The Children of Kings

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Man of Steel, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. Smiley

    Smiley Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm not sure what more we could have seen in the denouement of this novel about Starfleet Intelligence. There will be repercussions for Pike, but the main thing is that the cloaking specs did not make it back to SI.

    I honestly did not notice any of the deviations from the Prime continuity. The characters of Pike, Boyce, Number One, and Spock were written well and felt like the same people from "The Cage" a little earlier in their careers. I especially like the way the book ends with a twist on a classic moment from that pilot.

    The book itself is riveting. Each of the plotlines is interesting, and they blend together sweetly by the end. I would agree with the poster who gave this a 4/5, although it's an 8/10 on my scale. It is worthy of being read more than once.

    One of my only complaints is the Russian captain. I get that we were supposed to hear the stereotypical Russian accent in his dialogue, but the frequent word-dropping did not seem in character for such an intelligent man. I would expect him to either speak in complete sentences in English or speak Russian with the UT activated.
     
  2. ClayinCA

    ClayinCA Commodore Commodore

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    I definitely agree. The only two things I noticed that differed from 'The Cage' were (as others have noted) the presence of Colt as Pike's Yeoman and the usage of phasers instead of lasers as weaponry. The former didn't bother me, as I figured Colt might have been a secondary yeoman or something, who moved up to full-time service after the Rigel VII incident, and as for the latter, I just assumed it was a technological ret-conning on the basis of what we now know about what lasers can do.

    My favorite small character bit, which I'd actually like to see followed up on in any future Dave Stern-penned Pike-era novels, is the comment from the female captain (sorry, I've forgotten her name), "Don't talk to me about Robert April." I laughed out loud at that.
     
  3. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Meh.

    I hate it when Trek books go through all the rigamarole of establishing a long-dead aspect of the history of some culture, only to totally destroy it and have it not matter at all in the end. ("Oh shit all the priceless historical artifacts got blown out the hull breach! Guess we won't be learning anything from that!") This book at least leaves part of the ending (the serum/Orion leadership) ambiguous, but unless this chick shows up leading the Orions again in Vanguard or something, it pretty much has to be a non-starter.

    Plus, for being a novel set in such a big gap in Trek history, it did basically dick-all to give us any new information about either galactic affairs or particular characterizations. Spock's tendency towards run-on sentences was a joke more than a character trait and kind of dumb, and no one else exhibited any real characteristics of any kind. Even Boyce was sort of McCoy-lite. The Lost Era novels gave an incredible sense of the many decades of history through which they ran; this told me nothing at all.

    All in all, the alternate universe aspects of it weren't interesting enough to be worthwhile, it also didn't tell us anything new about the prime universe, and the story was a giant dead end with some false ambiguity added on. I'm not the biggest fan of standalones in general, but even still I think this was a pretty bad one.

    Inception, Unspoken Truth, and this have been a pretty uninspiring run of TOS novels. I am not very impressed.
     
  4. kkozoriz1

    kkozoriz1 Fleet Captain

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    There was a mention of the Ferengi when Number One was doing her research. That pretty much rules out the prime universe.
     
  5. ProtoAvatar

    ProtoAvatar Fleet Captain

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    The ferengi were known since Enterprise - by name Ent: Dear Doctor and appearance.
    Little contact does not mean unknown.
     
  6. kkozoriz1

    kkozoriz1 Fleet Captain

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    Known is one thing although the impression from TNG is that they are a recent contact. Number One was accessing their database. That's a bit more than knowing their name and what they look like.
     
  7. Dayton Ward

    Dayton Ward Word Pusher Rear Admiral

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    "Encounter at Farpoint" and "The Last Outpost" seem to vary so far as the Federation's knowledge of the Ferengi. "EaF" makes it sound as though they've been known for some time, given Picard's remark about them finding the Denebians as tasty as their past associates (though that could be chalked up to rumors, "legends," tall stories, and so on). "TLO" definitely makes it sound like this is a relatively new contact, though.
     
