ENT: Tower of Babel by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Sho, Mar 19, 2014.

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Rate Tower of Babel.

  1. Outstanding

    15 vote(s)
    22.7%
  2. Above Average

    30 vote(s)
    45.5%
  3. Average

    19 vote(s)
    28.8%
  4. Below Average

    2 vote(s)
    3.0%
  5. Poor

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore


    First time that's ever been said :p
     
  2. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I believe the criticism in the book can also be levelled at European politics, especially because the early Federation is analog to our European Union.
     
  3. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

    ^ I think the book does a good job of showing us the weaknesses of politicians who are only out for power and really care nothing for their constituents and what is best for the greatest amount of people. To me, it was a reminder that so much of politics has become a popularity contest with no real interest in making the tough choices to better the future.
     
  4. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    At least you don't have to go trolling through different bookstores to try to find it early. With the eBook, you know when it's due out. So you sit back, relax, and just wait for it to be available from the comfort of your comfy chair or couch.
     
  5. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    But it is kind of annoying when you get to see everyone else talking how great a book is, and you have to sit waiting another week or two to actually get to read it. That's probably my only real issue with e-books.
     
  6. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Each of the Starfleet five Starfleet branches has their own insignia as of TOB, one per Federation founding member. We know this insignia/branch system will be kept, albeit watered down, until the mid-23rd century.

    Mars and Vega fall under the provision of UESPA, I'd guess. I wonder how and if the Rigelians will be incorporated. From canon, one insignia is left (Defiant's).

    Other licensed works have postulated insignia for other 23rd century ships, though.

    The European Union strives to create a ministerial responsibility for a representative of each member state, although this is becoming difficult now that the number has risen to 27. There are only so many options in delegating branches.

    Maybe the same applies to the burgeoning Starfleet - branches are created to hand each state a responsibility until the maximum of meaningful allocation of tasks is reached. Over time, the branching of Starfleet among member lines becomes more lax until the organization is fully unified. That may occur during the 5YM, when Enterprise runs as UESPA ship but returns to a singular Starfleet.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    More likely, as colony worlds, they don't have big enough space administrations of their own to contribute significantly to Starfleet. In the European Space Agency, which is my approximate model, some nations basically just contribute funding. That might be how some of the later member worlds contribute to Starfleet.


    That's questionable. First off, in "The Tholian Web," the Defiant personnel were actually wearing the standard arrowhead -- something the makers of "In a Mirror, Darkly" either overlooked or chose to interpret as an error. Also, the insignia used in IaMD was not new, but was the Starfleet Command chevron seen on the wall behind various admirals in TOS, as well as appearing as part of the "racing stripes" on the side of the Enterprise secondary hull and shuttlecraft. I tend to assume this is a general Starfleet Command insignia used in the 2260s.


    The dedication plaque of the Enterprise-B lists several UESPA personnel (actually members of the Trek art department). So if we insisted on taking set-dressing in-jokes literally, that would mean UESPA survived as late as 2293.
     
  8. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think it's likely that Mars or Vega would fall under the UESPA umbrella. The Confederated Martian Colonies had been independent of United Earth for decades before joining the Federation in 2162, and I can't imagine it would be willing to subsume its contributions to the combined Federation Starfleet under U.E.'s name. Presumably, the same principle is at play with Vega -- they joined the Federation as a separate Member State rather than staying a United Earth political subdivision because the culture and identity of its people are simply no longer truly "Earthican."

    But I do think there's a real possibility that Mars and Vega may not have their own space services of any sort -- in which case, there may be no new Starfleet division to create for them.

    I really like the idea that the Rigellian space service is behind the emblem used for the USS Defiant in the 2260s, though.
     
  9. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Delayed again (visiting relatives, mostly, a tale that also involves tadpole smuggling, a hoard of several hundred bikers, the family pub, a seal, Saltasaurus eggshell, and Del-Boy Trotter's three-wheeled van. Now back to somewhere only slightly less surreal and wondrous, the Rigel System...)

