Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Mr Light, Oct 28, 2013.
They aren't in exact chronological order. The numbering is more an intended reading order.
I don't think it's even that. I think I heard once that it was more a matter of authors' scheduling. Really, the first four Typhon Pact books are all standalones, the only common thread being that they tell stories involving one or more members of the Pact -- a thematic crossover in the vein of things like Invasion! or Gateways or Section 31.
^Yeah, I'm pretty sure when they came out the authors said you could read them in any order.
Finished "Rough Beasts of Empire". I wasn't so crazy about this one, mainly for the characterization of Sisko which I had a major problem with throughout. Also, I didn't really get Donatra's actions, either. How stupid is she to march into the enemy's den? And I also found her committing suicide to be questionable as well.
I just thought of something as well; the only African-American lead in Star Trek divorces his wife and abandons his 4 year old daughter. I think I read somewhere that Brooks wasn't happy with the ending of DS9 because he went into the Temple rather than be with his pregnant wife; this is much worse than that! Hopefully he doesn't read it Not a choice I would have made...
I've started the Picard/Shran book. No opinion so far. It's a little weird because I think I'm about 80 pages into it and there's no villain so far, and I have no idea which Typhon Pact nation is going to be the bad guy.
Keep in mind that RBoE is the first book in a 3-part arc that continues in Plagues of Night and Raise the Dawn. By itself, it's just the setup without the resolution. What would you think of Sisko's characterization if you'd only seen "Emissary" and not the rest of the series?
Do you mean Picard/Shar, i.e. Paths of Disharmony? Shran is Jeffrey Combs's character from Enterprise.
1. As Christopher said, this arc will pay off in Plagues of Night/Raise the Dawn. Have some patience.
2. It's important to understand something about Sisko's motivations: He is not abandoning Kassidy and Rebecca, he is attempting to protect them in the only way he knows how. Remember, he knows from his time in the Wormhole that the Prophets can see possible futures, and they warned him that to stay with Kassidy would lead to great suffering -- which he believes means his wife and daughter are in great danger. He doesn't want to leave them; he is doing it because he believes it is necessary.
I understand the internal rationale within the story, but it just really rubs me the wrong way, and it looks bad for the franchise. I'm sure they redeem the character in future novels, but in this one story, at this point, it's bad. I'm surprised Fox News didn't have a field day with this or something
Donatra didn't commit suicide, she was murdered by the Tzenkethi. Remember when she smacked the PADD against the wall? It was unbreakable. She couldn't have killed herself with it.
Did they outright say that in the book? Because they cut away from her being all sad and depressed, then they announce her suicide, and that wrap up scene with the Tzenkethi lady states that she didn't even have to do anything with Donatra or something like that.
No, both of the deaths were done by the Tzenkethi. Part of the purpose of that book was to show just how subtle the schemes of the Tzenkethi were - we never even saw the Tzenkethi character, between the beginning and end, but she made it happen.
Sisko isn't "abandoning" Rebecca. The racist stereotype you're referencing is about black men supposedly shrugging "meh" and wandering off into the sunset because they don't care about their children and lack a sense of basic familial responsibility. That clearly doesn't describe Sisko or have anything to do with how Sisko's story unfolds in Rough Beasts. Nor do Sisko's actions - which are not those of the stereotype anyway - have anything to do with his race, nor is his skin colour/facial features of any relevance at any point.
I don't understand this argument that the book is treading on dangerous ground by having Sisko choose to sever contact with his family out of a conviction that staying will subject them to danger.
And again, RBoE is not the whole story. It's act one of a three-act story.
Spoiler: Plagues of Night/Raise the Dawn
In fact, doesn't Kasidy eventually convince Ben that he was wrong to leave his family, even in the belief that it was necessary for their protection? Isn't that, ultimately, a strong statement against the idea of a father leaving his family? Fictional characters can make mistakes without it being a condemnation of whatever ethnic or cultural group they happen to belong to, or even a condemnation of the characters as individuals. There's no shame in making a mistake, as long as you learn from it.
^If DRG3 had a fraction of Kirsten Beyer's talent in writing that kind of personal story then maybe this would not be coming up so often and that continuation would have been clear. If he had a fraction of Una McCormack's talent then he probably would could have been effective in his Romulan plots. If he had a fraction of Mack's talent for pacing then maybe his novels would not feel so ponderous or that he is trying to cram a 1000 page epic into aroung a quarter of that page count. If he had a fraction of CLB's vision and buy in to the optimistic future then maybe his work would not feel so soulless.
There is not anything that he does that other author's don't do a hell of a lot better.
^ And this post is some bullshit right here.
DRG3 has a sense of epic scope, a talent for writing sensory and emotional detail, and a capacity for using familiar elements in amazingly unfamiliar ways that none of those authors match.
I adore Beyer, McCormack, Mack, and Bennett but you could write a similar paragraph about each of them, couldn't you?
Ahem: "If Bennett had a fraction of Beyer's ability to justify every emotional arc, or Una McCormack's facility with developing alien cultures, or a fraction of Mack's ability to write action scenes, or DRG3's graceful ability to incorporate continuity in surprising ways, then maybe his books wouldn't suck!" But that of course understates Christopher's detailed use of science, his delightful explanations of glaring canon inconsistencies, and his optimism.
