Seven Deadly Sins Discuss/ Grade

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by JD, Mar 18, 2010.

  1. DS9forever

    DS9forever Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Other than StarTrek.com, where does Ezri's 2354 birthdate come from? I thought they might have backdated it from when she was at the Academy, although, as far as I remember, we never heard now many years it had been since she graduated on the series.
     
  2. DS9forever

    DS9forever Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I noticed the discontinuity in "Work is Hard" as well. I thought it was a simple mistake in giving the year it was set in (2369 would have been right) although I noticed the events of "Phantasms" were mentioned.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, it's 21 years before she joined the DS9 crew, I guess reflecting the original intent that the character was fresh out of the Academy at the time. I'm unaware of any other source. However, Nicole de Boer was 27 when she debuted as Ezri.
     
  4. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Oops! My bad.
     
  5. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I just finished The First Peer last night, and I loved it. My Rating:9/10
     
  6. Sxottlan

    Sxottlan Commodore Commodore

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    This whole book was a pretty pleasant surprise.
     
  7. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    One question.
    In "Reservoir Ferengi" there is a reference to the Borg Invasion. (Presumably a Destiny reference.) Yet Risa still exists. I thought Risa was destroyed in that invasion? :confused:

    Also, I'm confused, exactly why was Bijon killed? :confused:
     
  8. William Leisner

    William Leisner Scribbler Rear Admiral

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    Reservoir Ferengi takes place in the year following Satisfaction is Not Guaranteed, which is 2377. I don't recall the reference you mention, but it must have been to an earlier occurrence.

    He was obstructing David's view of Venus.
     
  9. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    reading this. 2 stories in and loved both. few pages into 'The Slow Knife'...

    now looking forward to IFM even more. nice one Mac!
     
  10. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    1)
    The Borg invasion is actually a reference to First Contact - the story is set five years or so before Destiny

    2) Bijon. In-story reason, because (thanks to Brunt) he appeared to know something that classified from him. Real-world reason, cos I used to work with someone just like him and wanted to do that...
     
  11. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    Thanks! And of course there's a Ferengi element to IFM, in the person of Nog...
     
  12. CaseyF

    CaseyF Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I'm currently about 1/3 of the way through "The Unhappy Ones," and am greatly enjoying it so far. Not having read the more recent Klingon-centric novels, this is the first time I've really seen ridged/non-ridged bigotry and interactions explored in TrekLit.

    I also really enjoyed the first three stories in the book. I usually can't stand DS9's Ferengi episodes, so I wasn't that eager to read "Reservoir Ferengi," but I liked it quite a lot.

    I have a question about the timeframe of "The Unhappy Ones." The historian's note reads, "This story takes place in 2269, prior to the destruction of the Klingon battle-cruiser at Beta XII-A ("Day of the Dove" TOS)." I'm assuming that it would have to be before Day of the Dove because Kang's vessel is a complete loss (I think) in that episode. Although he could be in a new ship by the time of this story. But Memories Alpha and Beta both have Day of the Dove in 2268. Also, I thought I noticed a reference KRAD made to the animated Tribble episode, which is generally accepted to have happened after the live action episodes.

    I guess I was just wondering if there was any kind of typo in the historian's note. Not a huge deal, just something that bothers the OCD timeliner in me.

    (I apologize if this has been discussed already and I missed it. I reviewed the thread before posting and didn't see anything about it.)
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2010
  13. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    i was confused by Korax appearing in The Unhappy Ones. i thought he was supposed to be running that Klingon prison-world from In the Name of Honour not long after TTWT
     
  14. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, I've finished it, and I can say that it's one of the rare anthologies where I really enjoyed all the stories. I can't say that any of them totally blew my mind, but they were all very good, in different ways.

    The only flaw of the anthology is... well, the concept itself, and the fact that every writer obviously felt compelled to shoehorn a line or two that would emphasize the story's connection to the sin it is supposed to represent - even when it's a very loose and far-fetched connection (Ravenant, a great story, which however has nothing to do with Gluttony, despite the insertion of the word hunger several times in the story; including the reference to Walsh's "hunger" for profit, which is really greed). Other times it can give too much of a morality tale vibe, as in Romulan and Cardassian stories, which feature "Pride/Envy was your downfall" speeches by Grodak and Garak respectively. But I wasn't very bothered by this, since I expected worse when the anthology was first announced. I was very doubtful of the very concept, which seemed to promise preachiness combined with using aliens as embodiments of human flaws. Fortunately, the actual stories in the book are much better than the concept.

