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

View Poll Results: Rate Forgotten History.
Outstanding 55 51.40%
Above Average 38 35.51%
Average 9 8.41%
Below Average 3 2.80%
Poor 2 1.87%
Voters: 107. You may not vote on this poll

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Old May 8 2012, 04:06 AM   #196
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Re: DTI: Forgotten History by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Wow, another great, incredibly detailed and thoughtful review, Deranged Nasat. I think the book you interpreted is better than the book I wrote.

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
I liked the Vedala; I don't recall them being used before (other than in the original TAS episode and, presumably, its novelization).
Yup. I felt they were overdue for exploration, though I didn't really penetrate their mysteries very deeply.

I particularly appreciated the Vedala representative's satisfied response to "peace and long life" - "that is most likely". Oh, to be a contented space-kitty. I get the feeling they appreciate the gesture, but only in terms of what it shows about T’Nuri, the Vulcans and the Federation, not for its intended purpose as a bridge between two individuals (or societies). After all, the Federation is not the equal of the Vedala, it’s a “child civilization”; it seems to be developing nicely but it’s not anything they’d want to associate with. So I liked the slight sense of miscommunication, as though something didn’t quite connect there, but we can see why given the Vedalas’ general attitude. A give and take that ended up being a give and a "we acknowledge your give", but not a take. Never mind. It’s good that Kirk, Spock, T’Nuri, et al are too secure in themselves and/or humble to take offense. I get the impression that the Vedala would respond with scorn if they tried the “I can haz respect?” angle.
Hm, I just meant it as being sort of polite, matter-of-fact reassurance. "Thanks for the good wishes, and you'll be happy to know they'll probably be fulfilled." And just because it was an alien, I wanted to have it react in an unexpected way rather than fulfill the familiar ritual.



As a final point regarding aliens and cultural identity, I liked how Mars had a Tellarite councillor, not a human one. And that he’s apparently personally invested in exploring the historical role of his planet’s Tellarite population. That’s a nice detail to reinforce the complexity of the Federation. It’s not just an alliance of multiple worlds and species, but of all the little cultural microclimates that result when they interact with each other in any one of a million ways. They should all intersect, albeit some more than others. So it was nice to see Martian Tellarite added to the Federation’s complement.
I just get so tired of all the human characters being from Earth, all the Vulcans being from Vulcan, all the Andorians being from Andor(ia), etc. Where are the immigrant communities?

However, I'm not sure I got the chronology right, since Mars was colonized in the Trekverse well before first contact with the Tellarites.


On the character angle, I like how Delgado and Grey’s relationship and shifting motivations occurred “off camera”. I know that’s to maintain the surprises inherent in their final characterizations (I’ll get to that in a bit), but it came across as something more. It contributed to the sense that this is a fully realized universe we just happen to be intersecting for a particular story; it gives the impression that people have lives outside of the main plot or the purview of the reader. I suppose that reinforces too that I’m a fan of the universe itself and not just the stories, and that the best novels give the impression of worlds largely than those we see.
I'm glad you saw it that way, because I felt it was a weak link in the book and that I was hampered by the structure from really fleshing out their characters adequately.


Also, I just realized: The first director of the DTI was named Grey. This is also very good.
Oh, you mean like how the agents wear/are described as gray. I don't recall if that resonance ever occurred to me. Grey, of course, was a minor character from "Yesteryear," and I just wanted to use her in some capacity, and decided that it could work if she were the first DTI director. (I wasn't sure whether this would be labeled as DTI or TOS, so I tried to incorporate as many TOS/TAS elements as I could in case it were the latter.)
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Old May 8 2012, 10:04 AM   #197
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Re: DTI: Forgotten History by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Christopher wrote: View Post
Hm, I just meant it as being sort of polite, matter-of-fact reassurance. "Thanks for the good wishes, and you'll be happy to know they'll probably be fulfilled." And just because it was an alien, I wanted to have it react in an unexpected way rather than fulfill the familiar ritual.
Ah. Clearly I'm too cynical to fully appreciate an audience with the Vedala; I'm reading too much (still well-meaning) distaste underneath their pleasant manner. I assume they'd see that as a sign of my own charming insecurity, befitting a member of a still up-and-coming child race...

