Titan: Over a Torrent Sea (SPOILERS)

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

  1. Vestboy

    Vestboy Captain Captain

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    My key point, Chris, is not whether or not his species's protective instincts are normally a good thing. It's that the analysis of how responsible he is for his actions and his state of mind is a critical step that should not be glossed over. You cited examples of people being externally influenced-- but many of those involve outright possession or mental control to a degree that was was not the case here. Ree made his own decisions, based on his instincts, driven by empathic influence... but his own decisions. During the incident he even verbally asserted his own rationality.

    As for it being a massive Prime Directive violation, I stand by that statement. The Prime Directive has gray areas, and certainly room for debate in situations such as Droplet. However, I can't see any room for debate or shades of gray in a situation where a member of Starfleet lands on a PD-protected world, threatens members of that species, holds them hostage, and creates a public incident.I don't think the degree of violation Person A commits should be judged on how well Person B managed to clean it up. The fact that Tuvok and his team had to take action to clean up the mess is what damns Ree in this case, and the fact that they succeeded does not exonerate him.

    I don't "have it in" for Ree. Frankly, he's been a favorite for me for the whole Titan series. But what happened here is quite a bombshell, and the underlying sense one gets here is that there isn't going to be any fallout from it, that all is forgiven... and that's something I've got a problem with.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    So if an irrational person asserts his rationality, that makes him rational?

    And yes, "many" involve outright possession, but many more just involve exactly this kind of influence. I even explicitly stated in the text that it's analogous to Sarek's mental influence driving the E-D crew to violence in TNG: "Sarek" and Lwaxana driving the DS9 crew to inappropriately amorous behavior in "Fascination." And what about the Psi 2000 virus from "The Naked Time"/"Now"? Nobody was being mind-controlled; they simply had their judgment compromised by an external force. Yes, they made their own decisions, but they made them while non compos mentis. And so they were forgiven.

    And you're still making the totally false and unjustified assumption that those concerns would be "glossed over." The very fact that there is a hearing proves that they won't be glossed over in-universe, that the questions will be explored according to regulations and proper procedure. I, the author, glossed over them in the text because the climax of the story had already passed and I was going for an upbeat denouement. If a mystery story ends with the culprit being caught and arrested, that doesn't mean there was no trial or that it was treated merely as a formality. It just means that the trial wasn't part of the story being told. Don't confuse narrative focus with in-universe "reality."

    "Damns?" Good grief! How can you say you don't have it in for him when you use language like that? And you totally misread the story if you think that the only reason a major violation was averted is because of Tuvok's team destroying the evidence. That was incidental, so much so that I didn't even need to show it. The violation was minimal because the Lumbuans didn't have effective telecommunications so only a limited part of the population was aware of the event, and because those who were aware of it chose to interpret it in a way that didn't disrupt their existing assumptions, either by dismissing it as mass hysteria or by perceiving it as a spiritual visitation consistent with their existing beliefs.

    And once again you're ignoring the "insanity plea" here. Nobody's denying that it was a potentially severe violation, but it's mitigated because his judgment wasn't sound.


    Then you must have one hell of a problem with "The Naked Time" and "The Tholian Web" and "Sarek" and "Brothers" and all those dozens of other times when crewmembers have committed criminal acts and been excused because they weren't of sound mind.

    Besides, what kind of "fallout" did you have in mind? Titan's in a similar position to Voyager when it comes to penal actions. They're months away from any Starfleet facilities. They can't put Ree off the ship and bring in a replacement doctor. They can't just stick him in the brig indefinitely, because they need their CMO. So they need to be flexible when it comes to crew discipline. Particularly given the unprecedented diversity of this crew and the unpredictable problems that could arise from it. A zero-tolerance mentality is irreconcilable with the whole philosophy of the mission.
     
  3. Dark Gilligan

    Dark Gilligan Writer Fleet Captain

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    Chris, I'm not seeing the annotations link on your homepage. Did I miss it somewhere? I've enjoyed your past annotations and am eager to read this one.
     
