Star Trek Vanguard- to read or not to read?

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Killandra, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. Killandra

    Killandra Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I haven't read any of this series yet so I was hoping those of you who have read it can share your opinions on whether or not I should read this? I know it's set in the TOS era and takes place on Starbase 47, but otherwise am pretty much in the dark. Is it kinda like TOS meets DS9 or is it its own demon?

    I don't mind if you guys have to give away some spoilers. It's to be expected when asking for someone's opinion. (Just don't tell me the whole story, lol). Besides, I know the first novel in the series came out a few years ago and think it's pretty unrealistic to give spoiler warnings for anything 5+ years old.
     
  2. Methos

    Methos Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    pretty sure it was only TOS from what i remember...

    haven't read them in a while but i think the last of the Vanguard series is out this year, so i'll have to reread them all to catch up lol

    I remember it being something like a 'genesis experiment' if memory serves, something about stupidly advanced DNA mutations or something...

    was pretty cool i think, gonna dig them back out now to doublecheck lol

    M
     
  3. bfollowell

    bfollowell Commander Red Shirt

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    If you don't read this series, you'll be missing some of the, hands down, best damned TrekLit ever put to paper, or eink, or lcd, or whatever your preferred media is.

    If I were just starting the series or planning to reread, I'd start with the S.C.E.-Lovell arc, the last of which is a direct prequel to the series, and then I'd move on to the series proper. None of these are technically required reading though, even the direct prequel.

    If you're a fan of TrekLit in general and TOS specifically, you should love this series. Personally, I hate to see it end this year but, All Good Things...

    - Byron
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It has been described as "DS9 in the 23rd century," but that's not really accurate; it does have its own distinct character and approach. It's also been described as what Star Trek would be like if done by HBO. It's contemporaneous with TOS, and its intent is partly to show another side to the familiar events of TOS and the movies and reveal their causes and consequences, but it's a darker, more complex, more serialized narrative.
     
  5. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Dayton Ward posted a little overview of the series on his blog some time ago, so maybe that will help you a bit.

    Ans as others have said Vanguard is definitely worth a look if you're even remotely interested in Trek Lit.
     
  6. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I've only read the first one, and that was seven years ago when it first came out, so I have only a sketchy memory of it, but I DO remember that I thought it was pretty good and was looking forward to more. I put that series aside and got into Star Wars The NJO (don't ask), and never got back to it. I have all the novels in the series though, and am waiting for the final one (whose title I don't recall) to come out later this year, and was planning to read the entire thing straight through then.

    But, to answer your question: It's a Star Trek series, so I say go for it.
     
  7. Technobuilder

    Technobuilder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Vanguard made me appreciate the "TOS-Era" as something more viable and worthwhile, not just a holdover from the stylings of the 60's, before the Movie-Era came in and made me love the original series characters.

    I grew up on TNG & Matured on DS9, so the movies were always kind of like watching the result of a past I was never that familiar with. To this day I've yet to see most of Star Trek: The Original Series and I'd never really had a desire to, but then Vanguard came along and made me want to.

    If Trek ever comes back to Television, it should use this series as the template.

    It's just that fucking good.
     
  8. John Clark

    John Clark Commodore Commodore

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    I think it is well worth a read:)
     
  9. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think that just convinced me to rearrange my reading schedule. While my background is not exactly the same - I watched TOS several times -, the "grew up on TNG and matured on DS9" matches, and I can never shake a slightly guilty feeling of thinking the TOS era obsolete (almost physically fliched out of guiltyness when that word came out!) when consuming the media. I have a fair amount of love for individual TOS eps because they're great scripts, and the same is true about several of the novels, but I don't feel naturally drawn to the era.

    I've been wanting someone to do TOS in a way that's informed by 24th century Trek, i.e. assume that's where the reader is hailing from and paint it as an alien and rawer period of history rather than go for an air of comforting nostalgia. And to exploit this for characterization - show how folks acted and thought differently when they could not take the achievements of later days for granted. It sounds like this might be what Vanguard is doing.

    OTOH, I've heard it described as Trek's response to the Battlestar Galactica remake, which really turns me off. While BSG had incredible production values and direction, and I enjoyed the fleet politics elements, overall it felt too cynical and "forced dark and desperate" (which I don't equate with "realism" as the critics exulted). And for all its evocative gesturing, the through-line plotting just never really managed to pull its weight. To be brash, I'm hoping Vanguard is more than just "let's skew darker to cater to a jaded audience" and has a meatier story and purpose at its core.

    One way to find out ...
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, don't be too quick to give up on it. The series starts out with most of the characters in pretty bad places in their lives and the story is largely about their journeys of redemption or healing. So the first book is in some ways the darkest. I share your views of Galactica and of the tendency to equate darkness with realism or quality, and I initially found the first Vanguard volume too dark for my tastes, but as I read the subsequent books and came to see it in context, I gained a greater appreciation of it.
     
