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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 4 2014, 09:19 PM   #61
the_wildcard
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Sci wrote: View Post
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.
Agreed. I am surprised anybody would say Relevation and Dust was that bad. I agree it wasn't the 'best' ever trek novel I've ever read. But I thought was at least average at the very, very least. Plus as being in the initial stages of the series, it could not reveal many of the plot lines.
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Old January 4 2014, 09:29 PM   #62
JeBuS
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Sci wrote: View Post
Describing the setting is a "minute detail?" This is a traditional task of all novels.
I wish I felt like arguing with you about this, but I don't. Simply put, a whole lot of writing went into describing the physical details down on the planet. Those details never affected the plot in any manner. I would go back and find a few paragraphs for you, but it's really not worth the effort. And as I said, that was only one example of wasted detail work.

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.
I agree that the flashbacks were an important part of the story. I just think they were inserted at the wrong spots and at the wrong frequency. Several could have been combined, with no ill effect on the pacing.

What was "comic book villainy" about the mercenaries?
Seriously? How does an elite team of special operatives constantly get foiled by one guy, a couple of security officers, and a couple of doctors? That trap aboard the freighter? I mean, it was like watching Mr Bean, The Spy Who Shagged me.

In a mini-series about the consequences of a presidential assassination, the novel about the assassination itself is unnecessary? I disagree.
And yet, followup novels in The Fall did the job of summing up the assassination in a few paragraphs. The reality is, R&D provided nothing to the rest of The Fall that couldn't be done in a summary. Yes, it has apparently setup a bunch of stuff for a DS9 re-relaunch. But that had absolutely nothing to do with The Fall. The assassination was the only thing that linked the book to the rest of The Fall, and it didn't even start in on that until the 2nd half of the book, then proceeded to bumble its way through a half-hearted investigative mystery without conclusion.

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.
That is not at all the argument I'm making. The argument I am making is that there was a whole lot of unnecessary content in The Fall. Unnecessary to the plot of individual books. Unnecessary to the overall plot of The Fall. Unnecessary to any sort of character development.

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.
You're absolutely correct that the authors and editors have no obligation toward me. I also have no obligation to sugar coat their failings. We've already discussed in the R&D thread my belief that anything not necessary for the advancement of the plot is unnecessary to a novel and should be edited out. I haven't changed my view on that. A "tight" novel, or a "tight" series should be the goal.

Sci wrote: View Post
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.
You're probably not wrong about this. Why would I purposefully go looking to read bad lit when there's so much good out there?

Last edited by JeBuS; January 4 2014 at 09:57 PM.
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Old January 5 2014, 12:43 AM   #63
JD
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

[QUOTE=JeBuS;9084478]
Sci wrote: View Post

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.
You're absolutely correct that the authors and editors have no obligation toward me. I also have no obligation to sugar coat their failings. We've already discussed in the R&D thread my belief that anything not necessary for the advancement of the plot is unnecessary to a novel and should be edited out. I haven't changed my view on that. A "tight" novel, or a "tight" series should be the goal.
What about character development, and world building? Sometimes you need to take a break from the "main plot" to spend sometime working on building the world that your story takes place in, and the characters who inhabit it. Sometimes the best scenes in TV shows/movies/books are scenes that have absoultely nothing to do with the plot. One of the books I just read, Every Which Way But Dead, is over 400 pages long, but the main plot doesn't really kick in until over 200 pages into. I still enjoyed those first 200+ pages as much as the second 200+ because I like the characters, and I really enjoyed seeing their relationships change and grow.
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Old January 5 2014, 12:47 AM   #64
JeBuS
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

JD wrote: View Post
What about character development, and world building? Sometimes you need to take a break from the "main plot" to spend sometime working on building the world that your story takes place in, and the characters who inhabit it. Sometimes the best scenes in TV shows/movies/books are scenes that have absoultely nothing to do with the plot. One of the books I just read, Every Which Way But Dead, is over 400 pages long, but the main plot doesn't really kick in until over 200 pages into. I still enjoyed those first 200+ pages as much as the second 200+ because I like the characters, and I really enjoyed seeing their relationships change and grow.
Don't just cherry pick my quotes. I did say, and have said in the past, that character development is good in a book. But characters actually need to change and grow for it to be considered development. A character appearing and recapping is not development. The purpose of character development is not to service the characters, but to service the plot. If the characters' development does not affect the plot, it should be saved for a novel when it will.

