Spoilers TF: The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Sho, Sep 17, 2013.

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Rate The Crimson Shadow.

  1. Outstanding

    79 vote(s)
    68.1%
  2. Above Average

    29 vote(s)
    25.0%
  3. Average

    6 vote(s)
    5.2%
  4. Below Average

    2 vote(s)
    1.7%
  5. Poor

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. sportzkid

    sportzkid Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Agree to me it seemed that is where it was going.
     
  2. Patrick O'Brien

    Patrick O'Brien Captain Captain

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    Finally started to read this one. Must say I am enjoying the book immensely. Elim Garak is one of the great characters from DS9 and Una does a great job writing his character:bolian:
     
  3. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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    Some spoilers, but I guess it's been long enough since the publication to hide them. Anyway, they're below, so if you want to avoid them, don't read :)



    I loved that finally someone was remembering Garak's dark and nasty past and that whitewashing so present in other Treklit was not present here (to the same degree).

    What I didn't like is that such a person, which such past, became a ruler of the whole Union. The "oh, I so don't want to be like my horrible daddy" didn't impress me. Garak should be tried for his crimes (if not anything else, then at least to remind that torture, murder and other bad deeds do not go forgotten and forbidden), not elected to power. It seems only a Bajoran shared my view on this ;)

    I love the book, I loved the intrigue, the mystery, the complications and I read it with great pleasure. I love it also for calling on Garak's past, because I'm tired of him being elected to an "awesome, perfect Cardassian" just because he's popular among fans. I'm disappointed about the ending, because, in a way, it cancelled the whole "past Order torturer" plot.

    But that's just me, because I come from a country where we try to imprison our Garaks, not elect them presidents :P ;)
     
  4. Mimi

    Mimi Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I think if Cardassia was more akin to the federation or even the society we have today, Garak might have been held responsible for his actions in the past. But obviously, Cardassia isn't the federation.

    The problem with trying anyone like Garak would be twofold: first, you would need to find someone willing to come forward. Parmak is something of an exception to the rule. Just about any person Garak has met from his 'old days' has been terrified of him. Everything else about him can't really be substantiated. The only time Garak seemed to get into legal trouble before his exile was over Procal Dukat's death, and there likely isn't anyone from the Dukat family willing to dig that up again.

    The other problem is that a vast majority of Cardassian leadership is culpable in some form brutality or another. Even the more honorable Cardassians, like Tekeny, had dark origins. If you're going to put Garak on trial, you're also going to have to dredge up a huge amount of people to go with him- and at a time when Cardassia is weak, and in need of these 'leadership' type individuals.

    I think the recent novels have done a good job showing Cardassia as a country marked with guilt. Garak might not have stood trial, but I don't think its a fair reading to say that anyone forgot, least of all Garak. He carries a lot of guilt over the fact that all the 'good' cardassians seem to have been murdered or destroyed, and still he remains.

    Finally, you also have to remember Garak's competition. Temet managed to dodge a very ugly rape trial and was surrounded by scandal. It wasn't like Garak vs. Normal Guy Candidate. During the election I'm sure there was plenty dug up about Garak, but there's probably an equal level of awful surrounding Temet. Garak can at least claim to be repentant. Temet is implied to be trying to cover things up.

    As I said before, it really isn't so much that Garak is the right man for the job. He's just the only one that can currently hold the job long enough for the new generation of Cardassians [IE; Dygan, Dakal, Rugal, ect] to be able to take over.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
  5. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

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    ^^ Garak is what Putin should have been ;)
     
  6. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I hope to read this novel sometime . I've read the other books in this series and they were terrific stories!:techman:
     
  7. TJ Sinclair

    TJ Sinclair Captain Captain

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    Okay, so before I get into an edit war over on Memory Beta... am I missing something here? There's several (anonymous) editors who keep insisting that Garak and Parmak are in a romantic relationship.

    Now, I certainly see some subtext between the two, but no more than there ever was with Garak and Bashir. The kiss at the end seemed to be more in benediction, a reflection of philia or agape rather than eros.

    Or am I completely missing something, and the two are actually a couple? They certainly could be, but it doesn't seem to me that they are, or that the text indicates such.

    Has Una said anything about it?
     
  8. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's heavily implied, but nothing definitive in the text itself in my opinion.

    Una gave a pretty spoiler-heavy interview about TCS to trek.fm's Literary Treks, but I'm not sure at the moment if that topic came up.
     
  9. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

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    True it is subtextual. The two scenes most important are the (i) one when Garak reveals himself to Parmak after his assassination, and (ii) After the Fall.

     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2013
  10. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

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    And the letter too, with the repetition of "My dearest Kelas". In truth the text is not overt about a sexual relationship, but it is certainly clear that these two aging men love one another, that they are 'companions' or 'partners' who spend their time together and are either platonically loving (with a certain tactility - this is Garak of course!) or sexual. I also wonder if it is suggested that Kelas cohabits with Garak, rather than just gardens with him. Certainly I don't think it is intended that he leaves the night of the dinner with the Picards.

