TOS: Devil's Bargain by Tony Daniel Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Sho, Feb 21, 2013.

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Rate Devil's Bargain.

  1. Outstanding

    7 vote(s)
    12.7%
  2. Above Average

    18 vote(s)
    32.7%
  3. Average

    15 vote(s)
    27.3%
  4. Below Average

    12 vote(s)
    21.8%
  5. Poor

    3 vote(s)
    5.5%
  1. Reanok

    Reanok Commodore Commodore

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    :techman:Yes this book feels like a season 4 Tos Tv show. That's one of the reasons I liked this novel. Yesterday I listened to the Literary Treks podcast interview with Tony Daniel. I really enjoyed the discussion of How Tony wrote this book like the 1960's tv show.:techman:
     
  2. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

    I think it is so smart to write as if you are in the 60's, made the story feel like TOS
     
  3. bbailey861

    bbailey861 Admiral Premium Member

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    Just finished this one and I hope that Tony Daniel picks up some more work. I am currently rewatching TOS and with this book, it really did feel like I was carrying right on after season three. It was fast paced, like an episode, and the dialogue sounded familiar and right. I liked the references back to previous adventures. The only issue I had is only one line of dialogue that I didn't like; "Follow me, Officers.", when Spock is directing his subbordinates to follow him over the backs of the Hortas. A small thing, I think, but even now, it doesn't sit right with me. That said, I won't hesitate to pick up another of Daniel's Trek books if we see another on the shelves.
     
  4. Reanok

    Reanok Commodore Commodore

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    Ditto I'd liked the fact Tony mentioned previous tv episodes in Devil's baragainI really enjoyed reading this book. and I'd like to see him write another Tos novel too.
     
  5. Ktrek

    Ktrek Captain Captain

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    Apr 21, 2003
    Well, I don't mind him writing another Trek book as long as it's categorized as "Young Adult" or something along those lines because at least then I know what level of readership to expect.

    Kevin
     
  6. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Captain Captain

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    Could hardly put it down, in spite of the fact that I've been up since 0-dark-thirty, attending a 2-hour Episcopalian Easter Vigil, followed immediately by Methodist and ELCA Lutheran services, and probably could have used a nap.

    It has the usual excess verbage establishing characters that are already familiar (it strikes me as an all-too-common affliction among writers already experienced writing in milieux of their own design; probably a matter of having to suppress a writer's natural instinct), but all in all, it moves very quickly, and the only other real fault I found was that the Acknowledgments telegraphed
    Horta involvement
    (when a new author is involved, some of us do take a look at the Acknowledgments and the About-the-Author very early on).

    I am curious, though, given that
    in the established Diane Duane continuity, the first Horta in starfleet is named Naraht, which doesn't sound the least bit like "Slider Dan" or any of the other Horta names in the present opus,
    how does this fit into continuity?
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Duane's books are not part of the modern continuity, since they were written before TNG and heavily contradicted by what the later shows established. For that matter, a lot of the TOS novels we've gotten in the past few years have been very standalone, and I'm not sure there's necessarily any intention for them to be tied into any larger continuity beyond the canon itself.

    However, I've heard people propose that "Slider Dan" could be a nickname for Naraht.
     
  8. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Captain Captain

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    I noticed more than a few in-jokes. (One of the more subtle ones was Kirk's reference to Canadians, given that Shatner is Canadian.) On the one hand, I found them riotously funny, but on the other hand, they do throw one out of the story, even if only momentarily.

    Granted that Diane Duane's works do require a shoehorn, a large mallet, and copious amounts of axle grease to fit them into modern continuity. But on the other hand, I find them to be among the very best ST prose ever written, and Naraht has shown up in other authors' novels.

    One thing about Naraht: when I looked him up on Memory Beta, I found given names attached to him that I never saw before. Whence came they?
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I realized long ago that quality and continuity are two entirely separate issues. A story doesn't need to fit with other stories to be an enjoyable reading experience. And indeed, I came to realize that the more I tried to mentally edit or homogenize books like Duane's to force them to fit the continuity, the more I stripped them of their unique flavor and tone, to the point that it actually undermined my enjoyment of them. Duane's version of Trek is so enjoyable precisely because it isn't like the conventional version, because it has its own unique elements that come from her specific vision and style. So I found I could enjoy the books more once I stopped trying to force them to fit together and just let them be their own separate interpretations.


    His full name was given as Dahai Iohor Naraht in the computer game The Kobayashi Alternative, written by Duane. The Mem Beta article misspells the middle name as Lohor, and I've just asked them to change it (I don't know how to edit article titles).
     
