wrote: View Post
What I want to know is why the Romulans are doing what they are doing? What led to this action?
Who knows? They're Romulans. This is what they do.
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Old September 3 2008, 12:26 AM   #7
Zane Gray
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Re: My review of "Kobayashi Maru" [SPOILERS!]

Man of Steel wrote: View Post
Zane Gray wrote: View Post
I Did any of you get the impression that it was the Vulcans that had developed the remote ship controlling technology to slow Human expansion into deep space, and the Romulans have stolen it somehow and turned it into a weapon?

No, it would have been to obvious because Soval has always let it be known how he felt about Earth's expansion into space.
I'm not so sure. The Vulcans are clearly trying to cover something up in the book, and there's a scene at the end where Soval and his aides discuss when to reveal that their own ships have been compromised to the humans. There's a specific line in that scene to the effect that Vulcans had been more involved in slowing down human spaceflight than they knew. That led me to wonder if maybe this is a hint that the technology hadn't first been used by the Vulcans to cause difficulties for prototype human warp ships (the NX-Beta for example), and somehow Romulan spies had stolen it, merged the technology with their telepresence/drone ship program and turned it into a weapon.

The exact line is: "Vulcan had played a larger role than humanity would ever know in moderating the break-neck pace of Earth's development into an interstellar species." As Spock might say, "Curious."
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Old September 3 2008, 01:26 AM   #8
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Re: My review of "Kobayashi Maru" [SPOILERS!]

I'm not sure what the Trek Movie reviewer was thinking.
Frankly, I can't help but wonder if he was bluffing --y'know, making it sound BAD so that when we recover from reading the review, and pick up The Book, we will be BLOWN AWAY!

But, to quote Steve Carrell, "If that's it... I'm gonna be SO pissed...."
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Old September 3 2008, 03:03 AM   #9
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Re: My review of "Kobayashi Maru" [SPOILERS!]

Hm... I fall somewhere between the reviewer and everyone who's been loving the book.

I've found up till now I could trust Father Bob's reviews. I'll always form my own opinions of course, but it seems like what Bob likes about Trek and Trek books and what I like tend to be fairly in line. So after reading the Trekmovie review, I was feeling quite apprehensive. In the bookstore, I stood in front of the Star Trek shelf for a good five minutes trying to decide whether I wanted to actually buy it or not. I decided I did want it. I read it.

And... I *did* enjoy it. I just... It felt like there was a lot missing. I remember reading about the planet with mummification, and thinking man, that's cool, but it ended up just... being there... It was this wicked awesome idea of a planet, and it was just a background detail.

It also felt like... like a Dayton3 sort of book. Action and war and intrigue without too much introspection. With a war brewing, with coalition members bickering, with all these subterfuging politics going on, the playing field is rife with possibilities for the ethical exploration that I love so much about Star Trek... but I didn't feel challenged, I didn't feel pushed in anyway. It was just... stuff happening.

I did enjoy the stuff happening. Much more so than Bob, I think. Although I liked the Trip stuff more, I did find myself enjoying the rest of the novel too. It felt well-written, the action was straight-forward and I always knew what was going on. I was always wanting to know what would happen next, especially with Trip... but still... I've finished the book, and I don't have the feelings I've gotten from most Star Trek books I've read recently. Of having learned something, or seeing things in a different light, or having my preconceptions challenged in some way. Which, -I'm realizing as I type this- is a very lofty goal to expect... Which goes to show you how smashingly great ST fiction has been recently for me to have that bar set so high.
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Old September 3 2008, 03:34 AM   #10
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Re: My review of "Kobayashi Maru" [SPOILERS!]

You just go ahead and beleive that.
EDIT: that was to Rush.
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Old September 3 2008, 05:22 AM   #11
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Re: My review of "Kobayashi Maru" [SPOILERS!]

Zane Gray wrote: View Post
Man of Steel wrote: View Post
Zane Gray wrote: View Post
I Did any of you get the impression that it was the Vulcans that had developed the remote ship controlling technology to slow Human expansion into deep space, and the Romulans have stolen it somehow and turned it into a weapon?

No, it would have been to obvious because Soval has always let it be known how he felt about Earth's expansion into space.
I'm not so sure. The Vulcans are clearly trying to cover something up in the book, and there's a scene at the end where Soval and his aides discuss when to reveal that their own ships have been compromised to the humans. There's a specific line in that scene to the effect that Vulcans had been more involved in slowing down human spaceflight than they knew. That led me to wonder if maybe this is a hint that the technology hadn't first been used by the Vulcans to cause difficulties for prototype human warp ships (the NX-Beta for example), and somehow Romulan spies had stolen it, merged the technology with their telepresence/drone ship program and turned it into a weapon.

