Spoilers TTN: Absent Enemies by John Jackson Miller Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Sho, Feb 15, 2014.

?

Rate Absent Enemies.

  1. Outstanding

    4 vote(s)
    7.4%
  2. Above Average

    19 vote(s)
    35.2%
  3. Average

    27 vote(s)
    50.0%
  4. Below Average

    2 vote(s)
    3.7%
  5. Poor

    2 vote(s)
    3.7%
  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Re: TTN: Absent Enemies by John Jackson Miller Review Thread (Spoilers

    Of course, how could I forget? He wrote the first two Star Wars novels ever.
     
  2. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Re: TTN: Absent Enemies by John Jackson Miller Review Thread (Spoilers

    In your next Trek books, could you include crudbunnies?

    So, what would we get if crudbunnies mated with dustbunnies?


    I now have a corrected eBook. Thanks for pointing that out. I was finishing this up about midnight and missed that this was backwards.
     
  3. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Re: TTN: Absent Enemies by John Jackson Miller Review Thread (Spoilers

    But will everyone who bought the eBook get the new version? Will places like B&N or Kobo or Sony let readers know that there is an updated eBook?

    Me, I'm not bothered as I've just made my own corrections to all the things that were mentioned that are easily correctable. Go eBooks!

    As for the book itself, I really enjoyed it. It was fun to see Picard and Riker both frustrated at two stupid races in a stupid war. And Tuvok was priceless.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2014
  4. vegaslover62

    vegaslover62 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Re: TTN: Absent Enemies by John Jackson Miller Review Thread (Spoilers

    I liked it, especially the Treknobabble. I always wondered how some things were possible in The Next Phase, and I'm glad they were explained.

    But Riker just didn't sound like Riker in this story. Most of the dialogue isn't something I can picture him saying. Also, Riker says there were things that Commander Riker would have done, that Captain Riker would have done, but Admiral Riker doesn't do. I don't like that.

    Now, since people like to nitpick everything I say, let it commence.
     
  5. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Location:
    Andrew Timson
    Re: TTN: Absent Enemies by John Jackson Miller Review Thread (Spoilers

    In addition to the others listed above:
    • Steven Barnes (wrote the novelization of Far Beyond the Stars, and Star Wars: The Cestus Deception)
    • Greg Bear (wrote Star Trek: Corona and Star Wars: Rogue Planet)
    • Michael Jan Friedman was contracted to write a Star Wars: The New Jedi Order trilogy (though it never came out; it was cancelled after he completed the first book)
    • Christie Golden has published three Star Wars novels, with another three under contract but on hold after the Episode VII announcement
    • K.W. Jeter (wrote the Star Wars: The Bounty Hunter Wars trilogy, and some DS9 novels)
    • James Kahn (wrote the novelization of Return of the Jedi, and was a staff writer on Voyager)
    • Andy Mangels (has done some Star Wars reference works and comics)
    • Rebecca Moesta (cowrote at least one DS9 YA novel with her husband KJA under a pseudonym, in addition to their Wars work together)
    • Michael Reaves (wrote "Where No One Has Gone Before" from TNG S1, and a number of SW novels)
    • Kristine Kathryn Rusch (wrote Star Wars: The New Rebellion, and a number of Trek novels with Dean Wesley Smith)
    • Michael A. Stackpole (worked on the 25th Anniversary and Judgment Rites games from Interplay, and a number of SW comics/novels)

    I'm pretty sure the Star Wars short story anthologies that KJA edited had some more crossovers, but I think that's enough for now. Enough distracting from JJM. ;)
     
  6. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    Re: TTN: Absent Enemies by John Jackson Miller Review Thread (Spoilers

    I can't believe I forgot about Christie Golden. She's probably one of the most prominent right now.
     
  7. Sto-Vo-Kory

    Sto-Vo-Kory Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Location:
    Battle Creek
    Re: TTN: Absent Enemies by John Jackson Miller Review Thread (Spoilers

    Loved this novella. Fun, fast-paced and humorous. Perfect length for the story it told.

    I thought the Titan crew was well-handled and (for me, best of all) no comment on how diverse the ship's crew is.

    Looking forward to Mr. Miller's take on the Aventine and a larger story format. Hopefully the fun tone and quick pace will be features of that book as well.
     
  8. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2012
    Location:
    Cork, Ireland
    Re: TTN: Absent Enemies by John Jackson Miller Review Thread (Spoilers

    As in, you don't like direct refernces á la "The Titan swept into orbit, the Federation starships with the most diverse crew", or do you dislike the actual respresentation of the ship's diversity, e.g. "... walked past an Arcturian maintenance technician"?
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Re: TTN: Absent Enemies by John Jackson Miller Review Thread (Spoilers

    I know what you're trying to say, but technically the second example isn't much better than the first, since it's still just asserting the diversity rather than using it, say, building a story where the character conflicts arise from the differing worldviews, psychologies, physiological needs and drives, etc. of the different species in the crew. A lot of the interesting character dynamics in TOS rose from Spock's differences in belief, behavior, and biology from the human crew, and much the same goes for later characters like Data, Worf, Odo, and Quark. Titan was basically meant to be that same kind of thing writ large, a cast of characters diverse enough to allow many such potential interactions and conflicts, and with humans being the minority species for a change rather than the default definer of normality. (Well, for a change as far as series set on Starfleet vessels are concerned; DS9 was sort of in that vein.)
     
