A Singular Destiny review thread (possible spoilers)

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

  1. Fury

    Fury Captain Captain

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    I'm about halfway through the novel. I'm a fan of Articles of Federation so I was very much looking forward to this. I'm enjoying the various looks around the Quadrant and the Aventine. I kinda like that Bowers is coming like a bit of an ass-- it's very human. The crew of the Aventine continues to be developed though truthfully I have trouble keeping track of characters even after the Destiny trilogy. The developments with the Romulans are particularly fascinating. That's saying something since I've never really cared for them. I wasn't sold on Donatra, but this has certainly changed my mind.

    On the hand, I have to admit that I'm not a fan Sonek Pran. I hate to say this, but I find his character entirely too contrived. He's almost a Mary Sue. Almost. The multiracial (multispecie?) aspect of his character, the folk band background, and his diplomatic brilliance masked by a quick wit and modesty are just a little too much. Personally, I found him a bit too implausible and too clever. I liked much of KRAD's rather sardonic dialogue in Articles (I recognized it as a bit of homage to West Wing), but Pran comes off as annoyingly smug. In fact I felt that a lot of random character shared Pran's predilection as being clever and witty all the time.

    Anyways, I still have the last half of the book to read and will reserve my final judgement. I'm enjoying the book overall, but having trouble with Pran.
     
  2. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I finally got my hands on the book, and I read the first few pages. I've really been looking forward to this, so I'm pretty interested to see what all happens, and who all pops up in the book.
     
  3. RonG

    RonG Captain Captain

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    finally got ASD on Thursday, and read it over the weekend (Alas, Sunday is a workday here in Israel :klingon:)...

    As a fan of KRAD's work in general and especially AoTF, his was the Post-Destiny novel I waited for the most, with its large scope and large cast of characters, and to start from the bottom line - KRAD delivered :bolian:.

    I loved the various threads, both in the aftermath of Destiny and both those setting up future threads and facets of the 2009/2010 meta-story, and the way it all came together in the end especially
    the gathering of various anti-UFP \ "antagonist" races into an almost "anti-Federation"
    .

    All in all, I'd give ASD a solid 4.5/5.

    What kept it from becoming one of my all-time favorites (as AoTF had become), was (IMO only, of course) the lack of dramatic tension in climax of the Aventine thread.

    Also, The novel set up a fundemental change in the political landscape of the AQ/BQ, but it felt as though the "severity" of the situation was just touched upon and left for future novels. I found the epilogue unneeded, and I'd have preferred to end the novel with
    Bacco's confrontation with the Tholian ambassador

    Just to be clear, I think ASD is one of the better Trek novels of the past 2 years, and I hope the next post-Destiny novels make use of the developments set up in it.
    I hope that the formation of the Tychon Pact is handled as a major change and continues to bulid up (cold war maybe?) until 2010's mini series



    comments?
     
  4. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    Thanks for the comments, RonG!

    Couple things:

    Spoiler tags are unnecessary, as this is a spoiler thread. Says so right there in the subject line. :)

    I could not possibly disagree with you more about the need for the epilogue. Ending the novel where you suggest would've been very unsatisfying, to my mind, because there's no resolution to any of the plot threads if you do that. I also thought it was important to have Sonek mourn his wife, and for him to have the last word (him being the protagonist and all), especially since he wasn't in the big confrontation scene in Chapter 20. Plus I thought it was important to tie off the other threads: Capella, the Musgrave, the Fifth Fleet, the Aventine, etc. Without that, the novel is (again, to my mind) incomplete.

    Glad you liked the book, generally, though! :bolian:
     
  5. RonG

    RonG Captain Captain

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    I see your point regarding the epilogue, KRAD, but the more I think about it, I see that episode 20 is the climax for the one plotline that runs through the novel (i.e. the Typhon Pact). IMO, the actual confrontation should have been the one to end the novel - leaving the reader with a feeling that things have changed for the worse.

    The epilogue, while containing the resolution for Pran's arc and resolution of sorts to the other individual threads, ended the novel too "happily" for my taste (again, IMO only), and having the confrontation of chapter 20 moved to the end would've had that ominous feeling I personally think should be in the background of the post-Destiny / "road to Typhon Pact" novels.

    Even so, ASD joins other KRAD (and Mack.. and CLB..) novels as the epitome of 'Modern TrekLit". Again - well done, KRAD :techman:
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^^But is it really a change for the worse? Sure, the Pact poses a new astropolitical challenge, but in a sense, these nations are doing the same thing the Federation did a couple of centuries before, and that turned out pretty well. What I like about the Typhon Pact idea is the ambiguity of it. It's not just another "evil enemy" story. There's both positive and negative potential in this new development. We've seen how the Federation deals with its moral opposites; how will it deal with something that could be a moral equivalent, yet still a competitor? How does it encourage the positive potential in this new alliance without seeming imperialistic and alienating the Pact members further?

