LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Sho, May 17, 2014.

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Rate One Constant Star.

  1. Outstanding

    13 vote(s)
    25.5%
  2. Above Average

    14 vote(s)
    27.5%
  3. Average

    18 vote(s)
    35.3%
  4. Below Average

    1 vote(s)
    2.0%
  5. Poor

    5 vote(s)
    9.8%
  1. Corran Horn

    Corran Horn Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

    Oh, agreed. The ending felt rushed and extremely convenient.
     
  2. Bob Karo

    Bob Karo Captain Captain

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    Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

    I have to agree with you there. There's a pretty good book by DRGIII, where he takes this young officer character from one of my least favorite films and show's him to be an interesting character with a lot of depth. It's amazing how likeable he comes across considering the crappy source of the character.
     
  3. ClayinCA

    ClayinCA Commodore Commodore

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    Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

    I wish posts had a "like" button.

    As for me, ironically I've read every Star Trek book by DRGIII except Serpents and this new one, though in both cases it's just because I haven't gotten around to them yet; indeed, I hadn't realized until recently that One Constant Star was such a direct continuation from Serpents. For me at least, that's going to work out to a good thing, because I'll probably just read one right after the other (which is what I did with DRG's last couple of books, and that worked out great).

    I'm really glad to hear all the positivity surrounding this book--I've liked every David R. George book I've read thus far, and I'm looking forward to this one a lot. I just wish I had more time in my reading schedule.
     
  4. Tirius

    Tirius Captain Captain

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    Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

    Just finished the book yesterday. I've had some difficulty pinning it down, but finally voted 'average'. The obvious issue here, is that Serpents Among the Ruins is one of my all-time favorite Trek novels, and despite its many good parts, One Constant Star simply lacks the impact that Serpents had, at least for me. It felt a lot like an episode-of-the-week story as far as the exploration of Rejarris went, and I think the story could've used a bit more time with Demora and her father in the second half. I also felt the loss of her father's ship could have been stressed a bit more in the early parts of the book, and felt that perhaps the chapter that details it would have served better as the "pre-credits teaser" than in its current form as a mid-story flashback. What I did like was that ultimately, the mystery of the planet was not completely solved. My guess is the Rejarrans were eaten by the spider monsters, but I do prefer it that this thread was left dangling.

    The book's strongest side for me, was its character work. I very much liked Harriman's parts, both his dedication to his former crew and his relationship with Sasine. He continues to be a much stronger character than his brief stint in Generations might have implied, and I found his obvious choice to put his relationship before his career very refreshing. He did eclipse Demora a bit in the second half, though, considering things were wrapped up rather quickly after she got out of sickbay. My favorite among the B crew however, continues to be Xintal Linojj, and it was great she got so much development.

    A final note, is that the story felt a bit rushed in places. We spent quite a bit of page time with Demora and her two ensigns, and then in the final part months pass in but a few pages. A few more chapters devoted to the Excelsior crew and the Sulus might have improved it further.

    So, in conclusion: enjoyable, but a bit of a mixed bag.
     
  5. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

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    Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

    For me this book really is at it's best when it is about Harriman and his decision to go after his friend. To me, even though he is not in the book as much as Demora, he is the more fully rounded character who captivates my attention every time he is on the page. I'd love to see more stories about him. I think that the ending, even though quick, makes this an above average book. Mainly because it is in an era that has so much richness just waiting to me mined.
     
  6. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

    I'm still reading but...

    Why did the name of the shuttlecraft change from Amundsen in Chapter Four to Pytheas in the middle of Chapter Five? Am I missing something? Then it switches back.

    Nevermind. :lol:
     
  7. Jim Gamma

    Jim Gamma This space left blank intentionally. Premium Member

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    Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

    There are two shuttles on the planet. Took me a minute to realise that, too! Like I said before, there's so much rehashing, you can easily miss new bits of info.

    Sulu won't take Amundsen as she can't risk moving Young, so she switches to Pytheas. Page 158ish.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
  8. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Captain Captain

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    Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

    Am I the only one who, when Tenger's backstory was given, wondered how it fits in with Orion "slave" women being the real rulers of their society? Or who got jolted out of the story by the word "extraterrestrial" near the bottom of page 74?
     
  9. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

    Some of the books, e.g. Rise of the Federation series, have gone into that in more depth and suggested (logically, I think) that the degree of pheromonal allure differs from Orion to Orion, so that while some females are powerful and seductive enough pheromone-wise that they become de facto rulers of their society, others aren't (and the women who are guard their control jealously, at that). The commoner woman isn't anything special. I suppose that might also contribute to the desire among some Orion women to be as beautiful and alluring as possible, even through artificial means - it would be, perhaps, part and parcel of seeking to better yourself economically in the super-capitalist Orion system?
     
