VOY: Children of the Storm by Kirsten Beyer Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Thrawn, May 23, 2011.

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Rate Children Of The Storm.

  1. Outstanding

    69 vote(s)
    53.1%
  2. Above Average

    43 vote(s)
    33.1%
  3. Average

    12 vote(s)
    9.2%
  4. Below Average

    2 vote(s)
    1.5%
  5. Poor

    4 vote(s)
    3.1%
  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Voyager: Children Of The Storm Review Thread

    But isn't that how a lot of Star Trek stories have been told over the years? Something is introduced as a deadly, menacing force, but then turns out to be a harmless alien conducting a test (Balok), or a mother protecting its young (the Horta), or a soldier defending its territory against perceived invaders (the Gorn), or a grazing creature unaware that it was creating danger (the cloud creature in "One of Our Planets is Missing"), or a captain willing to risk everything to acheive communication (Dathon from "Darmok"), or whatever.
     
  2. Kirsten Beyer

    Kirsten Beyer Writer Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: Voyager: Children Of The Storm Review Thread

    Your Overlordliness...

    Thanks for the many kind words. And I'll take an "Above Average" rating any damn day of the week.

    I just find it interesting that the hell Quirinal went through in their confrontation with the Children, and Planck's destruction by them didn't seem menacing enough to connect them completely to the species David Mack established. Of course, YMMV, and you are completely entitled to your opinion. I just wonder if Captain Farkas or Captain T'Mar, may he rest in peace, would share it. :)

    Best,
    Kirsten
     
  3. TerraUnam

    TerraUnam Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: Voyager: Children Of The Storm Review Thread

    Oh good Kirsten, you made it out of that Voyager panel at Shore Leave alive. :)
     
  4. Cybersnark

    Cybersnark Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: Voyager: Children Of The Storm Review Thread

    Or a potential ally that needs to be understood and respected on its own terms (the Vulcans, the Klingons, the Ferengi, the Cardassians, the Romulans, perhaps even the Dominion). Arguably, this is kinda the point of Star Trek, and seeing it celebrated here just helped reaffirm the Federation's values post-Destiny.

    I really enjoyed seeing the conflict between Farkas/T'Mar/Fife's more militaristic view and the more traditional Starfleet ideals of Chakotay, Eden, and O'Donnell. After what the Federation has been through in the last decade, it makes sense that some people would shift more toward "neutralizing threats and establishing dominance" than "exploring and learning." The real threat wasn't the Children, it was Starfleet losing its way.
     
  5. OverlordSpock

    OverlordSpock Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: Voyager: Children Of The Storm Review Thread

    I don't think I'm explaining myself well. It makes perfect sense in my head, but when you all say things like that, what I'm saying sounds stupid, until I run through it in my head again, when it makes perfect sense. :)

    Don't get me wrong, I REALLY liked the book and I really liked what was done with the Children. But, this one point just knocked it down a bit. As I said before, I don't think it's the book's fault. It's mine. But it is what it is.
     
  6. Tirius

    Tirius Captain Captain

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    Re: Star Trek: Voyager: Children Of The Storm Review Thread

    Same here. This part of the story actually made me think of Equinox and how the relationships between Ransom and Burke and Janeway and Chakotay fell apart in the face of a crisis. I also think that making both O'Donell and Fife humans helped, as it truly allowed a focus on them as people rather than as representatives of different cultures, as we've often seen when opinions differ because of "alien" cultural values.

    The resolution of this arc for me was Star Trek at its finest: a conflict ultimately resolved without weapons and people coming together with hope for a better future despite their differences.

    The above is also part of what I liked most about this story: it helped flesh out the other ships in the fleet a little, as the previous novel focused mostly on the crews of Voyager and Galen. Quirinal and Demeter may take center stage, but we also get to look aboard Achilles and get to know Esquiline's captain. It helps put some dimension on the storyline as a whole and I much appreciated that.

    Another "above average" from me.
     
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  7. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Star Trek: Voyager: Children Of The Storm Review Thread

    Every dead character in Trek needs to come back to life before we'll read or watch any more Trek. :wah::rommie:

    Now that sounds every bit as silly as "We won't read any more Trek until Janeway is not dead."
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Voyager: Children Of The Storm Review Thread

    They'll call it Star Trek: Blackest Night.
     