    At least, that's how it looks from where I'm sitting.
     
  7. RonG

    RonG Captain Captain

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    I tend to agree, Christopher, that the Typhon Pact poses a new challange - more of a competitor than an enemy (at least for now).

    BUT, in order for TrekLit to provide readers with drama and conflict on a galactic scale (at least IMO), the TP needs to be used as something other than an ally. Not an outright enemy bent on the UFP's destruction, as that would be "more of the same" in regards to the last two major conflicts (the Dominion and the Borg), but as a counterpoint.

    I can totally get behind stories that deal with a "Cold War" between spheres of influence, an economic rivalry or an ideological ones, "fought" on various fronts, without erupting into a full scale armed onflict (I have total faith that the writers and editors will try to present the current situation in an original way :cool:).


    All in all, I think that the change (establishment of the TP) is for the worse, as far as the Federation is concerned, which is exactly as it should be (no point in having a new series called Star Trek: Golden Age, now is there?:evil:)
     
  8. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    Ah, see, I disagree fundamentally here. :lol: I didn't want to end leaving the reader with a feeling that things have changed for the worse -- just with the feeling that things are different. In particular that last scene of Pran lecturing to the class was extremely important, hammering home the point that the Typhon Pact isn't necessarily a threat to the Federation, and that we don't know yet what the results of this new alliance will be.


    Thank you very much. *bows*
     
  9. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I've been wondering, is ASD the only time we'll be seeing the Typhon Pact before the crossover next year, or will they affect the other '09 novels as well?
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    True, it isn't an ally, but that doesn't make it "the bad guys" either. I don't see this as necessarily a bad situation for the Federation -- more of a complex and very, very delicate one. It could become a bad situation if the UFP reacts badly and does something to alienate the Pact. If the UFP reacts with fear and antagonism toward the Pact as an imagined threat, that would probably become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    What could be worse than a Borg invasion that wipes out whole worlds and threatens the survival of the entire Federation? After the Dominion War, the Genesis Wave, the Borg attacks, etc., the last thing we need is for things to get worse yet again. The only thing that could be worse at this point is the actual fall of the Federation.

    So no, this isn't a change for the worse. It's a new situation that poses new challenges as well as new opportunities. It's a return to a more stable state of affairs but one in which the Federation may not be as culturally and politically dominant as it used to be. It's a chance to tell stories that are more fresh and less repetitive than "Oh dear, yet another unstoppable force is coming to destroy us, and we still haven't cleaned up from the last one."


    It's unlikely they'll have an effect on Titan, and as for others, they may be mentioned as a presence, but they're not the only thing going on in the galaxy.
     
  11. Semah

    Semah Commander Red Shirt

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    I just finished. This was my favorite Trek book not written by Diane Duane. A worthwhile coda to Destiny and intriguing look at things to come. And nary an Enterprise E character to be seen. Whoda thunk?
     
  12. William Leisner

    William Leisner Scribbler Rear Admiral

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    Keep wondering... :devil:
     
  13. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

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    I'd be surprised if something like the Typhon Pact hasn't sprung up on occasion over the 200+ years of the UFP's existence. They just usually ended up either breaking up (for reasons benign and/or malevolent) or getting co-opted.
     
  14. Chi'pok

    Chi'pok Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I just finished the book today. Great job, KRAD! Always nice to see Nan Bacco (I love her character)

    I also appreciated seeing Klag and the Gorkon crew again. I like those characters also.

    Should be interesting to see what's in store for the Federation. Will the Typhon Pact hold? Find out next time...
     
  15. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Approximately half way through, and waiting to see how it turns out.
     
  16. Marcus Porcius Cato

    Marcus Porcius Cato Commander Red Shirt

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    Great book, I do have some questions though.

    At the end of the book the Tholian Ambassador said that her people joined Typhoon Pact just to destabilize (if not destroy) the Federation. Now we don't know the motivation of others, but is that essentially hostile?

    How dependent is Klingon economy on the Federation?

    All in all, great, solid book.

    Note: I got mine at Borders in Eugene. So some Borders have it and some don't?
     
  17. Steve Roby

    Steve Roby Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Just finished it, and though I expect I'll blather at more length soon, I'll just say that though I do agree just a little with Fury that Sonek Pran is just a bit too perfect, the book in general was a great read. I love that the Star Trek book line can do things like this, and, as with Destiny, I'm eager to see what comes next.

    Oh, and maybe I'm a fanwanksta, but I liked seeing where some SCE/COE and Gorkon/Klingon Empire characters have ended up. This is a big story; why shouldn't a few familiar faces be involved? I also appreciated the chance to get to know Captain Ezri Dax a bit better; I think some of the people who had concerns about her may find a few questions answered.
     
