ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Sho, Jun 16, 2013.

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Rate A Choice of Futures.

  1. Outstanding

    54 vote(s)
    50.5%
  2. Above Average

    39 vote(s)
    36.4%
  3. Average

    10 vote(s)
    9.3%
  4. Below Average

    2 vote(s)
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    1.9%
  1. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

    I just finished. I thought that it was all right and am awaiting more stories. For those who thought Enterprise did too many things as was done in TOS I have no problems with the early Federation changing policies and slowly approaching that of the mid 23d century.
     
  2. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

    It'd be different if Malcolm had left behind his communicator and returned a year later to find that a bunch of Space Nazis had used the technology to cripple their enemies missile defense before invading. Yeah, here it's FOLLOWING the PD that screws everything up.

    Good point. I liked Orion in Silent Weapons as it was a lot less sleazy and Mos Eisley "wretched hive of scum and villainy" than I'd seen it in my head. More Vegas meets Swiss Bank.

    I look forward to reading it.

    Sadly, they already played this premise for comedy at Roswell in DS9. :-)

    Of course, a serious version might be the "Day the Earth Stood Still" with Trek. Two planets are going to nuclear war and Archer decides to prevent it. There was a novel called "prime directive" which played around with that (though it was actually a Lovecraftian nuclear warhead-eating alien).

    True, though it might have just got them talking. It's often been stated that two nations will remain rivals until they decide they hate someone else worse.

    Agreed. Sadly, a historian, its depressing to find out 90% of history consists of Earth's people being scumbags.

    My own father, as an insurance salesman, actually had a different view of the matter. His general viewpoint was that wars tended to be resolved via surrender when one side or the other's leaders started to suffer for the loss. As the golem said in "Going Postal."

    "When Banks Fail, It Is Seldom Bankers Who Starve."

    Your view is very much in line with Star Trek and how I'd prefer to view it. However, an alternate interpretation is the Founders had nothing to lose by the Dominion War (900 billion Alpha Quadrant citizens being nothing to them, same with their own troops) until they, personally, were at risk.

    In that VERY cynical take, it was the realization they should just cut their losses and preserve their position.

    Which isn't at all Star Trek.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Often stated, yes, but as I said, history tends to disprove that belief.


    But my point is that there are two different issues that shouldn't be conflated: How to end a war, and how to prevent the next one. The winners in WWI handled their victory poorly, mistreating their foes and exacerbating the problems that had caused the war, and thus made WWII and the Mideast conflict inevitable. Whereas the winners in WWII helped their defeated enemies rebuild, regain their dignity, and become members of the international community, and thereby ensured that there would be no further wars with Germany or Japan. There's a big difference between a cease-fire and an actual, lasting peace. And you can't build the latter with threat and intimidation alone.
     
  4. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

    The thing is this is easily enough to maintain when there's a guy waving a gun around in a hospital, less so when involved with nations. Richard Nixon, criminal mastermind and founder of the EPA/friend to Native Americans (showing the complexity of the world in one person), approached the FAR more radical Chinese Communists than the Soviets. As a result, the nation most seemingly likely to go crazy on the world became our closest trading partner.

    Irregardless of your opinion of China's morality then (or now), it was a victory without firing a shot.

    "Yes Minister" talked about this a bit as its usually more complex than "us or them." In the Grand Design, they talk about the chief problem of nuclear war being no one actually knows what the hell would trigger someone deciding to drop a nuclear bomb. Invasion of West Berlin? What if it's actually a military coup from within West Berlin? What if it's a rogue commander? Ect ect ect.

    Of course, I'm an author too and I had a really good inspiration that I'm going to have to put in a book someday that peace is a lot harder to do and requires a lot more toughness than war because you need to have rock solid self-control as well as a willingness to work around things you might consider grave injustices.

    That's the thing, though, if your enemy wants to annihilate you and you can't beat him--another option needs to be found because Plan B actually sucks just as much as Plan A. History is filled with courageous self-sacrificing souls who stood up to Genghis Khan because they feared annihilation--and were annihilated because they stood up to him.

    Galling as it was, surrender actually won the day there.

    Perhaps, though the Civil Rights issue is thornier as the fact blacks served in both WW1 and WW2 lead to a good deal of change. It just didn't make things better all at once. I will say, however, kudos to the French for being the first to say, "what the hell, United States?" over black soldier's treatment.

    Realpolitc is no stranger to the past anymore than the present, either with plenty of nations being "rivals" only in the sense that their leaders wanted each others land. Nations are required to exist before you have nationalism.

