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)
    1.9%
  5. Poor

    2 vote(s)
    1.9%
  1. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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

    Sorry, Kindle makes it occasionally hard to look up names.

    But a good coincidence!
     
  2. Shane Houston

    Shane Houston Commander Red Shirt

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

    I just started reading the first chapter of this book. I was wondering if there was anyway to see what the new Federation uniforms look like? I just stopped at the point in the story where they were mentioned and I would love to have an idea before I continue what they and other aspects of the time period look like.

    On a side note, I've been excited to get my hands on this one since I heard it was coming out.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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  4. Shane Houston

    Shane Houston Commander Red Shirt

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  5. Corran Horn

    Corran Horn Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    I'm still early in the book, but I did enjoy seeing how you had several of the ship emblems from the original series be callbacks to the various spacefaring bodies of the founding races.
     
  6. CaptainDonovin

    CaptainDonovin Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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  7. Wally

    Wally Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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

    Very pleased. Easily my favorite of the last few years. This is really what Star Trek is for me. Exploration and new ideas. Fleshing out barely glimpsed characters and aliens. Characters expanding and developing beyond their TV roles in believable ways. The heroes found different ways to solve problems without resorting with photon torpedos. And...they don't always make the right decision, either.

    I really was about done with Enterprise, and slogged it out through the Romulan War, just see how it went since it really is one of those teased things from the show we always wanted to see. But the constant war and political infighting just really didn't feel like Star Trek much anymore after awhile.

    Conflict is important, and nice space battles are cool as well. But there needs to be a balance. In a sense, this one hit all the right notes for me. I really hope Christopher is able to take ownership of this series like Beyer has for Voyager. Both seem adept at resuscitating floundering properties.
     
  8. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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

    Finished the last few pages last night before going to sleep.
    I certainly liked it a lot, going deeper into the early development of the Federation is something I've always been very curious about. As always, Chistopher's ability to take little things from Star Trek, and go so much deeper into them then we've seen sofar (the Mutes, for example) is something I've always enjoyed in his novels.
    The plotline itself intrigued me a lot.
    The whole concept of the enemies of the Federation using politics to undo them, instead of all-out war, I liked that. Ofcourse, war was the ultimate goal, but war amongst the Federation members, not againt the enemies of the Federation themself.

    I was delighted to find out that Christopher made sure not everything was a perfectly happy UFP just yet. It wouldn't have made any sense. And not just amongst its peoplea and their diverse cultures, but also the fleets, the tech, how are we going to get that all working together. Those were the things I was looking forward to, and it worked very well.

    One thing however, I found slightly lacking. Although the characters read and feel like the characters from the show, I felt they didn't really develop over the course of this novel. A promotion here and there, sure. But except for Reed, I felt that everyone was basicly still the same at the end. And I've always enjoyed how Christopher is able to not only make a journey to the stars in his novels, but a journey with the characters as well. They develop, they learn new things and insights about themselves, sometimes for the better and sometimes not. That was lacking slightly here, for me personally. However, I also realize that a part two is in the making, and perhaps like Kirsten Beyer did in her Voyager novels sofar, the development is not limited to one novel, and we will be able to see this people develop along the way.

    Christopher, I hope you do not take the remark about characterization to hard. I really did love the characters in this novel. You have the uncanny ability to write the characters from the show exactly as they were, and I find that amazing. When reading Mayweather in this novel, I could really picture him in the back of my head, his little mannerisms were on the spot.



    All in all, a very enjoyable read, giving us a few glimpses into one of the most important parts of Star Trek's history. I can't wait for spring 2014. :)
     
  9. Shane Houston

    Shane Houston Commander Red Shirt

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

    Well, it's 3am here in Louisville, Kentucky. I started reading this book at about 4 this afternoon, and had intended to go to bed before 11. I have to say it's been a long time that I've read a book that's kept me up this late.

