Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Brendan Moody, Jan 21, 2009.
Correct--I meant ship captain, not person with that rank.
It would be so much easier for the rest of us if the Navy hadn't decided it made sense to use the same word for a rank and a job description that aren't automatically congruent...
You mean like the difference between being inside an office and being elected to an office?
Yeah, but Starfleet's not military, so that's really no excuse.
Cha cha cha.
moreover, Starfleet's not the USN IN SPAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!
Which just makes it more annoying that Starfleet has perpetuated the practice.
that makes sense, thanks.
Just finished, and I've gotta say, it was a fantastic read.
At first, I thought the jumping, varying nature of the scenes was just going to show different aspects of the Alpha Quadrant in the wake of the Borg invasion; I had no idea that they were going to be subtly linked together through Sekki, which was an ingenious idea. It was almost like a mystery - as soon as Sonek realised that there was a pattern, I was trying to figure out the connections as he was.
Since this book had so many sub-arcs working back into the main storyline, I thought I'd give my thoughts on each one individually:
The refinery on Capella - this was an intriguing plot at first, because it wasn't picked up on for quite a while after it happened. I was more locked in with the other arcs, until Kedair arrived to sort things out, at which point it became completely engaging. Kedair was written fantastically, and she is now easily my favourite from the Aventine crew.
The Musgrave and the farantine - personally, I found this to be the weakest arc. I'm not familiar with the SCE books, so I didn't really respond to Fabian Stevens being there, and everything seemed to revolve around technobabble. Although it was cleverly tied back in by the end (and I did like the fact that they reached the conclusion about Sekki themselves), I was glad when their storyline was wrapped up mainly from Sonek, Altoss, and Trabka's point of view.
Tal'Aura and Donatra - this was my favourite section of the book. I love the Romulans and the direction they've been taken in, so seeing them after the Borg attack was great. I liked the way Sonek handled the centurions on Artaleirh, and the introduction of Altoss quickly made her an entertaining character, but the best scene has to be the one between Sonek and Donatra. Great dialogue.
The Klingons and the Kinshaya - my second favourite section, sheerly for the fact that Klag and the Gorkon completely kicked the Kinshaya's ass. Strangely satisfying, especially since I've never read any of the Gorkon books.
Bacco and the Typhon Pact - I'm not sure if this technically counts as a separate story thread, but I love it regardless. Bacco has been a favourite of mine since "A Time for War, A Time for Peace", and seeing her verbally thrash Tezrene was awesome. Can't wait to see how the Typhon Pact develops.
The interludes between chapters - very enjoyable, from the death list with some very shocking names right down to T'Lara and the others on the talk show.
While I enjoyed the book overall, there was one problem that stuck with me throughout - and that was Sonek. I liked his character, I thought the premise of him was good, I liked the irony of him not even being able to talk to his own son. But I couldn't see what the big fuss about him was. He didn't say anything special, he didn't say anything that I couldn't imagine, for example, Dax saying. It seemed a bit like the reader was being told to accept that Sonek was a genius communicator without much proof of it.
Another quibble, though more minor, is the theme of music that runs throughout the book (along with the occasional set of lyrics). To me, they didn't fit very well and seemed to jar with the tone of the novel.
Overall, however, I'd still give "A Singular Destiny" a very strong 4.5 out of 5.
When I had first heard what the scope of this book was intended to be, I kinda figured it couldn't be pulled off. I mean trying to really highlight just how screwed up the Alpha Quadrant and Klingons are after Destiny, I figured it would need at least two books, maybe even a trilogy. So when I first got this book (which didn't arrive at my door till two weeks ago despite the fact that I pre-ordered the day after Christmas) I figured that this would be the one book. I always give authors I enjoy at least one book to disappoint me with, I just figure that everyone has that one book that doesn't quite work and no one can keep the quality going strong forever.
I'm so happy I was wrong. This book was wonderful. I loved the segments between the chapters, it really brought to life what the Borg did to everyone. Sonek Pran was a nice new character, he's not like Curzon or some of the other Trek captains in that he's a great speech maker, he's just the guy who speaks plainly and from the heart in front of the most powerful people in the galaxy. I really wish we had a guy like that in Congress. I've really got to get around to reading Articles of the Federation, this president Bacco is amazing.
And of course the Klingons. It was great to see Klag and the gang going against the Kinshaya. I love these characters and while it wasn't quite as good as another Klingon Empire novel, it should hold me over until the next novel comes out. And speaking of things I hope to see in print one day, can we give Dax and the Aventine their own series? After four books I'm really liking that crew.
