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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 Peaceable Kingdoms.
Outstanding 18 20.45%
Above Average 36 40.91%
Average 30 34.09%
Below Average 3 3.41%
Poor 1 1.14%
Voters: 88. You may not vote on this poll

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Old January 2 2014, 06:45 PM   #46
Reanok
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I've read five chapters so far and I like the way the story is unfolding and how Picard and Riker and their allies are dealing with trying to find any way to stop Ishan being elected Federation President.
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Old January 3 2014, 01:43 AM   #47
Paper Moon
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Romulan_spy wrote: View Post
Jarvisimo wrote: View Post
Why is everyone's particular history repeated so much! Everything feels extremely unnecessarily explained. This is the fifth book in a series: really, the reader can - should - be trusted to know who most people are and recall events from the prior 4 (for example: really, Dygal's history? A major character in book 2 needs re-introduction? Or Sakoura needs another mention? Or Tom Riker needs a reintroduction after the rather effortless introduction of such a major player of Book 4? Etc).
I noticed that too. It is as though the book was going out of its way to be as much of a standalone book as possible. Perhaps the publisher put pressure on the author to include these passage so that the book would be more accessible to new readers who had not read the previous books?
I didn't notice as much restatement from earlier books as I did restatement from earlier within the book (as I mentioned in my review). Overall, the whole thing felt like it needed some more careful editing, both at the fundamental level of the prose and at the higher level of the pacing and story focuses.
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Old January 3 2014, 07:43 AM   #48
Sci
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Re: "Standalone."

I think one of the things we're hitting up against here is a lack of definitions. What, exactly, does it mean to say that a novel is "standalone?" What does it mean to say that it's "serialized?" What are the degrees by which elements may be serialized or not before a book is firmly in one category or another?

One of the criticisms leveled at Revelation and Dust was that it was too serialized -- too much of it involved plot elements that either drew from or would be followed up on in other books. Now, we're seeing criticism that Peaceable Kingdoms is too standalone -- that it goes to too much trouble to make sure that those who might not have read other books can follow what's going on.

For my money, I thought it was pretty clear from previous Pocket Star Trek crossover "events" how their standard serialization model works -- usually each novel tells a complete story in its own right, but also draws upon and advances story elements that will then get passed on to subsequent books. This is how it usually works; this is what I expecting when I picked up each book. I had no reason to expect anything different this time around. Cold Equations did the same thing last year.



Lastly, thinking about this today made me realize just how much of the last several years of TrekLit has been political thriller. And, for the most part, that's been great. But, especially as I think about A Choice of Futures or The Body Electric, I do wonder what the cost of that has been. Has it really been worth not getting a dozen novels about exploring strange new worlds? I don't know.
1. A Choice of Futures was both political thriller and exploring strange new worlds; the two need not be in conflict.

2. You're overlooking all the books released over the last few years since Destiny that have not been political thrillers. To wit:

  • TTN: Over a Torrent Sea
  • VOY: Full Circle
  • TTN: Synthesis
  • TOS: Inception
  • Seven Deadly Sins (anthology)
  • TOS: Unspoken Truth
  • TOS: The Children of Kings
  • TNG: Indistinguishable from Magic
  • DTI: Watching the Clock
  • VOY: Unworthy
  • VOY: Children of the Storm
  • TOS: A Choice of Catastrophes
  • TOS: The Rings of Time
  • TOS: That Which Divides
  • DTI: Forgotten History
  • TTN: Fallen Gods (arguable)
  • VOY: The Eternal Tide
  • TNG: Cold Equations - The Persistence of Memory (arguable)
  • TNG: Cold Equations - The Body Electric
  • TOS: Allegiance in Exile
  • TOS: Devil's Bargain
  • TOS: The Weight of Worlds
  • TOS: The Folded World
  • TOS: The Shocks of Adversity
  • TOS: From History's Shadow

So I for one think we haven't wanted for novels about exploring strange new worlds.

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Old January 3 2014, 08:05 AM   #49
Skywalker
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

To be honest, a dozen novels about exploring strange new worlds sounds just as unappealing to me as does a dozen novels about political drama. It's easy to say that Trek has been heavy on the political stuff lately because we just got through five straight months of it, but Sci's right, there's still been a good mix of stuff over the last couple of years.

Well, not for me. I'm not much of a 5YM fan, and a lot of those 'strange new worlds' books are 5YM era, if I remember right. But to be honest I'm more into the political stuff anyway.
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Old January 3 2014, 10:21 AM   #50
Nob Akimoto
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)



Also, just addressing main point, because I don't really want to get into real world political discussions.(If you'd like to discuss that, you can always PM me, Sci, and I'll point you to my extensive blogging on the subject).

Last edited by Nob Akimoto; January 3 2014 at 10:43 AM.
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Old January 3 2014, 04:41 PM   #51
Jedi_Master
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Just finished the novel today. Just a bit above average.

