TP: Seize the Fire by Michael A. Martin Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Thrawn, Nov 21, 2010.

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Rate Seize The Fire.

  1. Outstanding

    6 vote(s)
    5.3%
  2. Above Average

    25 vote(s)
    21.9%
  3. Average

    32 vote(s)
    28.1%
  4. Below Average

    33 vote(s)
    28.9%
  5. Poor

    18 vote(s)
    15.8%
  1. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

    Perhaps trying to showcase so many non core Federation races(in minor roles) defeats the purpose of showing how diverse Titan is?
     
  2. Bishop76

    Bishop76 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

    I think it's just that the diversity in Titan seems just to be in there for diversity's sake. There's no logic or reason behind it other than the authors get to remind us not to be bigots once a chapter in the most ham-fisted way possible.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

    Where's the logic in having a starship crew that isn't as diverse as the Federation it belongs to? For that matter, where's the logic in writing a science fiction novel and not taking advantage of the freedom of the prose form to depict more exotic aliens than you could on television?

    In-universe, the reason for the push for diversity in the Luna class is much the same as the reason for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" -- to increase the fairness of Starfleet personnel assignments and to ensure that the ships weren't missing out on good, capable crewpersons simply because the ships weren't designed to accommodate nonhumanoids. Again, it's more that there's no legitimate reason not to allow as much diversity as actually exists among the population. It also serves the purpose of demonstrating to newly contacted races that the Federation is inclusive and open, which can promote good relations.
     
  4. Bishop76

    Bishop76 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

    That's all well and good, but in my opinion, the stories tend to suffer for it. I guess when I say there's no logical reason for it, I meant more from a story telling perspective. There are just too many characters that don't get enough focus on them to be memorable at all. Also, I feel like I'm constantly being preached to by the damn Titan books. I like a good moral/message to my stories, but I would prefer to not have it repeatedly smacking me in the face with every turn of the page so much so that if you were to put another message or meaning in the book, I'd probably miss it for the facial abuse I was getting from my diversity floggings.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

    ^I just don't understand that reaction. Do you feel "preached to" by the fact that Voyager's cast includes black, Asian, and Hispanic actors? Sure, there are some early Titan books that make a point of addressing the diversity of the crew, but in subsequent ones -- certainly the ones I've written -- the nonhumanoid crewmembers are simply there, participating in the stories like everyone else. Yes, their diverse viewpoints, beliefs, and so forth are addressed, but that's not preaching, that's just doing what any story does -- developing its characters' distinct identities and exploring the interactions and tensions among them.

    I'm not trying to preach to anyone. I don't see why I should need to; I would expect that any Star Trek fan would acknowledge it as axiomatic that diversity and inclusion are good things. I'm just interested in exploring beings and cultures that are more interestingly alien than just another bunch of humanoids with a culture that represents some single particular human value or attitude.
     
  6. Bishop76

    Bishop76 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

    No, I don't feel preached to at all by having diversity just exist or mentioning as it pertains to the story - that's actually my whole point - I have a problem with it existing and being lauded for its own sake which is very much what the M&M (or just M in this case) do. And in my opinion, I think diversity stops being special when you just keep harping on how special it is without really showing it being special. I guess it just boils down to "show, don't tell" for me.

    I'm not glad-handing when I say your Titan novels are the best of the bunch for exactly the reasons you mention. The diversity is just there and when you do explore a race like the Jellyfish hunters from Orion's Hounds (the name escapes me right now) you don't just paint in a broad brush and make them all evil hunter-killers. You also tend to focus in a bit better than most of the other writers of the series. You don't seem to feel the need to just include everyone because you need to make sure you give every race face time. Because of your focus on them, I think Ree and Lavena are two of the more interesting or at the very least memorable characters from the series.
     
  7. RonG

    RonG Captain Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

    I have to say that this thread (or at least the turn its taken for the last few posts) has articulated my feelings regarding the Titan series.

    IMO, the series as a whole *does* feel preachy "diversity-wise", which is quite strange, because out of 7 Titan novels (10, if you include Destiny), the fact is that the diversity is not *that* hammered.

