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

View Poll Results: Rate Tower of Babel.
Outstanding 15 22.73%
Above Average 30 45.45%
Average 19 28.79%
Below Average 2 3.03%
Poor 0 0%
Voters: 66. You may not vote on this poll

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Old April 8 2014, 06:02 AM   #151
JeBuS
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Re: ENT: Tower of Babel by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Sci wrote: View Post
Oh, don't be silly. Of course there is. The instant you recognize what kinds of genres and tropes are being drawn upon to create the work, you can start making predictions about which character is or is not likely to survive to the end.
If one can take any single standalone novel and predict the fates of each character in it, judging only by the genre and tropes, then it's not a very good novel, in my opinion.

I don't deny that the standard I'm applying is arbitrary.
Well there you go then.
So all of this was simply your way of saying "that's your opinion and you're entitled to it"?
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Old April 8 2014, 06:23 AM   #152
Sci
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Re: ENT: Tower of Babel by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

JeBuS wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
Oh, don't be silly. Of course there is. The instant you recognize what kinds of genres and tropes are being drawn upon to create the work, you can start making predictions about which character is or is not likely to survive to the end.
If one can take any single standalone novel and predict the fates of each character in it, judging only by the genre and tropes, then it's not a very good novel, in my opinion.
Then apparently there's no such thing as a good novel for you. Because these sorts of things can be broadly predicted in the overwhelming majority of works being produced.

And I for one reject the idea that unpredictability is a sign of quality.

I don't deny that the standard I'm applying is arbitrary.
Well there you go then.
So all of this was simply your way of saying "that's your opinion and you're entitled to it"?
No, it's me being satisfied that you've acknowledged you are applying an arbitrary standard when evaluating something.
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Old April 8 2014, 06:41 AM   #153
JeBuS
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Re: ENT: Tower of Babel by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Sci wrote: View Post
And I for one reject the idea that unpredictability is a sign of quality.
It's not necessarily the case that unpredictability is a sign of quality, but a highly predictable story is a generally good indicator of the lack.

So all of this was simply your way of saying "that's your opinion and you're entitled to it"?
No, it's me being satisfied that you've acknowledged you are applying an arbitrary standard when evaluating something.
Well, it's good that you're satisfied that I applied an unusual personal desire for a bit of unpredictability when posting my personal review. Heaven forbid you weren't satisfied that I was using the thread for its intended purpose.
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Old April 8 2014, 04:04 PM   #154
Christopher
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Re: ENT: Tower of Babel by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Jedi_Master wrote: View Post
Well I guess I unleashed a mini-firestorm. To avoid going over things that have been discussed in detail I will simply clarify my opinion regarding the level of dramatic tension in "Tower of Babel" : despite your many talents as a writer ChristopherI felt that the villians were too easily defeated, the perils facing the heroes were too easily solved and that was never a moment that the outcome of events was in doubt. The notable exception was the Saurian and Trip\T'pol\Section 31 storylines. Those kept me guessing and were subsequently my favorite sections of the book.
To be honest, I can't disagree with you there. I could've done better. I felt there was a thematic point to be made in having the villains fail through their own inability to cooperate, but I did fear that it resulted in a lack of suspense, and I guess those fears were justified.

You have already promised to up your game in the next book, and I plan on holding you to that promise .
I'll certainly try.


JeBuS wrote: View Post
There is no reason to expect any character in a single standalone story to survive.
Of course there is. For instance, one doesn't expect a Pixar movie or a romantic comedy to end in a bloodbath.


JeBuS wrote: View Post
If one can take any single standalone novel and predict the fates of each character in it, judging only by the genre and tropes, then it's not a very good novel, in my opinion.
Or maybe the problem is that it's too limited to judge the quality of a work of fiction based exclusively on some sort of dead pool. A character's "fate" can be a thousand things other than dying. It can be failing to find love, or being betrayed by one's best friend, or losing a custody battle for one's child, or being wrongly sentenced to prison, or having a shameful secret exposed to the world, or any number of other things. Drama is about far more than just death. Death is simple. Death is just one thing. But life is immensely complicated and has many, many possible failure modes. And that's what drama is really about: not the risk of death, but the risk of failure and pain. Death in fiction is just a metaphor for failure.
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Old April 8 2014, 04:08 PM   #155
JeBuS
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Re: ENT: Tower of Babel by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Christopher, I don't disagree with you. As I said, I was only criticizing one aspect of the novel, the placement of "safe" and "non-safe" characters into dangerous situations and the futility of such, because of the inherent predictability of it.
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Old April 8 2014, 04:56 PM   #156
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Re: ENT: Tower of Babel by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

