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

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  2. Above Average

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  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    ^As I've said before, though, we've already had plenty of war stories in Trek. Heck, there's already a war story ongoing in the ENT novels, the Earth-Romulan War. And Star Trek has NEVER been a franchise primarily or exclusively about war stories. There are a lot of other kinds of stories worth telling -- if you ask me, far more worth telling than just another shoot'em-up.

    Indeed, the whole thing that makes the Typhon Pact interesting -- and this should be especially clear in RBoE, as well as in Paths of Disharmony -- is that they're interested in competing with the Federation in ways other than war, methods like political gameplaying, espionage, competition for advanced technology and resources, the use of propaganda to make the Federation look bad, you name it. And what's intriguing is how well those non-military methods are working at giving the Pact an edge. Focusing only on the war possibilities here is a serious failure of imagination.
     
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  2. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Still, it is odd to assume that, should Kammemor gain popularity and influence, that she will take part in said competition with the Federation. Again--she had been a strong advocate of peace with the UFP. Therefore, it would not suit her agenda to remail with competitors of the UFP--it would be far more advantageous to join the Alliance, the opportinites thereof more effeciently suiting her interests.
     
  3. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Why?

    Kamemor isn't an imperialist and favours peace with the Federation, sure, but that doesn't mean she'd like the Romulan Empire to abandon its position as first among equals in the strong Typhon Pact for a dubious alliance with the Federation. Kamemor is a Romulan patriot, someone who wants the best possible deal for the RSE.

    Even in an expanded Khitomer Alliance, the Borg devastation of the UFP and Romulans still wouldn't be enough to make the Romulans the dominant player. (And why would the Romulans want to ally with the Klingons?) As the leading member of the Typhon Pact, an alliance of Romulus with a variety of other powerful civilizations with which Romulus has much less history of conflict than with the Klingons or the UFP, Romulan security can be secured, along with Romulus' constructive engagement with the wider interstellar community as opposed to isolationism. And the Typhon Pact can get along well with the Federation, too; if anything, buttressed by allies the Romulans can be confident in their ability to get good deals.
     
  4. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Quite. Sisko may have made sad decisions, decisions we think are bad as he might think they're good, but the idea of him rebooting his life entirely seems profoundly unlikely.

    More backstory would be good.

    Well, apart from Ben's relationship with his father being incomparably stronger than B'Elanna's relationship with her father-in-law, Sisko is entitled to be narcissistic, since the Prophets did arrange for his birth so that he could become a figure of galactic importance in innumerable timelines, with agency, too.

    I wish Sisko stayed with his family, but I like his interesting flaws.
     
  5. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    There does seem to be a shared sense of species identity felt by Vulcans and Romulans, perhaps also Watraii and Remans (more these species than the more prominent ones?). The Vulcans see Romulus as an offshoot civilization, Surak's work uncompleted; the Romulans wouldn't mind conquering their species' homeworld; et cetera.

    Agreed, entirely. The authors and editors are doing quite well with this.

    Huh. Come to think of it, you're one of the major authors who didn't contribute a Typhon Pact novel. Just saying ...
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    I almost did, but I ended up taking the Abramsverse novel gig instead. Which is a choice I regret in retrospect.

    But it's not like the Typhon Pact is going anywhere, so there are always possibilities...
     
  7. Dimesdan

    Dimesdan "Down with this sort of thing!" Premium Member

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    And I'm sure a Typhon Pact novel written by yourself would have gone down equally as well as the other books with in the series.
     
  8. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    I'm actually still really fascinated to read your take on the Abramsverse; the movie seemed to be a lot about flash and humor, and your more cerebral, scientific style wouldn't have been one I'd instinctively have picked to go with that. I'm really curious about how that turned out, I hope we get to read it someday.
     
  9. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    But remember the entire point of the Pact: To counter the influence of the Federation. To compete with the Federation, in something akin to a NATO/Warshaw competition. Kammemor desiring peace with the Federation runs counter to the Pact agenda.

    Furthermore, the Romulans will not be "first among equals," if the Tzenkethi have anything to say about it.

