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Old August 3 2008, 05:07 AM   #106
tenmei
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

Any idea when we'll get annotations for this, Christopher?
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Old August 3 2008, 05:41 AM   #107
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

Christopher wrote: View Post
Wow, thanks!
Trust me, you earned it. It's been a while since I've been so interested in a TNG-R book. And this one has had so many different things going on and going for it: T'Ryssa's journey into maturity (but not enough to damage her humor), the command crew's slow adaption into cohesiveness, the multiple different ideologies and beliefs among that command crew combining together to create a new way of doing things while also keeping the old ways in mind as well, Picard coming to terms with challenges from his past affecting his future with Beverly, Worf's continued evolution into an almost-Spocklike figure, the Liberated, both assimilated and incubated, uniting together to create a new entity based on the experiences of both...all throughout the theme "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts" worked, without really being overused, because you were subtle about it, not writing the equivalent of a giant neon sign saying "KEY PLOT POINT HERE!!! KTHXBYE!"

Well-said. It's interesting to see people reading this in terms I didn't consciously have in mind, coming at it from different angles.
Interestingly enough, the book *has* made me reconsider, on a slight level, my concerns about starting a family of my own. I've considered, before even knowing about her, having a Trys-like lifestyle. My family life has never been the best, and there are events which have negatively colored the way I perceive families, especially parents. But, after reading this, I realized that, while your biological family does definitely impact the way you do things, it is ultimately up to you (figurative you) in deciding how you want to do things. I've never been comfortable with the thought my ever being a parent (and considering the life I want to live and the things I'll have to do to get there, it would be difficult and mentally uncomfortable for me to become a parent), but I can say that I will definitely give more thought to this as time goes by, instead of automatically rejecting it out of hand. So your book definitely affected me beyond what I would have thought.





Tell that to Margaret. I don't think she was too pleased with it.
Really? I thought it was funny, especially when Picard used his "Shakespeare used puns and witty comments" defense.



Wow, that's great to hear.
Part of what made her so fascinating was how she was really hard to pigeonhole. She wasn't "a space slut", because she didn't wear a lowcut flowing dress on the bridge (although at times she wore less). She wasn't a rebel without a cause, fighting against all authority, because her dislike of authoritative figures (something I can fully relate to) goes back to her childhood. She had such an interesting personality and such interesting psychological states and was so compelling that I couldn't not like her. She was quirky, spunky, and fun. And I loved the Rennan/Trys relationship (Careful, you've just set off the dormant shipper in me. I'm also looking for a Dina/Geordi and Worf/Choudhury set of pairings. BTW, thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou for marrying Picard and Crusher! I squeed when I read that. The sheer P/Cness of Death in Winter is why it attracted me so, and I was just so glad that the TNG-R finally did things right).

Neat.
I think it's safe to say that, between you and David Mack, I'll quit bitching about the Borg being overused and not scary. . Jesus, I'm still getting shivers down my spine.

I checked the dates, and I actually wrote the scenes involving the ship a couple of months before Benazir Bhutto died. But it was after she survived a previous assassination attempt. I was trying to pay tribute to her as a peacemaker, and hoping she would succeed and be commemorated by Starfleet for that. But the tribute ended up with a different meaning, unfortunately.
I have much respect and admiration for Benazir Bhutto, and now that the timeline for that scene being written is revealed I can see that. However, I will say that she had to know that going back to Pakistan would be a death sentence for her. At least she was actually able to attempt change there, and her death might have, unfortunately, been the impetus for action some Pakistanis needed. Leybenzon, on the other hand, is completely correct in believing that his actions, and his "I'm a big, tough manly soldier in a lame peacetime" mentality is what caused him to end up with a snapped spine and giving the Borg access to the weapon, and possibly pissing them off enough to incite the blitzkrieg attacks on Barolia and Acamar (so much for the Barolian freighter and Sovereign Marouk).

One other thing I must also commend you for is sparing the Rhea from destruction. I cannot tell you how relieved I felt when I saw that she survived. First the Luna has that explosion, then the Charon is destroyed, then the Rhea gets the EPS kicked out of it, all while Titan is also being banged about...

Anyway, megamegamegakudoes.
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Old August 3 2008, 01:48 PM   #108
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

tenmei wrote: View Post
Any idea when we'll get annotations for this, Christopher?
I'm waiting until I get my copy, which somehow hasn't happened yet (even Margaret hadn't gotten hers yet, last I asked, which is odd given that they're actually on the shelves). I want to make sure the page numbering hasn't changed since the galleys. The page numbers for Places of Exile were 4 or 5 pages off from what I had in my draft annotations.

