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

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

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Rate A Ceremony of Losses.

  1. Outstanding

    72 vote(s)
    60.5%
  2. Above Average

    38 vote(s)
    31.9%
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    8 vote(s)
    6.7%
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  1. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I wondered the same thing - not much of an agent post this book without some serious face reconstruction.
     
  2. Snaploud

    Snaploud Admiral Admiral

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    ^I can only assume somebody "higher-up" (if such a thing even exists in Section 31) has taken a liking to Bashir. Perhaps the higher-up even sees Bashir as a potential successor to run the organization.

    As a foot-soldier: Bashir would be a terrible Section 31 agent. As head of the organization, though...? That might be a different story...
     
  3. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    But facial reconstruction is ridiculously easy for Federation medicine.

    And so far as we know, the only other genetically-engineered agents Section 31 has ever had were Locken and Sarina. Locken went rogue, and Sarina turns out to be a double agent who's actually working for Starfleet Intelligence to infiltrate Section 31 and bring it down.
     
  4. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    He could still work behind the scenes, and his analitical mind is one of the best in the Federation, thanks to his genetic engineering. It's a matter of pros vs cons, and I guess some agents consider him a boon, while others feel he is to dangerous. It's been established that even S31 agents are still individuals with their own thoughts, and don't all agree on everything.
     
  5. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    Weird, can't remember that. Could you be more specific? In spoiler tags if need be.
     
  6. CaffeineAddict

    CaffeineAddict Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Quark tells his hostess to get checks to tables 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42.
     
  7. Nob Akimoto

    Nob Akimoto Captain Captain

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    Well clearly Section 31 also does stuff like engineering biogenic weapons that infect the Founders and such not. Perhaps they want Bashir for his skills in medicine/science to do R&D and not necessarily as a field agent.

    Given that he was able to cure the Founder disease, and also create a stable Andorian genome...well what sort of scary shit can they get him to work on? Making S31 agents immortal, maybe?
     
  8. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    Completely missed that! Fantastic! :D
     
  9. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    As for the character of Ishan, and the captain of the Warpsite....

    I can see how some people feel these characters don't make sense, especially in a society like the Federation where everybody is supposed to be enlightened. DS9 already started showing us that there's more then just black or white, and some characters can be up to 'no good'. But compared to some worldleaders from recent history (some of them dictators, others chosen by the people), characters like Ishan are more plausible to me then some might think.

    As for the captain of the Warspite.... He was established as a young captain, I'm guessing someone who moved up mostly because no one else was available after the massive number of officers killed during both the Dominion War and the Borg Invasion. These young officers weren't nurtured to become well-balanced commanders of starships, they were 'raised', so to speak, in an era of violence and constant vigillence. That breeds a certain type of character. And in a way, he made a good contrast for Ezri, who was also elevated to captaincy simply because no one was available. She struggles with her consience in this one, following orders for the sake of following orders. The captain of the Warspite is a clear example of a captain who only does what he's told, no matter what. A mirror, so to say, for Ezri.

    Atleast, that's how I saw it.
     
  10. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think anyone has made the argue that he doesn't make sense? My problem isn't that - it's that he's so badly written and so obviously the villain of the piece or their dupe that there is no nuance in how he is written and the reader is chapters ahead (or even as much as a book ahead) than the characters and that's just bad writing.
     
  11. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    I see what you mean, but 'm not sure I agree. Sometimes it's interesting to see the characters come to conclusions you've already made. Atleast, to some people it can be. To others, not. I'm not sure of that's bad writing, or a matter of taste.
    Take Columbo. As the viewer, we always knew who did it. Some people liked that, others didn't. Matter of taste.
     
  12. Elias Vaughn

    Elias Vaughn Captain Captain

    So, am I the only one really hoping that the writers throw a curveball and make Ishan not the overplot villain?

    Honestly, I'm hoping he's the legitimate next President and his chief of staff or something masterminded the assassination.
     
  13. E-DUB

    E-DUB Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In other news, Bashir certainly seems a shoo-in for the Nobel prize for Medicine. (As well as other mentioned awards that I don't remember the names of.)
     
  14. Mimi

    Mimi Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Yeah, I'm not entirely sure he's the mastermind yet either. I wouldn't go as far to call him a good character, but we honestly haven't seen that much of him. It feels like there's still a lot more to go to this scandal.

