Issues with current Enterprise E Bridge/senior officer staff

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Nathan, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. Nathan

    Nathan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Just wondering if anyone is having "issues" with the current make-up of the Enterprise E staff.

    Guess by "issues" being, it just seems I'm not really invested in any of the new characters (other than Bev, Picard, Worf, Geordi). The newer ones just don't seem to be gelling with me.

    Don't know if since Post-Nemesis, if there has been so many "character du jours" that I don't feel invested in them. In fact, over the last couple of years, some have been killed off and I really could care less.

    When I read Vanguard, and minor characters were killed, I was actually feeling, "Holy crap, they killed so-&-so, this book has me hooked, I was actually really liking that guy, before he was vaporized!"

    Even Titan, -- a series I don't particularly care for and still brace for the worst & hope for the best when I read is TItan, I still feel a little more connected to the characters.

    I don't care for the Dino Doc, and the 2 foot tall blue counselor is just ridiculous, I still feel invested in those guys than I do for the Enterprise crew. (Looking forward to when Dino Doc is shoved out the nearest air lock with Chen, but I digress)

    just seeing if anyone having problems getting invested in the latest round of E-E crew members.
     
  2. DonIago

    DonIago Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    (shrugs) I'm liking them well enough, though I don't feel we've gotten into their characters a great deal yet. There have been bits and pieces though. I particularly liked some of the recent developments with Dygan, and having a Cardassian officer on the E in particular is pretty cool I think.

    I was caught off-guard with what happened to Choudury, but can't say I felt we necessarily knew her better than we knew anyone in the current lineup.

    I've been more concerned over what happened with Piniero and Bacco, probably because AotF did a lot to flesh them out all by itself. I haven't read far enough to see where things may be heading as far as that goes.

    As for Titan, Ree is one of my favorites, and the counselor is admittedly a bit amusing to me, but in a good way...and I think he was handled quite well in Destiny.

    Might I ask whether you typically have problems relating to character in books, or whether this is an atypical development?
     
  3. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

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    Hmm, I think Miranda Kadohata was one of the better developed, especially in Q&A, Destiny and Losing the Peace (the rotten exception to her development was of course Before Dishonour, but that applies as much to on-screen characters as Kadohata, T'lana and the security guy).

    Choudhory was good, especially in Destiny and I think Losing the Peace, but I must admit I was spoiled on her death so I don't know how I felt at that sudden execution. I think she was a stronger character than Šmrhová has been to date - but this may be because of the orientalism and distinguishing religious practices that subsumed/defined her character? I don't know.

    And T'Rysa ... you don't like her :D The putdown of her overcompensation in the third book of Destiny rang true, but she has undergone some good, if sometimes inconsistent, characterisation since (notably in Losing the Peace to do with her padre).

    I think the TNG line really suffered in how badly cohesed those early books were - Death in Winter, Resistance and Before Dishonour especially. But I think Q&A and Greater than the Sum started to fix these problems.

    And yes Dygan has come out more and more, of course in the two 'Cardassian' novels.

    And yes there are all those other characters who are just names and occasional traits & moments. Hegol Den, Elfiki, the Vulkan engineer from Lower Decks, etc. Guidice was a good lower decks figure in each of Mack's books (From A Time to onwards), and Konya for a while (although he got shunted aside after being hit with depression, which was unfortunate).

    What really seems the case is that there are too many characters for each to continualyl be in the spotlight. McCormack focuses on certain figures, Mack on others, Ward & Dilmore on others, etc.

    But in truth I don't mind...the Enterprise-E feels like a big ship now with a more proportionately large crew. Do we need to know all these other people that well? If it were a TV Voyager situation, where we had 7 or 8 core characters and half of them were poorly-if-at-all characterised yet who did everything on the ship (but die), then we could complain. But having many more faces, each doing different things and not being artificially forced into situations outside their purview (ok, except maybe Chen)...that feels good. It's like the early DS9 relaunch crew (esp. the Defiant crew who really were just names), in many ways, or indeed current DS9 crew (again, figures like Blackmar).
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2013
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The last thing I had in mind when developing Choudhury's character was "Orientalism." Orientalism means treating non-Western cultures as exotic, exaggerated Others, strange or sensual or barbaric or mystical but never in any way normative, always "them" rather than "us." Vina's Orion dance was Orientalism. The "Space Mongol" Klingons of TOS, the Capellans in "Friday's Child," the Argelians in "Wolf in the Fold," even the Ligonians in "Code of Honor" were stock Orientalist stereotypes thinly disguised as aliens. Jasminder Choudhury was, at least in my intentions, a fully realized character who was one of "us." I tried to give her a non-Western viewpoint to compensate for the perennial America-centrism of the Trek universe, but certainly not an Orientalist stereotype of one. On the contrary, Choudhury's faith was an informed, cosmopolitan one that was largely grounded in Hinduism but, like the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, was highly inclusive, open to ideas from faiths and philosophies originating throughout the known galaxy.

