DTI: Forgotten History by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Sho, Apr 15, 2012.

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Rate Forgotten History.

  1. Outstanding

    56 vote(s)
    50.9%
  2. Above Average

    39 vote(s)
    35.5%
  3. Average

    10 vote(s)
    9.1%
  4. Below Average

    3 vote(s)
    2.7%
  5. Poor

    2 vote(s)
    1.8%
  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't think so. Heck, there are parts of other series' canon that I don't consider to have happened, and that nobody else seems to either since they've been contradicted in later productions, like "The Alternative Factor"'s portrayal of antimatter, or ST V's portrayal of the center of the galaxy as easily reachable, or the entirety of "Threshold."

    Canon is not some exhaustive mandate. Canon is simply the pretense that a bunch of different made-up stories represent a coherent reality. But any canon has mistakes or bits that don't quite work and that get ignored or retconned away later on. Since it's all just pretending to be real in the first place, it can equally well pretend that parts of it never happened.

    While TAS is a pretty solid series overall, there are a number of episodes that just don't make any sense or that are inconsistent with what was established later (or earlier; I don't see any way to reconcile Stavos Keniclius and his backstory with Trek history as it had been established in TOS, let alone in subsequent series). Personally I only count about 2/3 of it as "real."
     
  2. MatthiasRussell

    MatthiasRussell Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Threshold may not have happened!?! I would happily ignore that episode. It is probably THE worst VOY episode.

    ST V has my favorite all time trek quotes in it. "I need my pain!" and "What does God need with a starship?" Plus Vanguard talks about Nimbus III. I'm looking forward to "Cold Equations" to see if David Mack somehow comments on ST V when Wesley takes the Enterprise to the center of the galaxy.

    I'm curious to know what elements of TAS you would discard? I thought it was interesting that you refer to the ship graveyard society from the Time Trap, however the USS Bonaventure doesn't fit into continuity.

    I have to give you props again for using the life support belts. I thought that was one of the neatest ideas from TAS and you did a great job explaining why they were never seen again. I hope Starfleet eventually works out the problems.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Even the person who wrote the episode has declared that it never happened.


    Again, my point is that it's not all or nothing, that since it's all made up, one can choose to ignore details that don't fit. The fact is, there are only three near-consecutive sentences in the entire movie that even mention the center of the galaxy, so one can just ignore that 30 seconds or so (plus the impossibly high turboshaft with decks numbered in the wrong direction) and accept the rest.

    I raised that question when we talked about it a few months back, and I got the impression that he didn't plan on it.


    Again, one can selectively disregard or reinterpret details that don't fit. The line that the Bonaventure was "The first ship with warp drive" obviously can't be taken literally, but there have been references to it in tie-in literature as the first ship with a particular type of warp drive.

    There are 7 TAS episodes I tend to discount:

    • "The Infinite Vulcan" for the problematical historical references and the giant clones (and buying intelligent plants is a reach, though I could probably live with it if not for the rest).
    • "The Magicks of Megas-tu" for the ease of travel to the galactic center and the story's dependence on a completely discredited Hoylean steady-state cosmological model (which we know is false in the Trek universe because the Big Bang has been repeatedly referenced).
    • "The Slaver Weapon" since there's no way to reconcile its alleged Earth-Kzinti war history with Trek history, and because I’d rather not mix Known Space with Trek.
    • "The Terratin Incident" because of the ridiculous explanation for people shrinking because their DNA was curling up tighter. Living things aren't made exclusively of DNA; it's found only in chromosomes, and if the strands coiled tighter they'd just stop working and the result would be death, not shrinking.
    • "The Practical Joker" because the holographic rec room is too advanced for the era, the Enterprise computer is too sentient, the effects of nitrous oxide are misrepresented, and it doesn't make sense that a second passage through the cosmic cloud would cure damage from the first passage. (This episode was written by someone who usually wrote for Filmation's comedy cartoons, and it shows.)
    • "How Sharper than a Serpent’s Tooth" because the mythology of Kukulkan is grossly misrepresented, as is the chronology of ancient civilizations; plus there's no way ancient tech could build an interstellar signaling device as shown.
    • "The Counter-Clock Incident" because nothing about its premise makes the tiniest bit of sense and the whole thing is idiotic.


    I think they're a terrible idea, for the reason I explained in the book. What sense is there in entrusting your life to a device that doesn't have a safe failure mode, a "suit" that simply vanishes in an instant if it has a power failure?
     
  4. fleetcaptain

    fleetcaptain Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Finished the other day and couldn't put this book down. A good sequel/prequel book for sure. Glad to see more of the Enterprise in the post TMP era as well. Finding out the true reason of Enterprise's refit was awesome.
     
  5. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    When Spock made the comment "a universe where everything is reversed, the ships all fly backwards. Logical." I just thought "that's not logical. Not at all."
     
  6. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Trek isn't a strict "X happened by Y didn't because of Z" canon. It's a loose mythology where writers pick-and-choose which bits they want to follow and which bits they want to ignore.

