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

View Poll Results: Rate One Constant Star.
Outstanding 11 24.44%
Above Average 14 31.11%
Average 15 33.33%
Below Average 1 2.22%
Poor 4 8.89%
Voters: 45. You may not vote on this poll

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Old June 9 2014, 10:21 PM   #76
kirk55555
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

Mage wrote: View Post
kirk55555 wrote: View Post
Honestly, the only thing I thought was weird was the idea that an idiot like Harriman would even have a career at that point. A guy whose only on-screen appearance made him seem like a wimpy, incompetent captain was not someone I imagined even retaining his rank after killing Kirk. I always imagined him being demoted to Commander after the Kirk incident and spending the rest of his career as the commander of a small starbase safely in the middle of federation territory. .
Since you mentioned that the only other novel with Demora you read was TCD, I asume you haven't read Serpents Amongst the Ruins, the other novel featuring Demora AND the Enterprise-B, captained by Harriman. Considered by a lot of TrekLit fans as DRGIII's best work, and one of the best Treklit novels, it not shows us a bit of why Harriman acted the way he did in Generations, but also how, in the following years, he became one of the finest captains in the fleet.

Generations is set in 2293, Serpents was set in 2311. This novel is set in 2319. Is it so hard to accept that, just like real people, someone like Harriman could have changed a lot in this 26 years?
I couldn't believe he was given another chance. like I said, in my head I kind of figured he was demoted and reassigned after the events of Generations.

I had never heard of Serpents Among the Ruins before this. I've liked most of DRGIII's work that I've read (which is Plagues of Night, Raise the Dawn, Revelation and Dust, and this book), but I think I'll skip a book focused on the worst Captain of a ship called Enterprise (that we know of at least, and assuming you don't count Jellico as a real Captain of an Enterprise). Maybe if the library had it I'd check it out because of morbid curiosity, but they don't so I won't.

Because of these posts I just looked up info on Harriman on Memory-Beta. The guy was not only incompetent, he was borderline evil. Also, Starfleet Intelligence was apparently pulling off Section 31 style operations (aka evil and mostly nonsensical operations) in the era between Generations and TNG, something I didn't really need to know. Section 31 is all the cartoony, mustache twirling evil the Federation needs. They've never been that different from Starfleet Intelligence anyway, just slightly more willing to commit real attrocities instead of fake ones.

When they referenced Harriman working for SI in this book, I figured it was for things not quite so pointless and immoral. I thought he was an idiot, but I would have guessed he was atleast an idiot with morals. I never would have guessed that the books made him into a worse character than what we saw on screen, I pretty much figured he was already at rock bottom. Its probably a good thing I didn't read Serpent's Among Ruins. It sounds like it would be infuriating.
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Old June 9 2014, 10:45 PM   #77
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

^^ Memory Beta has really fed you a wrong impression of Serpents - it is a beautiful book, not about an immoral act, but rather about seeking a utopian end (no war) via actions which whilst criminal, were not intended to be immoral.
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Old June 9 2014, 11:10 PM   #78
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

Great political intrigue, too, I thought. Good use of the Klingons as well.
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Old June 9 2014, 11:21 PM   #79
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

Corran Horn wrote: View Post
Great political intrigue, too, I thought. Good use of the Klingons as well.
It was certainly interesting to see the Klingons playing the role of peace-brokers and the "voice of reason". Ambassador Kage's insistence that the Klingons will keep the peace in light of Romulan and Federation posturing is both hilarious and entirely believable given the context.
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Old June 10 2014, 12:10 AM   #80
kirk55555
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

Jarvisimo wrote: View Post
it is a beautiful book, not about an immoral act, but rather about seeking a utopian end (no war) via actions which whilst criminal, were not intended to be immoral.
I don't believe that. It was an stupid, pointless act done by an immoral idiot. It accomplished nothing except murdering a few romulans. It seems like the author was trying to make Harriman seem more interesting by kind of ripping off what Sisko did during the dominion war to get Romulan support (the situations are obviously different, but I can see some attempt to copy the idea of an officer doing something evil to try to do good).

The problem with that (besides Sisko having legitimate reasons for his actions) is that Sisko actually had ideals to break, and he was effected by his actions. It was also not something he did lightly, or based off of an event that was just hypothetical. The Dominion was actively hostile, had already been in conflicts with the Federation, and in general the federation was in real trouble. Harriman tried to stop a hypothetical war by betraying the Federation, disrespecting dead officers and murdering some romulans. He's similar to (and no better than) Cartwright's group in STVI or Section 31. He created a horrible deception, murdered people, and for what? If the Romulans had attacked (a big if), the klingons would have helped them anyway. You don't do extreme, evil things on a hunch. Harriman, though, is apparently a immoral master planner who just does evil things at the drop of a hat.

So, yeah, its definitely not a story I want to read. If I want to see a well written example of an officer doing wrong to help the Federation, i'll just watch DS9. I'm glad I didn't know about this idiotic "Tomed Incident" before reading One Constant Star. It would have made harriman's sections of the book aggravating instead of mildly interesting (the stuff involving odessey) and pointless and bland but harmless (the stuff with Harriman and his wife).