    Let us not forget that Garak on TV was introduced as sexually ambiguous - something that was done deliberately (and even aggressively) by writers, director and actor, but was too much for 1993 and put on the shelf. Andrew Robinson jokes about it in the Companion (alas not with me at present, but doesn't he say how he thinks of Garak as omnisexual?).

    And in TCS his sexual admiration for men emerges in his frank review of Temet:

    I would leave it like that, although I did edit either the Akret or Parmak article to refer to the latter as Garak's partner. Perhaps 'companion' or 'dearest friend' are more appropriate.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2013
  11. JeBuS

    JeBuS Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't think those quotes are at all clear as to the nature of their relationship. In fact, they seem purposefully vague. I can read them as yes, they're in a romantic relationship. Alternatively, I can read them as being in a lifelong friendship that is closer to brotherhood. Either relationship could offer the same love and support. It's in the eye of the beholder, though.
     
  12. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

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    Yah, I agree, they are purposefully vague. Which is true to Una's style - she never makes a fuss out of these things. But perhaps also true about a book whose central concerns are about subtle changes in culture and the effects of emerging from repressive cultures.
     
  13. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

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    No, it never did. Among many themes, the podcast dealt with Garak's penitential actions and some other (somewhat Jungian/archetypical) Christian religious themes in the text; contemporary political and German post WW2 influences; her British perspective on an American TV product and critiquing it through writing; and Garak's relationship with Picard (and somewhat Sisko - I really like Una's idea that Garak did not respect Sisko as an intellectual, but could - and did - Picard. The interviewer, I think, disagreed, but never was mean - trying to suggest otherwise).
     
  14. Mimi

    Mimi Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Personally, I didn't see them as being in a relationship. At least not yet. Garak's internal monologue is generally pretty up front with the reader- I don't think there would be any question if they were in a relationship. Its not something he'd hide.

    Parmak and Garak seem to have more of a romantic friendship at the moment. In fact, Garak seems to be surprisingly affectionate with all of his friends. If you look back through the book, he's constantly making physical contact with others. Parmak is the only one we've actually seen returning those gestures, where as the others mostly pulled away.

    The sense I get from Garak is he might be a little too dysfunctional for a relationship at the moment. This is a guy who has lost two loves of his life. And depending on how you read his relationship with Bashir, potentially a third. That takes a lot out of you. I think there's definitely still room for another with Parmak, it just might take some time for that to actually develop. Or it might stay forever platonic.

    It would be nice to learn more about Parmak in the future, outside of his relationship with Garak. We honestly don't know all that much about him. I can't even think of a description of what he looks like being said in either A Stitch in Time or The Crimson Shadow. We know he is a doctor, we know his backstory with Garak, and we know he's roughly Garak's age. He was also good friends with Alon. But that's honestly about it. Is he married? What does he do other than 'doctor'? Does he have family?

    Regardless of how the relationship plays out though, I hope we see more of it. Their banter with each other was a great part of the book. I really like that Parmak is supportive without taking the same 'preachy' tone as Bashir often does. Parmak seems to trust Garak to make his own choices, but is always there to offer input.
     
  15. Masiral

    Masiral Captain Captain

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    I think this kiss is more of a long-time friend/companion/brother sort of thing - like Aragorn kissing Boromir's brow when he dies (in the movie at least, I don't remember if that happens in the book).
     
  16. TJ Sinclair

    TJ Sinclair Captain Captain

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    Okay, thanks for weighing in, everyone. I'm glad I'm not the only one that sees intentional ambiguity rather than "hey, hey, they're knocking boots and hiding it to save Garak's political career!"

    Whatever a reader might interpret, the text does not conclusively indicate a romantic relationship, nor does it emphatically rule one out. Thus, I don't think Garak or Parmak's articles on Memory Beta should reference them as anything more than close friends.
     
  17. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

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    Yeah, definitely - although I would phrase that he spent much of his time with his "very dear friend" or companion Kelas Parmak. They are so tender, so full of love and care for one another. One needn't be having sex to be with one's current love, and that's what this seems at least. It's like one is reading Charles and Sebastiaan (another ambiguous relationship, though clearly one of love), but much older and much wiser. And like Waugh it is rather beautiful and playful prose.

     
  18. Mimi

    Mimi Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Considering we have no evidence on how gay relationships are treated in Cardassia [particularly among older individuals where children are longer an issue], I'd hate to think people would immediately assume that Garak was hiding it. If anything, Garak seems to have given up hiding things.

    Edit: Or the author, for that matter.
     
  19. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

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    IThere have been two gay relationships between - admittedly only between - Cardassian females in Trek lit - in The Never-Ending Sacrifice and also Mhevet's friends, Coranis and Idrian, in The Crimson Shadow: neither couple hid their relationships. tt may be different with males, with older couples (Coranis and Idrian are presumably middle-aged, like Mhevet).

    Also on the issue of hiding things, this was what Andrew Robinson said about Garak.

     
  20. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

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    But seeing as we're in novels now...problem (partially) resolved.