TNG: Indistinguishable From Magic by McIntee Review Thread (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Thrawn, Mar 22, 2011.

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Rate Indistinguishable From Magic

  1. Outstanding

    48 vote(s)
    27.7%
  2. Above Average

    67 vote(s)
    38.7%
  3. Average

    27 vote(s)
    15.6%
  4. Below Average

    16 vote(s)
    9.2%
  5. Poor

    15 vote(s)
    8.7%
  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: TNG: Indistinguishable From Magic Review Thread

    ^I'm pretty sure you even had a character paraphrase Clarke's Third Law in the book itself.
     
  2. Snaploud

    Snaploud Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: TNG: Indistinguishable From Magic Review Thread

    It was a decent book. I give it a B-/B for a trek book. The first half was more enjoyable than the second half. It would have been nice if the writer had found a way to continue the Berlinghof Rasmussen character's story in the second half of the book (as Sela really couldn't hold my interest as much).

    One other comment about the writing, though: I enjoyed a lot of the dialogue, but it was occasionally impossible to tell who was actually talking (making it difficult to imagine the scene in my head).
     
  3. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: TNG: Indistinguishable From Magic Review Thread

    at least twice!
     
  4. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: TNG: Indistinguishable From Magic Review Thread

    That half most shows the compression from two books to one, yeah.

    I'm happy with decent though!

    I thought about it, but he wouldn't really have any useful or dramatic purpose to serve, since a Nebula Class isn't 22nd century, so he'd just have been comedic padding.
     
  5. ice

    ice Ensign Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: TNG: Indistinguishable From Magic Review Thread

    Sadly, it got a "poor" from me. Spoilers.

    To be fair, the book did have one thing going against it before I even started- Scotty's presence. I honestly find the continued reverence and usage of Scotty on par with the Shatnerverse depiction of Kirk, and to me, that's just bad fan fiction. Hell, Scotty's ending here is even a direct copy of the end of The Return! He doesn't have a place in ST modern fiction to my mind; it's too silly. Let alone being the Captain of a Galaxy-class...best chums with Sonya Gomez...no.

    Aside from the jarring two-books-stitched-together feel, my main problem with the novel is the sheer "fan fiction" atmosphere. Nog and Ogawa are on Challenger with Scotty and Leah Brahms, protocol is thrown out the window for an engineer that speaks appallingly ("Guv?" "Mate?" Seriously?) and The Master- sorry, Sela- pops up to reveal there's one last trick hidden in Geordi's subconscious as a result of brainwashing.

    Throw in the casual "Did we just do what I think we did?" -possibly starting the Big Bang!- and it certainly feels like elements of Doctor Who are seeping in here. "Wacky" and Star Trek don't mesh well at the best of times, and here it just feels like a subpar Peter David novel. Though I'll admit, his trademark style is starting to look very dated too.

    That said, there are positives to the book. Rasmussen is handled very well and given some depth, the opening scene featuring the NX-07 Intrepid is excellent, and the two storylines are very interesting in their respective rights.
     
  6. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: TNG: Indistinguishable From Magic Review Thread

    The scary thing is, I've never read The Return, or any of the Shatner books! (I've got Captain's Peril but haven't read it yet) so had no idea.

    Scotty and Gomez is from SCE, of course, that was already there.

    As I think I said earlier, the thing was originally pitched with just Geordi going on to be Challenger's captain, but the studio wanted more established characters, so that's what they got! I do think it's a good mix though, YMMV.

    Not consciously, but I do have that kind of mind!

    I dunno - Q might disagree, and I always loved How Much For Just The Planet.

    (Actually if you read reviews of my DW books you'll find I'm not known for lightness or wackiness, so it surprises me that the three Trek stories I've had commissioned so far are more to that side. Though I enjoy the change!)

    If Planet Of The Tribbles ever gets commissioned you'll be begging for one like this again... But everything else I've pitched so far is more in the action-thriller vein I'm more used to and better known for, and is a lot more free of continuity... Well, unless TPTB ask for it to be added!

    Sounds more like a description of an Average score than a poor...
     
