TP: Rough Beasts of Empire by DRGIII Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Thrawn, Dec 22, 2010.

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Rate Rough Beasts Of Empire

  1. Outstanding

    38 vote(s)
    26.0%
  2. Above Average

    61 vote(s)
    41.8%
  3. Average

    25 vote(s)
    17.1%
  4. Below Average

    13 vote(s)
    8.9%
  5. Poor

    9 vote(s)
    6.2%
  1. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Em... maybe. I enjoy a lot of the insights the authors bring but on the other hand I often think that the conversation is more honest when the authors aren't involved, and that their interaction warps the debate because people get scared about running the author off the board.
     
  2. SicOne

    SicOne Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    ^ Let me rephrase, Joe. Mostly good, but always educational. I do appreciate the little behind-the-scenes tidbits that the published authors share with us. Makes for a more complete picture (for me, anyway) and that enhances my enjoyment of the books. God knows I've asked them enough flarging questions and I'm seldom dissapointed by the answers.

    I didn't take the time to wade through all seventeen pages of posts, but I did see enough stuff to make me feel like DRG wasn't given a very fair shake by the Niners here. I don't think he was being all smarmy and condescending about their opinions; everyone's entitled to them...it sounds like he'd just had enough and they just kept gnashing their dentures over what they viewed as abject failures in bringing DS9 current, and blamed him and not the editorial process that he had no control or influence over. What I had intended for ten minutes of light reading to help ease me into restful sleep turned into a half-hour, until I finally had to put the book down and get some sleep. And that's plenty good enough storytelling for me.

    Might have a different view of it if I invested more time and read all seventeen pages of posts on the subject, but that's how I look at the face of it, and I don't wanna spend that much time on listening to everyone blather ad nauseum about how bad it was. I'd rather be reading the book and deciding for myself.
     
  3. The Grinch Doctor

    The Grinch Doctor Two Hearts Too Small Premium Member

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Thank you for your response, David. I honestly don't recall that from the episode so clearly I need to go back and watch it.

    On a different note, I'm sorry to read that you've decided to take a break from the board, although I cannot say I'm surprised. All I can I say is that I understand this place can be frustrating (speaking as a both former moderator of this forum and as a regular/semi-regular poster), but I hope after some time away you'll consider returning. I know I speak for a lot of people when I say I value reading your posts about your books and Trek literature in general. Peace. :cool:
     
  4. Misco

    Misco Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    This is very true. I, for one, don't post here very often (although I've been a member for longer than I care to recall) but I do frequently lurk on the boards, especially the TrekLit forum. I don't post much for a variety of reasons, although usually because I either don't feel I have much if anything to add to the discussion or because I tend to have catch up periods every few months of reading Trek books which have already been talked about to death on here, and resurrecting threads ain't my thing. Anyway now that tedious explanation is out of the way I just wanted to add my voice to those saying your contributions to the board will be missed David; I always enjoy reading the comments you and your fellow authors make and the insights you provide into the stories you write.

    I very much enjoyed Rough Beasts of Empire and although it is by no means my favourite book of yours, that prize goes to Provenance of Shadows, it was certainly an interesting read. Definitely the best of the three Typhon Pact books I have read so far and I really liked Zero Sum Game for the most part, although Seize the Fire not so much.

    The Spock half of the tale, all the Romulan twisted political machinations and the Tzenkethi stuff was excellent. I really liked the description of the Tzenkethi race, completely unexpected and far more intriguing than I thought they were going to be. The reveal at the end of the book actually made me a little frightened of them! I was saddened at the demise of Donatra but I did like the ambiguous way in which her death came about and am interested to see how the Romulan Empire will move forward from this point under new leadership. The Re-Unification Movement interests me and like other posters on here I should very much like a full in-depth explanation from Spock as to what exactly he envisions the future of a united Vulcan and Romulus to be (although perhaps I will get my answers in a future book some day).