And like I've been saying, that's only a problem because you're choosing not to suspend your disbelief about it. You're bringing your awareness of a real-world factor into your mind as you read the story, and that's what's getting in your way. The key is to commit fully to the illusion, to allow yourself to believe for the duration that the characters are in genuine danger -- in exactly the same way that you allow yourself to believe they exist in the first place. If you can buy into the scenario fully, then you can feel a convincing illusion of peril to the characters for the duration of the story, regardless of what you objectively know about it beforehand or afterward.

Like the saying goes, "The key is sincerity. If you can fake that, you've got it made." Telling a convincing story is not about creating something that is real, just something that feels real enough that the audience is willing to set aside their critical faculties and buy into the illusion. It's like a magic trick. You know the volunteer isn't really being sawed in half, but in the instant, you let yourself buy into the illusion being presented -- at least, if the magician does a good enough job creating that illusion that you're willing to be caught up in it.
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Old April 8 2014, 05:14 PM   #157
Shane Houston
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Re: ENT: Tower of Babel by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Christopher wrote: View Post
Jedi_Master wrote: View Post
Well I guess I unleashed a mini-firestorm. To avoid going over things that have been discussed in detail I will simply clarify my opinion regarding the level of dramatic tension in "Tower of Babel" : despite your many talents as a writer ChristopherI felt that the villians were too easily defeated, the perils facing the heroes were too easily solved and that was never a moment that the outcome of events was in doubt. The notable exception was the Saurian and Trip\T'pol\Section 31 storylines. Those kept me guessing and were subsequently my favorite sections of the book.
To be honest, I can't disagree with you there. I could've done better. I felt there was a thematic point to be made in having the villains fail through their own inability to cooperate, but I did fear that it resulted in a lack of suspense, and I guess those fears were justified.

You have already promised to up your game in the next book, and I plan on holding you to that promise .
I'll certainly try.


JeBuS wrote: View Post
There is no reason to expect any character in a single standalone story to survive.
Of course there is. For instance, one doesn't expect a Pixar movie or a romantic comedy to end in a bloodbath.


JeBuS wrote: View Post
If one can take any single standalone novel and predict the fates of each character in it, judging only by the genre and tropes, then it's not a very good novel, in my opinion.
Or maybe the problem is that it's too limited to judge the quality of a work of fiction based exclusively on some sort of dead pool. A character's "fate" can be a thousand things other than dying. It can be failing to find love, or being betrayed by one's best friend, or losing a custody battle for one's child, or being wrongly sentenced to prison, or having a shameful secret exposed to the world, or any number of other things. Drama is about far more than just death. Death is simple. Death is just one thing. But life is immensely complicated and has many, many possible failure modes. And that's what drama is really about: not the risk of death, but the risk of failure and pain. Death in fiction is just a metaphor for failure.
I have to disagree. I don't think you need to up your game, you brought it here. Thanks to your Enterprise books, before reading Tower Of Babel, I re-watched seasons 3-4 of the show, and from the end of season three to the end of the series, it was about showing the founding of the Federation. About how the various races came together in an alliance that would change the future of humanity forever.

Look, not all novels should have phasers firing and torpedoes loading. No, this book may not have the flash and bang today's Trek fan is looking for, but this story is the next logical step after part one. It was really good.

I really enjoyed Val and Sam, and was quite surprised with how much I enjoy them. I thought in part one that their introduction, and that of Dax, would be cheesy. But it wasn't. I liked how it is Val and not Sam who is more like Jim Kirk as a Captain. Plus her flying round house kick was awesome to watch, reminding us of all the times Captain Kirk flew through the air to subdue his opponents.

Also, I really liked seeing T'Pol and Trip in conflict, and addressing what his being in Section 31 could mean for their future. Me? I'm hoping to finally see him out of it. Having him deal, finally, with what Section 31 is all about instead of justifying their actions shows me there's still some of the Starfleet officer we've come to know and love left in him.