  4. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  5. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    That's completely different, Christopher. They were mammals who didn't have sharp pointy teeth.
     
  6. Vestboy

    Vestboy Captain Captain

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    Actually, it's completely different in "Naked Time", "Tholian Web", "Sarek" and other such incidents in that they were broad-spectrum effects; many if not all of the crew were affected. It's easier to prove that something external was going on. Here, ONLY Ree is affected.

    "Brothers" is a far more comparable situation, and yeah, I do have a problem that there is no resolution to, or addressing of, the fact that someone can PUSH A BUTTON and Data can take over the whole shp and be unstoppable. That should have been followed on.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Because of a freak confluence of circumstances that would never happen again in a million years. Not because Ree is intrinsically dangerous (well, any more than we already knew he was).

    If they ever did Star Trek: JAG, then maybe you'd get your wish to see all these incidents investigated in detail. But this isn't a courtroom series. We can assume that the hearings and investigations do occur, but they're not the emphasis of the series, so they occur offscreen.
     
  8. Dark Gilligan

    Dark Gilligan Writer Fleet Captain

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    Thanks for the link, Defcon.
     
  9. T'Ressa Dax

    T'Ressa Dax Captain Captain

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    If it helps, I'm looking forward to reading OaTS, and after this discussion particularly Ree's part. Because I like him and I have a feeling this will add more depth to the character. He's not just a sentient lizard after all... ;)
     
  10. -Brett-

    -Brett- Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If someone beat me up and stole my car in the name of safeguarding his child, when I was doing nothing to threaten it, I for one would most certainly not celebrate and praise that behavior.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^But how far would you go if you thought your own child were in danger?
     
  12. Claudia

    Claudia Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I finally finished OaTS yesterday, and overall I quite enjoyed it, especially the overall concept of the planet and its inhabitants (although the name Droplet didn't quite appeal to me) and the characterization in the second half of the book.

    Still, in part this book was hard for me to read, to keep my attention from wandering. I don't quite enjoy reading about a meeting where everyone reports what she/he found out filled with lots of technobabble (for sure well founded - but still to me the term technobabble fits most), instead of finding out *with* them. Of course, I realize that this is what exploration is all about, but honestly, after the second or so such meeting, I grew a bit tired of all the facts presented in such a way. Perhaps I just missed the interaction with the squales for most of the story, not just trying to make contact but actually working on trying to solve their problem *with* them. This somehow came too late in the story. Then again, mixing plot with lots of scientific facts in such a way is seemingly part of CLB's writing style - and while for the most part he manages to actually draw me into his story and the settings like the water planet, these technobabble passages almost ruin that effect unfortunately. There's such a thing as overanalyzing/overexplaining, after all. And that kind of stops the narrative flow and just throws me out of a story.

    Secondly, as I mentioned already in another thread, Xin, Melora and Lavena simply annoyed me in the beginning. Later in the book this was partly resolved, but I just don't enjoy reading of sex on every other page in a ST-book. I can't empathize with characters who spend their time sleeping around, and if that's the only thing memorable of a character, then too bad... even if it's just a cover-up behaviour for an intriguing character background, such as with Lavena. But I couldn't help myself and applauded Riker when he attacked her. Finally someone said what I thought to myself the whole time reading the first half of OaTS. The same applies, of course, to Xin and Pazlar - as mentioned in the other thread, I wonder why there are no rules about fraternization, because I wonder how such a small community can work for long when professional and personal lives are so intertwined. They already had problems because of their feelings for each other which had an impact on their professional relationship, and what happens when they split up? Would they still be able to work together?

    I really liked Tuvok in this novel - and T'Pel, both dealing with their son's death. I love the way T'Pel supports Tuvok, and not just because his "condition" is due to multiple attacks/injuries. She doesn't rationalize it, she simply accepts this part of Tuvok's personality and the way he's no longer "functioning" in the Vulcan way. Nonetheless she doesn't let him wallow in self-pity but forces him to go on, to find a way to cope. This, along with Tuvok's public "confession" about his anger later, was the highlight of this book to me.

