A Singular Destiny review thread (possible spoilers)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Brendan Moody, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. Brendan Moody

    Brendan Moody Vice Admiral Admiral

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    [This post is pretty much spoiler-free, but I assume spoiler-y stuff may come up in later discussion, hence the warning.]

    After months of (often wildly inaccurate) speculation, (often cruelly teasing) hints, and (always incredibly frustrating) anticipation, the Destiny trilogy has come and gone. But as much as Destiny was an ending, it was also a beginning, and the fruits of that beginning... er... begin with A Singular Destiny. And if this book is representative of the post-Destiny Trek fiction, we have a lot to look forward to.

    Reading the trilogy late last year, I was ambivalent about Destiny and the changes it purported to bring to the Trek universe. In particular, I wasn't sure that the fiction could communicate the consequences of these big developments in a way that would justify them. The jury's still out on that, but A Singular Destiny is strong evidence for the defense. (My own prosecution in the Court of Over-Extended Metaphors is still pending.) Scarcely a page goes by where there isn't a large or small reminder of the cost of the Borg invasion. More than that, the book is smart about identifying ways the invasion would have affected many different facets of the Trek universe. A universe that is amply explored in A Singular Destiny, by the way- for a book of its length, it covers a lot of ground, including glimpses at the lives of characters from several of the book and TV series, without ever losing focus on its main narrative thread.

    Just what that narrative thread is will only become clear over time, as the book is in part a mystery, with the hidden pattern behind seemingly unconnected events gradually emerging. That pattern isn't terribly complex, but there's enough to it to keep the book moving along at a brisk pace. I do wish, though, that the recent 2009-10 fiction preview article at TrekMovie.com hadn't given away a major aspect of the book's ending; it's still satisfying enough to see how the events in question play out, but it could have been even more so.

    KRAD's novels often distinguish themselves by their humor and characterization, and while A Singular Destiny doesn't quite reach the heights of some of his other books in this regard, there's still plenty to like. As ever, I really enjoyed the Aaron Sorkin homage of the Palais scenes, and some of the other jokes also hit home, though I'm beginning to find KRAD's sense of humor familiar enough that there's more recognition than amusement when I hit the punchline. Characterization was also something of a mixed bag. The book does more to give Sam Bowers a history and personality than any of his previous appearances, and I continue to enjoy Captain Ezri, but protagonist Sonek Pran feels a little insubstantial, more a convenient way to piece together the plot than a proper character. His racial heritage feels a bit cute, to be honest, and not much personality comes through. He's a big fan of diplomacy, and he talks too much; fine, but I would have liked to see a bit more. His relationship with his son is underdeveloped and feels more like obligatory dramatic business than authentic character work. (That's a comment on how it reads, not a guess at the author's intentions.) I'm also not quite sold on his mad diplomatic skillz, as nothing he comes up with seems especially brilliant. I did appreciate that he was allowed to make an actual mistake at one point, though, rather than being the guy with the answers to everything.

    These quibbles aside, though, I found the book thoroughly compelling, as the fact that I read it in the course of a few hours indicates. I've had (more than?) my share of issues with the several varieties of post-Nemesis fiction, but A Singular Destiny is a welcome return to the fundamental stability of the best Trek novels and, I hope, the "sign of things to come" that its back cover suggests.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2009
  2. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    Thank you very much for the review, Brendan!
     
  3. The Grim Ghost

    The Grim Ghost Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It is absolutely killing me not to read this....must...be...patient..:borg:
     
  4. adamczar

    adamczar Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I see Amazon has it in stock. Can't justify $3.99 shipping, though. I'll have to wait until the local place has it! :)

    Thanks for the review.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2009
  5. Man of Steel

    Man of Steel Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    $3.99 is nothing Adam. I'm paying $20.00 for the shipping.


    Thanks for the review Brendan. Can't wait to read it.
     
  6. Dayton Ward

    Dayton Ward Word Pusher Rear Admiral

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    ^ You're paying $20 to ship an $8 book?

    Do you work for the government?
     
  7. Dimesdan

    Dimesdan "Down with this sort of thing!" Premium Member

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    I believe Man of Steel is in Israel so that twenty dollars could be danger money for who ever is delivering it.
     
  8. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Or, you know, distance money...
     
  9. fleetcaptain

    fleetcaptain Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Gotta look for this book soon. I have been waiting to see what the aftermath has done and what the Aventine crew is doing w/ its new little slipstream drive.
     
  10. Corran Horn

    Corran Horn Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Mine should be here tomorrow...
     
  11. William Leisner

    William Leisner Scribbler Rear Admiral

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    I think Dayton's point was that he's paying $20 to ship an $8 book.

    As opposed to, y'know, not paying $28 for an $8 book.
     
  12. Dimesdan

    Dimesdan "Down with this sort of thing!" Premium Member

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    You may very well have a point William, in my hast in answering said question, I didn't actually think of that technicality, as for it being distance money and not danger money. May I just ask Therin, how much do you get charged to get your books out to Aus super fast? I only ask as New York to Sydney is 9930 miles where as New York to Tel Aviv is 5670 miles, and the reason I went for New York is that's where from my understanding the Trek officies of Pocket Books are based. Plus given the latest goings on in and around Israel, danger money could be a vallied reason!
     
  13. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Erm, yes, I and others understood that. I was just pointing out that the cost of shipping to the State of Israel isn't necessarily a matter of hazard pay, but could easily just be the issue of distance.
     
  14. William Leisner

    William Leisner Scribbler Rear Admiral

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    Erm, yes. Thank you.
     
  15. Man of Steel

    Man of Steel Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I am aware of the fact that it makes no sense what I'm doing but the reasons are this:

    1) I tried shipping it through regular international airmail but the problem with that was I never received the items after a month's time and with no way to track it, neither I nor Barnes and Nobles could do anything but...

    2) Have it reshipped by UPS which frankly got to me 4 days later.

    3) 3 months after receiving the book/s by UPS, I got a slip from the post office saying there was a package waiting for me

    4) Sure, I can have them go to my house in NY but then I'll be way behind in Trek books and other things...

    5) No danger money involved just customs fees that UPS asks for

    6) So, I have researched this and UPS/FED EX is the better way to get stuff here (Or my friends who come here from NY)

    7) The mail here, for some reason, is unbelievably slow as molasses.

    8) I'm also aware that some of you might be laughing at me or think I'm nuts for doing this....

    9) And I think Ian gets his books direct from Australia.

    10) Which leads me to ask, why aren't Trek books sold here in Israel?
     
  16. DarkHorizon

    DarkHorizon Captain Captain

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    My copy was waiting for me when I got home this evening... am devouring it right now.

    Oh, KRAD? That casualty list leading into Chapter 8? You evil bastard... :lol:
     
  17. Brendan Moody

    Brendan Moody Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^Yeah, I was glad I read through that carefully. Whatever it means, the books in... the series in question... are certainly going to be interesting.
     
  18. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    Mine is an evil laugh......... :evil:
     
  19. Jean-Luc Picard

    Jean-Luc Picard Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I want spoilers...but I don't want spoilers...but I really do... :(
     
  20. Tirius

    Tirius Captain Captain

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    ^^^
    What, did someone major get killed off in a footnote? First you think they've survived Destiny, and then they get killed off in a footnote in the following book. It is most distressing. :D (Oh well, better than being killed off in the Appendix, anyway...)
     

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