TNG: Dark Mirror by Diane Duane Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by rfmcdpei, Feb 10, 2013.

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Rate Dark Mirror.

  1. Outstanding

    24 vote(s)
    47.1%
  2. Above Average

    20 vote(s)
    39.2%
  3. Average

    5 vote(s)
    9.8%
  4. Below Average

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Poor

    2 vote(s)
    3.9%
  1. Tarheel

    Tarheel Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Haha. I like that
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I've had the thought that if Roddenberry had decided from the start to do a show about alternate histories rather than space travel, it would've been a much more sensible explanation for all the parallel Earth cultures they kept using. No need for Preservers or Hodgkins' Law or cultural contamination to explain the gangster planet or the Roman planet or the Nazi planet or whatever, just do Sliders a few decades early.
     
  3. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Sliders is desperately due a reboot. That show had SO much potential.

    A Sliders Trek, on the other hand, I think would be far too niche and insider for anything more than a Myriad Universes story or fanfiction. Outside of the core fanbase, who really cares enough about subtle differences in Trek's future history? Certainly less than would a real-world set version.
     
  4. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I liked Sliders up until the gimmicky one where they went to "Communist Earth" where the money was red.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Um, that was part 2 of the pilot. Unless I'm forgetting a second communism-themed episode later.
     
  6. E-DUB

    E-DUB Captain Captain

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    I think that was a "whoosh".
     
  7. CaptainJon

    CaptainJon Captain Captain

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    I voted Outstanding because I thought it was much better than Above Average. I think it's a really good book that I haven't read in a long time and will need to revisit. I think my only real complaint about Dark Mirror was that I found the climax a little underwhelming. I was hoping for Picard and his mirror self to go head-to-head in a more "clash of the bald titans". It didn't need to be all-out action but maybe a little more of them trying to outwit one another.
     
  8. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    I just recognized another, major, divergence between Dark Mirror and the current novelverse. Duane's novel is one of the last books to feature a native civilization at Alpha Centauri. (Dark Mirror's Terrans end up exterminating the Centaurans and taking their worlds, the first act of genocide against another species they commit.)
     
  9. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^Don't forget that Dark Mirror says that the Terran Empire conquered their entire Milky Way Galaxy. How does that make any sense? They're never said to have any quantum slipstream drive, coaxial warp drive, jaunt drive, transwarp conduits, subspace tunnels, or anything that would conveniently allow them transportation throughout the galaxy. And how could they conquer everyone in two completely unexplored quadrants in a matter of only one century?
     
  10. E-DUB

    E-DUB Captain Captain

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    It's admittedly been a while since I read it, but my recollection is that the Empire had conquered our section of the galaxy but lacked the capability to expand any further due to not having the tech to get to the really far away places fast enough to make conquest feasible. It would be like conquering North America but not having boats or planes to get you to Europe or Asia.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yeah, my impression was more that they'd grown as large as it was feasible for an empire to get. It's not so much about travel distances -- after all, the worlds on the fringes of the empire would still have plenty of uncharted worlds next to them -- but more about the empire's lines of communication, supply, and administration being stretched to the breaking point by the sheer size of it. Although I haven't read it in a while either.
     
  12. Kertrats47

    Kertrats47 Commodore Commodore

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    I loved this novel as a child, and was worried that a recent re-read would taint that fond rememberance. Luckily, that was not the case, and Dark Mirror is almost as good as I remember! Some great character work, and a chilling premise that felt even darker than TOS's "Mirror Mirror."

    Here's my review for anyone who might be interested in my further thoughts.

    Christopher, you basically got it right. I believe it was said the Empire had basically conquered our entire "arm" of the galaxy, and that they lacked the technology to maintain a hold on anything beyond that.
     
  13. borgboy

    borgboy Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I re-read Dark Mirror last week and I did really enjoy it. I'd enjoy revisiting that version of the MU if it ever happened, not that I think it will. The main loose end I'm curious about was what happened to MU Wesley. He was a prisoner for attempting to assassinate Picard, thinking he was the MU Picard. I expect he was killed after the end of story.

    I was most horrified by MU Beverly because she is more sympathetic in a few small ways. She clearly loved Jack - both she and MU Wesley stand out in the MU for their love of Jack despite their other many negative qualities. Beverly is controlled, used, humilated by and probably abused by MU Picard. She still brought out a protective instinct, in me anyways, but she's a horrible mother whose love for her child has been suffocated by his reminder of her loss of his father, and her emotional hardness from a painful life. When MU Wesley is condemned to die, MU Beverly accepts it all too easily.

    The Empire hadn't conquered the galaxy, just enough of it that it would take 30 odd years to get from Earth to their outlying perimeter of the Empire, far too large for them to control and keep what they had conquered. Extended beyond their capacity to manage, the Empire knew nothing but conquest and war, and as they were becoming unable to expand their warlike nature was beginning to turn inward.

    I found the sentient dolphin completely believable and sensible in a sci fi world.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Oh -- well, that complicates things. As I recall, Duane wrote her novels under an outdated assumption that the galaxy's stars were concentrated in the spiral arms and that the spaces between them were enormous voids. (Actually the star density is fairly constant throughout the disk, no more than 10 percent denser in the arms than between them; spiral arms are pressure waves in the interstellar medium, defined by the concentrations of star-formation nebulae and bright, hot, short-lived supergiant stars that are found within them.) So it could be that her intent was that the Empire had, in fact, reached the edges of the territory that was physically within their reach.
     
  15. borgboy

    borgboy Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I don't recall there being any mention of star density, but that could be a detail I didn't pay attention to. What i got out of it was just that the empire had conquered everything in about 30 years travel time from Earth and thus their domain was becoming too far spread out to expand any further.
     
  16. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I assumed that once MU Picard returned and found out what happened, he probably executed Wesley himself.
     
  17. Kertrats47

    Kertrats47 Commodore Commodore

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    From Chapter 12, page 251 in the paperback:

     
  18. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    yeah regardless of the outdated assumption - the underlying idea is fairly simple - that with current technology, the Empire is as big as it is going to get because of the practice problem of speed and distance.

     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yeah, but in a different way -- in terms of running out of new places to go, rather than becoming so spread out that they couldn't control what they had. Basically, they'd nearly used up everything in their own territory, and they were running out of new places to replenish it from.
     
  20. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I voted "above average." I remember liking the novel a fair amount when I read it back in college, but I definitely liked Mike W. Barr's movie-era story in the DC Comics version more.

    I'm definitely due to give Dark Mirror a reread if I still own a copy. I didn't even recall the dolphin until I read about him in this thread.
     

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