SFA: The Assassination Game by Alan Gratz Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Sho, Jun 17, 2012.

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Rate The Assassination Game.

  1. Outstanding

    5 vote(s)
    41.7%
  2. Above Average

    3 vote(s)
    25.0%
  3. Average

    3 vote(s)
    25.0%
  4. Below Average

    1 vote(s)
    8.3%
  5. Poor

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This month we're actually being treated to two full Star Trek novel releases: Next door to established Trek novelist DRGII's Raise the Dawn, June 26th marks the franchise debut of author Alan Gratz with a new entry in the Starfleet Academy series of young-adult fiction, titled The Assassination Game. Originally listed for release in September 2011 it was pushed back for unknown reasons, and like the preceding three Starfleet Academy books features a young Kirk & crew from the 2009 movie's alternate timeline.

    Here's Simon & Schuster's official blurb for the book:

    (Section 31 origin story? Hmm.)

    Sadly neither Simon & Schuster nor Memory Alpha nor Amazon have the book's cover at this time, and there's also no excerpt to be found on Simon & Schuster's page yet.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: SFA: The Assassination Game by Alan Gratz Review Thread (Spoilers!

    ^Not an origin story, since we know Section 31 existed in the Enterprise era.
     
  3. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: SFA: The Assassination Game by Alan Gratz Review Thread (Spoilers!

    ^ True true, I guess I meant it more in terms of "first appearance through this new lense onto the Trekverse", which I feel gives it a little leeway to produce a new take on it if it wanted to.
     
  4. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: SFA: The Assassination Game by Alan Gratz Review Thread (Spoilers!

    I wonder if this one will really be published this month. As you mentioned there's no cover or excerpt, and the author hasn't mentioned it on his blog since the original announcement, either.
     
  5. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: SFA: The Assassination Game by Alan Gratz Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Yeah, the dearth of info made me a little queasy, too ... but the S&S page does still offer that date.
     
  6. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: SFA: The Assassination Game by Alan Gratz Review Thread (Spoilers!

    How old is Bones suppose to be in the new Star Trek universe? He's trying to pick up a 'girl'? Is he not interested in women?
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: SFA: The Assassination Game by Alan Gratz Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Since he was born six years before the timeline split, he'd be the same age in both. The only character whose age has overtly changed is Chekov.
     
  8. BritishSeaPower

    BritishSeaPower Captain Captain

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    Re: SFA: The Assassination Game by Alan Gratz Review Thread (Spoilers!

    I'm really looking forward to this. I've read a few of Alan Gratz's books before which are pretty good. Samurai Shortstop is pretty cool.
     
  9. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: SFA: The Assassination Game by Alan Gratz Review Thread (Spoilers!

    San Francisco sure sounds like a dangerous place in this universe. Killer gangs, assassins and who knows what else. I get the feeling that Starfleet is seen as a way to get away from Earth as opposed to a way to see the universe.
     
  10. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Re: SFA: The Assassination Game by Alan Gratz Review Thread (Spoilers!

    I don't see how a group of terrorists attacking San Francisco makes it intrinsically more dangerous than it is in the Primeverse, given things like the Breen attack or the Whale Probe.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: SFA: The Assassination Game by Alan Gratz Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Well, of course works of adventure fiction are going to be about dangerous stuff happening, so of course an adventure fiction series that's set in San Francisco is going to have a lot of dangerous stuff happen in San Francisco. It's just part of the conceit of series fiction that whatever your setting is will be in more frequent danger than the rest of the world.
     
  12. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: SFA: The Assassination Game by Alan Gratz Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Actually, I'm hoping that the movies follow something like this. Make things different. The whole "The universe is trying to repair itself" means that it's trying to make itself back into the prime universe. It's new. Let's see something actually new. Make Earth no longer a utopia. Have the Andorians allies with the Klingons.

    They have the action figures. There's no need for the sandbox to be very similar to the original sandbox.

    Making Earth a place that people WANT to get away from would be a good start. We know that the black hole opened portals the the past in two different periods. Who's to say that there wasn't one further back? You don't necessarily need a ship to travel to the past for the phenomenon to have made a subtle change that has caused the new universe to be even more divergent that we've already seen.
     