  7. dispatcher812

    dispatcher812 Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: TNG: Indistinguishable From Magic Review Thread

    I had to give this one an average. I liked the first part with the intrepid and seeing some characters from Geordi's past was nice.
    My problems with the book are these:
    This was supposed to be a Next Generation book and while we did see the Enterprise briefly in the begining and end, I missed Picard, Worf and the others characters from the E-E. Maybe this should have been a COE book instead.
    I feel there was too much techo talk in the second part. At times I had no idea what was being talked about and found it hard to follow.
    As far as Ogawa and Reg. I can see in plausible for Ogawa to come aboard. As was mentioned previously with slipstream it would be very easy for her to get back to Federation space. Reg on the other hand seems a little, far fetched. (sci-fi I know, everything is far fetched) but to be beamed from that distance does not seem practical. If that could be done then why need ships? Will they send him back to the Voyage flee the same way?
    Geordi and Leah. I never liked her. I feel bad for the nice young Doctor on the Lexington. I actually enjoyed that development.

    Again I did not hate this book but it was not one of my favorites. Hopefully in the next TNG book we actually see more people from that series on the ship from that series.
     
  8. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: TNG: Indistinguishable From Magic Review Thread

    Actually, it wasn't really - it was supposed to be a more general cross-series Star Trek book (well, *actually* it was originally supposed to be just a Challenger book...), but they appended the TNG logo on the cover quite late on.

    Having said that, I did want to capture the atmosphere of TNG all along...

    But, mainly, if it took your mind off the daily grind for a few hours and you don't feel you wasted your money, that's good enough for me. That's my aim.
     
  9. trash80

    trash80 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: TNG: Indistinguishable From Magic Review Thread

    Nearly finished this (91% according to my Kindle), really loving this book. To me its the best ST book since the Destiny trilogy. What i really like about it is that is has some good hard SCIENCE FICTION in it, especially in the second half. Too many books lately have been too heavy on galactic politics and action adventure. I don't mind this kind of stuff but its been a bit too much while actual space exploration has taken a back seat.
     
  10. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: TNG: Indistinguishable From Magic Review Thread

    Only half way done, but having Scott there is more motivation to read onward.
     
  11. ice

    ice Ensign Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: TNG: Indistinguishable From Magic Review Thread

    I haven't got anything against the Gomez character, but Scotty... well, I've already harped on about that.

    Q works better either in small doses. "Qpid" was hilarious because it was a change of pace for TNG, but when Q gets overused, it gets stale quickly. For a prime example of ST trying "wacky" and failing miserably...the latter "comedy Ferengi" DS9 stories. Oh god.

    I had other problems with it. The storylines felt awkwardly fused together- it was too obvious they were originally separate books. Leah Brahms was depicted as ineffectual and weak IMO. Geordi didn't sound like himself at all, and becoming Captain like *that* after being a Chief Engineer was daft, like Kirk in ST09. What happened to being XO, command track, etc...

    One or two well-drawn characters and an interesting premise (or two) can't make up for me despising some of the central characters and the feel of the book.

    After so much negativity about Indistinguishable, let me say that "Face of the Enemy", "Mission: Impractical" and "Excelis Rises" are honestly amongst my favourite DW stories ever written.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: TNG: Indistinguishable From Magic Review Thread

    Geordi isn't a cadet, he's a commander with over two decades of experience. He was on the command track in the early years of his career, before switching to engineering in 2365. And the Challenger was an SCE ship, a vessel crewed almost entirely by engineers and dedicated to engineering-related missions, so it made as much sense for Geordi to be its captain as it did for Scotty to be its captain, or for Sonya Gomez to be the da Vinci's captain.
     
  13. ice

    ice Ensign Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: TNG: Indistinguishable From Magic Review Thread

    He was only a Lt JG on the command track by the time he transferred I think. And while he's been a Commander for 20 years, he's been based in the ships' lower decks for that time.
    To suddenly become responsible, full-time, for a Galaxy-class ship is too much of a stretch.

    I like the idea of Geordi becoming a Captain to tie in with Voyager, it would give him a lot of development, but I wasn't convinced with how it was done here.

    After watching televised Trek so many years, with its fairly rigid Starfleet personnel structures, a Galaxy class engineering-only ship...captained by Scotty...it's just fan fiction.
     
  14. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: TNG: Indistinguishable From Magic Review Thread

    No, fanfic would have been one written for personal pleasure and not paid for and released by copyright-holding licensors... There's a difference between fanfic and professional.

    And indeed between fanfic and fanwank, which is surely the more accurate word!

    But at the end of the day if you didn't like it you didn't like it - nobody likes everything and nothing is liked by everybody. You've liked other stuff I've written (surprised you mentioned Mission Impractical though - that's no classic, and a bit... would-be "wacky" even for me), and probably people who loved this would other stuff I've done. So, no worries, there'll be another Trek book along in a couple of weeks.

    Out of the four pitches I'd love to see make it to another Trek book, I suspect one you'd hate, one you'd love, and two could go either way...

