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. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    In response to Danoz, in all fairness I think you've set up a false comparison of sorts. DRG had Sisko take an extreme position, which I and some others did feel was out of character and didn't seem true to what we have seen of the character onscreen. But I don't think any of us have argued that we simply want Sisko to be conflict free either.

    On the show he clearly went against the Prophets' warning and he followed his heart. He knew the consequences, or at least had the warning, but chose a different direction. I wish the Sisko of Rough Beasts had faced up to that decision instead of trying to shirk it. I wish he had sought some way to creatively address his 'problem' instead of just running away from it. Even Sisko post-Wolf 359 didn't run away from Jake though he did shut himself from a great deal of the world. Granted, he didn't have this warning hanging over his head, but because of that warning, I could see Sisko just as easily wanting his family by his side so he could protect them and not leave it up to others.

    Who's to say that his presence alone will invite this danger. Joseph Sisko died without Ben being present. Though to be fair, I question why Sisko would think this was part of the prophecy. Joseph was old. I wish DRG had written Ben as an adult who can be man enough to talk to his wife about the prophecy at least. Let them argue, let them disagree if need be, and then if Ben left after that, I wouldn't like it, but at least we could get that kind of vital discussion, it just wouldn't find like such a cold dismissal. It also galls me that Avery Brooks worked with the DS9 writers to preclude the idea that Sisko would abandon his family on the series finale, but Trek Lit. just tossed that to the wind. On some storyline changes, like Trip's resurrection (though I'm starting to regret that a little), I was cool with the change, but not with DS9. It goes too much against who Sisko was.

    Real people do make irrational choices and so do fictional characters, but I think there is a fine line with Star Trek captains. Trek captains stand for something, they inspire people. They are the tent poles of their respective series and you want to have them challenged, but you want to see them come through the challenge, not run away from it.

    To be fair, perhaps this is what DRG plans to do in a future book, though I wish there had been more of a hint of that in Rough Beasts. As it stands, I don't know what's going to happen with Sisko. I doubt there will be separate adventures on his ship and I don't know when the next DS9 book is coming out, or if even Sisko will be the main focus, or significant part, of it. With this time jump that occurred, a lot of storylines need to be updated and Sisko's might get lost in the shuffle. If it does, that will truly suck.
     
  2. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Just finished the book last night. I can see that Tzenkethi value the Romulan Star Empire as an ally having been a major player in interstellar politics. But because their paranoid xenophobia has influenced their dealings with the Federation, they don't want the Romulans to be THE dominant power in the Typhon Pact. It's quite an interesting dilemma. Alizome helped to achieve those goals through her own manipulations. But based on Spock coming out of his meeting with Kamenor optimistic that the Reunification Movement would still be accepted and that she would maintain a less hawkish stance towards the UFP, the Tzenkethi's manipulation of Romulan politics could backfire big time.

    Overall, some aspects were disappointing comparing the actual product to advertising. The latest chapter of the Spock character arc was a strong selling point, as was revisiting Sisko's involvement in the Tzenkethi war. The latter would have made more sense if Sisko had been confronting the Tzenkethi in the present while recalling his time on the Okinawa. It also never revealed how he and Captain Walter escaped their imprisonment. I'm not too overly concerned about the implications of Sisko abandoning his wife and child. Maybe it is out of character, but he hadn't yet seen the Prophets side of things. I've said before that RBoE depicts Sisko in a funk for the exact opposite reason as Bashir in ZSG. And both are willing to behave out of character if that means giving them some measure of contentment.

    Overall, I still think ZSG is still the best of the Typhon Pact series, while still trying to get through StF and still on the lookout for PoD.
     
  3. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    ^
    Sisko is not content at the end of Beasts, or throughout the book. He's a man in deep pain. I can understand your point about Bashir (he's in love with Sarina and was in a very tense, life threatening situation), but not Sisko who chose (perhaps because he felt he had no choice, courtesy of DRG), but he left his family.
     
