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. Sxottlan

    Sxottlan Commodore Commodore

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    Still in the middle of reading this, but there's already plenty that's aggravating about it. We have briefing after conference after meeting after get-together after pow-wow between the characters after seemingly every little plot development. I recall Seize the Fire had a similar problem: the crew had something like three meetings in that book before they took action on anything.

    Then there's the distraction of the editorial errors: Vale stands up twice on the same page during her talk with Riker and Troi early in the book. Then we get two different Andorians at ops later when their brethren arrive.

    And now I'm at the part with Pava beaming to the Andorian ship. Are we sure this ship isn't from the distant past? Because it seems these Andorians are extremely quick to fall back into old habits. "Pinkskin?" Seriously?

    That's our word!

    The historian's note says this story takes place two weeks after Andor's secession. Two weeks! And they're already acting like your stereotypical enemy with a ship more powerful than a Luna-class starship? And isn't Titan farther out than two weeks at high warp? Does this strike anyone else as kind of absurd?
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2012
  2. chelly

    chelly Commander Red Shirt

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    I noticed that they were using words that were from the Archer days. I read it and I can't really say if I liked it or hated it. I want to see what developes in the next book. But I can't really say if I am going to re read it.

    So if I understand this the Andorians somehow figured out how to duplicate people from the transporter. I thought the Tom/Will thing was a fluke (I thought that was a stupid plot and I hated it). What would be the point of doing that? Also how did the Andorians know where the Titan was etc.

    I wish the titan books would focus on other characters. It seems that the books only focus on the humans or aliens we are familiar with. I want more of the dinosaur doctor. ( I know not right species but I am too lazy to look it up).
     
  3. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    With the transporter thing, if the Andorians can duplicate people, why all the fuss over the reproductive issue? Just duplicate every Andorian a couple of times.
     
  4. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

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    A couple of reasons:

    A) Until recently, this technology wasn't practical nor reliable. It was only a recent innovation (I believe involving the Heisenberg compensators [which actually does make Treknological sense, sorta]) that allowed the Andorians to do this.

    B) You don't think this plan might have big deal, long-term ethical and practical ramifications, particularly if implemented on a large scale? To say nothing of the potential genetic problems that might result.
     
  5. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I finished reading Fallen gods a few days ago.I liked the storyline for the Andorians but I think some upcoming will have to deal the supring twist of what happened to the Andorian crewmembers from the Titan at the end this novel being continued in another typhon pact novel or Titan novel.With the Andorian/Tholian alliance things are getting more dangerous for the fedartion and Starfleet.
     
  6. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    You're forgetting that a similar accident occurred in "The Enemy Within" and Spock was able to duplicate the accident and reverse engineer it.
     
  7. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

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    Yeah, but there was a key difference: one Kirk was evil and the other was good. Not practical nor reliable.
     
  8. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, "The Enemy Within" Kirks were two halves of a whole, while the Will/Tom Riker type transporter duplicates are straight clones. It's got to a lot easier to combine 2 halves than two equal wholes.
     
  9. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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  10. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

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  11. Pigboy

    Pigboy Ensign Newbie

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    Been awhile since I've been here but I had to post. I brought five trek books with me while on vacation at the beach. I like to read on the beach and I began to worry that those five books wouldn't be enough. Until Fallen Gods.

    Storming Heaven - Blasted through it. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
    Plagues of Night - Blasted through it. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
    Raise the Dawn - Blasted through it. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
    Forgotten History - Blasted through it. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
    Fallen Gods - Took me days to read. It was a struggle not to skip whole chapters.

    Very disappointed in Fallen Gods. I have read Seize the Fire but can't really remember what happened in it, which goes to show how uninteresting I found it. I don't understand. I really liked Cathedral and Trill:Unjoined. Taking Wing and Red King where also 'meh' for me so maybe it's hit or miss.

    I may add Michael A. Martin to the list of authors I avoid (like Christie Golden).
     
  12. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I was kind of shocked how much their reviewer loved it, since the majority of people here seemed to have the exact opposite reaction.
     