  10. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Captain Captain

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    Did the whole issue of
    a colony of master biologists genetically engineering themselves to survive on their chosen planet
    remind anybody else of Vonda's character, "Jenniver Aristeides," from The Entropy Effect?
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I was more reminded of the Sycorax colony of genetically engineered humans from Greg's The Eugenics Wars novels, or the Paragon colony from TNG: "The Masterpiece Society," or the Hera colony from the novel Infiltrator. After all, The Entropy Effect was written long before the idea of prejudice against genetic engineering was incorporated into Trek canon, so that stigma didn't exist for Jenniver. (She had other identity/self-esteem issues, but not that one.)
     
  12. Patrick O'Brien

    Patrick O'Brien Captain Captain

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    Just finished the book yesterday. It was a decent story that had a fourth season episode feel. I'd like to read another ST book by Tony Daniel in the future.
     
  13. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Captain Captain

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    I saw one other connection to The Entropy Effect: the banned military nanotechnology immediately struck me as a more general case of Vonda's banned "spiderweb."

    The remarkable thing about my spotting the connections (intended or otherwise) is that it's probably been about a quarter century since the last time I read The Entropy Effect.
     
  14. T'Ressa Dax

    T'Ressa Dax Captain Captain

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    That is remarkable! I only read it probably less than two decades ago, and I don't remember that!
     
  15. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Captain Captain

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    And yet there are other works of ST prose that I completely forget within a few weeks of reading them. Along with a few (like that period, near the end of the Bantam era, when literally every other book was a variation on the "Kirk & company poke their nose into a primitive society that turns out to be a superbeing's plaything" theme) that I wish I could forget completely.

    <off-topic digression>Speaking of forgotten books, I have this vague memory of a scene involving a graphic description of a Klingon mind-sifter, involving (among other things) heavy leather restraint straps. Anybody have a clue what I could be half-remembering?</off-topic digression>
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It could be "Mind-sifter" from Star Trek: The New Voyages (though your memory of the straps could be from the straitjacket at the 1950s mental institution where Kirk ends up there), or maybe Ishmael, or maybe "Chaotic Response" from Constellations. Those are the only mind-sifter-based stories I can think of.
     
  17. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    My theory: Margaret Clark was editor for this one, and she certainly knows of Naraht. Only four of the five Star Clan Hortas are named in the novel (Slider Dan, Missile-in-Rock, Hot-John and Crumblecake), and five Hortas are said to be off to the Academy. Naraht was probably the fifth one in the new clan, without spelling it out.

    I read it as my returning-home-from-UK novel and enjoyed it a lot. A few things seemed off. The romance stuff was clunky. Is Spock really that much taller than Kirk that only one of them was uncomfortable walking in low caves?

    The Horta stuff was great, but then I've also enjoyed Diane Duane's Naraht scenes - and past Horta-centred novels by other authors, such as the novels "Dyson Sphere" and "Devil in the Sky".

    IIRC, this is from his personnel file in the text-based computer game, "The Kobayashi Alternative", in which he is a featured player. (Ah, CLB has already confirmed it.)

    That's a bit rough: judging all future ST fiction because you disliked one new book's style. If you're that worried about being exposed to such books, why not wait till some reviews come out before rushing to buy?
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Nimoy is three and a half inches taller than Shatner (6'1" and 5'9.5").

    This is neat... in IMDb's search bar, William Shatner is the first name the autocomplete thingy suggests once you've typed as far as "William S" (whereas "Patrick S" gives Swayze first and Stewart second). And once you get as far as "Leona," Leonard Nimoy's name comes up second after Leonardo DiCaprio. They're still big names after all these years.
     
  19. DorkBoy [TM]

    DorkBoy [TM] Captain Captain

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    Sep 28, 2001
    I'm with Ian. I enjoyed this one a lot. Nothing "earth-shattering" but I gave it an "above average."

    It was entertaining, breezy, not particularly deep. A good 5-year mission romp. And I always enjoy the Horta.

    I wondered about Nahrat too. I sort of imagined he was in there somewhere, and this was how some of the Horta (including him) ended up in Starfleet. :)

    It reminded me of the old numbered novels: fun, exciting, a quick read, a little shallow. But, that's exactly the kind of story I was in the mood for so that's okay. I love the deeper, weightier novels we've tended to get lately but they don't ALL have to be that way.
     
  20. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I think it's also worth pointing out that this is also a standalone by a new author, so it wouldn't be hard to just pretend it doesn't exist, if you hate it that much.