TTN: Fallen Gods by Michael A. Martin Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Sho, Jul 21, 2012.

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Rate Fallen Gods.

  1. Outstanding

    2 vote(s)
    2.2%
  2. Above Average

    15 vote(s)
    16.5%
  3. Average

    40 vote(s)
    44.0%
  4. Below Average

    23 vote(s)
    25.3%
  5. Poor

    11 vote(s)
    12.1%
  1. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

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    Well, I'm finally getting around to posting my review of this. Spoilers ahead.

    Fallen Gods worked better for me than I think it did for a lot of people. Yes, there are several deficits. However, the book overall passes a certain quality benchmark that, say, Seize the Fire did not.

    Before reading FG, I reread the Titan parts of StF, skipping over the Gorn parts because they had just been too much of a slog to read the first time. Going back again, I recognized that StF was effectively part one of duology. Some things that had, on the first go around, appeared to be just stupidly left unresolved were, in fact, deliberately setting up stuff for FG. Imo, though, Martin did a very poor job conveying that, and it just ended up looking sloppy. And there's still the whole "Brahma-Shiva is spilled milk" thing. No, it's not!! It was a sentient life-form just as much as it was a tool or weapon!! It baffles me how Riker et al. never seemed to care about that.

    But anyway.

    Perhaps it was because I had lower expectations, especially on the character development front, but I basically liked what I got in Fallen Gods.

    I actually enjoyed the Alien of the Week, at least in the sense that they held my interest. I'm sure it's been done before, but it was cool to see
    a) a civilization that slipped backwards after achieving warp drive, and
    b) a civilization powerlessly facing the end of its world.

    The latter, of course, has been seen many times in Trekdom, but the former, not so much. In some ways, the Ta'ith sections seemed more relatable because there are days sometimes when I feel like we (in the real world) are going to end up like the Ta'ithans.

    Surprisingly enough, I didn't feel that I was getting beat over the head with the religion vs. science overtones of the Ta'ithan struggle. (Surprisingly, because I tend to be sensitive to those things; see my posts in the TNG Worst Moment thread.) I can definitely see why people would feel beat over the head by it, but luckily, I was spared.

    I was glad to have the Tuvok and White-Blue situation resolved from StF, though I was not happy at losing White-Blue. And honestly, I think it would have made for a more interesting story in the long run if the terraforming knowledge had been saved. I feel like we've sorta already done the narrative that Tuvok went through, many times.

    My sense was that the crew of the Therin was rogue. But I have nothing really to substantiate that on. But I somehow find that it makes the Tholians' presence onboard a little more believable.

    When I realized that the Andorians had figured out how to duplicate people with the transporter, I geeked out. I think it's a brilliant idea, both in-universe and narratively. Narratively, it was completely unexpected, but (to me, at least) believable, and led for a legitimately chilling conclusion.

    In-universe, as we saw with Thomas Riker (sad to have him written away so easily), there are no drawbacks to the process; you put in one Pava, you come out with two. And, of course, they both have equal claim to being the "real" Pava. Sure, it's criminal. But whatever punishment is wrought, you still have more reproductive age Andorians.

    And color me stupid, but I had no idea that was what Martin was foreshadowing with all the transporter stuff. And even if I had, I would've dismissed it as being impossible. The mystery element worked for me.

    One other thing that I liked about this novel is that it felt like we might actually lose one or more of our characters. There were times when I said to myself, "Oh my god, he's gonna off Vale." Tuvok also seemed to be pretty close in a few places. I liked that element of suspense; it's something that I feel we still don't get all the time in Trek novels.

    I think most of the things I didn't like have already been touched upon (caveat: I only read about the first six pages of this thread before posting). I definitely agree about the stagnant characters. On the other hand, it does call to mind the days that TNG was on the air and the characters were more or less the same through the whole thing. But that's still not such a good thing.

    A couple of other things:
    -I think we really should see more of Riker and Troi with Natasha; this child is supposedly the most important thing in their lives, but we've barely seen her since she was born. There's a similar problem with Picard and Crusher and René, but I think it's worse over here. René provoked growth in Picard; Natasha hasn't done so with Riker.
    -Vale needs to grow up or get out. She was worse in StF, but she still seems much much too immature to be an XO. This really doesn't make sense to me, because she didn't seem this way in the A Time To... series.

