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

    27.3%
  2. Above Average

    50.0%
  3. Average

    22.7%
  4. Below Average

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Poor

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    0.0%
  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It just seemed to me that the Gorlans in the book were attempting an uprising of sorts against the Peliar. At least, it might have escalated into that if Saru hadn't been there.


    Capture and enslavement seems more likely to me. Empires need labor, and Gorlans seem pretty sturdy.
     
  2. James Swallow

    James Swallow Writer Captain

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    Kind of; we're getting into semantics here, but "uprising" to me suggests more of a revolt/rebellion in order to overturn an oppressive authority - which works when you're looking at the Mirror Universe Gorlans rising up against the oppression of the Terran Empire. But the Gorlans in Fear Itself just want their freedom back and they're hijacking a starship to do it, they're not interested in changing the way the Peliars think or defying their government.

    <Terran Emperor Voice> "Eh, that's too much like hard work. Just space the lot of them."
     
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  3. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    I will note that just because a book is printed in a trade paperback format does not mean it's truly worthy of the term.

    Lately, the ST trade paperback releases have tended to be on paper no better than that of a MMPB, but in the case of my copy of Fear Itself, the printing quality was also a definite problem: severe background tinting on a number of pages, looking like the press operator was being too stingy with the fountain etch, allowing ink to foul the non-printing areas of the plates.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^I think the term "trade paperback" refers only to its size, not its quality. But the copy of Fear Itself that I got from the library had the same printing problem.
     
  5. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    Just finished it. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Occasionally had trouble putting it down.
     
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  6. thribs

    thribs Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Notice the JJVerse reference?
     
  7. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    If I did, it already slipped my mind.
     
  8. Kertrats47

    Kertrats47 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Just posted my video review on YouTube. I really enjoyed this novel!

    Currently reading IKS Gorkon: Enemy Territory by Keith DeCandido.
     
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  9. thribs

    thribs Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Did you notice the JJVerse reference?
     
  10. Kertrats47

    Kertrats47 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm afraid not. I unfortunately missed it!
     
  11. James Swallow

    James Swallow Writer Captain

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    Okay, it's been months now and still no-one has found the Kelvin timeline reference! So here it is. :bolian:
    In chapter 9, when Burnham and her crew mates disable the Peliar drones shadowing the ship, one of the members of the EVA team is Ensign Harewood - a younger version/prime timeline incarnation of Thomas Harewood, Noel Clarke's character from Star Trek Into Darkness. I got to work with Noel a few years ago and he's a great, super-creative guy, and I liked the idea of his character being a junior officer on the Shenzhou early in his career...
     
  12. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, subtle! I spent the whole time looking for a space noun or something like that.
     
  13. youngtrek

    youngtrek Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    (Copy of review posted on my Facebook page on July 4, 2020. I go into plot details, so spoiler warning.) Yesterday, I finished reading James Swallow’s Fear Itself (2018), the third of the “Star Trek: Discovery” series of original tie-in novels.

    While the first novel, David Mack’s Desperate Hours, focused on the character of Michael Burnham and the second novel, Dayton Ward’s Drastic Measures, on Philippa Georgiou and Gabriel Lorca, Fear Itself mostly followed Lt. Saru, one of the most popular characters on the “Star Trek: Discovery” tv show (due to the excellent performances in the part by actor Doug Jones).

    And, like the other two books (and seemingly most if not all of the Discovery tie-in novels that have been released so far), Fear Itself takes place prior to the events seen in the first episode of the tv series. In this case, it’s four years earlier, (Drastic Measures took place ten years prior, when Georgiou and Lorca were lower ranking officers, and Desperate Hours takes place a couple years after Fear Itself, just after Burnham became first officer).

    Here, in Fear Itself, the cast of primary characters (the crew of the U.S.S. Shenzhou) is the same as seen in Desperate Hours and at the start of the first episode of the tv series (with the exception of an especially arrogant and irritating Andorian first officer, the one Burnham apparently later replaced).