    On that note...the best thing, say, Section 31--or SI, if that "feels" better--can do now is to reveal to its contacts in the Tal Shiar--and, therefore, to the RSE government--that they've been played like a fiddle by the Tzenkethi.

    Romulans, being a proud people, will NOT take kindly to another race--ESPECIALLY an "ally"--interfering in their political affairs in that manner! Yet another reason that it is in Kammemor's best interests to break away from the Pact.

    The Klingons may be...unsanitary to the Romulans, but at least they do not believe in "behind-the scenes" plots.
     
  10. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2011
  11. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    Ah, but that's it exactly; they're not really offensively hostile to the UFP (as is highlighted by the comments that none of the nations involved really have a taste for war); they're more defensively hostile - your highlighted point about "countering" it is right on the money, I think, and actually argues against the position you're advancing. Good relations with the Federation isn't necessarily at odds with the Pact's purpose at all, because the "war" the Pact members are fighting against the UFP is based on their defensiveness, not a pure aggression. :) The Pact members see the Federation as something expansionist, encroaching on them economically, ideologically. Their conflict is more with Federation expansion than the Federation itself. They want to constrain the Federation and serve as a bulwark against its continuing rapid expansion both literally and more to the point ideologically. From the viewpoint of most of the Pact members, the UFP is the one which is "aggressing"; even the Romulans call it "imperialistic" (with great hypocrisy of course, but that in itself shows the strength of their perception that the Federation is out to subvert their nation and assimilate their culture). The Pact doesn't want to conquer - it wants to "defend" itself against what it sees (largely incorrectly of course) as a continuing ideological "attack" by the massive, ever-expanding UFP.

    (And keep in mind Kamemor-as-Praetor was set up by the Tzenkethi precisely to reign in the Romulan's potential war-hunger and keep them in line with the rest of the Pact's "no taste for war" policy). The pact is after stability for their nations - and they see the Federation as the one big subversive threat to that. They want to keep the UFP in check, without weakening themselves, because that would defeat the purpose. War would sap them just as much as subversive Federation influence would sap them. The only exception is the Kinshaya, because they've probably forgotten how NOT to be at war...

    I mean, if we go through the members:

    The Tzenkethi are morally opposed to democracy; they believe it's a form of government that's inherently destructive to a society, that democracy will result in degeneration and falling standards for any society that adopts it. But first, it enables the infected society to serve as a transmitter to spread that ideology further. Basically, democracy is their communism - they relate to it more or less as the West related to communist ideologies. Subversive, infective, and ultimately - inevitably - disasterous. And the massive expansion of the United Federation of Planets is somewhat comparable in the Tzenkethi view to how the west viewed the Soviet Union's expansion. I'm not saying it's a great analogy, but I think it makes the point. That's why the Tzenkethi insist the Federation is the "aggressor", why the UFP trying to normalize relations and open trade was seen as an attack.

    The Gorn seem to have a mostly defensive stance regarding the Federation, too. They always seem more wary than truly hostile - indeed, they've had productive relations in the past and they don't seem to have any real conflict with the UFP (other than the "eeek, mammals!" response :lol:). But they don't want to get too close - and get funny if the UFP tries to get closer - because they fear becoming puppets. Ambassador Zogozin's comments to his Klingon counterpart in Destiny are telling - "why does Qo'noS still send an ambassador here - didn't the Federation annex your empire?" As far as the Gorn are concerned, the Klingon Empire is ruled from Earth; they fear the same happening to them. And we know the Gorn are territorial; I think it's safe to say they hate not the Federation but the idea that the Federation might "expand", either with starships or with ideas, into their worlds.

    The Breen no doubt find the Federation way greatly disturbing - all those people going around flaunting their uniqueness, everything out in the open, bright lights, nowhere to hide; and we know now that they have dissidant movements already "infected" with such ideas. The process of subversion has begun! The Federation seeks to weaken the Confederacy from within!!

    I doubt the Kinshaya are happy about anything that offers stability and strength to the Klingons, which the UFP certainly does. The empire would have collapsed after Praxis if it weren't for the Federation helping them.