Finally, on a really personal note, I want to say a very heart felt thank you for the Bajoran Vedic's speech in the book. In some of the Trek episodes, it feels like the message is that religion isn't really a good thing. And for myself, with a lot of the Christian groups trying to get things changed in public schools (something I'm strongly against) and everything that's been going on in the world, I've felt like the entire world is looking at me like I'm three shades of stupid for believing the way that I do. Then I read that Vedic's speech, the way he keeps his faith, acknowledges the faiths of others, and helps those religious and non-religious, it really means a great deal. I don't know if you're religious yourself or not KRAD, but I've got to say that in those couple of pages you showed you know more about my faith than several others I've met in person. So thank you, and keep up the excellent work.
^ Thanks to both of you for those lengthy, thoughtful reviews. Very nice things to read on a Wednesday morn'.
Rabid Trekkie, I am, in fact, agnostic and have very little personal use for organized religion. But hey, I'm also a pacifist and a coward, yet I love writing Klingons. Glad you liked the use of religion.
Jean-Luc Picard, I'm sorry the musical end of stuff didn't work for you. It's always a trick to pull that sort of thing off in prose, but to my mind, that was the most important aspect of the novel: art is one of the ways we remind ourselves that we're alive, that we're civilized, that we're okay.
On his Live in Sydney album in 2005, Arlo Guthrie (who is the template for Sonek Pran) said something that really resonated with me:
And then he went into "Highway in the Wind."
That's why there's music in A Singular Destiny. But, again, sorry it didn't work for you. *sigh*
Nice quote - I hadn't thought of it that way. In that sense, the music does fit in on a thematic level; I'm not a very musical person (love listening to it, just can't play it to save my life), so the symbolism you were using it to portray probably just went straight over my head.
I read ASD while on a six-hour train journey last Friday (*sigh*) and loved every word of it. It provided a suitably succinct, but not superficial, overview of the post-Destiny AQ. Sonek Pran was an interesting character; his style of speech is "classic KRAD" but his introduction and his background during the Dominion War led me to expect early on that something bad would happen to him or someone close to him during the story (though I expected it to happen to his son rather than his wife).
The humour of the novel made me snigger (in a repressed-Englishman-on-a-train kind of way) but I burst out laughing at the "hip deep in Borg" line. Well if Dan and Jeremy can show up in AOTF, why can't someone channel Dana in ASD?
^ Hee hee. Thanks muchly!
Here's my review of A Singular Destiny. I really enjoyed the book but, sadly, felt the Typhon Pact was missing a central bad guy to wrap around. It'd never fly in the novels as long as Martok is head of the group but I would have loved to have seen the Klingons heading it up.
^But having "a central bad guy" would defeat the whole storytelling purpose behind the Typhon Pact. They're not supposed to be a monolithic big bad, but a tenuous alliance of factions that are pursuing conflicting agendas and jockeying for dominance, with some having more aggressive designs and others being more moderate. The idea was not so much to create an enemy for the Federation as to establish a competitor, an alternative superpower, and to parallel the turbulent beginnings of the Federation itself, the events of the Enterprise era where the future members of the Federation were initially mortal enemies who had to struggle to learn cooperation.
I took it as creating something of a 'new Klingon' for the modern era in that they were a complex, multifaceted, almost Soviet like collection of people with unpleasant feelings towards the Federation but something that would (probably) never actually get to open war.
I tend to think of them as a central bad guy simply because of their anti-democratic, xenophobic, and (mostly) oppressive totalitarian ways. Believe me, I get the irony that by teaming up they're going to start eroding a lot of their xenophobia and darker qualities by nature of being forced to cooperate.
Which is quite clever.
^The analogy was not to the Soviets, but to more recent history, the post-superpower era. Back when the US and the USSR were treating the world as their personal chessboard, the other nations of the world often resented being used as pawns and being at the mercy of the two 800-pound gorillas. Once the USSR went away, those nations still weren't too happy about America being the exclusive superpower and throwing its weight around unilaterally. But these days there are more challenges to America's political, technological, and economic dominance, coming from places like China, India, and the European Union. Not necessarily enemies, just nations asserting their right to control their own fates rather than being at the mercy of a superpower. Star Trek has always tried to reflect developments in the real world, and the Federation has usually been a surrogate for the United States. So it, like the US, is now finding itself having to adjust to the fact that it isn't the sole superpower in its world, that it won't necessarily have the power to shape the course of history all by itself but will have to share the stage with other powers that have different ideologies and priorities.
Thanks for the review! I'm particularly glad that the vedek's sermon toward the end moved you as it did, and ditto that you got the point of Sonek Pran: someone who believes first and foremost in the power of talking your way out of problems. (I've had the makings of that character in my head for years, to wit, someone with absolutely no physical skills whatsoever, but whose "super power" is the ability to talk through stuff superlatively.)
As Christopher said, what editor Marco Palmieri and I were going for with the creation of the Typhon Pact was the exact opposite of what you were looking for.
Yeah, I get that. Then again, I'm the sort of guy who enjoys EVIL.
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