TOS: Unspoken Truth by M. Wander Bonanno Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by nx1701g, Mar 25, 2010.

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Grade "Unspoken Truth"

  1. Excellent

    13.9%
  2. Above Average

    33.3%
  3. Average

    41.7%
  4. Below Average

    8.3%
  5. Poor

    2.8%
  1. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    Yeah, it was weird, wasn't it? How the first half was so awesome, and then it just got lost. Strange reading experience.
     
  2. Janeway4Prez

    Janeway4Prez Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    I've read 'Burning Dreams' and 'Catalyst of Sorrows' and so I had high expectations with 'Unspoken Truth'. I didn't like it at all. The moment it came out I came on here and saw that many were giving it great reviews and so thought this was going to be one of those 'must read' books of the year. To me, this just was beyond horrible. The writing and plot line disturbed me the most with this book. The plot is so generic and one that's been done to death - the hero/heroine is tempted by the bad guy to turn on his/her supporters and friends. What also got me about this book is that the two plots never really come together. There's the plot of Saavik seeking a routine, uncomplicated assignment following the events of Star Trek III and IV and that's exactly what the reader is treated for 200 pages of the novel. I was bored to absolute tears and had to force myself not to give up on the book 100 pages in. Then, awkwardly, the Romulan plot kicks in around page 208 ... and it is completely rushed through, contrived and predictable. What a waste of a book.

    This has been my complaint about a lot of Trek lit over the past year or two. It feels like many books have gone from being episode/movie worthy with depth, emotion and true creativity springing forth from the pages to being nothing more than fan-fic with a $7.99 price tag attached to it. 'Unspoken Truth' feels like fan-fiction run amuck. The character of Saavik, though she only appeared in 2 movies and a millisecond of Star Trek IV seems ... off. She doesn't strike me at all as someone who'd make it to the Enterprise and would become Spock's protege. This book paints her as a pretty much rebellious, unstable, emotional and irrational character most of the time. One moment she's in angst over what she and Spock did on the Genesis planet, the next she's leaping into bed with someone she hardly knows. One moment she's trying to be a wise, patient, stoic science officer and the next she's going AWOL and being a mad woman. The constant appearance of the phrase 'unspoken truth' along with every thought and a majority of Saavik's dialogue ending with an exclamation point just killed what little was left with the book in terms of good material.

    Say what you will but this is not even close to being a great novel. Years ago I can't see it having held up but in today's Trek lit market where authors seem to be given the green light to do whatever they want and churn out amateur fan-fiction disguised as professional, high-class lit it's all fine and accepted. As much as this book has been discussed and hyped over the years, sorry to say, it was a mostly wasted literary opportunity and horrible, dull, weak novel.
     
  3. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    By and large, I think Trek is the most professional and creative now that it's ever been. If you hate the recent books that much, I recommend you stop reading them!

    This one wasn't great though, it's true.
     
  4. Janeway4Prez

    Janeway4Prez Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    Yes, this one wasn't good and a lot of the other books of the past year or two haven't really been all that creative. If we're considering fan-fiction with off-characterization, the Alpha Quadrant facing yet another Borg-invasion and watered-down recycled plots as creative then yeah, Trek lit has really been creative over the past year or so. But anyways, that's another debate and to each his/her/its own.

    'Unspoken Truth' was weak and amateurish, something I wasn't expecting from the author that crafted books like 'Catalyst of Sorrows', 'Strangers from the Sky' and 'Burning Dreams'.
     
  5. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    Yeah, Destiny is far and away my favorite TrekLit ever, so you aren't getting much agreement from me on the first part :)

    Even if you feel like a Borg invasion was uncreative, you have to admit everything with Hernandez and the Caeliar was totally unique.
     
  6. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    Yeah, I'm gonna have to go with Thrawn here on this one. I really think that the majority of the books we've gotten over the last few years have been absolutely outstanding. Especially Vanguard and Titan, which have, IMO, almost always been very original and have presented us with some very unique new characters, and storylines.
     
  7. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    I ended up getting a different format and converting to ePub.
     
  8. garamet

    garamet Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    :D

    I needed to make a decision at the start in order to see and, especially, hear the character in my mind as I was writing.

    This book is set between The Pandora Principle and Vulcan's Heart (much closer to the former). IIRC, those authors were careful not to give much if any physical description of the adult Saavik (though there's a lot about her as a child in The Pandora Principle), and I suppose the cover art might have had some effect on my decision, but the main influence was the "voice," and it was Curtis's voice that spoke to me.

    That in turn affected the body language, the mannerisms, the facial expressions (always tricky with Vulcans). And, yes, I was aware as I was writing that there's strong partisanship around each actress, and some Kirstie Alley fans might have preferred I'd made a different choice, but as any writer can tell you, sometimes the characters decide for you. ;)
     
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  9. ClayinCA

    ClayinCA Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    This seems like a thorough insult not only to the editors of the Trek line, but also to the writers of current Trek fiction, many of whom post here. Besides which, it's a totally nonsensical statement--since Pocket's Star Trek fiction is officially-licensed and professionally published, there's no way it can be classified as "amateur."
     
  10. RonG

    RonG Captain Captain

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    Seconded.

    Just a thought - could be wrong - can this be the start of another spin-off from the recently-returned Janeway argument? :rolleyes:
     
  11. ClayinCA

    ClayinCA Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    "There are always possibilities," I suppose. ;)
     
  12. Sky

    Sky Captain Captain

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    It finally arrived and I read it today on the train. Loved the first half, don't quite know what to think of the spy plot and the ending. Saavik's captain was awesome, as were Amanda and Sarek. The first contact stuff was excellent. I must have been very tired at some point, because I somehow missed the point of T'Vaakis' character. I guess I will have to think about this book a bit more.

