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Old March 28 2008, 06:13 PM   #1
Mr Light
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Shatner's Totality Trilogy

I just finished reading the entire trilogy all the way through for the first time. This is actually the first Trek book I've read in 5 years! Which is funny since I used to be the mod for this forum

I always love the Shatnerverse books. They're the only Trek books that actually feel larger than just a tv show... they're huge epic action movies better than the actual Star Trek movies! And they also feature really interesting *important* stories that unify a dozen different separate stories into one coherent universe. Great stuff.

#1 Captain's Peril: a bad start to the series, and probably the worse Shatnerverse book of the entire run. Half the book is a TOS flashback? The other half is Kirk and Picard doing a murder mystery in the Bajoran desert with a big sea monster? Yeesh. I was about ready to abandon it several times. Not all what I expect from this series, not to mention that it made it look like the 3 books weren't a trilogy like the rest. I knew nothing about them only that they had "Captain's X" in the title, I'd been buying the paperbacks and sitting on them waiting for all 3 to be out. I hate reading a book series separated by years I forget everything. But thankfully the final ending showed there was a story after all.

#2 Captain's Blood: much, much better. a really fun follow-up to the Romulan/Reman story from ST:Nemesis. I've always loved Romulan stories. And the Norinda was an interesting villain. I really like the new set up of Kirk and his TOS survivors crewing a black ops Starfleet ship. And I loved the inclusion of VOY's Doctor and Janeway.

#3 Captain's Glory: a great four star end to the story! After two books of set-up we finally get a brilliant pay-off where the entire galaxy is threatened with the end of all FTL travel and the end of interstellar civilization. But even better than that was the complete paranoia that descends on Starfleet over infiltration; this is handled much better than DS9 did! And the non-weapons battle between the Ent-E and the Belle Reve in the middle book was a classic action scene that I love this series for. The revelation of what the Totality is was pretty cool and original, and the solution to defeating them ingenious yet simple. The ending battle on Vulcan was also suitably epic. This would have made for a brilliant movie!

I also really enjoyed the last minute twist that the "Progenitors" were destroyed in an ancient war by the Totality, and Joseph was some kind of reincarnated guardian left behind by them. Good twist. I was shocked when Joseph "died", but I'm sure he's just ascended to godhood or something and will return.

Now, the excerpt for their next book is a Starfleet Academy flashback? Ugh. That sounds completely uninteresting to me. If this a one-off book, or the beginning of yet another trilogy?

Also, when reading the books I always wonder, just how much "involvement" does Shatner really give? Does he really know all the fine workings of the DS9 and TNG and VOY characters? Does he know all the little continuity details from all the episodes and weaves them into one story? Or does he just give a premise to the Reeves-Stevens like "Kirk and his son go on an adventure"?
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Old March 28 2008, 06:26 PM   #2
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Re: Shatner's Totality Trilogy

Mr Light wrote: View Post
Now, the excerpt for their next book is a Starfleet Academy flashback? Ugh. That sounds completely uninteresting to me. If this a one-off book, or the beginning of yet another trilogy?
First of a duology, theoretically. Though I think the sales were poor, so the second volume isn't a sure thing.

Also, when reading the books I always wonder, just how much "involvement" does Shatner really give? Does he really know all the fine workings of the DS9 and TNG and VOY characters? Does he know all the little continuity details from all the episodes and weaves them into one story? Or does he just give a premise to the Reeves-Stevens like "Kirk and his son go on an adventure"?
Didn't this come up in another thread just recently, or was that on another board? Shatner is involved every step of the way. He's like the showrunner with the Reeves-Stevenses as his writing staff. He doesn't do all the work, and they're the ones who fill in the continuity details, but he conceives the thrust of the storyline, writes Kirk's dialogue and action, rewrites what the R-Ses write (just as they rewrite what he writes), and has final approval over every word. It's a fully collaborative process with him in charge.
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Old March 28 2008, 06:34 PM   #3
Defcon
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Re: Shatner's Totality Trilogy