  10. Sto-Vo-Kory

    Sto-Vo-Kory Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Location:
    Battle Creek
    Re: TTN: Absent Enemies by John Jackson Miller Review Thread (Spoilers

    I like the "using" of the ships diversity (as Christopher illustrates above) but I'm not so fond of the neon sign of prose that points out the diversity -- mandatorily inserted into nearly every Titan novel up until now. I understand that every Titan novel is potentially some new readers first encounter with the series but most of the Titan books have it presented in such a heavy-handed manner that leaves me cold.

    If Titan's distinction (its diversity) comes up naturally in the narrative, fine, then explore this topic with my blessing for as many pages as necessary. IIRC, Orion's Hounds (still the high bar for Titan novels) talked about the different accommodations that the diverse crew required. Well-handled and smoothly fit into the narrative, this suits me just fine.

    More often than not, however, we get a character musing -- apropos nothing -- on how diverse the crew is and then back to the story. This drives me bonkers. Absent Enemies has none of this clogging exposition and it isn't required for the story it tells.

    Show us the diversity by using the characters appropriately in a story and leave the telling to the back cover blurb.
     
  11. JJMiller

    JJMiller Writer Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2013
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Re: TTN: Absent Enemies by John Jackson Miller Review Thread (Spoilers

    As a simple storytelling matter, I tend to keep novella casts quite small anyway -- especially as they're generally more likely to be read by readers new to the line. But I do get into the cast use a bit more in the new Literary Treks podcast, out today: http://trek.fm/literary-treks/literary-treks-52-that-cold-war-feeling.html
     
  12. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

    Re: TTN: Absent Enemies by John Jackson Miller Review Thread (Spoilers

    My review is out, has been for a bit. Forgot to post here!
     
  13. Patrick O'Brien

    Patrick O'Brien Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2012
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    Re: TTN: Absent Enemies by John Jackson Miller Review Thread (Spoilers

    I finished the book today in a hospital waiting room. Thanks Mr. Miller, for helping me pass the time (2 hours). I enjoyed the book and found it to be a solid effort.
     
  14. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

    Re: TTN: Absent Enemies by John Jackson Miller Review Thread (Spoilers

    I loved how funny it was. After talking to him on Literary Treks I can see why it was such a fun book, he's got so much joy in his person that it overflows into his books.
     
  15. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 9, 2003
    Location:
    Germany
    Re: TTN: Absent Enemies by John Jackson Miller Review Thread (Spoilers

    About 1/3 through. At the moment it would fall in the below average area for me. Not digging the writing style and characterizations at all.
     
  16. Patrick O'Brien

    Patrick O'Brien Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2012
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    Re: TTN: Absent Enemies by John Jackson Miller Review Thread (Spoilers

    It had its moments:) I'll tune into Literary Treks this weekend to listen to the interview:bolian:
     
  17. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

    Re: TTN: Absent Enemies by John Jackson Miller Review Thread (Spoilers

    ^ That's great. I hope you enjoy.
     
  18. Menisis

    Menisis Cadet Newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2014
    Re: TTN: Absent Enemies by John Jackson Miller Review Thread (Spoilers

    Hello,

    I purchased Absent Enemies with great anticipation and eagerly began reading it last week. I'm sorry to say that within a few pages, I was not enjoying my experience.

    With all due respect to Mr. Miller, I felt that he either wasn't familiar with the characters and their "voices" or this was a story he had previously written for another line and changed what he could quickly to make it fit within the Star Trek universe.

    For example: Riker's fit of anger that led him to throw a chair completely threw me out of "believing" this was a Trek novel. While Riker has a temper, it just didn't feel right for him to have a hissy fit in front of some of the staff.

    The previously mentioned Baku/Sonaa mix up was just another example that reinforced my feeling that this was a rushed job at best. I think the editors bear a heavy portion of the responsibility as well - these are problems that should have been caught and either corrected by them or sent back to the author for a rewrite.

    I've been lurking on this board for years and after finishing the story, I came here to see what others were saying about this novella. After skimming through most of the posts, I was surprised that so many were giving it a positive review.

    Again - I appreciate the fact that writing a novel is an arduous task even at the best of times and perhaps I've been spoiled by the (mostly) stellar authors that write Trek, such as David Mack and Christopher Bennett, but this was (IMO) one of the worst stories to come down the pike in quite a long while.

    Now I see that Mr. Miller is slated to write an Aventine novel? I just can't see myself purchasing it if its quality is going to be consistent with this novella.

    Now obviously I'm in the vast minority here, but I was obviously bothered enough by this to take the time to post - something I've never done before.

    Again, no offense to Mr. Miller is intended, but I was very disappointed with this story and needed to voice my dissatisfaction.
     
  19. Annorax

    Annorax Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2005
    Re: TTN: Absent Enemies by John Jackson Miller Review Thread (Spoilers

    This. After rereading, I get the feeling that the chair throwing was written originally as a Worf scene.
     
  20. Jarvisimo

    Jarvisimo Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Re: TTN: Absent Enemies by John Jackson Miller Review Thread (Spoilers

    ^^ But it also shouldn't be a Worf scene as he is now. Chair-throwing Worf would be a long time ago.