    Honestly, I think the M&M novels are the source of this feeling, which is a bit of a problem I have with the authors' Trek novels as a whole - I'm all for diverse and different lifestyles, belief systems etc. both in real life and in fiction (especially Trek), but it can be a bit heavy handed being "force-fed", which is something I've felt has been recurring with most M&M novels.
     
  8. Technobuilder

    Technobuilder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

    One of the things I've always liked about the core concept of the United Federation of Planets was that it is an interstellar community of diverse and distinct species (humanoid & non-humanoid) that find ways to work cooperatively and collectively despite the multitude of differences which exist between them.

    Common cause and all that.

    One of the best examples I can point to in the books of a non-humanoid character just "being there" and it not being 'special' is P8-Blue or "Pattie" the Nasat structural engineering specialist aboard the USS DaVinci. Always loved how she was just one of the girls as it was.

    I'd have to agree that while it probably wasn't intended, the Titan novels (in part) have had a bit of an "after school special" sort of vibe in regards to the diversity of it's crew. Maybe the issue, is that because the stories are meant to be encapsulated and accessible between other books, the diverse nature of the crew is something that has to be pointed out again and again. From my perspective though (as both a ST fan and a long time reader of the Titan novels) it's unnecessary as the fact that the crew is diverse shouldn't be a big deal from a Federation perspective.

    Starfleet is a diverse multi-racial peacekeeping and exploratory organization by charter and so if a character is for example a sentient plant, I'm okay with that.

    I don't have to be told how special having a "sentient plant" is over and over again. I'd be more impressed if it was hardly mentioned at all as that would be more indicative and in keeping with the 'Federation attitudes' that exist in my head.

    Like others here have stated, I'll agree that within Titan itself, Christopher's books have been the best about establishing the Titan's crew as characters first (who just happen to be members of species whatever, while simultaneously not taking anything away from them because they're species whatever)
    [Read as: They're neither white-washed or stereotyped]

    On TV, we mostly saw humans, and humanoid aliens, but I just attributed that to budgets.

    Hopefully future novels can foster a greater 'sense' of Starfleet crew diversity without it being pointed to as an example of diversity, but rather the status quo. (if that makes any sense whatsoever).
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2011
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

    In theory, no, it shouldn't be. However, the novels are constrained to be consistent with onscreen canon, not with our ideals or wishes of what ST should be. And regrettably, limitations of budget and sometimes imagination have resulted in a canonical depiction of a Starfleet that's either highly human-dominated or highly segregated between humanoids and nonhumanoids. So if we want to do a series that takes more advantage of the freedom of prose to depict diverse nonhumanoids interacting on one ship, it's a matter of consistency with canon to acknowledge that this is a departure from the norm.

    That is the hope. The greater integration of the Luna class crews was intended as a pilot program. If it worked out there, it would promote more widespread adoption of the practice.
     
  10. Technobuilder

    Technobuilder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

    I appreciate your response Christopher, and I understand the situation.

    Not sure that I like it very much, but I do understand it.

    That said, I'd love to see a Horta on the Ent-E under Picard's Command. (wishlist)
     
  11. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

    As usual I seem to be in the minority,I really liked this book.Unlike many of the books in the 'worldbuilding'subset this one was fresh and involving IMO.
    The various characters are just beginning to come together for me,I'll confess that earlier Titan books had me wishing for the dramitis personae addendum that this book contains but slowly,slowly the crew of Titan are taking shape in my mind.

    One thing I will say for Mr.Martin,he certainly did a great job with Troi in this novel,as anyone who knows me knows I would gleefully toss Ms.Troi out of the nearest airlock but I thought she was well handled here.No easy task.
     
  12. Kestrel

    Kestrel Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

    Well, the only other Titan entries I'd read before this are their appearance in Destiny, so I don't have much to compare with. (I'd like to get around to the others at some point, but we'll see...)

    That said, I'll join the chorus of "fascinating ideas, not sure about the execution." I've always been fascinated by the Gorn and really wished we got to see more of them, either onscreen or in TrekLit, so I was really looking forward to this book - oddly enough for the Gorn more than for Titan I think! What background we did get about the Gorn I really liked, and I kind of wished we could have spent more time with Captain Krassr and less with First Myrmidon Gog'ressh. The caste system was a nice way of explaining the different appearances of the Gorn, and I was glad to see "the Voice" as a plot point.

