So What Are you Reading?: Generations

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by captcalhoun, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Superficially, yes, but it's easy enough to fudge an explanation that reconciles them, given the circumstances.
     
  2. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Just finished rereading Taking Wing. I'm reading as many of the Titan books as the public library has. It was about how I remembered it. A decent book, even if I got annoyed sometimes. One of the annoyances of this book was when one of the "diverse" crew would show up and they were an alien never seen on the show. I mean, one or two were described well enough that I could imagine what they look like, but the Chief Engineer and to a lesser extent the Pacifican helm officer annoyed me because I had no idea what they looked like, and they weren't described very well. I thought for a second that the pacifican might have been one of the sentient dolphins a few of the older ST books had. Considering the reveal about her and Riker, its a good thing I was completely wrong about that :cardie: The Chief engineer I thought would be like a large version of the friendly form of the gremlins. I was also way off, but thats what the description lead me to believe for some reason. I'm usually ok with stuff like that, but usually aliens created for ST books are described better, and its usually assumed that the reader doesn't know what they look like, even if they've made other book appearances. As a general rule, if they weren't on TV and they aren't near human, I'd like a good description.

    Besides that, the story was decent, although some of the side characters/plots were annoying. I'm glad Keru was put into a coma, he was annoying and I got really sick of the lame stuff about him being angry at Worf or the annoying Ensign who wanted to date him. A lot of the Keru and Norellis stuff felt like a token "Oh, look, gay starfleet officers" thing. I have no problem with gay characters in books/etc, even though I'm straight, but it added nothing to the story and just ended up wasting ink. Akaar also got on my nerves at times, but not too badly. Honestly, compared to the last Titan thing I read (Destiny book 1) that had Troi risking killing herself for a baby that literally had zero chance of living, any of the annoyaning characters in this book seemed like geniuses in comparison. Actually, that book makes reading these interesting, because it proves that Vale and akaar were correct, that eventually Riker will let his wife act like an insane idiot because she's his wife and not act like he should, even though any other officer who acted like her would have been relieved of duty immediately, for psycological reasons if not the fact that they could keel over at any time.

    This was an ok start to a new ST series. I'd forgotten a lot of the book, so it was almost like reading it for the first time. I'm sure I read the second before, but I barely remember it either, so it should be interesting. I think the library has the first 4-5 books, so I'll read what they have.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I fleshed out Aili Lavena's description in Orion's Hounds, and she's pretty accurately depicted on the cover of Over a Torrent Sea.

    And human-dolphin sex is not unheard of. Dolphins will try to have sex with just about anything that moves.


    Which chief engineer? The original one, Nidani Ledrah, was a Tiburon, a species seen in TOS: "The Way to Eden" and DS9: "The Ship," Her successor, Xin Ra-Havreii, is an Efrosian, a species seen in The Voyage Home and The Undiscovered Country.

    I guess you must be referring to Torvig, who does have sort of Mogwai-like ears. But he's hardly the chief engineer; he was initially a cadet doing work-study aboard the ship, and is currently an ensign serving as a junior engineer.



    I wonder, if it had been a subplot about a romantic flirtation between a man and a woman, would you have thought it was a token "Oh look, heterosexual Starfleet officers" thing? Plenty of stories have romantic subplots that don't add to the main plot. There are such subplots in TTN, such as Vale/Jaza and Ra-Havreii/Pazlar.

    So maybe it's not about calling attention to them being gay, but just the opposite: treating them the same way any other character would be treated.
     
  4. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Reading Cast No Shadow by James Swallow. So that's what happened to Valeris.
     
  5. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm reading the SCE stories at the moment. I'm a good bit in front of you (just finished 26 - The Age Of Unreason), but it looks like you read rather faster than me !

    I'm reading them between other things - partly due to not actually liking some of them that much. I'd say I'm enjoying about 1 in 5 - the rest range from OK down.

    Still got a good way to go though...
     