    I will also mention that the cover is one of the better ones in the recent years, though I wonder if it was necessary to use the image of Ocett on the cover to represent a different female Cardassian. Same goes for Decius.

    I'll reviews the stories in the order they appear in the book, though I didn't read them in this order (I actually started with the Cardassian one, followed by Klingon, MU and Romulan, left the Pakled and Ferengi stories for after I've re-watched "The Samaritan Snare" and "Business As Usual", and ended with the Borg story, because of the glowing reviews it got from most people, so I wanted to finish on the high).

    Pride: Romulans - "The First Peer"

    This story had one of the best endings out of the stories in the book. It wasn't exactly unpredictable - I figured that things would not end well for Toqel and the Romulans, considering the theme - but I wasn't expecting the spy reveal. Other good points include filling some gaps in the Trek history, having a good motivation for the main character, and - something I particularly liked - when it called Toqel on her arrogance and underestimation of the Klingons, I felt it was a good point directed not just at the Romulans, but at the way that Klingons have often been depicted on screen and seen by fans as well as characters in-universe as brainless savages, even though it should be obvious that people who managed to build such a powerful Empire must be a lot smarter and trickier.

    However, this might be my least favorite story in the book because of its pacing. It started really slow, and didn't grip me until the last couple of chapters. The first chapter is all about some people we don't see in the rest of the story, the main character doesn't appear until the second chapter, and chapter 5 is about some Starfleet admiral who doesn't really matter in the story. I guess that these are probably references to some earlier books and stories, which I haven't read - but though I might appreciate them better if I did read them, I find this to be a failing in the story. The main concern should be how it works as a self-contained work, and cute references should not hamper that and ruin the pacing.

    Greed: Ferengi - "Reservoir Ferengi"

    The title itself made me warm up to the story, since it's a reference to one of my all-time favorite movies. :) I liked the titles of the chapters and the flashback technique, though it turned out to be more linear than I first expected, with just one long flashback to the events of the previous year. I wasn't expecting to see Brunt in any kind of (partly) sympathetic role, and it was interesting to see things from his point of view. The story had good pacing and explored the issue of greed in a darker and more serious way than it has mostly been done on the shows, further developing the theme of selling weapons and war profiteering that was started in "Business As Usual", by showing the mentality of war profiteers from the inside. At the same time, it didn't felt preachy, and it was great that it showed a condemnation of Gaila's actions from Brunt's very Ferengi perspective, rather than a more Human one. It is interesting that Quark and Brunt both had a problem with the same crimes, but for different reasons. I also enjoyed seeing everything else from Brunt's perspective, which are more typically Ferengi than Quark's - for instance, his appreciation of Ferengi female beauty and disgust at alien, including Human looks. (Quark and Rom can't be typical in their appreciation of clothed female beauty of many tall alien species.)

    On the flip side, it some comedy touches were too cute - Space Switzerland was a bit too much. Trek always uses inspiration from the real world, but to make it that literal was a bit too silly.

    Envy: Cardassians - "The Slow Knife"

    This one might be my favorite in the book - in any case, it's the story that gripped me from the start and didn't let go and that I read the fastest. The main reason is probably that the main character's situation is very relatable, even though we understand that she is wrong, consumed by ambition and envy, selfish and myopic, but the depiction of the patriarchal and nepotistic Cardassian military environment and her position in it as a capable person hampered by her gender and lack of connections makes it hard not to identify with her resentment, if we've ever lived in a culture and job market where "who you know" is more important than "what you know".

    I liked the way the story filled the gap about the Setlik III massacre, as well as Garak's role in it. Garak was always one of my favorite DS9 characters, but I felt that he was somewhat sanitized in the later seasons, when he lost some of his moral ambiguity - and it has to be said that Andrew Robinson's excellent novel A Stitch In Time, one of mt favorite Trek books, contributed to it, since people tend to take everything in it as a literal truth about Garak, even though it should not be the case since the novel was written 100% from the POV of a notorious and self-confessed liar, his Starfleet Human friend. I'm sure that there are lots of things in his past as an Obsidian Order agent that Garak would withhold from Bashir, and being involved with setting up the Setlik massacre is exactly such a thing.