    What the Pact wants is to curtail the Federation and prevent it becoming (or continuing to be) the overwhelming superpower that dictates galactic policy. They want to make a stand against any attempt by the Federation to infect their societies with its policies, its identity. The irony that they've made their stand by deliberately copying the UFP (as Tezrene of all people upfront states) is the most fascinating part of this, I think. And it offers the germ of a potential resolution to this "cold war". The Pact members are learning that the ideologies of the UFP can be selectively and safely mined without being necessarily detrimental to these nations' own identity. The pact members feel threatened by the UFP's influence - they probably fear that one day they'll wake up and they'll be in the Federation's hegemony without having realized it (How long before Gornar or Romulus or Ab-Tzenketh are flying the Federation's flag?! The horror!!). But maybe the fact that the UFP offered them inspiration will make them eventually realize that they can find a balance. They can learn from the UFP, and see it as a friend and partner, without fearing that they'll be washed away in seas of root beer.

    So the way I see it, there's no reason why peaceful relations or even good relations with the Federation would necessarily go against the Pact's purpose - so long as the Pact members felt on equal footing (or, I guess, in the current climate, superior footing) rather than paranoid that they'll be assimilated. In fact, if the 25th century "pax galactica" does end up tying in, I'd assume its precisely because the Pact members learn to see the Federation with new eyes.

    Basically, overall, I think it's not so much "the Pact is out to get the Federation", it's more "the Pact is convinced to a paranoid extreme that the Federation is out to get them" - and they're making their stand. Maybe they'll get the Federation first! The Federation needs to convince them that they're wrong to see it in these terms...
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2011
  12. lvsxy808

    lvsxy808 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    ^^^ Popping by just to say that this is an excellent and thought-provoking post, Nasat. You always manage to be the most level-headed and sensible poster while still finding fascinating insights that others seem to miss. I enjoy reading your posts.
     
  13. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    :alienblush: Why thank you.

    Though there are times, sadly, when "level-headed" is about as far from an accurate description of me as you could get. ;) Luckily, the Literature forum has never played host to one of my occasional off days...
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    To clarify, I don't regret getting the opportunity to play in that universe, to get to explore a whole new version of the characters with a virtual blank slate of continuity. And it let me stretch by trying on a new voice of sorts, telling a more action-oriented story than I usually do in Trek. (Though I've done that kind of storytelling before, in my Marvel novels and in the original spec novel I've been trying to sell.) It's just that, given how things turned out, I wish I'd done a Pact novel and then maybe gotten an opportunity to explore the Abramsverse further down the road, in something that would actually see print.


    This is exactly, exactly right. It is royally missing the point to assume the Typhon Pact is an aggressor bent on conquest, or that their rivalry with the Federation is based on a desire to destroy it. Yes, the Tholians and the Breen may feel that way to an extent, but even they see it as a defensive measure.

    And it's really rather ethnocentric to say that the entire point of their existence is defined purely in relation to the Federation. We Trek fans may perceive the Federation as the center of the universe, because it essentially is from a storytelling point of view, but realistically, all these nations see themselves as the center of their respective universes, and don't define themselves exclusively in terms of being enemies of the Federation. What they want most of all is the power and security to pursue their own interests, not just counter someone else's.

    As long as the UFP, and more broadly the Khitomer Alliance, is the sole superpower in the quadrant, then everything revolves around it and other nations are just satellites trapped in its orbit. If it's not the sole superpower anymore, if its influence is balanced and diminished, then the quadrant doesn't revolve around it anymore. And that's what motivated the creation of the Pact: the desire for an existence that isn't defined solely in relation to the Federation.
     
  15. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    ^Chris, I never stated or assumed that the Pact is "an aggressor bent on conquest". I fail to see how I ever gave that impression.


    As for "their rivalry with the Federation [being] based on a desire to destroy it"--again, I never argued that that was the case. That does not, however, diminish the stated purpose of the Pact in A Singular Destiny.

    Now, one could argue that the Tholian's "We Will Bury You"-type rant in that book is not representative of the Pact as a whole. I grant that. However--this begs for the question: has the Pact disavowed these claims in an official manner? If so, when? If not, why not?