I guess I over-read the degree to which they felt the need to maintain the distance between their own society and the younger races. But I suppose they're too self-assured and content to be have any insecurity over the exchanges on those rare occasions they decide contact is warrented. I suppose the urge to have the feline race be fickle and aloof in accordance with cat stereotypes might come into it, too...

Christopher wrote: View Post
However, I'm not sure I got the chronology right, since Mars was colonized in the Trekverse well before first contact with the Tellarites.
On the other hand, I suppose the planet's development would still be incomplete, and the Tellarites have been in space longer than humans and might be more familiar with building effective colonies. Maybe when the Federation was founded the Tellarites supplied some of their expertise to Mars' continuing self-sufficiency (especially as some of the Martians left early in the Romulan War; were Chakotay's tribe the only ones to depart?). And maybe Earth's resources were too depleted by the war and Mars was more dependent on alien support in the years afterward than most people realize? Which might be why it's felt by some that the contributions of the Tellarite settlers are somewhat overlooked.

Christopher wrote: View Post
Also, I just realized: The first director of the DTI was named Grey. This is also very good.
Oh, you mean like how the agents wear/are described as gray. I don't recall if that resonance ever occurred to me. Grey, of course, was a minor character from "Yesteryear," and I just wanted to use her in some capacity, and decided that it could work if she were the first DTI director. (I wasn't sure whether this would be labeled as DTI or TOS, so I tried to incorporate as many TOS/TAS elements as I could in case it were the latter.)
Yes, I just thought it amusingly appropriate that the first director's name set the tone for the department's dress and manner. I imagine that Federation citizens who have interacted with the DTI and then looked at its spacewikipedia article would make a joke about it.
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Old May 8 2012, 02:04 PM   #198
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Re: DTI: Forgotten History by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
I suppose the urge to have the feline race be fickle and aloof in accordance with cat stereotypes might come into it, too...
I try to avoid treating aliens as exact analogues to whatever Earthly species they happen to resemble. Although that cliche is more excusable in Trek than elsewhere, assuming the First Humanoids' programmed DNA influences life on multiple worlds to develop in broadly similar directions.


On the other hand, I suppose the planet's development would still be incomplete, and the Tellarites have been in space longer than humans and might be more familiar with building effective colonies. Maybe when the Federation was founded the Tellarites supplied some of their expertise to Mars' continuing self-sufficiency (especially as some of the Martians left early in the Romulan War; were Chakotay's tribe the only ones to depart?).
I thought that the vote went the other way, and the Native American community on Mars decided not to move away just yet.


And maybe Earth's resources were too depleted by the war and Mars was more dependent on alien support in the years afterward than most people realize? Which might be why it's felt by some that the contributions of the Tellarite settlers are somewhat overlooked.
I guess the problem is I mentioned the role that Tellarites played in Mars's "colonial history," which strictly speaking would mean the period before Mars became an independent state. The first known human contact with the Tellarites was in 2152 (a staticky comm transmission in "Dead Stop"), whereas according to Beneath the Raptor's Wing, Mars became independent nearly half a century before then.

But the scene was from Delgado's POV, and I guess he could've been misusing the word "colonial" in his thoughts. There would've still been a lot of new settlements being established in the late 22nd century and beyond, and he might've mistakenly thought of them as "colonial" even though they were independent.

Or were they? When SF deals with the trope of Martian independence, it routinely treats the whole planet as a unit and assumes it all gets independence at once. But the various colonies in North and South America won their independence from their parent nations at various different times. So it's possible that some nations on Mars could be sovereign while others elsewhere on the planet were still colonies. But that seems unlikely in the context of Trek, where planets are traditionally treated as uniform political entities. Once United Earth or certainly the UFP was founded, they would've probably recognized and respected the independence of all Mars. And that would still be before any substantial Tellarite population would've settled.

So it's a one-word goof, but it still bugs me, because it's the result of sloppy research on my part. I wouldn't have used that word if I'd been clearer about the chronology of Martian independence and Tellarite contact.


