Before Dishonour....seriously?!

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by sosolidshoe, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. sosolidshoe

    sosolidshoe Ensign Newbie

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    Here be spoilers, be ye fairly warned.




    Ok, I just reached page 197 of the TNG novel Before Dishonour, and have just read words to the effect of "The bastards ate Pluto!" for the second time.

    Really?

    I had heard rumours that the Destiny-era books were questionable, but this is categorically the worst drivel I've read in a while, and I read a lot. It's been a long time since I actually had to put a book down and walk away lest my disgust overwhelm me; should I even bother to pick it up again?

    I've seen people claim that Voyager "ruined" the Borg, but the "Villain Devaluation" which came as a result of that show is nothing in comparison to this so-far-unmitigated disaster zone.

    Even setting aside the Borg debacle, the writer of this book can't keep their characters straight for more than a few pages. Take the Enterprise's new security chief; one moment the author is emphasising the character's utter disdain for Admirals of any kind save for a single exception, and the next he's plotting mutiny against his Captain at the behest of two Admirals.

    I'll probably force myself to finish the book, as I hate leaving a story unfinished-even a bad one-, but if this book is indicative of the quality of Star Trek fiction these days, I doubt I'll bother with the rest.
     
  2. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    So you heard some rumours and picked this book at random? Peter David novels (both ST and non ST) are pretty predictable in the characters' irreverent humour at unlikely times. They are not typical of all other ST novels.

    You're going to judge an entire franchise, written by many, on one novel?
     
  3. ryan123450

    ryan123450 Commodore Commodore

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    Before Dishonor could have been amazing, but I agree that it turned out totally rediculous. Don't take it as a indication of the quality of other Trek books, especially if you're building up to Destiny. Destiny is amazing. You have to read it.
     
  4. sosolidshoe

    sosolidshoe Ensign Newbie

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    No, I had heard that the Destiny series was nonsensical dross capped by a gigantic and implausible deus ex machina, and that said dross began with Before Dishonour. Being a grumpy and contrary git, I decided to ignore the advice of my buddies and give it a try. I am regretting that, and you will in fact notice when reading my post, I did solicit opinions on whether or not the series improves.(EDIT: To be fair, upon rereading, I did not make this last point adequately clear in the original post, so I concede the point)

    [LEFT]As to the humour, I take it that comment is meant to refer to the Pluto quote; judging by the context, it was not intended as humour, which leads me to conclude it was just godawful writing.
    [/LEFT]
     
  5. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ I think you should form your own impression of Destiny. Many people that thought Before Dishonor was total drivel found Destiny to be powerful and profound; for one, Destiny happens to be my personal favorite work of Trek fiction, period, from any medium.

    Don't let Before Dishonor dissuade you; it might actually be the least possible representative book of the modern Trek line these days. I'd read that, then Greater Than The Sum, then Destiny; you may find yourself impressed.

    Grumpiness and contrary gitittude is highly encouraged :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2011
  6. Kestrel

    Kestrel Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I think using Before Dishonour to judge Destiny is a huge mistake. Destiny is what really got me to read other Trek fiction beyond the DS9 Relaunch, and it's IMO the best Star Trek fiction there is.
     
  7. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    [LEFT] It is gallows humour. And many people smirked and kept reading.
    [/LEFT]
     
  8. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Due to an unfortunate mix of factors, I think this situation crops up reasonably often, and I find it darkly amusing, in a mild way. As I see it, Peter David is a very prominant author, and was pretty much the stand-out writer from the (forgive my youthful perspective) "old crop" of Trek lit scribes. He had and has a wide appeal and a lot of fans. So when casual Trek readers think of names, his comes up often. I've seen quite a few recomendations for "good Star Trek books?" that suggest Peter David first; lots of people have fond memories of both his earlier and more recent works. However, I think even those who like "Before Dishonor" would agree it's far from PD's best. I personally count it as one of my least favourite Trek novels (I would mention that while he's nowhere near my favourite I have enjoyed plenty of Peter David's work in the past). But the mix of his name and the lead-into-Destiny appeal seems to make a lot of people pick this one novel up as their introduction to modern Trek lit. Given my personal take on it, I always wince a little when people suggest that they're trying "Before Dishonor" as an entry point.

    Still, as Therin rightly pointed out, Peter David is just one writer among many, so a personal judgement on one book or even one author doesn't mean much when considering the entire line. There's a lot to choose from.
     