    Now, you brought up the Breen. Their theft of the slipstream technology certainly implies an "arms race" of a sort--for defensive or offensive measures, I don't know...and we won't know for certain until later.

    Nonetheless...we simply cannot assume that the Pact simply wants to engage in Peaceful Coexistence. We can certainly hope for that--but the more aggresive words and actions of the Tholians and the Breen should, at the very least, give us pause.

    Trust, yes--but verify, as well. Putting the gun down first might be the first step to peace--but it could just as easily just get you shot. Verification is needed. Until then, the Alliance must be weary, and ready to defend itself should the Tholians and Breen increase their influence.

    Hope for the best--but prepare for the worst. And if the worst should happen...Kamemor had better be prepared to chose on which side of the line in the sand she will stand.


    Now--Nasat, I agree, you are one of the most fair and balanced posters in any debate (though I often can't help but wonder if those who made the claim that you are the most level-headed and sensible are trying to dimishish my own considerable brilliance and insight...:p). And I certainly see your point as to the official justification of "UFP Imperialism".

    Still...let me be Socratic (somehow, the term "devil's advocate" doesn't sound so good) for a moment.

    You also pointed out the hypocrisy in the Romulans' making these claims about Imperialism. Might I also point out that the Federation has never tried to "assimilate" these other powers. All members have, of course, became such of their own free will.

    Now...I could understand their fears being due to the fact that the UFP is big. However, a look at Star Charts shows that the Tholians and the Breen are not exactly innocent in that regard.

    Finally...if it truly is due to a (real or percieved) fear of UFP Imperialism...then I wonder, what would be the UFP's solution, to dissuade their fears, and make them learn to love us?
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2011
  16. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    So, your solution to a political entity that formed out of fear of the Federation's soft imperialism is for the Federation to ramp up, so the Typhon Pact can fear our hard imperialism instead. This, to me, does not seem to address the Pact's desire to frustrate Federation expansionism.
     
  17. Dancing Doctor

    Dancing Doctor Admiral Admiral

    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    I completely agree with everything you've just said, Rush.

    Although, I would argue the Federation should "Проверим, то доверие" - "Verify, then trust", especially in light of all the points you've brought up.
     
  18. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    ^Thanks. :)

    That is a straw man, David cgc--an oversimplification of what I said, to make it look worse than it does. I simply said that the Alliance must be prepared for the worst. Speaking softly only has weight if you have the big stick, should things go wrong.

    I ask, then: if that is not a good idea--if, as you claim, that encourages fear--then I ask again, what would you suggest?
     
  19. Dancing Doctor

    Dancing Doctor Admiral Admiral

    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    That's not what he's saying at all.

    What I got from Rush's post is that the Federation should hope that the Typhon Pact will want to not fight or challenge the Federation (at least, not more so than they already have) but shouldn't expect that they will do so, and to be prepared for either eventuality, which to me means to be wary (especially considering the Pact's recent actions in Paths of Disharmony) as well as to not be too trusting, especially with slipstream.

    Further, I'm not sure there's really anything the Federation *could* do to show the Typhon Pact that they aren't imperialistic expansionists, unless the Federation were willing to surrender several planets and/or sectors. But that would probably just make the Typhon Pact even more suspicious.
     
  20. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

    This is exactly, exactly right. It is royally missing the point to assume the Typhon Pact is an aggressor bent on conquest, or that their rivalry with the Federation is based on a desire to destroy it. Yes, the Tholians and the Breen may feel that way to an extent, but even they see it as a defensive measure.[/QUOTE]

    Indeed. Props to deranged_nasat for that great post!

    It's worth noting that the Federation's alliance with the Klingon Empire isn't helping the Federation's case. The Kinshaya are inveterately hostile towards the Klingons, justifiably so IMHO after the Klingons escalated their border war by destroying the Kinshaya homeworld, while the Tholians resented being grouped alongside the Klingons. And then, of course, there's the Romulan-Klingon relationship ...

    I'd argue that in the end the Typhon Pact may end up serving the Federation's interests, by keeping it from getting sloppy and by embedding most of its long-time allies deep in a multilateral framework where they'll have to learn to cooperate and compromise and generally become quite Federation-like.
     

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