TP: Zero Sum Game by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by JD, Oct 21, 2010.

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How would you rate Zero Sum Game?

  1. Outstanding

    41 vote(s)
    22.9%
  2. Above Average

    82 vote(s)
    45.8%
  3. Average

    46 vote(s)
    25.7%
  4. Below Average

    8 vote(s)
    4.5%
  5. Poor

    2 vote(s)
    1.1%
  1. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    Absolutely. To be frank, to paraphrase the Guy Ritchie-RDJ Sherlock Holmes film, Luther Sloan was "the only adversary who ever outsmarted Bashir--twice". ("Inquisition", and "Inter Arna...")

    (On that note...I still refuse to believe Sloan is actually dead. :p)

    By comparison...Cole was just a typical shadowy spy.

    Well, my current working theory is that Ezri's leaving him created an intense void in his heart which he was desperate to fill.

    Something similar to the lonliness he'd always felt (which was what had him fall for Sarina so darn quickly last time)...but this was even worse.
     
  2. ares93

    ares93 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    ^ the guy's simply having a mid life crisis. instead of going on spy missions he should buy a sportcar, a harley or some shit like that. perhaps date a 20 year old. you name it.

    julian doesnt even know her. how long did they "date"? a week? tops. now they meet seven years later. thats just ridiculous. she's no more his "long lost true love" than Leeta. i'd go for the ballet girl, but sarina. nah, i just dont see it.

    i dunno about your Ezri theory, i liked them together but there was way too much fireworks. not that they couldnt have made it work, been there done that. but still. maybe, ZSG Ezri and Julian when he comes to his senses. ezri has gotten over her joining issues and Bashir has finally got his head out of the sand an noticed that life sucks unless you do something about it.

    heres to my theory making its way into the sequel. :techman:

    EDIT: Rushbo: remind me to pm you about something. i'm going to bed now, getting late.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2010
  3. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    ^Have a good night, my friend. :)

    BTW...I think you may be on to something about the ballerina, Palis Delon, Julian's first love.

    He noted, in "Armageddon Game", how he often sadly reflects on whether he would ever find love like that again.

    Therefore, his leaving Palis created the first void--which he kept trying to satisfy though being a hard-core "ladies man". In the meantime (again, established in that ep), he developed a cynical attitude about long-term relationships.

    Still, he slowly but surely came to realize that he was looking for more than just "one night stands". He was looking for a companion.

    He had filled in that void when he formed a relationship with Ezri--but of course, a tragic chain of events led to her dumping him over the most bizzare of reasons.

    Now...the void is present again.

    The difference between the post-Palis void and the post-Ezri void...is that the second void seems to be affecting him more intensely. Here, he is more desperate for companionship--sooner.

    Hence, his throwing himself at Sarina, assuming so quickly that Sarina Is The One--as opossed to his more careful, gradual developement of feelings for Ezri, back in S-7.
     
  4. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    ^ Funny you guys should bring up Palis. Part of the backstory of one of my fan-fiction characters is that she was one of Julian Bashir's failed courtships before he met Palis. This one-scene story that takes place during my first ST: War Aftermath story is kind of an inside reference to two of my characters being "played" by DS9 alums.

    See also my fanart thread on AdAstra.
     
  5. elaithin

    elaithin Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    I'd have to look back at the book, but didn't Julian think the people in the command center were soldiers? Don't we only find out they're unarmed scientists and engineers from the point of view of the Breen designer?
     
  6. ronny

    ronny Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    The last of the un-numbered Trek books I need to read, besides novelizations and Shatnerverse, are Voyager books. Right now I'm reading Pathways and Mosaic. Compared to those, Zero Sum Game is a masterpiece. :) My problem was I was comparing ZSG to other recent Mack books and on that scale, Destiny was outstanding, The Sorrows of Empire was above average and I just didn't enjoy ZSG as much so it was a tough call but I rated it average.

    In my previous post I talked about what didn't work for me in the book but I think I forgot to mention my favorite part which was all about the back story on the Breen. Lots of interesting stuff there.
     