    As far as the Sisko half of the novel was concerned I was in two minds; I cartainly didn't have the vitriolic reaction some others appear to have had to it but at the same time I can't say I wasn't uneasy about it. I finished the book a couple of days ago now and over that time I have come to not only accept but like the direction his story has taken. Where he goes from here will of course determine my overall impression of his actions and I hope the next person who writes a novel focusing on either Deep Space Nine or Sisko does the story justice. I can understand why some people may think the prophecy the Prophets made about his marriage to Kasidy is a rather tenuous and flimsy explanation for his actions, and if looked at completely objectively without the investment Sisko has in the people he loves then I can see how it appears that way, but if looked at completely from Sisko's point of view and in his imagined frame of mind at the time then I can certainly understand why he does what he does even if I don't necessarily think he's doing the right thing.

    I only really have two criticisms but they were enough to make me vote 'above average' rather than 'outstanding'. Firstly, I didn't really understand what the point of Sisko's flashback to the Tzenkethi war was. I mean, it was alright in and of itself and the section where Sisko is told to stick to command because he has the knack for it was interesting but overall it all just seemed pasted on to the rest of the novel. Secondly, I really thought the story could have done with being longer, (it's ironic that for me both RBoE and ZSG would have benefitted from being a 150 pages longer and yet STF would have actually been improved from being 150 pages shorter, but them's the breaks I guess) with these extra pages both the Tzenkethi war flashback and the time spent exploring the Tzenkethi species could have been expanded upon and pushed the novel up to 'outstanding'.

    All that being said RBoE was still an excellent read and I look forward to more TrekLit from you in the future, David, even if you no longer choose to post on the Trek BBS. :)
     
  5. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    But equally that also why what the Author thinks the book is saying is of little value or real interest to me. The work either stands on it's own merits or it doesn't. I think some of our authors and their bag-carriers get a little too hot into brow-beating people into accepting a 'correct' reading of a book.
     
  6. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Farewell, David R. George III. May you find solace and inspiration wherever you may go. :)




    Except the contrast between Tal'Aura and Gell--along with Nero's line in the movie "...while your Federation did nothing!"--implies a possible break-away from the Pact--as I'd reasoned before, in the "politics" spoiler tags.

    Well...as I recall, I was the one who previously came up with the East/West Germany analogy--and I believe Chris disputed it on the grounds that East Germany was NOT a power-player in the Warshaw Pact--merely an occupied territory--and that my comparison to the Cold War could only go so far.... *sigh*
     
  7. ronny

    ronny Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Finally had a chance to the book and when I come here to comment, one of the first things I see while skimming through the thread is that DRGIII is no longer posting here. What a freaking let down. Might have to get a Facebook account just so I can send him a quick note saying he'll be missed by his fans.

    I rated this Above Average. Better than the other two Typhon Pact books I've read so far but not quite up there with my DRGIII favorite's: Serpents Among the Ruins and Provenance of Shadows.

    In the first two TP books I thought the highlights where learning about the Breen and Gorn cultures with the parts of the books concerning our heroes less interesting. In this book I had no such problems. I liked the Sisko and Spock portions just as much as the sections dealing with the alien cultures.

    I have a soft spot in my heart for stories where the Romulan's are manipulated in some fashion, because they so much try to do that to other worlds and it's just fun to see the tables turned and they don't even realize it, like in "In the Pale Moonlight", so this book fills that need I have as well.
     
  8. tenmei

    tenmei Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Here's a copy of my review of the book that I posted on my blog http://fiftytwotwentysix.blogspot.com/ earlier.