    That said, there seemed to be quite a bit of repetition. The whole "S'Syrixx takes a hostage, then Riker hostage, to escape on a shuttle" ended nicely, but ultimately seemed to have no effect on the larger plot and was mostly there for S'Syrixx to internally monologue about untrustworthy mammals and Riker to meditate on untrustworthy lizards.

    And really, there was a LOT of "untrustworthy mammals/lizards make me uncomfortable" stuff. I found this especially odd considering Dr. Ree has been Riker's CMO for some time now, and there's obviously other reptiloid crewmembers. Was Riker and co's antipathy towards S'Syrixx biological or political? They seem to have no problem with Ree, after all. That was the part that felt to me "after-school special"-ish. I wish we'd seen more of Ree, for what it's worth.

    I was also really disappointed by not getting to see Tuvok's meld with the ecosculptor (and what was up with just the one flashback to Genesis testing but no followup, and just the one brief appearance of the AI before it got kablooeyed) or Riker's meeting with Captain Krassr, which is a shame because I thought the back half of the book flowed a lot more smoothly than the front half. The away team going down to Hranrar did seem foolish (BTW, what was up with Christine Vale in this book?), but I appreciated getting to see the Hranrarii.
     
  13. Technobuilder

    Technobuilder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

    Wait did the Artificial Intelligence that joined the crew recently already get killed off?

    That's sad if true. I was looking forward to that character joining the crew.
     
  14. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

    I haven't read the book yet, but from the "sound" of things they're talking about a different AI.
     
  15. trash80

    trash80 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

    Just finished this, overall a good-ish book though not flawless. Did think some of the Gorn names were a little too similiar and it took a while to work out who was who. Although it did seem like there was stuff out i did like the fact major stuff like the mind meld and Riker's meeting with the Gorn were held "off-camera" so it could show the tension on the other side.
     
  16. trash80

    trash80 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

    Dupe
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011
  17. Tino

    Tino Captain Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

    I also liked the book. However, Tuvok's role wasn't as big as I expected (comparing to him being on the cover, having a whole paragraph on the backside and starting the novel with his backstory).

    The actual conflict, using the device being good/bad, was pretty much left open in the end. I would have wanted Tuvok to fight a little more for his decision to mind meld and pro/contra keeping/destroying the decive.

    Furthermore, what about that conscience? That was pretty much dropped at the end and didn't seem to play a big role anyway.

    Or are those threads for the next TITAN novel? Then I didn't say anything and I am looking forward to reading it. :-)
     
  18. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

    My wife got Seize the Fire for me from the library. Figured if I had a few free hours I'd give it a whirl, really wish I hadn't. I got about forty pages in and put it down... not because I wasn't interested in the concept but because it is a poorly written (and edited I'd say) book. I haven't enjoyed anything Mike Martin has written since parting ways with Andy Mangels.

    As far as diversity goes on Titan, I think it's starting to hurt the title. Not because diversity is a bad thing... but because it has become too diverse. The diversity is hurting the 'flow' of the stories in my opinion. Everytime I begin to get into the story the author has to stop and give a detailed description of the characters (which being familiar with Titan I've already read a dozen times).
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011
  19. rahullak

    rahullak Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

    Does Michael Martin not frequent Trek BBS? His comments on this thread could be interesting.
     
  20. 14thDoctor

    14thDoctor Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Seize The Fire review thread

    Finished it today.

    -The "prejudice against reptiles" angle seemed a bit repetitive, considering we just had a "prejudice against machines" plotline in the last Titan novel.
    -After my complaint last time, I appreciated the reference to the crews failed attempts to restore Titans AI.
    -I did a double take when Hawk is mentioned as having been killed during an encounter with the Gorn instead of the Borg.
    -Why did the Gorn only seem to have accents when saying names?
    -I'm not sure where they're going with it, but I'm a little bummed to see White-Blue's character taken in a new direction so quickly.
    -Seems like it'd be a dick move for Tuvok not to share the Ecosculptor's information with Starfleet, considering the terrible shape the Federation is in right now. I realize there's the danger of it being used as a weapon, but it's not as though the major powers don't have any means of destroying planets or solar systems as it is.