    I'm not so sure about Ree's guardian mode, though. While I appreciate that in the end not everything's resolved yet between Deanna and Ree (the way it seemed in the beginning of this novel), this situation of Ree's kidnapping Deanna is, of course, intolerable. Granted, he acted because of the empathic influence of both Deanna and Tuvok, so he can't be held entirely responsible for his behaviour - on the other hand, shouldn't he (and everyone else on the ship) take precautions that such an influence won't happen? I mean, this won't be the last time Deanna and Tuvok's emotions go overboard (and it wasn't the first time, either), and will Ree now react every time like this when he perceives a threat to Tasha (or any other child)? (The same goes for anyone else on the ship.) A mere slap on the wrist for Ree might be okay - but Riker etc. should also think ahead and perhaps establish some protocols for events like this one.

    Actually, my greatest "regret" for this novel was the fact that the planet Ree went to wasn't the "main planet" of this novel. Because here, the aforementioned interaction with the inhabitants would have been far more possible - and I'd simply have loved to see the philosophical discussions and a real cultural exchange. But then again, there's time for such missions in later novels. :)

    Now, I'm eagerly looking forward to "Full Circle"...
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Thanks!

    Yeah, maybe it was a little self-indulgent in that respect at times. I tried to make sure that something was going on character-wise during every exposition scene, though. But maybe that wasn't enough. I recently read a good writing tip -- if you have a big infodump, do it while something else is going on. Maybe I could've had the characters playing cards or something (except I already did that in Greater Than the Sum).


    I don't think there's any cause for concern. As I said above, this was a unique and highly improbable event arising from maybe half a dozen different factors converging simultaneously: Deanna's fear and grief, Tuvok's grief, Deanna's pregnancy hormones intensifying her powers (though I'm not sure how clearly I put that one across), the immediate peril to the ship, Ree's own insecurities, and the unresolved baggage between Ree and Troi. The first two will subside with time (especially now that Deanna has the joy of an actual live baby to offset her grief), the third will no longer be a factor, and the last two have been confronted and are being worked through.

    So no, Ree's parenting instincts will not kick in every time someone else's child is threatened. That's not how it works. Normally, that response would only apply to his own biological offspring. The only reason it happened here is because Deanna's intensified empathic influence made him respond as if Tasha was his own child. And without that unique confluence of factors, that won't happen again. As long as Ree doesn't have his own biological offspring on the ship, there's no chance of a recurrence. And since he's the only Pahkwa-thanh in the crew, there's no chance he's going to become a daddy in the foreseeable future.

    Certainly he'll do everything he can to protect Tasha, and Noah, and Totyarguil, just as he's always done. But he'll do so without external mental influence distorting his responses and judgment.
     
  14. fleetcaptain

    fleetcaptain Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I finally finished the book a few days ago. What a great ending. I really enjoyed this book and it was nice to have the crew out exploring again along with some danger involved too. I kind of figured the Horne was named after a singer Christopher. Mostly since Riker likes to have his shuttles named after musicians but wasn't suspecting someone you liked to influnce your naming of the Titan's Flyer class shuttle.
    At times when parts of the books were on Droplet, made me feel like I was actually there, just imagining what the crew was seeing from their perspect. Still trying to imagine what the squales and other sea life look like.
     
  15. Baerbel Haddrell

    Baerbel Haddrell Commodore Commodore

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    This is my review of "Over a Torrent Sea". It contains spoilers.





    I think “Over a Torrent Sea” and Christopher L. Bennett`s first Titan book “Orion`s Hounds” have a lot in common. I was impressed how he introduced us readers to a very diverse and fascinating world of space born beings in his first Titan book. In “Over a Torrent Sea” he is exploring a water world and also this time I felt like an explorer discovering an alien world with a lot of diversity and beauty. Especially now after the Borg invasion there are some people in the fandom who want a stronger emphasis on the theme of discovering new worlds and civilizations. I think these fans should try the Titan series and especially both books of this series written by Mr Bennett.