    I have always enjoyed watching Star Trek (both the movies and the various television shows) and when my uncles started handing me second-hand copies of the Star Trek novels, I started devouring them at a rapid pace. However, that was when I was much younger - almost twenty years ago. For many years, I avoided reading Star Trek novels until Star Trek New Frontier opened my eyes to them once again in 1997 when I was in my mid-teens. I followed that series and when it debuted, I picked up the Deep Space Nine Relaunch in 2001, Star Trek: Titan (following Riker after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis) in early 2005 and Star Trek: Vanguard (a series set on a space station contemporary to The Original Series) later that year. One thing that occured to me about my preferences regarding Star Trek novels is that I enjoy those that focus exclusively, or largely, on original crews. Events in the recent Trek novels have conspired to bring all of the ongoing series' set in the twenty fourth century together - first in Star Trek: Destiny and now in the ongoing Star Trek: Typhon Pact storyline.

    What is the Typhon Pact - and why should we care about it? In short, after the events depicted in Star Trek: Destiny, several hostile alien races came together in a loose alliance to oppose Starfleet and the Federation. This is the Typhon Pact. Over the past several months, there have been a series of four novels, each of which have shone the spotlight on one of the Typhon Pact nations - 'Zero Sum Game' focusing on the Breen, 'Seize the Fire' focusing on the Gorn, 'Rough Beasts of Empire' focusing on the Romulans (and, to a lesser extent, the Tzenkethi) and 'Paths of Disharmony' which turns our attention onto how the Typhon Pact is affecting the member races of the Federation. 'Rough Beasts of Empire' is the third published (but would probably work better as the first read) and has been written by David R. George III.

    I've been familiar with David R. George III for several years, since he wrote 'Twilight' one of the novels in the Mission: Gamma section of the ongoing Deep Space Nine Relaunch. He's got a very unique writing style - it's certainly a marmite one, you either love his overly descriptive prose or you hate it. For me, I'm veering distinctly towards the second option. I managed to read both of the Deep Space Nine Relaunch novels he wrote (he wrote 'Olympus Descending' in Worlds of Deep Space Nine: Volume 3, in addition to 'Twilight') but disliked the first of his Star Trek: Crucible novels - and, in reading 'Rough Beasts of Empire', my latest encounter with his prose, I admit that I struggled in parts to make my way through several of the sequences.

    The story told in the novel itself is worthwhile and has some compelling moments, characters and ideas. The powerplay between the various factions within the Romulan governments (yes, both of them) and their powerplays against each other are interesting - but where the novel really lets itself down are the chapters in which we encounter Benjamin Sisko and explore what he has been doing in the four years (in universe) since the last time we saw him in 'Warpath' in 2006. Perhaps the radical change in Sisko's situation is part of what jars with the chapters that feature him - the changes, whilst concievable, sit uncomfortably. And the fact that the chapters that feature Sisko seem, for the most part, to be extraneous to the rest of the events in the novel (they only really crossover twice) and could be fulfilled by any of the other ships in Star Trek literature (whether it be the Aventine, Excalibur, Trident, Enterprise or Titan). The updates to Sisko's situation (and, indeed, the glimpses we see of other characters from the Deep Space Nine Relaunch) would have been better told, even by the same author, in its own novel - a true restart for the Deep Space Nine Relaunch.

    All things considered, this isn't the worst of the two Typhon Pact novels that I have read (I read 'Zero Sum Game' before Christmas) and the sequences detailing the political machinations in Romulan space are sufficiently interesting that they, more or less, compensate for the lacklustre sequences featuring Benjamin Sisko. It would, as I have said, worked better as the first novel in the Typhon Pact arc - but it works well enough as the third published (and my second read). I wouldn't necessarily recommend it unless someone is a particular fan of Spock (who features in the Romulan segments) or Benjamin Sisko, or is a completist (or follower of a particular series, such as the Deep Space Nine Relaunch). It took me eleven days to read the book (I started it on 21/01/11 and finished it on 01/01/11) and I feel that, at times, it was a struggle to get through.
     
  9. OverlordSpock

    OverlordSpock Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion and not everyone is going to (or should) agree with me...

    But...WOW...

    Provenance of Shadows is my second favorite TrekLit (first being another DRGIII work, Serpent Among the Ruins). It was an incredibly beautiful look at the life of Leonard McCoy (one that "was" and one that "could have been"). I don't know of any other work that has ever so fully captured the true essence of a character as that book did with Doctor McCoy.

