Spoilers Discovery: Desperate Hours by David Mack Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Defcon, Sep 9, 2017.

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Rate Desperate Hours

  1. Outstanding

    12 vote(s)
    24.5%
  2. Above Average

    29 vote(s)
    59.2%
  3. Average

    7 vote(s)
    14.3%
  4. Below Average

    1 vote(s)
    2.0%
  5. Poor

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. tenmei

    tenmei Commodore Commodore

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    When the colonists hack into the communications channel, it's suggested it's easier to do so because it's holo-tech communications. It has a bigger data bandwith and the security is lower and plain 2D comms are more secure - they can have higher encryption protocol without significantly increasing the size of the message. Mack has suggested that this will become the reason why holo-comms are relatively abandoned.
     
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  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Or maybe people just get tired of looking at translucent images that you can see the background through. I'll never understand why screen sci-fi is so enamored of translucent holograms and transparent display screens. Nobody would want that! I mean, it's bad enough dealing with reflections off a regular TV or phone screen. Having stuff visible through the image would be terrible.
     
  3. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Hmm. Jane Mayer's Dark Money was rather hard to pick back up, because its tone was so bleak. I'd had to pace myself, reading the two previous Star Trek novels between the first and second parts of it, and between the second and third, just to get through it at all.

    Refreshing to now be reading an opus that's hard to put down.
     
  4. SolarisOne

    SolarisOne Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Probably because the VFX artists have to find an efficient way to show the folks at home this is a hologram, and that's the way the old shows and movies had to do it, so the trope continues.

    That happens a lot--like the trope where spaceships are built so the decks are parallel to the direction of thrust, instead of perpendicular, even though making them perpendicular would greatly simplify the operation of such things as inertial dampers and artificial gravity in general.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yeah, I guess so. But it's just so dumb. In Star Wars, they have the technology to travel faster than light and create artificial sentience, but they can't make a color picture that doesn't have scan lines and constant flicker?

    And I guess the reason for transparent screens is partly so that you can shoot them from behind and show the screen image and the watcher at the same time, and partly just to make it look different from present-day tech and therefore future-y. But it's still just as dumb.
     
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  6. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Cut R2 some slack, he's a 35 year old unit in ANH. I'm surprised hes' still running.
     
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  7. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    What, and you can't just put a big "H" on the forehead?[​IMG]
    (Disclaimer: I think I've seen part of one episode of Red Dwarf. But the gag seemed too good to pass up.)
     
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  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    R2 isn't the problem. The problem is that virtually every Star Wars production since then has assumed that the fidelity of R2's holograms was the universal standard (except The Force Awakens, with Snoke, and at least one episode of The Clone Wars in which a decoy ship had a lifelike holographic crew).
     
  9. Destructor

    Destructor Commodore Commodore

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    But the original trilogy had a 'destroyed beauty' aesthetic in which most non-Imperial things (droids, ships, holograms, tech, buildings, clothes) looked used and worn, the hologram was part of this aesthetic. You're right that shouldn't have carried over to the prequel trilogy but given that Star Wars is meant to be a fantasy rather than a hard sci fi, I think it's fine.
     
  10. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    That does seem to be the logical implication of seeing holo-communicators in DSC and briefly in DS9, but nowhere else. I’ve starting thinking they’re like 3D movies, and every few decades, people think “Now, we’ve got it, we’ve solved all the problems and these are actually usable,” and then it ends up just being a fad. In DSC you have the transparency, static, and creepy-Watsoning around the room, and then in DS9 they’re more solid, but you have to stand in one spot to get the fidelity and stability.
     
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  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Oh, that's clever.
     
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  12. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    "creepy-Watsoning"???
     
  13. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    My review of ST: DISCOVERY: DESPERATE HOURS:

    I was hoping for the novels to be handed over to the same people who have always handled the novels for what I considered to be the "James Luceno effect." Which is a reference to James Luceno getting offered to do a Star Wars novel after the canon reboot and the immediate effect being he incorporated as much previous Expanded Universe into the book as humanly possible. In this case, David Mack does an excellent job of handling a much bigger job of making it clear not only does Discovery fit into the timeline of the Original Series but there's no reason to be exceptionally worried about it.

    In fact, I didn't see this as a likely problem from the beginning as while Trekkies would snarl and hiss about the Klingons looking different or the Saucer-size not being the right number of meters, I knew the novelists would provide explanations. Are they canon? Well, no, but they're canon to themselves and really it's all about satisfying YOUR vision of the galaxy isn't it? What was that moment in Galaxy Quest? "The show is real." "I knew it!" In this case, Desperate Hours explains away a few of the tech problems and states while the Constitution-class may look a little weird even in-universe, it's fully capable of kicking the Discovery's butt back to Earth Spacedock. Which makes sense because they have phasers that go "pew pew" while the Enterprise has phasers that can decimate continents.