    Wrath: Klingons - "The Unhappy Ones"
    I haven't read any of the Klingon-related fiction related to the conflict between the smooth-heads and the ridge-heads, so this was a new theme to me. (I can't bother to remember the Klingon words. BTW, did I ever mention that I hate it when Klingon episodes and stories feature a lot of Klingon words that actually can be perfectly translated to English? It's not just because I have to come home and look for the meanings on the net, but because stories about other alien culture rarely feature 'alien' words, and when they do it's just the specific untranslatable words like the name of specific meals and drinks.) It was one of the more compelling stories that I read very fast - whether it was the pacing and structure, with mini-stories about each of its many characters, making an entire mini-society the protagonist rather than one character, or the fact that racism and injustice tend to get the reader emotionally involved. Contrary to what some posters have said, there is a lot of anger in the story from pretty much everyone, whether it is something that the reader immediately condemns, like racism, or something that we can relate to, like anger at the injustice and incompetence. I agree with the point made earlier than the ending is a little too neat - but I'd be lying if I said I weren't hoping for such a resolution, and Sorkav really had it coming not just for his racism but for his gross incompetence, so it was a logical ending. It's just Kor's speech at the end that makes the ending seem too neat and happy: it's not like Sorkav's downfall and the resolution of his particular case will solve the problem of racism in the Empire.

    Lust: Mirror Universe - "Freedom Angst"
    This turned out to be much better than I expected, especially after all the thrashing of this story by a few previous posters. I liked it much better than the huge majority of post-Terran Empire MU fiction (which includes most of DS9's MU episodes). When I saw the words "Mirror Universe" and "Lust" in the same sentence, it really didn't bode well, especially knowing it was supposed to be the DS9-related MU. I've made it clear a lot of times that I'm no fan of what DS9 has done with the MU, especially in its later MU episodes. The only things that made me hopeful were the fact that it's set before the rebellion (when the entire story became 'rebels vs Evil Empire' i.e. Human heroes vs evil Klingons and Cardassians' - not a very interesting concept for an alternate universe), and especially, that the writer, Britta Dennison, co-wrote books 2 and 3 of the Terok Nor trilogy, which I greatly enjoyed. Fortunately, it turned out that my fears were unfounded - this MU story is, for a change, a realistic story about people living in an oppressive society and trying to make the best out of their situation as second class people with few rights and almost no freedom, which includes compromising their morals, committing crimes and collaborating with their oppressors. (It reminded me in that respect of the above mentioned Night of the Wolves and Dawn of the Eagles, which might be why I liked it.) Instead of using sex as a titillation or showing promiscuity as a sign of decadence and loose morals, it actually realistically depicts the relationship between sex and power/social structures - whether it is a person in a position of power whose sexually predatory behavior is a way of implementing and enjoying their own power over people (The Intendant), or a person of low social standing using a marriage to advance one's position (Sisko and Jennifer), or sex as, fundamentally, an expression of the desire for freedom (Sisko's affair with Kasidy), or dangers and exposure to blackmail that someone's knowledge of one's sexual affairs can bring (Sisko and Janel/the Intendant), or the problems and uncomfortable situations brought on by unwelcome sexual interest from a friend (Sisko and Janel, again). The other big theme of the story is freedom, as indicated by the title - one of Sisko's main drives is to gain some degree of freedom for himself through a better social status, but this is repeatedly leading him into positions of being dependent on someone - first Jennifer and her father, then the Intendant - and even less free. One might even see Sisko's sexual dalliances as following a pattern: perhaps Jennifer's love felt as suffocating as the Intendant's bare lust, not through Jennifer's fault but because he didn't feel as he depended on her; while his interest in Kasidy (and flirting with Ezri) was at least partly wanting to be free and get involved with someone on his own free will. Sisko's unanswered question to himself why he was not satisfied with having a beautiful wife who loved him, good job, etc. has an obvious answer that the title hints at: he wasn't free, but he will only understand much later (as seen at the end of "Crossover") that he could and must actually fight for real freedom.

