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. Reanok

    Reanok Commodore Commodore

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    I started this novel last night I really have enjoyed reading this book and seeing how the characters storylines are continued from the last novel. I liked the scene of Trip&T'Pol discussing Section 31 and she's worried about losing him.I also like the exploration of the Rigellian worlds and the intrigue with the Orion syndicate wanting tostop the Rigellians joining the federation at any cost.I'll be interested to see what happens at the Tower of Babel conference and what trouble the Orions will cause the Federation.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2014
  2. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    About 100 pages in, and slow going in spots. Christopher what Cochrane factor are you using for the Pioneer's warp drive? Also you intended to have the asteroid towed 4.7 light years?
     
  3. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    When Archer explains the makeup of Rigel to Erickson, he counts three species - Jelna, Chelon and Zami. I wonder whether the Kalar, a "racial group" from Rigel IV, count as the fourth, or as part of the Zami?
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, Archer was speaking mainly of the participating species in the Rigelian Trade Commission, so the Kalar wouldn't have been included -- and Archer didn't know much about them at the time he had the conversation. But I assume the Kalar are, if not the same species as the Zami, then a subspecies or close offshoot.
     
  5. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Thank you for the swift reply. That had been my first assumption too, but I couldn't imagine the hulking, saber-toothed bouncers as being vulcanoid.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Kalar aren't "saber-toothed." The guy in "The Cage" had big, uneven, yellowed teeth, but no worse than a Michael Westmore-style Klingon. And the Early Voyages comics story "Our Dearest Blood," which tells the story of what happened on Rigel VII just before "The Cage," shows the Kalar as a warrior class ruling over a populace that looks baseline-human. Granted, that comic does render the Kalar with rather large canine teeth, but IDW's Intelligence Gathering portrays them as just big wrestler types without any distinctly "alien" attributes. So that's one depiction with "fangs" vs. two without.
     
  7. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Kalar

    Right. - http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/1x00hd/thecagehd0976.jpg

    Sorry, my imagination played tricks on me. I've read Intelligence Gathering and the Early Voyages installment several months ago, and remembered the teeth caught my attention.

    So, the Kalar are possibly a "racial subgroup" (Rehlen Vons) of the vulcanoid Zami, or something to the relationship between baseline Humans and Neanderthals.
     
  8. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Chapters three and four

    We're back on Sauria for chapter three, with the plague spreading to multiple countries, and we have another Enterprise tradition brought into play - letter exchange between Doctors Lucas and Phlox (nice to see Lucas is still around). I'm enjoying the Sauria subplot - it's good to see a brewing crisis thread itself through several books instead of blossoming out of nowhere in whatever book brings this to its climax.

    A small continuity point; we have a final smoothing out of the Kaferia issue, which explains where the Kaferians were in the Romulan War books.

    Another point of familiarity: the Thamnos family! Long time no see (more than a decade, as a matter of fact). They're the same treacherous, merciless types they'll be two hundred years from now, completely unsympathetic and playing around with Rigelian Fever in ways they really shouldn't. I found the First Families fun to visualise - the wigs, etc. The slight comedy of the inbred buffoon detracts a little from the threat they pose, but Thamnos reminds us how dangerous these people are (particularly if we remember her distant descendants). Garos is also quite interesting. I'm actually wondering what happens with any Malurian remnant left alive after their civilization's annihilation. This series has offered a justification for their extinction-by-Nomad despite fielding large warp-capable ships a century earlier - their females rarely if ever leave home. It makes me wonder what sort of trouble bands of grieving, orphaned male Malurians caused in the mid-23rd Century, knowing they were the last generation of their race. As the Andorians have so memorably shown us, that sort of despair can be dangerous.

    (Earth, you've got to stop sending things out into space that merge with aliens and then destroy planets. Borg, Nomad, V'Ger. We'll let you off with Friendship One, that was the Uxalis' own fault. But really. You're a menace).

    In the next chapter, we see signs of the competition and mistrust that exists between the Three Sisters, as well as more insight into the tragedy of their existence - all they have is their biological "gift" and the power it brings them, underlings they can be cruel to or use, etc. They can't trust anyone they don't control, and while they act as a unit they're in natural competition with one another. It's a lonely life, and like Garos they're more complex and sympathetic than they first appear (in apparent contrast to the First Families, who thus far just seem so casually "inzamian" - if you'll pardon the expression - that they're really quite distasteful. How many centuries of thoughtless decadence lead to that sort of person?)

    We get some in-depth exploration of Rigel next:

    "This is where Rigel began; with an ill-considered reference to a real star that actually couldn't support life, let alone on multiple planets. Looking through their telescopes, later writers saw many, many worlds and species, some of which might have been the same as previously observed ones, others which didn't quite fit at all. It was all a bit of a mess. What was known is that here was intelligent life - lots of it. As they refined their scopes over the years, a sort-of-consistent Rigel took shape, though it migrated to a new star that was only pretending to be Rigel, and was far closer to home. The various worlds and species came together into a loose but workable union that joined the Novel 'Verse community while retaining its links to the TV setting of tradition. Finally, this book we're reading now decided to clarify all the information we'd gotten and flesh out Rigel once and for all".

    "That's a fascinating history. Can I access your secret records now?"

    "Yes. We're as anxious to get to the bottom of this whole Kalar/Kaylar Rigel VII thing as you are, to be honest. It's been confusing for far too long - we weren't even sure if we brought them with us or left them back at the real Rigel".
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2014
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    And reconciles TRW's version of Kaferia as Tau Ceti IV, home to a human colony, with the Star Trek Maps/Watching the Clock version of Kaferia as Tau Ceti III, home to a sentient insectoid species.