Valeris wrote: View Post
Interestingly enough, the book *has* made me reconsider, on a slight level, my concerns about starting a family of my own. I've considered, before even knowing about her, having a Trys-like lifestyle. My family life has never been the best, and there are events which have negatively colored the way I perceive families, especially parents. But, after reading this, I realized that, while your biological family does definitely impact the way you do things, it is ultimately up to you (figurative you) in deciding how you want to do things. I've never been comfortable with the thought my ever being a parent (and considering the life I want to live and the things I'll have to do to get there, it would be difficult and mentally uncomfortable for me to become a parent), but I can say that I will definitely give more thought to this as time goes by, instead of automatically rejecting it out of hand. So your book definitely affected me beyond what I would have thought.
Wow. It's moving and a little scary to hear that what I've written has affected someone else's life.


Part of what made her so fascinating was how she was really hard to pigeonhole. She wasn't "a space slut", because she didn't wear a lowcut flowing dress on the bridge (although at times she wore less).
Let's just say she's a free spirit. And personally I don't think there's anything slutty about having a healthy openness toward sexuality.

She wasn't a rebel without a cause, fighting against all authority, because her dislike of authoritative figures (something I can fully relate to) goes back to her childhood.
I don't think Trys dislikes authority figures as people; she just dislikes being hemmed in by other people's orders and expectations. She's gotta do her own thing, man, y'know?

And I made a point of establishing that Picard is the one authority figure she readily defers to, in order to soften that rebellious streak as well as to establish a bond between them.

She had such an interesting personality and such interesting psychological states and was so compelling that I couldn't not like her. She was quirky, spunky, and fun.
I'm gratified that people are having such strong reactions to her. Of course, some are strongly negative, but that's fine; I've long believed that anything with enough substance to leave a strong positive impression in some people is bound to leave a strong negative impression in others, that the only way to avoid upsetting anyone is to avoid delighting anyone. I for one am delighted that Trys is leaving her mark, and I hope I get the chance to write her again before too long.

And I loved the Rennan/Trys relationship (Careful, you've just set off the dormant shipper in me. I'm also looking for a Dina/Geordi and Worf/Choudhury set of pairings.
Actually Rennan/Trys was an afterthought; I just wanted something for Rennan to do in the story. As for Dina and Geordi, didn't they pretty much agree to be just friends?

BTW, thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou for marrying Picard and Crusher! I squeed when I read that. The sheer P/Cness of Death in Winter is why it attracted me so, and I was just so glad that the TNG-R finally did things right).
Thank Margaret for that. She hired me to write a book that wrapped up the loose Before Dishonor threads, married Picard and Crusher, and led into Destiny.


I have much respect and admiration for Benazir Bhutto, and now that the timeline for that scene being written is revealed I can see that. However, I will say that she had to know that going back to Pakistan would be a death sentence for her. At least she was actually able to attempt change there, and her death might have, unfortunately, been the impetus for action some Pakistanis needed.
I hope so. Unfortunately, it doesn't often work out that way. Gandhi was martyred, and the Subcontinent abandoned his principles and descended into sectarian division and mass bloodshed almost immediately thereafter. Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, and the Mideast peace he strove for has since disintegrated.

(so much for the Barolian freighter and Sovereign Marouk).
Did you notice the hint that the Barolian freighter captain was the same one who'd hired the young Trys as a cook when she ran away? I didn't intend that, but I noticed that, coincidentally, the first planet Dave had specified as a target of the Borg, Barolia, was the same one the freighter captain had come from. So I threw in a little in-joke, even though I'm usually not a fan of small-universe syndrome.

One other thing I must also commend you for is sparing the Rhea from destruction. I cannot tell you how relieved I felt when I saw that she survived. First the Luna has that explosion, then the Charon is destroyed, then the Rhea gets the EPS kicked out of it, all while Titan is also being banged about...
Yeah... there was a lot of violence in this book, by my standards, and I wanted the real climax of the action to be something more positive, more about saving lives than taking them. I wanted some payoff for the themes Choudhury had raised.
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Old August 3 2008, 07:33 PM   #109
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

I was so glad the Borg dropped the "absorb Pluto" trick. I hated that in BD.
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Old August 3 2008, 07:48 PM   #110
tenmei
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

Romulan_spy wrote: View Post
I was so glad the Borg dropped the "absorb Pluto" trick. I hated that in BD.
See, I really liked that. It seemed like a natural extension of assimilation - and when I was reading it, it seemed like it would have been a midblowingly cool sequence to see in a movie.