  13. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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  14. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

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    To be fair, the first three books you read (and to a lesser extent, the fourth) are widely acclaimed (as widely as a Trek novel can be acclaimed) as some of the best TrekLit out there. Even Forgotten History, which I was less excited about, is extremely well-regarded.

    Technically speaking, the first four novels probably created an expectation bias for Fallen Gods, which might have had the effect of exaggerating its shortcomings. If I were you, I'd wait a month or two, and give it another shot. Who knows, maybe it'll seem better on reread with lowered expectations.

    Or maybe it will still suck really badly to your tastes. :shrug: In which case, I thoroughly apologize.
     
  15. CNash

    CNash Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I finished reading Fallen Gods the other day.

    First, I was very disappointed in the treatment of White-Blue. I enjoyed his characterisation in James Swallow's Synthesis and thought that he'd be a great addition to a diverse crew like Titan's. However it seemed like that Martin didn't really know what to do with him and quickly arranged to have him written out until he was needed as a plot device - for example, to join with the Ta'ithan AI and Tuvok to wrap up the Brahma-Shiva plotline from Seize the Fire here - and then send him right back into technological limbo when he was done. It's a real waste of potential - we've seen that sentient AIs can be written well, look at Data! - and here was a chance to explore issues outside of the usual "outsider strives to be more human" dynamic that tends to plague characters like his.

    Like others in this thread, I found the scenes dealing with the Ta'ithan crisis somewhat difficult to digest. Opening the book with a chapter written from their POV, without giving the reader any concrete frame of reference as to what the Ta'ithans or their world really look like or how their society functions outside of the Keeper-Trasher conflict, was perhaps not the best of moves. Reusing the tired old "Titan is the cause of the problem, Riker feels guilty and must make amends" situation is just lazy at this point.

    The lack of characterisation became apparent almost immediately; Titan's original crew members seemed to have no personalities other than their basic writers-bible descriptions. Ra-Havreii regresses back to his Luna accident agonising, and mention is made of his typical Efrosian promiscuousness; Melora is conflicted over her use of telepresence (again!); even Pava had no real character moments save from the established Andorian aggression and hot temper. Tuvok was handled better - he's clearly shown trying to regain his mental composure after his experience with Brahma-Shiva - but like White-Blue, he's relegated to a supporting role after the mind-meld with the Ta'ithan AI.

    As for the Andorians: The timescale from the secession was far too slight for their appearance to make any sense, and their characterisation just seemed incongruous. I suppose we could accept that the crew is most likely brainwashed by the Tholians, but even that seems hollow somehow.

    The transporter cloning thing sounds like an idea that might have been floated in an Andorian brainstorming session, then quickly shot down because it was terrible - even ignoring the huge moral and ethical problems, lack of genetic diversity is going to become an even bigger problem than it already is! The "big reveal" in the epilogue was anything but - even if the transporter chief hadn't coincidentally thought about the Tom Riker incident earlier in the book, it was fairly easy to work out what was going on, and the plotline would've benefitted from being revealed earlier on, saving potential confusion over which Pava was where.

    While I didn't feel an urge to put down the book entirely, nonetheless I didn't really enjoy it either. It's a bad combination of an A-story (Ta'ith) that the reader isn't sufficiently persuaded to care enough about, with a B-story (Andorians) that's full of implausibilities and jarringly bad characterisation, and not enough time to really flesh either of them out.
     
  16. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    ^ Great review, CNash. I think it rather neatly covers most of the problems I had with this one. The book had its moments, certainly, but overall it just wasn't a comfortable read. I think you've rather effectively explained why.
     
  17. CNash

    CNash Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Cheers :)

    One other thing - I read Indistinguishable From Magic immediately before Fallen Gods, figuring that published order should stand me in good stead, but then realising that Fallen Gods takes place quite a bit before Indistinguishable due to the presence of Ogawa on Titan. Does this mean that the Titan series is going to have to "jump" to keep up with the TNG and/or Typhon Pact books, or will it stick to each book following closely behind the last, and having to be relatively self-contained, while allowing for the possibility that a future author could insert Titan into a TNG/Typhon Pact book and thereby dictate the characters' futures?
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Actually IFM begins only about three months after Paths of Disharmony, and Fallen Gods is sometime after PoD. So it wouldn't take a very big jump to move TTN past IFM. Certainly nowhere as big as the jumps it's already made -- 8 months from Sword of Damocles to Destiny and a year from Synthesis to Seize the Fire.
     