    On the other hand both books have the problem that the science presented by the author can be overwhelming. Especially towards the last third of the book there are paragraphs I couldn`t process properly. I am not a scientist and there were times when I felt overwhelmed. I neither had the knowledge nor the patience to spend much time with these details and just skimmed over them.

    As much as I appreciate the impressive world building of this story, to me it is indeed first of all a background. What mainly counts are the characters and also from that perspective, this book has a lot to offer.

    Exploring a water world provided the ideal opportunity to explore Lavena more, a Starfleet officer who comes from an underwater civilization and who needs a special suit allowing her to breathe when she leaves her quarters. I must admit, before I read this book Lavena was one of the Titan characters I was least interested in. In this book we learn a lot about her, about her culture, her family, her strengths but also her weaknesses. Lavena became a much more three dimensional character. There is a lot I learned that makes her likeable but also a lot I have problems with on a personal level. I understand why Lavena was an irresponsible mother and although I have some sympathy for her and her problems I am not willing to excuse bad choices in life with bad experiences when the person was young. Being a mother myself I find it difficult to forgive her past attitude and have even more problems with it that she nearly left Riker to die on that floating island. It seems Lavena finally decided to learn from her mistakes and is determined to do better in future. Good, better late than never. We will see how Lavena will be developed in future. On the other hand, who says that all officers on Titan have to be likeable?

    The confrontation between Lavena and Riker was very interesting and gave good insights into both characters. It seems even in the present-day Star Trek universe there are human families that are more prudish than others. Being a German living in England I can see that there are some general differences in attitude and maybe it is realistic that such differences in human society didn`t disappear. Therefore I shared Riker`s criticism of Lavena`s irresponsible neglect of her children but not his view about her sexuality. She is an alien after all and that she likes having sexual experiences with several partners is perfectly fine in my book if nobody is harmed by it.

    Compared to Lavena Riker was the extreme at the other end. I don`t share a lot of his attitude but I can respect and understand it. I am not a man but I think I can understand that it was more difficult for him than it would have been for a naked female captain stuck together with an officer who was for a short time a lover. It starts with it that it is a fact that men react stronger to looks than women do. The vast majority of porn is aimed at men and not at women. Also a naked man can`t hide being sexually attracted. In spite I rolled my eyes a bit at Riker`s prudish attitude I couldn`t help feeling very sorry for him. His frustration and embarrassment was very understandable. That Riker was not very well, that his wife could give birth at any moment and that Lavena didn`t help at all to defuse the difficult situation only made matters worse.

    I didn`t expect a quiet, trouble free birth of Deanna`s and Riker`s daughter. Such events are always a good opportunity for drama and the author made good use of it. After what happened between Deanna and Dr. Ree it was necessary to bring the tensions between them to some form of conclusion. I agree that Dr. Ree was not responsible for his actions and that it is very unlikely that he will enter this extreme “guardian mode” again. What he did was frightening but on some other level also very touching. I also understand now that Dr. Ree must love children very much. My guess is that being rejected by the females of his own kind he decided to be a doctor so that he can help children and their families. I can also understand better now that what happened between Deanna and him was not only traumatic for her but also much more difficult for him than I realized. In spite of what happened I can see that Dr. Ree is a good person and he would be a good father if he ever gets that chance. I think both sides have learned important lessons and I would like it very much if Dr. Ree will continue to play a part in the upbringing of the little girl in future books.

    What I also liked very much is the part Tuvok had in this book. Again, I am so glad that he is part of the Titan series and I definitely don`t want this to change! I was impressed by his strength of character, how he as a Vulcan showed a lot of courage exploring and understanding emotions including his own. As it is obvious with Riker and Deanna, also in this case it was shown very well that having a wife, a husband, a partner with you on board is not only a potential for problems but can also be an asset, a source of strength. T`Pel is a remarkable woman. Her ability to work with children is impressive and I liked her exchange with Noah very much. I think being with a husband who is much more emotional than the average Vulcan also helps her to understand emotions better. I think she is still thinking that Tuvok`s change is more of a disability than the beginning of something positive but it seems there is at least a growing understanding. I am curious how this will be developed in future, too.

