Spoilers DS9: Enigma Tales by Una McCormack Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Defcon, Jun 17, 2017.

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Rate Enigma Tales

  1. Outstanding

    20 vote(s)
    55.6%
  2. Above Average

    12 vote(s)
    33.3%
  3. Average

    3 vote(s)
    8.3%
  4. Below Average

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Poor

    1 vote(s)
    2.8%
  1. jaime

    jaime Commodore Commodore

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    I think she was herself, but herself was shown for what she is....Una also made her hilariously british with the dog racing. That got a laugh here.
     
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  2. Mage

    Mage Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Can't comment on the dogracing, but as for the rest, you might have a good point.
     
  3. Csalem

    Csalem Commodore Commodore

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    The three-year thing struck me too when I was reading it. I imagine it was an error made by the fact The Crimson Shadow came out just over 3 years ago.

    Apart from that, I voted Outstanding. Was engrossed from the beginning. What I love about Una's books is that she takes something small as the plot (new head of U of U) and gives it such depth and makes it thought provoking and absorbing. All of the events and character details were pure gold and shows that a great novel does not require Universe-ending events to be brilliant. Sometimes less is more.
     
  4. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    U of U?
     
  5. Mage

    Mage Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    University of the Union.
     
  6. Dimesdan

    Dimesdan Living the Irish dream. Premium Member

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    Not long finished it and loved it.
     
  7. T'Ressa Dax

    T'Ressa Dax Captain Captain

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    Stayed up til 2am finishing it, even though I was tired by the time I started chapter 10. I rarely do that, but it was o worth it this time.
     
  8. MadeIndescribable

    MadeIndescribable Captain Captain

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    I did enjoy this book, but the trouble I find with Una's writing is that it's all so good, that she has such a high bar to keep reaching everytime. I don't think anyone can write anything as good as The Never-Ending Sacrifce.

    I read it as that he returned to his PhD after a break of several years, and so just finished it since The Missing, not writing the entire thing?
     
  9. Jinn

    Jinn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Una is on this forum, right? Maybe we should ask her if it was intentional or not.
     
  10. the_wildcard

    the_wildcard Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Absolutely a terrific book. Thank you Una for writing a story about Cardassia that was so complex and multi layered. It was very fun and intriguing as each layer was uncovered.
     
  11. Paris

    Paris Commodore Commodore

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    I finished it off last night and really enjoyed it. Couldn't really put it down for the last 1/3rd of the book. Good job Una! Another solid entry into the ongoing story of Garak and the redemption of Cardassia. Hopefully we get more down the line :techman:
     
  12. TheUsualSuspect

    TheUsualSuspect Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I voted "above average" on this one - largely on the strength of Una's writing. As MadeIndescribable said above, The Never-Ending Sacrifice is a high bar to be measured by.

    I always love the pacing of Una's books, starting out rather leisurely, adding characters and pieces to an intriguing plot, and keeping up suspense until the very end. This book was no exception. And as always, her take on Garak is exceptional, and I really enjoyed the bits dealing with Bashir.

    However, this book felt like something was missing. In the end, too much of the plot happened off-stage, although I'm not quite sure how Una could have showed much more without tipping us off to what was really going on. Perhaps there could have been some interaction between the young scholar and her kidnapper.

    That brings me to a second thing that I felt was missing. I expected to learn more about the woman from the university who lead the committee that made the report (sorry - her name escapes me at the moment). In fact, I rather expected the report and reactions to it to play a larger role in the story. As it is, that's part of why I feel too much happened off-stage. Too much of what we see in the story turns out to be disconnected to the major events of the story - the kidnappings and the attempt to discredit Natima Lang.

    Finally, I felt Pulaski was off. I remember her as being a strong character, but not one who is unaware of the nuances of what goes on around her. She has no patience for politics, but she is not oblivious of their reality. Here she seemed clueless as to the subtleties of Cardassian (and even Federation) politics and policies, which just didn't ring true to me.

    As always, Una's writing is beautiful, and she has a unique take on the Star Trek universe that I always appreciate. I just wish there was a bit more to this book, and I do look forward to reading her next one.
     
  13. MadeIndescribable

    MadeIndescribable Captain Captain

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    This pretty much sums it up for me too, although her stories haven't always reached the heights of NES, her prose has always been a pleasure to read, with so many great little additions that add up to create such a great atmosphere.
     
  14. Galaxy

    Galaxy Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    One question that came to me with Enigma Tales, and Crimson Shadow; did Una McCormack by any chance ghost write Andrew Robinson's A Stich in Time?
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
  15. MadeIndescribable

    MadeIndescribable Captain Captain

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    No, Andrew Robinson wrote that based on notes he kept throughout the series run as he was creating the character. He also wrote a play he and Alex Siddig performed at conventions, and a short story in the Prophecy and Change anthology, but hasn't done anything since, so McCormack has essentially just picked up where he left off.
     
  16. Galaxy

    Galaxy Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    In that case more power to the both of them, since I find the character of Garak very coherently written.
     
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  17. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Two different Star trek Pod casts are going to discuss Enigma tales.Literary Trek this coming Sunday and Visionary Trek. coming sometime soon.
     
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  18. Claudia

    Claudia Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Ultimately voted "average".

    I love McCormack's Cardassia, her Garak sounds just perfect, and her world-building is rich and well-nuanced. But as someone else already said, much of the resolution takes place off-screen, so to speak. And I rather like reading of events as they happen, and not being told of them in the aftermath. But just to emphasize: I love her Garak, and his scene at the end with Bashir... almost made up for Pulaski being a major annoyance. I understand that she's straight-forward and everything. But frankly, she's experienced enough to have some sort of common sense (and that's not the same as having a sense for diplomacy) and to know just when to keep her opinions to herself or just how to phrase things to be a bit more palatable. Also her suspecting any and everything (SI, Garak etc) just reeked of prejudice, not of rational thinking. Didn't like her in The Missing, and Enigma Tales certainly didn't do anything to endear her to me. On the other hand, Alden has grown on me, all the different layers (the tension in his major scene with Garak)... I would enjoy having him appear more, but please, without Pulaski!

    Anyway, how long's the castellan's term? And can't he or she be reelected? Because while Garak is trying to look out for his chosen successor, the novel nowhere states that he can't or doesn't want to have a second term.

    Frankly, despite the kidnapping and smearing of Lang's name, I'm still waiting for Cardassia's young democracy to be seriously threatened (again). In Enigma Tales, things go a bit too smoothly, of course, thanks to Garak's leadership during the recent years, but still it's officially just been 11 years since the fall of the Dominion (with DS9 ending in 2375, and this novel set in 2386) , and most of the early years were spent on simple survival. I'd just expect another attempt to reestablish a more authoritarian state than that of Crimson Shadow, because just when democracy seems to be firmly established and vigilance and caution are starting to diminish is the time when it gets most dangerous, after all. But I guess the remaining old guard won't seriously start anything as long as Garak's keeping a wary eye on them. Just give them another 5 years or so, though...

    It's a shame, though, the editors put that historian's note in front of the novel - because it simply contradicts the book itself (or the book contradicts it, however you want to see it)... I know, contractual issues, but still... every time it was stated that Garak's been castellan for 3 years, I sort of went "???" although it makes much more sense in the narrative than the mere 1 year gap.
     
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  19. ryan123450

    ryan123450 Commodore Commodore

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    Apparently the 3 year situation was not address on the Literary Treks interview.
     
  20. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I listened to the interview with Una McCormack. And thought it was really good. Maybe the 3 year situation will be addressed in another future ds9 novel.