  6. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I would still have complained. Look, I won't lie. Gay romance in media isn't exactly a topic i'm comfortable with, but I don't think its wrong or anything. I believe everyone has a choice, and in the end its fine to have it in books and other stuff, if it actually has a point. I can think of many comic book characters who are gay and they don't seem around just to show diversity (like Batwoman, Northstar, Flat Man, etc.). I'll admit that I don't like romance in general in books/other media and star Trek isn't usually an example of something that does romance well anyway outside of the big guys (Riker/Troi, Picard/Crusher in the books, etc). But, if the Keru stuff in this book had a point and didn't feel like the writers padding out their word count and/or just wanting to show "diversity" at the expense of the actual story, then I wouldn't have a problem. As it is, it derails the sections its in, and goes nowhere. I'd object to any stupid, pointless romance, regardless of who is in it. If other relationships happen that are pointless, I'll call them out, too.

    As for the engineer, I was talking about Nidani Ledrah. The Way to Eden reference isn't fair because I always thought he was a human with really messed up ears, and the few times I've seen the episode it wasn't made clear that he was an alien, just maybe someone not from earth. I've never seen the DS9 episode, but not only does that guy look like a completely different species then the guy from TWTE, but he was apparently a background character so its not like its a well known example. Also, how am I supposed to know what an Efrosian is? The few times you see them, their race isn't referred to (although thanks for linking to that, I was just imagining the guy as a human with a mustache). Since I haven't read Orion's Hounds or Over a Torrent sea, it seems like the discription or that species comes a bit late in the series (although since she seems to be a very minor character, just mentioned so that Troi can tease Riker, it kind of makes sense that she's not described, even if it is a bit annoying). As for human-dolphin sex, I'm not touching that one. I've seen the videos on various TV shows, I know how dolphins are. It doesn't make it any less creepy. Since the officer in question isn't a dolphin, its not a big deal (although what her species actually is brings to mind Futurama's episode about the mer-people and how fish/aquatic creatures reproduce, but I'd rather just not think about it).
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But that's just my point. Couldn't it be that the reason you didn't like the relationship was just that it seemed pointless, rather than having anything to do with the orientation of the participants? Why assume they were trying to call attention to their being gay, rather than simply writing those characters the same way they'd write any other characters?


    His ears were a lot more strange-looking than Spock's, and Spock was an alien. So that's kind of a surprising conclusion for you to have drawn.

    Here's a better picture. Aside from the ear prosthetics being more subtly sculpted and better blended, the only difference is the row of small spines on the forehead.

    Granted, Tiburonians are not a major Trek race, but the point is that they were seen onscreen; you just didn't know it. And you could've always tried looking up "Tiburonian" on Memory Alpha to confirm whether or not they'd been seen before. I mean, knowing what Trek aliens look like can be as big a problem for the dozens of little-seen minor races as it is for book-original races, so I find it useful to consult Memory Alpha and other online resources when I wonder about things like that.
     
  8. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think it is probably both. Its pointless to the story, but I guess trying to call attention to gay characters counts as a point. It did feel like thats the main reason they were there, even beyond the potential romance with each other. What did we get about either character? One was the boyfriend of a extra who got killed in First Contact, and he's a friend of Nurse Ogawa. The other was freaked out by the doctor, and thought Keru was attractive. That is all either of them added to the story, minus one or two action scenes with Keru that could have used any security officer. It would have been pointless regardless of their genders, but the fact that almost every scene they were in was about them being gay and not advancing either the story or really even the characters very much is what makes me think they were just there for diversity. I mean, they weren't going to be main characters. Keru was basically filling in until Tuvok showed up, and the other guy was completely pointless. They had no real reason to be in the book at all, outside of a pointless romance and calling attention to the fact that there were gay characters on the Titan.

    Well, I looked it up eventually, but not having internet at home means that when something like that happens while reading I usually have to wait until the next day, at which point I might be far enough along in my reading that I just don't feel like doing it. As for the Tiburon, even if I had known the guy in TWTE was an alien, the description of the engineer didn't even match up (to me, atleast) to what he looked like, so I wouldn't have made the connection anyway.
     
  9. NightJim

    NightJim Captain Captain

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    About to start New Frontier: Fire on High.
     
