So What Are you Reading?: Generations

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

  1. Endgame

    Endgame Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I am still reading "The Message of John" by Bruce Milne (1993) but hope to get back to reading "Bloodletter" (DS9) again soon. I think I may have read "Taking Wing" last year for the first time. I posted some perhaps slightly confused posts about 'diversity' as I thought diversity was more about variety in systems of science based on underdeterminism of theories.

    As for criticizing of books: (1) I recently acquired a copy of "Glossary of Literary Terms" by M. H. Abrams (7th ed.) and have not adequately read it to give intelligent constructive criticism.

    Spider Robinson has perhaps said that a 'review' is when you read something and give gut feelings and a 'criticism' is when you have literary standards or criteria to point to with an analysis.

    Must a plot always move on? Cannot we enjoy characters and character development without overdetermining it with suspense and action? Spaceship surrealism aside, if I were to critique writers' works, I would like to give reasonable details about the work and the authors' full names and other information. Hopefully, I would not be working on only one work by that author (whether very good or very bad).

    Science fiction in general and space opera in particular have had time to develop into mature genre and subgenre. Based on authors' idiosyncrasies, I can put up with a fair bit of wasted words as long as there are interesting parts to the work.

    Generally when doing criticism it is helpful to sandwich one's remarks.... I enjoyed the part where ... but found the part where ... a bit frustrating because ... ; however, the part where ... was especially good. Oh, and a bad novel is a bad novel is a bad novel -- although it is surprising how little consensus exists even on this website! Are the exceptions to such consensus outliers? Do some people rubber stamp anything with the Star Trek trademark as a good read?

    PS: I have not done any criticism or reviews nor have I really read the reviews accessible from this site. Well, maybe some though. And, I do have a large science fiction library as well as literary materials on the genre. I do subvocalize (although mostly silently) when I read and do know that this has been put down among some of the literary writers. Not well-read but persistently and gradually becoming more aware of the literature that's out there. In counselling you may have to earn the right to ask a person a question. In literary criticism you may really have to work to earn the right to give even a value judgment.
     
  2. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    No one has said this.

    Your exact words:

    You mean sort of like how First Contact, a story about a man falling into a desire for revenge from his former tormentors, was set six years after "The Best of Both Worlds?"

    I'm offended that you claim it was just about Keru being gay and refuse to concede that it was about Keru being a widower. Hate to tell you this, but there had been plenty of gay characters in Treklit before Taking Wing.
     
  3. BritishSeaPower

    BritishSeaPower Captain Captain

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    Dec 13, 2005
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    New Jersey
    Finally conquered Death in Winter. What a slog. I can't figure out what exactly turned me off about it, either.

    Anyway, about to start in on Titan: Taking Wing and I'm quite excited for it. I love Riker and Tuvok so I hope this scratches those itches.

    I also go through the past two Doctor Who: 50th Anniversary eBooks, which were quite enjoyable. I think much better than the first installment.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Mar 15, 2001
    Not "plenty," actually. We did get a very subtle, tentative portrayal of romance between two of the female leads of The Best and the Brightest, but Keru was really the first prominent, recurring gay character in Trek Lit -- although of course Taking Wing was his fifth appearance and came out four years after his first. (In addition to three prior Mangels/Martin works -- Rogue, Trill: Unjoined, and "Improvisations on the Opal Sea" -- he appeared in Immortal Coil by Jeffrey Lang.) There were probably a few others in that interval, but I'd say the majority of LGBT characters in Trek Lit came along later.

    Certainly when early novels with Keru, including Taking Wing, first came out, there were some readers who saw it as shoving a "gay agenda" in their faces because it treated gay characters' personal lives the same as everyone else's, but I would've thought that by now, nearly a decade later when such portrayals have become commonplace in both Trek Lit and beyond, it wouldn't be seen as somehow exceptional. I mean, it's been years since I've seen a post like that.
     
  5. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Oxford, PA
    I remember when DC reinvented Batwoman as a lesbian, there were certain comic book fans who, all of a sudden, decided that romantic subplots and love interests were pointless and irrelevant and had no place in a proper superhero comic.

    "Why do we have to know about Batwoman's love life anyway? Why can't she just fight evil and stuff?"

    Never mind Lois Lane and Mary Jane Watson and Steve Trevor and, basically, seventy-plus years of comic book love interests and romances. Those were apparently okay, but Batwoman having a girlfriend was "unnecessary" and "pushing an agenda."

    Sigh.

