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. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    One month after Andor's secession, tholians - these one-month old allies - were allowed on an andorian ship, playing football with the minds of andorians. Does this strike you as a sane choice on the part of the andorians/their ruling council?
    Even Akaar/starfleet knew about tholians mind-controlling andorians. And the andorian ruling council didn't know? Or knew and did nothing. Does this strike you as a sane choice?

    Then there are all the andorian decisions:
    The federation's president incredulity at the secession - I doubt it was planned for this, but fits quite well.
    The starfleet andorians' incredulity - this was most likely planned.

    And all the gratuitous treasons of their own supposed values (federation values the andorians had for centuries) the andorians indulged in in the last 3 typhon pact books. These are pretty easy to write, when you have an easy mind-control explanation/redemption.


    The andorian council not being - initially (a month after secession) - as compliant as the tholians wished?
    The andorian showing is already pathetic.
    In this way, at least the tholians had to put some effort in order to transform the best of the andorians - their democratically elected leaders, protected by the best the andorians have against mind-control, among other things - into Igor. It saves remnants of andorian pride, of their value/credibility as allies - or enemies.
     
  2. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Hm, I see where you're coming from, but if that's where this storyline goes I'll be pretty pissed.

    I actually didn't mind the developments earlier on. Humanity has been full of incidences where good people have done horrible things for what seemed like good reasons at the time. I completely accept the idea that, after living under pressure from this population decline problem for centuries, the Andorians would react irrationally to the apparent reality that the Federation had kept information from them that would help. You seem to think that's "pathetic", but it makes sense to me. Humans act irrationally when they're vulnerable; I don't see why it's a stretch for Andorians to do the same, especially when they've often been portrayed as a rather emotional species.

    Having that be due to mind control just kills all sense of subtlety and humanity; it's the comic book way out. Which is kind of the problem with this whole book, actually. I just hope that whoever gives the next chapter in the wider-galaxy narrative doesn't run with it.

    (Also, what other "gratuitous treasons" are you referring to? The saboteur in Raise The Dawn? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I remember no evidence that he was connected to mainstream Andorian thought at all. And if you're using one fringe individual or organization as an example, does Section 31 constitute the Federation being similarly "pathetic"? I viewed that storyline as a meditation on racism becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, which was a much more interesting moral point to make.)
     
  3. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The secession - I find it credible, if not at all complimentary for the andorians:
    The andorians put the 'hurt back' mentality above what was best for their future, the future of their children.
    You mentioned human irrationality - while it is understandable for one human in extreme circumstances, it is less excusable for leaders whose job is not to fall prey to their reptilian brain, but to make the best decisions for their people; or for billions of humans at the same time - indicating that most humans lack the ability to see beyond their emotional turmoil, the next minute. Many - most - humans withstand really REALLY bad days without turning into irrational berserkers, lashing out.

    What followed is utterly incoherent, though - and a treason of former andorian values:

    Take the cardboard andorian villains from the current book - do I really need to expand on this?:
    -the totalitarian laws against not-at-home andorians;
    -the Therin.

    And that 'racism' conclusion an andorian reached in the DS9 terrorist incident - if that's a valid conclusion, then a person who failed to say 'good day' to me is racist towards me - and, of course, as such, deserves to die. It was established the andorian had orders/help from his homeworld - without further clarification; quite possibly, from a legitimate andorian ruling body.

    The mind-control revelation turned the andorians from utterly incoherent to pathetic - frankly, any species who is so easily controlled by a foe NOT technologically - or in any other obvious field - superior will not survive in the long term regardless of its reproductive prowess.
    In my opinion, this is somewhat of a promotion - especially with the mitigating circumstances to be introduced.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2012
  4. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    And wasn't the relationship between the Andorians and the rest of The Federation, already pretty strained by the time of the DS9 relaunch. I think I remember there being references to things not being that great between at that point, which would be 6 or 7 years before the TP stories. I didn't any problem with the Andorians behavior in PoD, it seemed perfectly in line with the overall portrayal of Andorians in the other books.
     