    And to me, the most important part of her character wasn't that she was spiritual, but that she was a security officer who defied the Worf/Yar/Corsi stereotype by being more a peacekeeper than a fighter. I've long felt it makes no sense for security chiefs to be portrayed as "warriors," since their job is ideally to prevent violence from occurring in the first place. I thought it would be more interesting, and more realistic, to write a security chief who was skilled at defusing and preventing conflict rather than just waging it. To take more a "hostage negotiator" approach to the character, as it were. (Like Enrico Colantoni's character on Flashpoint, say, although I hadn't started watching that show when I developed Choudhury's personality.) If her Hindu cultural heritage dovetailed with that, that simply made sense, and it supported my primary goal for the character rather than being my primary goal. (Although unfortunately the growing emphasis of subsequent novels on war and espionage and conflict left few opportunities for the kind of work I wanted to see Jasminder doing.)

    And I wouldn't say anyone else who wrote her did so in an "Orientalist" way. Dave and Dayton didn't focus much on her cultural heritage at all, whereas Bill Leisner did a great, multifaceted job with it in Losing the Peace.


    Dina Elfiki's largest role to date is probably in DTI: Watching the Clock.
     
  5. DonIago

    DonIago Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Watching is the first book I thought of when Elfiki came up.

    I haven't read Losing the Peace, but I would agree that Choudhury's ethnicity didn't come into play much other than in GttS IIRC. That's okay though, she still got development in other books.

    Taurik's been plenty developed as far as I'm concerned. He has a small but worthwhile role in the Cold Equations trilogy as well. I like Chen as long as she's not being -too-...um...outgoing? I thought she was handled pretty well in CE as well.

    I believe Jarvisimo may have misspoken when he said "orientalism", but obviously can't say for sure.
     
  6. bfollowell

    bfollowell Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't think Nathan is completely crazy here. I've seen similar comments, though maybe not quite as extreme, from several other posters, some of them regulars.

    I feel the same way to a somewhat lesser degree. When I read about some of the newer DS9 characters or even the lesser seen Aventine characters, I pretty much remember them and know who they are instantly. Even with the more rarely seen Titan characters, they come to mind really quickly. The newer Enterprise officers, not quite so much. Dygan and T'Rysa are stand-outs for sure, the others, not quite so much. I sometimes struggle to remember who they are and what they do. Choudhury was another that really stood out, probably because of her relationship with Worf, but not completely for that reason. I can't say she was a favorite or anything but it definitely shocked and saddened me when she was killed. Not in the same way it would have if Worf, Beverly, Bashir, Deanna or some other main character were killed, but saddened just the same.

    Still, there are a few of the newer Enterprise officers that I struggle to make a connection with. Let's face it though, we just don't see them as often. I mean, the main characters that we grew to know through the series, we grew to know through what, about 180 episodes apiece, plus the novels? I think it will be pretty hard for any lit-only character to ever meet that same level of investment that we have in the main characters. But that's just my opinion.

    - Byron
     
  7. Nathan

    Nathan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Bfollowell,

    Nice post...I totally forgot about the Aventine crew, and yep I feel that even I have more connections to the Aventine crew than the current E-E crew offereings.

    You right, it tough for a Lit-Only Character to have the same investment as a character we've seen the screen.

    Will have to say tho', Elias Vaughn comes pretty close, as I totally dig the character, in fact, sometimes, I think he almost overshadows the characters we've seen on screen.

    Don't know if it was lightning in a bottle (if I'm using that right), but with the Mission Gamma series, I was totally hooked on Lit-Only characters that popped up in DS9 (as well the usual DS9 ones that we've seen on screen.
     
  8. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

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    Yes, this might be the wrong word - at least I did not intend it with the full associations of how the word is construed in post-colonial or cultural studies. I was not meaning Orientalism with the full range of associations of that definition. Perhaps her 'non-Western origin and characterisation' would be more appropriate: in that, as you write, her spirituality is non-normative by Trek definitions - and indeed by western science fiction literary definitions - and required you to explain her spirituality for an audience unfamiliar in general with the cultures that inspired your creation of her. Therefore she represents somewhat still an Other to an audience, but is no longer an alienated or frightening Other. I certainly was not being critical of her, or your introduction of her (apologies for missing out GttS on my list), or the idea of a spiritualised non-Judaeo-Christian character in Trek. I rather appreciated it.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Whew, that's a relief. It would've been disturbing if my attempt at a believable characterization came off as a mere stereotype.

    And you know, it's a shame that the third-largest real-life religion in the world (fourth if you count "nonreligious") is still unfamiliar to an audience that's intimately versed in Bajoran and Klingon religion...
     
  10. zarkon

    zarkon Captain Captain

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    Yeah, I agree with OP. New Frontier, Errand & Gorkon have all had plenty of non-tv characters who "clicked" and I became invested in, but E-E has suffered through new character after new character who I can just never get invested in. Closest I got was enjoying Worf beating up Leybenzon, which is probably the wrong kind of investment...although Dygan shows some promise after The Crimson Shadow I guess.
     
