Spoilers ENT: Rise of the Federation: Live by the Code by Christopher L. Bennett Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Defcon, Mar 20, 2016.

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Rate Live by the Code

  1. Outstanding

    18 vote(s)
    32.7%
  2. Above Average

    26 vote(s)
    47.3%
  3. Average

    9 vote(s)
    16.4%
  4. Below Average

    1 vote(s)
    1.8%
  5. Poor

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    1.8%
  1. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Is there any particular reason you have Spock Prime emerging into the same timeline that Nero created? (Other than the fact that this is what we see in the film, of course.)

    In other words, why does Nero create a new timeline but Spock does not?

    Well, no, not from OUR perspective. I'm talking about "in-universe". I was concerned that all this talk of "retroactive" changes to the timeline meant that, IN-universe, nothing from the Prime timeline ever happened. I assume that was not, in fact, the intent?
     
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  2. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    Nah, it was just that when the Kelvin timeline popped off, there were changes before 2233 too.

    Which, I mean, makes sense even without Pegg's comment. Would the pre-2233 parts of Voyage Home, Future's End, Past Tense, Tomorrow is Yesterday, City on the Edge of Forever, Assignment: Earth, First Contact, Time's Arrow, Little Green Men, or any aspects of the TCW have still happened the same way in the Kelvin Universe as they did in the Prime Universe? I think you can make a good argument for both "yes" and "no", and Pegg's statement is an argument on the side of "no" among other things.
     
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  3. Jinn

    Jinn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    He does, we just never saw the "original" Kelvin-timeline unfold after Spocks incursion.
     
  4. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    Well, we did see snippets from about 20-some years of it; after all, if Nero's appearance could change things in both directions, then so could Spock's, so the events between Nero and Spock that we saw might also have changed after Spock appeared. :p
     
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  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Because that's what happened. The flashback showed that Spock Prime and Nero encountered each other in the Prime Universe and fell into the wormhole right after each other. It's just that on the other end, they emerged in different times. Think of it like the Bajoran Wormhole -- Akorem Laan was able to go into the wormhole in the 22nd century and come out in the 24th. Same wormhole, but unstuck in time. So when you go in doesn't necessarily correspond to when you come out.


    Once the timeline has been created, every action that happens within it helps "create" its future. We don't know what the future of the Kelvin Timeline would've been like if Spock Prime hadn't emerged in 2258, but then, we don't know what the future of the Prime Timeline would've been like if, say, the Enterprise-D had been destroyed in "Time Squared" or had never escaped the time loop in "Cause and Effect." The only timeline we have information about is the one we witness. "Parallels" suggested that other timelines are constantly branching off due to decisions and outcomes happening differently, but we only follow one measurement history at a time (except when we don't).


    Not at all. It still means that Prime and Kelvin coexist in parallel -- it just means that Kelvin existed as a distinct reality before 2233 as well as after. In terms of Avro Arrow's graph, before we thought that the yellow line only extended forward from 2233, and now we know it extends in both directions. That's the only change. The white line of Prime is completely unaffected. This only affects Kelvin, and how future films will be able to depict its past. (Not to mention that it supports how the IDW comics have been portraying things for five years now.)
     
  6. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    Finished last night. It was great!
     
  7. Markonian

    Markonian Commodore Commodore

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    Finished my re-read last night. Still as awesome (plot, characters and worldbuilding) and poignant.
     
  8. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE: RISE OF THE FEDERATION: LIVE BY THE CODE is probably my favorite of the Christopher Bennett sequels to the original series. It's also the darkest, even though the vast majority of said darkness is only via inference. Sort of like how Captain Kirk witnessed multiple genocides (xenocides?) of species while he was heading the Enterprise but it was all just off camera. Here, the Federation screws up and it screws up badly with the result being something arguably worse than extinction.

    The premise for the book is the hunt for the Ware. The Ware are a semi-sentient set of self-replicating equipment which has spread throughout the Alpha Quadrant and sucked several smaller species dry in its relentless lust for neural-organic interfaces. Our heroes have successfully "freed" a number of races from the Ware's lust for minds but the consequences for this has been terrible because so many races are utterly dependent on the Ware's goods as well as services. It gets worse when an Andorian crew is taken hostage by the Partnership, a Federation-like group of races which is utterly dependent on the Ware. Meanwhile, a group of Klingon Augment Virus outcasts realize the Ware is a potential source of vast power.