Yes, I just thought it amusingly appropriate that the first director's name set the tone for the department's dress and manner. I imagine that Federation citizens who have interacted with the DTI and then looked at its spacewikipedia article would make a joke about it.
They would, of course, have consulted Memory Alpha.
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Old May 9 2012, 12:19 AM   #199
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Re: DTI: Forgotten History by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

IIRC, ENT: Beneath the Raptor's Wng established that the Martian colonies became independent and established themselves as a single sovereign state called the Confederated Martian Colonies in 2105. Articles of the Federation established United Earth itself to have been founded in 2130.

Perhaps that's the source of Delgado's confusion/inaccurate word choice -- Mars's formal name is still the Confederated Martian Colonies, even though it's independent of Earth. This does bring up the question of why they kept the name "Colonies" even though they're no longer a colonial possession of any Earth nations. My reckoning would simply be that the definition of the word "colony" has expanded in the Trekverse, to sometimes encompass any settlement on a planet lacking indigenous life (perhaps especially those which are not technologically/industrially self-sufficient because it's not an M-class planet), irrelevant of its actual political status/sovereignty -- perhaps because the pioneer mentality, the "colonist" identity, is something they take pride in even if they're not colonists in the traditional sense of the term (i.e., being subject to "the old country's" authority)?

ETA:

To be fair, the Confederated Martian Colonies's -- and the United Rigel Colonies's -- name is no more inaccurate than, say, that of the United States of America. When the Declaration of Independence was issued in 1776, it didn't declare the existence of a single new sovereign state -- rather, it was declaring that each individual colony was now its own separate sovereign state, independent both of the Kingdom of Great Britain and of each other. (That's why it referred to itself as a declaration of the "thirteen united States of America," rather than "the United States of America" -- all nouns were capitalized in 18th Century English, and "united" was not part of the name; they were all independent of each other.) Later on, a confederation of these independent states was created called "the United States of America," and when the confederation was abolished and the current federation established under the Constitution, that federation retained the name. But, really, the name is completely inaccurate -- U.S. states aren't states in any meaningful sense; they're really provinces.

Perhaps something similar is at work with the Confederated Martian Colonies -- the name kept out of inertia/emotional attachment to the word "colonies," to the point where the word evolved to develop a new meaning, just as the word "states" remains in the U.S.'s name.
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Old May 9 2012, 02:07 AM   #200
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Re: DTI: Forgotten History by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Since Forgotten Histroy incorporated so much from TAS, does that mean we consider all things from TAS as having happened? So somewhere, out there, is a giant Spock? If so, I hope he goes to Romulus.
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Old May 9 2012, 03:35 AM   #201
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Re: DTI: Forgotten History by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

MatthiasRussell wrote: View Post
Since Forgotten Histroy incorporated so much from TAS, does that mean we consider all things from TAS as having happened?
I don't think so. Heck, there are parts of other series' canon that I don't consider to have happened, and that nobody else seems to either since they've been contradicted in later productions, like "The Alternative Factor"'s portrayal of antimatter, or ST V's portrayal of the center of the galaxy as easily reachable, or the entirety of "Threshold."

Canon is not some exhaustive mandate. Canon is simply the pretense that a bunch of different made-up stories represent a coherent reality. But any canon has mistakes or bits that don't quite work and that get ignored or retconned away later on. Since it's all just pretending to be real in the first place, it can equally well pretend that parts of it never happened.

While TAS is a pretty solid series overall, there are a number of episodes that just don't make any sense or that are inconsistent with what was established later (or earlier; I don't see any way to reconcile Stavos Keniclius and his backstory with Trek history as it had been established in TOS, let alone in subsequent series). Personally I only count about 2/3 of it as "real."
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Old May 9 2012, 03:51 AM   #202
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Re: DTI: Forgotten History by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Threshold may not have happened!?! I would happily ignore that episode. It is probably THE worst VOY episode.