Kudos on Archer and Erickson. It will be good for him to finally move on and make peace Erica is not coming back.

I love Reed and Pioneer and it's crew. Reed has become a commanding officer that is on par with best of the best in Starfleet we've come to love. Both Pioneer and Endeavor crews have been fleshed out in great detail and the conflict between Thanien and Sato was handled flawlessly. I've really enjoyed the process that T'Pol's XO has had to endure learning what it means to be in Starfleet.

The ending. Wow, that's an old enemy I can't wait to read about.

My rating 9 out of 10.
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Old April 8 2014, 05:20 PM   #158
JeBuS
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Re: ENT: Tower of Babel by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Again, I'm not disagreeing. There are certainly novels where that is the case, I suspend my disbelief because I'm wrapped up in the rest of the tale. But, as I said in my first post, that wasn't the case with this novel. As far as I can tell, it was because of the tired tropes being used. The first of which that comes to mind is the security guy who goes to the vault with Kirk... some crewman (see, I can't even think of his name). He was so obviously a redshirt that it took me out of the illusion. As soon as he was mentioned, it shot a big red flare up. It was like a parody scene out of Scalzi's Redshirts.

Moments like those... ruin the illusion.
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Old April 8 2014, 05:36 PM   #159
Christopher
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Re: ENT: Tower of Babel by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I see. I'll try to watch that in the future.

Anyway:

Here are my annotations for the novel, including a couple of excerpts from my project notes, one pertaining to the biology of one of the Rigelian species, the other being the historical overview of the Rigel system which I developed as backstory for the novel.

http://home.fuse.net/ChristopherLBen...ion.html#ROTF2
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Old April 8 2014, 05:45 PM   #160
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Re: ENT: Tower of Babel by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Ooh, a timeline. Interesting.

Well, all the notes are interesting, but the timeline is particularly appreciated.
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Old April 8 2014, 07:14 PM   #161
Paris
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Re: ENT: Tower of Babel by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Christopher wrote: View Post
Here are my annotations for the novel, including a couple of excerpts from my project notes, one pertaining to the biology of one of the Rigelian species, the other being the historical overview of the Rigel system which I developed as backstory for the novel.

http://home.fuse.net/ChristopherLBen...ion.html#ROTF2
Thanks Christopher! These are always greatly appreciated
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Old April 8 2014, 07:19 PM   #162
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Re: ENT: Tower of Babel by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

With the annotations available, I'm going to re-read Tower of Babel and read the annotations alongside on my tablet.

Slightly off-topic, but due to the anticipation of the book and the exciting payoff, I couldn't resist the opportunity to get myself the Polar Lights "NX-01 Refit" kit. The model came together nicely, and now I can have in one hand while reading Rise of the Federation with another. Too bad I can't manufacture decals, otherwise I would've actually labelled the Columbia-class model USS Endeavour NCC-06.
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Old April 8 2014, 07:58 PM   #163
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Re: ENT: Tower of Babel by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Looking forward to reading Christopher's annotations.
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Old April 8 2014, 08:11 PM   #164
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Re: ENT: Tower of Babel by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Although I'm certainly enjoying the novel sofar, it feels like..... a lot. Haven't finished it yet, so can't comment on everything. But, the amount of extra characters, the depth of the Rigel system and its inhabitants... it's a lot to absorb and remember while trying to keep up. I've felt myself having to go back a page every now and then, just because I lost track a bit.

Definatly one for a quick re-read after I'm done.
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Old April 8 2014, 10:53 PM   #165
Christopher
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Re: ENT: Tower of Babel by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Markonian wrote: View Post
Slightly off-topic, but due to the anticipation of the book and the exciting payoff, I couldn't resist the opportunity to get myself the Polar Lights "NX-01 Refit" kit. The model came together nicely, and now I can have in one hand while reading Rise of the Federation with another. Too bad I can't manufacture decals, otherwise I would've actually labelled the Columbia-class model USS Endeavour NCC-06.
That would be cool. And I wonder if there's a way to kitbash an NX-01 model into an Intrepid-class ship...
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