    I have to say I was really intrigued by the Partnership as it is a sci-fi concept I don't think I've actually encountered before which is really intriguing: races which don't evolve tool-building capacities but are fully sapient. That's kind of a horrifying concept for Star Trek because according to the Prime Directive, these races are never going to be able to move past their subsistence existence, let alone enter into space. It highlights a historical element of why trade and tool-sharing was important in the past. The fact the Partnership is not seen in the future of Trek and is too large not to be an important element implies what's going to happen to them by the end of the novel from the beginning but left me scared for them throughout.

    We also get the final moment where Section 31 moves from arguably justified anti-heroes to purely evil when they make plans to annihilate the Ware because of its potential danger to the Federation. The sheer callousness and ease which they're planning to enact multi-species genocide more or less eliminates any argument they have a reason to exist. I like this because while Section 31 planning to kill the Founders was arguably justified in DS9, this is just evil and entirely believable as a product of S31 leader Harris' mind.

    I really give Christopher Bennett props for coming up with a lot of interesting ideas in this book that I wish he'd have a chance to explore in other books. The Partnership is only briefly encountered but it really does embody a lot of the Federation's ideals even more than the Federation does as is kind of alluded to. The Ware is certainly dangerous but so is nuclear power and it's something to be studied versus destroyed.I also liked the origin he created for the machinery, albeit the idea iy's just a bunch of malfunctioning machinery is something I thought would be the "first" thing people came up as an idea of versus the last. Apparently, the idea of a "Grey Goo" end of the world scenario never occurred to
    humans in this reality.

    I both liked and disliked the portrayal of the Klingons in this book. The conflict between the ridgeless and ridged Klingons is something which I really want to learn more about but both sides are deeply unsympathetic during all of this. Then again, the Klingons are a species prone to conquest and slavery so what was I expecting? I do love the idea we Klingon coffee is actually something they made from regular coffee, though. That's the kind of interconnected universe I love.

    In conclusion, I strongly recommend getting this book if you've read the previous installments of "Rise." It has a lot of good character development and is excellent sci-fi all round.
     
  9. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Some more "Live by the Code" thoughts and questions beyond my review.

    1. While it's easy to blame Corporate GreedTM for the Ware destroying the original race's civilization, I'd argue that you could also simply blame anti-intellectualism in general as they created something absolutely beautiful with capitalism--it only became a monster when they ceased to know how it worked. In other words, it's an argument against IP laws than corporations.

    2. Harris' short sightedness is an interesting argument against Section 31 by itself. A lot of the "hard men, making hard choices" argument depends on the idea they're making the RIGHT choice in the long term. The technology of the Ware could have made the Federation more powerful than any other faction in the Alpha Quadrant as it would combine the Partnership's power with the Federation's scientific expertise.

    Instead, he sacrificed that for short term gain by avoiding conflict with the Klingons.

    3. I actually am going to assume Flint will let most of the Ware's advances "trickle" back into the Federation over the next century or so as it strikes me Flint is very much the sort of guy who would do have 2# as a perspective. It also explains why so many Ware advances are identical to future Star Trek ones.

    4. Destroying the Partnership is certainly the darkest thing the Federation has ever been involved in as it basically annihilates a similar organization to itself. Also, an organization which successfully is like the U.S.S Titan--i.e. a place multiple environmentally incompatible species can live and serve on.

    Mind you, I'm not sure the Prime Directive would have actually prevented any of the bad things from happening as while the Federation was indirectly involved, any study of the Ware would have revealed its ultimate weakness.

    5. I am very interested in how the ridgeless Klingons will apparently rise to power over the course of the next century. We see they don't have much of a sense of honor or fair play but really, how many Klingons DO?

    6. I feel doubly bad for the Andorian crew because if I get what the book is alluding to, they'll probably go down in Federation history very poorly.
     