ST V has my favorite all time trek quotes in it. "I need my pain!" and "What does God need with a starship?" Plus Vanguard talks about Nimbus III. I'm looking forward to "Cold Equations" to see if David Mack somehow comments on ST V when Wesley takes the Enterprise to the center of the galaxy.

I'm curious to know what elements of TAS you would discard? I thought it was interesting that you refer to the ship graveyard society from the Time Trap, however the USS Bonaventure doesn't fit into continuity.

I have to give you props again for using the life support belts. I thought that was one of the neatest ideas from TAS and you did a great job explaining why they were never seen again. I hope Starfleet eventually works out the problems.
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Old May 9 2012, 04:49 AM   #203
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Re: DTI: Forgotten History by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

MatthiasRussell wrote: View Post
Threshold may not have happened!?! I would happily ignore that episode. It is probably THE worst VOY episode.
Even the person who wrote the episode has declared that it never happened.


ST V has my favorite all time trek quotes in it. "I need my pain!" and "What does God need with a starship?" Plus Vanguard talks about Nimbus III.
Again, my point is that it's not all or nothing, that since it's all made up, one can choose to ignore details that don't fit. The fact is, there are only three near-consecutive sentences in the entire movie that even mention the center of the galaxy, so one can just ignore that 30 seconds or so (plus the impossibly high turboshaft with decks numbered in the wrong direction) and accept the rest.

I'm looking forward to "Cold Equations" to see if David Mack somehow comments on ST V when Wesley takes the Enterprise to the center of the galaxy.
I raised that question when we talked about it a few months back, and I got the impression that he didn't plan on it.


I'm curious to know what elements of TAS you would discard? I thought it was interesting that you refer to the ship graveyard society from the Time Trap, however the USS Bonaventure doesn't fit into continuity.
Again, one can selectively disregard or reinterpret details that don't fit. The line that the Bonaventure was "The first ship with warp drive" obviously can't be taken literally, but there have been references to it in tie-in literature as the first ship with a particular type of warp drive.

There are 7 TAS episodes I tend to discount:
  • "The Infinite Vulcan" for the problematical historical references and the giant clones (and buying intelligent plants is a reach, though I could probably live with it if not for the rest).
  • "The Magicks of Megas-tu" for the ease of travel to the galactic center and the story's dependence on a completely discredited Hoylean steady-state cosmological model (which we know is false in the Trek universe because the Big Bang has been repeatedly referenced).
  • "The Slaver Weapon" since there's no way to reconcile its alleged Earth-Kzinti war history with Trek history, and because I’d rather not mix Known Space with Trek.
  • "The Terratin Incident" because of the ridiculous explanation for people shrinking because their DNA was curling up tighter. Living things aren't made exclusively of DNA; it's found only in chromosomes, and if the strands coiled tighter they'd just stop working and the result would be death, not shrinking.
  • "The Practical Joker" because the holographic rec room is too advanced for the era, the Enterprise computer is too sentient, the effects of nitrous oxide are misrepresented, and it doesn't make sense that a second passage through the cosmic cloud would cure damage from the first passage. (This episode was written by someone who usually wrote for Filmation's comedy cartoons, and it shows.)
  • "How Sharper than a Serpent’s Tooth" because the mythology of Kukulkan is grossly misrepresented, as is the chronology of ancient civilizations; plus there's no way ancient tech could build an interstellar signaling device as shown.
  • "The Counter-Clock Incident" because nothing about its premise makes the tiniest bit of sense and the whole thing is idiotic.


I have to give you props again for using the life support belts. I thought that was one of the neatest ideas from TAS and you did a great job explaining why they were never seen again. I hope Starfleet eventually works out the problems.
I think they're a terrible idea, for the reason I explained in the book. What sense is there in entrusting your life to a device that doesn't have a safe failure mode, a "suit" that simply vanishes in an instant if it has a power failure?
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Old May 9 2012, 01:22 PM   #204
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Re: DTI: Forgotten History by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Finished the other day and couldn't put this book down. A good sequel/prequel book for sure. Glad to see more of the Enterprise in the post TMP era as well. Finding out the true reason of Enterprise's refit was awesome.
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Old May 9 2012, 02:02 PM   #205
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Re: DTI: Forgotten History by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Christopher wrote: View Post
"The Counter-Clock Incident" because nothing about its premise makes the tiniest bit of sense and the whole thing is idiotic.
When Spock made the comment "a universe where everything is reversed, the ships all fly backwards. Logical." I just thought "that's not logical. Not at all."
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Old May 9 2012, 02:55 PM   #206
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Re: DTI: Forgotten History by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Trek isn't a strict "X happened by Y didn't because of Z" canon. It's a loose mythology where writers pick-and-choose which bits they want to follow and which bits they want to ignore.

