S.C.E.: The Belly of the Beast by D.W. Smith Review Thread (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Defcon, Feb 23, 2014.

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Rate The Belly of the Beast

  1. Outstanding

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  2. Above Average

    13 vote(s)
    65.0%
  3. Average

    4 vote(s)
    20.0%
  4. Below Average

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    10.0%
  5. Poor

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    5.0%
  1. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    S.C.E.: The Belly of the Beast by Dean Wesley Smith

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    Blurb:
    When ancient alien technology is found on a colony world, when robot soldiers from an eons-old interstellar battle restart their war in a highly populated sector, when a global computer system starts to break down or take over, in goes the Starfleet Corps of Engineers. Overseen by Captain Montgomery Scott from his office at Starfleet Headquarters, the S.C.E. can build, rebuild, program, reprogram, assemble, reassemble, or just figure out everything from alien replicators to to doomsday machines. Just don't expect them to perform miracles -- unless they have to.
    The U.S.S. Enterpriseรจ has defeated a gigantic marauding starship from parts unknown. Now that the immediate threat has been neutralized, the S.C.E. has been called in to probe the vanquished hulk in search of both new technology and the secret of its origin. Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge has temporarily transferred from the Enterprise to assist Captain David Gold and the crew of the S.C.E. ship, the U.S.S. da Vinci, on this fascinating mission. La Forge works with Gold and his top-of-the-line group of technical specialists to unravel the high-tech mysteries of the supposedly dead alien vessel, only to discover that the real danger has just begun!

    _________________

    I don't have an old review for that one that I could repost here, and it has been too long since I read the book to give any indepth analysis, but I remember that I liked the story and especially most of the crew of the da Vinci.

    For a relatively recent view on this novella I'll point you to this 2013 review of it by Kertrats47 on his Treklit Reviews blog.
     
  2. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: S.C.E.: The Belly of the Beast by D.W. Smith Review Thread (Spoile

    The only explanation for the covers of the first three S.C.E. books is that the illustrator hated art and beauty.

    I remember this one as being really plot-heavy, whereas the best part of S.C.E. was the characters and their interaction. The series did not really click for me until Golden's excellent Hard Crash.
     
  3. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: S.C.E.: The Belly of the Beast by D.W. Smith Review Thread (Spoile

    I remember reading this story a long time ago it was okay not one of my favorite stories from the SCE books I've read.I remember borrowing the collected stories from the library when I read it.
     
  4. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: S.C.E.: The Belly of the Beast by D.W. Smith Review Thread (Spoile

    Some time for me as well. The story worked for me and I took an instant liking to the characters. It's always an exciting experience to read the pilot of a new ST series and a new crew.

    Only, I never figured out why the da Vinci has such a high registry number?
     
  5. zarkon

    zarkon Captain Captain

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    Re: S.C.E.: The Belly of the Beast by D.W. Smith Review Thread (Spoile

    Just reread it over dinner. It is a bit rough - information about the Da Vinci crewmembers is very bluntly core dumped without any thought to letting it happen naturally. This is kind of understandable given the size of the story, but I think it still could have been handled a bit better - I didn't really feel much for them here, even for the bynars at the end.

    However, the guts of the story are good and well timed, the danger and tension are well executed, the description of the alien ship is nice, and surprisingly, Vale of all people gets a bit of time in the middle of this all, and I like her here quite a lot more then most of the e-e/titan books she'd later be in.
     
  6. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: S.C.E.: The Belly of the Beast by D.W. Smith Review Thread (Spoile

    This was Vale's original appearance, yeah? Nice that, despite originating in an eBook spin-off series, she was carried over into later Enterprise-E novels rather than becoming Yet Another One-Off Security Chief.
     
  7. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Re: S.C.E.: The Belly of the Beast by D.W. Smith Review Thread (Spoile

    I don't have clear memories of the novella, but I do remember that I enjoyed the plot and loved the characters.
     
  8. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: S.C.E.: The Belly of the Beast by D.W. Smith Review Thread (Spoile

    For an introduction to a new series with a different concept it was an enjoyable little adventure. It had a good plot, interesting characters and gave us the first glimpse of the little Sabre-Class (one of my favourite classes).
     
