TOS: A Choice of Catastrophes Review Thread (Spoilers!)

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

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Rate A Choice Of Catastrophes

  1. Outstanding

    5 vote(s)
    15.6%
  2. Above Average

    16 vote(s)
    50.0%
  3. Average

    10 vote(s)
    31.3%
  4. Below Average

    1 vote(s)
    3.1%
  5. Poor

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'd say it's about time for this one, eh?

    Even with all the TOS stuff early last year, it's been a while since a legit 5YM story came out. Troublesome Minds, yeah? So, that's pretty cool. Looking forward to it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2012
  2. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Re: A Choice Of Catastrophes review thread

    Definitely looking forward to it. I'm way behind on Trek Lit though (I'm just now about 70ish pages into Paths of Disharmony, and other than the first story in Vanguard Declissified I haven't read anything that's come out since) so it'll be a little while before I get to ACoC.
     
  3. shanejayell

    shanejayell Captain Captain

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    Re: A Choice Of Catastrophes review thread

    Looking forward to it. :)
     
  4. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Captain Captain

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    Re: A Choice Of Catastrophes review thread

    It struck me as somehow having a strong "old school" feel. I can't really put my finger on anything, but it somehow reminded me of the old Bantam novels. The good ones, not the abominably bad ones. I read about the last 75% of it last night (keeping me up until well after 2:00 A.M., although I did squeeze in a nap).

    In all of the citations in the Acknowledgments, I noticed that John Ford's How Much for Just the Planet was not cited,
    even though it's the only other published reference I'm aware of to "goniochronicity," the characteristic property of dilithium (and a registered trademark of the Deneva Mining Consortium).
    Likewise, the reference to
    Nancy Crater's maiden name
    looks to be a nod to Blish's first volume of short story episode adaptations (most likely something from an early draft script),
    a nod I made myself in my own unpublished short story, "Interview with Dr. Ambrose Crater, or 'The Salt Vampire Ate My Parents!'"

    All in all, I liked the book. Although I began to find the
    third person roving limited-omniscient POV with full access to various character's thoughts and hallucinations
    to be a bit annoying after about the second or third time, until
    it became clear that they were integral to the plot
    I was also amazed at the number of supernumaries from TOS episodes who managed to make it into the book.
     
  5. MichaelS

    MichaelS Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: A Choice Of Catastrophes review thread

    That's good to hear. :) We deliberately made this as much of a stand-alone novel as possible, with very few overt references to other stories. The one I recall off-hand is M'Benga's first name, which has become established enough over the past few years to make me think it'll stick.

    Yes, we picked the POV characters carefully, based on who needed to be the focal point of the scene. That's why you get one with Saloniemi, a few with Seven Deers, a few with Chapel, etc., in addition to the major characters. Also, the tight third-person POV is a feature of all our published stories; it's what I like best when reading stories, and it's the easiest way to write a character for me.

    We made an effort to include as many as was reasonable. After all, the show introduced a lot already, so there was no need for us to invent all new supporting and background characters. Memory Alpha was a great resource, and we made copious use of its personnel lists. That said, we did introduce a few new crewmembers. How could we not? :D Maybe another author likes them, and they get to stay ...

    We're glad that you liked it. Yours was the first review we know of, so we're especially relieved that it is positive. :)
     
  6. mindx2

    mindx2 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: A Choice Of Catastrophes review thread

    Quick question: What year is this story supposed to be taking place?
     
  7. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: A Choice Of Catastrophes review thread

    Stardates 4747.6 through 4760.7.
     
  8. mindx2

    mindx2 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: A Choice Of Catastrophes review thread

    I see the stardate in the book but I don't know what year that converts to. Sorry, I'm just not that good at the stardate thing :alienblush:.
     
  9. MichaelS

    MichaelS Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: A Choice Of Catastrophes review thread

    No worries. It's set in 2268, about halfway through.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: A Choice Of Catastrophes review thread

    Don't worry. It's impossible to make coherent chronological sense of TOS stardates. They tend roughly to increase from season to season, but not in anything resembling a consistent pattern, and they often jump backwards. Back when they made TOS, the producers consciously wished to avoid tying down exactly when it took place, so the whole point of stardates was to convey a complete lack of meaningful chronological information.
     
  11. mindx2

    mindx2 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: A Choice Of Catastrophes review thread

    These are the stories (chronologically based on Memory Beta) around that time period:

    Dreams of the Raven
    How Much for Just the Planet?
    Ghost Walker
    Legacy

    Where would you, as the author of the story :techman:, place it? You'll have to forgive me but I'm anal about these things :D.

