Titan: Over a Torrent Sea (SPOILERS)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Julio Angel Ortiz, Feb 13, 2009.

  1. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Titan: Over a Torrent Sea

    A lot of people have delivered more "coherent" summaries of their thoughts of the novel, with some hitting on points I would have covered myself if they weren't already. So, I'm going to offer this more in fragments.

    Overall, as a novel, I thought this held up much better than Sword of Damocles, where only the B-plot involving Dakal held my attention. Like Orion's Hounds, the worldbuilding was half the joy of the story...though I do have to admit there were occasions where I scanned just to get the basic gist of it.

    I would say, though, that the amount of imagination behind it was excellent, as was the obvious thought put into what a nonhumanoid perspective might be like. The Cethente scene was wonderfully executed, and though I still have a special first-place award in that for Diane Duane that will not be dislodged, this is probably the best other-author attempt I've seen at capturing truly disparate, non-humanoid mindsets that I've ever seen in Trek lit.

    Regarding the squales...this is just my personal preference, but I would have liked to see a native name--or even a literal translation of a native name--of the squales take over as Lavena and the Titan crew learned more about their culture. Heck...even if they just called themselves "the People," even that, or if it's necessary to translate it, a Selkie term equating to that would've been fine to use. At least to me, there's a lot of power in names and I think that once they established communications, the most polite thing would've been to default to whatever name the squales had chosen for themselves.

    Or maybe Dakal's accidental foot-in-mouth episode was revealing of more than just Dakal's upbringing and biases?

    That is to say...maybe they didn't ask for a name, even when non-humanoids aboard their ship like Cethente of Syrath had names that I presume they had input in choosing, because they were on some level thinking of the squales as non-civilized? Not that I think that mentality was there by the end, but the habit remained and no one questioned it.

    And Dakal...oh my, I felt SO bad for my favorite Cardassian cadet! I know he didn't mean any harm by what he said, but I just wanted to crawl under the table on his behalf. After all, I'm sure Eviku's response to him just had to make him feel awful, especially with the burden of "Cardassian guilt" Dakal seems to carry with him. But I don't think Dakal's problem is speciesism. If anything, he's just "naive" in a certain sense, because he was raised in a society that was very closed to new and unusual ideas, and so when things like this are raised, it's not any particular malice that caused it--it's that he's literally having to assimilate a new idea for the first time. Maybe I'm reading between the lines a bit, but I think that in addition to the snappishness we later found out Eviku was carrying around for a much more understandable reason, there just might, might have been a little bit of a chip on his shoulder about Cardassians and the reputation they have for xenophobia and arrogance. I think that ironically enough, Eviku's own racial prejudices may have made him leap to that conclusion very quickly even about someone he's known for quite some time. That said, I'm very glad Dakal checked Eviku on that. Even in that little exchange, that reflects a bit more self-confidence on Dakal's part than he had in some of the earlier books.

    Wish I could've seen more Dakal! I do understand why the plot didn't call for his specialty so much, though, considering the sensors weren't all that useful in the Droplet system...so to future authors--next time? Pretty pleeeeeease? :D

    As for Eviku...I totally understand where he's coming from about his pet. They're members of the family, and no doubt feeling like his loss wasn't as "worthy" just ate at him...and as I said before, probably reduced his forbearance for others, like Dakal, to zero.

    The Dr. Ree subplot...I know some people here have said it felt contrived. And it WAS very out-of-the-blue. Yet...maybe it's just me, but I felt like Ree did deserve some sort of penance for not accepting Troi's wishes during Destiny. Even in the 21st century, if someone refuses medical assistance, it is not permitted to intervene, and I saw no evidence presented in any of the debate threads about that issue that Troi was not in sound mind when giving said refusal. Plus, I am glad to see that, whether or not you agree with the idea of having an abortion, that it is acknowledged what a major impact it has on the mother, even in a case where it's not followed through on.

    One last note on plot. I really liked the description of the squales' beliefs, AND that Lavena responded to Riker's Biblical quote without condemnation. That was a very moving passage and with its placement, I felt the intro to the Book of John really...resonated, for lack of a better word. I think that was a gutsy thing to write, especially seeing the way anything related to Christianity tends to be received by some Trek fans. I did, though, note the way Lavena referred to Riker's breadth of knowledge, that he would quote from the Bible. It gave the feeling that in the 24th century, that's considered somewhat arcane and not a part of normal culture. If that's the case...then go, Riker! Glad he felt able to say that without shame.

    The last note I have is stylistic. There were times where parentheses were used where I really didn't care for it. That's the typographical equivalent of mumbling and kind of says "not important, not important," about whatever's between them. And sometimes the information between them either WAS important or was quite funny and deserved to have more of an impact than the way it was typed allowed it to have.