  8. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's almost sort of a moot point regarding the Ferengi in this book. Since it's pretty much in it's own continuity, it could very well be that the first official contact between the Federation and the Ferengi happened more than a century prior to "The Last Outpost" here. By the time Picard ultimately encounters them, the Ferengi could be as well known as the Klingons (just to use an example).
     
  9. kkozoriz1

    kkozoriz1 Fleet Captain

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    Exactly. It's not a Jeffrey Hunter Pike Novel. It MAY be a Bruce Greenwood Pike novel. It may even be a different Pike altogether.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Well, it's not exactly Abramsverse, since the '09 movie showed the Enterprise's first mission. Though maybe it could work as a loose prequel to the Abrams movie if you substituted a different ship for the Enterprise.
     
  11. kkozoriz1

    kkozoriz1 Fleet Captain

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    Or, in the Abramsverse had an earlier Enterprise that wasn't a Constitution class. Was it ever refereed to as Constitution class or by NCC-1701? Either way, it's not Prime Universe.
     
  12. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    With the exception of 'Black Snow', I saw nothing that precluded this from taking place in the Prime universe. Even then I thought the author attempted to make it wash with 'Balance of Terror'.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    As stated, there's the reference to consulting the Ferengi database. And there are some slight differences in the crew makeup -- Pitcairn as chief engineer rather than transporter chief, Garison as a lieutenant instead of a chief petty officer, Colt already serving as Pike's yeoman before "The Cage" -- though those could be chalked up to differences in interpretation.

    And the whole Black Snow/cloaking device thing is a pretty big exception. "Balance of Terror" showed Spock treating cloaking tech as something new and largely theoretical, something he hadn't encountered before. True, ENT has established that some form of cloaking tech existed more than a century sooner, but that isn't irreconcilable with Spock having no direct, personal experience with the tech.

    At the very least, TCoK differs from the Romulan story in Seven Deadly Sins on the chronology and origins of Klingon cloaking technology.
     
  14. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    I think the Ferengi database isn't an issue. The later shows were never consistent as to what was known about the Ferengi when.

    Were Pitcairn and Garison ever given names in The Cage? I've seen them listed in the transcripts as characters but never referred to by name on screen.

    "I think Spock's promise to the Klingon Commander (whose name escapes me at the moment) helps cover him in 'Balance of Terror'.

    Colt does throw a wrench in things. Which is weird because she doesn't really serve a purpose that required the character to be Colt.

    Haven't read Seven Deadly Sins... haven't read much in the way of Trek books in a while.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, I guess it's open to individual interpretation, and I think that was kind of the point -- to tell a story that isn't definitively bound to a given continuity.
     
  16. RookieBatman

    RookieBatman Commodore Commodore

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    I don't know if this'll seem like a nitpick, but didn't you say before (back when we just had a back-cover blurb) that the cloaking thing needn't be a violation of continuity, since the cloak seen here could've just been obsolete by the time of TOS (or something to that effect)?
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^I'm not talking about the cloaking technology itself, I'm talking about Spock's personal experience with it. "Balance of Terror" gave me the impression that he'd never encountered cloaking tech before or thought about it much, since he described it as merely "theoretically possible." I think if he'd actually encountered cloaking technology (of any sort) a dozen or so years earlier, he would've spoken more authoritatively about it.
     
  18. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    My only confusion is that Dave Stern describes it as a "prequel" to Star Trek 2009. It's the only continuity that the story doesn't fit with in some way. :lol:
     
  19. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Stern may like to think his book is a prequel to Star Trek XI, but even by his own admission didn't feel the need to be tied down to any one continuity of Trek with this book. IMO, he combined aspects of both the prime and alternate universes and added or altered a few bits of his own...
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Maybe he meant it was more of a spiritual prequel -- i.e. readers who didn't care that much about continuity details could choose to imagine it as a previous adventure of the Bruce Greenwood Pike and the Zachary Quinto Spock. Though in that sense it could also work as a spiritual prequel to "The Cage."
     

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