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Old December 24 2007, 08:11 PM   #46
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Re: Sword of Damocles -- comments & opinions ****SPOILERS***

Eh, you can keep the check.

The reading experience I've had this month is worth more than any check.

And the science was very interesting...once you dumbed it down for Vale and me. :thumbsup:
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Old December 24 2007, 11:42 PM   #47
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Re: Sword of Damocles -- comments & opinions ****SPOILERS***

Wow, after reading that post, I just have to say once again how great it is to have the authors here giving us insights like that.

As for the people who think there wasn't enough of the Trois, I actually feel kind of the opposite. I'm glad that we are getting more insight and focus on the new characters, instead of focusing on the characters who we 7 years worth of stories about.
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Old December 25 2007, 12:00 AM   #48
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Re: Sword of Damocles -- comments & opinions ****SPOILERS***

Okay, this might have been asked elsewhere, but I can't seem to find it. This really took me out of the novel:

On Page 135, when the Ellington leaves Titan, it's said, by Jaza, that the anomaly (the Eye) is "fifteen degrees behind the planet, moving in the same orbital path" but on the following page, he says that it's between them and the planet.

So, in the space of a page, it seems to go from ELLINGTON - PLANET - ANOMALY to ELLINGTON - ANOMALY - PLANET

I may have misunderstood something there, but it just does not sound right.

Surely if the anomaly was between the Ellington and the planet, it would be fifteen degrees ahead of the planet?

What went on there?

One other thing - what position does Keru hold? In TW, he was Security and Tactical Officer, but by the end of RK he had shared the duties with Tuvok, so that he was Security Chief and Tuvok was Tactical Officer, but a couple of times in the novel, so far, it refers to Tuvok as being Titan's senior security AND tactical officer.

It's a shame if these are mistakes, because otherwise this is turning out to be the best of the Titan novels (although, they're all pretty closely packed in readability).
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Old December 25 2007, 12:31 AM   #49
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Re: Sword of Damocles -- comments & opinions ****SPOILERS***

As I read it, "fifteen degrees behind the planet in the same orbital path" would mean that it's in the same orbit as the planet but trailing it by fifteen degrees -- i.e. in the same place that the planet itself was 1/24 of its year ago. If Titan was coming into the system from the same direction, there's no reason that point couldn't be between it and the planet.

So it's not "behind it" from Titan's perspective, but in the sense of its orbital motion.

As for Keru, as far as I know, he's the security chief and Tuvok's the tactical officer.
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Old December 25 2007, 12:49 AM   #50
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Re: Sword of Damocles -- comments & opinions ****SPOILERS***

The Keru thing is a mistake. I meant to correct it in the final proof but I missed it. If there's a second printing I hope to fix it yet.

As for the rest, I think I'm going to just let Mr. Bennett field the tech questions. So far he's been spot on (and he READ MY BOOK! YAY!).
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Old December 25 2007, 11:39 AM   #51
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Re: Sword of Damocles -- comments & opinions ****SPOILERS***

Thanks for the clarification, Christopher, that does make sense so I'll let that slip.
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Old December 26 2007, 12:02 AM   #52
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Re: Sword of Damocles -- comments & opinions ****SPOILERS***

This is my review of "Sword of Damocles". It contains spoilers.



S P O I L E R

*

*

*

*

Unfortunately I consider “Sword of Damocles” to be the weakest of the Titan books so far. It has the strengths typical for Titan because of the variety, the richness of cultures, beliefs, mentalities and histories of the aliens on board as well as how they and humans interact and work with each other. There was a lot to discover and I enjoyed these parts of the book.

I think it was a good idea to focus on different characters than Troi and Riker. My favourite part is definitely how the author developed Jaza in this book, exploring his religious and personal beliefs. His sacrifice was very touching and fit very well into this story.

Ra-Havreii was his usual annoying self. It was good to learn more about him and his abilities but nevertheless, this part of the book showed very well that placing so different species and people together must also cause frictions. This is a good example showing that learning and adapting has to take place on all sides. I guess a series like Titan needs the annoying alien genius as well.