    Without getting overly detailed on the plot, Saru ends up on an alien ship that they have just rescued from a nearly catastrophic engineering disaster that would have destroyed the alien ship. Aboard, Saru finds a large number of a people of an alien race other than those whose ship it is riding in large cargo containers. Saru becomes concerned as to the nature of these people being there and their safety, despite the insistence of those in charge that it is none of his or Starfleet’s business.

    While investigating, Saru finds that the people living in the containers on the ship’s voyage are named the Gorlans and that they communicate in a way that the universal translator can’t fully interpret due to their language not being only verbal but also in part via an energy field they each radiate. Undetectable to humans and to the Peliars (who are relocating the Gorlans to a new world away from Peliar Zel), Saru can feel the signals the Gorlans give off when they communicate but as intense emotions, and he still only partially understands them at first.

    One thing leads to another and soon Saru and a small number of his crewmates from the Shenzhou find themselves in the midst of an uprising as the Gorlans forcibly take control of the ship. Their course has been laid in by the Peliar and can’t be overridden, though, so they find themselves still heading to where the Peliars intend to leave the Gorlans.

    Meanwhile, the Shenzhou has been left behind damaged and unable to pursue after the Gorlans launch a surprise attack on them from the Peliar ship that they now control. They must effect repairs to the warp drive in order to be able to go after the Peliar ship that has Saru and the other crew members aboard.

    However, first they are warned to leave the area and return to Federation space by another Peliar ship, this one a warship that then takes off in pursuit of the ship Saru is on, saying that they intend to attack the ship as soon as they catch up with it rather than allow the Gorlans to keep control of it.

    And, even more threatening is the overhanging threat of the Tholians, whose space neighbors the area and who have been known to launch devastating raids against those whom they feel have encroached on their territory.

    As for how I liked Fear Itself, I really don’t have a lot to say. I liked it, but didn’t *really* like it. During parts of it (especially during the first half or so of the book), I found my attention wandering a bit. I think mostly during the parts where Saru stumbles upon the Gorlans and begins to investigate who they are and what their situation is. While I really like the character of Saru, him off by himself wasn’t really particularly interesting, I found.

    However, things got much more interesting over the Gorlans took over the ship. Once that happens, Saru finds himself in between the two quarreling parties and trying to keep himself and his crewmates from getting killed.

    And things really kick up a notch once original Star Trek tv series’ baddies, the mysterious non-humanoid crystal shaped Tholians in their dangerous spinner ships (as seen in the episode of the 1960s Star Trek, “The Tholian Web”) make their attack. You can never go wrong bringing the Tholians into a Star Trek story (as they have always one of the more sparingly used alien enemy races).

    Again, I did enjoy Fear Itself, and I recommend it to fans of “Star Trek: Discovery”. I give it three out of five stars on GoodReads. I would probably give it three and a half if GoodReads allowed for half star ratings.

    The next book in the series is The Way to the Stars by Una McCormack, and focuses on the character of Sylvia Tilly (presumably, again, prior to the start of the tv series). While I really liked Una McCormack’s Star Trek: Picard novel that i recently read, The Last Best Hope, I think as after having read three Star Trek: Discovery novels in a row that I’ll take a short break from them before moving on to The Way to the Stars.

    I have a couple nonfiction books I’m reading that are from the public library that i need to get back into, and also the third Game of Thrones novel, A Storm of Swords, that I also started to read and then put aside to read Fear Itself.
     
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  14. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Is The Las Best Hope the only Una McCormack novel you've read?
     
  15. youngtrek

    youngtrek Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    So far, yes, it is. I see that most of her Star Trek work has been on Deep Space Nine. I always meant to get started on reading the relaunch novels but never got around to it. It’s still on my list. :-)
     
  16. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    She's done some phenomenal stuff with the Cardassians. If you like them I would highly recommend The Never-Ending Sacrifice, which is pretty stand alone, and could easily be read without the rest of the DS9-R.
     
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  17. Smiley

    Smiley Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If you want something that follows up on "In the Pale Moonlight" and "Paradise Lost," Hollow Men is a great stand-alone book set during the DS9 series by Una McCormack.
     
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  18. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I still need to read that one of these days.