    This was the first Star Trek book in a very long time that left me both satisfied and feeling optimistic at the same time. A good old fashioned Trek tale of exploration and coming together to solve a problem through cooperation instead of at the end of a phaser or photon torpedo.

    For too long we've had a theme of war through out the Trek universe. The Dominion War, The Romulan War, The Borg War, conflicts with the Typhon Pact, death on a massive scale, the death of beloved characters, the destruction of Deep Space Nine and the almost total annihilation of the Federation. For a long time as much, and as much as I've enjoyed the Star Trek line of books over the last 5 years, I couldn't put my hand on what was lacking about them.

    Now I know. What was missing was exploration, and not just a random story of exploration, but an interesting one! The conflicts were resolved with cooperation and a desire for understanding new cultures. And that instead of leading to war or conflict with those cultures, we see the making of what can be new allies. It was so refreshing to be in on the founding of the Federation and see the cornerstone of what makes it great to witness in film, on TV and in books. It felt good to end the story with a sense of optimism. I enjoy stories that make me think, and consider the possibilities of what the human race could become in reality, if we could just learn to understand a stranger, instead of judge them.

    As much as I have loved Beyer's Voyager novels and Mack's TNG trilogies, I would feel comfortable saying I enjoyed this book more than those. And after the lackluster Enterprise novels that came before it, and even with Bennett's talents as a writer, that enjoyment comes as a complete surprise. Something I wasn't expecting. And worthy of a renewed interest in the Enterprise timeline. No, I must say that it would be proper enough to call this the new Federation Timeline.

    The Enterprise characters are there, but they have changed and grown. And for me, easier to see where the growth comes from. When DS9 was shot forward however many years, we didn't get to see the changes that took place, and most felt out of place to me. But in this story the place the characters are in in their respective lives makes sense to me. And not out of the blue. The NX01 has been retired. But it's spirit lives on in the lives of the people that served it.

    Christoper, I was honestly concerned before reading this because I didn't think anyone could do the story about the birth of the Federation justice. Thank you for proving me wrong, sir. I look forward to the next installment.
     
  10. Stoek

    Stoek Commander Red Shirt

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

    David Xanatos from Gargoyles?
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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

    Thank you! :)
     
  12. EliyahuQeoni

    EliyahuQeoni Commodore Commodore

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

    Absolutely loved this book. I was interested as soon as Christopher has announced he was doing a book about the early days of the Federation and Starfleet. Knowing of his interest and study of history, I knew that he was well equipped to spin such a tale (That and he's a damn good writer!). I was a little nervous for two reasons:

    1. While I enjoyed Enterprise while it was on, I never saw all the episodes and hadn't watched/rewatched any in years. So I was afraid I may not be familiar enough with the characters involved.
    2. I haven't read any of the ENT novels.
    I need not have worried. True to his word, this is a great stand-alone novel and a great starting place for people who may not be familiar with what has come before.

    There are so many things I enjoyed about this book, its hard to list them all, but here are a few:

    • It was great to get a peek into the beginnings of the Federation and see those involved finding their way in this new world they have created for themselves. The picture Christopher paints is in the true spirit of IDIC, with everyone contributing their unique skills to the mix.
    • I am always amazed at Christopher's skills at finding obscure references and characters and spinning storylines out of them.
    • The reference to the Delta Triangle made me smile.
    • I liked the inclusion of Dax, which felt totally natural given Dax's known history.
    • With good doses of politics and confict between visions for the new Federation, it was good to get some exploration and examination of some "alien" cultures. It seems the Saurian situation will be followed up on in the sequel. I wonder of there are future plans for the Jovian Whales and the Vertians (and totally understand if Christopher can't comment).
    • I loved all the different threads in the novel, but found myself wanting more of Captain Reed and crew.
    • Loved the reveal of Sam/Stan's identity. Halfway through that scene it began to dawn on me who he might be and smiled wide when I saw I was correct.
    Those are just off the top of my head. There were so many things to love in this book. I'm looking forward to the next installment :)
     
  13. Reanok

    Reanok Commodore Commodore

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

    I was glad to see Tobin Dax was in this novel I hope we'll more of him in the upcoming Tower babel novel also the Vulcan and andorian engineering crew on Malcolm's ship.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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

    ^Those engineers were consultants aboard specifically for the upgrade. Except for Tobin, they won't be permanent parts of the crew.
     