Modan fascinated me and I immediately liked her. Her abilities are very interesting and I am hoping to learn more of her in future books. Also Dakal is getting more and more promising. It was interesting to learn more about the Cardassian culture and mentality and as it is the case with Modan, I am looking forward to meet him again. The other alien characters were pretty much in the background. At least I can`t remember any memorable scenes at the moment. Being a fan of Dr. Ree, I was a bit disappointed that he had such a small part. But, on the other hand, I guess I have to be patient. I am confident that he will have his turn in a future book.

As I said, I don`t mind that Deanna Troi and Will Riker stepped a bit back into the background but I am not happy how the crisis between them was written. At the beginning of the book, I was wondering who IS this William Riker? Suddenly he turns into a Prime Directive hardliner, something that makes no sense to me whatsoever. Pretty much at the same time the frictions between him and his wife were shown. We were left wondering for a long time what is going on here until an explanation quite late in the book. That is fine but I am not happy with the explanation given. Riker being worried that his wife might die and putting a child in danger on a ship are worries that would make sense to a certain degree before the start of Titan, before both of them actually accepted their posts on board. I think this question was dealt with in “A Time to…” and warming this up in such a dramatic fashion feels wrong and out of character. The only excuse I could see is that Riker`s mind must have suffered because of hormonal treatment. Only, if that is the case, I think this should have been spelled out instead of showing a Riker who pretty much felt “wrong” to me nearly all the time.

Yes, having a baby is a big step, especially when having a child is certainly not something that happens quickly and easily. Having my own experiences, I do understand. But, again, this constant negativity put me off. I can remember that in the past, Riker was far from being this scared of having a child, he showed a healthy mix of feelings that went in both directions. I can understand that Riker might want to prevent a pregnant wife from going on missions that might be dangerous but not only was Deanna not pregnant, he even fiddled with her duties on board! Again, the only explanation I have is that the hormonal treatment is screwing Riker up and if that is the case, I also have to wonder if it is affecting his ability to do his job as a captain.

From early on I had trouble to make sense of the scientific, the treknobabble part of the story. I quickly remembered something Janeway said, that time travel gives her a headache. After a while I continued reading these attempts at shedding more light on the phenomena. I understood some of what is going on but certainly not all.

When I read comments about this book at the time I had nearly finished reading it, I just sighed and felt the same when I read “Warpath” quite a while ago – is it really so difficult to at least spell out properly what is going on at the end of the book? I understand the need some authors seems to have to keep readers guessing and wondering. But when they do, I think it is also a matter of fairness and courtesy to show clearly what happened in the book. That means, the more clever readers who “got” is can be pleased with themselves and the ones who don`t are not left lost or even in the belief they understood what went on but in reality they misunderstood important parts of the book.

I use Google as my personal archive and when I write reviews I also add what I missed or misunderstood. When I read the Trek BBS discussions, I copied this conversation:

***

One thing I'm still trying to wrap my head around -- you explained in a post above that the Eye was actually the incursions of the planet Orisha from different time periods, caused by the space-time folding of the Veil.

But am I correct in understanding that the reason the Orishans developed the Veil in the first place was to hide from the Eye -- if they cloaked the planet, they would no longer have to suffer the catastrophes that had destroyed all their past civilizations?

So then, it's a predestination paradox/self-fulfilling prophecy? Sigh, temporal mechanics.

That's right. It's a loop. They were their own deity. Funny how that worked out, innit?

Well, like Will Decker said, we all create God in our own image. The Orishans just did it literally.

***

Why isn`t a conversation like that not at the end of the book? It would have been so easy to do. And give the reader something additional to think about.

Instead we get a few short changes of perspective at the end and each time I had to wade through all the “he” and “she”s, looking for actual names to finally tell me who these people are. In many cases, I was left wondering. It was first of all a frustrating experience.

The cover is beautiful and the foldout of the ship is a nice addition. But I am hoping the next Titan book will be more to my liking.
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Old December 26 2007, 05:22 AM   #53
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Re: Sword of Damocles -- comments & opinions ****SPOILERS***

I did not make Will a PD hard-liner. I made him the opposite.

