Destiny: Mere Mortals by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Julio Angel Ortiz, Oct 24, 2008.

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Grade "Star Trek: Destiny: Mere Mortals"

  1. Excellent

    99 vote(s)
    78.0%
  2. Above Average

    15 vote(s)
    11.8%
  3. Average

    10 vote(s)
    7.9%
  4. Below Average

    1 vote(s)
    0.8%
  5. Poor

    2 vote(s)
    1.6%
  1. adv1701

    adv1701 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny: Mere Mortals - SPOILER Thread

    When did this come out? I went to Borders today and couldn't find it.
     
  2. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny: Mere Mortals - SPOILER Thread

    Thanks. I'm glad that the story is working for you.

    You're right, I'm not going to answer that. After all, there's still one book left to go in the trilogy. :)
     
  3. Sisko_is_my_captain

    Sisko_is_my_captain Captain Captain

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny: Mere Mortals - SPOILER Thread


    My ridiculously tiny nitpick is "degrees kelvin" - it's supposed to be just "kelvins".
     
  4. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny: Mere Mortals - SPOILER Thread

    You can go to Borders website and see if the local shops have the book in stock and if so, place a hold for it at the shop you want to go to. Then if they can actually find it, they'll hold it and email you back and then you can go pick it up.
     
  5. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny: Mere Mortals - SPOILER Thread

    I have not yet finished Gods of the Night yet, but if Mere Mortals is anything near as good, it's not average. I'd like to know who voted average and why.
     
  6. LutherSloan

    LutherSloan Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny: Mere Mortals - SPOILER Thread

    OK, I just finished 'Mere Mortals'.

    This book ups the ante over 'Gods of Night', where we have a first look at the true consequences of the Borg threat (as mentioned already). I also agree that there were a lot of similarities between this book's ending and TBOBW Part 1's cliffhanger. My only problem would be that we know the Borg aren't going to reach all of their destinations, and it's somewhat clear that either the powered Erika Hernandez or the Caeliar will be the key to stopping them. I did like the last scene with Bacco, where she was feeling absolutely powerless. I would have liked to see more discussion about using the thalaron weapon as a last-resort.

    I enjoyed seeing the Hirogen again, even if I don't remember them using those energy dampening weapons in the past. Those things were really powerful. I liked the return of the TR-116 projectile rifle, even if the Hirogen didn't give the Enterprise security officers the time to use the micro-transporter.

    Summary Positives:
    -Upping the ante with the Borg
    -Hirogen battle
    -Bacco negotiations with the major powers/Garak scenes
    -Overall story

    Summary Negatives:
    -Seven acting very odd throughout
    -Troi becoming somewhat annoying
    -The scenes in the past with the Columbia survivors dragged too frequently
    -I felt like the Geordi/Beverly concerns about Picard's state from 'GoN' were forgotten

    And finally, a question for David: those 'children of the storm' aliens that the Enterprise encountered in the Delta Quadrant...did you create those or have they appeared in past ST canon or literature? I don't recall.
     
  7. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny: Mere Mortals - SPOILER Thread

    Those are one of my creations; I've left them there as a possible point of interest for other authors — for instance, perhaps in a future Voyager tale…
     
  8. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny: Mere Mortals - SPOILER Thread

    My local Borders had the book on Tuesday.

    To my surprise, they received more copies of Mere Mortal than they did of Gods of Night.
     
  9. casey

    casey Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny: Mere Mortals - SPOILER Thread

    I will admit that Troi was acting annoying, but then considering her situation maybe it is understandable.

    As far as Seven is concerned, I have heard people commenting that her behavior was out of character. Now, I can't speak as someone well acquainted with Voyager in general or Seven in specific. I am just now starting to enjoy watching it, and that is only when I can randomly catch it on Spike. But I thought Seven was acting appropriately. It seems to me as if she is the only one--with the exception of Picard--who actually understands the gravity of the situation. She knows exactly what is going down and what the consequences will be. Everyone else is acting naive. And I think the thing with Jellico was a last ditch effort to get him to understand. It kind of reminded me of Guinan and Picard fencing and Guinan fakes an injury to defeat Picard in "I, Borg." Of course the context was significantly different, but I did think immediately of that scene.

    So, long post made short, I liked the way Seven was acting, and I was satisfied at the end with the 7,000 cubes showing up, and I wanted to hear Seven tell Jellico "I told you so!"
     