  5. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Right, Edit_XYZ, so this book and the DS9 terrorism incident are all we have to go on after Paths, and you say their behavior in Paths is "credible if not at all complimentary", which is pretty much where I am too. And I agree with you about this book as well; that crap was awful.

    So it seems like where we disagree is on the DS9 terrorism incident, so let me make a couple notes on that:

    First, I'm not saying that the racism conclusion that the Andorian reached was "valid"; I believe there are no valid reasons for him doing what he did at all. Instead, that it was understandable as a motivation for a villain, similarly to how I understood the motivation of the ruling Andorians in Paths. You seem to disagree, but I wanted to clarify. It certainly makes more sense to me than the moustache-twirling in this novel.

    Second, his exact words were "when a friend on Andor contacted me about the Typhon Pact needing help to restore the balance of power with the Federation", which I again feel does not in any way implicate the ruling body as a whole. At most, a member of the ruling body is a radical, which has been shown to occur in the Federation a few times as well.

    Basically, if we're not going to judge the Cardassians as a race because of Dukat, or the Klingons because of Duras, or the Federation because of Min Zife, or the Romulans because of Sela, I don't think we can judge the Andorians by one vaguely-described possibly-powerful person on the homeworld and his single overly sensitive accomplice either.
     
  6. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    On Goodreads, 6 people (so far) have rated Fallen Gods and it has an average of 3.83 stars out of 5.
     
  7. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The secession alone, or the federation-andorian glacial relations alone, or the andorian terrorist alone - perhaps not.
    But together, they corroborate quite fine, they form a clear trend - and it was before this book, which drove home the point with the subtlety of a sledgehammer.

    But...this 'trend' - in the end, it's only a few isolated incidents. Surely not important, yes?:

    One needs to keep in mind that the trekverse is fictional - there really are no andorian - or otherwise - developments beyond what's established in the books. There aren't billions of unsung beings living their lives in the federation or on Andor or in the klingon empire, etc; suns burning or planets rotating other than in the authors' - and our - imagination.

    What the authors choose to establish, even if only a sample of the whole - that sample is representative for for the state/trend of the whole. In this case, the authors chose to make the andorians as nasty as possible (with varying degrees of subtlety).
    Were there only samples (until the last book)? Yes. But, in a fictional world, mathematical probability does not apply. The picture the authors consistently paint IS representative - despite it only depicting a small sample of the inferred worldbuilding.

    Dukat was not the only cardassian depicted; Duras not the only klingon; etc. The scenarists/authors always depicted counterpoints; the samples included in the picture showed the other side of the coin.
    Not so in the case of andorians (have no fear though, the token andorian, helping to save his world, will soon appear).
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2012
  8. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    One thing that doesn't make any sense here is the mind control. If the mind control was what caused the Andorians to leave the Federation, then why isn't the Federation working to do away with the mind control so that the Andorians can take a new vote as to being part of the Federation? Besides, if the Tholians can control the minds of the Andorians, why haven't they done this to other races and a lot sooner then now?

    Another issue is there are occasional lines that drop one out of the story with a WTF moment such as...

    That is a WTF moment as we are now treated as idiots as we are treated to an explication about atmospheric pressure. The following is a much better way to write that same line without treating us as idiots.

     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2012
  9. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Edit_XYZ, that's a really good point, actually, about Trek being a fictional universe and the examples we're given being the only ones. But I guess I was thinking in terms of how the next author would take the storyline. I see no reason why the next author would be constrained by events so far to write a plotline about Tholians mind-controlling helpless Andorians into seceding, being terrorists, and being idiots, in the three books under discussion respectively. Numerically, even including this novel, we've seen very small samples and obviously crazy people.

