Spoilers TF: A Ceremony of Losses by David Mack Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Sho, Oct 20, 2013.


Rate A Ceremony of Losses.

  1. Outstanding

    72 vote(s)
  2. Above Average

    38 vote(s)
  3. Average

    8 vote(s)
  4. Below Average

    1 vote(s)
  5. Poor

    0 vote(s)
  1. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

    Jun 17, 2007
    I do have a suspicion it will have more to do with that, then an actual change in format.
    With the amount of death and destruction in TrekLit in the last few year, part of me would love to see a new era of peace and exploration for the Federation and its allies. However, with the quality of writers TrekLit has right now, the idea of a long war sound very interesting, and with TrekLit daring to go further then the shows have, we could see some very intense things happening.

    I'm feeling quite conflicted about this.
  2. flandry84

    flandry84 Captain Captain

    Jun 24, 2007
    Sunshine cottage,Lollipop lane,Latveria
    IMO it was the lack of big picture thinking,the never ending quest for the fabled " casual viewer" that made so much of televised Trek so..let's be honest...poor.
    I'm all for the direction Treklt has taken in the last few years.
    Honestly,the more convoluted and intertwined the Treklit universe becomes the better IMO.
  3. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Commodore Commodore

    Jan 10, 2003
    In Diefenbaker's Nightmares
    Had to vote "outstanding" on this! The story was riveting, and the pace was excellent. I felt like I was going through an emotional wringer-washer during last part of the book with each change of fortune that happened. And I really liked the fact that Bashir followed his conscience and disobeyed orders, but there were actual consequences, instead of it just getting shrugged off at the end, and the status quo being reset.

    Others here have commented on the "cartoonish" nature of the villainy of the politicians in this story, specifically Ishan and ch'Foruta. It may seem somewhat out of place in the "enlightened" 24th century, but sadly politicians of that vein are all too common in reality, and Star Trek has always been a parable reflecting our own 20th and 21st century issues. (Although I will admit, I did at numerous times want to reach into the book and shake ch'Foruta and say to him "This is your own species you are condemning to death! How can you be so short-sighted just to satisfy your own immediate political gain!")

    It was really nice to see Pulaski again. I'd been hoping to see her again at some point, so this was very welcome. Good to know that she survived the Borg invasion.

    I enjoyed the Lost and Pinky and the Brain references, and I am sure there are other references there that I probably missed. And I loved the ship name puns on the ghung'HoH and the Tanj'k Tholis as well! :)

    I had to check Jeremy Miller on Wikipedia, because I wasn't familiar with that name. Turns out there's an actor and a Minnesota senator with that name. I'm assuming the reference is to the senator, but there's nothing in the Wikipedia article that indicates he was ever a pollster, and Google didn't turn up any references to a pollster with that name. I feel I'm missing something here. Since I assume it's an American reference, can any Americans help me out?

    If there's one thing I sort of questioned, it was that at the end, none of the Andorians seemed to verify the cure. Unless I missed it... but it seemed they extracted it from his bloodstream, then took an hour to isolate it, and then they were immediately trying to get it transmitted to the production facilities. I would have thought they would have at least wanted to check it for themselves, to confirm that it would a) actually fix the problem, and b) not introduce some other issue that Bashir didn't foresee. What if Bashir was wrong? I know the Andorians wouldn't know this, but Bashir's team didn't seem to have a lot of time to review his solution before Ro busted them. And he did seem to be seriously sleep deprived at the time. I get that time was an issue, with everything that was going on, but this still nagged at me a little.

    Anyway, that's a minor quibble. I really enjoyed this book, and it kept me at the edge of my seat. I read it in only two sessions... and it was two instead of one because I had to take a break to get a few hours sleep, and then go to work the next day. Stupid life necessities! ;)

    Just a note on the physical quality of the book. Unlike others upthread, mine seemed to be of normal quality, and didn't exhibit any of the floppiness that we have seen with some of the books recently. IIRC, the last cheap, floppy one I got was A Choice of Futures.

    All in all, great book, and IMHO totally deserving of its place on the NYT best-seller list, as someone mentioned above. Congratulations, Mr. Mack!
  4. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 28, 2011
    Thanks for digging up those quotes! Yes, those were the ones I was thinking of, though I couldn't remember them specifically enough to successfully Google.

    Maybe. I certainly think we will see the Typhon Pact narrative resolved. James Swallow's "two to three years" figure lines up very well with the start of the Typhon Pact-labelled books (with Zero Sum Game's release in November 2010).

    But I still think it will be bigger than that, for two reasons:

    1) the continued weight of a continuity that is growing farther and farther from the accepted canon, and growing more and more complex with each passing novel. (Honestly? It's getting frustrating having so many characters going on that aren't developed, and probably won't be any time soon. At this point, certain characters are feeling a bit thin, and that's frustrating, both for me as a reader and surely for the writers, who are navigating an increasingly complex universe.)

