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. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    The story starts to heat after Chapter 20. We see how Julian's compassionate can be both a strength and weakness. I don't like when asks if having to put another person's life in danger is some kind of "elitism of the genetically engineered." No, it's part of being in Starfleet, you doofus!!! :rolleyes:

    After seeing them pour their hearts out to each other right before he deflowers her, I'm convinced now that Sarina's really using Section 31. She knows of the necessity of deceiving others while doing undercover work, but from the closing scene of "Chrysalis", I doubt that she can fake those feelings. Seska definitely, but not Sarina.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2010
  2. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    Well, here are my thoughts about Sarina/Julian:

    If she's serious about her "current occupation", there are two possibilities--

    Sooner or later, Julian's going to find out. Since she decieved him--used him--by all accounts, SEDUCED him into her control--he will be outraged beyond belief. Their relationship will be over--and Julian will go through a LOT of soul-searching over that delusion of his in the last paragraph of page 43.

    Or--

    Sarina will come to feel guilt over decieving, using, and seducing Julian, which will grow and grow, until she can't take it any more. Whether she leaves Section 31 in disgust, or just confesses to Julian about it all, or just tells her superior that she can't do the mission anymore (and therefore leaves Julian, with some "it's not you, it's me")...

    However you look at it, she can't in good conscience continue her relationship with Julian, because of all the deciet.

    Again, it causes Julian to do some soul-searching.


    If, on the other hand, she's faking it all--

    Then that makes no real sense, because 1) it is such an eye-rolling "eveything is perfectly black-and-white, because NO ONE who we've come to love would ever think that that's the right thing to do"

    And 2) why is she manipulating Julian like she is? Why not just tell him in secret, when they're alone together--like when they were on the mission?

    But even putting all that aside, if she's faking it all--

    Julian will still feel used. Even if her intentions were "good" in his eyes...still, it will cause him to seriously question their relationship, because--however you look at it, she was using him, and his feelings, for her own agenda.

    Thus...however you look at it--Ezri's on to something in Chapter 6. Julian's in over his head with Sarina. For whatever reason...he's just too blind to see it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2010
  3. kaysea

    kaysea Ensign Red Shirt

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    From what I remember about the Khitomer accords it only included the Federation, Klingons and recently, the newly separated Romulan empire led by Donatra. Correct me if I'm wrong.
     
  4. ares93

    ares93 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    also the ferengi, the talarians and the cardassians were invited. if they actually came to an agreement and signed is not yet certain. only hinted.
    on the other hand i havent read ZSG yet.
     
  5. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    For the record, while I'm free from having to hear the missus go on and on about the romance of the week on Grey's Anatomy/Private Practice, I am not exactly rooting for happily ever after.
    On the other hand, I don't see how Sarina could evolve from timid mute afraid to do the right thing because the Alpha Dog would be mad to feeling she owes Julian loving him back to amoral, cold-hearted skank who is in no way, shape, or form genuinely attracted to him.

    Mack still does well to stick to Bashir's character traits. He still sees the sweet innocent girl of seven years earlier. He'd expect some of the actions she's taken throughout the mission from Sisko, Kira, Worf, or Garak.
     
  6. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    I wouldn't dismiss her decision as "amoral". I would say--

    Her justification for her "Section 31" status would be along the lines of why Bruce Wayne resolved to take the law into his own hands, becoming Batman (in the new movies, specifically).

    By this I mean...she sees the enemies of all she holds to be good winning battle after battle--and she views Section 31 as the only ones willing to do whatever it takes to stand up for what is right.

    Their methods, to her, are what have to be done to stand up to the forces of evil. The question of whether what she is doing is morally wrong is constantly sidestepped by her.

    And I wouldn't say she wasn't attracted to him at all. Just...that she's not sincere in that "I'll go where you go" devotion.

    Ah...perhaps. But I'm very concerned about how quickly he came to the conclusion that Sarina was The Only One For Him.

    To say nothing about how defensive he got in that scene with Ezri (a scene which, to be frank, spirald out of control FAR too quickly. I couldn't read it without thinking, "Gee, that was forced...").
     
  7. ares93

    ares93 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    ^ indeed. I received my book today an i've already read 116 pages. and aside from the spoilers i read before, Sarina just come off as a bit shady this time. even in the prologue i knew something was up by the way she said "i took a few percussions."
    that raised a huge red flag for me.

    i also read the ezri/julian scene a few hours ago and although, i too, felt it to be a bit rushed. i think it was very much in character. also the way Mr. Mack pictures Bashir is in my opinion incredibly accurate. part of the reason i love his books so much. he must do a helluva lot of research in order to be this true to the characters.
     
  8. justcorbly

    justcorbly Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    In the real world, Bashir would be just as likely to decide Sarina was right to join Section 31 and follow in her footsteps, thereby avoiding losing her.
     