    You're 80% right from my knowledge, though.

    Very true. Machiavelli said if you kill man, don't steal his son's property. Which, while sounding appalling, is basically; "if you make it so a man has nothing to live for, he has nothing to lose." The world's history is all too clear that desperate men are the most dangerous of all.

    In Star Trek, the Federation ended up beating the Klingons mainly because they made it so the latter NEEDED the Federation.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2013
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

    The West tends to demonize Genghis Khan, but the fact is that he was no better or worse than Alexander the Great. Both were utterly ruthless to those who resisted conquest, but both were benevolent and tolerant toward those who accepted their rule. The Mongol Empire actually brought peace and stability to a large part of the world; as with the Roman Empire, a citizen could safely cross the entire width of the domain without having to worry about being attacked by bandits or cutthroats. But Western society has traditionally glorified Alexander because he was European and demonized Genghis because he was Asian. Another factor was the traditional bigotry that sedentary agrarian societies have long held toward horse nomads, seeing them as primitive savages (even though nomadic pastoralism was an innovation adopted by formerly agrarian societies only after the horse was domesticated into a riding beast). In Mongolia, Genghis is seen as a national hero and founder figure much as Alexander has long been seen in the West. Although it should be noted that Genghis was a far more successful conqueror than Alexander, building a much larger empire that endured far longer past his death.

    (I particularly hate the way Genghis is portrayed in TOS: "The Savage Curtain," reduced to nothing more than a mute henchman to the white Col. Green. A more accurate Genghis would've easily been the one running the show, and would've been a much greater challenge for Kirk to defeat.)
     
  6. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

    This is true. I, too, am offended by the essential conflating of Khan with Tamerlane (which is, admittedly, in part because the latter wanted to be Genghis so bad it hurt). It was mostly a point that sometimes, as horrible as it sounds, surrender is superior to resistance to the last man.

    Sorry for thread-drift.
     
  7. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Nixon and China, or the cold war.
    I find your perspective interesting. It is the perpective of the super-power, which has the means to protect itself or at least to deliver a devastating retaliation.
    And, indeed, in these cases, all that is required for some form of negotiation to take place, as opposed to violence, is for the opponent to be unwilling to take the substantial risk of being conquered/annihilated (sometimes during history, even this was not the case).

    But this is not the perspective of most who fought - or fight - for their life, or freedom, or right to pursue happiness. They didn't - and don't - have the options power gives one. And their oppressors don't have to weigh in a balance a highly increased existential risk if continuing their actions.

    Well, if humans were angels, peace would be easy.
    It was discussed how, after WW1, the victors purposefully humiliated, tried to punish the defeated.
    Were they jerks?
    I think one could only judge them when one's son dies fighting in the war, when one's family was victimised.
    Mostly, they were human - there was nothing moustache-twisting about their actions; their desire for revenge - "justice" - is easily understandable.

    I think there are several issues in play here:
    Is naked survival the only goal? The ones who surrendered were not treated nicely by any measure of the imagination.

    The ones who resisted assumed they had a chance of victory. It was a gamble they lost; but, if won, it would mean freedom and relative quality of life over de facto slavery.

    Was there a third option? Resist - a high risk, but potentially high-reward enterprise. Or surrender - and face the consequences: you, your family and your descendants. I see no third choice; no super-power to come up with the resources that create such options.
     
  8. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Depends on the conqueror. Khan, despite his reputation, was aware of the maxim. "Dead men pay no tribute." History, as a whole, would be much different if the serfs and so on resisted to the last man against conquerors since most of history has 99% of humanity paying tribute lest they be killed or enslaved.

    It's also a form of the Prisoner's Dilemma. Genghis Khan (like many rulers across history) gambled that not enough people would resist versus submission to make a difference. 14 City-States, all of them resist, it's a victory. 1 resists, it's destroyed. So who is going to resist without guarantee of the others?

    If you surrender, the Khan might be overthrown the next year or die or you might join up with the Horde (which is how he and Saladin ran things--the latter conquering all of the Middle East by having one conquest pay for the next). The next Khan might be better too.

    Death for you and your family...is very eternal.

    Which is a point why weighing your options works well.

    "The Corbomite Manuever" is one of my favorite "Space Battles" in Star Trek (baby at the end aside) because it shows everyone being a rationale actor. They don't know the other, they are both posturing because they don't want to show weakness, and neither side is a bad person. They could go in phasers firing but that would just get everyone (possibly) killed. It's pro-peace but it's peace by making sure that the other side is aware the other isn't a target either.
     