    2) the death of Nan Bacco. She was introduced in October of '04. Since then, we've had a fascinating portrayal of Federation politics, but it's always revolved around her as a compelling character. (Yes, I realize we had some glimpse before A Time for War, A Time for Peace through Min Zife, but, as I understand it, his character's genesis came at the same time as Bacco's, which means he was conceived of, in part, as a way for Nan Bacco to become president.) I think that the loss of her character will mean much less time spent in the Palais de la Concorde, because, in some ways, it wasn't the politics that were compelling, it was the character.

    I dunno. I just think that Bacco's death is a signal that bigger things will be changing, and not just in-universe.

    I basically agree that TrekLit is better the deeper it gets (better in a way that approaches being objectively better). But is it feasible? I don't know. The TrekLitVerse almost seems insular now. Part of what was nice about the Cold Equations trilogy was that any Star Trek fan could pick it up and be totally okay and into the story. David Mack and DRGIII, despite their best efforts, can't quite say the same thing about their latest works (in my opinion). And not that that makes them bad! But it's starting to feel limiting in the stories that can be told in the 24th-century line. It's like, everything has to advance the Typhon Pact storyline.

  5. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

    Jan 25, 2003
    New York, NY
    Jeremy Miller (whose homage character in A Ceremony of Losses is hidden behind an anagram: Rellim Eryjem) is named for a friend of mine, a man who works as an event coordinator/producer. I met him through the GMX (Geek Media Expo) convention in Tennessee in 2012.
  6. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Commodore Commodore

    Jan 10, 2003
    In Diefenbaker's Nightmares
    ^ Cool. Thanks for the info!
  7. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

    Oct 9, 2005
    Massachusetts, USA
    I just had to vote outstanding!
  8. Sakrysta

    Sakrysta Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 10, 2001
    Loved it. Mack is awesome. My only disappointment was in Ishan's overt villainy. I wouldn't say that he was poorly written or unrealistic. I was just disappointed that he wasn't a more nuanced character. For some reason I had the impression from The Crimson Shadow that he wasn't all bad. Oh well. I think Cort Enaren would be a good choice. I like Akaar where he is as head of Starfleet. I think Picard has a couple steps yet before being presidential candidate material. I could see Nechayev gunning for the job. I don't think the Andorian would necessarily be a bad choice, but considering the upheaval their world is going through, I know I would be leery of voting for one of their leaders for Federation President, even if that person was against the secession.

    Definitely loved the book though. Glad to see Julian reclaiming his principles. Very eager to see where things go from here.
  9. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

    I voted outstanding! Loved this book. We got to talk to David on Literary Treks about the book.
  10. jla1987

    jla1987 Ensign Red Shirt

    Feb 10, 2012
    Best Trek book I've read all year! Fast paced! Just pure excellence! :bolian:
  11. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

  12. Kertrats47

    Kertrats47 Commodore Commodore

    May 3, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I have to agree with pretty much everything in your review, Matthew. Loved this one! However, just one little tiny nitpick - it's "President pro tem," not "term." It's short for "pro tempore," which is Latin for "for the time being."
  13. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Dec 26, 2002
    I finished reading this book.This one of the best books I've read this year. This is a great interview with David Mack.I can't wait to get Dis avowed and find out what happens to Julian Bashir.After listening to this interview and David talking about Diavowed I can't wait to get this book..:techman::evil:
  14. Jakks

    Jakks Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 10, 2009
    California - U. S. A.
    Finished A Ceremony of Losses by David Mack a couple of days ago. Really enjoyed it. As a 'middle' book in a series I felt D-Mack did a great job of focusing on a central plot (Bashir) and yet moving the overall story forward.

    I like the Akaar subplot quite a bit and am looking forward to seeing it play out in the remaining books. Also liked seeing the Andorian situation dealt with...tho Andor seemingly jumping instantly right back into the UFP did feel rushed...I can live with it.

    Two Thumbs-Up!
  15. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Commodore Commodore

    Jan 10, 2003
    In Diefenbaker's Nightmares
    Not to be confused with "President pro tempura", which indicates they were deep fried in batter. Possibly more common with Antedeans or Phylosians.
  16. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

    Thank you for catching the typo! I'm really bad about that :rommie:
  17. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

    I'm with you, this was a wonderful book that left me craving more!
  18. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

    Nov 28, 1999
    New York City
    This made me snarf my coffee. Bravo.

    (Deep-fried president!!!!!!!!)
  19. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

    Aug 19, 2008
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Re-reading the novel, I was struck by the description of the Andor News Service. A news service that hid, behind a rhetoric of telling the truth about what was really going on to the masses, a very strongly and irresponsibly partisan message linked to one of two major ideological factions? Fox News came to mind.
  20. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jun 2, 2012
    Yorkshire, UK
    VGD presented Federation news services as improved in quality. For example, only stories with three independent sources would be published.

    In contrast, Andoria's media (and society) were presented as backward already in Paths of Disharmony. The conduct of Andorian media outlets bore a striking resemblance to 21st century US counterparts. Thus, that behaviour does have continuity.