As an example of a missed opportunity, we saw Geordi and Tamala do a little personal time. This is nice and quaint. A little later, Geordi is talking to Sonya Gomez and there's an opening here to show Geordi's relationship with Tamala has grown. Instead it's just sort of "sorry, I'm seeing someone." They both shrug it off and move on. This was a missed opportunity for character growth and development.

In the end, it served little purpose. Geordi still got the plot information out of Gomez. Might it not have been a more interesting arc if Sonya, being rebuffed, led to Geordi not conveniently getting that plot info about the mercs? Or perhaps Geordi neglecting to mention Tamala, stringing Sonya along until he got the info he suspected she held?

What purpose did the Tamala scene or the mention of his relationship to Sonya serve? None, other than to simply show the reader that the status quo is still the status quo. No development. No arc. No point.

Last edited by JeBuS; January 5 2014 at 01:09 AM.
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Old January 5 2014, 12:58 AM   #65
Zedferret
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Surely most of R&D could have been in the DS9 re-re-launch? I found it annoying that 80% of R&D had no relevance to the fall. I loved reading about the new station and updating myself with the old characters, but was 'The Fall' the right place for it? It was like a page of Memory Beta. So many new threads started (and unresolved), and with trek lit, there's always the possibility that they won't go anywhere if the editors change or change direction. Novels aren't cheap and I don't like buying one with no real story.

Anyway 3 good novels, and an acceptable if underwhelming end.

R&D - 2/5
tCS - 5/5
ACoL - 3.5/5
tPC - 4/5
PK - 3/5
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Old January 5 2014, 05:10 AM   #66
Thrawn
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I have nothing good to say about this novel.

Ugh.

At least The Fall gave us Crimson Shadow and Ceremony of Losses, which so brilliantly used the context of the Ishan plot to move forward great stories. Too bad the Ishan context was introduced poorly, developed into a dead end, and then concluded without an ounce of creativity, intrigue, or charm.

The only novels of Ward's I've really been excited about have been his Vanguard entries, so I wasn't expecting much, but this undershot even that. Useless summary, characters that all spoke with exactly the same verbal inflections (how many times did someone say "particularly now"?), no stakes, no surprises, no tension, and no character arcs.

It was like watching one of those track races where runners jump over a bunch of hurdles, except you already know who wins. So you're just looking at a bunch of hurdles. And then they jump. Over the hurdles. Yay?
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Old January 5 2014, 09:04 AM   #67
Paper Moon
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Sci, I really appreciate your thoughtful replies! I haven't had a chance to properly respond yet, but I hope to do so tomorrow.

Thrawn wrote: View Post
At least The Fall gave us Crimson Shadow and Ceremony of Losses, which so brilliantly used the context of the Ishan plot to move forward great stories. Too bad the Ishan context was introduced poorly, developed into a dead end, and then concluded without an ounce of creativity, intrigue, or charm.
Ultimately, this is how I feel, too.

The only novels of Ward's I've really been excited about have been his Vanguard entries, so I wasn't expecting much, but this undershot even that. Useless summary, characters that all spoke with exactly the same verbal inflections (how many times did someone say "particularly now"?), no stakes, no surprises, no tension, and no character arcs.

It was like watching one of those track races where runners jump over a bunch of hurdles, except you already know who wins. So you're just looking at a bunch of hurdles. And then they jump. Over the hurdles. Yay?
Yeah, this is all pretty much exactly how I felt about the book. (And stated quite pithily, too.)