  9. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Captain Captain

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    Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Indeed.

    World War I happened not because Gavrilo Princip shot Franz Ferdinand, but because Europe had developed weapons of mass destruction, yet still had medieval attitudes about war as a thing in itself. They formed a complex web of secret alliances intended not to preserve peace, but to ensure victory. Had Princip not shot the Archduke, something else would have almost certainly set Europe off, and continuing to allow tensions to build up would have only made war that much bloodier, and that much more inevitable.

    At the end of World War I, there was more than enough blame to go around, for everybody involved to get a nice generous slice. President Wilson knew that; it was the basis of his Fourteen Points. The French and the Slavs didn't want justice; they wanted vengeance.

    Prior to World War I, Germany was the nation of Bach, Beethoven, Schiller, Goethe, Einstein, Kekule, Wöhler, Mendel, Daimler, and countless other giants of the arts and sciences. After World War I, Germany was made the scapegoat for World War I.

    This created the conditions for Hitler's rise to power. Had it not been the case, he would likely have been dismissed as a crackpot, dying in obscurity.

    Not quite sure what this has to do with the book under discussion, but then again, I'm still about 60 pages from the end, and the identity of the Mutes has yet to be revealed.
     
  10. sportzkid

    sportzkid Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

    That is what I am trying to figure out as well if I should wait and read this in proper Enterprise order or go ahead and skip the few enterprise books I have neglected and skip to this one.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Well, ROTF does necessarily spoil certain outcomes from the Romulan War books -- although most of those are things we already know (e.g. the Romulans lost and the Federation was founded).
     
  12. sportzkid

    sportzkid Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Ya would expect a certain amount of spoilers from previous Ent books. Just more a matter of if I want to have a greater understanding of Enterprise previous events before reading Choice of Futures or not.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

    ^It probably won't make much difference, since my book is more a new beginning than a continuation of threads from the previous books.
     
  14. sportzkid

    sportzkid Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Ok good to know thanks.

    I just know that when tried jumping in at start of Romulan War book 1 immediately saw it was more of a continuation of previous book.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

    That's because the first four post-finale ENT novels form a continuing Romulan War arc, with the first two (by Andy Mangels & Mike Martin) portraying the buildup to the war and the last two (by Martin) showing the war proper. But that story arc ended, and I'm a different author beginning a different story arc.
     
  16. CaptainDonovin

    CaptainDonovin Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

    I'm 33% into it & am loving it.
     
  17. Nob Akimoto

    Nob Akimoto Captain Captain

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    Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

    I enjoyed the book, though I think there were a couple of sections where the speechifying felt a little forced. I think the sections with the Pioneer crew and the investigations into the Mutes were the strongest, while anything involving the Tellarite (or the cloak and dagger stuff really) felt a little contrived and edging even into Small Universe syndrome.

    I know this should probably wait till the annotations, but Christopher was the reference to the three nacelled ship that looked like the Daedalus on Dax's padd a shout out to the Wasp class at Masao's Starfleet Museum?
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

    That's right: http://www.starfleet-museum.org/wasp.htm

    The other prototype ship designs I described in that paragraph were allusions to the Bonaventure class from the Ships of the Line calendars/book and the 22nd-century Adamant class from the Journal of Applied Treknology, which is a proto-Miranda design.
     
  19. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Cool I didn't get the Wasp but the other two jumped to mind while reading.

    Concerning the Mutes: I liked how they were developed and still remained alien and 'cool'. And while I'm aware the different ST tie-ins don't need to correlate, it satisfies me that the representation of the Mutes is largely consistent with what we learn in the 25th century about the... Elachi. :cool:
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: ENT: A Choice of Futures by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!

    I had to look that up on the Star Trek Online Wiki, but I don't think their version is consistent with mine at all. They seem to have conflated the "Silent Enemy" aliens with the extradimensional solanogen-based life forms from TNG: "Schisms," which don't look at all similar -- and which emitted clicking sounds, while the SE aliens were utterly silent. Frankly I think that's a very strange decision on the game designers' part.
    I chose instead to identify them with the mute Gamma Vertis IV civilization alluded to in TOS: "The Empath." Decidedly not from an extradimensional realm.
    Also, as fits the needs of a combat game, their "Elachi" appear to be arbitrarily malevolent and rapacious, while I went a very different route.
     

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