  11. Mimi

    Mimi Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    While the crew overall might not be as interesting as Titan's or Aventine's, characters like Dygan and Choudhurry did manage to convince me to start reading the current line of next generation novels.

    But, its not something only Enterprise suffers from. Most of the senior staff in the new DS9 needs fleshing out. The majority of them, other than Blackmer, haven't gotten more than a handful of lines in the three or so books they've been in.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2013
  12. Cyfa

    Cyfa Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I must admit that it took a little while for me to get used to the 2380s Enterprise-E crew, but I'm really enjoying the little bits and pieces of their development. I find myself especially invested in Dygan (even more so after reading Una McCormack's amazing Crimson Shadow), and Dina Elfiki following her role in Christopher's excellent Watching the Clock (more DTI please!). I'm really looking forward to reading more about her, so I hope she makes it into future novels.
    I'm also intrigued as to T'Ryssa Chen and Taurik's burgeoning relationship. Taurik seems to have had a somewhat calming influence on her - long may it continue!

    Oh, and if someone can get Miranda Kadohata back that would be great (although not at the expense of Ravel Dygan).
     
  13. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I haven't really had any problems with the E-E crew. I know it took a little while to get a consistent crew, but I liked what we had gotten by the Typhon Pact books. There are still a few characters who seem that it would be nice to see more of, one of the biggest being Faur. She's been around since Greater than the Sum, but at this point she's little more than just a name. We still gotten much development for the new counselor Hegol either, but Councilor's don't always play a big role in the stories, so that one doesn't bother me too much.
    As for the rest of the cast, I've like what we got with Chen, Choudhury, and we've gotten some nice material for Taurik. Dygan has also been another standout, and while she's hasn't been a prominent as a lot of the other characters, I've liked what we've gotten with Elfiki.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Actually Joanna Faur was KRAD's creation for Q & A.
     
  15. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, I could have sworn she showed up with Choudhury and Chen, my mistake.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Of the three, the only one I created was Chen. Keith created Faur and Kadohata, and Dave Mack created Choudhury and Elfiki, although they first appeared in Greater Than the Sum.

    I also created Counselor Hegol, and Rennan Konya originated way back in my Trek debut, SCE: Aftermath.

    Of other current Ent-E personnel original to the books, assistant CMO Dr. Tropp and transporter chief T'Bonz debuted in A Time to Sow by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore. I think Glinn Dygan was created by Una McCormack for Brinkmanship, and Aneta Šmrhová was created by Dave for Cold Equations.

    (And of course Jean-Luc Picard, Bevery Crusher, Worf, and Geordi La Forge were created by Gene Roddenberry, David Gerrold, D.C. Fontana, and Robert Justman, and Lt. Taurik was created by René Echevarria and Ron Wilkerson & Jean Louise Matthias.)
     
  17. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks for that. I'm not always good at remembering which character first appeared when, which I just proved with Faur.:alienblush:
     
  18. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

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    Yeah, this is a shame. But understandable, since education and social patterns are only recently changing.

    The earliest appearance by Šmrhová I can think of is Destiny, actually. Although could she have been in A Time to Kill and Heal too? I really liked David's recurring security and operations people that seemed to begin then and carry into Destiny (Alas for that runabout crew that got massacred in the 3rd Cold Equations book seemed to include several...)

    D'accord! On both points.
     
  19. Frontier

    Frontier Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm wondering of the merry-go-round of crew on the Enterprise-E isn't someone over at Pocket wanting to force the reality of the transitional and ever-changing nature of military assignments in modern day down our throats? I've heard the argument before, especially from folks in the military, about how "unrealistic" it is that any crew would stay together so long. To which I always counter with 1) this isn't reality and 2) a smart enough society or chain of command would see how successful a specific group of people where and keep them together for just such reasons.

    But it's always been in the back of my mind as we've seen so many officers come and go on the big E in recent years that it's someone with that view point trying to force such into Trek in defiance of the shows which have always kept the crews together...

    Honestly, I think the constant shuffling of characters/crew all through Trek lit has been a big stumbling block. I really invested in the DS9 relaunch characters back in the day, which I didn't think I would when I started out. To see how a lot of them have gotten the proverbial shaft since "Unity" really irked me.

    It just feels like, to me, someone over at Pocket at the top of the chain of command, is quietly sending down the order to keep shuffling the crews and characters. To keep killing the new ones and bring in others. All in an effort to show that reality of military life over what's good for a fictional 24th century...
     
  20. zarkon

    zarkon Captain Captain

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    I think you're reading too much into it.

    Hell, we lost leybenzon and that vulcan counsellor because pocket didn't bother to send PAD a copy of q&a resulting in the characters varying wildly from one book to the next and ultimately having to be given the ejector seat.

    That actually leads me to a question - if a trek author creates a character that's expected to stick around in one of the mainline series, do they also create...I don't know what to call it, a character outline I guess? Something that other authors continuing to write for the same series can draw on in addition to the book they're in?