The way I'm looking at it is BD is more of an action/sfx movie and GTTS is a TNG equivalent to The Motion Picture. But then, that's probably because I'm picturing the sector the Enterprise operates in in GTTS as looking like the exterior of V'Ger.
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Old August 3 2008, 08:27 PM   #111
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

tenmei wrote: View Post
The way I'm looking at it is BD is more of an action/sfx movie and GTTS is a TNG equivalent to The Motion Picture. But then, that's probably because I'm picturing the sector the Enterprise operates in in GTTS as looking like the exterior of V'Ger.
Sorry to disappoint, but it actually looks like this:

http://www.eso.org/sci/activities/pr...lease/OC27.jpg

That's NGC 6281, the actual cluster in the novel. (It's a big picture, so you might want to reduce the size in your browser.) And that's at high exposure, so there are far more background stars there than you'd see with the naked eye. Up close, it would look pretty much like space, except with several dozen exceptionally bright blue stars filling the sky, and maybe just the faintest wisps of blue nebulosity that would probably be invisible to the naked eye.


As for absorption, that seemed to be an evolved/mutated ability of the supercube, presumably some kind of nanotech "grey goo" technology, disassembling other matter and reconfiguring it into the desired configuration. The Frankenstein was an assimilated Starfleet vessel with an assimilated crew, so it might not have had that full capability, not having a fully Borg substrate to start from. However, the Frankenstein drones did still have the sleeker, more streamlined characteristics of the BD drones as well as their greater ability to anticipate and relatively greater autonomy.
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Old August 3 2008, 08:57 PM   #112
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

Christopher wrote: View Post
Wow. It's moving and a little scary to hear that what I've written has affected someone else's life.
It was a combination of factors, with GttS acting as the catalyst and the focal point.


Let's just say she's a free spirit. And personally I don't think there's anything slutty about having a healthy openness toward sexuality.
Amen, brother.

It's nice to see you're no Herbert.



I don't think Trys dislikes authority figures as people; she just dislikes being hemmed in by other people's orders and expectations. She's gotta do her own thing, man, y'know?
I can dig it.


I'm gratified that people are having such strong reactions to her. Of course, some are strongly negative, but that's fine; I've long believed that anything with enough substance to leave a strong positive impression in some people is bound to leave a strong negative impression in others, that the only way to avoid upsetting anyone is to avoid delighting anyone. I for one am delighted that Trys is leaving her mark, and I hope I get the chance to write her again before too long.
I hope so too, because she was one of the main reasons Greater than the Sum worked so well.


Actually Rennan/Trys was an afterthought; I just wanted something for Rennan to do in the story. As for Dina and Geordi, didn't they pretty much agree to be just friends?
Dina and Geordi did agree to be friends early on, but at the end they ended up dancing together and...I don't know, maybe I was reading more into it.

Rennan/Trys was an afterthought? Wow, it totally did not feel that way at all, it was written so nicely.



Thank Margaret for that. She hired me to write a book that wrapped up the loose Before Dishonor threads, married Picard and Crusher, and led into Destiny.
All three of which are no mean feat to accomplish.



I hope so. Unfortunately, it doesn't often work out that way. Gandhi was martyred, and the Subcontinent abandoned his principles and descended into sectarian division and mass bloodshed almost immediately thereafter. Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, and the Mideast peace he strove for has since disintegrated.
I think, unfortunately, it will still take another few decades before the Middle East is able to have peace, and the same for the Subcontinent. If only we had our own Sarek-equivalent, willing to spend however long it takes to work things out.


Did you notice the hint that the Barolian freighter captain was the same one who'd hired the young Trys as a cook when she ran away? I didn't intend that, but I noticed that, coincidentally, the first planet Dave had specified as a target of the Borg, Barolia, was the same one the freighter captain had come from. So I threw in a little in-joke, even though I'm usually not a fan of small-universe syndrome.
Yeah. I thought it was interesting, and darkly witty.

BTW, why exactly was Barolia the first target? Was there any specific reason, or was David simply tossing darts at that large map of the Federation from Star Charts?