    Altogether, it was an enjoyable enough read; makes me want to continue the series, though I am not enthusiastic about the idea of Martin continuing solo. Too many misses and near-misses.
     
  2. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But the whole point with the Jaza plot thread earlier in the series was that "sides" are completely unnecessary. They're only there because of some people who feel like they need to argue. Jaza showed that science and faith could coexist peacefully without being at odds. To me, it feels like this completely took what was done in Sword of Damocles and the books before it, and spat on it.

    Oh...and it's not just Martin who has been the problem with Treklit lately, though he is one of the bigger problems. There are a number of plotlines I think were handled poorly if not outright stupidly, especially as it pertains to DS9. (Whereas some, like New Frontier, have sucked right from the beginning. At least, the moment those characters left Peter David's kids' books and tried to play with the big girls and boys.)

    I suspect a lot of this is that the train went right off the rails after Marco Palmieri left.

    Probably the last quality Treklit books, though, were the Destiny trilogy (even though I think the whole "let's promote Dax to captain without ANY training or need to earn her way up" thing was dumb), and Una McCormack's The Never-Ending Sacrifice. But quality was already declining when those books came out. Since then, there just hasn't been anything, save perhaps for the occasional TOS one-shot novel, I've found at all worth reading.
     
  3. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Well, with the whole Dax thing, I think it's worth keeping in mind that we saw her transfer to command in the DS9R in 2376 and got several books with her acting as the XO for Defiant. Then in Destiny set in 2381, 5 years later, she was originally Aventine's second officer, and only ended up in command because the captain and first officer died in a battle with the Borg.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Right. Ezri's pursuit of the command track was an arc that started at the very beginning of the DS9 post-finale novels, in Avatar, and continued throughout the series. So to say her appearance as the Aventine captain in Destiny is an abrupt change with no prior setup is grossly incorrect. It's the logical culmination of the arc she'd been on in the novels for over seven years (real time) at that point.
     
  5. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Bullshit. Dax had been training for a command position for five years in-universe, having joined the command track in 2376 in Avatar and being promoted to captain of the Aventine in 2381 (Destiny: Gods of Night). To say that she's had no training is simply false.

    Would she have become a captain at such a young age under normal circumstances? No. But there again, neither would Picard, who became captain of the Stargazer at age 28 when her captain was killed. If Picard can become captain in his late 20s due to an emergency situation, I don't see why Ezri can't (especially when 40% of Starfleet officers have died).

    To say that Destiny and The Never-Ending Sacrifice were the last quality Trek novels is to speak in ignorance of such excellent novels as:

    • Typhon Pact: Plagues of Night by David R. George III
    • Typhon Pact: Raise the Dawn by David R. George III
    • Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts of Empire by David R. George III
    • Typhon Pact: Zero Sum Game by David Mack
    • Mirror Universe: The Sorrows of Empire by David Mack (expanded edition)
    • Mirror Universe: Rise Like Lions by David Mack
    • Voyager: Full Circle by Kirsten Beyer

    And, though I haven't read it yet, I'm constantly told of what an amazing novel Beyer's Voyager: Children of the Storm is.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2012
  6. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    Or Voy-R by just Christie Golden's books.
     
  7. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

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    Children of the Storm is indeed amazing. And, of course, though I haven't (yet) read it, the last Vanguard novel(s?) are supposed to be epic.

    And while I wouldn't put it on the same level necessarily as PoN and RtD, Paths of Disharmony is pretty darn good, too. But yeah; DRGIII's duology this summer is certainly on the level of Destiny; and, honestly, for me, it surpasses Destiny.
     
  8. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Captain Captain

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    Ridiculous.

    Both Ta'ithan factions are devoutly religious.

    The Preservationists have a mindset and worldview that integrates science and religion.

    The Deconstructors have a mindset and worldview that reduces religion to superstition.
     
  9. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    When I read the book I could see the Preservationists standing in for the Religious people in the real world (Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, etc.) but then I saw the Deconstructors representing the Aetheists/Aegeists. But instead of discussing the matter civilly, it was almost like the author had you at gun point while trying to discuss the issue. It was very badly done.
     