  13. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Re: SFA: The Assassination Game by Alan Gratz Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Earth has never been a utopia in Star Trek -- but by the same token, there is also a point at which depicting Earth's social problems as being too pervasive, intractable, or serious violates the essential philosophical point of Star Trek, which is to show us a future that is much brighter than our present and more optimistic than other science fiction franchises.

    (I have far more problems with the idea of street gangs on Earth than I do with the idea of the occasional foreign terrorist attack, as street gangs strongly imply pervasive economic and social inequality generating crime and gang affiliations in an economic underclass.)

    No, that's a horrible start. Earth doesn't need to literally be "Paradise," but the heart and soul of Star Trek is that Earth is a world without discrimination, without crime, without war, without major disease, without racism, without sexism, without classism, without oppression. Violate that, and there's no point in calling it Star Trek anymore -- it just becomes another generic Star Wars knock-off.
     
  14. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: SFA: The Assassination Game by Alan Gratz Review Thread (Spoilers!

    "On Earth, there is no poverty, no crime, no war. You look out the window of Starfleet Headquarters and you see paradise. Well, it's easy to be a saint in paradise, but the Maquis do not live in paradise."
    Benjamin Sisko

    There is crime in the future. Mudd had forged papers and was selling illegal drugs. The Bele stole a shuttlecraft. Kirk stole the Enterprise. The Enterprise trespassed into space belonging to the First Federation, the Metron & Eminiar VII dispite being warned by voice or warning buoys. Ben Finney attempted multiple murder. Cyrano Jones sold dangerous animals.

    McCoy often used racially charged insults towards Spock. Change "green blooded" to black and see how far that would go.


    In the latest movie Kirk stole a car and destroyed it. He also got involved in a drunken brawl and was severely beaten. The parts of Earth we saw, aside from the Academy were dirty and worn, even the shots of San Francisco were grey.

    http://movies.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/xihd/trekxihd0959.jpg

    All in all, with the exception of Starfleet Earth already has been presented as an oppressive place. The first YA novel even had a street gang, called the worst of the bunch, try to rape a friend of Kirk's.

    Star Trek is about the struggle to become more than we are, not that the struggle is over.
     
  15. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Re: SFA: The Assassination Game by Alan Gratz Review Thread (Spoilers!

    "Severely beaten?" He got a bloody nose, that's all. Previous series set in the Primeverse have established that minor bar fights still break out; when Sisko says there's no crime on Earth, he's therefore obviously referring to major crime, not petty bullshit like the occasional bar brawl.

    The only shots we saw on Earth aside from the Academy were the roadways of Iowa leading into a quarry, the Riverside Shipyard, and the Riverside, Iowa, bar where Kirk got into his fight. Of those, none of them looked "dirty and worn." And, yeah, it was a cloudy day in San Francisco when the shuttles took off for the fleet that was headed to Vulcan. None of that seemed the least bit oppressive to me, unless you're under the impression that a world without oppression means nothing ever gets dirty or that there's never a cloudy day.

    You have an exceedingly liberal definition of "oppressive" if you think that it being a cloudy day in San Francisco means Earth is such a bad place. I saw a world where a troubled young man acts out in potentially violent, self-destructive ways, yet is not condemned to an abusive and unforgiving criminal justice system like what we have today, and is still given a chance to join Starfleet and become a starship captain. That right off the bat marks the world of ST09 as being less oppressive than the system we have today, which often treats young offenders like adults and inflicts severe psychological damage on them.

    Yes, and as I said above, I find that far more troubling than the occasional foreign terrorist attack -- or the occasional bar fight. Street gangs imply systemic economic inequality and oppression.

    Certainly. But there is also supposed to be this notion that even though we aren't perfect, our social systems are no longer oppressive, at least on Earth. Going against that goes against the heart of what makes Star Trek unique.
     
  16. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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  17. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: SFA: The Assassination Game by Alan Gratz Review Thread (Spoilers!

    You mean the bloody nose from when Cupcake had Kirk on his, no longer putting up a fight, and pounding him in the face until Pike showed up? That bloody nose administered by an enlightened human being such as Cupcake?

