Spoilers TNG: The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Sho, Mar 16, 2013.

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Rate The Stuff of Dreams.

  1. Outstanding

    17 vote(s)
    31.5%
  2. Above Average

    25 vote(s)
    46.3%
  3. Average

    11 vote(s)
    20.4%
  4. Below Average

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Poor

    1 vote(s)
    1.9%
  1. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    [​IMG]

    Simon & Schuster is giving ebook-exclusive releases another try with James Swallow's TNG novella The Stuff of Dreams, which will be available for download on March 25th. Seems clever to schedule this three month into the annual TOS marathon, with fans of the 24th century likely eager for new content, even if it won't advance the story just yet - it's a standalone set before the Cold Equations trilogy. Edit: Whoops, as Thrawn points out below, the novella was actually moved after the Equations after all!

    Unfortunately Simon & Schuster hasn't put up a blurb for it, but here's a line lifted from Mr. Swallow's blog:

    And here's the excerpt-less book page.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2013
  2. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: TNG: The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Wasn't it changed to take place after Cold Equations?
     
  3. Sho

    Sho Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: TNG: The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    ^ Seems you're right. The blog post by James I linked actually says so! I blindly trusted my outdated memory there, sorry :).
     
  4. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: TNG: The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    No worries :)

    I'm excited to get any 24th century content at this point, even if it's short. I do like Swallow, so high hopes.
     
  5. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: TNG: The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    I will have to order it soon.
     
  6. CaptainDonovin

    CaptainDonovin Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: TNG: The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Hmm the Nexus... sounds like fun.
     
  7. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Re: TNG: The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    I find the idea of returning to the Nexus rather intriguing, and I've really enjoyed James Swallow's other stories I've read, so I'm really looking forward to this one.
     
  8. PhaseIIforever

    PhaseIIforever Ensign Red Shirt

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    Re: TNG: The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Synthesis is one of my favorite Trek novels ever, I really loved it when Tuvok outsmarted the machines I laughed for hours, so anything more from him is welcome. Good things come in threes so part of me is hoping that after the return of two others someone who has left an echo in the Nexus might be able to come back. Probably not, and part of me wouldn't like it, but there is a little kid inside who would love it.
     
  9. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: TNG: The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Pass - once again they are charging the same for a novella as they are a full novel.
     
  10. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: TNG: The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Really? Amazon has it for $3.79.
     
  11. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: TNG: The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    In the UK, it is £3.99 which is the price of a full novel - for 94 pages I'd maybe pay £1.50 or maybe £2 but no more than that.
     
  12. Man of Steel

    Man of Steel Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: TNG: The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Wonder why this is E BOOK only.

    Hope this changes.
     
  13. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

    Re: TNG: The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    I can't wait to read this and then we are going to talk to James about it on Literary Treks!
     
  14. Man of Steel

    Man of Steel Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: TNG: The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    You should get an advance copy
     
  15. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

    Re: TNG: The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    I'd love too! I have contacted Pocket, but have never gotten a reply!
     
  16. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: TNG: The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Another Trek novel awaiting download...
     
  17. DS9forever

    DS9forever Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: TNG: The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Any Cardassians in this? Swallow did a fantastic job in Day of the Vipers.
     
  18. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Re: TNG: The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    S&S have been doing e-book exclusive Trek stories again for the last few years. It's not that surprising, a lot of the series are doing e-book exclusives, including other tie-ins like Star Wars, and Doctor Who, and a lot of non-tie-in series. I think it's great personally. It gives us a chance to get some smaller stories that we might not get otherwise.
     
  19. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: TNG: The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    So I imagine most people won't rate it as highly, but, after reading it almost immediately after it arrived on my laptop, I'm giving this an "outstanding." The story was well-constructed, the dialogue was well-written and true to the characters as they've been presented in canon, the balance among the characters (and between canon and non-canon characters) was ideal for me, and, most importantly, the story made the Nexus more compelling than Generations did and complemented that movie's story, enhancing both.

    Spoilery stuff below:

    ***

    There are some interesting religious overtones to various elements of the story. Bryant's line about "too intricate to be a naturally occurring phenomenon" contrasted ironically with the self-profession of atheism that immediately preceded it. (For those unaware, the "too complex to be naturally occurring" argument is a favorite among anti-evolution advocates here in the US.)

    Anything involving the Kinshaya, of course, is dripping in religious overtones. Not sure there's anything specific/unusual about their appearance here, but I thought they were well-done, and used in appropriate moderation.

    There are also some interesting commentaries on the nature of reality and of suffering. I'd have to give it more thought before coming to any conclusions, but I think there are probably some parallels to Buddhist teachings about mindfulness and suffering.

    Something that the story didn't address was the actual origin of the Nexus. And I'm glad for this. I think it's an important fact of life that there are some mysteries in the universe that can never be answered; in terms of fiction, this means there have to be elements of the narrative which are never explained, and, indeed, were never meant to be explained. Sometimes I think Trek writers (TV and prose) are a touch too eager to explain things that I had previously felt were not meant to be explained. (Damned if I can think of an example; I was thinking of one just the other day, too. So I could be talking out of my rear here.) So I appreciated James Swallow's approach.
    Basically the only thing I didn't like was the reset button at the end; I wish we hadn't had to lose most of the additions to Trek history (however small they may be) that came with this story. But I understand why he made that choice. And it's small quibble in the scheme of things.
    In short, The Stuff of Dreams is solid in its construction, but coalesces into more than the sum of its parts to become an outstanding Trek story. Well done, Mr. Swallow! :)
     
  20. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: TNG: The Stuff of Dreams by James Swallow Review Thread (Spoilers!

    Just finished. Pretty solid. I like these little episode-like eBooks, I wish we had more of them!

    The last scene was really what this ebook was written to get to, I think, and so in the end it's justified, though a lot of stuff along the way just ends up being the necessary bits of plot movement to get there. Nothing new is given to us about the nexus, and the motivations for the other characters are too similar to Generations to really be unique.

    The first half was good fun getting there, though - I love any chance to watch the Ent-E crew be awesome :)