    I suspect some of us have been dealing with this double standard for so long that we automatically bristle at the first hint of it, but I'll give kirk5555 the benefit of the doubt when he says he likes Batwoman and Willow. . . and voted for marriage equality in Washington State. That counts for something (says this expatriate Pacific Northwester).
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2013
  6. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Jun 2, 2012
    Location:
    Cork, Ireland
    Finished reading The Stuff of Dreams. My 2c about it are in the appropriate review thread.

    Recently bought and enjoyed the Early Voyages omnibus (great characters and stories, but I suppose with TrekLit Pike era novels) and Star Trek Ongoing Vol. 4. I wonder whether the plot of "Mirrored" happened to echo In A Mirror, Darkly, or was a deliberate homage?

    As part of my studies (exam preparation), I started reading Simon James's non-fiction Exploring the World of the Celts because it is illustrated.

    Soon I'll have holidays and can finally read (or finish to read):
    VOY: The Final Fury
    DS9: Warpath; The Left Hand of Destiny Bk. 2
    NF: Dark Allies
    TNG: Dark Mirror

    Concerning the Keru-issue in Taking Wing: As a young LGBT person myself I was delighted how it was integrated into the story without becoming cringeworthy (e.g. "Hello, I'm Lieutenant Commander Ranul Keru, and I'm gay.").

    I enjoy romantic (and other!) sub-plots a lot because I want to see the characters coping with their normal lives as well and not just during world-shattering crises. Take Picard's family life, for example - we explore it in and out of the action/suspense of the month.
     
  7. Kertrats47

    Kertrats47 Commodore Commodore

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    Alberta, Canada
    Just posted my review of The Stuff of Dreams. Enjoyed it!

    Right now I'm pausing my reading of DS9's Avatar, Book One in order to read Greg Cox's new release, The Weight of Worlds.
     
  8. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm just posting to say I'm sorry if I offended anyone. I never meant to. After the first respone to my post, I should have just bowed out of the conversation. I truly believe in equal rights for everyone, so if I stupidly offended anyone, I apologise. I overreacted to both a part of a story that I honestly dislike mostly for the fact that it took time away from the main story and the reaction to what I posted. I have a bad habit of responding without thinking enough sometimes, and after spending a lot of time thinking about it I can see where a lot of the response to my post came from, and even agree it was unfair of me to totally write off Keru in the book. I'll defind my opinion, even if it is a bit weird in retrospect, as not being because of prejudice so much as being an ass and probably reading more into the book then I should. I was speaking honestly earlier about my enjoyment of other characters like Willow or Batwoman and their relationships, and my support of things like gay rights. I guess something about this particular book just set my off. I don't think its a predisposition against anyone, maybe I'm just so used to "diversity for the sake of diversity" stuff that I sometimes see it when its not there. Honestly, I thought about this whole thing a lot yesterday, it really troubled me for most of the day after my last post. On reflection, I see where everyone else was coming from and looking back the stuff with Keru was mostly just having to do with him being a security officer and widower. So, again, I apologise if anyone was offended. If this apology makes me seem like I'm backpeddling or something, I can't convince you otherwise. I just wanted to say that, on reflection, I was wrong, atleast about that part having an agenda. That from this post what you will, but I honestly just wanted to make up for being an idiot and then just compounding it as I tend to do when I get worked up.
     
  9. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    I seem to have crashed out of my planned reading in the middle of the first volume of A Storm Of Swords cos it disappeared when Lesley tidied up in preparation for the guy coming to to install our HD...
     
  10. CaptCStark

    CaptCStark Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Utah
    Ok now I'm on A Time for War, A Time for Peace. So far I'm not liking the political game. But then I've often been bored with political stories and I'm still early in the book.
     
  11. golddragon71

    golddragon71 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Mar 12, 2013
    Starting on my Bantam collection now with Spock Must Die (interestingly the back cover blurb reminds me of the creation of Lt. Thomas Riker from The Next Generation episode
    "Second Chances"
     
  12. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Fair enough. Just speaking for myself, I accept your apology, and I'm glad you see where we were coming from on this.

    For what it's worth, I know from experience that sometimes it's easy to fall into an offensive frame of mind without realizing it. Yesterday on Facebook, I shared a quote from Bob Marley that said something to the effect of, "If she's amazing, she won't be easy. If she's easy, she won't be amazing." I was being sentimental and didn't give much thought to the second sentence -- and I totally got called out for it by a friend. "Way to demean sexually liberated women."