    Catalyst of Sorrows was my main source for the portrayal of the natives of Rigel IV, although I made them a bit more Vulcanoid in appearance.


    I sort of assumed that the high-wigged diplomats from "Journey to Babel" were Zami Rigelians. Looking at them, I wonder if maybe Janice Rand's hairdo was a Rigelian fashion.


    Well, I only said the females rarely left home. So the situation might not be quite that bleak post-Nomad.


    To be fair, the destructive potential of all those things came from their alien components, not their Earth-originating ones.
     
  10. Reanok

    Reanok Commodore Commodore

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    I finished reading this book last night. I like the fact we got to see how the First families were trying to take control of certain Rigellian worlds and causing trouble. I like the fact the Orion sisters were trying to outmaneuver each other in a powerplay when it came to the federation and the different syndicates. Also the fact Doctor Lucas and Trip being on Sauria trying to track who was causing trouble.Their were a lot of unexpected suprises in this novel the end was certainly unexpected wow!:eek:I really liked this book.I can't wait to see what will happen with the ongoing story in books3&4.I wonder what's going to happen with Trip being unhappy with Section 31 and the action he'll be forced to take he dislikes Harris as Much as Malcolm Reed did in demons& terra Prime.
     
  11. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    So is it the intention of this novel that there are no sentient species in the Beta Orionis system and/or Starfleet has never been to Beta Orionis?
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Given what's been established onscreen, there's not much alternative. "Broken Bow" presented its version of "Rigel" in a way that was divorced from astronomical reality, treating it as an obscure system that was between Earth and Qo'noS and close enough for NX-01 to reach in a few days. That's inconsistent with Beta Orionis, which is what led Geoffrey Mandel to conceive of "Beta Rigel" in Star Charts, an idea that the novel continuity has embraced since at least Destiny if not earlier. Star Charts claimed that Rigel VII was around Beta Orionis instead, but that's just too far away from Vega, the Enterprise's destination post-Rigel in "The Cage."

    In any case, Rigel/Beta Orionis is a blue supergiant star estimated to be less than 10 million years old -- far too young to have a planetary system at all, let alone life. Admittedly, Trek has a long habit of putting inhabited planets around stars that couldn't possibly support them, like Antares, Deneb, and the like. But at least in this case we have an alternative.
     
  13. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

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    Would've been nice to have that divergence explicit in the dialogue written for the actors on "Broken Bow", but we can't have everything we want when we want it. OH well...

    *resigned smile*
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The problem is that Berman & Braga apparently didn't realize that Rigel was the name of a real star. They thought it was a fictional creation and that they could establish whatever they wanted about it. So it was left to the tie-in authors to try to address that mistake.

    (Not that earlier Trek creators were really that much better about it. "The Cage," after all, did treat Rigel and Vega as if they were near each other, even though they're farther from each other than either one is from Earth.)
     
  15. Paris

    Paris Commodore Commodore

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    I pushed thorugh and finished it last night. Really liked this one! Hard to put it down :techman:. Some thoughts:

    -I really like Thanien! The scene where he admits to Hoshi that he has issues with self doubt, was fantastic. He's really growing on me and quickly becoming my favorite character on Endeavour. I also really liked the scene between him and Phlox (who was only in the one scene if i remember correctly :weep:). With no Shran in this one (also :weep:), Thanien did a great job of giving us our much needed dose of kick-ass Andorian SF officer.

    -The Sam/Valeria situation is proceeding quite nicely. That final scene between the two was heart breaking! And that Valeria is tough as shit! It don't think it was stated exactly, but i assume those First Family rapist-fucko's really did a number on her. And Sam! He seems to be almost as tough...although he would probably say that he isn't. Great character developement and great pacing..

    -I wish Shran was there. I really like Shran.

    Overall, a great book Christopher! I can't wait for Uncertain Logic. Enterprise is definitely in good hands. Keep up the great work. You and Kirsten and Dave Mack are all hitting it out of the park every time you get up to bat.

    Any idea when the annotations will be up?...or when Uncertain Logic is coming our way? Maybe 2015 will see both it and #4 in our hands? Is the intention to have each book represent roughly one year in the lives of the crews? I know that you've said that the next two are more tightly tied together. Will they take place in 2165 & 2166, or maybe just in 2165? Can't wait to read them :techman:
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I took care to make it clear that Val was able to successfully fight off any attempted sexual assaults. That wasn't a direction I wanted to take her character.


    Pretty soon for the former. I don't think the latter's been scheduled yet.


    Well, the manuscript due dates are 10 months apart, so it's conceivable if book 3 comes out early enough.


    Not as a strict rule. It's worked out roughly that way so far, but that would be too formulaic for me.


    I haven't quite settled on the chronology for book 4, but probably at least a sizeable portion of it will be in '65.
     
  17. Paris

    Paris Commodore Commodore

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    Cool. Thanks for the quick response :)
     
  18. Reanok

    Reanok Commodore Commodore

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    Christopher I was wondering how do you pick certain Enterprise tv episodes to be included in your novels and continue unfinished story plots from the tv series in totally suprising and unexpected ways included in your books like the ending of your latest Enterprise novel.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I just build on ideas that interest me. Often I draw on stories or elements that I would've liked to see followed up but never were.
     
  20. Reanok

    Reanok Commodore Commodore

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    Christoher Thanks for answering my question. How long did it take you to plot out the diferent alien Rigellian planets you had in Tower of Babel and the trouble making First families.I certainly glad Valeria Williams and Samuel Kirks' relation was explored in your book. I really like them and T'Pol's Andorian first officer and Liz Cutler was in your book.I hope you'll have more of these characters in your upcoming books.