  10. casey

    casey Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny: Mere Mortals - SPOILER Thread

    I guess you are confirming that my suspicion that they will play a role in Lost Souls is incorrect. I thought they would play a part in the origin of the Borg story I am expecting.

    I certainly hope someone picks up that point of interest!
     
  11. MMCL

    MMCL Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny: Mere Mortals - SPOILER Thread

    I am newcomer to Trek fiction - in the last three/four months I have devoured nearly 70 books, give or take. I am absolutely loving them, and the Destiny trilogy is easily going to be one of my faves (and one to re-read many many times).

    A few cracking moments for me:

    - The argument between Troi and Vale on the balcony reminded me of badass Troi pretending to be a Romulan Tal'Shiar member. I don't find Troi out of character or annoying - just struggling with difficult emotions.
    - The whole Erika story is quite fascinating, especially Erika's interaction with Inyx. It is one of the real draws to the trilogy.
    - Captain Dax just 'feels' right in my opinion, loving her interaction with Picard. Also really like the development of Sam Bowers.
    - Anything Christine Vale does is just amazing - she is a great character - more Vale please.
    - I have really enjoyed the Presidential stuff (I just bought Articles of the Federation because of the bits in this trilogy!)
    - Riker's decision to leave was interesting but wholly in character and something I was hoping for (all three ships leading uberfight against the Borg) however I do wonder what will happen to Erika when she leaves as it was quite clear she couldn't.

    Can't wait for the last part to come out.
     
  12. Stephen!

    Stephen! Captain Captain

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny: Mere Mortals - SPOILER Thread

    Is this same endgame solution that was used in Before Dishonor?
     
  13. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny: Mere Mortals - SPOILER Thread

    You may already know this, since I don't know which 70 books you've devoured of late :) , but Vale has made a bunch of appearances in assorted books:

    • SCE: The Belly of the Beast by Dean Wesley Smith (eBook; reprinted in SCE: Have Tech, Will Travel)
      TNG: Gateways: Doors Into Chaos by Robert Greenberger
      "The Other Side" by Robert Greenberger (in Gateways: What Lay Beyond)
      SCE: The Art of the Deal by Glenn Greenberg (eBook; reprinted in Corps of Engineers: Creative Couplings)
      The Brave and the Bold Book 2 by Keith R.A. DeCandido (cameo only)
      Vulcan's Soul Book 3: Epiphany by Josepha Sherman & Susan Shwartz
      SCE: Security by Keith R.A. DeCandido (eBook; reprinted in Corps of Engineers: Wounds)
      TNG: A Time to be Born by John Vornholt
      TNG: A Time to Die by John Vornholt
      TNG: A Time to Sow by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
      TNG: A Time to Harvest by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
      TNG: A Time to Love by Robert Greenberger
      TNG: A Time to Hate by Robert Greenberger
      TNG: A Time to Kill by David Mack
      TNG: A Time to Heal by David Mack
      TNG: A Time for War, a Time for Peace by Keith R.A. DeCandido
      Corps of Engineers: Remembrance of Things Past Books 1-2 by Terri Osborne (eBooks; not available in print yet)
      Titan: Taking Wing by Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels
      Titan: The Red King by Andy Mangels & Michael A. Martin
      Titan: Orion's Hounds by Christopher L. Bennett
      Titan: Sword of Damocles by Christopher L. Bennett
      Captain's Glory by William Shatner, with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens (cameo only)


    I hope you enjoy it!
     
  14. Brendan Moody

    Brendan Moody Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny: Mere Mortals - SPOILER Thread

    Well, I was one of them. And since you ask...

    In some ways it's hard to rate Mere Mortals on its own and without having read Lost Souls, since Destiny is one story and aspects that appear to be loose ends or unnecessary elements may turn out to be very important in the end. For now, though, I've decided to rate the book as a single unit, with the caveat that I might change my mind when I've read the whole trilogy.