  10. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Captain Captain

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    Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

    Hmm. If venus drug gives one "more of what you already have," then it presumably just made Tenger's sister more neurotic.

    This is going very fast. In only a day, I've chewed through more pages than I did in a week of reading Elizabeth Warren's latest opus.
     
  11. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

    Just think about it. Do you suppose Gaila from Star Trek 2009 would ever be allowed to set foot on Starfleet grounds if it were known that she can influence any average humanoid male? And we can't just throw out every DS9 relaunch novel containing Treir.
     
  12. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Captain Captain

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    Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

    Hmm.
    :rommie:
     
  13. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

    I have wondered how the Federation deals with that sort of thing, actually. The complexities must be headache-inducing; the balance between inclusion and protection of individual liberties difficult to determine, the legal protections for both the citizen in question and those around them potentially difficult to mutually respect. Things could get ugly, or at least hurtful. For example, Elas is (or was, alas, since the Borg destroyed it) a member of the Federation, and at least some Elasian females can make males, Elasian or not, single-mindedly focused on their needs and desires through natural chemical means. Since simple physical contact with the tears can apparently be enough, I imagine it would cause quite the dilemma. Would Human parents want their sons attending school with Elasian girls? I can picture some nasty disagreements arising from that, and some very big problems. Would these hypothetical parents' resistance be viewed as correct, sympathetic and necessary, or as hyperbolic bigotry (even akin to, for example, "I don't want no nigger in my daughter's class, they can't be trusted!") I mean, I'd imagine the UFP would generally be a place where most people are fairly reasonable, but being generally reasonable doesn't mean easy answers.

    What about Betazoid telepathic talents (which some might view as inherently an affront to a non-Betazoid's privacy or dignity), or Pahkwa-thanh venom (and Pahkwa-thanh instinct to taste things in order to learn about them); in short, anything that is biologically inherent to a species that would be difficult to control or restrict but which would be seen as imposing on other citizens were it to be used, even if in those societies the use is second-nature, or simply nature? We know that Betazoid concepts of courtesy and correct conduct frown on uninvited scans, and of course the Pahkwa-thanh obviously abide by that tricky, obscure "it shall be a criminal offence for a citizen to consume another" law even if they would happily eat that dolphin otherwise, but the dilemma still remains.

    I imagine UFP citizens are thick-skinned at least, if not outright embracing of most differences and generally accepting, but we know there are some boundaries. The Deltans have their Oath of Celibacy of course (while serving in Starfleet, at least - has it ever been confirmed if Deltans working in other Federation agencies take it? Or the Deltan-on-the-non-Dhei-street?); Shelby in New Frontier insisted that Gleau the Selelvian agree to something similar (back when she still mostly thought his impositions through The Knack were generally innocent, even if she was beginning to suspect otherwise - and, again, he was a Starfleet officer not an ordinary citizen). Is an Orion with full-on pheromones allowed within the UFP? She can't consciously control it, after all, so even if she considered their use to affect others completely immoral and never wanted to take advantage (not common, I'd imagine, since it's literally completely natural to them and people influence each other through subtle means all the time - where is the line drawn? "You used your charisma at me! Guards, arrest him!") would she be required by law to take drugs to shut the ability off if she wanted to even set foot in the UFP? Must she be less than herself to enter?

    (This also makes me think of the sub-plot in Myriad Universes: Places of Exile involving the Casciron species, who are required by Vostigye Union law to surrender their natural poison glands and stingers before being accepted as refugees; the story features some heated disagreements between Casciron religious figures/general protestors and the Vostigye establishment - the law says no weapons, and poison stings are classified as a natural weapon, so off they come)

    And that's just when a given female Orion of the ruling lineages is an outsider seeking to enter the UFP. What happens when an Orion girl, a UFP citizen, reaches puberty? Is she tested for how strong her pheromones are, to ensure she doesn't naturally and unknowingly impose on others? Where is the line drawn if so? Is she legally required due to her species to take certain medical treatments? Very thorny, I'm sure many would agree; even if species isn't mentioned anywhere in the legalese, it's obviously still more-or-less central to the issue. Would Orion citizens accept being in turn imposed on, as though (they might argue) they are inherently under suspicion or seen as criminal, immoral or naturally "unsafe" (particularly when being from a species that clearly has a number of unpleasant stereotypes to work against anyway)? "My daughter's done nothing wrong, but she's singled out and treated like a criminal!" VS "I'm not having my son around an Orion who hasn't been tested and made to take the right level of pheromone suppressant; what about his rights and protections?" "We're being singled out as suspicious" VS "we're talking about biology, this isn't your character being disparaged", etc, etc.