  10. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I have to disagree with you on this point. I thought they did a fine job describing the alien characters in the Titan books. The only one I ever had trouble with was Cethente, and I really think that was me and not the description itself. As for Ledrah and Lavena, I honestly don't remember Ledrah that well, but I've had a crystal clear image of Lavena pretty much from the beginning. I think the only thing I didn't really have right was her skin color, but that's pretty minor. Besides, in most of the scenes with her all you need to picture is a humanoid in an isolation suit.
    I really don't think any of that was pointless. I thought it was some pretty good character development for Keru, who I had only encountered in a cameo in the second WODS9 book at that point. As for the whole gay thing, I really didn't see where they were treated any different than the heterosexual couples in other Trek Lit books. Just talking about two gay people being interested in each other or being a couple really isn't really drawing attention to their sexuality any more than talking about the same things with a hetero couple is drawing attention to theirs.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    You're not getting what I'm saying, so let me spell it out even more bluntly. It wasn't "trying to call attention to gay characters." It was doing exactly the opposite of that: treating them simply as normal characters, to write them the same way one would write anyone else -- which means occasionally involving them in romantic storylines. It wasn't the authors making a big deal out of their gayness -- it's just you. That's why I asked if you'd think it was calling attention to heterosexuality if the story had been exactly the same except for one of the characters being female. You admitted that you wouldn't. Which means you have a double standard. Don't blame the authors for that.


    Ranul Keru is a character whom Andy Mangels & Mike Martin established in TNG: Section 31: Rogue and revisited in Worlds of Deep Space Nine -- Trill: Rejoined before bringing him into the Titan series. He was given a lot of development over the course of their books, driven mainly by the fact that he lost his spouse to the Borg and was changed by that tragedy, as anyone would be. He left his post as a stellar cartographer, taking a sabbatical to tend the symbiont pools on Trill and try to find himself, and then returned to Starfleet but transferred to security. As I recall it, Keru's arc in Taking Wing was mainly about how he was still coping with that loss in a variety of ways, including being uncomfortable with the cyborg crewmember Torvig and being saddled with unwelcome romantic attentions. It wasn't about him "being gay" any more than it was about him being a biped. That's just part of his description, not the point of the story. The story was about how a widower copes with unwanted romantic overtures. The emotions involved there are the same for everyone, regardless of the sexes of the people involved.


    Completely untrue. Keru continues to be a main character as Titan's security chief, alongside Tuvok as its tactical officer. Most Trek series combine the two responsibilities (the former focused on events within the ship, the latter on events outside it) under a single character's purview, but the developers of Titan chose to separate them. And as stated, Mangels & Martin established Keru as a recurring character in their works before TTN began.
     
  12. Reanok

    Reanok Commodore Commodore

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    I started Reading Weight of Worlds by Greg Cox tonight. Great book .I really like the story is unfolding at a fast pace.:techman:
     
  13. Endgame

    Endgame Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Reading "The Message of John" (The Bible Speaks Today) by Bruce Milne (1993) as it is 'Holy Week' and hope to catch up with more Star Trek very soon. People can have clear ideas about right and wrong but still support a regime like that proposed by John Stuart Mill in "On Liberty" where very free speech and social experimentation are more than tolerated. IMHO (and I am not humble enough) the heteros in the books seem more libertine than the homosexuals. Perhaps only the requirements for some semblance of security could limit infinite diversity in sexual permutations.

    I cannot well remember "Taking Wing" but each species shall come to understand, manage, and preserve (as well as conserve) the many variations of its genome and then perhaps experiment with increasing that diversity of which Spock was an all too logical example. Freedom from eugenics means monitoring and careful preservation and conservation of the genome and its variations.

    Has Star Trek ever pondered the questions of 'cannister birth' so noticeable in Lois McMaster Bujold's novels?
     
  14. Fer

    Fer Commander Red Shirt

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    Finished up The Last Jedi. Today I start Doctor Who: The Spear of Destiny. Tomorrow (or possibly even later today) I move on to Tales of the Bounty Hunters.
     
  15. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    No. It was not about them being gay. It was, as Christopher said, about a widower learning to move on from the loss of his spouse, with the question of how he felt about a potential suitor being just one facet of his character arc. That that suitor happened to be male was not the focus of the arc, and I'm sorry that you can't seem to stop fixating on it.