    One thing which really bothered me was the constant repetition of the title. Unspoken truth this, unspoken truth that.
     
  13. garamet

    garamet Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    Since several folks have mentioned this, I was intrigued, so I went through the ms. just now and counted.

    Not counting the title, "unspoken truth(s)" is used six times.

    I'd intended it as a leitmotif, my version of "the wine-dark sea," if you will. Didn't realize it was so intrusive. :shrug:
     
  14. Sky

    Sky Captain Captain

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    I'm not saying it did not fit the contexts where it was used. :)
    I just really tend to notice repeating patterns.
     
  15. garamet

    garamet Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    I do as well, and sometimes they can be intrusive. (Most annoying to me is a character who repeats the same phrase over and over throughout a book. Okay, okay, we get it; this guy is annoying and unimaginative. Enough, already!)

    In the case of "unspoken truth," the choice was deliberate. For one thing, the term has fascinated me since I first heard it in "The Enterprise Incident," as the Commander's response to Spock's "It is not a lie to keep the truth to oneself."

    I'd never really thought of it quite that way before. It had RL implications, as well as mitigating GR's rather rigid dictum that "Vulcans can't lie."

    We saw what happened later with Data blurting out whatever came into his head. Vulcans could not have survived interaction with each other, much less become master diplomats like Sarek, interacting with a variety of aliens, if they always told the complete and absolute truth. There are things known as "tact" and "common sense" that color our truths every day.

    Saavik, as a young cadet in TWOK, doesn't yet know this. That's why she's so upset with Spock's "lie." His explanation, "I exaggerated," gives her something to think about, and look at from a different perspective.

    The Saavik I was writing about was not that far removed from those events, and the situation I placed her in required her to examine each of her interactions for possible pitfalls.

    It's not that Vulcans *can't* lie (any more than "Vulcans have no emotions"), but that they choose not to, except when telling the truth would do more damage.
     
  16. KingstonTrekker

    KingstonTrekker Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    Another unsettling aspect of the book...is that Saavik is really presented as pretty much an adopted daughter of Sarek and Amanda. Which makes her more of a sister to Spock...which makes what happened on Genesis more than a bit disturbing...not even mentioning that in other books Saavik and Spock later married!

    I know that MWB did not write the scene on Genesis or the earlier books (by Sherman and Schwartz) that depict the marriage...and Unspoken Truth is not required to adhere to previous Trek literature plot points....but depicting Saavik so strongly as an adopted daughter of Sarek and Amanda just makes the whole Saavik/Spock dynamic incredibly incestuous.

    Makes me wish that Schwartz and Sherman had found a different wife for Spock, rather than Saavik. Also makes me wish that MWB had not connected Saavik so strongly to Sarek and Amanda (although I realize that other books have previously done this as well.)
     
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  17. Judith Sisko

    Judith Sisko Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    MWB's portrayal of Amanda was one of the things I liked about this book. For once Amanda is seen as something more than "Sarek's Human Wife" or "Spock's Human Mother."

    (Personally, I never bought into the Spock-Saavik bonding in Vulcan's Heart.)
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    By our culture's standards, yes. But terms like "daughter" and "wife" are merely English translations here; the Vulcan concepts and definitions of family may be rather different, with the English terms being just rough approximations. After all, your son's wife is considered your daughter-in-law. If it's okay to consider a non-blood relative a sort of daughter after she marries your son, then logically it shouldn't be any different to consider her that before she marries your son. That logic seems strange to a human, but we shouldn't assume that other species are obligated to conform to our values and assumptions.
     
  19. Drizzt

    Drizzt Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    I've got a quick question, for those of you who've finished the book. And, I don't mind if your answers spoil the plot for me. SPOILERS BELOW.

    I am on about Chapter 12 of "Unspoken Truth". And, I am very confused. Saavik and Mikal were on Earth. Saavik went to a communications station (where she was told that Tolek had died of unknown causes), while Mikal was waiting for her at a tram station. When she returned to the tram station, she blacked out, and woke up in her home on Vulcan. From what she overhears Amanda and Sarek discussing, it sounds as though Sarek nerve-pinched her, and took her home. But, why did he do this? And then, as I proceeded to read after that, the prose discusses how Saavik had an "outburst" at the Tram station. And, she indeed at one point says that she wonders 'if Starfleet will have me' after that 'outburst'. Then, inexplicably, she decides to visit the savants, where she has a violent episode and traipses off into the desert.

    So, I am wondering:
    1.) What really happened at the tram station? If she was just nerve-pinched and fell over, why would this be such a huge deal, and in regards to her career? Did something else happen that hasn't been disclosed in the story yet?
    2.) If all that happened was that Sarek pinched her and took her home....why would he do this?
    3.) When did Saavik decide to visit the savants? It seemed like a very random, very abrupt decision. She was sitting in bed, talking with Amanda, and just decided to out there. I am wondering if I missed a reference to this earlier in the story.

    Anyway, if anyone can shed some light on this, I'd appreciate it. I know the story is being told out of chronological order, which is naturally confusing, but it just seems like I am missing something, if not several things. Any clarification/info would be greatly appreciated, as I would like to continue reading this book without feeling utterly lost.

    Thanks, in advance, for any replies.
     
  20. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Unspoken Truth - Discussion (Spoilers)

    You didn't miss anything. The book will explain it all at the end. The kind of confusion you're experiencing was my biggest annoyance with the novel, but it will all get sorted out if you keep at it.