  4. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    In either case, the main character resorted to taking extreme actions. In the case of Sisko, I wouldn't say he was content by the end, but he did ready to move on with his life, even going from wanting to exchange as few words as possible with his crew to having a drink with the first officer. It still bothers me that he said all that stuff to Kasidy a year later rather than when he decided to return to Starfleet on a more permanent basis.
     
  5. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    ^
    I'm not quite so sure that DRG's Sisko is all that ready to move on with his life. I think he has accomodated to the asinine decision that he's made, but saying a few words to his XO doesn't mean he's headed toward fully embracing life again. It remains to be seen if this version of Sisko will carve out a real life for himself, without Kasidy, Rebecca, or Jake.

    As for Bashir, he also did some extreme things, but I was less disappointed because he was in a life-or-death situation, which factored on the extreme actions he took. Granted, I will never agree with DRG's Sisko's decision, however it might've made more sense to go into Rebecca's kidnapping and tie that more strongly to her being the Avatar instead of DRG just giving that as exposition. I think a more Bajor-focused storyline for the Siskos would've been better than the ill-fitting Tzenkethi War memories.

    From what DRG gave us, the Borg invasion and Joseph Sisko's death, it makes Ben seem a bit narcissistic to believe those tragedies had something to do with the prophecy. To be fair I didn't get that from the Borg invasion but it was suggested that Ben felt Joseph's death was tied to the prophecy. It would almost be like VOY's Torres equating Admiral Paris's death with the Kuvah'Magh prophecy.
     
  6. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Many deadbeat dads get to that stage. Maybe in the next book, him and the first officer can hit some bars.
     
  7. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Sorry\/\/.Between double posting and buggering up the edit function I've made a mess.\/\/
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2011
  8. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Just finished the book and I have to say it is one of te best Treklit books I've read in a long time.
    Of course I'm a sucker for anything Romulan-centric and RBoE really delivers on this front.I'm sorry to see some familiar Romulan figures go but that's life in the big city(Ki Baratan).I really hope we haven't seen the end of Tomalek,the late Andreas Katsulas' portrayal of him was so delightfully good that all subsequent Tomalek appearances have a sort of vividness about them.And finally DRG111 has finally put my feelings about Spock's re-unification movement into print through the words of the new Praetor.

    The tzenkethi...amazingly creepy,weird and alien in a way not often seen in Trek.10/10.

    The SISKO storyline made perfect sense to me,I always found it funny that Ben Sisko,the "family man captain"was always the most aloof,self-absorbed,dare I sat moodiest of the Trek captains.His self enforced solitude is IMO perfectly in character for him.



    The Sisko
     
  9. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Sorry to double post.

    For the book with the most fractured narrative,RBoE actually moved the story of the Typhon pact further along than either of the previous installments.

    I would argue however that now that we have seen the Tzenkethi and learned of their methods and goals and with the accession of Senator Durjiks 'warhawk' faction on Romulus,the Typhon pact is definetly taking on the appearance of an interstellar"league of super-villainy".
     
  10. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    ^ Sorry to see Donatra be killed, but Tal'Aura didn't really impress me as a villain. But we'll see how all this leads into the 24th century events that lay down the premise of ST XI.
     
  11. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread


    Thanks for the spoilers......
     
  12. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    ^It's a spoiler in the 290th post in the review thread for that novel. I think there's a certain point where you can start expecting the uncoded spoilers to creep in for the work being discussed.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Finally got my hands on this one, finished it today. I liked it.

    To offer a new perspective on the Sisko storyline, I found I was somewhat reminded of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. That movie picked up the story several years after we last saw Kirk, Spock, and the rest, and it was revealed to us retroactively that the main characters had made choices that took them to surprisingly different points in their lives. That was off-putting to many people, and a lot of people felt that the protagonists were out of character because of how their lives had changed during our time away.