    It's interesting that Uhura apparently needed help in warding off the Iowa farmboy. You'd think the she'd have training and be able to take care of Kirk herself.

    The car stealing scene in Iowa with the dirt road, chain link fence and the faceless cop who could be a robot for all we know. Yeah, that really looks like a nice version of the future.

    The shipyard with the worn paint on the shuttle. Not clean like the future tech has been presented before but dirty, grimy and worn.

    And then San Francisco where it apparently is only sunny on the grounds of the Academy itself. Showing the city in shades of grey and the academy in color is a good way to show the optimism that Starfleet offers as opposed the the city where things are grey and colorless and consisting of tall building standing shoulder to shoulder. No grass, no trees, no light in the city. Compare that to the scenes at the Academy with light, blue skies, colorful uniforms and bright green grass and blue water.

    You mean like the cases today where people with criminal records have been enlisted in the armed forces in record numbers and with records that actually would have barred them form serving in the past?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1101745/Tattooed-Overweight-Criminal-record-Your-country-needs-.html

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/02/15/302344/-Double-Standard-in-the-US-Army

    Those sorts of people and that sort of military?

    Seeing as the YA novels are the only ones that have been approved by CBS and, more importantly, Bad Robot, it would appear that the gangs are an acceptable way to portray this Earth in the 23rd century. It's funny that you see the signing up of Jim Kirk, JD at large, as a sign that the system is less oppressive and yet the fact that the gangs are around makes it more oppressive with systematic economic inequality (your words).

    It appears to me that the Earth we're seeing is a nastier place than we've seen before.

    And it's also telling that Cupcake appears to get off without so much as a stern talking to. He's just sent back to the Academy with everyone else. I guess beating the snot out of a civilian is OK in Starfleet's eyes.
     
  18. BritishSeaPower

    BritishSeaPower Captain Captain

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    Re: SFA: The Assassination Game by Alan Gratz Review Thread (Spoilers!

    That's an unfortunate photoshop job for a series with a bunch of unfortunate photoshop jobs for covers. Same Kirk and Uhura that have already appear on previous covers in the series.
     
  19. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Re: SFA: The Assassination Game by Alan Gratz Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Yeah -- the bar fight were he had a bloody nose, yet didn't go to a hospital, didn't see a doctor or a medic, spent the rest of the night riding around on his motorcycle, stared at the under-construction U.S.S. Enterprise for a while without any visible remaining injuries, and then joined Starfleet the next morning.

    I've never used TNG's "enlightened Humans" language. It's not that Human beings are particularly more "enlightened" or "evolved" in the 23rd or 24th Centuries, any more than the white people who voted for then-Senator Barack Obama in 2008 were particularly more "enlightened" than the white people who believed in the inferiority of blacks in the 17th Century. It's that social structures improved, and those social structures bring out the best in people.

    She didn't need any help, and she probably could have. Cupcake got involved in spite of Uhura asking him not to.

    ... every road in the world has to be paved? (Especially in a world where most planetary transportation occurs via hovercars or transporters?) It was a beautiful vista in Iowa. I certainly hope that not everything in the future ends up industrialized and homogenized. Especially since, given the existence of hovercars and transporters, there should be much less general need for paved roads outside of the cities.

    Or, for that matter, could have been a Benzite who needs to breathe a slightly different atmosphere. I for one see no reason why a Benzite (or other non-Human with differing atmospheric needs) immigrant should be discriminated against if a reasonable accommodation (such as a protective face covering to allow him to breathe properly while also protecting him from the elements and/or suspects who might try to disable him by removing a more standard respiration device) can be reached.

    Did that officer behave unreasonably? Did he engage in physical violence? Did he rough Adolescent!Kirk up? Did he behave in any manner that a police officer should not behave?

    ... so what?

    Seriously, worn paint on some shuttles. That doesn't make Earth dystopian, or otherwise unpleasant. It just means there's some worn paint.

    ... I really don't see why the fact that it was a cloudy day means that there was something unoptimistic or oppressive about the rest of San Francisco and Earth. Seriously. It's just a cloudy day. Doesn't mean that society's awful.

