Read & Reread "Greater Than The Sum"- My Opinion (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Dayton3, Aug 20, 2008.

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  1. Janeway4Prez

    Janeway4Prez Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I didn't think "Greater Than the Sum" was as bad as people have made it out to be. I think the problem is less with how Mr. Bennett wrote the book but what he was given and forced to work with. After Star Trek: Voyager, various books, a feature film and even an appearance in Enterprise, the Borg are pretty much a tired and overused plot element in Trek. With that, at least Bennett found a way to add in a sense of exploration and scientific wonder to the plot with the Noh aliens. And the person who complained about this being yet another 'living space' plot ... isn't that what Trek is about and has featured? There were various Original Series episodes that featured 'living space' creatures, as well as the first episode of TNG and various other Trek episodes. It felt as if Bennett at least tried to bring in something that felt very 'Star Trek' like rather than this continuing 'the universe is falling apart and at war with itself' plot the books, movies and shows have focused on in the past few years.

    My only complaints were how much time was devoted to referencing past episodes and books. And the character of T'Ryssa who felt out of place, annoying and had about as much appeal as someone such as, say, Miley Cyrus. She grated on my nerves and I was sad to see some of these characters that were introduced in the previous books suddenly get swept under a rug. Also, the epilogue that pretty much makes the efforts/main action of the book null and void left me feeling a bit let down. I know it's been explained why the whole Crusher/Picard relationship 'moment' that kicks off the book was glossed over but these are pretty big characters - I'd rather seen their moment than to have had so many pages devoted to describing events that had already occurred or scenes showing how annoying and challenged T'Ryssa could be.
     
  2. Omega Particle

    Omega Particle Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    QFT. If every person who receives a pay-check for putting words to paper (that then get printed or translated by acctors onto screen) says that Starfleet is not a military organisation, but an organisation dedicated to science and exploration which has elements of military structure, then that's what it is.

    They've called it a rock. They've described it as a rock. They've thrown it across the room to see if it acts like a rock. It's a rock. We've seen the conflict within Starfleet over their mission tested and prodded with a stick, and so I find it a believable organisation. You can't just deny how the writers have created Starfleet, otherwise your personal version of the 'Star Trek' universe includes very few of the episodes (probably limited to the Dominion War, minus all the exploration episodes and the parts where they lament how military Starfleet has become) and books.

    I don't understand why it's so out of the question, when we gladly accept warp drives, Cardassians and time travel, that in three hundred years the organisational structures of our society would have evolved to be able to accommodate an organisation whose primary goal was not a military one, but who could serve a military purposes. Who cares whether it has precedent in history? We're exploring the future!!

    I'm sorry that Starfleet doesn't suit what you want from 'Star Trek'. Reviewing your threads and posts, it's fairly obvious what you primarily want from your 'Star Trek' stories (your personal storyline for 'Destiny' as a prime example), and it's unfortunate that you can't find fulfilment from that out of what 'Star Trek' actually is. Might I suggest finding a different TV show that better suits your wants? Battlestar Galactica, perhaps?
     
  3. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No, no they don't. But carrier captains also aren't the protagonists of fiction that audiences want to see having adventures.

    Yes, it's more realistic for a nameless person that the Captain sees once or twice a year aboard a large ship to be the one that's sent into danger. Star Trek just isn't set up that way. If it were "Lower Decks," 24/7, then yes, what you want, the nameless ensign sent into harm's way, would be the right way to do things. But because our heroes are at the top of the command pyramid, they're the characters audiences want to see doing things.

    It is "wrong," according to the way militaries work? Yes. Is it wrong according to the way fiction works? No.
     
  4. vulcanpastor

    vulcanpastor Ensign Newbie

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    You have the right to criticize the novel, but frankly, your whole critque is very immature and downright mean. You could have said all this in a more "professional" tone than this.

    I haven't read the book yet, but if T'Ryssa were a man having lots of sexual relationships, would anyone care? Just wondering.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2008
  5. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm reminded of how The West Wing was originally going to be set up, with the President only appearing a couple of times per season. Obviously, they didn't go down that route, and it's probably a better show for it, but it would've been interesting to see a structure like that--where we don't focus on the tip of the pyramid.
     
  6. Dimesdan

    Dimesdan Living the Irish dream. Premium Member

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    Isn't it great living in a democary with freedom of speech, everyone has the right to say what they want, but if you say something out of line, then I'll kick ten shades of shit out of you :rommie: (By the way, that was meant as a joke)

    As for the second point, thats an exceptionally good point, I've never been able to explain that rational behind: woman likes and has a fair few sexual partners = slut/whore; man likes and a fair few sexual partners = the man!!!! It was a debate me and the ex had on more than one occasion, both being quite knowledgable about the media, she a feminist, me, well, a geek but who also reads magazines like FHM and it was always an interesting argument.:vulcan:
     
  7. Baerbel Haddrell

    Baerbel Haddrell Commodore Commodore

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    I completely agree although I agree that in spite of being a professional, she is immature. For a human, being 26 is young but for a human/Vulcan, 26 is even younger. Vulcans don`t mature quickly and I immediately saw Trys as a valuable officer but with the maturity of an immature teenager.

    I agree that with the right guidance, patience and work on her part Trys will become an excellent officer. I like her a lot as I already said in the review I posted here and I really hope she will stay around.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I know, but it was kind of unavoidable given my charter to resolve lingering issues from what had come before (which I interpreted to mean addressing the apparent inconsistencies and clarifying how it all fit together) in order to clear the board, as it were, for Destiny. Of all my books, this is the one that's the least standalone -- even compared to Mere Anarchy Book 4, I'd say. Still, in retrospect, maybe I could've found a way to trim the recaps more.


    I have only the vaguest idea who that is, and I think I prefer it that way.