I enjoyed the overall thrust of the series, but I feel that Dayton Ward must have drawn the short straw to get the last novel. This series had used up its dramatic tension in "The Poisoned Chalice" and all that was left was for the in universe characters to learn what the reader already knew, and to reveal some additional details and motivations. So it is not Mr. Ward's fault, but this novel really felt a bit thin.

What I liked:

Crusher - got to have a real part in the story, which rarely happens.

The TV Characters - also got to be a focal part of the story, which again seems to be a rare occurrence. I feel the writers sometimes forget how much we love those characters. We can hear their voices and imagine their movements when we read the sequences that focus on them, which is far more difficult to do when we are talking about Lieutenant Wasina Backgroundshott or Ensign Random CoolAlien.

Tom Riker - I enjoyed how he is a "alternate universe" type version of Will Riker. Plus, what story isn't better with a no-holds barred badass antihero?

The focus of Starfleet at the end of the story - Great choice! Let's get back to exploring! A series of Enterprise novels that are like the Voyager and Titan novels would make me very, very happy.

The way the series presented the consequences of the right and wrong choices. I think that the soul of the Federation has been in flux since the Dominion War. I think the writers have shown the existential struggle quite excellently. This series seems to have been the apex of that narrative, showing how a series of decisions - even though they were made with good motive - can lead to fundamental changes in the way the Federation and Starfleet works. This series seemed to resolve that struggle, and to set the Federation back onto the course established in TOS and TNG. I think that in the future we will see fewer big political/social/conspiracy/war arcs and more one off novels and exploration stories.

Action scenes: not only were they well written, but they felt very "Trek". I could picture each of them, even the underground temple/cave fight, being on the 90's TV shows. Nicely done.

Things I did not like:

Exposition. Felt like I was reading Memory Beta at times. I think there has to be a more subtle way to do exposition than just big dumps of data every time Sonya Gomez appears in the story.

Ishan's secret - come on guys you can do better than "false identity". Sigh.

The big reveal of Ishan's secret. I personally dislike big dramatic reveals.


Anyways, overall good but not great. Not sure if this last novel would have been able to be great considering what there was to work with, but Ward has done better work that is for sure. Looking forward to the next series of Trek novels. Bring on the exploration!
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Old January 3 2014, 07:32 PM   #52
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)



ETA:

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Old January 3 2014, 08:41 PM   #53
Jedi_Master
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

[QUOTE=Sci;9080701]


ETA:

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Old January 3 2014, 08:53 PM   #54
Sci
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

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Old January 3 2014, 10:54 PM   #55
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Loved this book for the following reasons:

1. Covert ops/spy action relevant to today's headlines? Checked.
2. Traditional star trek ship to ship action? Checked.
3. Political thriller? Checked.
4. NCIS/CSI foresnic story lines? Checked.
5. Updates on the TNG crew? Checked.
6. La Forge finally getting a girlfriend? CHECKED! I would argue at some point Data had more 'game' than he did haha. Good to see Geordi is moving on up!

I'd have to say this book was the best in "The Fall" series. Plus I would argue that this entire "The Fall" series has just been spectacular. I am excited to see Trek Lit is still going strong and can't wait to see where it leads to.

Thank you to all the authors and editors!

PS - Please continue to bring back Tom Riker in future stories!
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Old January 4 2014, 09:33 AM   #56
Mage
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

About 200 pages in now, certainly enjoying it. But with this being the last of this series, and talk of 'things changing for the 24th century novels', it doesn't feel like it's heading to something big. I don't feel like I'm reading the last novel in a series.

We'll see at the end of today I think, should have it finished by then.
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Old January 4 2014, 12:11 PM   #57
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

My short thoughts on Peaceable Kingdoms:

Average.

There were large portions that were bogged down by minute details that needn't be given to the reader. For example, I skipped several paragraphs at a time describing that planet, and didn't feel I missed a thing.

The pacing was chopped up again by flashbacks, though at least these were new content. Some editor was again asleep at the wheel.

Once the book had slogged uphill to the point where the Enterprise encountered the freighter, things started to pick up a bit. The comic book villainy of these spec ops characters, and their seemingly never-working plans and traps kinda ruins it, though. (How many times this series did this type of character exhibit the same failings?)

The ending... well, it's better than no ending. Neat little bow? No.



Now, some comments on The Fall as a whole:

Yeah, R&D was completely unnecessary. But I'll take one stinker that deserves flushing down the toilet if I get one like The Crimson Shadow and a few average reads. I'd like to hear from the defenders of R&D, who said that novel would be an integral part of The Fall. It really doesn't appear to be the case at all. So many threads from R&D, and the only one closed was the assassination. What was the rest of that book for?

