Infinity's Prism: Seeds of Dissent

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Emh, Apr 26, 2009.

  1. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

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    I know I'm a bit behind the curve, but I finally got the opportunity to read this story. Of the six Myriad Universes stories, "Seeds of Dissent" was the one I looked forward to the most because Julian Bashir is my favorite Star Trek character, second to only Elim Garak.

    In a counterpoint to Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin's brilliant Cathedral, "Seeds of Dissent" provides an intriguing look at what would happen to Bashir if his genetic enhancing was the norm and such enhancing was amplified. Additionally, the story provides a fascinating look at the Star Trek universe if Khan Noonien Singh had won the Eugenics Wars.

    I love world buidling in every book I read and I especially love it in "What if...?" stories. Swallow provided an extraordinary look at how Earth, humans, and the galaxy was different in a mere 145 pages. The story excelled in showing how Khan rose to power in the galaxy, how worlds like Andor, Trill, Bajor, Cardassia, and others were afflicted by his empire, how people like Bashir, O'Brien, Ezri (and Dax), Jake Sisko, Kira, and Dukat were changed by this direction in history.

    I was greatly amused to see Kira and Dukat in a deeply close relationship, especially in contrast to the recent (well, for me) Fearful Symmetry. The soft and affectionate Dukat (particularlly in regards towards Rain and how death affected her) was a very nice touch. I also loved how Swallow managed to slip in my favorite character from the Terok Nor trilogy, his very own creation, Darrah Mace, although I wish we had seen more of him before he was killed.

    Along with Bashir's character study, I was also intrigued by Ezri's and Dax's character studies and how Dax had long fought against the Khanate on a covert level and how her scheming finally bore fruit upon the arrival of the Botany Bay. Ezri was a cool and calculating woman (although perhaps not all that different from the Ezri we see in the Destiny books just driven by different motivations) and I greatly enjoyed seeing her standing on her own against such strong-willed characters as Bashir, O'Brien, and Kira.

    When I began to read who some of the crew aboard the Botany Bay were, I immediately began hoping Rain Robinson was among them and I was not disappointed. I loved Rain Robinson in "Future's End" (largely because of the great and wonderful Sarah Silverman) and I loved seeing her perspective of Khan's world, both in the 21st century and 24th century.

    My only complaint about the story is that I wish there was a small hint of how Khan managed to win in contrast to the events described in Greg Cox's books and how Gary Seven's mission failed.

    Okay, I lied. I have one other complaint: I would have liked to have read one scene with Bashir and the Elim Garak of that world and to see the stark difference from our universe.

    Lastly, I have one question for James Swallow: I couldn't help but notice that the name of the Third Khan was Tiberius Sejanus Singh and that his right hand man was Picard. Was this a deliberate reference to I, Claudius?

    Edit: I just read the review thread from last year and I'm horribly ashamed to admit that I missed the Doctor Who reference. Enlighten this poor bugger, please?
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2009
  2. DarkHorizon

    DarkHorizon Captain Captain

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    Page 417 - the list of those who didn't wake up are [Peri] Brown, [Rose] Tyler, [Dorothy 'Ace'] McShane, [Bernice] Summerfield, and [Martha] Jones...
     
  3. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The list of deceased Botany Bay crew includes a lot of Doctor Who companion names.

    ETA: Argh! Beaten!
     
  4. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

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    ARGH! You know what's really embarrassing? I saw "Summerfield" and in the back of my head, I did think of Bernice but I didn't make the connection. :scream: :o
     
  5. shanejayell

    shanejayell Captain Captain

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    Personally I'm hoping for a part two, with Bashir fighting his own people
     
  6. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Me too.
     
  7. LightningStorm

    LightningStorm The Borg King Commodore

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    Bashir and Garak? And here I thought it'd be the EMH. :p
     
  8. James Swallow

    James Swallow Writer Captain

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    Thanks for the comments!

    I figured that Kahn killed Gary early on, and maybe even looted his stock of alien tech, but he'd kept it secret from the world at large. I did think about putting in a Gary Seven reference, but the story already had a lot of continuity stuff in it and I didn't want to over-egg the pudding...