  10. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

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    This sums it up for me
     
  11. ICW

    ICW Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I actually didn't think it was that bad. It sorta reminded me of an S.C.E. story.
     
  12. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Here's my two cents worth, and before I give it, I should point out a few things :

    1) I don't particularly like Titan. After the number of TV episodes 'boldly going' it doesn't hold much appeal anymore - I prefer the political stuff to the alien of the week format (although 'Over A Torrent Sea' was a cut above the normal installments) and Voyager continues to do much the same job as Titan but better.

    2) I quite enjoyed the Romulan War books and don't have an axe to grind with Mr Martin.

    3) Seize The Fire was not one of the better Trek books I've read recently - ignoring it's other faults, it was still rather tedious.

    This said, I liked Fallen Gods. Although it was a bit superficial, it was tightly constructed, moved along nicely and kept me interested. Ra-Havreii got a bit of character development too ! It's certainly on a par with most of the other Titan novels.

    It's become a mindset of some to go into a Martin book with an 'OK, whats wrong with this one ?' attitude.
     
  13. Technobuilder

    Technobuilder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Just finished this novel today at lunch and I have to say...

    That was a disappointing ending.

    White-Blue, one of the best characters I was looking forward to seeing more done with was 86ed and basically entered into a B-4 situation. (There's a window open just in case or something...)

    Tuvok lost the Ecosculpting Knowledge... and all the tension built-up over time in regards to it's impact on the Federation moving forward went with it.

    Andorians are being abducted and duplicated as well as brainwashed by the Tholians... Really?

    REALLY??


    This book was a let down, not because it was total crap, but rather because it showed signs of promise (as did Seize the Fire) which then WENT NOWHERE! (and was rather poorly executed.)


    No more Martin books for me. They're too painful. It's too painful to approach great ideas with lackluster follow-through that only ever seems to end in failure and disappointment.

    If Beyer's next Voyager Novel and Mack's TNG trilogy weren't on the way out/already out, I think I'd be really bummed by this.

    PS.
    Someone call somebody and get this Martin-Solo-On-Titan situation fixed, it's going to kill the series otherwise.
     
  14. flandry84

    flandry84 Captain Captain

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    I must confess that I really enjoyed this novel,it fairly zipped along juggling two very different plotlines(Andorian shenanigans and the planet of the week story).
    TBH thus far the Titan series has left me underwhelmed but this was happily a step in the right direction.
     
  15. star trek

    star trek Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I just finished reading it. It was nothing special. The plot is formulaic and bland. I almost regret purchasing it.

    The only redeeming quality is the diverse crew the Titan has. I enjoyed reading how the different species interact together as a Starfleet crew. I think the Trek books need to be more like this and less human centric.
     
  16. star trek

    star trek Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    My thoughts exactly. Tuvok should be the XO.
     
  17. MNM

    MNM Captain Captain

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    It's all opinions though isnt it? I've read all those books you mention and in my opinion only Zero Sum Game and the two mirror books even come close to "excellent" and even then I wouldnt put Zero Sum on that rank.

    So really, just because you disagree, doesnt mean the person you quoted is "ignorant" of any books because he doesnt rank them as greatly as you do.
     
  18. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

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    Seems to me that Trek novels can be of "quality" without being excellent. All the novels Sci listed were good, if not great, novels, that pass a certain benchmark required to say that a book is of "quality."

    As I said, I would replace Zero Sum Game with Paths of Disharmony or Children of the Storm, myself, but they are all of real quality. (Especially when compared to a lot of older Trek novels. Badlands miniseries and TNG Dominion War novels: I'm looking at you.)

    And star trek: excellent idea. Totally agree.
     
  19. Csalem

    Csalem Commodore Commodore

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    Finished this recently. Average book. Hate the way White-Blue has been treated as I thought when he was introduced a few books back that he was going to make a great addition to the ship.
     
  20. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ I can't say I'm fond of White-Blue, or many of the other Titan crew members. I don't think it's that I prefer more humanoid crew (I don't like Tuvok or Ra Havraii, but I do like Torvig), it's just that they don't do anything for me...