As for the hardness of the science, I think I did what I could with it. I have several characters ask for and get clarification throughout the story and I have never been a fan of the post-game wrap up. This was an attempt to make an adult book. I will promise to do better on that score in any future books but, in an attempt to do an original time paradox story (nearly impossible in Trek) I was forced to get exotic in SoD.

I'm amazed that anyone who reads scifi would find a tesseract to be in any way exotic but, as more than one person has, I should learn not to assume.

Once the Hols are over I will begin to post annotations as the other writers have done to make some things more clear.

While I certainly respect everyone's right to like it or dislike it (impossible to please all comers, after all), it is my preference that the book be characterized properly in either case.

Please re-read Deanna's and Will's argument and Deanna's follow-up with Vale. Will is LOOKING for wiggle room and not finding it. He is also extremely concerned that his actions will cause more harm than good. Such dissonance is hardly the behavior of a hard-liner. Deanna, despite their ongoing friction in the story, takes pains to remind him that he's at his best when he improvises, bending the rules when necessary to serve the greater good. I think this is very much in keeping with their established relationship.

It's stated outright that he has NEVER been comfy with the PD insofar as it defines "cultural maturity" as synonymous with technological advancement. A position that is shored up not only in various of the literary works but in the canon material as well.

Will feels constrained by the PD, not compelled to uphold it in every case. but he is also an officer and, when an order is worded as specifically as Starfleet's PD, finding loopholes can be a bear. This is what I tried to show.

I'm sorry it didn't work for you but I'm thrilled that you liked so much of the rest of the stuff.
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Old December 26 2007, 08:12 AM   #54
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Re: Sword of Damocles -- comments & opinions ****SPOILERS***

Julio Angel Ortiz said:
And, already the fleet is down a Luna class ship. Nice one, Geoff.

Isn't Starfleet down two, technically, considering the destruction of the U.S.S Luna, as constantly referenced by Ra-Havreii?
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Old December 26 2007, 03:13 PM   #55
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Re: Sword of Damocles -- comments & opinions ****SPOILERS***

After making Geoffrey really, really angry after he misread one of my posts, which he took as me saying he wasn't up to par with other Titan writers but actually saying he was, I'll try and be careful with this review ...

The premise was very original. At least for me. The way the space/time folds to make the planet it's own source of danger and worship. The circular prophecy. A world so defined by it's fear. It all worked together really well.

The interplay between the characters was very well done. There is a large, varying array of dynamics between characters from seething anger to taking people under their wing. It doesn't look like any friction is going to be resolved anytime soon too, and if they do then there are plenty of other people to irritate each other (unlike say...Voyager).

It was also the first book that didn't have to take a lot of time out to introduce and reintroduce all the new characters. The story was able to just throw a handful of characters at the problem and have them work on a solution. It did mean there was a lot of characters barely or not used at all to avoid any confusion, but it saved me having to memorise almost a whole ship of people.

The writing itself was enjoyable to read. Things were described with a lot of detail to paint a vivid picture, without having to take the reader out of the action too much to do so. Scenes were well described so I rarely got lost.

The problem I found with the book was that it was not greater than the sum of it's parts. Although the parts were incredibly well done.

The flow of the book didn't work for me and any confusion about what was going on was only because of the flitting around between Jaza, the away team and Titan never seemed to occur at the right, ideal times. It was obviously done this way on purpose to add mystery but it still seemed jarring rather good storytelling.

The characters that were being used had their journeys to travel. Everyone knows that Titan will be alright in the end, so it's these mini-stories that make the story worth reading. Riker and Troi had their problems, Jaza had his prophecy, Dakal fitting in, Modan introduced, Ra-Havreii's demons, Vale getting used to command...

I don't think all of these stories worked. Jaza's obviously did because it was part of the main story, and Modan's and Dakal's worked, but the others had their problems. Vale just comes across like a bitch who isn't well suited to her new job and paranoid about the command structure. Riker and Troi's problems were improved by them being in mortal danger ...the exact reason for the argument??? I can't work out if Ra-Havreii reached a milestone in his story or if he's still in the same place he was before.