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  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Just gotta clarify -- the thing about the Ware is that it isn't even slightly sentient. It was created for customer service, but it had no comprehension of what that imperative meant, so it just blindly adapted itself to be more efficient at acting on its programming without understanding what that programming was for, and thus it ended up harming people while acting on its instructions to serve them. It used people's brains as part of its system, but only for extra memory storage and raw processing power, not in a way that actually drew on their intelligence like the Borg did.


    I'd also disagree with the characterization "taken hostage," which implies a terrorist or criminal act. They arrested the Vol'Rala crew as criminals and held them over for trial. The incident happened in Partnership territory and affected its citizens, so the Partnership was acting on its rightful law-enforcement authority.


    Well, not unless someone other than the Federation contacts and helps them. That's how the Choblik got to where they are -- an alien species uplifted them to full sentience and tool-using capability. Although there are hints of at least one non-technological species that participates in Starfleet -- the dolphins mentioned in the TNG Tech Manual and "The Perfect Mate."


    I initially assumed that it was a separate thing that was just called "Klingon coffee" because of its similar nature. But I researched it and found some tie-in references to it being bred from Earth coffee beans into a stronger variant.



    I'd call those connected ideas. People who want absolute power and control, whether corporations or governments, tend to want to suppress knowledge that would allow others to challenge their claims. Look at how the oil and coal-company puppets in the current US government are erasing all information about climate change from government sources.


    Not unlike how, during the Cold War, the United States often helped foreign dictators crush democratic reform movements because the dictators were strongly anti-Soviet (e.g. the CIA overthrowing Mosaddeq in Iran and putting the brutal Shah back in power, which eventually provoked the fundamentalist revolution that put the Ayatollahs in power and made things worse for America in the long run).


    I think it's more complicated than that. Certainly there's no sign of them in Discovery. I think the departure from honor that got its start in LBTC eventually spread through the whole empire regardless of race, as it fell into conflict and disarray and a "by any means necessary" mentality took hold. We saw in Discovery that T'Kuvma was trying to bring Kahless's teachings back to an Empire that he felt had lost sight of them, which meshes pretty well with the end of LBTC.


    Oh, I definitely think they redeemed themselves at the end. But what happened to them was tragic and controversial enough that it gave Starfleet a reason to want to avoid naming ships Enterprise for a while, in any language. I think that's more out of respect for the losses than out of condemnation for the Vol'Rala crew.
     
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  11. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It reminds me of humans in that way.



    At least as Agent Smith sees them.

    :)

    I actually take a note the crew did react well and above anything they had the authority to do so against a fellow space faring nation. If someone is doing something and you tell them they're not educated or smart enough to understand what they're doing, there's an assumption of the kind of foolishness which the Prime Directive is better designed to deal with. I think you did a good job of demonstrating the kind of arrogance they were displaying as well as why they weren't inclined to listen they knew what they're doing.

    Honestly, I'd think the Federation would have a moral obligation to help them but that's the sort of thing we'll find out in future books and would be the subject of Archer and Shran's future arguments. Though I get the impression the distance from the former Partnership worlds and their closeness to the Klingon worlds they did conquer means that's unlikely.

    Cool beans. *rimshot*

    Having grown up in Kentucky, I can attest to your correctness as our museum had a whole wing dedicated to the joys of coal and oil manufacturing as well as a children's playset area which was a miniature oil refinery. Kind of horrifying when you look at it from an adult's perspective.

    A friend of mine said that the United States' biggest issue was that it supported democracy as long as said democracy wasn't in disagreement with it. I wouldn't be adverse to seeing the Partnership again if you ever want to incorporate it again into one of your books in the future (obviously in the past or alternate timelines or an attempt to rebuild with future technology getting acquired)--to clarify, this is not a suggestion but simply praise they were a fascinating culture.

    With Klingons as a long time fan, it's always questionable how much honor has been observed as an actual thing versus someone just being concerned with the "appearance" of honor vs. honor being synonymous with victory. Certainly, I'm interested in seeing how Discovery handles it in the future.

    Very good moment either way.
     
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  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yeah, my intention is that former Partnership space is pretty much Klingon space from now on. Specifically, on the Star Trek Star Charts maps, it's the "peninsula" of Klingon space that extends rightward from the Romulan Neutral Zone. So it's not an area that the Federation has any real power to influence for the next 130 years or so at least.