  9. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Captain Premium Member

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    Re: S.C.E.: The Belly of the Beast by D.W. Smith Review Thread (Spoile

    So long ago that I barely remember anything beyond liking it. Someday I'll have time to read everything on my list. Maybe I should dedicate 2015 & 2016 to exclusively read Treklit. It's the 50th after all.
     
  10. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: S.C.E.: The Belly of the Beast by D.W. Smith Review Thread (Spoile

    I found this one to be pretty trite and predictable, actually, but then I never ended up liking SCE much. David Mack's Wildfire was the only one I liked, and I read all of them up to Wildfire and then a few more after that. (An author had mentioned something about Wildfire causing everyone afterwards to up their game, so I thought I'd stick it out and see if that was true, and I didn't find that it was.)
     
  11. Kertrats47

    Kertrats47 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: S.C.E.: The Belly of the Beast by D.W. Smith Review Thread (Spoile

    Hey, thanks for the link!

    I enjoyed this story, and it was a pretty good introduction to the da Vinci crew. The concept of the series was a fascinating one, and it worked really well in the e-book novella format. Just enough to pique my interest to keep reading the series!
     
  12. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: S.C.E.: The Belly of the Beast by D.W. Smith Review Thread (Spoile

    I agree with you there, post-Wildfire the dynamic of the crew shifts and it just never felt right (to me anyways). Wildfire itself was great, as were the stories of the crews recovery from the incident, but once they get back to work it just wasn't as good as it had been building up to be.
     
  13. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    Re: S.C.E.: The Belly of the Beast by D.W. Smith Review Thread (Spoile

    We had less than a month to put those three eBooks together. The covers look like slapped-together photoshop because the covers were, in fact, slapped-together photoshop. The covers got much better with Interphase Book 1 when we were able to hire Mike Collins to do them. But for those first three, we just didn't have the time to do anything fancy.


    We based the registry number on the one assigned to the Yeager, the Saber-class ship seen in First Contact, which was either 81947 or 61947, depending on which source you consult. We consulted the one that gave it as 81947 and used the same first two numbers. "623" was for the date that John Ordover and I conceived the series, which was June 23, 2000.
     
  14. ronny

    ronny Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: S.C.E.: The Belly of the Beast by D.W. Smith Review Thread (Spoile

    I never noticed the covers until years later because I read SCE when they came out in books and at the start it was years after they came out that way. The series got off to a really rocky start for me. It got better and the series as a whole was very different than I was expecting but it wasn't a favorite of mine. Yeah, there were some gems and the 2nd half was better than the first but on the whole it's too uneven.
     
  15. zarkon

    zarkon Captain Captain

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    Re: S.C.E.: The Belly of the Beast by D.W. Smith Review Thread (Spoile

    I enjoyed the series a lot more once Tev came on board. Added a nice bit of extra conflict into the team, and gave me more then a few laughs.

    Yeah, I think she's one of a very small number of post-worf security chiefs who've been able to get out before they died.
     
  16. UUS Contrarian

    UUS Contrarian Lieutenant

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    Re: S.C.E.: The Belly of the Beast by D.W. Smith Review Thread (Spoile

    I only read this SEC book. I will have to reads some more.
     
  17. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: S.C.E.: The Belly of the Beast by D.W. Smith Review Thread (Spoile

    The other S.C.E. stories are really good. I recently read Out of The Cocoon story anthology it's definitely worth reading the other stories in this series.
     
  18. Cap'n Crunch

    Cap'n Crunch Captain Captain

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    Re: S.C.E.: The Belly of the Beast by D.W. Smith Review Thread (Spoile

    I just reread this a few days ago and enjoyed it. I did notice a little error; when Gomez and LaForge are exploring some quarters near the beginning of the story, Geordi comments on the smell in the bathroom, but they were both wearing environmental suits and I think that area of the ship was also exposed to vacuum, so he couldn't have smelled anything.

    I give it an "Above Average" rating.
     
  19. Marika

    Marika Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: S.C.E.: The Belly of the Beast by D.W. Smith Review Thread (Spoile

    Wait ..is this the first story of the USS DA VINCI ? I need to read more trek and da vinci picked up my interest for some reason :0
     
  20. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Re: S.C.E.: The Belly of the Beast by D.W. Smith Review Thread (Spoile

    Yeah. It's the first SCE/CoE novella.