Yeah... there was a lot of violence in this book, by my standards, and I wanted the real climax of the action to be something more positive, more about saving lives than taking them. I wanted some payoff for the themes Choudhury had raised.
I was really impressed with the way Choudhury turned out. When I first read descriptions of her, I had been afraid she'd be like Theras.
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Old August 3 2008, 10:37 PM   #113
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

Valeris wrote: View Post
BTW, why exactly was Barolia the first target? Was there any specific reason, or was David simply tossing darts at that large map of the Federation from Star Charts?
The reasons will become evident upon reading Destiny and comparing it to Star Charts.


I was really impressed with the way Choudhury turned out. When I first read descriptions of her, I had been afraid she'd be like Theras.
Theras? Who's that? The only references I can find to that name are an Aenar from The Good That Men Do and a minor crewmember from one of Marvel's 1980 Trek comics.
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Old August 4 2008, 02:39 AM   #114
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

Christopher wrote: View Post
The reasons will become evident upon reading Destiny and comparing it to Star Charts.
Oooh...got it.


Theras? Who's that? The only references I can find to that name are an Aenar from The Good That Men Do and a minor crewmember from one of Marvel's 1980 Trek comics.
The Aenar.
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Old August 4 2008, 02:58 AM   #115
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

I think I vaguely remember what you're referring to now.
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Old August 4 2008, 04:31 AM   #116
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

In my review of The Good That Men Do, I had been...less than pleased, to put it lightly, with Theras and what he did. I felt like he was a bad stereotype of a pacifist, one taken to extremes. I also thought he was weak, emotionally unstable, and that the story would have been better written if he hadn't been in it.

So I was unsure about Choudhury, as well as how he non-violent ways would come across. If Theras had been written more like Choudhury, then I would have enjoyed TGTMD even more, because while she could be considered pacifistic and was definitely non-violent, she wasn't a weak, sniveling, insecure annoying character in any way.
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Old August 4 2008, 10:50 AM   #117
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

Romulan_spy wrote: View Post
I was so glad the Borg dropped the "absorb Pluto" trick. I hated that in BD.
Put to better use or maybe even just given to a more serious author, I think it could have been brilliant. As it was in BD it was more comic than anything else (of course it doesn't help when it's all going on and Starfleet's top brass are joking about planet designations in a bunker).

Oh yes I'd forgotten about this up till now, but Christopher, did you or anyone else at any time raise any concern (if that's the right word) over calling that ship Frankenstein? I remember at the start thinking it was delightfully cheesy and groaned in a Worf-like manner every time it was mentioned.
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Old August 4 2008, 02:47 PM   #118
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

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Oh yes I'd forgotten about this up till now, but Christopher, did you or anyone else at any time raise any concern (if that's the right word) over calling that ship Frankenstein? I remember at the start thinking it was delightfully cheesy and groaned in a Worf-like manner every time it was mentioned.
Well, it was my idea, so I didn't have a problem with it. I thought it was actually fairly appropriate. Frankenstein isn't just a cheesy monster movie, it's a foundational work of science fiction literature that explores serious themes of creation and responsibility. The whole idea of the Borg is a spiritual descendant of Mary Shelley's creation.

But yes, it's also a cheesy monster movie, and the name is a bit of a groaner, but so what? I was fine with injecting some humor to lighten what was a pretty dark subject. People do use gallows humor to make such things easier to cope with; recall the songs and cartoons that mocked the Nazis during WWII. While there is a risk of taking humor too far to the point of goofiness, it's just as much a mistake to be too humorless in depicting grim events.

As for other people's reactions, I was expecting some resistance from Margaret or Paula, but didn't get any. Though as I said, Margaret did ask me to dial back Trys's puns somewhat, so I dropped the part where she announced the Borg's escape from the cluster entity's confinement by saying, "Frankenstein's unbound." Though I'm not sure how many people would've gotten the reference. (And most of them would've probably thought it was to the Roger Corman movie, but I was thinking of the Brian Aldiss novel it was based on.)
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Old August 4 2008, 08:26 PM   #119
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

The humor was part of what helped lighten the tension during reading it, for me anyway.

The difference between Greater than the Sum and Before Dishonor, both of which had humor, is that it was A) in moderation, really, and B) it didn't pop up at inappropriate times and make the reader go "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!"

The different writing styles also helped to make GttS more successful humor-wise than BD.
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Old August 5 2008, 12:29 AM   #120
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Re: Greater Than The Sum Review *** POTENTIAL SPOILERS ***

Finally been able to maintain a stable internet connection long enough to post my review at my blog. In short? Loved it. In long? Well, read the blog...
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