    I understand that you may not like "overly" wordy descriptions or the like (and DRGIII can definitely be...wordy—I think PoS is still the longest TrekLit novel to date), but all those words definitely contributed to the tapestry of that book.

    To each their own, though, I guess.

    As for your opinions regarding the two stories in Rough Beasts, I agree that the Sisko portion of the book definitely seemed off and out of place. I would much rather have seen that story as its own novel (and fleshed out a little more). But the Spock/Romulan portions of the book were thoroughly enjoyable. One can never get enough of devious Romulans or noble Romulans. :rommie:
     
  10. VDCNI

    VDCNI Captain Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    I voted poor which is probably unfair as there was much to enjoy about the book but I personally don't agree with the approach taken with Sisko and it overwhelmed all the positive parts of the book for me in the end.

    I can't say I was particularly looking forward to this book as I have no interest in Spock or his movement but I was pleasantly surprised how engrossing I found it. I was surprised how easily the Romulan Empire was reunited but overall it was well done.

    The Sisko storyline felt out of place here though - it didn't really have much to do with the other storyline and someone else could have been sent to Donatra in his place without the book losing anything. Also the Tzenkethi flashback seemed somewhat pointless - it wasn't clear why it was there at all.

    My main issue is the decisions made about Sisko & to a lesser extent Kira which for me personally seem at odds with how these characters have been portrayed over the years. Sisko faced down the sorrow in the show - bringing it back now just jarred for me and having him abandon his family seemed a complete betrayal of the character and the actor.

    Perhaps if we'd seen the events that supposedly pushed Kira & Sisko into these actions then it might have worked but it just came out of nowhere here. Again this isn't the writers fault - the time jump has been decided on and he worked around it. Maybe if we get a book filling in the gap it will make these developments more acceptable in the same way that Full Circle did for Janeway's death.

    So a good book in parts but the Sisko section really didn't work for me and at the moment I'm not sure if I want to read any further DS9 novels given where the characters are right now.
     
  11. rafterman1701

    rafterman1701 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    I thought the Spock stuff was fantastic. The Sisko stuff felt like it's leading to a payoff later on. When that happens, I think I'll look back on his actions differently. Even though this wasn't my favorite of his books, I still love when DRG3 writes something. His McCoy book is one of my all-time favorites.
     
  12. MNM

    MNM Captain Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Dont be so precious.

    Maybe the reason there is an increase in the "negativity and combativeness" is a reaction to the generally average quality of Trek lit over the last couple of years? especially in the DS9 books. Plots and trheads are built up, only to loose steam because the series as a whole has fallen into a slump. The sudden time jump forward a few years, very little indication that those missing years are ever going to be fully shown (I dont consider a few flash backs in "current" stories to suffice) and the main plot points of the older books, the dominion and the Ascendants being dropped in favour of bringing DS9 "upto date" with the rest of the 24th century books.

    None of that is a sign of a well managed line, and people who enjoy Trek Lit have ever right to find that they dont enjoy such a situation and to express such an opinion.
     
  13. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    ^ It's possible to be critical without presuming to speak for a large group of people-- this attitude of "I don't like this premise or this approach to storytelling, therefore everyone sees it that way." I see the use of the DS9 ensemble as a way show how the new astro-political scene affects entire Trek universe, not just the major players of the Destiny trilogy or the various post-Destiny novels. I'd be plenty annoyed if new character arcs were spontaneously woven into Dominion War stories involving the TNG ensemble, but I could only hope those character arcs would be expanded upon. At least some of the new character arcs introduced in Zero Sum Game were followed up on in RBoE, and one can only hope that a lot of these new storylines expanded in future DS9 novels.
     
  14. flemm

    flemm Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    He didn't express that attitude. He suggested a possible reason for the discontent (remarked upon by the earlier poster) and, indeed, a very plausible one. That is not the same thing as presuming that everyone has an identical opinion.