Christopher wrote: View Post
Mr Light wrote: View Post
Also, when reading the books I always wonder, just how much "involvement" does Shatner really give? Does he really know all the fine workings of the DS9 and TNG and VOY characters? Does he know all the little continuity details from all the episodes and weaves them into one story? Or does he just give a premise to the Reeves-Stevens like "Kirk and his son go on an adventure"?
Didn't this come up in another thread just recently, or was that on another board? Shatner is involved every step of the way. He's like the showrunner with the Reeves-Stevenses as his writing staff. He doesn't do all the work, and they're the ones who fill in the continuity details, but he conceives the thrust of the storyline, writes Kirk's dialogue and action, rewrites what the R-Ses write (just as they rewrite what he writes), and has final approval over every word. It's a fully collaborative process with him in charge.
It was on this board, and I'll simply quote my post from there:

Defcon wrote: View Post
I checked Voyages of Imaginations to see if i remembered correctly, here is what Margaret Clark (editor) said about the collaboration:

"They all sit down and do the outline, where they come up with the core of the story together. What is the heart of the story? What is Kirk's motivation? Judy and gar than go away and write a more detailed outline based on their meeting and their notes. It#S a back-and-forth process that extends to the execution of the manuscript, Ninety-five percent of the Kirk material in these books comes from Bill, with gentle tweaks from Gar and Judy. They give their books the excellent continuity."

Shatner:

"We agreed that we wanted to write together. The way we write is I start things off with an outline. They start work from that outline and then I [go over it], rewrite, and hand it back to them. It's a process of interacting at all phases of the writing, I'm into plot and character more than anything."
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Old March 28 2008, 06:38 PM   #4
Mr Light
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Re: Shatner's Totality Trilogy

Sorry, I haven't been in this forum in years.
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Old March 28 2008, 06:38 PM   #5
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Re: Shatner's Totality Trilogy

Mr Light wrote: View Post
I always love the Shatnerverse books. They're the only Trek books that actually feel larger than just a tv show... they're huge epic action movies better than the actual Star Trek movies! And they also feature really interesting *important* stories that unify a dozen different separate stories into one coherent universe. Great stuff.
Your implication here, that the other Trek novels don't feature important stories that unify a dozen different separate stories into one coherent universe is, frankly, false. (The "really interesting" part is a subjective judgment I can't speak to. )
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Old March 28 2008, 06:44 PM   #6
Mr Light
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Re: Shatner's Totality Trilogy

Well keep in mind I stopped reading 5 years ago But the Shatverse books were the ones that felt like huge crossover epics with the fate of the world/Federation/galaxy/life in the balance. Other Trek books tend to be smaller in scale.

I do recall reading your "Diplomatic Implausibility" which I thought was pretty good. It wasn't about the end of the world or different series crossing of course, they can't all be like that.
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Old March 28 2008, 06:48 PM   #7
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Re: Shatner's Totality Trilogy

Mr Light wrote: View Post
It wasn't about the end of the world or different series crossing of course, they can't all be like that.
Actually it was a crossover in hindsight since it featured the I.K.S. Gorkon and its crew.
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Old March 28 2008, 08:26 PM   #8
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Re: Shatner's Totality Trilogy

Mr Light wrote: View Post
But the Shatverse books were the ones that felt like huge crossover epics with the fate of the world/Federation/galaxy/life in the balance. Other Trek books tend to be smaller in scale.
Gee, you really have been out of touch with the literature...
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Old March 28 2008, 11:20 PM   #9
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Re: Shatner's Totality Trilogy

Mr Light wrote: View Post
Well keep in mind I stopped reading 5 years ago But the Shatverse books were the ones that felt like huge crossover epics with the fate of the world/Federation/galaxy/life in the balance. Other Trek books tend to be smaller in scale.
If you like that stuff you should check out the new crossover trilogy Desiny: http://startrek.wikia.com/wiki/Star_Trek:_Destiny which starts later this year.
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Old March 28 2008, 11:42 PM   #10
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Re: Shatner's Totality Trilogy

I love the Shatnerverse Books. They are the only "newer" Trek books that I can really get into for some reason.

The Totality Trilogy, I thought, was the weakest Trilogy so far and I was really let down by "Captain's Peril" and I somewhat wish that it was entirely about the TOS story. The Picard/Kirk mystery adventure seemed worthless and I kept expecting the two stories to collide, but they never really did.