    Again, I say an overall good effort and I'm glad to see the Titan series get back on its feet again after Book 4!
     
  2. fleetcaptain

    fleetcaptain Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Titan: Over a Torrent Sea

    I finally picked up my copy on friday morning at a Books a Million of course. I got an email from B&N after midnight like usual. Glad I picked it up on friday through. I'm already on chapter 7 and enjoying this book so far. Keep on imagining what it would be like if I was on Droplet w/ the crew. Just the endless ocean. Glad we get to be on another Ocean world w/ few landmasses around.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Titan: Over a Torrent Sea

    Thank you. I'm very flattered.


    I think their real name for themselves is probably so complicated that any translation would be at least half a page long.

    In one version of the spec novel this was based on, in which the planet orbited Tau Ceti and the aliens were more dolphinlike, I called them Taucetes, which basically means "Tau whales" as well as "Tau Ceti inhabitants." That was a nice name (and certainly better than my initial choice of "delphs"), but clearly not applicable here.


    I still don't see how attitudes toward abortion have anything to do with it. As Destiny clearly established, the baby was certain to die anyway, whether by miscarriage (the technical term for which is spontaneous abortion) or by medical abortion. The only difference was that the former case would be fatal to the mother as well. As far as I know, every rational anti-abortion position makes exceptions where the life of the mother is concerned -- particularly when the baby's death is inevitable in any case. So while this may be a patient-consent issue, it is not an abortion-rights issue.

    Anyway, I don't agree that Ree did anything wrong. Deanna was being quite irrational in refusing treatment; she wasn't protecting the baby by refusing, just committing suicide. She knew that, yet she did it anyway, proving she absolutely was not of sound mind. Ree's medical choice wasn't about determining whether the baby would live or die (since death was the only option short of Caeliar intervention), but about whether the mother would. I don't accept that people have a right to commit suicide. If someone swallows a bottle of sleeping pills, it's absurd to call it a breach of medical ethics if a doctor pumps his stomach against his will.

    The point wasn't that Ree had sinned and needed penance. The point was that his actions to save Deanna's life created emotional distress and fear in her and that she needed to work through that residual phobia, as well as the lasting aftereffects of her first miscarriage.


    Why would there be shame? Just because the Federation is a secular culture doesn't mean it treats religious literature as if it were pornographic or something. I mean, our society doesn't believe in the Greek gods anymore, but that doesn't mean anyone has reason to be ashamed of quoting The Odyssey. I'm non-religious myself, but I recognize the Bible as a significant literary and cultural work, and I was referencing that (or having Riker reference it) in those terms, as a literary illustration of the Logos concept I was defining.

    Besides, characters in TOS quoted the Bible all the time, and Picard and Janeway dropped the occasional allusion to it here and there. And of course in SCE, Captain Gold is Jewish and married to a rabbi, and we've seen the occasional practicing Muslim in the lit as well.


    Parentheticals aren't meant to indicate lack of importance -- merely that the content of the parentheses is not part of the main sentence but a separate idea being interpolated therein. Stuff in parentheses isn't structurally crucial (i.e. it could be removed from the sentence without affecting the meaning of the sentence around it), but that doesn't mean the information it conveys isn't important.
     
  4. foravalon

    foravalon Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Titan: Over a Torrent Sea

    Yes indeedy, Christopher does love his parenthetical phrases. I think I've seen more parentheses in his Trek writings than I've seen in anything else I've read in recent memory.

    Although, I did notice that his recent Mirror Universe story was distinctly lacking in them. ::wistful sigh:: It just didn't seem the same...
     
  5. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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  6. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Titan: Over a Torrent Sea

    Damn, Christopher. And you thought MY review was positive.
     
  7. Wally

    Wally Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Once again, Titan proves itself as my favorite post-NEM series. I love the differences between it and the others. I am perfectly fine with politics and darkness and enjoy DS9 a ton and am excited about all the post-Borg fallout. But sometimes, Star Trek just needs to get back to good ol' exploration.
    The world building here is great. I enjoyed the concepts greatly. The only really drawback is Dr. Ree. I love the character, but really, he went insane here and his slap on the wrist seems a little too lenient. Excellent work on the novel, and I look forward to the next.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^^Ree didn't go insane. By the standards of his species, his behavior was perfectly normative, a natural parenting instinct -- it just manifested in an inappropriate context, triggered by psychic influence from Deanna. (By analogy, imagine if, when Lwaxana Troi was broadcasting romantic urges in DS9: "Fascination," she had sent a nearby Vulcan into premature pon farr.)

    Otherwise, thanks!
     