    (Side-note: Really, Keru's arc in Taking Wing is similar to Sisko's arc in "Emissary," or to the story of him meeting Kassidy Yates later in the series. Was Sisko's arc in "Emissary" only about him being straight? Was the Sisko/Kassidy arc only about them being straight?)

    What does that mean? "The" story? There are multiple stories being told in Taking Wing, and one of them is how a widower learns to move on with his life.
     
  16. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    What do you mean, double standard? I said I'd call out any plot line like this that I felt was pointless, regardless of who is involved. I hate all romance in Star Trek books anyway (not couples neccessarily, I'm fine with the big guys if its done well, I just don't like it when romantic stuff is a part of the story). If Vale started mooning over some random guy and it was taking the story nowhere and just wasting pages, I'd call it out the same way I've talked about Keru/the ensign. The difference is that, while they would both pointless to the story, Vale/a random person would just be a pointless subplot. The Keru stuff feels like a pointless subplot with the ulterior motive of trying to show "diversity" at the expense of the story.

    I can accept the fact that the character himself may have had a point at one time. i was not told I'd have to read the entire Mangels & Martin bibliography to understand parts of the Titan series. They probably should have put a note about that somewhere :vulcan: Regardless of how he was in those books, I base what I think off of this book. If he wasn't doing anything strictly secruity, he was obsessed with his dead partner or the ensign was wanting to get together with him. It just felt like it was their just to call attention to the fact they are gay. It was brought up everytime Keru was around. He had no character in this book besides being the gay security cheif who was sad about his partner dying. He really served no purpose besides that. He either needed more pages to develop/explain him better, or just have been a background character.

    I can admit to being wrong about him being a placeholder (after all, I've only read two Titan books and didn't remember either of them very well before I started rereading them) but its just the impression book 1 gave me. Seperating those positions seems uneccesary, but whatever. I wouldn't be annoyed by Keru if he had done anything besides stuff any security officer could have done, or be around just for diversity. He could change my opinion of him easily in other books, if he wakes up and actually does something beside just being one of the few token gay characters. I like several of the newer characters in this book, like Vale and the Titan's designer. I like several gay characters in other media, so regardless of what you seem to insinuate, the fact that the characters are gay isn't a problem to me, and its not causing a double standard. The problem is that they're used just to be the gay guys, and have no other purpose, in book 1. Either of the characters can come back from that, its just how book 1 went.

    I think that because thats what I think happened in the book, not because of some prejudice against gay characters. Its not like I read Batwoman and think her relationship with the police officer is pointless, or read Astonishing X-Men and say Northstar/Kyle is just there for diversity. Their relationships actually add something to the characters and/or story (and both are interesting characters, although I'd say I like Batwoman better). I've never read anything with them and thought that their sexual preferance was the reason they were in the story or that it was the only thing they were contributing, unlike Keru and the ensign in the first Titan book.

    I'm not trying to insult the authors of the Titan books. I thought most of the book was decent, and honestly the Keru stuff may just be a side effect of Titan wanting to bash its diversity into my skull every few pages, and not because the authors were specifically writing Keru and the ensign to push a specific gay diversity thing. God knows the book wasn't shuting up about the Titan's diversity in general. I'm not trying to anger anyone (even if the insinuation that Keru/the ensign being gay is the reason I think they're only there for diversity is pretty insulting to me and probably warrents me getting angry), I was just giving my impression of the book. I wasn't aware that the Titan books are beyond reproach. I believe that everything in a book is fair game for critisism. If the Keru/ensign stuff hadn't seemed to be there just to be there, if it had even just been merely pointless and not brought up so much, I wouldn't even have mentioned it. The fact that they are gay, to me, does not mean that stuff with them can't be critisized. I treat them like I treat every character, regardless of orientation.

    I'm not fixating on anything. I'd say that maybe I'm not the one fixating on something. I mentioned it in a larger post about the book. Other people keep harping on it, like I'm not allowed to critisize a subplot about gay characters because any critisizm is bad if the thing in question involves gay people, and you're evil/prejudiced if you think stuff like that is done badly.
     
  17. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    If you weren't fixating on anything, then you wouldn't have brought up Keru's sexual orientation in the first place.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But you also admitted that you would not claim it was "about" the characters' sexual orientation if they were heterosexual. Don't move the goalposts here. You didn't just say it was pointless, you said it was "about" them being gay. That's the problem.