    So was I, to an extent. I would've really liked to have a whole book in which to rehabilitate T'Lana, but her departure had already been established in the previous book. Ya plays the cards yer dealt.


    Heck, she's about as mature as I was at her age. But more emotionally disciplined... :o
     
  9. Dayton3

    Dayton3 Admiral

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    I get annoyed with this argument:


    You say "in the military today things like that would never be tolerated".

    Someone replies that "in the 24th century things might be done differently" or something to that effect.

    Yet, when people complain about the character of T'Ryssa we get the following

    "twenty six year olds today do things like that, why would they be different in the 24th century".

    You can't have it both ways.

    Either justify the way things are written by the fact that things change or that they don't change.

    You can't do both
     
  10. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Because you're confusing two different arguments, Dayton3.

    There's absolutely no reason why a 24th-century military organization would act and behave like a 20th-century military organization. Because, frankly, 20th-century military organizations don't act like 16th-century military organizations. Today's United States Army has the same general purpose as, say Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army, but the standards and behaviors of the two are completely different.

    So, yes, expecting the standards of the 20th-century American military to have relevence to the 24th-century Starfleet is a fool's game at best.

    As for the second, that 26 year-olds now are going to be like 26 year-olds in the future... if anything, I'd say they'd probably be worse in the future, simply due to greater leisure time and a higher standard of living. ;)

    Starfleet is clearly an organization that tolerates, even encourages, a certain level of individualism. (Worf's baldric, for one obvious thing. The class clowns of Corps of Engineers for another. And let's not forget Barclay.) T'Ryssa happens to serve in an organization that lets her be herself. And let's not ignore that Picard has grave reservations about even bringing her aboard, because of her laxity.

    You see a contradiction. I see a situation that's entirely consistent with what we've seen of Starfleet in the past, and what we know of human behavior. You're confusing the evolution of organizations with the evolution of human nature, and that's why your argument is incoherent and incorrect.
     
  11. Dayton3

    Dayton3 Admiral

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    I do not agree.

    While logically, you might be correct, I think from a practical standpoint this argument is used to prop up bad writing.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Up to a point. Remember, Trys has not advanced very far in the ranks because of her discipline problems. She's probably got a long list of reprimands in her file.

    The fact is, to be blunt, the T'Ryssa we met at the start of the novel was a poor officer. But the attack on Rhea and her survivor's guilt forced her to take a good look at herself and begin making an earnest effort to improve. Picard chose to try her out because he sensed that desire to better herself and was willing to try to encourage it.

    And she couldn't have had a better mentor (or father figure) to bring her in line. Picard is stern and disciplined enough to teach her restraint, but he's also a man with experience in academia, making him patient with problem students and inclined to respect his crew's diverse opinions and approaches rather than imposing a rigid hierarchy. That's the kind of environment where someone like Trys can thrive: one that gives her focus without clamping down too hard on her individuality.
     
  13. Dayton Ward

    Dayton Ward Word Pusher Rear Admiral

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    A "practical standpoint?"
     
  14. ronny

    ronny Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    If you go to Dayton3's profile you'll see:

    My favorite sentence in TrekBBS.
     
  15. EmperorKalan

    EmperorKalan Commander Red Shirt

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    I made the comparison with Barclay too. In Reg's first appearance his eccentricities did push the "over the top" bar, but that was part of establishing the character. And while I initially disliked the character, it's his faults that made him grow on me.

    Pretty much the same with Trys.
     
  16. tenmei

    tenmei Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think more of a fact could have been made of this, then - she barely gets onto the Enterprise but I don't think that was as tenuous as it could have been, not did she appear to be in any danger of being thrown off the ship once she was on and I think that could have been a running thread.
     
  17. Dayton3

    Dayton3 Admiral

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    I also thought the "explanation" for her immaturity was pretty thin.

    Basically it was "one of my parents left me and the other one moved around a lot".

    That sounds like a 21st century teenager whining that their parents ruined their life.

    Not a 24th century professional officer.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Thrown off where? The ship was far beyond the outermost starbase or Federation outpost. One way or the other, she was committed to being there for the whole mission.

    And Trys made the decision to start being a better officer as soon as she was sent back from the Rhea attack. From the moment she met Picard, she was doing her best to fit in; the only officer she had any serious clashes with was Kadohata, and as I said, that was specifically due to her issues with her mother rather than any sort of generalized insubordination or ineptitude. So it wouldn't have made sense for there to be a "running thread" about her almost getting thrown off the ship (figuratively or otherwise). I say she was a poor officer at the start, but that's because she wasn't really trying her best. She was trying her best on the Enterprise.
     
  19. Dayton Ward

    Dayton Ward Word Pusher Rear Admiral

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    ^ So, you're saying the character grew and changed as the story progressed?


    Damn. That's innovative. No wonder it's lost on some readers. :evil:
     
  20. tenmei

    tenmei Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think you could have had her really screw up during the Mabrae section of the mission and have Picard threatening to kick her off the ship, only for her to then make the solution that she eventually comes up with which convinces him otherwise but then, in the aftermath, I'd have shown more clearly that she's making a concerted effort to fit in with the crew, biting her tongue more often.

    I've expressed thoughts on T'Rys elsewhere about how, at various points, it seems like other characters have been dumbed down in order to make her seem like such a wunderkind. And I've read elsewhere at how some people have said the characters very much a Mary Sue (the same allegations people have said about Grimm Vargo in Before Dishonor) - and, at times, this does seem like it could be borderline true.

    It's just a shame I'm so disappointed in T'Rys as a character, the other new people who flesh out the crew all seem pretty interesting and cool and I've not got any objections to them (Elfiki, Choudhry or Hegol).

    I'd also like, as I have said elsewhere as well, Faur to get some screentime!
     
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