    We barely even saw the rest of San Francisco, and what we did see of it was in a single shot parallel to the edge of the shore, with almost no view of the interior of the city. We didn't see enough of it to conclude that there are no grass or trees. I'm not sure what you mean by "no light," though -- it looked no less well-lit than, say, the modern cities of Hong Kong or Chicago to me.

    I really don't think that's a reasonable argument. By that logic, Kirk shouldn't have been given the chance to redeem himself and make something of his life because he acted out when he was a kid and got into a bar fight. The entire point that I'm making is that our modern system often condemns people to horrible abuse in retaliation for bad behavior as young teenagers, and that this is an abusive facet of the system. In ST09, the system seems to try to help people instead of condemning them. That's a much more progressive system.

    All I'll say is that I find the idea of gangs on 23rd Century Earth troubling because it implies systemic economic inequalities and oppression. However, having not read the YA novels, I'm not going to say anything more, because there may well be mitigating circumstances established in those novels of which I'm unaware. (If someone who has read them would care to comment, I'd be grateful.)

    I don't see it. Worn paint, a cloudy day, and a police officer don't make for oppression.

    We have no idea what kind of disciplinary action Cupcake faced. It's completely unestablished one way or the other -- there's no evidence that he was disciplined and there's no evidence that he was not disciplined.
     
  20. agratz

    agratz Ensign Newbie

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    Re: SFA: The Assassination Game by Alan Gratz Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Hey all -

    I'm Alan Gratz, the author of Starfleet Academy: The Assassination Game. Thanks for having a thread about it.

    I'm a long-time Trek fan. Like all of you, I'm sure, I've seen every episode of every series, seen every movie, and read a lot of the books. I also still role-play on the weekly post-DS9 era Star Trek sim I joined five or six years ago.

    For about as long as I've been trying to sell what I write, it has been my dream to write a Trek novel. In fact, my very first attempt to sell a novel was a TNG/Heart of Darkness mash-up that saw Worf travelling through the wormhole into the Gamma Quadrant to bring back a rogue Vulcan anthropologist. I didn't have an agent then, and no agent I could find wanted to represent someone with a novel they could only sell to one place, so my Trekkie girlfriend at the time (now my wife), sent it in posing as my agent. We printed up fake agency letterhead and everything. :cool: I'm not sure how we were going to maintain the fiction if Pocket Books bought it, but it turns out they didn't--I had Worf stopping by DS9 on the way through the wormhole, and they had a strict policy at the time of not doing show crossovers. (This was obviously before TNG went off the air, and before Worf went to DS9.)

    So I could say, perhaps, that I've come full circle now. After my failed attempt at selling a Trek novel, I focused on writing novels for young readers--books for kids 8-12 (middle grade), and books for teenagers 14 and up (young adult). I found success there, so I focused on that career, watching my dream of writing a Trek novel fade into the distance. Then, a year and a half ago, I found out S&S was publishing a young adult series based on the 2009 reboot. Trek! YA! I called up my agent (who already knew I was a Trekkie) and he got me a chat with the editors on the series. The bought my pitch, and here we are!

    The Assassination Game (as has been pointed out) was scheduled to come out long ago. The delay was in getting notes back from Bad Robot, J.J. Abram's film company. Everything I wrote had to be signed off on by them, and, well, they were kind of busy making Star Trek 12. (And Fringe, and Super 8, and...) Writing for characters and a world that has current, changing continuity outside the books was a challenge. I can only imagine what it must have been like for Trek authors back when TNG and DS9 were running concurrently. Even the cover (which I saw for the first time today) took a long time to get approval.

    (As to the cover, I am very pleased to see Sulu on it--mine is the first book of this series to have Sulu in it!)

    I haven't blogged or tweeted much about the forthcoming June 26, 2012 on-sale date because there were so many delays from the original on-sale date I began to adopt an "I'll believe it when I see it" attitude. But with the addition of the cover to the book page at S&S today, I'm starting to believe!

    I hope all of you who read The Assassination Game will enjoy it, and will let me know. And for those of you who don't like it...well, I hope you don't beat me up too badly here. :cool:

    All the best -