    I am very much looking forward to the next Titan book!
     
  16. Claudia

    Claudia Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    One question I forgot to ask in my review above... *g*

    It was mentioned somewhere in the book that Picard could have defeated the Borg if he had just used a deadly computer programme... Was that a hint at "I, Hugh"? I haven't watched that episode for ages, so I'm not sure but it's the only episode I can think of featuring some kind of conflict with Picard...
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I'm glad to hear that, because you got what I was going for.

    First off, I don't think it's true that men react more strongly to appearance than women do. There was a terrific New York Times Magazine article recently about sexual attraction and response in women, indicating that it's a lot more complicated than that. If anything, women respond (at least physiologically) to a wider range of visual erotic cues than men do. But female sexual response, and the relationship of physical arousal to mental desire, is more complex and multifaceted than in the male, so it appears.

    And I wouldn't say Riker's attitude is prudish. He's always had a healthy, open attitude toward sexuality. But he's a married man who believes in his monogamous commitment, and he's defensive about it because of the circumstances -- being separated from his wife at a critical moment, being alone and unclothed with a woman he finds very tempting. His overreaction to Aili's sexuality is not about prudishness per se, it's more about fear -- the fear of losing Deanna, the fear of letting her down. He already feels guilty about not being there for her as she's about to give birth and is potentially in danger. So that intensifies his sense of guilt at being attracted to Aili.

    Thank you for that. This was just what I meant to convey.



    Yes, it was a reference to "I, Borg."
     
  18. T'Ressa Dax

    T'Ressa Dax Captain Captain

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    I still can't beleive I'm almost done with the book! Enjoyed it, and I also understand where you were going with Ree.
    Riker and Lavena - no problem there, their actions fit the characters and the circumstances I think.
    It was interesting seeing Melora and Xin have their problems and finally find a way to resolve their differences.
    Hoping to see more of Cethente, it has a very unique perspective.
    I think it would be nice if T'Pel and Tuvok did adopt an orphan at some point, A non-Vulcan, that could be really interesting. After the scene with Noah I wonder even more what that would be like.
    While I know a bit more about ocean pressure and bathyplankton than I wanted to, I didn't mind the technobabble too much. I like learning about Droplet with the crew. Though having Vale glare at Melora twice in one briefing made me laugh, imagining the scene.
     
  19. CommanderTroi

    CommanderTroi Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    So, finally read the book after it takes always so long for Amazon.de to get them...:rolleyes:

    I almost didn't want to read the book because of the events of Before Dishonor, but eventually I did and I'm glad I did it. That should not mean that I'm happy with the direction Trek Lit in general is taking at the moment, but I tried to ignore it and concentrate on the book at hand.
    I really liked the quiet beginning, I'm fed up with all the action and destruction so this was a very welcome change!
    Droplet is just fascinating and I found it nice to read the scientific findings of the crew. But the best thing about this novel is, as it is in most of Mr. Bennett's books, the deep character studies. We get to know the newer characters, such as Ree, Lavena and Pazlar, better and there are some surprising things to learn about the 'old' ones. The whole Troi/Ree arc was very interesting and I thought it was so 'Will Riker' that the captain was more or less pleased by Ree's actions.
    All in all I quess that's my favorite Titan novel and Titan is my favorite Trek bookline, so I'm really glad I read the book:)
    Star Trek in general, imho should be more like Titan, about the characters and how they live together on a ship in all their diversity. TNG was my favorite TV show ever, but the TNG novels don't kick it for me at the moment, not in comparison to the Titan series. This novel certainly helped to smooth my opinion on recent Trek Lit a lot. I'm really looking forward to the next Titan installment, thank you very much Mr. Bennett and please keep up the good work!:bolian:
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Thanks! Not sure why the events of Before Dishonor would've had any effect on your choice to read this book, since they deal with totally different crews and events. But I'm glad you went ahead with it.
     

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