    Positive points also for including homosexuality in the way that doesn't insult the intelligence and has no implications of homosexuality as an expression of decadence and loose morality, since it's, for once, a character that could, for all we know, be gay or bisexual in the prime universe as well. (And for once, it is a male character.) It makes sense that the Trill culture doesn't have problems with same-sex relationships or put much weight on gender, since the most respected people in their society live multiple lives as both males and females.

    The only flaw is that the ending was not as effective as the ending of some other stories, since Ezri's appearance at the end felt rather random and unnecessary.

    Gluttony: The Borg - "Revenant"

    Possibly the strongest story in the book. The only problem is that, well, it has nothing to do with Gluttony. But then again, it would be difficult to write a good Trek story with that theme. And this is a great story - a very effective and gripping horror thriller that could just as well be enjoyed by someone who didn't know anything about Trek. The story brings back all the dread (and then some) to the Borg that they had lost in the late seasons of TNG and on VOY, while presenting a unique perspective and the Borg different from the regular Borg we knew. Good use of Locarno. The plot itself and the ending pose a lot of questions and I would love to read some sort of continuation of the story. More about it in this thread.

    Sloth: the Pakled - "Work Is Hard"


    Good lighthearted story. It is smart. Like a good late TNG episode. Not like a bad early TNG episode. It makes the idea from the episode go, removes stupid parts, explains it the smart way. The Pakled are not stupid, the Pakled are not all the same. Geordie learns better, Enterprise people had prejudice, Geordie make friends with the Pakled. But the Pakled show the sin of being lazy, the story has a point.


    That is a very odd thing to say, since Sisko's affair with Kasidy and Janel's unfortunate pass at Sisko play such a big role in the proceedings and (together with Kira's interest in Sisko) set the whole thing in the motion. "Lust" in the most obvious sense means sexual desire, and surely Sisko was motivated by sexual desire (for Kasidy), among other things; and in fact, the only people in the story who were not shown to be motivated by sexual lust were Stan Devitt and Bokar. Though if you use "lust" in the sense of lusting for power, comfort, etc., they obviously were motivated by that kind of lust, as was partly Sisko (though I'd say he was actually yearning for as much power - like his own ship - that would give him a degree of freedom).

    I disagree about the Ferengi story as well, it was not written as a farce, despite humorous touches like the Space Switzerland, and it actually dealt with greed in a darker and more serious way than most Ferengi stories. I also think it had a very good narrative flair. In fact, the only story that I found somewhat unsatisfactory in narrative flow and pacing was the Romulan one (see above).

    I don't really understand your argument about the Cardassian story being very similar to the previous Cardassian fiction when it comes to the analysis of the Cardassian culture. How is that any different from the Romulan story? I didn't learn anything new about their culture from it that I didn't already know about the Romulans from the canon sources. If you're going to be strict about it, none of the stories really contain any particular revelations about the cultures in question - and they can't, because those cultures have already been developed and explored a lot; the only exception is the Pakled story, but that's because Pakleds hadn't been explored at all.
     
  15. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    It is funny review. Author is happy. He is glad the story made you laugh. Ha-ha!

    I take a nap now . . .
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2010
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Hmm, well, gluttony doesn't really mean hunger, it means over-consumption to a wasteful degree. So it's not just about wanting to consume, it's about consuming too much, particularly if it's at the expense of others (e.g. eating so much of a limited food supply that others are left to starve).

    So one could say that "Revenant" is about gluttony, because the Borg's "consumption" of other species is very wasteful and very much at the expense of others. And the mission to obtain Borg technology comes at the expense of the people sent to that ship, I guess. Okay, that's more of a reach, but I can still see how gluttony would apply in general to the Borg. If you devour everything in your path and leave nothing behind, that's gluttony in spades.


    It is pretty standard throughout canonical Trek to see Ferengi demonstrating attraction to other humanoid females, from DaiMon Tog trying to woo Lwaxana Troi in "Menage a Troi" to Lenor and Qol trying to buy Kamala in "The Perfect Mate" to Ulis's crew in "Acquisition" planning to abduct T'Pol and Hoshi as slaves.