  9. RikerLover

    RikerLover Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    When "Fascination" and "Sarek" were mentioned in OaTS, I remember thinking at the time that it made sense that Deanna's and Tuvok's psychic influence in Sickbay in combination with Titan's being in danger at the time could have caused Ree's natural instincts to take over.
     
  10. Reanok

    Reanok Commodore Commodore

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    It was nice to see the Titan exploring again after what happend in the Destiny Trilogy.I really liked the description of the squales and the other life forms on the Droplet planet. And getting to see more of Aili Lavena and Riker on the ocean planet. And also deanna's story line with Dr. Ree as well.I really liked seeing Vale and the other Crew members coming up with a solution for the crisis on the planet after the asteroid exploded.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't understand why there's a discussion about abortion going on here. First, as I already said, there was no abortion-rights issue in Destiny. The baby was inevitably going to die (as far as anyone knew at the time). It's not as if Ree's decision would've changed the baby's fate -- only the mother's fate was in question. I think that trying to cast this as an abortion-rights issue is profoundly misreading the facts of the case.

    Second, this debate is about something that happened in Destiny, so what is it doing in the thread for Over a Torrent Sea? Aren't we getting off topic here?
     
  12. LutherSloan

    LutherSloan Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I agree. Neither this book nor Destiny was talking about abortion at all.

    I finished this last night, and I second basically everything else above.

    Some comments:
    -Before the name of Riker and Troi's daughter was revealed, I had a feeling that it would be Tasha. When I read the part referencing 'the woman who died trying to save my life' (coming from Troi), I knew that HAD to be Tasha.
    -I agree with a few other posters that I would like to see more of Dakal. The first Cardassian in Starfleet is a big thing, especially considering the not-so-friendly relations either have had with each-other for 20-30 years or so. At least when Worf joined Starfleet, the UFP and the Klingons had been allies for some time.
    -Bralik is another character that I was glad to see SOME of, although it wasn't very much this time.
    -I thought that the beginning dragged a lot, as the Titan crew was attempting to figure out what was going on. Pretty much once it was determined that the asteroid was headed for Droplet, things heated up.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Titan: Over a Torrent Sea

    Excuse me, please.

    This is the discussion thread for Over a Torrent Sea.

    If you folks want to debate the ethics of the decision Dr. Ree made in the Destiny trilogy, then please take it to a thread that's actually about the Destiny trilogy.
     
  14. LightningStorm

    LightningStorm The Borg King Commodore

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    Re: Titan: Over a Torrent Sea

    I tend to agree here.

    This is a great topic for discussion but none of the events being discussed seem to be relevant to this novel.

    Give me a minute, there's a feature where I can split a thread. I'll be creating a new thread for just that specific topic so that the already good discussions on it can continue.
     
  15. LightningStorm

    LightningStorm The Borg King Commodore

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    Alright your new thread to discuss abortion as it is related to Destiny and Titan:

    http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=84377

    I tried to move all of the relevant posts and direct replies to those posts to that thread. There may be a few lingering here that kinda reference those. The only real side-effect here is that Christopher's pleas to keep this one on topic now look all out of place, but it's whatever.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Thank you.
     
  17. sunbari1

    sunbari1 Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    CLB,

    I was curious why you decided to name the planet "Droplet"? The first time I read that my initial reaction was "Holy cheesy Batman!" I have gotten used to the name but would be interested in knowing why you chose that name.
     
  18. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Have you met Christopher's sense of humor? ;)
     
  19. aaon80

    aaon80 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Just wanted to add a quick two cents, Christopher. I loved the book, finished it last night. I was laughing out loud at the scene featuring Hulian taking a dip. Good stuff. Will you be doing annotations for this book, similar to your others? I always garner a deeper insight after I reread the book with the annotations!

    Thanks for an excellent yarn!
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, it's a big round ball of water, innit? ;)

    At the time I came up with the name, I was hoping I could concoct something like the ocean in space from VGR: "Thirty Days," only on a planetary scale and naturally occurring. The name would've fit that pretty well. But that would've been physically impossible, I now know. A Leger ocean planet was about as close as I could come to that, and I decided the name was close enough to keep.

    One thing that fiction often overlooks when it comes to scientists is their sense of whimsy. Physicists hunt for particles named MACHOs and WIMPs. Biologists coin taxonomic names like Ba humbugi and Lalapa lusa. Scientists enjoy their work, and they often like giving goofy names to things. I don't want Titan's crew to be a bunch of stuffy nerd stereotypes who insist on doing everything with humorless formality. I want them to be like real science nerds, to have fun doing their job and not be afraid to get silly occasionally.


    Annotations will be coming soon.