  15. Paris

    Paris Commodore Commodore

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

    I literally just finished and I loved it! Thanks for bringing Enterprise back onto my RADAR, Christopher. I never had any doubts that you would. More comments when I get the chance to organize my thoughts :techman:
     
  16. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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

    Finished this yesterday, and really enjoyed it.

    Poli sci geek that I am, I'm especially intrigued by the differences in how the Federation government functioned in the 2160s vs the 2380s. In particular, the Federation Commission reminds me (intentionally, I'm sure) of the European Commission and the Council of the European Union (aka, the Council of Ministers). The Federation at this point is a slightly stronger version of the E.U. in some ways.

    I'm also intrigued that Thomas Vanderbilt is the President of the Council of the United Federation of Planets, rather than being President of the United Federation of Planets. I'm wondering what the substantive difference in executive powers are between the two offices; to make a comparison, the old President of the United States in Congress Assembled (aka, the President of the Congress) under the Articles of Confederation was a very different office than the President of the U.S. You would think that this would mean that Vanderbilt was, in essence, the Federation Council's presiding officer rather than an actual head of state and head of government; yet his role in the novel is virtually identical to that of the Federation Presidents in other novels and films/episodes. He's even referred to as the "commander-in-chief" of the Federation Starfleet.
     
  17. Nob Akimoto

    Nob Akimoto Captain Captain

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

    Am I the only one who actually didn't like the presence of Sam Kirk on Pioneer? It felt a little too contrieved to me.
     
  18. Nob Akimoto

    Nob Akimoto Captain Captain

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

    Also, apologies, Christopher, I don't mean to come off like all I'm interested in is the minutae in your book.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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

    I did use the EU as a model, yes. But the analogy for the Council of the EU would be the Joint Ministerial Conferences, such as the defense ministers' conference on Deneva. I see the Babel Conference in "Journey to Babel" as being another example of that, although with planetary ambassadors rather than ministers per se (although UFP ambassadors seem to have a different role than ambassadors today).


    Yeah, I was kind of hedging there, suggesting that maybe he was a different category of president, that the rules were different at the time. But I was kind of winging it. I suppose any ambiguity could reflect the piecemeal nature of the UFP government at this stage.


    I can see how it could appear that way, but as I see it, my purpose here is not just to continue Enterprise but to lay the foundations for TOS, to be a bridge between the two. I am trying not to make it gratuitous, though. I decided to depict Kirk's ancestors because we have some indication that the Kirk family has a tradition of Starfleet service, so it was reasonable that we might encounter ancestors of his at some point. I included Caroline Paris for the same reason -- we know that the Paris family has generations of history in Starfleet, and Caroline is one of the Paris ancestors established in Mosaic. Basically I'm looking for characters that we know would've been around in that era -- Tobin Dax and Bryce Shumar being prime examples.

    And of course the previous ENT novels set the precedent. The Romulan War duology featured Tobin, Sarek's future parents Skon and T'Rama, a member of the Picard family, and several ancestors of Mr. Stiles from "Balance of Terror." Whereas ENT itself gave us Arik Soong, a young T'Pau, and a 22nd-century Duras, and mentioned Sarek's grandfather Solkar.

    Anyway, aren't you missing something?
    Sam's surname may be Kirk, but Val Williams is the one whose family is fond of Roman names like "Tiberius." Doesn't that tell you something? Not to mention that her father, who appeared in ENT as Commander Williams, was named in honor of William Shatner.
     
  20. Nob Akimoto

    Nob Akimoto Captain Captain

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

    Yes, I'd caught that the Williamses were meant to be the source of the Roman names in the Kirk family. :)