Last edited by kirk55555; June 10 2014 at 12:29 AM.
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Old June 10 2014, 12:39 AM   #81
Thrawn
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

kirk55555 wrote: View Post
Jarvisimo wrote: View Post
it is a beautiful book, not about an immoral act, but rather about seeking a utopian end (no war) via actions which whilst criminal, were not intended to be immoral.
I don't believe that. It was an stupid, pointless act done by an immoral idiot. It accomplished nothing except murdering a few romulans. It seems like the author was trying to make Harriman seem more interesting by kind of ripping off what Sisko did during the dominion war to get Romulan support (the situations are obviously different, but I can see some attempt to copy the idea of an officer doing something evil to try to do good).

The problem with that (besides Sisko having legitimate reasons for his actions) is that Sisko actually had ideals to break, and he was effected by his actions. It was also not something he did lightly, or based off of an event that was just hypothetical. The Dominion was actively hostile, had already been in conflicts with the Federation, and in general the federation was in real trouble. Harriman tried to stop a hypothetical war by betraying the Federation, disrespecting dead officers and murdering some romulans. He's similar to (and no better than) Cartwright's group in STVI or Section 31. He created a horrible deception, murdered people, and for what? If the Romulans had attacked (a big if), the klingons would have helped them anyway. You don't do extreme, evil things on a hunch. Harriman, though, is apparently a immoral master planner who just does evil things at the drop of a hat.

So, yeah, its definitely not a story I want to read. If I want to see a well written example of an officer doing wrong to help the Federation, i'll just watch DS9. I'm glad I didn't know about this idiotic "Tomed Incident" before reading One Constant Star. It would have made harriman's sections of the book aggravating instead of mildly interesting (the stuff involving odessey) and pointless and bland but harmless (the stuff with Harriman and his wife).
Well, ok, then, guys - I guess we're all idiots for liking the book! I'm certainly convinced!

So glad you stopped by to use a 2 paragraph wiki summary to take down a beloved novel - without you, we might have still liked it!

Here, why don't you supply another opinion for me - I hear Hamlet is about a guy who can't make up his mind and eventually dies. That sounds like enough detail to judge a story - why don't you tell me what you think about that one?
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Old June 10 2014, 01:04 AM   #82
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

Thrawn wrote: View Post

Well, ok, then, guys - I guess we're all idiots for liking the book! I'm certainly convinced!

So glad you stopped by to use a 2 paragraph wiki summary to take down a beloved novel - without you, we might have still liked it!

Here, why don't you supply another opinion for me - I hear Hamlet is about a guy who can't make up his mind and eventually dies. That sounds like enough detail to judge a story - why don't you tell me what you think about that one?
I never said anyone was an idiot for liking it. I said that Harriman was an idiot. I said it wasn't a book for me, everyone else is free to enjoy it. I also think that it was a stupid idea for a story, but that has nothing to do with the reader. My comments were not meant to say anyone was "wrong" to like it. It was just my opinion on a story that was described in a good deal of detail on Memory Beta. Harriman imagines a potential conflict, pretends to start a war by murdering some romulans and disrespecting thousands of dead Starfleet officers, and all to do something that would have happened without him if the Romulans were actually up to something. It was justified by assuming that war with the romulans was inevitable, which was stupid.

Feel free to enjoy the story, it just happens that, to me, it sounds horrible. Luckily, I can just pretend it never happened, since its not like the Lost Era books are tied in to the novel continuity of the current DS9/TNG/Titan books. Unless the next TNG/DS9 book involves the Typhoon Pact learning about the events of the tomed incident or something, as far as I'm concerned the "Tomed Incident" might as well have been Harriman spilling his coffee on a romulan ambassador. That fits his on screen character better, and doesn't lower him or Starfleet Intelligence to the same moral void of Section 31.
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Old June 10 2014, 01:23 AM   #83
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

And to anyone who's read the book, you've proven my point that you're judging an absurd oversimplification that has little resemblance to the motivations, background, or even actual events of the novel by filling in your own unwarranted assumptions instead, but since you won't ever join that group, I know I can't win this one. Doesn't make your post any less ridiculous, but whatever.

For the record, in general I have no problem with "this book doesn't sound like it's for me", but concluding that Harriman is an immoral idiot without understanding any tiny piece of his motivation or planning is asinine.

It's not like anyone else watched Generations and thought "this Harriman guy really has his shit together!" The fact that this many other people found DRG3's portrayal of the character convincing and profound, despite having no other references than Generations, which most of us would agree is fairly awful, should indicate that perhaps judging this novel by that same reference and nothing else at least lacks imagination. DRG3 is most well-known among Trek authors for subtlety, deep character introspection, and thematic depth, which are probably the exact three qualities most difficult to summarize briefly. Is it so hard to imagine that there is some substance to this 380-page story that you can't glean from 14 sentences?
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Old June 10 2014, 01:57 AM   #84
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

Thrawn wrote: View Post
And to anyone who's read the book, you've proven my point that you're judging an absurd oversimplification that has little resemblance to the motivations, background, or even actual events of the novel by filling in your own unwarranted assumptions instead, but since you won't ever join that group, I know I can't win this one. Doesn't make your post any less ridiculous, but whatever.