    I'd say the alternate Garak is a puppet running what remains of the government of Cardassia for the Khanate.

    It's more broad than that, just a pointer to the whole psuedo-Roman model of the Khanate. Apropos of nothing, Daniel and David Dvorkin put an I, Claudius ref into their TNG novel The Captain's Honor, though...
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Oh, yes. They proposed that the "Bread and Circuses" planet exactly paralleled Earth history up until the Roman Empire. They postulated that the divergence point was that Sejanus' coup was successful there, so that the person Patrick Stewart played in I, Claudius was the one responsible for keeping the Roman Empire alive. The "Magna Roman" starship captain in the book was named Sejanus, was a descendant of the original (I believe), and was described as looking a lot like Captain Picard.
     
  10. Emh

    Emh The Doctor Premium Member

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    I get that a lot. I picked Emh because it was more unique than Bashir or Garak. Plus I originally went by EmhMarkI in chat before joining the board.

    Fair enough. That works for me as a divergent point even if it's not mentioned in the story.

    That makes sense. Still, I would have loved to read one scene between the two.

    Ah, okay. It just struck me as interesting considering Sejanus was Tiberius' man (even if he wasn't loyal to him) in I, Claudius.
     
  11. KhanDrakon

    KhanDrakon Cadet Newbie

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    I don't think that killing Gary would be sufficient for the divergence. Even if he did, he would still be in conflict with his brothers and sisters. I think that a better divergence point would be if he managed to rally his siblings to his cause instead of fighting against him. With their combined intelligence, resources, and charisma, even if Gary was alive, he would have a very hard time trying to defeat them.
     
  12. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm confused. If Gary Seven and the Aegis have knowledge of the future, then how could they not see this coming? And afterwards why didn't the Aegis do something about the evilest mortal being in history? If I were them I would beam a bomb into Khan's throne room right as he gives a news conference about the flight of the Morningstar.
     
  13. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Maybe they did but it didn't correct the timeline but split it?
     
  14. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The reason the Aegis didn't interfere in the Eugenics Wars was simple: they knew the wars would end anyway. It's not their job to completely sanitize the timeline and remove all conflict, after all.
     
  15. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

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    I loved Seeds of Dissent. I'm a huge fan of Khan, the Eugenics Wars, the Augments, and everything to do with that part of Star Trek history, and Bashir is also one of my favorite Trek characters, so I was extremely excited when I found out about this story. I'm glad to say that I was not disappointed by it one bit, except perhaps that it was not a full-blown novel in its own right. I'd love to see a sequel to it some day, though I'm not really expecting it.

    And don't feel bad, Emh, I never caught the Doctor Who reference either. :ouch:
     
  16. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    I agree that Seeds of Dissent was a wonderful tale - possibly my favourite Myriad Universes story.

    The best bit was the genuinely hilarious yet simultaneously horrifying propaganda reel which apparently featured Khan himself doing everything of note and import to the adoration of all humankind; it's just the sort of ludicrousness that you'd expect. All tyrannies and controlling narratives work on the basis of practically daring people to point out how ludicrous they are - to an outsider, the more illogical, laughable or eye-rolling, the more successful the narrative probably is....
     
  17. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    And the billions of non-humans killed or enslaved by the Khanate?
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The Aegis evidently likes to keep its interventions subtle and invisible. If such methods failed, they might not be willing to take a more active role.

    Besides, as defined in comics and novels, their job is mainly about fending off temporal alterations and keeping history on its "natural" course. If the SoD timeline diverged spontaneously rather than as a result of time travel (which is the assumption with the Myriad Universes timelines, not counting the one from IDW's The Last Generation), then there's no intervention to correct -- it's just the normal flow of events for that timeline, and it wouldn't be the Aegis's business to interfere.
     
  19. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I guess so.
    But isn't the The Last Generation reality just one where Captain Braxton made insanely different choices? It ends with an outcome that is clearly incompatible with canon works.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Hmm, maybe. But what I meant is that the prose Myriad Universes didn't involve time travel. Maybe I shouldn't have brought it up, since it's just a digression.