    "Threshold" never happened? Yet one of the stories in "The Lives of Dax" is a direct prequel to it. Gene Rodenberry didn't like Star Trek's V or VI? Yet Sybok is in the novel "Sarek", and VI has had a bajillion references and sequels over the years.

    Heck, get too all-or-nothing nitpicky and "Ex Machina" has to go, due to the awkward attempt to reconcile ENT's early stuff about Vulcan taboos and mind melding with TOS and TNG, prior to ENT's season four Vulcan Reformation story.
     
  7. MatthiasRussell

    MatthiasRussell Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Hey, Red Dwarf made it work! They even made an explanation that as the universe collapsed back upon itself, time moved backwards. :guffaw:
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Only in the sense that it uses the same definition and mechanics of transwarp drive that "Threshold" did. It doesn't actually reference any of the story specifics, since it's a prequel.


    It's not that difficult to reconcile. Just because the Reformation happened, that doesn't mean every single Vulcan in existence embraced it in lockstep. There would surely be some who stubbornly clung to the old beliefs and assumptions, and Commisioner Soreth can be rationalized as one of those purists. After all, he was a particularly pigheaded and narrow-minded individual.
     
  9. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

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    I think Christopher's point is that 'canon' is an entirely flexible intellectual construct we apply to a set of texts that cannot be (in the model of those far more important canons of scriptures from history) anything but wildly dissonant, being produced by different creative minds and across different periods of time. Of course Ex Machina could be dropped from a canon (say as done in Crucible, producedafter EM's publication), since the idea of canonicity is illusionary - it has no actual weight beyond an agreement made between agreeing minds. Canon is simply an epistemological device that allows easier appreciation of items and themes acros texts linked by previously-agreed association, and though it suggests automatic coherence or unified formation, as happens with the religions or franchises that attempt to define canons from disparate sources there is divergence, and exegesis and analysis is required to stitch together understandings of how canon could fit together - and what cannot fit with those arguments.
     
  10. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^... What he said. :lol:
     
  11. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    And for that, I thank you Christopher. The Caitians in particular are usually just treated a big house cats. An early chapter in the first Vanguard book has a Caitian being diagnosed with a hairball. And PAD plays up the cat angle even more with "They're in, the're out, they're in" regarding their Federation membership. I'm sure at some time we'll see one with a litterbox in their quarters and someone will distract a Caitian security guard with nothing more than a laser pointer.

    I'd rather have well thought out aliens than cartoon cutouts.
     
  12. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I rated it 'Above Average'.

    Like many of Christopher's books, pacing was an issue here. Especially during the climax of the story, much like Watching the Clock, it seemed to go on forever.

    The artificial speed bump for the slingshot maneuver seemed forced and not at all believable. But it doesn't really harm the character drama.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2012
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I'm not sure what you mean by that. But as I explained above, the limitations I ascribed to the slingshot process are grounded in the actual physics of a Tipler curve. So if that's what you're referring to, I don't think "artificial" would be the right word for it.
     
  14. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    :guffaw:

    Or perhaps a Caitian crewmember will walk into the mess hall and ask if he/she can has cheezburger?
     
  15. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    In real life, I wouldn't argue with you. But from a in-universe point of view, if felt "wrong".
     
  16. MatthiasRussell

    MatthiasRussell Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    OOOOOoohhhhh . . . I TOTALLY want to do that!!!

    Caitians are mainly side characters and their culture hasn't been developed much. Certain types of species are bound to be somewhat stereotyped. In small amounts it is funny, creative, and can bring some comic relief. As a contrast, Vanguard also had a very valiant Caitian who was killed in the line of duty defending her shipmates.
     
  17. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Felt perfectly fine to me -- and it went a long way towards explaining why we've never seen the slingshopt process used again post-TVH.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    There is a DC Comics story set in the movie era, "Echoes of Yesterday" in Star Trek Special #3, in which aliens use the slingshot effect to go back in time -- but, conveniently, they learn how to do it by forcibly reading Kirk's mind. It's not 100% consistent with FH because Kirk says in the story that he doesn't know the details of how it's done, but with a little fudging, it can be interpreted that they extracted the special knowledge that Kirk, Spock, and Scotty kept to themselves according to FH.
     
  19. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    So you're proposing that Kirk & company discover a means to travel back in time, keep important details from Starfleet and use that as leverage to get the mission back to 1968? What happens if they are lost on this or any other mission? The federation would have lost that knowledge forever. Sorry, doen't make sense to me.

    If they kept the knowledge to themselves and NEVER used it again I could see your point but they travelled back in time using the slingshot maneuver just a few months after discovering it. Not to save Earth. Not to put things right. For simple historical research. What other information would the decide to keep to themselves?

    They decided to keep Cochrane's existence secret because the galaxy already thought he was dead. And, as we saw in Federation, that came back to bite them pretty hard on the ass not much later. At least they had a good reason for that.

    Sorry, don't buy it.
     
  20. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    You should probably read Forgotten History.