    He also suggested that it was a bit immature for DRGIII to get all indignant about people expressing mixed or negative opinions about recent creative and editorial decisions regarding the DS9 relaunch (or Trek Lit in general). Which I agree that it was. Note that this in no way suggests that I think everyone agrees ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2011
  15. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    The problem with this assertion is that that's not what happened.

    DRGIII felt that the board has just become unremittingly hostile and negative in general. It wasn't enough to say that a given creative decision didn't work for someone -- the decision had to be attacked on every single possible level in the angriest tones.

    I don't blame a guy for getting tired of that. There's a difference between criticism and just having your work attacked.
     
  16. -Brett-

    -Brett- Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    I'll give the book props where it's due. I'm glad they finally killed off Tal'Aura and Donatra. Loooooong overdue. I would have gotten sick of them in Nemesis if they'd been anything more than glorified background extras with two minutes of screen time. I can't even begin to guess why they were given such a prominent role in the tie-ins. :confused:

    The story of Romulan civilization getting back together and Spock's role in it was okay. The Sisko story? Not so much. I can't even figure out why he's in the book. His story is almost completely divorced from the main plot and his flashbacks are completely divorced even from his story. I'd guess he's only there to appease DS9 fans, except that making him a deadbeat dad doesn't seem like a good way to do that.

    Since he apparently ragequit the forum, I won't sugarcoat it. I expected better from David R George. Below average.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2011
  17. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread


    Let's accept this premise for a bit - so why has this happened?
     
  18. flemm

    flemm Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Well, I perfectly understand why DRGIII might prefer not to post on these boards or any other (and I'm indifferent to whether or not he continues posting here), but the main example given of the boards' dichotomous personality was the following:

    It is simply not objectionable in any way that posters would have a variety of strong opinions on that topic. It would only be surprising if they did not.

    That seems an odd conclusion to draw in a thread that contains many, indeed mostly positive reactions. It is true that staunch defenders of all things Trek Lit tend to be among the most hostile posters in this forum, but I don't see that this was the case in this thread, and it seems unlikely that this tendency would be at the root of DRGIII's frustration in any event.

    The angriest tones? :lol:

    There's simply nothing in the thread that corresponds to that description. No one was gratuitously attacking DRGIII's work. It is in that sense that his reaction was immature.

    Some posters did have strong negative reactions, but that is perfectly valid. There is also no reason not to criticize a certain creative decision in detail. Indeed, detailed analysis is often a necessity to justify a given criticism or interpretation, which would otherwise be dismissed as superficial.

    So, analyzing a particular creative choice, or picking it apart "on every possible level" should not be perceived as offensive by any stretch of the imagination, certainly no more than going to great lengths to defend a particular creative choice or interpretation.
     
  19. SicOne

    SicOne Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    ^ What, did he think this was the Neutral Zone forum? He'd be eaten alive and screaming in there.
     
  20. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Dude, he was being accused of perpetuating stereotypes about black men as deadbeat dads, and the events of the novel themselves were being twisted and falsely described as "Sisko abandons his family because of a prophecy that any reader of prophecy fiction knows he can't avoid anyway." People weren't just criticizing his work, they were attacking it, and now they're attacking him for choosing not to put up with it.

    Shit like this, right here. Could you possibly be any more condescending and disrespectful?

    ETA:

    And while I can't speak for DRGIII, I'd point out that you should bear in mind that it may not have been just the reaction to Rough Beasts of Empire that prompted this decision. Several months ago, for instance, he was involved in a thread reviewing the Crucible trilogy, and a poster accused him of choosing to write a sex scene solely out of a lascivious desire to increase book sales and of deliberately violating the "real" characterization of Edith Keeler. When DRGIII replied that he put that there because he honestly felt that such a relationship made sense and was an organic characterization choice, he was accused of lying and of making Edith Keeler into a "whore." So I frankly wouldn't be too surprised if this was merely the straw the broke the camel's back.