It comes down to this: what motivated me to finish reading the novel was my own desire to finish the series; the book did not compel me to keep reading, as much as I wanted it to.

I am fascinated by the ways this novel worked and didn't work for lots of people, and I look forward to continuing to find objective evidence to explain my subjective response to the book.

But at the end of the day, Peaceable Kingdoms really didn't work for me. And if you look through my post history, you'll see that that is unusual. I'm not sure what precisely that says about the novel itself, but it's highly discouraging.
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Old January 5 2014, 09:07 AM   #68
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Well I for one enjoyed not only Peaceable Kingdoms but The Fall as a whole. Would have liked to have seen more of Sisko & the Robinson but maybe we will soon. Maybe I'm just easy to please.
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Old January 5 2014, 10:07 AM   #69
Jarvisimo
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Paper Moon wrote: View Post
Thrawn wrote: View Post
The only novels of Ward's I've really been excited about have been his Vanguard entries, so I wasn't expecting much, but this undershot even that. Useless summary, characters that all spoke with exactly the same verbal inflections (how many times did someone say "particularly now"?), no stakes, no surprises, no tension, and no character arcs.

It was like watching one of those track races where runners jump over a bunch of hurdles, except you already know who wins. So you're just looking at a bunch of hurdles. And then they jump. Over the hurdles. Yay?
Yeah, this is all pretty much exactly how I felt about the book. (And stated quite pithily, too.)

It comes down to this: what motivated me to finish reading the novel was my own desire to finish the series; the book did not compel me to keep reading, as much as I wanted it to.
This was my reaction too: I even told my friend I was slog-reading a book I was not enjoying just to finish it. It seems so dissapointing.

Also as I noted up-thread I found those Vanguard entries (the even ones, ironically) not so great either - slower, more stodgy, a sense of disconnect with previous volumes and somewhat more cliche plotting decisions.

EDIT: Anyway, not to be too much of a downer! But that list of True Way members Tom Riker had was awfully convenient - the True Way as presented earlier in the arc didn't seem like a listed member thing or even an organisation per se (Garan dismissed it!). It didn't quite gel with the image Garak repeated from Tain in TCS, but I guess militarists could claim the name which belonged to something higher in the past.

Last edited by Jarvisimo; January 5 2014 at 01:13 PM.
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Old January 5 2014, 01:25 PM   #70
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

In retrospect, the biggest disappointment for me, was the Ishan character. With all the HUGE stuff happening in TrekLit lately, I couldn't help but feel that the ultimate revelation about who he is was a bit underwhelming. Sure, not everything has to universe-devouring megamachines. But still, I had expected more.

Another big disappointment.....

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Old January 5 2014, 03:02 PM   #71
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

picard will never retire

pocket gotta sell books man
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Old January 5 2014, 03:23 PM   #72
Elias Vaughn
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Mage wrote: View Post
In retrospect, the biggest disappointment for me, was the Ishan character. With all the HUGE stuff happening in TrekLit lately, I couldn't help but feel that the ultimate revelation about who he is was a bit underwhelming. Sure, not everything has to universe-devouring megamachines. But still, I had expected more.

Another big disappointment.....

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Old January 5 2014, 03:35 PM   #73
Mage
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Elias Vaughn wrote: View Post
Mage wrote: View Post
In retrospect, the biggest disappointment for me, was the Ishan character. With all the HUGE stuff happening in TrekLit lately, I couldn't help but feel that the ultimate revelation about who he is was a bit underwhelming. Sure, not everything has to universe-devouring megamachines. But still, I had expected more.

Another big disappointment.....


I think they made clear it isn't, that it's a temporary solution.
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Old January 5 2014, 04:45 PM   #74
trash80
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Re: TF: Peaceable Kingdoms by Dayton Ward Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I enjoyed this book a lot, i did actually buy it for my back to work commute starting last thursday but finished it this weekend as i couldn't wait!

Overall The Fall has been an excellent series i hope TrekLit attempts such a linked series again soon.
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Old January 5 2014, 04:55 PM   #75
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