  19. CNash

    CNash Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    That makes sense, thanks! I'm not too great on the precise chronology of the novels beyond "this takes place after that"...
     
  20. lvsxy808

    lvsxy808 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Location:
    London
    Hello all. Doing my usual thing of posting my thoughts without reading the rest of the thread, after which I will go back and see what the rest of you thought.

    Basically, not too bad. I had been unsure whether to even buy this or not, given that from what spoiler-free rumours I had heard about the boards it wasn't especially well received and I hadn't particularly enjoyed Seize the Fire. But I didn't want to miss out on the next adventures of the Titan and her crew, who had been probably my favourite bunch of characters for a while there. So I decided to plump for it - less than 10 quid after all, hardly a big loss if I ended up not liking it.

    And maybe it was just because my expectations were low, but it really wasn't all that bad. I mean, it'll never win any major literary awards, but it was a straightforward solid episodic adventure that didn't really try to be anything it wasn't. My problem with Seize the Fire had been mostly that the dialogue felt horrifically clumsy and unnatural, and that didn't seem to be a problem here, maybe because there was less focus on the scientific stuff and more on action and plot.

    I didn't really feel like the two storylines had all that much to do with each other, and they both had their problems, but nothing that was an absolute dealbreaker.

    The A-story - the Taithans. Pleasant enough, although there wasn't really a lot of ambiguity to their situation, given that one faction was so obviously "right" and the other so obviously "wrong." I didn't like that we got no suggestion of what happened to them after the AI repaired the Technocore. Yes, the planet was saved, but what about the people? They are what matters in a story, surely. Just because the Keepers were proven to be right doesn't mean that the Trashers will just step back and accept it. There's a lot more to be explored there that was just left half-finished. It was nice to get another non-humanoid civilization, but the idea of the Titan making it worse by interfering or even just by being there seemed like a re-run of themes we've had with this series before.

    The B-story - the Andorians. Not helped by the fact that we'd never heard of six out of the seven Andorian crewmembers before, but I guess that's a necessary evil. I figured out immediately that they were doing the transporter split thing, and I DID NOT like it. It seems like the worst kind of sci-fi shit - where some ludicrous hi-concept notion is used not to explore the characters' problems but to erase them altogether. "Oh look, because of this fantastic piece of technobabble, not only do we get to solve the characters' dilemma by literally splitting them in half, but we get twice as many Andorians too, which will solve the population problem! Aren't we clever?" I was very unhappy with this story idea, right until the end when an attempt was made to show that it doesn't actually solve all the problems at all, and the duplicated Andorians still don't actually want any of this to happen. They still consider themselves kidnapped, and I can only assume more is going to come of this in later books. That mitigated it somewhat, but I still think it's extremely dangerous ground to be walking on, and can easily be used to sidestep the problems instead of actually dealing with them. The Tholians were a nice surprise though.

    Not a lot of room for character development, but then I suppose it just wasn't that kind of story. I've had enough of Tuvok now, thank you. I'd like to focus on somebody else for a change, as I feel like I've been getting Tuvok overload. I didn't like leaving White-Blue behind, as I thought there was a lot more that could be done with that character. I especially didn't like when somebody said he's been "missing a purpose in his life" - his move to the Titan at the end of Synthesis was precisely so that he could have a new life, and I don't like the idea that he would suddenly decide, "no, that was boring, now I'm going to do this instead" after so little time actually being a member of the crew. To the extent that it actually felt like character assassination rather than even just character inconsistency. And the sudden focus on Pava was a little overwhelming too, though again obviously I can see that was required by the storyline, but then I don't find her to be a particularly compelling character. I do find it interesting though that Vale is seen swearing so much more often than any other Starfleet officer I can remember.

    So, upshot is - not as bad as was fearing it was going to be, but I did have some issues with it, more as it went on than when it started.

    .
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2012