    Just my thoughts on the matter, but. My suspicion is that Ishan is being maneuvered to the presidency because he's volatile. It seems too convenient that the prime suspect is currently a Cardassian group, which a Bajoran would naturally flip out over.

    The way Dygan found out about the true way is a bit suspicious too. Cardassians usually aren't so sloppy that they'd be bragging about a covert operation. It seems like, while Cardassians probably pulled the trigger, someone else did the planning.

    But as to who would benefit from all this chaos, I'm not sure.
     
  15. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

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    Perfect!
     
  16. Nob Akimoto

    Nob Akimoto Captain Captain

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    The jacket summaries from the next two books do make it sound like Ishan's more the Manchurian Candidate and less the mastermind.
     
  17. ITCH

    ITCH Ensign Red Shirt

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    Hey! For a Lab rat with no training in this kind of activities he didn't completely suck in Zero Sum Game! But you present an interesting idea.

    Remember L’Haan said Section 31 is helping Bashir not because they are so naïve to think he’ll turn into one of them. They did it because if he succeeded it will help their interests if not, he would sink by himself assuming they don’t blast him to micropieces first.

    In ZSG Bashir threw Hipocrates along with his oath and toga down the airlock because SI convinced him that participating in that mission would save lives and delay war (although, I think he was also thinking with his “little head” and wanted to go along because of Sarina).

    In Ceremony he still thinks Section 31 is immoral but when it comes to use its help it suddenly wasn’t so bad to reach to them!

    What does it all say about Bashir’s character? That he is a “the goals justify the means” kind of man. As L’Haan said, Bashir’s weakness is not his pride or ego but his romanticism (since he obviously doesn’t have a quest for power).

    Now that he doesn’t have a job or medical license and tons of time to read and watch TV (assuming they have Comcast in the asteroid), if Section 31 manage to break him free from jail and presents him with a stunning power point presentation about how many lives the organization saved during all its years through its actions and a great pension plan as Section 31 Director in Training. What would Bashir do? Say "no" and go back to knock on the asteroid door to get back to jail?
     
  18. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Ah, but Ishan wasn't raised in the Federation. He was raised on Occupied Bajor, and has only been a Federate himself for ten years. It's not implausible to imagine that even some high-powered people from worlds that have been under such oppression might emerge with warped values.

    And besides, the Federation has never wanted for Evil Admirals.

    There's that, and then there's his point of view. What does he know? He knows that Bashir stole classified Federation data, and he believes that he's out to share it with a world that has seceded from the Federation and whose government is letting the Typhon Pact court them. I would no more expect him to be sympathetic to Bashir than I would anyone who lacks a full understanding of the situation.

    I mean, I don't think anyone claimed Ishan wouldn't be the villain of A Ceremony of Losses. The premise behind the story is clear: Bashir wants to save the Andorians, and everyone else wants to stop him because of their political agenda. This is only bad writing if you expect moral ambiguity where there really is none to be found.

    And nothing about Ishan's politics is implausible or unprecedented in the real world or the world of Star Trek. We live in a real world where the President of the world's most powerful democracy recently launched an invasion of a crippled, militarily impotent third-rate Middle Eastern country and claimed it was justified self-defense. And the world of Star Trek is already one where the 24th Century Federation is willing to let species go extinct from natural disasters because of their Prime Directive.

    Even if Ishan is not the mastermind behind Bacco's assassination -- and that's an entirely plausible scenario -- I sincerely doubt that he could continue to hold office if his own chief of staff turns out to have plotted the assassination. That's just not the sort of thing a politician's career can survive.

    Edited to add:

    My prediction? Andorian M.P. and Progressive Party Leader Kellessar zh'Tarash will win the 2385 Special Federation Presidential Election. We'll soon be seeing Captain Picard sign off on conversations from the Palais by saying, "Thank you, Zha President."
     
  19. Masiral

    Masiral Captain Captain

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    This was an amazing novel. The conflict between morality and legality was very interesting. I especially enjoyed Dr. Pulaski's appearance. She's a really underused character, and it's nice to see her again.
     
  20. JeBuS

    JeBuS Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Am I the only one who has struggled with the depictions of Sarina Douglas in the novels? It's like she's not really a character of her own, just an extension of Julian for plot-telling purposes. I can't get a sense of her character, other than "Julian's significant other."

    She's been used as a viewpoint character quite a bit, but the only thing we ever really see from her is "I'm doing this because Julian."
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013