Just reread Dreadnaught!

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by JRoss, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. JRoss

    JRoss Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Not nearly as good as I remember it when I was a kid. Carey's weird manifesto in the middle kinda derailed it for me. Believe what you want but please keep it out of Trek. What do y'all think?
     
  2. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Piper is the most obvious Mary Sue I have ever read. It's ridiculous, really.

    What manifesto are you referring to, BTW? :confused:
     
  3. JRoss

    JRoss Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Her whole spiel about Earth's history when she is talking to Sarda and explaining Rittenhouse to him.
     
  4. SiddFinch1

    SiddFinch1 Captain Captain

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    Haven't read this one in many many years. Don't recall.much about that. Just the Mary Sue and tos wannabes
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I still say that calling Piper a Mary Sue is misunderstanding the intent of the books she's in. A Mary Sue is a guest character that steals the spotlight from the heroes. But Piper wasn't the guest character in this novel -- she was the lead character, just as Calhoun is the lead of New Frontier, Reyes is the lead of Vanguard, Rugal is the lead of The Never Ending Sacrifice, etc. Dreadnought! was the first attempt to do the sort of thing that's since become commonplace, to explore the Trek universe from the perspective of a different set of characters than the TV leads. In this case, it was an approach much like "Lower Decks" on TNG, or like the Young Justice TV series vis-a-vis the Justice League -- showing us a story about a familiar group of characters from the perspective of their subordinates or juniors. The intent was to show us what life on the Enterprise would be like for its junior officers, to show us how they would experience one of the adventures that Kirk, Spock, and McCoy were taking the lead on, how they would perceive and try to learn from these great heroes.

    So really, if anyone is a Mary Sue in Dreadnought, it's Kirk. He's the guest star who's better at everything than the central characters, whose actions guide the story, and whom the central character greatly admires. That's pretty much the textbook definition of a Mary Sue.
     
  6. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    "Carey's weird manifesto" is kinda her whole shtick.

    Book. After book. After book.

    I find it both tired and obnoxious.
     
  7. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, that one.

    Weird, maybe, but not wrong.
     
  8. JRoss

    JRoss Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The funny thing is that it seems like she contradicts herself. She writes about there being no such thing as the common good, which is seconded by Sarda (guess she never saw TWOK). Then a few pages later Piper starts worrying about who will protect her colony if the Federation goes bye-bye.
     
  9. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Sarda is more of a jackass than Piper.
     
  10. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes. I hated Sarda. He was such an overbearing asshole.

    Ironically, Sarda has a lot in common with Enterprise's Vulcans, the ones that Carey would say fifteen years later weren't right. :)
     
  11. JRoss

    JRoss Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    So I actually reread the book a bit before I saw Into Darkness. There were more than a few similarities between those two works...
     
  12. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    How much more Mary Sue than to have the cover art be based on the author and her RL husband? (at least that's how I heard it)

    As for the story itself, I have long thought Carey was among the worst of the novelists, and have yet to read anything of hers that would change my mind.
     
  13. zarkon

    zarkon Captain Captain

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    I liked First Frontier and The Great Starship Race.
     
  14. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    Well, they're not blatant Mary Sue stories, like Dreadnought and Battlestations.
     
  15. Shon T'Hara

    Shon T'Hara Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    A Mary Sue is an author-insert character who can out-logic Spock, out-engineer Scotty, etc. and has the whole crew gushing about how awesome she is. I think Piper qualifies. I mean, she defeats the Kobayashi Maru in the very first chapter.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But she's also three or four steps behind Kirk and Spock at every stage of the novel. She's an impressive young officer, yes -- just as the protagonist of any series is usually going to be above the rank and file -- but Kirk is amazing in comparison. He, Spock, and McCoy are the accomplished veterans carrying out a deft master plan that Piper, Sarda, Merete, and Scanner are struggling to keep up with and occasionally stumblingly assisting with. They're the ones talking about how awesome Kirk, Spock, and the rest are.

    The point of Piper is not that she's better than Kirk. The point is that she has the potential to be the next Kirk, but that her potential is still unrealized and unpolished and she needs to learn from Kirk's example. Basically she's much the same character that Chris Pine's Kirk is in the new movies -- a younger, brasher proto-Kirk who needs to be seasoned by experience. Carey herself has written young Kirk in much the same way in Best Destiny, and probably in her YA Starfleet Academy Kirk books from the '90s (which I've never managed to read). This is a recurring theme in her work: writing about characters who have the potential for greatness but are still immature and unseasoned, who need to learn hard lessons in order to mature into the heroes they have the potential to be.

    And that is the opposite of a Mary Sue. A Mary Sue is someone who's portrayed as impossibly perfect without that portrayal being justified or earned. It's a dull character that the story treats as fascinating, a shallow character the story treats as deep, a stupid character the story alleges is brilliant. Just being an author insertion or a focus of the story isn't enough to make a character a Mary Sue. Those tropes are not intrinsically bad. There have been great author-insertion characters in fiction. There have been many great TV episodes that have centered around guest characters rather than the leads (e.g. TNG's "Half a Life"); indeed, the practice was quite commonplace in '60s TV and TOS itself did it in episodes like "Mudd's Women" and "Charlie X." So those don't make a Mary Sue. What makes a Mary Sue is when those tropes are used badly. When the featured character has no literary merit, no depth, no appeal to anyone but the author.
     
  17. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It would be good to see Piper again. The same for Mandala Flynn.

    Is it considered bad form for another author to pick up such a main character (as opposed to a more supporting one) or is it 'fair game' ?
     
  18. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    More to the point, would the author who created the character have to be paid more $$$$$ for someone else to use it? Would the latter be restricted to the original character traits, or could they be fleshed out some (or the worst ones blunted)?

    One of my favorite novel characters was Naraht, the Horta crewmember (aka, "Ensign/Lieutenant Rock" as the Romulan character called him).
     
  19. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    As far as I know (in America at least) authors doing tie-in work don't own the rights to the characters they create. I think it might be more of a matter of etiquette...
     
  20. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, the writers on here have said that everything they write belongs to CBS and that they are free to do whatever they want with them.
     

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