    The next chapter opens with Devna, making her first appearance in the book. Devna, of course, is the viewpoint character for lower-status Orion women, and offers a primarily sympathetic pair of eyes while we're in the villains' camp. We're also introduced here to a cheerily unpleasant fellow named Hua, who is clearly the prototype for the production run that will produce such individuals as Mudd, Jones, and Quinn - the somewhat laughable but wily human rogues who come to some level of prominence in the 23rd Century, getting in Starfleet's hair and preserving some level of human character (or, er, "character") in the face of the up-straight and respectable Federation. Hua is the prototype in more ways than one, too, because - in another interesting nod to what's to come later in the timeline - he's clearly gotten the Venus drug or something like it in mind. As an aside, his particular perspective on the allure of the Orions was very interesting, and whether it's revealing of more than his own viewpoint is something to consider.

    Was Hua's particular drunken stumble on "sexual intra... interactions" a deliberate nod to his character and intentions, I wonder? Given how self-centred and/or possessive his perspective on sexual encounters is, it's rather appropriate, no?

    In all, I liked this scene a lot. A great many different angles on the Orions, their stratified social system, their relationship with other races, their strengths and vulnerabilities as a market force, as a people... there's a lot suggested here, and it adds to the series' overall success at fleshing out a race that has quite recently made the leap from second-tier to first-tier Trek 'Verse players.

    We're with Garos next, and there are further subtle reminders of the Malurian way - with sedate females attended by males, and Garos' alignment in exile. I'd like to learn more about how things work on Malur. Nice "wearing your masks well" comment.

    Appropriate, I suppose, that the Coridanites built the mighty shipyard at VI. The poor Coridanites really fell from grace, didn't they? Even while under the Vulcans' thumb, they managed to become one of the most technologically and industrially prominent nations in the region, and the more we learn of their pre-Federation history the sadder the whole affair becomes. Their story over the course of the established Trek timeline is one of steep decline and depopulation.

    Of course, as some cultures and races fall, others rise; this scene sees our first Human Rigelian (we know there'll be a lot of them in the centuries to come)

    Good character work with Tobin Dax here; his plan is very Dax, only filtered through Tobin (if that makes sense). It's a reminder that this is at least in part the same character we know from the 24th Century; I like how Dax is coming through here without detracting from the existence of Tobin Dax as his own unique entity. (Have I mentioned in the past how much I like the Trill? The TV series never really got all it could out of them, but that's not really their fault, given how hard a concept it is to explore in non-literary settings).
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2014
  10. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    Christopher, odd question maybe.... but if I recall correctly, you stated that Endeveaour was the last surviving NX class and then refitted to Columbia class.
    Some TrekLit sources stated that atleast 17 NX classes were build. Could that mean that we'll be seeing more NX/Columbia classes in future installments?
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^What sources are those?
     
  12. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    Indistinguishable from Magic. I checked Memory Beta, I could have sworn I read something elsewhere aswell, but that's the only source stated by MB, so I'm probably mistaken.

    Although I do realize that this novel has basicly been ignored since its release. But Picard remembered 15 or 16 of NX classes being built, with the Intrepid NX-07 being one of them.
     
  13. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

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    Might be that Picard favours a particular shipbuilding historians' "school" thinking on the NX-class.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It was my intention that the refitted Endeavour is the first of multiple Columbia-class ships (or maybe the second -- I'm open to the idea that Enterprise was refitted to Drexler specs sometime during the Romulan War, since the books never say it wasn't). Since they're variants on the same class, it's possible people in later centuries could confuse the NX and Columbia classes.
     
  15. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    For what it's worth, the book's events are directly mentioned and openly discussed several times in Plagues of Night/Raise the Dawn, and were brought up in The Poisoned Chalice, too. The only real major stumble is Brahms, and we just have to assume it didn't work out...
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^The other major stumble is Alyssa Ogawa, whose last appearance as a nurse aboard Titan comes only a couple of months before she appears as a doctor aboard Challenger and is said to have been with the ship "for some time."
     
  17. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    But you do mean that during A Choice of Futures/Tower of Babel there are no NX class ships active, correct?
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't know for sure. It hasn't come up yet. There may well be more under construction, at the very least.
     
  19. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    It would be nice if there were some nodds to other UESPA/Human ships as well. So far, the only two Starfleet ships provided by Earth have been Endeavour and Pioneer. Which makes sense of course, since they are the heroes of the tale. But a nod to some other Earth-provided ships out there would be cool.
     
  20. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

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    Didn't Bryce Shumar's USS Essex feature in A Choice of Futures? Without digging up my copy to check, I thought the Essex ferried Soval to Sauria.