    It's never really been addressed in this much detail before. The old novel Faces of Fire and Vonda McIntyre's ST III novelization both talk about conflicts between Klingon factions or racial groups, but don't explicitly identify them as smoothies and ridgies (though I've always assumed that was the intended implication). In the Name of Honor addressed it to some extent, and Excelsior: Forged in Fire touched on it, but I'd say this is the fullest development of the issue in Trek Lit, certainly the fullest one since the origin of the smooth-headed Klingons was canonically established.
     
  17. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    overall, i enjoyed this anthology. the only story i didn't really like was Freedom Angst. it seemed to go nowhere and no nothing. it also seem to be barely about anyone's lust.

    Revenant likewise didn't seem to be much about Gluttony, but i enjoyed it more because of the haunted house type story and the return of Locarno.

    the other stories however were all much better and i enjoyed all five, but particularly the Pride, Envy and Sloth ones.

    i give the antho 8/10
     
  18. Dancing Doctor

    Dancing Doctor Admiral Admiral

    I enjoyed Seven Deadly Sins. I had been waiting to buy it for some time, and once I finally had the money I rushed to Barnes and Noble. (In fact, the only books I didn't get were The Children of Kings and The Needs of the Many. The Economist and a venti caramel frappuccino were calling).

    Overall, I would rank the stories, in order of favorite to least favorite, as follows:

    The Slow Knife
    Reservoir Ferengi/The First Peer
    The Unhappy Ones
    Work is Hard
    Freedom Angst
    Revenant

    Honestly, apart from minor things in the stories, the first 5 are about the same in terms of my liking them. It was really only Freedom Angst and Revenant that I disliked very much. My problem with Freedom Angst is that I never really felt the lust part. It felt a bit forced, and the only character that really matched the lust was the Intendant, but even that fell flat. Plus, I really didn't connect with the characters. It was just too much of a contrived and...flat story.

    Revenant had some of the same problems. Maybe I'm burned out on the Borg, but I just couldn't take this story. I wasn't sure why Nick Locarno was introduced, but that didn't really effect my opinion of the story. I couldn't connect with the characters at all. The only ones I didn't outright dislike were whoever was on the Norfolk (I didn't even bother to remember characters names apart from Locarno's). I'm a little disappointed in the fact that I disliked it so much, because I've been in the mood to enjoy a good creepy thriller, and I rushed through this, skimming more than anything, just to say that I had "read" it.

    I think my other problem is that, in regards to the sin of gluttony, I didn't really feel it in this book. I completely agree with Christopher's point about gluttony being not just about eating a lot, but about wasteful and over-consumption of anything. But even that wasn't really evident, to me at least, in this story. It felt like "Well, since the Borg are seen or described as constantly assimilating and absorbing others, let's just give them the sin of gluttony and write a story that kinda might go with it". I also wasn't sure of the impact that the Norfolk reporting "The Borg have returned" or whatever had, as well as the ultimate destination of the Reston. That I might be interested in, but eh.

    In regards to The Unhappy Ones, I was never sure whose wrath it really referred to...
     
  19. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I really don't understand this criticism. Is it possible that so many people have a completely different understanding of the word 'lust' than I do? Oxford dictionary defines it as 1. strong sexual desire, 2. passionate desire for something. Besides the Intendant, there is Sisko having an extramarital affair with Kasidy, Janel making a pass at Sisko... heck, you may say that what love is not the same as lust so Jennifer wouldn't qualify but I'm not sure that the theologists in the Middle Ages would see the difference. And if you take it in the non-sexual sense, then other people like Stan Devitt and Bokar were lusting for more power and comfort, as did Sisko, really. What exactly is 'lust', according to you, and what did people expect to see in a story about lust? People having orgies? :shrug:

    Why would it have to refer to just one character's anger? Showing a bunch of people who are angry and hateful at each other is more interesting, I think. If every story had one person who embodies a 'sin' and gets punished in the end, it would be a bit too literal and very predictable, you would see the ending coming from the start, like in every morality tale.
     
  20. Dancing Doctor

    Dancing Doctor Admiral Admiral

    I figured it would have been either, to be honest.

    But I never felt the "passionate desire for something", even. Maybe it's just me.

    In fact, the story seemed quite...mechanical.
     

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