  9. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    As someone who disagrees immensely, I'd be interested in hearing what you thought if you do end up reading it. The trilogy did cause a lot of interesting discussion, and there certainly wasn't anything approaching homogenity in our responses here, but on average reviews were positive. As I say, I'm among those who thought it fantastic. :)
     
  10. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Before Dishonor needs the equivalent of The Phantom Menace's "Phantom Edit." :)
     
  11. Kestrel

    Kestrel Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I like to call it "PAD doing Whedon." :devil:

    Q-Squared and Imzadi are still two of my favorite Trek books.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    For what it's worth, Before Dishonor is not a direct lead-in to Destiny. If it had been, there would've need to hire me to write Greater Than the Sum. My brief for GTTS was to resolve the plot threads left dangling in the wake of Before Dishonor, thereby clearing the board, and then maneuvering the pieces into place for the next story, which was Destiny. So BD is the end of the mini-sequence of TNG novels that began with Resistance, GTTS is the transitional work that wraps up that mini-sequence and sets up the next phase, and Destiny is the beginning of the next phase.

    And yes, both BD and Destiny involve Borg invasions, but what often gets overlooked is that they're unrelated Borg invasions. Resistance and BD are attacks by a single, isolated cube that happened to have been close enough to the Alpha Quadrant after the Borg transwarp network went down that it could reach and menace the Federation within a few years after that event. Destiny is an invasion by the entire weight of the Collective, which just coincidentally happens to begin only half a year after the previous Borg assault ended.
     
  13. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    i love before dishonour and i love the Borg eating pluto.

    YMCV
     
  14. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    It's a pity that, for me personally, Before Dishonour was such a let down. I used to love Peter's work on New Frontier, with his offbeat humor and offbeat characters bringing a fresh air to Star Trek.

    After a while though, it was as if Peter forced to much of offbeat and odd things in his work, coming to a point where we have a Supercube bigger then Earth eating Pluto. To me, there was nothing serious or threatening about the entire novel.

    Destiny, however, was far from it, again for me personally. As was suggested by other, please read Destiny with an open mind.
     
  15. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I agree.

    Destiny however is an extremely good read. There were huge chunks of it I could have done without but the Erika Hernandez story in particular was stellar.
     
  16. Trek Survivor

    Trek Survivor Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This really is a terrible, terrible book.

    I more or less enjoyed the rest of the post-Nemesis' TNG stuff (particularly "Death In Winter" and "Greater Than The Sum"), though was annoyed at the dependence on the Borg.

    But "Before Dishonour"... eessh. It was painful. When you get lines like "Geordi had never noticed how much the computer voice sounded like Lwaxana TroI" (NUDGE, NUDGE, WINK, WINK READERS, AREN'T I THE FUNNIEZ!?!) you start to lose the will to live.

    He was never my favourite Trek author, but I enjoyed David's early 1990s work. Unfortunately, since somebody obviously stroked his ego and told him the "New Frontier" books were actually good (with a superhero captain who can jump impossible heights and may as well be called Superman; and hey, even Picard swoons when he meets him!), David's output has been dreadful, culminating in this atrocity to Trek lit.

    I'm on book 2 of "Destiny" though, and am enjoying it. Not in the same (horrific) league as "Before Dishonour". In fact, "Before Dishonour" is in its very own league because there are, quite simply, no other Trek books as bad. *

    * Possible slight over-reaction, but do you get that I don't like this book? :-)
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Mackenzie Calhoun isn't Superman.

    He's Wolverine.
     
  18. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, or you've never read "Triangle" by Marshak & Culbreath, "Into the Nebula" by Gene DeWeese or "The Laertian Gamble" by Robert Sheckley...
     
  19. Kestrel

    Kestrel Vice Admiral Admiral

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    :lol:
     
  20. sosolidshoe

    sosolidshoe Ensign Newbie

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    Well, I have finished Before Dishonour, and while my opinion remains unchanged(in short: ewwwwwwwwgetitoffgetitoff), I've resolved to continue on. If I'm really honest, the cringeworthy moments in BD were simply the icing on the cake, I was pulling a Spockbrow the moment the Cube sucked Janeway into a wall, and the first time I put the book down and said "WTF is this" to myself was when the author decided that a sentient Borg cube was a good idea. Especially considering that the excuse for that particular foolishness was so nonsensical it actually felt out of place in Star Trek, a universe famous for nonsensical technobabble.

    I hadn't made the connection with Q-Squared, and to be honest I'm astounded that the same author is responsible for both books; was he struck on the head repeatedly in the interim years? :P

    So, up next; Greater Than The Sum, and I can only hope I'll no have to force myself to read to the end of this one :)