I like to compare this Trilogy to the Star Wars prequel trilogy in terms of format. The first one was kind of its own thing, but was loosely connected to the overall story where as the second and third ones form the bigger story at hand.

And don't discount "The Academy: Collision Course" just yet. It was a fun read.
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Old March 29 2008, 01:02 AM   #11
GHS
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Re: Shatner's Totality Trilogy

KRAD;1478185 Your implication here, that the other [I wrote:
Trek[/I] novels don't feature important stories that unify a dozen different separate stories into one coherent universe is, frankly, false. (The "really interesting" part is a subjective judgment I can't speak to. )
I realize it's largely subjective, but in my opinion Pocket has a long, long way to go in this area. One of the great appeals of Shatner's books is that he seems to have more leeway to team up characters from different series than the rest of the authors.

You've only got 5 screen casts to work with. Although time travel was a chief element of Enterprise, they've never run into anyone in the rest of the casts. As far as I know, Sisko and Janeway have still never met in the better part of a decade that their shows have been off the air. I could be wrong, but I don't recall any books where an whole cast of one series teamed up with the whole cast of another series.

In the last 5 years, what book contained the most important development for the ST universe? Unity?
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Old March 29 2008, 01:19 AM   #12
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Re: Shatner's Totality Trilogy

The last five years have seen, among other things, Sisko's return in Unity, Janeway's death in Before Dishonor, a whole new dynamic for the Romulan Empire in the various Titan and TNG books, an assassination of a Federation President by Section 31 in the the A Time To... series, the begining of the Earth/Romulan war in The Good That Men Do, the Gateways crisis The Genesis Wave crisis and all sorts of quadrant shaking events.
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Old March 29 2008, 01:40 AM   #13
Trent Roman
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Re: Shatner's Totality Trilogy

Personally, I like the current approach in the literature, which balances large-scale events with more restrained adventures that work on the characters more than the setting, and allows for paced growth of character and plot arcs. I wouldn't want to see the fiction line adopt the model of racing from big event to big event, without ever having the time to pause and soak in the consequences of one before moving on to the next.

As for the characters, that's dictated in large part by market conditions, which wants books belonging to various series to cater to people who are fans of this or that series but not all of them (which I would imagine is most of the readership, myself included), and just maintain a semblance of containment in a very large fictional universe. On the other hand, the Voyager characters have diaspora'ed in the vacuum of VOY-specific post-series books, Tuvok being a regular in Titan, Janeway until recently a recurring character in TNG fiction, and Seven having recently had a big role in the most recent TNG novel. And the upcoming Destiny trilogy promises to meld many of the disparate settings into one grand storyline, so that should be more to your pleasing.

Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
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Old March 29 2008, 01:47 AM   #14
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Re: Shatner's Totality Trilogy

Mr Light wrote: View Post
I always love the Shatnerverse books. They're the only Trek books that actually feel larger than just a tv show... they're huge epic action movies better than the actual Star Trek movies! And they also feature really interesting *important* stories that unify a dozen different separate stories into one coherent universe. Great stuff.
I agree, and I concur. The novels seem to feature more interesting and important stories than say, INS or NEM. And not only the Shatner books - I mean many books as of late.

Mr Light wrote: View Post
#1 Captain's Peril: a bad start to the series, and probably the worse Shatnerverse book of the entire run. Half the book is a TOS flashback? The other half is Kirk and Picard doing a murder mystery in the Bajoran desert with a big sea monster? Yeesh. I was about ready to abandon it several times. Not all what I expect from this series, not to mention that it made it look like the 3 books weren't a trilogy like the rest. I knew nothing about them only that they had "Captain's X" in the title, I'd been buying the paperbacks and sitting on them waiting for all 3 to be out. I hate reading a book series separated by years I forget everything. But thankfully the final ending showed there was a story after all.
I know I belong in the minority, but I absolutely love this book! Perhaps its because I enjoy the Kirk-Picard dynamic enormously, but I was absolutely entertained by it. The smartest thing it does, was to dispense Picard from the mystery investigation, seeing how with Picard the whole thing would've been solved much quicker than it indeed did with Kirk. I appreciate that effort from the writers to aknowledge Picard's brilliance as an investigator.