  7. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    ^ Yeah. It's always seemed like, even in his shorter novels, incredibly epic things happen. The events of Kill/Heal are *still* being referenced every once in a while, and were certainly all over the books for a few years after it was published. Sorrows Of Empire was huge, even in its original version. And Wildfire was shorter than any of them, I think, and is one of the most devastating stories Trek has ever told.

    I haven't actually read Warpath yet, maybe that one's the best comparison, I'm not sure. But compared to every other Trek novel Mack has ever penned, this one just seems insignificant.

    But, I mean, I exaggerate because I'm such a big fan and I have such high expectations, and I realize that. The book was fun, and the Breen backstory was definitely interesting, you're right. If this had been written by KRAD or Martin or Wardilmore, I probably would've been fairly satisfied (aside from the fact that it's frustrating to know we won't get follow-up on the DS9 plot threads for more than a year, yet again.)
     
  8. RonG

    RonG Captain Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    I completely agree (that usually happens with Thrawn's posts, though, so no surprise there...).

    I wonder - what would you have done differently in the novel? what would make it an Epic Mack Book (tm?) ?
     
  9. ProtoAvatar

    ProtoAvatar Fleet Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    You're really interested in the Ezri Bashir relationship, yes, Rush Limborg?

    It seems clear that David Mack and the editors choose to develop the Bashir Sarina relationship because it has the most story-telling potential what with S31 and Bashir's new-found amorality.

    As for Bashir Ezri - all this book wanted to establish is that they remain on relatively bad terms after their break-up. You overanalysed their scene together far more than the writer most likely intended.

    Ezri on Aventine and Bashir on DS9 is not a recipe for a romantic relationship rife with story possibilities aka it's unlikely they'll become a couple in the foreseeable future.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2010
  10. ares93

    ares93 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    ^ With the risk of revealing El Rushbo's most deeply guarded secrets. Yes.
    I think Rush is the only one who's a bigger fan than me.

    Anyway, you have a very good point there. As much as I'd hate to admit it. The Sarina-Bashir-S31 story is a lot more interesting. Then again, I've always been a sucker for a good spy story.

    Overanalyzed? Rushbo? Have you even read my posts? Now, I cant speak for Rushbo. But i have a psychology background (Albeit, criminal psychology). You want overanalyzed, you come to me friend. :techman:
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2010
  11. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    I just finally got back to the book after finishing up (the amazing) Immortal Coil, and I have to admit, I was pretty suprised by how much Bashir's attitude has changed since we saw him last, and I'm only Chapter 4.
     
  12. ares93

    ares93 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    you ain't seen nothing yet.
     
  13. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    Thanks. :)

    Good question.

    I think just tell the whole story. Have him fall in love with Sarina, find out she's a part of Section 31, and either join or not. The most interesting choice would've been for him to join, I think. This set up a really interesting conflict without actually doing anything with it, and I see no reason why it stopped there.
     
  14. sfroth

    sfroth Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    I think it's funny that the overwhelming response via this thread seems to be, as someone said earlier, "meh", while the poll indicates a significant above average to outstanding book.

    Personally, I voted average, and side with the "meh" crowd. It was a pretty good Aventine/spy story, and I liked the depth provided on the Breen culture. I thought it an interesting explanation as to why so little is known about the Breen, though I wonder how they've managed to keep it secret so long.

    The reason the book wasn't better for me, though, is that the spy storyline focused on two completely new characters, who happen to share names with some previously established characters. Sure, it's been a long time since we saw Sarina, and we really only saw a child awakening from a long sleep, with this being her all grown up. However, I really don't see the transition from the old Sarina to this, and Mack really didn't make it believable to me. And Bashir... oh, Bashir... That was not Bashir. Again, time has passed, and this Bashir is lonely. But are we really to believe that Bashir has been unable to make friends to replace the ones he's lost? Perhaps some time explaining why Bashir hasn't progressed at all since we last saw him would have helped me feel like this lonely Bashir made sense, but we never got that.

    David Mack is still my favorite author, but Zero Sum Game is definitely his weakest outing to date.
     