    Also wanted you to know I'm really enjoying the book. I'm one who loves the current interconnected continuity but this book reminded me that a good stand alone story is needed as well.

    I knew that TOS stardates where very inconstant with no real set chronology but wasn't sure if you and others authors had come up with something to make sense of them. Didn't the later shows try to establish a uniform stardate system?
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: A Choice Of Catastrophes review thread

    Memory Beta's chronology (or that in Voyages of the Imagination) is not meant to suggest that all these tales "actually" happened in the same continuity -- just that these various, generally independent stories would most likely have occurred around that time if you choose to accept that they happened. In fact, I'm pretty sure from what the authors of ACoC have said that it's incompatible with Dreams of the Raven where McCoy's backstory is concerned.

    Going by the Star Trek Chronology, mid-2268 would be the early 3rd season. However, Galloway is in the novel so it must be before "The Omega Glory." So late 2nd season sounds about right. Beyond that, use your own judgment. Building a Trek chronology is an exercise is creativity. Feel free to make your own choices about what goes where and when.


    It is impossible to make coherent sense of TOS-era stardates. Yes, there is a rough stardate system that's assumed to apply for the TNG era, but it can't be applied to the TOS era. Basically all you can do for TOS is look at the episode stardates for the period you have in mind and pick some number that's roughly in that range. The last few stardates in the second season were 4598.0, 4657.5, 4768.3, and 4729.4 (although The Star Trek Concordance gives "Patterns of Force," just before that last one, a stardate of 2534.0, a huge outlier), so a stardate in the mid-4700s sounds about right for that general period, but then the first two stardates in season 3 drop back down to the 4300s.

    Roddenberry even came up with an explanation for the fans who complained about the inconsistent stardates (yep, even back when TOS was first on the air, Trekkies were obsessive about details), saying that they varied with a ship's position and velocity in space. So it could be, say, stardate 5743.2 on Earth and stardate 4309.8 on Antares at the same time, insofar as simultaneity has any meaning across interstellar distances. But it's just a handwave for something that was consciously designed not to have any real meaning.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2011
  13. MichaelS

    MichaelS Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: A Choice Of Catastrophes review thread

    Personally, I'd place it wherever there's enough room for it to fit, though I think that ship has long since sailed ... Going strictly by stardates, the story would slot in between The Klingon Gambit and "Return to Tomorrow", MA tells me.

    Glad you like it! We did our best to make this a story that could truly stand on its own.
     
  14. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: A Choice Of Catastrophes review thread

    Sorry, I'm just being obnoxious. Though I admit their utility in making useful timelines, I'm really opposed to using Earth years within actual Star Trek stories, since it's something the television shows do so rarely (except for Enterprise). I find novels that use them jarring, which is why A Choice of Catastrophes dates everything via stardate or relative to the present. But as Michael said, mid-2268, as Christopher said, second season, and the stardates used actually go between the episodes it fits between. There used to be a reference that made it clear, but I think that's gone now.
     
  15. FatherRob

    FatherRob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Re: A Choice Of Catastrophes review thread

    My review copy just arrived last night... I will be starting on it in about 45 minutes, as I sit down for a tasty lunch of Potato AuGratin soup, cheese puffs, iced tea, and chocolate mousse pudding.

    Rob+
     
  16. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: A Choice Of Catastrophes review thread

    I will look for the book at B&N tomorrow.
     
  17. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: A Choice Of Catastrophes review thread

    Mashed potatoes might be more appropriate (but only if they come out of a food slot). Enjoy!
     
  18. FatherRob

    FatherRob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Re: A Choice Of Catastrophes review thread

    Damned food slot only serves what I put into it to warm, which, at lunchtime, is usually made up of what I had last night, or two nights ago.

    Never fear... the potato soup was somewhat mushy (but very tasty) and the first 30 pages were, well... I am not sure how to describe it. It feels very different from most Trek novels. Ya'll took off on a bit of a clip. It's not bad, but it is taking a bit of getting used to.

    Rob+
     
  19. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: A Choice Of Catastrophes review thread

    NO copies at all at the B&N in downtown Philadelphia. I will have to order from Amazon and wait several days.
     
  20. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: A Choice Of Catastrophes review thread

    Buy a kindle (or download the app to your droid/i phone/pc/mac) and get it instantly.