    Here's hoping to find out which it is someday...

    ETA- oh, command track, remember Geordi was Riker's first officer in Redemption Part II as well, so he's presumably taken all the exams and stuff. Doesn't matter, though.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: TNG: Indistinguishable From Magic Review Thread

    So? The point is that he's not completely devoid of command experience. Officers switch career tracks all the time.


    Who's more responsible for a ship than its chief engineer?


    You've come away with a completely different perception of Starfleet than I have, then. Fairly rigid personnel structures? Let's see. Sulu went from astrophysics to helm, and then later suddenly became a captain with no prior canonical indications of command experience beyond warming the seat for Kirk. Chekov went from science to navigation to security chief to first officer. Wesley Crusher got a brevet rank and eventually an official rank before he ever went to the Academy. Worf went from bridge watch officer to security chief to strategic operations officer and Defiant commander. I guess I can leave out things like Nog becoming a Defiant bridge officer while still a cadet and Chakotay and other Maquis being given command positions on Voyager because those were in war or emergency situations, but even so, there's abundant evidence of flexibility in Starfleet's personnel structures. And that's not even considering the other precedents within Trek literature, within the same novel continuity to which IFM belongs.
     
  16. Truth

    Truth Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: TNG: Indistinguishable From Magic Review Thread

    He was only a Lt JG on the command track by the time he transferred I think. And while he's been a Commander for 20 years, he's been based in the ships' lower decks for that time.
    To suddenly become responsible, full-time, for a Galaxy-class ship is too much of a stretch.



    1.This is not His first time commanding a galaxy class , in the arsenal of freedom episode, he saved the ships from the attack drones, when most of the senor staff was traped on a planet

    2. like they stated he is a 20 yr vet , which means he has exprince commanding people even if he is only in chareg of one dept, after a while it becomes second nature, and gerodi did not just go with the flow he stated many times he felt out of place as Co, but as a 20 yr vet he will not show that in front of his crew

    3. Starfleet has suffered many losses mostly in line officers who are very hard to replace, its a surpise that many of picard senior people have not been given their own command hell the only reason wolf might not have been offered his own command is becasue of his reprimands or he might have been offered one yrs ago

    It sound to me like you went in thinking of this as a tng book

    3.
     
  17. Truth

    Truth Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: TNG: Indistinguishable From Magic Review Thread



    1.This is not His first time commanding a galaxy class , in the arsenal of freedom episode, he saved the ships from the attack drones, when most of the senor staff was traped on a planet

    2. like they stated he is a 20 yr vet , which means he has exprince commanding people even if he is only in chareg of one dept, after a while it becomes second nature, and gerodi did not just go with the flow he stated many times he felt out of place as Co, but as a 20 yr vet he will not show that in front of his crew

    3. Starfleet has suffered many losses mostly in line officers who are very hard to replace, its a surpise that many of picard senior people have not been given their own command hell the only reason wolf might not have been offered his own command is becasue of his reprimands or he might have been offered one yrs ago

    It sound to me like you went in thinking of this as a tng book
     
  18. Snaploud

    Snaploud Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: TNG: Indistinguishable From Magic Review Thread

    I suppose this whole discussion brings us back to whether or not there are "line officers" in the trek universe. For instance, in "Disaster" (season 5, episode 5), Troi was controversially given command of the bridge based solely upon her rank (over Ensign Ro, whom one would assume would be a line officer in a regular navy).

    Starfleet clearly has "command track" and "non-command track" officers, but, other than specifically designated first and second officers, there's no evidence of having line officers in the traditional sense. Lacking line officer rules, LaForge and even Doctor Crusher (who eventually became a captain in the "All Good Things" timeline) may automatically be considered by Starfleet as experienced enough to become executive officers or even to command ships (under the right circumstances) based solely upon their ranks. At the very least, it's clear that the current trek editors feel that way (both given what happened in IFM and that Riker offered Geordi the XO position before taking command of the Titan).
     
  19. RTOlson

    RTOlson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: TNG: Indistinguishable From Magic Review Thread

    If memory serves me correctly, Scotty was promoted to captain at the same time he was assigned to the Excelsior project in "Star Trek III" and he has held that rank since. His rank apparently isn't directly connected to his assignment at Starfleet.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
  20. trash80

    trash80 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: TNG: Indistinguishable From Magic Review Thread

    Ok finished now, voted Above Average. Really enjoyed this one.

    I didn't have a problem with the new rank, it was actually becoming a bit unrealistic that he hadn't progressed for such a long time.
     

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