    I thought about it, and I realized -- she was absolutely right. In the midst of being sentimental about the idea that an amazing person's heart is difficult to win, I went along with the idea that "too much" sexual activity is automatically a sign that something's wrong with a woman in some way. And I didn't even give the idea more than a second's thought. I fell into a misogynistic mental trap and I demeaned women's sexual agency. When I realized this, I apologized to her and deleted the image.

    Which, by and by, is just my way of saying: It's easy to fall into the traps that privilege (be it male privilege or heterosexual privilege) lay for us as part of the system. Remember, these are mental systems of control, and they're trying to control those who benefit as much as those who are oppressed. And we need to be called out on it when we fall into those mental traps, into those mindframes. It's the only way we can grow and evolve. You needed it yesterday -- and I did, too -- but it doesn't have to define us today. :)
     
  13. Use of Time

    Use of Time Commodore Commodore

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    Va. Beach, VA
    60 pages into TOS #51 Enemy Unseen. I've never seen anyone's take on this one. It strikes me as your garden variety TOS novel from the 90's. Not great, not bad but a steady simple page turner that satisfies your Trek fix.
     
  14. Cap'n Crunch

    Cap'n Crunch Captain Captain

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    Jul 3, 2008
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    Knoxville, TN
    I finished New Frontier: Cold Wars then read its conclusion, Death After Life.

    I'm now reading Mass Effect: Deception. I've read that it's not very good and there are a lot of mistakes (continuity, lore, etc). I also read that it was going to be rewritten, but I haven't seen anything new about that in about a year, so I figured I'll just go ahead and read it to make up my own mind. I'm a few chapters in and so far the errors are things that I didn't even notice until I looked them up online. It's been a while since read any Mass Effect novels/comics or played the games, so I've forgotten a lot of things. Even though I love the ME universe, I guess I'm just not as aware of the continuity and minutiae as I am with Star Trek.
     
  15. S. Gomez

    S. Gomez Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Vancouver, BC
    I'm reading a couple of different books right now. One is Moby-Dick, which I haven't read since the first time in late high school/early college. I remember liking it then...and I'm remembering why now. :)

    The other is called Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany. In fact I also have a couple of his novels on hold from the library. Charles Portis is someone I hear touted as "the greatest novelist you've never heard of". One of his books, True Grit, has achieved a kind of subsidiary fame from having two movies made out of it. I'm looking forward to checking out his oeuvre.
     
  16. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Washington State, USA
    I really enjoy the Mass Effect universe. I read the first three books and they were great, but I haven't gotten the chance to read the fourth one, although I've heard bad things about it.

    Also, while I was planning to read as much as the series as I could, I just found out the public library lost Orion's Hounds, so I'm going to take that as fate telling me to leave the Titan star trek books alone and find something else to read. After finishing The Red King, I'll be reading star Trek: The weight of Worlds (which the library has, and should be avaliable soon) and then maybe do a reread of the Dune series, starting at Dune and reading all of the Frank Herbert stuff, then the conclusion of the main series written by his son, then some of the other books like the Dune prequels (about Paul's family before Dune).
     
  17. Gate11au

    Gate11au Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Feb 13, 2013
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    Victoria, Australia
    Currently reading star trek Typhon Pact zero sum game just finished star trek titan Synthesis trying to catch up so when the fall series comes out i'm up to date with the 24th century stuff
     
  18. Spocky8492

    Spocky8492 Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Jan 16, 2013
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    France
    I read Greater than the sum, which I enjoyed. I immediatly entered in the story. I liked to meet the new members of the crew of the Enterprise and to learn more about them along the novel. I like T'Ryssa Chen who is different from the usual Starfleet members and it's refreshing. I also liked a lot Jasminder Choudhury. This novel contains a lot of reference to other novels and other TV episodes and I appreciate that, it make me feel like if I was part of the Star Trek universe. Actually with the new crew and all the reference to other novels or episodes that summarize the actual situation, this novel is a perfect start to TNG relaunch and a perfect introduction to the Destiny trilogie, which I still have to read. My only regret with this novel is the lack of action. With a story about borgs, I was expecting a little bit more of action. But I still enjoyed it :)
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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  20. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Arizona, USA
    I'm starting to think about setting Dracula aside. It's one I've been wanting to read for a long time, but now that I've started it it's kind of boring me. I feel a little guilty because I love modern Vampire stories, and I was really looking forward to reading one of the books that set up a lot of the mythology they use.