"Threshold" never happened? Yet one of the stories in "The Lives of Dax" is a direct prequel to it. Gene Rodenberry didn't like Star Trek's V or VI? Yet Sybok is in the novel "Sarek", and VI has had a bajillion references and sequels over the years.

Heck, get too all-or-nothing nitpicky and "Ex Machina" has to go, due to the awkward attempt to reconcile ENT's early stuff about Vulcan taboos and mind melding with TOS and TNG, prior to ENT's season four Vulcan Reformation story.
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Old May 9 2012, 03:27 PM   #207
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Re: DTI: Forgotten History by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

The Wormhole wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
"The Counter-Clock Incident" because nothing about its premise makes the tiniest bit of sense and the whole thing is idiotic.
When Spock made the comment "a universe where everything is reversed, the ships all fly backwards. Logical." I just thought "that's not logical. Not at all."

Hey, Red Dwarf made it work! They even made an explanation that as the universe collapsed back upon itself, time moved backwards.
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Old May 9 2012, 03:37 PM   #208
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Re: DTI: Forgotten History by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

KingDaniel wrote: View Post
"Threshold" never happened? Yet one of the stories in "The Lives of Dax" is a direct prequel to it.
Only in the sense that it uses the same definition and mechanics of transwarp drive that "Threshold" did. It doesn't actually reference any of the story specifics, since it's a prequel.


Heck, get too all-or-nothing nitpicky and "Ex Machina" has to go, due to the awkward attempt to reconcile ENT's early stuff about Vulcan taboos and mind melding with TOS and TNG, prior to ENT's season four Vulcan Reformation story.
It's not that difficult to reconcile. Just because the Reformation happened, that doesn't mean every single Vulcan in existence embraced it in lockstep. There would surely be some who stubbornly clung to the old beliefs and assumptions, and Commisioner Soreth can be rationalized as one of those purists. After all, he was a particularly pigheaded and narrow-minded individual.
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Old May 9 2012, 04:31 PM   #209
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Re: DTI: Forgotten History by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Christopher wrote: View Post
KingDaniel wrote: View Post
Heck, get too all-or-nothing nitpicky and "Ex Machina" has to go, due to the awkward attempt to reconcile ENT's early stuff about Vulcan taboos and mind melding with TOS and TNG, prior to ENT's season four Vulcan Reformation story.
It's not that difficult to reconcile. Just because the Reformation happened, that doesn't mean every single Vulcan in existence embraced it in lockstep. There would surely be some who stubbornly clung to the old beliefs and assumptions, and Commisioner Soreth can be rationalized as one of those purists. After all, he was a particularly pigheaded and narrow-minded individual.
I think Christopher's point is that 'canon' is an entirely flexible intellectual construct we apply to a set of texts that cannot be (in the model of those far more important canons of scriptures from history) anything but wildly dissonant, being produced by different creative minds and across different periods of time. Of course Ex Machina could be dropped from a canon (say as done in Crucible, producedafter EM's publication), since the idea of canonicity is illusionary - it has no actual weight beyond an agreement made between agreeing minds. Canon is simply an epistemological device that allows easier appreciation of items and themes acros texts linked by previously-agreed association, and though it suggests automatic coherence or unified formation, as happens with the religions or franchises that attempt to define canons from disparate sources there is divergence, and exegesis and analysis is required to stitch together understandings of how canon could fit together - and what cannot fit with those arguments.
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Old May 9 2012, 06:13 PM   #210
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Re: DTI: Forgotten History by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

^... What he said.
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