This next problem isn't Geoffrey's fault...it's Titan's fault. There are too many characters. Either there should be 2 books a year (even if the quality needs to dip for some of them just for the charactisation) or a set main 'cast' with others to flavour it depending on the story (the DS9 method).

On the whole, a brilliant, interesting read and a worthy addition to the always above-par Titan books.
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Old December 26 2007, 03:58 PM   #56
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Re: Sword of Damocles -- comments & opinions ****SPOILERS***

Vixen said:
Isn't Starfleet down two, technically, considering the destruction of the U.S.S Luna, as constantly referenced by Ra-Havreii?
As I recall, the Luna wasn't destroyed, only damaged. It suffered an accident that killed a number of engineers, but the ship survived and is now in service.
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Old December 26 2007, 04:21 PM   #57
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Re: Sword of Damocles -- comments & opinions ****SPOILERS***

Later, yes, Riker abandoned his hard line view at the beginning of the book and I am very grateful for that. My point was I am amazed that he voiced this strong hard-line opinion first, not that he went away from it later in the story.

I understand your opinion that you don`t like “post-game wrap ups”. But if you don`t, you need to make sure that your readers – and also less experienced SF readers – are not left hanging and wondering at the end. I am not a fan of hardcore SF. I never heard the word “tesseract” before and when I looked into my dictionary (English is not my native language) I couldn`t find it. I think it is a bit harsh to say (kind of) that adult books shouldn`t have a final clarification at the end. What does that say of readers like me who didn`t “get” it, then?

I like the idea of annotations and I am sure people who read them will find them helpful. Nevertheless, as people tend to remind us, the vast majority of book readers don`t read book discussions like this one and related websites. I don`t think giving your readers a little helping hand at the end of the book so that they can enjoy your novel better and make sure they understand what is going on is not making a book less “adult”. Also adults keep learning, not just children.
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Old December 26 2007, 07:14 PM   #58
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Re: Sword of Damocles -- comments & opinions ****SPOILERS***

Vixen. You're silly. Thanks for the crit. I'm glad you enjoyed it after all. Sorry for the jumping around. Some folks like it, some not so much.

Baerbell. Well. We differ on the Riker thing. I felt it was necessary to show a decision, a hard decision, being made. I'm never happy with captains who willy-nilly decide to do what's best for themselves in defiance of something like the PD. Unlike Calhoun or Kirk, Riker, while always able to improvise a new means of getting what he wants, has often been shown to also follow, to the letter, commands he doesn't agree with or like. And this was when he was a first officer. Now that he's captain, I assume the pressure to conform is higher. That's how I see it. Mileage varies, of course.

I will take your crits under advisement in terms of future Trek work, should any come my way. I certainly don't like to have ANY of my readers confused or left with impressions I didn't intend which seems to have happened here. That's my fault, of course. Next time, better clarity.
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Old December 26 2007, 09:17 PM   #59
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Re: Sword of Damocles -- comments & opinions ****SPOILERS***

Christopher said:
Vixen said:
Isn't Starfleet down two, technically, considering the destruction of the U.S.S Luna, as constantly referenced by Ra-Havreii?
As I recall, the Luna wasn't destroyed, only damaged. It suffered an accident that killed a number of engineers, but the ship survived and is now in service.
Dammit...I guess focusing on what's being said and comprehending the reading helps, huh?

RedJack said:
Vixen. You're silly.
I try, sometimes. You should see me after a few glasses of cider and some sips of wine :thumbsup: (First Contact Troi ain't got nothin' on me)

Thanks for the crit. I'm glad you enjoyed it after all.
It was an enjoyable read, but sometimes (unfortunately, during most of the scientific scenes and explanations) I felt my eyes glaze over slightly and felt like I was in my high school science class. But, it was still a great entry into the Titan series (and much better than Resistance)

Sorry for the jumping around. Some folks like it, some not so much.
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Old December 26 2007, 10:40 PM   #60
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Re: Sword of Damocles -- comments & opinions ****SPOILERS***

Oh yeah, I forgot to ask. There were a lot of mentions of people wearing colour-on-black. What uniforms are they wearing?
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