  9. AuntKate

    AuntKate Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Star Trek: Voyager: Children Of The Storm Review Thread

    Of course, the characters in the books following "Before Dishonor" think Janeway is dead, just as the TNG crew thought Picard was dead in "Tapestry." That's called dramatic irony--the characters think they're dead, but we know better. Wasn't it PAD who said that the Q never do anything without a reason? The Q messed with Picard's consciousness to teach him a lesson, and the Q must have a reason for rescuing Janeway's consciousness in "Before Dishonor"--we just haven't been let in on the secret. :evil:
     
  10. Idran

    Idran Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Star Trek: Voyager: Children Of The Storm Review Thread

    Did they? I don't remember the crew saying Picard was dead, just that he was severely injured, had something akin to a heart attack, and had a near-death experience.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Voyager: Children Of The Storm Review Thread

    Right. Nobody ever said Picard was dead except Q in Picard's head, and Q is a notorious liar. We saw Crusher working on Picard on the surgical table, then we were with Picard and Q for most of the episode, and then we saw Picard waking up on the surgical table.
     
  12. Hugh Cambridge

    Hugh Cambridge Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: Voyager: Children Of The Storm Review Thread

    And Lady Q is not better than he. So she could have hidden to Janeway the fact that she can come back as she wishes.
    Anyway, I think Kirsten Beyer is doing very well without Janeway, I do wonder if her return would be a good thing.
    Perhaps the real question is not wether to make her come back or not but rather what for ?
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Voyager: Children Of The Storm Review Thread

    Where did you get that idea? The facts say otherwise. "The Q and the Gray" established that she routinely "nagged" Q for his "irresponsible behavior." And "Q2" revealed that she was so humiliated by their son's even more reckless and irresponsible behavior that she disowned him. So clearly she wasn't the same kind of troublemaking prankster as Q, but considered such behavior shameful and unacceptable. She was rude and condescending toward humans, but not deceitful or prone to capricious tricks.

    Right. The only reason it should be done is if there's genuinely a good story to be told. Just pandering to the wishes of a fraction of the audience isn't a good enough reason. If you're afraid to make storytelling choices that might alienate some of your readers, you'll never be able to take any risks or do anything really significant or challenging. There were people offended by the inclusion of gay characters, by the devastation wrought in Destiny, by the decision to kill off a certain SCE regular or to resurrect Trip Tucker, etc. But those changes weren't reversed just because a few fans made a fuss about it or stopped reading the books.
     
  14. Hugh Cambridge

    Hugh Cambridge Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: Voyager: Children Of The Storm Review Thread

    Lady Q's behavior in Before Dishonor made me think that but you're right, in the TV shows she did act for the good.
     
  15. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Voyager: Children Of The Storm Review Thread

    I've had a busy summer, and so it took me until now to get around to this, so sorry this is a little late. I'm glad I've read it now though, because this is really worth saying:

    This is *the* TrekLit novel I've been waiting for since Destiny. The one.

    For my money, Beyer saw, with a stunning clarity of purpose, the moral question that's been hanging over everything since then, and hit it head on in the finest emotional catharsis TrekLit has produced in years.

    See, the problem I've always had with Star Trek is that it's just a little too easy to be optimistic when you're the most powerful dude around and you never lose. I think even one of TNG's writers referred to the show as a sort of atheist bible at some point, but you can't escape the fact that every once in a while the argument in the Federation's favor is "we won, we must be right". Which I find unconvincing.

    Destiny took that and killed it. Destiny gave us a universe in which our heroes didn't win, not quite. They were saved by their ideals in the end, but at a greater cost than Trek has ever before portrayed. The arguments around here about that were intense and occasionally heartbreaking; I'm sure we all remember. But to me, this deconstruction was essential. To me, to believe in anything, or fight for anything, you must acknowledge that sometimes you can't possibly win. It is a vital piece of honesty for any system of faith. (And optimism in the future and humanity's ability to make a better world/universe is an act of faith, no question about it.)

    But ever since, I think there's been a need for a novel to look at Destiny, and its aftermath, and say exactly that. That you don't always win, but it's worth it anyway. That being optimistic is an act of faith, not a data-based decision, and that it's the right act of faith, even when the data doesn't agree.

    I had hopes for Typhon Pact. I had hopes that what we'd see there was an entity opposed to the Federation on finally equal terms, so the Federation wasn't the biggest badass in town, but that even still on the strength of its ideals it would win. But those were some depressing-ass books, huh? Downers, every one. And yes, we had a couple of fluffy optimistic books, like Indistinguishable From Magic, that no one on Earth would call pessimistic but that got there by kind of ignoring all the pessimistic stuff. Went back to the TNG sort of feel.

    And now: Children of the Storm. I contend this is the most optimistic Trek book since Destiny, at least, because it earns its optimism every step of the way. It starts with the most suspensful sustained action sequence again since Destiny, the brutal assault by the Children and aftermath. I was so into it, I was actually yelling at the book. "Oh shit this is bad! This is BAD!" But then the second half of the book demonstrates conclusively on multiple levels and in multiple stories the benefit of being optimistic. We get Chakotay dealing with the numbing sense of loss. We get B'Elanna and Tom finding the wonder of parenting. We get the genius - oh god so genius - O'Donnell storyline, one of my favorites ever.