    I'm reminded now of the Psi Corps from Babylon Five, and if anyone is familiar with that franchise they'll know the trouble the Earth Alliance had with its policy on telepaths. Held apart and singled out because they were required by law to register and either join the Corps or take "sleeper" drugs that often had troubling side-effects.

    How, I wonder, does it work?

    Even if it generally works smoothly, sooner or later some individual will raise a stink.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

    I'm very uneasy with the idea of legally compelling people to suppress or surrender natural physical advantages that could be used as weapons. I mean, lots of people have advantages. In humans, men are usually stronger than women, and sadly, some of them turn that edge into a weapon against women, or against weaker men. Of course we should regulate people's behavior, teach them not to use their physical advantages to harm or impose upon others and penalize them when they do. But drugging or mutilating them to remove those physical advantages would be taking it too far. I certainly wasn't endorsing the Vostigye's rules vis-a-vis the Casciron in PoI.

    I think the rule in the Federation would be the same as the rule in our society: People are going to have different advantages that could be used to dominate or harm others, but the law only penalizes them for using those advantages in such ways, rather than pre-emptively punishing or restricting them for having advantages in the first place.

    I mean, suppressing or altering people's biology to bring their abilities in line with everyone else sounds like the kind of Procrustean solution the Breen would employ. The Federation is about respecting diversity, trusting and encouraging citizens to use their diverse gifts in a positive way.
     
  15. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

    A position I agree with, I think. I note there's no firm conclusion or easy answer in your post; I respect that.

    I just keep thinking of it like this: It might seem like a happy or easy solution to require Orion females to chemically suppress their pheromones, at least if they're of unusual strength, but even if 19 out of 20 Orion girls in the UFP happily did so without a second thought, there's going to be that twentieth girl who's thinking "I'm not a bad person. I know we Orions are often seen as criminals, not to be trusted, that we Orion girls are often seen as obsessed with sex. They don't trust me because of what I am. They're singling me out as inherently unsafe, inherently a problem, inherently against them". Not the sort of thing the UFP would be wanting to do, and it's very hard to be told that your inclusion depends on being less than what you naturally are.

    I'm generally a very liberal person (I would stress that that's liberal with a small l, not a political affiliation as an American or Australian, to use two differing examples, might read it), so I too tend to distrust any blanket controls or impositions; being too hands-off is usually the lesser of two evils with me, compared with being too-hands on.

    I suppose rather than require an Orion female to suppress pheromones, there could be easily-available pheromone blockers that people could discreetly take if there are Orions around? That would sit more easily with me.

    Also...where would the line be drawn, legally? Pheramones of this level are okay, no different from being unusually charismatic, etc., but at this level, slightly above, you're drugging people and it needs to be controlled?
     
  16. flandry84

    flandry84 Captain Captain

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    Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

    I rather enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would.A quick and breezy read.
    TBH I was relieved at the approach DRG took to the Excelsior survivors,we really didn't need to see any great detail about their ordeals on the planet and DRG spared us all that.
    Was anyone else surprised at Demora Sulus command style?At one point a senior staff member seems startled when one of her colleagues calls her by her given name....a touch much I thought.
     
  17. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

    Not really, usually in real life actual captains or senior managers in non-nautical settings aren't that friendly with their staff. I'm not saying their all jerks, though I'm not denying too many are. But usually, "you're their boss, not their friend" is how many in leadership positions are.

    Star Trek usually shows us captains who are more relaxed and personable with their crews. To the point that someone like Captain Jellico, who is probably the most realistic captain we've seen on screen is practically vilified for no reason other than he's too stern.

    So, no, I had no problem with Demora Sulu's command style.
     
  18. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

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    Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

    Her command style is much more like an early Picard, formal and reserved. Didn't have a problem with it, just not exactly who I'd want to serve under if given the choice.
     
  19. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

    Is Ensign Syndergaard a nod to the Las Vegas 51's player?
     
  20. Dimesdan

    Dimesdan Living the Irish dream. Admiral

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    Re: LE: One Constant Star by David R. George III Review Thread (Spoile

    So I finished this a last week, can't say I was overly impressed, was an ok read, but not DRGIIIs best, but certainly better than his Fall novel.