    Even taking it as a single unit I had some trouble judging Mere Mortals. On the one hand, I read it in about 24 hours and was enjoying it most of the time as an in-the-moment reading experience; on those terms, I might have rated it "above average." On the other hand, I felt like the book suffered from rather spare plotting and a lot of the character work, while interesting, was excessively straightforward. Enterprise and Aventine spend most of the book chasing down the subspace tunnels, and then the Caeliar close them before the Starfleet characters can accomplish anything, so that plotline feels a bit aimless. (Perhaps Lost Souls will reveal that this isn't so.) The Titan thread has a couple foiled escape attempts that likewise contribute nothing much to the narrative momentum, and then an abrupt ending. That ending is the capstone to the Hernandez plot, which was easily the best worked out and most satisfying in the book, though again, on a level of plot it doesn't reveal much one couldn't have guessed from the climax to Gods of Night. The two Bacco/admirals chapters are also great reading, but they don't feel particularly integrated into the storyline; that strand of the story is in the awkward middle ground between being a full-fledged part of the story and a fleeting cameo. The bottom line for me is that the only substantive developments here are the Borg armada launching and Hernandez rescuing Titan, both of which happen at the tail end of the book. Despite the apparent busy-ness of the different threads, I'll disagree with Steve Roby's comment above: this had a bad case of middle volume syndrome. Or, at least, it appeared to; as I said above, Lost Souls may demonstrate that the plotting is tighter than I've suggested.

    Given the limitations of the plot, the character work takes the brunt of the burden in making Mere Mortals succeed, and it mostly meets that burden. My one issue is that the conflicts tended to be telegraphed through expressions of concern from friends or counselors, who will say "Don't you think you have this flaw" before the book has really shown us that said flaw exists. Obviously balancing all the different characters and situations in this crossover is a difficult task, so I don't want to complain too much about this, but I thought it deserved a mention.

    So that's how I feel about the book. I really liked reading it, but on further consideration I felt it lacked a certain tightness. Ask me again when I've finished the trilogy and I may feel differently.
     
  15. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny: Mere Mortals - SPOILER Thread

     
  16. LutherSloan

    LutherSloan Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny: Mere Mortals - SPOILER Thread

    No, it was the idea that the Federation should create a thalaron weapon like the one Shinzon was going to use against Earth, and use it against the Borg.
     
  17. Sto-Vo-Kory

    Sto-Vo-Kory Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny: Mere Mortals - SPOILER Thread

    Loved the book.

    Maybe it's because I read it just before Halloween, but the scene of Ericka's "Change" reminded me a great deal of the Universal Frankenstein movie. The dark, stormy night. The tech-filled lab located in a high tower. The opening roof. A scientist working to thwart natural order. Was this imagery intentionally alluding to this film or am I reading too much into this scene?

    Captain Dax's arc in the book was superbly handled. Her initial deference to Picard at the beginning all the way to her telling Jean-Luc at the end that he can do what he likes: she has a quadrant to help protect. Ezri is proving herself to be a nice fit for the Aventine's big chair. I look forward to the further adventures of Captian Dax and the good ship Aventine, beyond even those books with "Destiny" in their title.

    On the subject of Aventine, when can I buy a Kedair action figure? That battle scene was the stuff of great popcorn movies. Poor, poor Hirogen.

    The Tholian ambassador mentioned something about the Taurus reach -- is this a New Frontier reference?

    One final note: good work, Mr. Mack. Can't wait for Lost Souls.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny: Mere Mortals - SPOILER Thread

    No, Vanguard. The turbulent history between the Federation and Tholians in the Taurus Reach is spelled out in that series.
     
  19. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny: Mere Mortals - SPOILER Thread

    Thanks!

    I wasn't specifically seeking to evoke or allude to Frankenstein, but inasmuch as that work has become iconic, I'd have to say that it seems at the very least to have been a subconscious influence on the scenes involving Valerian's death and Hernandez's catom-driven Change.
     
  20. MMCL

    MMCL Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny: Mere Mortals - SPOILER Thread

    • The Brave and the Bold Book 2 by Keith R.A. DeCandido (cameo only)
    • Vulcan's Soul Book 3: Epiphany by Josepha Sherman & Susan Shwartz
    • Corps of Engineers: Remembrance of Things Past Books 1-2 by Terri Osborne (eBooks; not available in print yet)
    • Captain's Glory by William Shatner, with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens (cameo only)
    I was missing these so just bought them this morning :) Thanks for the heads up! I'm lucky that I travel a lot with work so get to read a lot.

    I'm sure I will - there were some bits about the election in another book I read, they were great.
    I checked and counted: 87 items in my ebook collection.

    But for some reason I can't buy the CoE omnibus #8 Aftermath in ebook format, and that's really frustrating. That and I feel bad as I haven't always read all the different stories in order!
    I will probably start over and plough through them all in the correct order.


    ...Back to Mere Mortals...
    I think Mack has done an excellent job building the menace whilst not revealing too much about the exact nature of the threat until right at the end.
    At each stage, he's upped the ante and ensured the calmer moments sufficiently balanced the various more aggressive scenes. He's given the Borg 'teeth' again and that's a good thing.

    I can't wait for the conclusion.