    But here's the thing about this book. Even in its moral victory at the end, it doesn't cheat. At the end, there's still the conversation about the fighters. This is a natural reaction to Destiny, and the book doesn't hide from it. Even better, Eden doesn't make any attempt to find meaning in the death of the lost ship, just in how everyone reacted to it and stayed optimistic anyway, even though their deaths were pointless. The end of this book is very much about acknowledging, taking in, dealing with the reality of the Trek universe since Destiny, staring it right in the face, and saying "it's still right to be an optimist." It's still right to believe. The end of this book literally made me cry, and that almost never happens.

    And with this tour de force, Beyer takes her rightful place as the heart and soul of modern TrekLit; the moral compass that's perhaps been lacking or vague of late.

    Brilliant. Just brilliant. I adore Kirsten Beyer and I hope she writes 40 more of these. And, wonder that Full Circle was, this is definitely the best one yet. Keep it coming.

    ...and congratulations if you actually read all that :p
     
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  16. AuntKate

    AuntKate Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Star Trek: Voyager: Children Of The Storm Review Thread

    Except that the "we won, we were right" part of Trek is what set it apart from other scifi franchises. To kill that is to leave Trek behind and start writing something else. Isn't it?
     
  17. Idran

    Idran Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Star Trek: Voyager: Children Of The Storm Review Thread

    Seriously? You're saying part of Star Trek is that because someone won a conflict, they must have been in the right? That kind of imperialistic, colonial view is completely the opposite of how I'd view Star Trek.

    I mean, note that he said "we won, we must be right". That means "we won, therefore we were right", not "we won because we were right" (which would be "we're right, we must end up winning"). He's saying that a lot of Star Trek presents the Federation as in the right because they win their wars, not because of any actual moral justification. And that Destiny shows the Federation holding to their principles in spite of a totally Pyrrhic victory.

    True morality is shown in what you do when you don't get the dramatic, mostly painless wins. And part of Destiny is to show that, to show that the Federation will stick to its values when things aren't so great, not just when it miraculously triumphs over the Borg when Picard gets them to fall asleep, or when the Enterprise just coincidentally happens to be in a position to slip back in time with them. Or when the Dominion decides to wipe out a rival planet and thus gets that planet's citizens to turn against them.

    Basically we're saying that that group on Risa had, buried deep in their extremist and idiotic actions, a good point that's worth taking a look at.
     
  18. AuntKate

    AuntKate Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Star Trek: Voyager: Children Of The Storm Review Thread

    ^^ I think you might be parsing what I said a bit because I agree with what you say in your post. Holding firm to one's beliefs rather than giving into expediency is at least a good part of the Trek ethic as the fact that humanity (and I use that term on purpose) has found the "right" formula for equality and hope. The fact that there is a high price for these beliefs is not new, though, except, perhaps in scope in the Destiny novels. For example, the sacrifice of the Enterprise B was certainly be called a "failure," but that noble sacrifice led to a dramatic change in the Federation's interaction with the Klingons. In VOY's "The Void," Janeway's insistence on following the Federation ethic seems to run counter to success, and yet eventually leads to their escape into normal space. So, holding fast to an ethic really isn't a new concept, and making the cost greater is a plot device that can only be effective when used sparingly.
     
  19. Kirsten Beyer

    Kirsten Beyer Writer Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: Voyager: Children Of The Storm Review Thread

    I'm going to sleep better tonight because...you know...no pressure or anything.

    Seriously, this is one of the most extraordinary things I have ever heard said about something I've written. I'm obviously thrilled the story worked so well for you. I can honestly say that this is one of those times that reading someone else's thoughts about it makes me think really hard about my process. So much of what you've said seems obvious in hindsight, but I wasn't really conscious of addressing post-Destiny issues as I was writing it, beyond the notion that occurred to me quite clearly as the O'Donnell/Fife relationship was developing that the younger officers, of which there would be many in such a fleet, would have come of age in a time that was so different from that early spirit of exploration that defines Starfleet for me. To bring those two realities into conflict was a conscious choice. But also developed so organically from who O'Donnell and Fife are as people to me, that it's hard to separate me trying to make a point from me just honoring who these guys are.

    I don't know if that makes sense, but there you have it.

    Thank you again.

    Best,
    Kirsten
     
  20. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Voyager: Children Of The Storm Review Thread

    I've probably read close to two thousand books in my almost thirty years of life, and I have to say that my two favorite books are both written by Star Trek authors. One is Star Trek and the other is not.

    David Mack did a great job with his original novel The Calling and I recommend it to urban fantasy lovers.

    Kirsten, IMHO, Children of the Storm is the best Star Trek novel written in the history of the franchise. Your grasp of the characters of Voyager and the ideals at the core of the Federation is a breath of fresh air. To echo others on here, this really is a wonderful piece of writing and puts Star Trek back where it belongs.