Like whichever authors you like; I'm not saying you have to love DRG3. But there's a difference between "I don't like DRG3's particular strengths and weaknesses as an author" and "there is not anything he does that other authors don't do a hell of a lot better". No one else could, or would, have written Serpents Among The Ruins. Or Crucible: McCoy. Or Raise The Dawn, for that matter. And those are TrekLit classics.
Rough Beasts isn't his best, no, but it's also just a beginning. Considering Beasts / Plagues / Dawn as one story, it's one of TrekLit's most magnificent epics, and Beasts has all the setup that makes the other two possible.
Go back and read the comments made when RBoE first came out, and you'll see that to many readers, myself included, it was clear at the time that the book represented the beginning of a new arc -- that it was parallelling "Emissary," starting a new character journey for Sisko by putting him in a dark place like where he'd been in the series pilot. I mean, this was the first DS9 novel set in the post-Destiny era, so it was pretty clear to me that it was intended as the beginning of a new storyline. I've never understood the reactions of readers who assumed it was the end of Sisko's journey or something. Why would they bring DS9 back for only one book?
Because, to be frank, some just have very poor reading comprehension skills.
For myself I can't emphasise enough how much of a game-changer that 2-parter PoN / RtD was. I bought them due to reception they were getting here, having found ZSG OK but that was about it.
At the time the post-Destiny Trekverse was, understandably, pretty grim. While I really liked the attention to detail in considering the sheer destructive impact of the Borg's invasion, there's a limit to how much I want of that. Unfortunately, if the success of Game of Thrones and others is anything to go by, lots of people like to wallow in that. I'm not that audience, but could well see it as a likely direction to go in. RBoE on its own would have only underlined this, but I didn't read that as a standalone, I had that pair prepped on the shelf!
The duo went and did what I had never contemplated - they flipped everything on its head. They showed a battered but recovering Federation, a belligerent but not stupidly destructive Typhon Pact, particularly the Romulans. Where another series would have used the events here to kick off a new war, the books went in entirely the opposite direction, even being able to render Kamenor's diplomatic gambit with Bacco exciting. That's quite an accomplishment right there.
In effect, while showing the effects of the Borg invasion would linger, to invoke Picard's line in Peaceable Kingdoms, they showed that the stories now and onwards would not be dominated or defined by them. It scaled back the doom 'n' gloom, didn't end the threats but opened the door to managing them.
So in conclusion, I don't think anyone would doubt there'd be a continuation of the story after RBoE, but I don't think anyone could have predicted the surprising nature of the continuation.
To answer your last question, with one word: Ascendents.
I doubt any of us thought that DS9 was intentionally only being brought back for one book. But I think many of us were very conscious of the way storylines can and sometimes are just dropped in TrekLit, for real-world reasons. With the DS9 line, of course, the most frustrating example of this was the cessation following The Soul Key, which has left us, to this day, without a firm resolution to the Ascendents storyline.
And it's not just The Soul Key that's been left unresolved. Since then, we've seen Fallen Gods go without a direct follow-up. Before that, the Rihannsu books went a long time without resolution, and my understanding is that it was for a long time not a sure thing that such a resolution would ever be published. So it was plausible that RBoE would suffer a similar fate, particularly since DS9 has for a while now appeared to be the red-headed stepchild of the TrekLit line.
I think the reaction against Rough Beasts of Empire was partly motivated by fear that we never would get a follow-up, or that we would, but only after a very long time, and that, potentially, the final word on Sisko would be very depressing indeed.
Now, don't get me wrong. I think the reaction was inappropriate in its extreme nature, and I think that DRGIII endured way too much vitriol on this board for the book. But I also think it's worth understanding why we saw the reaction that we did.
Okay, that's understandable. Still, if that's the basis for the reaction, then it's misplaced criticism to accuse DRGIII himself of intending to make Sisko a deadbeat dad, as if this were supposed to be the final event of his story forevermore. I felt it was always clear that it was meant to be a personal and emotional setback that he'd need to grow beyond, just as he grew beyond his depression and fixation on the past in "Emissary." Sisko is unlike any other Trek lead, except Pike and Abramsverse Kirk, in that he was introduced at one of the darkest points of his life, so that his story was about his personal recovery and redemption. To me, it was always clear that RBoE was meant to recapitulate that process, that it was starting Sisko out at a bad place so that he could outgrow it.
Yeah, I agree that it's misplaced criticism.
That said, though: people are more likely to misplace their criticism when they get upset. In fact, I think a significant majority of the criticism DRGIII received about RBoE was just readers trying find reasons to justify their emotional reactions, even if only to themselves. (Stuff like this happens all the time– if you embarrass someone by pointing out something they did wrong, you're likely to get a range of very loud and equally ludicrous arguments about how what they did wasn't wrong after all. It's just about saving face.)
Very keen analysis about Sisko and the recapitulation that occurred in RBoE. I think it's an interesting angle to play on him, but I do wish, to a certain degree, that a different direction had been taken. A story of Sisko's recovery and redemption was already told, on the show. I'd love to have seen Sisko renavigating young parenthood, how that interacts with having a grown child already, how it's different from when he was a junior officer, etc.
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