    And that false assumption is the double standard. It's a startlingly antiquated viewpoint. We live in a time where many works of fiction treat gay characters as simply normal, the same as any other characters. Plenty of Trek novels have done that; Taking Wing was just one of the first of many. And other shows have done it too. White Collar on USA has a supporting character who's in a committed relationship with another woman, and the characters and writers treat it the same way they'd treat a heterosexual relationship. The Canadian Lost Girl features a protagonist who's completely bisexual, and her involvements with women are treated exactly the same as her involvements with men, without any special attention being given to them. And the exact same thing goes for my original novel Only Superhuman, which you see in my avatar.

    So we are years past the point where portraying gay characters in fiction had to be some kind of statement about diversity. Maybe in the '90s or early '00s that would've been the case, but today it's frequently treated as simply a normal thing. It's not a statement about diversity any more than including a black character or a Jewish character or an Irish character is a statement about diversity. Eventually diversity just becomes a given, a non-issue. Past that point, there doesn't have to be a statement because it's just taken for granted. That's where Trek novels have been since before Taking Wing even came out. That's where media culture as a whole has been for at least half a decade now. Somehow you just missed the memo.


    No, it was to develop Keru as a character. It was about the fact that he had emotions and relationships, not that he had "gay" relationships.


    And the ongoing problem here is that you are defending your ignorance as if it were something you were entitled to, rather than recognizing that it's something to be corrected by seeking out more information.


    I am completely unable to believe that given everything you've said here.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
  19. Sakrysta

    Sakrysta Vice Admiral Admiral

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    *scroll scroll scroll scroll...*
     
  20. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Fine, believe what you want. No one can critisize anything with gay people involved, because if you do you're prejudiced :vulcan: I don't even know what to call that attitude. I never said it was about them being gay. I said the writers made it into that. They couldn't turn Vale/random guy into anything if they wrote that because its impossible to play something like that from a diversity standpoint. Hetrosexuality isn't a thing in most books. Calling attention to something like that is pretty much impossible.

    My whole point is that there was special attention being given to the Keru stuff, far beyond what it needed. Taking Wing is 8 years old, long enough ago that, yes, it was surprising to have a gay character in a ST book (heck, I didn't remember much of it before this rereading, but I definately remembered it being the first book I ever read with gay characters) and it was still at a point where it was used as diversity compared to how sT books usually were. It was done in a way that seemed to just use it as a way to show diversity, but not add anything to the story or characters.

    You want a gay relationship done well? Watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Willow is one of my favorite characters, and the Tara/Willow stuff was probably the most effective romance stuff on the show. It always had a point, and the characters were amazing. It added something to the show, and it never seemed to be there just to be there. If I had to list the best relationships/romances/couples on TV that I've seen, Willow and Tara are probably in the top 2-3. After it first started while I was watching the show, I didn't even really think anything of the fact that they were together. By the time they got established as a couple, it was normal. It was also well written. The Titan stuff seemed to be written just to show diversity. The characters did very little else in the book, and if the Keru stuff was supposed to be just about a widower mourning, it wasn't done very well. It was pretty far removed from the actual event (Looking online, Taking wing seems to be over 6 years after first contact, since FC was 2373 and wikipedia says Nemesis was 2379) and even Sisko had stopped obsessing over his wife's death after six years.

    Its interesting that I'm trying to stay civil while taking personal attacks. I honestly want to know what anyone finds offensive. Is it that hard to see where I'm coming from with my comments on Taking Wing? Has anyone even read this book recently? 1/4th of it is the book promoting how diverse the ship is. Except for the attack on the romulan prison and the short battle on the ship, most of the time Keru and the ensign don't even do anything outside of being walking advertisments. Sure, I like a lot of gay characters, and (living in Washington State) I voted for gay marriage and have never once thought they don't deserve the same rights as everyone else. But, no apparently that is not important. I thought that Demi-Gods Mangels and Martin used two gay characters as little more than walking diversity advertisments, so I'm evil and prejudiced because I though the part of a book with gay characters wasn't fair to the gay characters. The more you know, I guess.