    But those changes were set up as complications for the characters, a source of conflict, and the story was about how they dealt with those complications. Sisko's situation here is the same way. Like Kirk at the start of TMP, he's lost. The thing that gave his life meaning for years -- his role as Emissary -- is gone. It's understandable that he wouldn't be sure what to do next, or might not be making the best decisions. He doesn't know quite who he is anymore, what his life is supposed to be now, and he's struggling to figure out the right thing to do. So while he's certainly acting for what he believes is the well-being of his wife and daughter, while his intentions are unimpeachably good, he may be lacking perspective and judgment.

    Is that a bad place to take the character? No. When we first met Ben Sisko, he was even more lost. That was the beginning of his journey. If we're now starting a new phase of his story -- which is a good idea, since his old story, his journey as the Emissary, was essentially over -- then it makes sense to start him out in a difficult place.

    And is it a bad idea to jump over the intervening years and leave us trying to catch up with the changes? I can see how it would be difficult for the reader, but difficult isn't automatically bad. It reminds me of how it would be in real life to be reunited with someone you haven't seen in years. It might take a while to get caught up, you'd be in the dark about some of the events they referenced, and you might be surprised by how they've changed.


    Replies to various comments, some of them pretty old by now:

    I had the impression back in TNG that the idea was to try to open up a repressive society by introducing its people to more egalitarian and constructive ideas -- kind of like how a number of American groups have worked to promote the ideas of non-violent resistance that have now taken hold in Egypt and elsewhere in the Mideast. And to ease the tensions between the Romulans and the Federation by promoting a sense of kinship with one of the UFP's founder races.

    Arguably, given the policies of the person who is now the Romulan Praetor, the motives for the Unification movement may no longer be relevant.


    Never occurred to me, since the Vorlon appearance was illusory. I was reminded more of the Suliban, what with the bonelessness.

    The only descripton of the Tzenkethi in AotF is that they have vertebrae. RBoE acknowledges that they do have vertebrae, if no other bones.


    It'll be even worse when DTI: Watching the Clock comes out. By coincidence, RBoE and DTI (not counting flashbacks) span almost exactly the same period of time, though DTI begins about a month later. However, going by my estimates of RBoE's dates (which may not line up exactly with DRGIII's), there's very little actual overlap; the two pretty much take place in one another's gaps. Which, again, is entirely by coincidence, so it's kind of fascinating.


    According to Memory Beta, Jake was born on June 12, 2355. The flashbacks are "soon" before his 7th birthday, so they'd have to be in spring 2362. Which fits with The Lost Era: Catalyst of Sorrows, in which Sisko was still a lieutenant in 2360 and hadn't yet switched from engineering to command.


    Did you finish the book? Because you're misinformed about something rather important here.
    Durjik's faction didn't take over. That was Rehaek's plan, but Rehaek was assassinated by Sela, so it never came to fruition. On the contrary, the new Praetor, Kamemor, is just about the least warmongering, most reasonable Romulan leader we've ever seen.

    If anything, I feel this book did more than any of the others to dispel the perception of the Typhon Pact as a "league of villains." It established the Romulans as the most reasonable, progressive member of the Pact. It established that while the Tzenkethi are devious, their interest is stability rather than chaos. And it came out and said outright on page 331 that, "with the possible exception of the Kinshaya," none of the Pact's members "had a taste for war." They want to be stronger than the Federation, they hope to outcompete it, but they prefer to do so by other means than combat. So antagonists, I'll grant, but "supervillains?" No. I think the books of this series have shown us plenty of nuance in the Pact's members.
     
  14. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Their melodic way of speaking does bring the Vorlons to mind. I pictured the Phylosians from the Animated Series, but obviously with a more humanoid appearance, when the last chapter described how Alizome was sitting. And I can see similarities to the genetically-augmented Suliban with how they can contort their bodies.
     
