Spoilers ENT: Rise of the Federation: Uncertain Logic by C. L. Bennett Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Sho, Mar 14, 2015.

?

Rate Uncertain Logic.

  1. Outstanding

    27 vote(s)
    40.9%
  2. Above Average

    30 vote(s)
    45.5%
  3. Average

    6 vote(s)
    9.1%
  4. Below Average

    2 vote(s)
    3.0%
  5. Poor

    1 vote(s)
    1.5%
  1. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Rear Admiral Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2003
    Location:
    Canada
    It's funny, I have that book and know that it's the standard MMPB size... but there's something about that photo that does make it *look* taller than normal. Not sure what it is, but it's an interesting illusion. I can certainly see why JWolf made that assumption.
     
  2. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2011
    I'll have a good review soon but I have a question for @Christopher.

    Gul Mandred grew up in the hellhole failed state of Cardassia but as an adult joined the military regime which "saved" it. Here, the military regime is apparently already established despite being the birth of the Federation. Is Madred well over two hundred years old or am I missing something?
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    What's been established about Cardassian history is inconsistent. I went mainly from the version established in Una McCormack's novels and in the coffee-table book New Worlds, New Civilizations by Michael Jan Friedman. Honestly, Una would probably be better qualified to answer this question than I am, unless I already covered it in my annotations. I don't really remember the specifics that well anymore.
     
  4. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2011
    STAR TREK: UNCERTAIN LOGIC is the third volume of the Rise of the Federation series by Christopher Bennett and probably something I enjoy more than I ever did Enterprise itself. Don't get me wrong, my love of the series has improved over the years and it's (weirdly) my non-Trekkie wife's favorite. However, I always felt the series had some serious untapped potential that I find the author of the Department of Temporal Investigations series really corrects. His characters are put in interesting situations, work to set about establishing the Federation, and play off of one another well.

    The premise for this book is the Vulcan civilization is in an uproar over the allegations the true writings of Surek (The Vulcan equivalent of Buddha and Jesus combined), which were found by Archer in the final season, have been "proven" to be a fake. Given these writings were behind their transition from being elitist warmongers to wise pacifists, it does not bode well for Vulcan membership in the Federation.

    Simultaneously, we also discover there is a malignant piece of malfunctioning technology moving throughout the galaxy which Trip and Reed are assigned to deal with. This leads them to a 1940s-esque world where they have to defeat an evil corporate executive who has made a pact with it, Cyberman style. Finally, we get the story about Deltan first contact and why you should always clear it with your doctor before you have sex with aliens.



    Overall, I had mixed feelings about the main plot as a lot of it depends on the character of V'Las who is something of an overt villain in a series which often depends on more sympathetic characters. While Christopher Bennet adds some nuance to the character (being a Romulan raised on Vulcan only to find out the Romulans weren't worht following), I think he was a bit too over the top. Mind you, I'm also not sure what the Romulans really wanted from the Vulcans given they went to all the trouble of subverting their culture only to want to bomb it to the ground. Then again, North Korea wants to "reunify" with South Korea and would probably react the same way.

    I was much more interested in the B-plot introducing the Ware. A nice name which has all manner of connotations from both tools (hardware, software) to "beware." The mysterious nature of the machines that consume entire worlds while making people want to use it feels very much like a Doctor Who villain with shades of the Cybermen mixed with various monsters behind choking car smog, self-driving vehicles, or mass media TV.

    I like the depiction of the much less Prime Directive heavy heroes visiting a world, as mentioned, feels like it came out of a Pulp adventure. Indeed, Travis Mayweather gets to have a short-lived romance with their world's equivalent of Lois Lane. It was nice to see a plot like this because some of my favorite TOS Star Trek episodes were "Patterns of Force" and "A Piece of the Action." I also felt "Lois" reacted believably to the discovery she'd been lied to this entire time.

    The book also has a somewhat PG related discussion of the goodness of sex in the future as well as the dangers of ignoring local conditions. The Deltans with their super-pheremones and implied super-intimacy (maybe a psychic power) can easily overwhelm humans. It makes me wonder how Captain Decker was able to have his relationship with one and not go crazy. I also liked how Deltans were repulsed by the Orions because they're such a controlling manipulative and sex as power-esque race.

    In conclusion, this is once more an excellently written book by Christopher Bennett and we're starting to see the Federation come together. It's not without its dark side or mistakes leftover from the "bad old days" but it works well as a believable history for them.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Decker's backstory, as revealed in the TMP novelization and making-of book, is that he left Delta before he and Ilia consummated their relationship, because he was afraid of losing himself to it.
     
  6. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2011
    Odd fact but I was actually contemplating this and how dangerous it was because the issue is coming up in my Star Trek Tabletop RPG.

    The things we Trekkies have to debate thoughts of.

    Mind you, it's almost a pity we'll never see the Romulans again in the "Rise of the Federation" books because I really would love to see them get theirs from V'Lass if for no other reason I'd like to see him smash them up a bit.

    Which goes to show even despicable villains can have people you
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
  7. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    That was part of V'las's revelation that turned him against the Romulans; the entire espionage plot was never really about unification. That was a lie told to the spies involved. I guess to get them more invested? Which certainly seemed to have worked based on V'las, at least. But no, the plot was really just intended to subvert the Confederacy in a way that would make the biggest threat to the Empire weaker, by getting it embroiled in pointless wars with nearby nations that would wear at its military, eroding Surakian values at the highest levels in a way that would encourage dissent and destabilization amongst the populace, and (though this specific part wasn't explicit, just my own reading) even turning Vulcan culture against the one thing that most set them apart from Romulans, the natural telepathic talents that Romulans lost ages ago.

    It was basically the Romulan government playing the long game in order to defeat the Vulcans internally rather than expending the effort to try defeating them externally (since the first hundred years of that didn't exactly go anywhere).
     
    Charles Phipps likes this.