    What I'm saying is, I sincerely hope that the subplots introduced in Fallen Gods get branded as the work of extremists and dealt with very quickly, and moving forward we have the tone of Raise The Dawn. I felt that tone was "this is a tragedy, and the consequences of this will include some irrational Andorians taking this way too far, but the majority of Andorians are staying in Starfleet even given these extreme circumstances, and peace will continue even if Andor doesn't rejoin." Nothing in RTD indicated that Starfleet was suspicious of Andorians as a whole, or that they had any reason to be. And actually I don't think anything in this book did either, despite Starfleet in this book thinking there was reason to be suspicious (another giant stupid plot hole here, imho).
     
  10. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Again, as terrible as this storyline was, I didn't see anything in this novel that indicated this was the case. I'm confused where this entire idea is coming from.

    No arguments here.
     
  11. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    One (yet again) problem with Fallen Gods is the timeline it fits in and the other books published after. This just doesn't fit in with what was already written that takes place after.
     
  12. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The scenes establishing tholian mind control and starfleet knowing it have no connection to the rest of the book.
    They were obviously introduced as part of the ongoing meta andorian plot line - a result of editor/authors planning it.

    It seems the decision at the moment is to run with the mind control theme.
    I guess this could change, though - all it takes is the editor thinking yesterday's good idea is today's bad idea.

    Read a few posts back:
    "Hm, I see where you're coming from, but if that's where this storyline goes I'll be pretty pissed."

    Minor, easily fixable plot holes at best:
    Working at something and succeeding at something are 2 very different things;
    The tholians are barely perfecting their andorian puppet tech; a far cry from being able to control other, perhaps less susceptible, species.
     
  13. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Again, when we were talking about that, I was taking this from the perspective of the next writer to carry on this story. I was attempting to say that your description was one way to take the plot that would be consistent, I just hoped it didn't go that way.

    But saying "that could be one explanation" is not the same thing as saying "this novel indicates that explanation is correct", and I never said the latter. I still contend it doesn't.

    There is actually a point in that scene where he mentions that it has something to do with the Andorian antennae specifically, so that's not even a plot hole in the first place, actually. (Which, I feel the need to clarify, doesn't make me think the plotline is any less inane.)
     
  14. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    It's worth noting that the only reference in TNG to current-day Andorian affairs is Picard mentioning "renegade Andorians" who had armed ships. That suggests the existence of a fairly significant and threatening opposition movement, though the extent of the support is obviously unclear.

    Agreed. On top of the devastation caused by the Borg, I can imagine a decided anti-Federation shift. The referendum has been described as having been won by a majority that was "decisive, but not unanimous", implying to me a very strong shift indeed.

    I didn't read that at all. I saw it as being of a piece with Zhrar's interest in cultivating Pava as an Andorian intelligence asset via mind control.

    Makes sense to me, but if there is official Andorian collaboration with the Typhon Pact, then on top of this unauthorized bombing--Sela's support for the Cardassian and Andorian radicals, partly in pursuit of her desire for slipstream, was not authorized by Kamemor--things start to look dicey.
     
  15. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    I can say that it does sell.

    Myself, I thought that the novel was decent. Problems with characterization and writing style, but interesting plot ideas and structures.

    I'd give it a 7 out of 10.
     
  16. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Indeed, the possibility exists that everything the Therin commander does in Fallen Gods is rogue, including his alliance with Tholians. The Therin is a long way from home and out of communication with Andor, just as the Titan is out of communication with the much-closer Starbase 183. And everything we hear after the first few pages about what's going on on Andor is filtered through him. So we shouldn't jump to conclusions about what's going on with Andor until we see the next book.

    ETA:

    Meanwhile, I've noticed two serious continuity errors in Fallen Gods:

    1. The Andorian capital is consistently referred to as Laibok, but Typhon Pact: Paths of Disharmony established that the current Andorian capital city is Lor'Vela, with the former capital having been destroyed by the Borg in Destiny: Lost Souls.