  11. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    ^ Exactly. We had to start from a dark place in order to give the characters room in which to grow, change, and better themselves. Some of them had to hit rock bottom in book three so that they could begin again. Books four and five are about their journeys toward redemption, and the final volumes are about Starfleet and the Federation coming to terms with the consequences of their actions throughout the series, setting the stage for their collective/institutional evolution into the nobler incarnations we saw in TNG and beyond.
     
  12. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    it's critically acclaimed. well, i'm critical and i'm acclaiming it.

    it's simply the best Trek lit series going. yes, it's even better than New Frontier, which - much as i love it - has gone off the boil a bit.
     
  13. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Alright :). Having the later conditions in the Federation be a genuinely hard accomplishment, having redemption be a struggle and showing that growth both personal and institutional often hurts a whole lot - that's not dark as much as mature, and perfectly Trekkian.

    And to be clear, I respect attempts to grow the franchise's range. DS9 did, and I think we're all better off for it. Plus a willingness to be challenged by the material makes a healthier reader :).
     
  14. JonLuck Pickerd

    JonLuck Pickerd Lieutenant Junior Grade

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    Personally I think it's crap. Its wanna be Star Wars. I think the only reason its so well regarded is because the authors have a pretty loud Internet presence on the boards and Facebook. I am really looking forward to the series ending and the schedule freeing up to the Star Trek I know and love. You know Jean Luc Picard, James Kirk Ben Sisko etc.. not Diego Reyes Tim Pennington, and the rest of the nameless losers that make up Vanguard.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    What possible resemblance is there between Vanguard and Star Wars? If anything, it goes in completely the opposite direction.


    That doesn't make any sense at all. When readers don't like a book, they don't hesitate to say so online even if the writers are active there. I've seen people trash books by people with an active web presence and praise books by people who never post online. You're proposing a cause-and-effect relationship that simply doesn't exist.


    They've never published more than two Vanguard novels in a single year, and there were none at all in 2008 or 2010. Eight books in seven years is hardly clogging the schedule.
     
  16. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    ^ It's okay, Christopher. He's entitled to his opinion. It doesn't hurt anyone to let him speak his mind. There's nothing to be gained by arguing with him. Tastes in entertainment are entirely subjective and not really subject to objective evaluation.
     
  17. Ian Keldon

    Ian Keldon Fleet Captain

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    I've loved everything I've read of Vanguard.

    I like the "new crew" books better overall than the TNG/DS9/VOY/ENT books because they have the sense of "anything can happen". No script/franchise immunity. Kill off a lead, blow up the ship, start a war...nothing is set in stone.
     
  18. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re the "nameless losers" quip (what's with the rude language, btw?), personally I greatly enjoy TrekLit that focusses on entirely new or pre-established but minor characters. SCE, Articles, A Stitch in Time (granted, calling Garak minor is stretching it), Gorkon, DTI or heck, a classic like The Final Reflection - love those, more please! It enriches the tapestry of the franchise so much IMHO, and I've grown to like many of these characters just as much as those on the shows.

    In fact, it might be that in terms of the reading experience I enjoy casts of characters original to TrekLit more than adaptations of the show's casts. With the latter there is always this background thought process of comparing the characterization to the show with me (where the unchanging actors always ensure a certain level of perceived character continuity and create this strong imprint). When an author nails it it's awesome, but when it's off it can distract from what might otherwise still be a perfectly fine story. With original characters there is no such overt cross-media distraction, if that makes sense. The background scan doesn't happen despite varying authors; I accept continuity differences more readily as episodic.

    I also really like the whole idea of a having a decently sized miniseries with the opportunity to well and truly bookend things, next to more serial lines like the aforementioned SCE (which I'd still love to see more of).
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
  19. Warp Coil

    Warp Coil Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I first read Harbinger a few years back due to all the praise the series received. I thought it was okay, but not spectacular. I never continued with the series. Then, early this year, I picked it up again and gave it a re-read. Something must've clicked the second time around because I quite enjoyed it. I've been reading the rest of the series off and on throughout the year to get caught up. I really appreciate the complex characters, the on-going storyline, and the fact that I don't really know what is going to happen to these people.
     
  20. bfollowell

    bfollowell Commander Red Shirt

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    Christopher, remember what they say about not feeding the trolls.

    He may honestly be voicing his opinion or he may just be trying to get a rise out of everyone.

    To each his own, regardless of how crazy most of us may think that opinion is. Still, there's no reason for such blatant rudeness. Typically it's a sign of poor education, poor upbringing or both but there's no need to get into that here.

    The main thing is, MOST of us absolutely love Vanguard and can't recommend it highly enough.

    - Byron