For the record, in general I have no problem with "this book doesn't sound like it's for me", but concluding that Harriman is an immoral idiot without understanding any tiny piece of his motivation or planning is asinine.

It's not like anyone else watched Generations and thought "this Harriman guy really has his shit together!" The fact that this many other people found DRG3's portrayal of the character convincing and profound, despite having no other references than Generations, which most of us would agree is fairly awful, should indicate that perhaps judging this novel by that same reference and nothing else at least lacks imagination. DRG3 is most well-known among Trek authors for subtlety, deep character introspection, and thematic depth, which are probably the exact three qualities most difficult to summarize briefly. Is it so hard to imagine that there is some substance to this 380-page story that you can't glean from 14 sentences?
Yes, it is, at least when it comes to the incident itself. The incident was the kind of thing done by section 31, not a starfleet officer. It was an unprovoked attack on a romulan vessel combined with the deliberate disrespect and manipulation of thousands of dead starfleet officers and their families. It accomplished nothing that wouldn't have happened anything.

Even if Harriman was someone besides the incompetent Captain from Generations it would still be a horrible incident orchestrated by an immoral idiot. The fact that the character in question was also shown to be incompetent on screen is interesting, but it wouldn't make the incident any better by taking that out of the equation. The fact that the attack on the romulan vessel, and its subsequent use in the plan, could also be revenge for a tragedy in Harriman's life makes the incident even worse, both morally and just in general. In the end, it doesn't really matter. Its a stupid incident in a horrible sounding book that's about a bad character. It's fine if people like it, I just think its one of the worst things I've heard of in a relatively modern Star Trek book.
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Old June 10 2014, 02:00 AM   #85
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

Ok.

Honestly - I'm mostly just sad at how much you're missing out on an incredible story.

And to anyone else not quite so closed-minded reading this exchange: allow me to assure you, this is not just a difference of opinion. kirk55555 literally does not understand the story in any way. Don't let his description turn you away from it - no one who read the book would think any of that bullshit, even if they hated it.
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Old June 10 2014, 02:12 AM   #86
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

Thrawn wrote: View Post
Ok.

Honestly - I'm mostly just sad at how much you're missing out on an incredible story.

And to anyone else not quite so closed-minded reading this exchange: allow me to assure you, this is just a difference of opinion. kirk55555 literally does not understand the story in any way shape or form. Don't let his description turn you away from it. No one who read the book would think any of that bullshit.
Except the fact where I read the entire summary of the story, and got fairly in-depth details I mean, I haven't read the book so my opinion obviously shouldn't be taken as a review of the story. My opinion is that I would hate the book. This is not a blurb I'm basing my opinion off of, its detailed summaries of the events and motivations for the events of the book. I haven't said anything that was bullshit, it can all be backed up just by the summaries. I did make a few conclusions about Harriman's motivation (maybe he honestly didn't see his choice of romulan ship/captain for his plan as revenge, although we can argue whether it was or not) but the events happened as I said, unless Memory beta has been severely screwed with. Its fine if you don't agree with me, but I've got a pretty good grasp on the basics of the situation. Whatever stupid characterization harriman might have been given doesn't matter.

As for it being an "incredible story", that's your opinion. Everyone likes different things. I prefer starfleet officers that don't commit fake (or real) atrocities, at least not without an actual, definitive end of the federation level situation.
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Old June 10 2014, 02:16 AM   #87
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

Ok.
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Old June 10 2014, 03:05 AM   #88
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

Serpents Rocked! DRG3 totally redeemed Harriman. I'm with Thrawn. Don't judge a complex story by it's brief MB summary
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Old June 10 2014, 03:22 AM   #89
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

Christopher wrote: View Post
I've never seen GEN's Harriman as incompetent. He made good suggestions that would probably have worked if he hadn't been saddled with an unfinished ship. And once he reached the limits of his experience, he did the wisest thing he could possibly have done: He set his ego aside and deferred to a more experienced commander. If he'd been incompetent, he would've refused to let Kirk help rather than surrender his pride. Taking advantage of the resource of Kirk's experience was, in fact, a supremely competent choice.
Sure, we can look at it like that, although at the end of the day, the fact remains that the character was intended to be presented as overwhelmed and helpless so that Kirk could look cool by swooping in to save the day.
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Old June 10 2014, 03:47 AM   #90
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Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

^Sure, but part of the reason he was helpless was because his ship was unready, so none of his suggestions could work. He wasn't portrayed as brilliant, he was young and inexperienced compared to Kirk, but he seemed competent enough that he could have done an adequate job given proper resources. So yes, he needed seasoning and experience to help him deal with the unexpected, but it's not like he was a complete incompetent. If he'd had the full resources of an intact ship at his disposal and failed in spite of them, then he'd be incompetent. As it is, he was out of his depth but certainly redeemable.
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