    2. There are several references to the "Council of the Clans" as (seeming) Andor's ruling body, yet the novels Andor: Paradigm by Heather Jarman and Typhon Pact: Paths of Disharmony established very clearly that the Andorian legislature is called the Parliament Andoria, with the formal head of state being the Empty Throne and the head of government being the Presider.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    In IDW's Alien Spotlight: Andorians, set between TNG and Generations, it was established that the Andorians had been fairly detached from the rest of the Federation for a while and that there were strong isolationist/xenophobic factions on Andor(ia). This was presumably by way of explaining why we didn't see Andorians in the 24th-century shows. The story was referenced in Paths of Disharmony, so it counts as part of the novel continuity. And it seems reasonable to surmise that their isolation in the comic would be related to their reproductive crisis in the novels.
     
  18. Kertrats47

    Kertrats47 Commodore Commodore

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    Just finished my review of Fallen Gods. Reading through this thread, I seem to be of the same mind of many of the readers here.
     
  19. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Indeed. Those bothered me too. So...it's Justification Time!

    For the latter, I assume that either the Council of Clans is another (more casual?) name for the Parliament Andoria, preferred by those elements of Andorian society whose sense of identity remains rooted in the traditional clan system, or else it's an authority distinct from the Parliament that deals with small-scale legal and political matters; regional disputes and the like. Given how insanely complicated the relationships between clans must be now that marriage and breeding are decided by genetics, and given how seriously Andorians take family identity, perhaps the day-to-day decisions that keep Andor from falling into a thousand and one blood feuds are made by the Council, leaving Parliament to focus on the big global issues (as well as coordinate federation matters?). Perhaps too the Council of Clans oversees the reproductive and familial issues directly, which might explain why Zhrar is focused on them as opposed to the Parliament? The DS9 Relaunch has mentioned the Eveste Elders as the body to which rulings in matters of bonding are sought, so perhaps the Council of Clans is led by these elders. If that's the case, perhaps to some Andorians the Council of Clans is the "real" authority to which they pay most attention, just like some Bajorans are more invested in the Vedek Assembly than the Chamber of Ministers? Zhrar is the sort of Andorian who would certainly put more stock in clan bonds and traditional Andorian self-rule than in the Parliament, even if the Parliament is now controlled by reactionary isolationists.

    The first error - the capital - can't really be explained away, sadly. I just read "Lor'vela" each time he says "Laibok".
     
  20. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    Well......

    Certainly better then Seize The Fire.... but that doesn't mean much, does it? Martin just can't write characters, they are completelly one-sided, more of a stereotype then a person. Nothing fundemental in terms of character development, which I find sad. Someone mentioned comicbook characters, and I agree.

    As for the plot.... From the blurb, I thought that whatever happened here would certainly leave an impact on the Trek universe. Perhaps not as big as the event from PoN/RtD, but still. However, at the end, all was basicly as it was when the book began. Tuvok is still moping around, feeling unsure. Non of the characters are really in a new place in there lives. Sure, the ultimate pay-off regarding the seven Andorians is a big thing, but they don't know about it, do they? And really, instead of it having the big impact it was supposed to have, it really left a bad taste in my mouth, as if it was all part of some bad comicbook story-line.

    As for Martin's writing style, he seems to be all over the place. The first three quarters of the book are long chapters, to long really, which seem to drag on. Then all of a sudden, short paced, action packed paragraphs designed to give you the idea that things are hectic. Instead, it just leaves you confused as to what the hell is going on.

    To me, this book has proven beyond a doubt that Martin shouldn't be writing Trek anymore. He has no good grasp of characters, and his plots want to be grandious and life changing, but ultimatly everything is back to the status-quo. Well almost, since he likes to drop a bomb for no real reason other then to drop a bomb. The final chapter was, like I said, really unnecessary. Hell, the entire Andorion plotline was unnecessary. Such a shame really.