Spoilers DSC: Fear Itself by James Swallow Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by PiotrB, Jun 14, 2018.

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Rate Fear Itself

  1. Outstanding

    35.3%
  2. Above Average

    52.9%
  3. Average

    11.8%
  4. Below Average

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Poor

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. PiotrB

    PiotrB Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    [​IMG]
    There is no review thread for this novel until now. So it is now.
     
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  2. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Have to finish the second Prometheus novel first.
     
  3. BuckBokaiLondonKings

    BuckBokaiLondonKings Cadet Newbie

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    I very much enjoyed the book. Made me long for a Shenzhou series!
     
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  4. Tuskin38

    Tuskin38 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    When does it take place?
     
  5. BuckBokaiLondonKings

    BuckBokaiLondonKings Cadet Newbie

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    I believe it is four years before Battle of the Binary Stars
     
  6. PiotrB

    PiotrB Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    In 2252.
     
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  7. Leto_II

    Leto_II Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Also, there's a reference in the book to
    the TOS episode "Charlie X," and when the Evans family-crashlanding on Tharsus occurred relative to the events of this novel.

    Cool little touch.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
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  8. Markonian

    Markonian Commodore Commodore

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    Just finished. Voted outstanding. Gonna pen a review on Amazon later today.

    Love how the novel set in the newest Trek series expands on the continuity established by its predecessors. We meet three familiar species and learn more about them.

    The theme of treating refugees and violent backlashes is current and relevant. Nobody was just an evil jerk. Even the big bad thought for something. They’re just too mired in their own fears of the other to realise that they don’t need to fight on this and some other cases. As we know from Vanguard, Destiny and STO, that species may never learn that lesson.

    Deft characterisation. I like how the book captures the feel of DSC. It’s not just the captain being the hero, another crew mate is the focus character. Actually, we get to see “not main character” crew share in the action. In comparing series styles, that makes it closer to DS9-R novels than pre-relaunch VOY novels. (I compare these two because I read them the most).

    One thing that stood out is calling a vessel “star-freighter”. While it’s an apt description for an interstellar freighter, Sci-Fi usually just says freighter. Is it analog to starship? In any case, thanks for the addition to my vocab!
     
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  9. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Just started,so I cannot say much either way.
     
  10. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    Did I catch a reference to the Lembatta Cluster, from Prometheus? If so, nice.

    ((Listening to the audiobook, so I can’t skim back and re-read.))
     
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  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It's originally a place name from DS9: "Nor the Battle to the Strong," established as a location near the UFP/Klingon border.
     
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  12. James Swallow

    James Swallow Writer Captain

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    Yeah, I'd just finished reading Fire with Fire before I started work in Fear Itself, so it's in there as a little salute to Christian and Bernd's books. :bolian:

    Of course, it wouldn't be a Trek novel by me if I hadn't seeded in a few references in there, both obvious and not-so-obvious... I always enjoy seeing if readers catch 'em all...
     
  13. Sto-Vo-Kory

    Sto-Vo-Kory Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Excellent book.

    @James Swallow did a nice job of depicting the personalities of the characters and the actors that portray them on the show. Saru and Burnham were spot-on, but the Georgiou character really stood out as perfectly capturing Yeoh's nuanced performance from her limited appearances in the series so far. No easy task, I'm sure.

    The story was interesting and complex, though a little soft on consequences at the end for Saru's choices. Georgiou is a cool-ass captain, but she may've been a little too cool for my liking in that final chapter.

    The aliens races were distinctive and well-handled. The UT problems and resolution gave the story a unique complication that I enjoyed. It really made Saru integral to the plot and his alien nature a key point in the narrative; both of which I appreciated.

    I'd also like to note that the book's length was ideal for the story it told. At just a shade under 300 pages, the pacing was brisk and the action moved along at a nice, steady clip. Not much in the way of extraneous filler in this one and my reading experience was highly satisfying as a result.
     
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  14. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    Sorry to say, I found this the least satisfying of the three Discovery novels.

    Was it because there was no attempt to tie it into any TOS backstory? I don’t think so. I did groan a bit over some foreshadowing with Georgiou, but that kind of stuff seems mandatory in a prequel novel.

    Anyway, I gave it an Average. Which looks like the lowest score, so maybe it’s just me.
     
  15. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Just finished . The others were somewhat better,due to the TOS linkage.
     
  16. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    I quite enjoyed it. My favorite parts of the novel did bring to mind some of the ways the last two or three episodes of Discovery's first season left a bad taste in my mouth, with the show doubling-down on dispensing with the most interesting elements of itself and moving on to the least. I especially liked how well the novel used the Saru/Burnham twist on the Spock/Bones dynamic that was the best part of the pilot, and which we largely lost for the rest of the show.

    I also caught the reference to the clean, minimalist lines of the Constitution-class. I know with lead times and production secrecy, there was no way images of the redesign would be spread around, but it was a fun little glimpse to a more innocent time, production-design-wise.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018
  17. Kertrats47

    Kertrats47 Commodore Commodore

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    We just published the latest Literary Treks podcast in which we interview James Swallow about this novel. Both Bruce Gibson and I loved it! Saru is one of my favourites in Discovery, and Fear Itself is a terrific deep-dive into his character and what makes him tick. Great stuff!
    Here's the episode: http://www.trek.fm/literary-treks/234
     
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  18. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    This book accompanied me on my plane trip from Sydney to Los Angeles and helped the miles go faster. Very enjoyable, giving depth to Saru without spoiling him for the live-action DSC episodes that follow its story arc.
     
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  19. Damian

    Damian Captain Captain

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    Just started Fear Itself after finishing up the Root of All Rage. I noticed the Lembatta Cluster reference myself. Nice shout out for the recent Prometheus novels.

    Looking forward to this novel as I enjoyed the first two Discovery novels. I'm living proof that you can still enjoy the Discovery novels if you haven't seen the show. I'm a holdout waiting for an eventual Blu-Ray release (I hope). I did see the premiere episode on CBS though. But I have found the books enjoyable regardless thus far.
     
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  20. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    While certainly possible that it could be mentioned because of the Prometheus novels, it should be noted the Lembatta Cluster was mentioned on the show. DS9, Nor the Battle to the Strong.