    The premise for the book is a surprisingly well-established colony of humans (300K+) on the edge of Federation Space has accidentally awakened a 2 kilometer creature I kept mentally picturing as one of Mass Effect's Reapers. Captain Georgiou, who I hope gets a 22+ book series sort of like the Stargazer adventures, is assigned the task of dealing with the threat only to get Captain Pike added to her detail seconds later. Pike is full of Klingon gagh and vinegar with a desire to simply blast the Juggernaut (as they name it) out of existence. This leads to a conflict between the two which is only resolved by their first and second officers: Lt. Commander Michael Burnham along with Lt. Spock.

    I was somewhat surprised to see Spock and Michael interacting as you'd think that'd be something they'd save for the television show but I suppose if they want to overwrite the novels they certainly can. In any case, their interaction is the highlight of the story as we get a sense of what makes the two characters similar as well as what makes them different. We also get a sense of why Spock changes from the somewhat angry young Vulcan in the Star Trek Pilot to the more established one in TOS. David Mack's mastery of Trek history is full of little references here and there that seem primarily designed to make Discovery's characters feel welcome as part of the franchise rather than the unwanted new neighbors so many friends are treating them as.

    I really like Captain Pike's portrayal because while the Abramsverse made him basically TOS Captain Kirk 2.0, the one seen in the pilot was kind of an [expletive]. He was angry, unhappy to be in Starfleet, sexist, and generally a piece of work. Here, it's because he's overcompensating for being extremely young in his command as well as just being plain meaner than your average Starfleet captain. It makes a nice contrast to Captain Georgiou, who is somewhere between Kirk and Picard in terms of being an officer and a gentlewoman. Mind you, I don't think even Kirk ever considered firing on a fellow Federation vessel.

    If I have one complaint about the book, it's the fact it did an excellent job of setting up the Governor as a villain with complex motives yet a truly despicable self-serving core yet she was dealt with anticlimatically. Really, I was looking forward to her getting her comeuppance far more than I was seeing the 9 million year old death machine being dealt with.

    So, how good was the book? Well, I wasn't in any way interested in reading Star Trek: Vanguard by the same author, before but now I am picking up the series.
     
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  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    How? Leonard Nimoy is gone, Zachary Quinto is a movie actor who might be too expensive, and recasting Spock a second time probably wouldn't work as well. It seems to me that the reason Bryan Fuller suggested doing this story in the novel was precisely because it was something the show couldn't do.
     
  15. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I was thinking it would involve recasting because they've done so with Sarek. But that's coming from the view that if you're going to essentially make a character Supergirl (i.e. create a character who has a very important legacy to an already much-beloved one) you'd want the two to interact at some point. I say this as a huge Supergirl fan.

    You're probably more on the pulse with this than me, though.
     
  16. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    There was this Sherlock Holmes video game where, to save time, the developers simply had Watson standing nearby rather than walking around following you. They'd just move him when you weren't looking, which could have some odd effects, especially if you knew about it. So, for instance, you walk backwards into a room, looking directly at Watson, and then when you turn around, he’s already in the room.

    It’s not quite what happened when the computer blinked Sarek across the room so he wouldn’t be leaning against empty air in the pilot, but it’s similar.
     
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  17. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Hmm. Also like Sam Sheepdog, in the "Wolf and Sheepdog" spinoff of the Warner Bros. "Roadrunner and Coyote" cartoons:
    Typically, in the fully developed entries to the series, Ralph Wolf (Wile E. Coyote, only with a red nose) and Sam Sheepdog would greet each other, punch a clock, and then go to work: Ralph working to catch the sheep, and Sam working to protect them. At the noon whistle, they might have an amicable lunch together, then go back to work; at the end of the day, they'd clock out, exchange amicable good-byes, and go home.

    Even though Sam could certainly walk, we almost never saw him move, while on-duty. He simply appeared wherever he was needed in order to thwart Ralph.
     
  18. Corran Horn

    Corran Horn Vice Admiral Admiral

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    When I saw the phrase "blue utility uniform" I immediately latched onto that as a wholly believable reason for any discrepancy. The difference was later elaborated on and I thought that was unnecessary.
     
  19. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    Plus don't forget, it took a full season before Superman showed up on screen on Supergirl. (The Myriad thing doesn't count)

    Maybe Spock could start texting with Michael though.
     
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  20. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Eh, it's always better to overexplain than underexplain when dealing with continuity issues.

    Like if you wanted to elaborate on the "Logic Extremists" and say they were a holdover from when the Surak followers repulsed the Raptor followers and there was a "Saint Augustine" or "Saint Paul" figure who interpreted Surak's writings in a manner which would never have been normally deduced from the original works then you're in the kind of lore which Trekkies love but general audiences don't.

    In fact, I think Bennett alluded to that in Uncertain Logic in not so many words.