  9. ares93

    ares93 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    maybe he'd get the girl, but he'd also lose himself.
     
  10. David R. George III

    David R. George III Writer Fleet Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    Ah, that same old story: boy meets girl, boy loses self....
     
  11. ares93

    ares93 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    oh, c'mon! its not just the classical stereotype. Section 31 goes against everything he stands for. Not just personally, but as an MD as well. i've made my feelings clear about people who break the hippocratic oath in the past, but i just dont see bashir being one of them.
     
  12. nickyboy

    nickyboy Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    I really enjoyed it, a different pace compared to the Destiny trilogy.

    I am glad there is a lot of tension between the powers being built up, I am looking forward to the next 3 books!

    What are the plans for post typhon pact 24th century novels?
     
  13. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    He shot some unarmed civilians in the back of the head in this story - as the ends justified the means - what is it that Section 31 does that is different from this?
     
  14. ares93

    ares93 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    did he? i don't believe i have reached that part yet then. it that is indeed the case, it changes a lot of things...

    he seemed truly chocked when Sarina kills that technician or guard or whatever. does he really change that much over the course of the book?
     
  15. Idoliside

    Idoliside Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    See I found his reaction to that killing to be the most unbelievable. How many people has he seen killed infront of him during the Klingon/Dominion wars. He's always had a strong ethic but he knew the stakes of the mission and what it would take to complete.
     
  16. ares93

    ares93 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    theres a difference between watching a random guy kill someone in the heat of the battle and watching your partner kill someone during a covert mission.

    one thing is certain, clandestine operations isnt his specialty.
     
  17. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    ^ Nevertheless, some of his dialogue made me want to strangle him.

    But Rush made an interesting point about Sarina and her affiliation with Section 31. With that in mind, would she be a willing a participant in the following:

    1. The creation of a phasing cloak in direct violation of a treaty that kept the peace for sixty years? Yes, although that now seems moot with the Romulans having perfected the technology themselves.

    2. The forced relocation of the Baku? No.

    3. The creation of a virus designed to exterminate the Founders? Absolutely not.
     
  18. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    Well...the original Oath forbids euthanasia (and abortion, while we're at it--but that's a controversy for another time)...and it's noted in the book that--

    in the beginning, he's seriously considering pulling the plug on a completely unresponsive Captain Elias Vaughn.

    In the end, though, he ultimately changes his mind--apparently because the events of the novel have shaken him up a bit, and he's kinda trying to redeem himself on that count.

    Of course...it's possible that in the 24th century, like today, the original Oath has been superseded by a more "modern" paraphrase--which, frankly, is not truly a "Hippocratic Oath" at all, since it's been completely rewritten. *sigh*
     
  19. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    Well...over the years, we've seen him gradually develop a toughness and "edge". While Ezri certainly had a point that maybe he's in a bit over his head--still, one could easily say that about Sarina--even without the you-know-what element. She started out even more innocent, green, and naive than Julian--years after Julian's arc started.

    Absolutely--but my biggest beef was, again, the paragraph where he mentally swears up and down that Sarina is his One True Love, because Only She could truly understand him, because of her own genetic enhancements. :rolleyes:

    Frankly, the Treaty of Algeron was stupidly one-sided, from the beginning. What did the UFP get out of it? Oh, yes...the Romulans go isolationist temporarily, while they go perfect and enhance all their technology, and bide their time. :rolleyes:

    Interesting note...we only have Vaughn's belief that 31 was behind it. It's worth noting that the good then-Commander didn't even address that Dougherty was acting on orders from the COUNCIL--which Riker confirmed with his "top-level review" line.

    Vaughn's line that "those of us in the know know better", or words to that effect, just made me go, "Oh, really?"

    My guess is that in his own obsession with taking The Bureau down...he made a similar stretch of the imagination as Julian, who claimed that 31 was responsible for the New Bejing Massacre--just because he saw a photo of Agent Cole on Dr. Lockeman's desk. (Note that Cole had seemed genuinely unsure as to whether the Bureau had even known about the planned attack.)

    But in the immortal words of the Dean Of Denegration, Dennis Miller: "'Course, that's just my opinion; I could be wrong."

    I'd be more inclined to agree with that. Either she'd not go along with that...or she'd go through a LOT of denial.
     
  20. ares93

    ares93 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game Review thread

    indeed. you have a very good point there. guess i'm stuck in 2010. :) what i really cant understand is why i feel so strongly about the hippocratic oath. only doctors take it, not EMT's (EMS).

    for a moment there when i read what he had done, i was afraid that he had gone too far. but if he at least tried to redeem himself, i think there is still hope for him. as my grandfather used to say when he spoke of 1956. "In wartime, good men do things they could not have even imagined during peace." (rough translation...) I never knew the story behind that statement. but it remains true until this day.
     

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