The idea of the assassination was a lot more appealing than the end result of The Fall as a whole. There was just too much fluff and filler in the set. Drop 80% of R&D, edit out portions of 3 others (The Crimson Shadow can be left alone, in my opinion) and you've got a 3 book series that holds together much more tightly, and tells a story much more succinctly. The Powers That Be seemingly couldn't decide whether they wanted a series of standalone novels touching on a common thread or a serial novel telling a single story. This resulted in a schizophrenic set of books that at some points relied too heavily on flashbacks and rehash, and at other times had to skim over some possibly interesting background stories because the books were already getting too long.

Overall, the series was Average. It started with one of the worst Trek novels I've ever read. One of the worst novels I've ever read, period. But The Crimson Shadow was one of the best. The others adequately played their roles.
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Old January 4 2014, 02:16 PM   #58
Mage
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Finished it.

Not sure. Writing, characterfeel, all those thing were great. And the plot itself wasn't bad or anything. It's just that.... I had expected more. A bigger reveal, bigger changes at the end, big changes for certain characters.

All in all though, I really enjoyed The Fall as a series, perhaps not the best in TrekLit ever, but certainly a fun and gripping read.
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Old January 4 2014, 07:35 PM   #59
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Average.

No blockbuster finish. Removal of a guy who was only inserted into the position with this series. It's weird that the only changes that really effect trek as a whole (andor repro resolution & rejoining, Garak elevation, bashir out) happened in the middle of the series.

Crusher's group vs the keystone cops wasn't that interesting, riker's hunt for the starfleet connection (random admiral 3048304) wasn't that interesting...nothing in this book particularly grabbed me

To be honest I thought the last two "A Time" books did political intrigue better in two books then The Fall did in five.

Going out on exploration isn't particularly impressive either - had we never had "the fall" series this could have been done by Bacco anyway. Just felt that this series created its own problem president to solve, which'd have been ok if...we hadn't already had that before :/

Well at least we should get more pure exploration books from now on.
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Old January 4 2014, 07:41 PM   #60
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

JeBuS wrote: View Post
There were large portions that were bogged down by minute details that needn't be given to the reader. For example, I skipped several paragraphs at a time describing that planet, and didn't feel I missed a thing.
Describing the setting is a "minute detail?" This is a traditional task of all novels.

The pacing was chopped up again by flashbacks, though at least these were new content. Some editor was again asleep at the wheel.
You know, your argument would be stronger if you didn't frame it in terms of, "I didn't like this, so the people who made it are incompetent." I contend that the story was not "chopped up" by the flashbacks -- that the flashbacks were an important part of the story that helped frame the themes and characters.

Once the book had slogged uphill to the point where the Enterprise encountered the freighter, things started to pick up a bit. The comic book villainy of these spec ops characters, and their seemingly never-working plans and traps kinda ruins it, though.
What was "comic book villainy" about the mercenaries?

Yeah, R&D was completely unnecessary.
In a mini-series about the consequences of a presidential assassination, the novel about the assassination itself is unnecessary? I disagree.

I'd like to hear from the defenders of R&D, who said that novel would be an integral part of The Fall. It really doesn't appear to be the case at all. So many threads from R&D, and the only one closed was the assassination.
As I and others said at the time, Revelation and Dust was there both to be part of The Fall and to continue (and set up future installments of) the Deep Space Nine series. Plenty of threads were set up in Avatar, Books One and Two that were later followed up in subsequent DSN novels, and I fully anticipate that being the case with Revelation and Dust.

The idea of the assassination was a lot more appealing than the end result of The Fall as a whole. There was just too much fluff and filler in the set. Drop 80% of R&D, edit out portions of 3 others (The Crimson Shadow can be left alone, in my opinion) and you've got a 3 book series that holds together much more tightly, and tells a story much more succinctly. The Powers That Be seemingly couldn't decide whether they wanted a series of standalone novels touching on a common thread or a serial novel telling a single story.
I find this complaint absurd. You're essentially arguing that a novel must only ever either be one extreme or the other -- either completely "standalone," or completely serialized. That hasn't been the way most books in a Star Trek miniseries have been written for going on 15 years now, and it's an arbitrary standard to hold them to.

The standard plotting model for these kinds of miniseries is, each book tells a complete story in and of itself while also continuing or setting up plot elements for subsequent books. Often, they also continue or set up plot elements from series outside of that miniseries, to be continued outside of that miniseries. For instance, A Ceremony of Losses followed up on developments from the novel Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game, and the fate of Julian Bashir following The Fall will be followed up in the novel Section 31: Disavowed.

This is not "schizophrenic," nor does it mean they need to be "edited down." These books have no obligation to show the kind of narrow-minded focus you seem to want; these are novels, not television scripts.

Overall, the series was Average. It started with one of the worst Trek novels I've ever read. One of the worst novels I've ever read, period.
If Revelation and Dust was one of the worst novels you have ever read, then you have had a startlingly positive literary history and have managed to avoid a huge percentage of published novels that are far, far inferior.
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