  15. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    Whatever gave you that idea? :vulcan:

    1. An amorality which you strongly condemn as being unbelievable and out of character, as I recall.

    2. Story-telling potential, or lack thereof, is limited only by the imagination of the writer. Since Mr. Mack is VERY imaginative, to say the least, he could potentially go either way.

    I myself have written a GREAT deal of fanfic all stemming from the break-up (it's in the FanFic forum, if you're interested).

    Are you absolutely certain about that, sir? How do you presume to know what the writer's intent is? ares93 and I ventured our theories because we are know writers (fanfic, of course) as well. We are aware of the process, and the various tequniques.

    BTW...Mr. Mack himself seemed to confirm ares93's theory, a few pages back.

    Again...how do you presume to know the limits of its "possibilities"?

    I'd say so! :)

    It is...but I see no reason to bring Ezri into the whole thing, eventually....:evil:

    :lol: Exactly.

    I don't have a professional Psychology background. But I am big on Philosophy...and there seem to be a great deal of links between the two sciences, which I have exploited on more than one occasion.
     
  16. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    Come to think of it...I would say this screams for another novel--i.e., Sarina's journey, from the scientist's family to (it looks like this is no longer a spoiler, but this is better safe than sorry) You Know What.

    Somehow, I agree. Something must have happened to make Julian so desperate as to react like he did when Ezri questioned it all.

    (BTW...I freely admit, Ezri's lines in the scene were rude, to put it mildly. Something's setting her off, too.

    You know...the more I think about it...the more the scene kinda reminds me of Ezri and Worf's scenes in "Penumbra". Not sayng that as a "prediction" as to where they'll go, just saying it could well be an indication of a GREAT deal of romatic tension between the two....)
     
  17. ProtoAvatar

    ProtoAvatar Fleet Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    Rush Limborg

    Rush, you are obviously subjective. Try to look at the situation objectively, in light of 'Zero sum game' - what is rushed, what is painstakingly developed, what is established, etc:

    "1. An amorality which you strongly condemn as being unbelievable and out of character, as I recall."
    Bashir's new-found amorality IS out of character - but it's beyond doubt that David Mack wanted to develop Bashir in this direction.

    "2. Story-telling potential, or lack thereof, is limited only by the imagination of the writer."
    And David Mack used its imagination in order to develop the Sarina/Bashir relationship with S31 spicing.
    And, frankly, the potential of this set-up is FAR richer than what you advocate. Yes, a good writer can make a story out of any set-up; but some set-ups are more fertile, more rich in possibilities than others.

    "How do you presume to know what the writer's intent is?"
    A writer's intent is revealed in his work.
    The rushed scenes between Bashir Ezri and the fact that they changed nothing between them all but prove that David Mack had no intention of developing the Ezri Bashir relationship.
    On the other hand, the amount of atention dedicated to the Sarina Bashir relationship and the ending of the book clearly show the direction Bashir's personal life took in David Mack hands.

    "Mr. Mack himself seemed to confirm ares93's theory, a few pages back"
    David Mack was being evasive and trying to keep a good mood on this forum.
    In such posts/affirmations, you only see what you wish to see, Rush Limborg - apropos psychology and overanalysing.


    ares93
    "Overanalyzed? Rushbo? Have you even read my posts? Now, I cant speak for Rushbo. But i have a psychology background (Albeit, criminal psychology). You want overanalyzed, you come to me friend. :techman:"
    I will keep this in mind;).

    PS - Are you saying psychologists ALWAYS overanalyse everything?
     
  18. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    For some reason, this particular typo totally made me :guffaw:
     
  19. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    Sir...would you mind explaining why your interperetation of the book should be considered "objectively" more "clear" than ares93's theory?

    Again...ares93 and I have experience in writing, and has just been established, ares93 has a background in psychology. We know what we are talking about.

    Frankly, ProtoAvatar...I could easily say the exact same thing to you--granted, you have yet to inform us of your own experience, or lack therof, in writing and psychology.

    Which is why this bickering is pointless. We should therefore agree to disagree, I believe.
     
  20. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    I see it. David Mack, an "it"?

    Well! I say, I know ProtoAvatar doesn't think much of the book--but this is rediculous! :lol: ;)
     

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