The exact line is: "Vulcan had played a larger role than humanity would ever know in moderating the break-neck pace of Earth's development into an interstellar species." As Spock might say, "Curious."
Maybe they are still pissed about the P'Jem Incident.
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Old September 3 2008, 08:24 AM   #12
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Re: My review of "Kobayashi Maru" [SPOILERS!]

I did not read anything in the book leading me to believe that the Vulcans developed the technology. If that was the case, why did it take the Romulans so long to use it? They were clearly having problems.

I really thought that part of the book would be Travis Mayweather having to deal with his family's death, but that was postponed until the next installment for whatever reason.
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Old September 3 2008, 04:20 PM   #13
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Re: My review of "Kobayashi Maru" [SPOILERS!]

I really liked this book alot and it leaves you with alot of questions about the Vulcans and Romulans both when it comes to this technology that can take control of other alien ships with such ease and blamed the Klingons for the attacks and the Vulcan ships too.I give this book ***** stars too.There's alot of guessing what the Romulans will do with this technology they used to attacking ships and the Romulans wanting to conquer Vulcan nad Earth. to stop the Coalition of planets.Can't wait to see what happens to the Enterprise crew and what happens with Valdore's scheming plans.
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Old September 4 2008, 01:13 AM   #14
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Re: My review of "Kobayashi Maru" [SPOILERS!]

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
I'm not sure what the Trek Movie reviewer was thinking.
Frankly, I can't help but wonder if he was bluffing --y'know, making it sound BAD so that when we recover from reading the review, and pick up The Book, we will be BLOWN AWAY!
Sorry, but no. As I noted in my review, I loved the Trip story, but found the rest of it to be utterly lacking. I was, and remain, utterly disappointed.

Since this thread is tagged spoilers...

-I could find no legitimate reason at all for the KM to be a retrofitted Klingon vessel. Useless plot thread that went nowhere. Waste of a chapter.

-Reed's cover for not being at his post was utterly stupid. You know that a planet stands on the verge of decimation, and your excuse is you have the runs. Not good enough. Being the tactical officer on a starship isn't like working at Sears. You don't get to call off in the face of the enemy. If you aren't sick enough to be admitted to sickbay under a doctor's care, you aren't too sick to do your job.

-As I recall (read it a while ago, and don't have it handy), Archer finds out about Reed several hours before the battle. You are telling me he doesn't get a report that a shuttlepod is missing during that time? What kind of ship is he running? This paints Archer as utterly incompetent (or at least as leading a group of utter incompetents). I know it's done for dramatic reasons... to stretch out the reveal for him. It makes him look dramatically stupid. Seriously... no bigger than Enterprise is, one of its two shuttles is gone, and nobody reports it. Riiight...

-I still can't believe that Columbia doesn't act in her climactic battle. Yea, yea, I know she did... eventually. But a starship commander needs to be more decisive on the eve of war. I found her lack of action to be utterly unbelievable.

-I couldn't believe the interaction between the leaders of the Coalition either. They fell into petty accusations and began to fracture far too quickly. Just didn't do it for me. No sign of this being a Federation-precursor, just a crappy approximation of the UN. I suppose that can serve a purpose in making the forthcoming war an Earth-Romulan one, but I just looked at the pages slack-jawed, particularlly the further into the book it got.

-Why bother to kill off the Horizon and then not bother with exploring Mayweather's reaction beyond a single emotional moment. Again, I am sure it will be touched on in next year's RW book, but it just felt like a poorly placed easter egg (Horizon) with no genuine payoff.

-The KM conclusion was so predictable... halfway through the book I reached the conclusion that Archer was just going to run away. I am not saying he made the wrong decision, but something... anything to make it more interesting would have been welcome. As it ended, it just would up feeling like "Oh, well, sorry... hope you have a nice afternoon. Say hello to the Romulans for me."

Outside of the Trip/Romulan story, KM just didn't do it for me. In this instance, my tastes and (obviously) most everyone else's differed. So be it. I would love to have seen the entire novel focus on Trip, bringing in the KM at the end somehow... and omitting pretty much everything else. That's me. Your tastes and opinions will vary. The above points killed the book for me, and yes, they somewhat overshadowed what was an effective outing for Trip in my mind.


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Last edited by FatherRob; September 4 2008 at 01:32 AM. Reason: Add my dislikes in a more substantial form.
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Old September 4 2008, 02:58 PM   #15
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Re: My review of "Kobayashi Maru" [SPOILERS!]

^I agree with a good amount of that. The parts with Trip were good, and bits of the Enterprise stuff worked too, but overall, didn't really grab me. I know that a lot of this was setting the stage for the Romulan War books, but it felt a little too much like that's all that was going on. The story felt very unfinished, like it was just the first couple chapters of the main book, and nothing much had happened yet.

Liked parts of it, but left me mostly wishing it was more than it was.
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