Mr Light wrote: View Post
#2 Captain's Blood: much, much better. a really fun follow-up to the Romulan/Reman story from ST:Nemesis. I've always loved Romulan stories. And the Norinda was an interesting villain. I really like the new set up of Kirk and his TOS survivors crewing a black ops Starfleet ship. And I loved the inclusion of VOY's Doctor and Janeway.
I really liked how it followed the film up to a very good point - though I am still not sure... For some reason, Crusher is Doctor on that ship, and she supposedly left for Starfleet Medical.

For anyone who would care to answer - Could "Death in the Winter" help explain that incident?

That said, I think Kirk's physical prowress was played up to a ridiculous level in this novel. I mean, he single-handedly carries an elderly McCoy and through a large number of Remans. Thats ego-trip all over again.

Besides that, I thought it was a good sequel to NEM, a fine novel. But I liked the previous better, IMO.

Mr Light wrote: View Post
#3 Captain's Glory: a great four star end to the story! After two books of set-up we finally get a brilliant pay-off where the entire galaxy is threatened with the end of all FTL travel and the end of interstellar civilization. But even better than that was the complete paranoia that descends on Starfleet over infiltration; this is handled much better than DS9 did! And the non-weapons battle between the Ent-E and the Belle Reve in the middle book was a classic action scene that I love this series for. The revelation of what the Totality is was pretty cool and original, and the solution to defeating them ingenious yet simple. The ending battle on Vulcan was also suitably epic. This would have made for a brilliant movie!

I also really enjoyed the last minute twist that the "Progenitors" were destroyed in an ancient war by the Totality, and Joseph was some kind of reincarnated guardian left behind by them. Good twist.
I really liked this book. I think all novels, even "The Return", had a bad tendency on making Kirk too smart and too cunning at everything. I appreciate how this novel, finally, portrays Kirk just right. Not that I have a BIG problem with Kirk and everyone in the previous books, but I do want to note this, because its worthy of noting it. Its not usual for Shatner to be so... Content.

I did feel the ending was, a bit rushed. Not a whole lot - just a bit, though. That said, and I have said this MANY times, but I felt the story ended the Shatnerverse stories beautifully. Especially with a finale, that IMO, finishes the Trek story for me, quite intelligently (clue: check TNG's "The Chase", season 6, and you'll see).

Mr Light wrote: View Post
I was shocked when Joseph "died", but I'm sure he's just ascended to godhood or something and will return.
I don't think Joseph will return - "Captain's Glory" is meant to be seen as the ultimate finale to Kirk's story. At least thats what I gather it is.

Mr Light wrote: View Post
Now, the excerpt for their next book is a Starfleet Academy flashback? Ugh. That sounds completely uninteresting to me. If this a one-off book, or the beginning of yet another trilogy?
I believe it was to be a duoology, but either way, I don't give a damn. What brought me into Shatnerverse was my immense dissapointment on GEN, and "Ashes of Eden" and "The Return" (my first Trek novel, well, ever) hadn't dissapointed me. So in that fashion, I kept reading them. Though some of them have quite big flaws (mostly attributed to Shatner's ego), they're still really interesting, and quite enjoyable. Certainly kept me Trekking around 1998-2005, aka, the boring years.

I'm glad to know more people who enjoy these novels at the very least, as much as I. If, I may say, more.

Mr Light wrote: View Post
Also, when reading the books I always wonder, just how much "involvement" does Shatner really give? Does he really know all the fine workings of the DS9 and TNG and VOY characters? Does he know all the little continuity details from all the episodes and weaves them into one story? Or does he just give a premise to the Reeves-Stevens like "Kirk and his son go on an adventure"?
I believe Defcon has already answered this q.
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Old March 29 2008, 04:35 AM   #15
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Re: Shatner's Totality Trilogy

Emperor-Tiberius wrote: View Post
I really liked how it followed the film up to a very good point - though I am still not sure... For some reason, Crusher is Doctor on that ship, and she supposedly left for Starfleet Medical.

For anyone who would care to answer - Could "Death in the Winter" help explain that incident?
Death in Winter does explain that, at least in the context of the "mainline" Trek novels. No guarantees that it holds for the Shatner books.
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