  15. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    I repeat my earlier point.
    As Kamemor is known as being a strong advocate for peaceful alliance with the Federation--and considering her characterization here, there is no reason to think she's a changed person in that regard--it is a strong possibility that the Romulans will break away from the Pact and ally with the Federation.

    In fact, I will predict that, unless Kammemor is assasinated, the Romulans will break off from the Pact, and join the Khitomer Alliance.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Again, not a connection I would've made. But then, I haven't seen B5 in ages.

    The Tzenkethi voices were described as sounding like wind chimes or bells, which is actually not an unprecedented description of alien voices in Trek Lit -- see the Hamalki in Diane Duane's novels and Dr. Cethente in Titan. I've never quite figured out what that would sound like in the past, but this time I realized that some larger wind chimes have a low enough pitch to be in a soprano vocal range, so I was able to imagine it as a soprano-range voice with a bell-like resonance and clarity to it.
     
  17. Admiral_Young

    Admiral_Young Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    I really need to read this book. It was something I was looking forward to, just have never gotten around to it yet. May borrow it from my friend who's currently reading it. From the spoilers that I've read in this thread I really like the direction the Romulans are being taken in. I don't really have much problem with the Sisko stuff but understand why hardcore Sisko fans would be disappointed. I enjoyed reading your review Christopher, it makes me want to read this even more now.
     
  18. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Maybe I'm being stupid(hell,it's more than likely)but...
    With the deaths of Tal'aura,Rehaek and Donatra several things have come to pass namely the reconstitution of the Romulan star empire,a reunited Romulan people with a renewed sense of nationalism and a strong commitment to the Typhon pact.
    An admitted enemy of humankind in charge of the Tal Shiar.
    A discredited,or more correctly an irrelevant reunification movement.
    Admittedly a new(apparently)moderate Praetor serving as a non-divisive presence.But a praetor as disposable as any of her predecessors once she becomes surplus to requirements.
    I cannot see,apart from the death of Rehaek any downside for Durjik.(I don't suppose he will have any trouble or scruples about using Sela or vice versa.)
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    ^You seem to have this perception of Durjik as a major player. I don't see that. I remember him being mentioned in RBoE as somebody that Rehaek intended to maneuver into the praetorship as a figurehead for Rehaek's agenda, because of his hawkish politics. But he struck me as a pawn, not a mastermind.

    Even if Durjik's pro-war faction is still a relevant force in Romulan politics, I don't see it becoming a dominant one. There are too many other factions that would counter him. Kamemor will most likely be a popular praetor and win a lot of allies, making it very unwise to treat her as "disposable." Sela, who killed Rehaek, now runs the Tal Shiar, and I doubt she'd want to cultivate Rehaek's pet senator. The Tzenkethi agents manipulating events like having Kamemor in charge and don't want some hothead taking over and destabilizing things. And as I pointed out before, we were told in as many words that most of the Pact's governments have no taste for war at this time -- and indeed they'd be stupid to, because they've all got plenty of rebuilding to do in the wake of the Borg invasion and their own individual crises, and war would be a waste of resources better used internally. We've already seen, in A Singular Destiny, that pressure from the Pact members as a whole is able to halt a single member's unilateral aggression. So even if Durjik somehow did manage to usurp the praetorship and try to waste resources by declaring war on somebody, he'd have all sorts of rivals pushing back on him, either restraining him through political pressure, manipulating him through trickery and spy games, arresting him on charges legitimate or trumped-up, or just plain taking him out.
     
  20. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Well/\granted,perhaps I am making too much of Durjik but that said he was the focal point/narrative perspective for at least two passages in the book.And c'mon where is the fun of having a moderate in charge of Romulus?those guys are made for skullduggery and nefariousness.:rommie:

    While the war-fatigue argument is valid,many hawks would argue that for good or ill,the Federation/Klingons/you target of choice will never be as weak as they are now.Remember General George Patton wanted to have at the Russians in the direct aftermath of the second world war.(generals aren't always too grounded.)