  18. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Ok cool, I was just thought that maybe all of these books would be dealing with the Typhon Pact in some way, all of which leads to something big next year. But I guess it wouldn't really make since to do that, since they just did that kind of a thing with Destiny. ;)
     
  19. Santa Claws

    Santa Claws Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Finished this yesterday, and loved it! A very fitting follow-up to the Destingy trilogy.

    Reviewing this thread, it seems that opinions on Sonek Pran were mixed, but I have to say I enjoyed the character a great deal. His negotiating successes seem to be due to a combination of abundant research and an ability to take a high-level view of things, both of which seem to be believable qualities for a history professor to possess. Throw in a dash of "down-home charm", and you're well on your way to influencing people. Plus, his knowledge of other species probably came from his time travelling with his family. The only thing that came across as a bit unbelievable to me was his ability with languages: he was fluent in Lissepian, and I believe it said he was able to read five of the six languages on the Typhon Pact coin. This was the only place where he seemed a little "over the top" to me.

    I do hope we get to see him again. I had thought that after his success, Bacco might have invited him back as a full-time advisor, but in the end he seemed to be back to his overview history course. Guess we'll have to wait and see.

    It was great to finally see scenes from the Kinshaya POV. Physically, they don't seem to look like the pictures from the old FASA game, but that's neither here nor there. This first look inside their culture certainly made me want to see more, and now that they're a member of the Typhon Pact, I look forward to future works involving them.

    I'm also very intrigued by the whole Typhon Pact situation. As others have said, this sets up some interesting story potential for the next couple of years, and I'm eager to see where it goes. It was mentioned upthread that they are not necessarily an enemy for the Federation. Based on what we've seen so far, they certainly seem antagonistic. One of their first acts was to try to disrupt UFP-Klingon relations. Plus, they have already invaded two Klingon planets. Of the member states, the Tholians are in it to get back at the Federation, the Kinshaya are (somewhat understandably) pissed at the Klingons, and the RSE wants the IRS removed from the playing field. Certainly sounds like rough times ahead! ;) I'm hopeful that the Gorn provide a more UFP-friendly view within the Pact, as past work has seemed to paint them at least somewhat amiable towards the Federation.

    I also liked the looks into the lives of the Gorkon and SCE crews in the post-Destiny timeframe. Now, I admit I'm way behind on SCE. Was the Corsi/Stevens marriage, and Stevens' transfer to the Musgrave covered in the series itself, or is it new material for ASD? Likewise I enjoyed revisiting Captain Dax and the Aventine again. Count me in the camp of Aventine fans who would like to see more.

    One of the best things about this book is that it looked at the aftermath from so many different perspectives, which really helped to establish how widespread the devestation really was. One of the things I wanted to comment on was that the destruction seemed so much... um... BIGGER than what I recall seeing in Destiny itself. Maybe I need to go back and reread the trilogy, but what I thought I recall was that a few minor planets with minimal populations were hit hard, then Deneva was obliterated, then the major homeworld planets either had a small portion of their surface attacked before the Borg turned around, or they weren't hit at all. However, in ASD, it sounds like the homeworlds that were "partially" hit (Vulcan, Andor), were actually hit much harder than I thought, and other actual homeworlds got completely wiped out like Deneva (the ones I recall are Rhaandarel and Pandril). I just got the sense while reading ASD that the scope of the tragedy was actually much larger than I had imagined. Not sure if this is actually the case, or just a consequence of my less-than-stellar memory.

    All in all, a fine mix of adventure, character builing, world building, and, of course, humour. Totally enjoyed the novel, and I'm looking forward to where the 24th century goes after this. Kudos to KRAD for another excellent read!

    Some brief points:

    - the infamous casualty list. Had to lol at the mention of poor, dead Frak! :lol: And after reading some of the Janeway-related threads here, I'm actually worried about the approaching armies of fans angered over the "off-screen" death of their favourite character:
    Captain Sanders! How could you?? :D

    - My favourite joke in the book? Altoss's line, after discovering the Battlecruiser Vengeance novels: "Who would read books based on a serial drama?" :lol: Classic, sir, just classic! :techman:
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    No, it's consistent. Deneva was the one obliterated world that was focused on and actually visited, but it's one of many that were destroyed (including Barolia and Acamar, the first two targets, which were wiped out at the end of Greater Than the Sum). And Destiny did show some pretty major devastation on Vulcan, Andor, etc. If the destruction seemed less severe to you in DES, it must've just been because there was so much going on at once that you didn't have time to pause and examine just how devastating it was, except on Deneva. ASD is giving you that opportunity to observe the aftermath more fully, to get a good, long look at stuff that kind of raced by before.