ENT: Tower of Babel by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Sho, Mar 19, 2014.


Rate Tower of Babel.

  1. Outstanding

    16 vote(s)
  2. Above Average

    30 vote(s)
  3. Average

    19 vote(s)
  4. Below Average

    2 vote(s)
  5. Poor

    0 vote(s)
  1. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

    Apr 27, 2003
    Ottawa, Canada
    Very much so.
  2. Shane Houston

    Shane Houston Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 11, 2009
    Louisville Kentucky - Halliwell
    I love writer's who find new ideas and situations in their creations after they're written.

    You did good with the Enterprise line. The birth of the Federation is in good hands.
  3. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    I'd better finish this off. There's only a few chapters left, so I'll do this in one post.

    The plot tied up a bit quickly, but I'd hardly say neatly, since there's a great deal that remains unresolved and unsteady in terms of Williams/Kirk, the Rigel Trade Commission, the Federation election, etc. So no foul. (I'd also add that for those who read Trek novels regularly, points like Thamnos weaselling out also serve to make the conclusion less easy than it might appear; there's always holes).

    A few things I'm not sure how I feel about:

    First, Maras being secretly smart after all. I'm torn between loving it (partly for going even further with the Orions' thematic selling point, the odd interplay between subtlety, manipulation and scheming, and direct control, raw sexuality and crudity) and feeling a bit bummed, in that I liked the clueless twit that she pretends to be (then again, she seems to appreciate what the idea of Maras-the-child means to Navaar, so I guess she sort of sees my point there. The character/persona has her appeal). I understand what Christopher has said about feeling that the Maras we were given in book one was a cop-out to avoid having to create three fleshed-out characters, and I suppose in the long run she's more fun this way, if only because seeing the other sisters fall for the same scheme that is (sort of) the Orion ruling lineages' whole shtick to begin with is amusing. Her scene with Devna was good, too. "We quiet girls should stick together". We'll see where the series goes with this.

    The other thing I'm torn on is Thoris' speech. It hits all the right points, and it sums up the novel quite nicely, since all three major factions - Federation, Rigel, and Criminal Enterprises Alliance - are struggling with the push-and-pull of personal/individual ambitions warring with collective goals. It's also a nice counterpoint to Rigel's admission - Rigel takes a step in the right direction by diving in and embracing UFP membership, Thoris does so by stepping down and removing himself. Still, I felt that while it served a strong thematic purpose, Thoris' rather sudden reversal (for all that he was given a nasty shock to jolt him) didn't quite justify itself on the level of characterization. Well, never mind.

    In pointless trivia news, I liked the rather obscure continuity point regarding Tellarites' poor handling of microgravity. That came up once or twice (no more than that) in SCE; nice to see it retained here.

    So, we finish up with Rigel joining the Federation (with the Chelon director winning Council seat as the balance to losing her directorship), Trip left uneasy about the future of Section 31 and sharing/debating his position with T'Pol, Maltuvis eager to graduate from Taking Over The World and take on other planets, Archer deciding he should perhaps start thinking about family, and the Federation still in the shaky but successful process of, well, rising.

    Also, there are killer white robots now, but we'll get to them next time.

    Overall, I enjoyed it. It's definitely not one of Christopher's best, I must say, and it has a number of weaknesses, but it delivers what this series should be delivering and it's certainly very readable. I wish it had been longer and more in-depth, actually, because Rigel as it was depicted here was a very interesting place and I would have liked to go deeper. Hopefully some of the repercussions will be given their due in book three, even if we're moving the focus to Vulcan and *scare chord* The Repair Station:borg:. T'Rama was a good character, the Saurian situation continues to develop nicely, and the early Federation history makes sense. It doesn't all hang together as well as Christopher's books usually do, but this is also the first time he's writing a series, so I guess I'll evaluate the journey when we get to the destination.

    All in all, I'd say Average.

    I look forward to seeing how Rigel integrates, even if it is only in subplots. Let's see if it pulls its weight!

  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    My main concern was that the stupid sexpot is something of a misogynistic stereotype, and I didn't want to play into that.

    Actually that's completely by accident. I didn't remember that SCE had established that as a Tellarite trait. At least, not consciously.
  5. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    I should probably add that, joking aside, I actually loved the epilogue for how out-of-the-blue it was. Given what you did with the "Mutes", it seems appropriate that you're tackling another of Enterprise's "creepy early season mysteries".
  6. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Fair enough. Best to avoid certain character templates unless there's a good reason for them, and I suppose the context is one where you'd want to exercise some caution. :)

    I can't find the exact reference(s), but I do recall something in at least one of the Corps of Engineers stories involving Dr. Lense noting that Tellarites don't handle low gravity very well. (Presumably Tev is doing something engineery in a spacesuit).
  7. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

    Oct 13, 2004
    This was a very pleasurable beach read during my stay in Sint Maarten. Hope to have something as fun next year.
  8. indianatrekker26

    indianatrekker26 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Oct 8, 2006
    Hey, Chris, I have a question for you. Is it easy to jump into your Rise of the Federation books, without having read any of the other Enterprise books?
    I've never been a big Enterprise fan, i haven't even watched the whole series, and as i said, i've read none of the post-series books. But i am a huge fan of all your books. I love how you mix in science and character development. For all i know, your books could increase my interest in the Enterprise TV series.
    Last edited: May 17, 2014
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    ^Rise of the Federation is designed to be a new beginning, a distinct series in its own right. It does spoil key events from the preceding four post-finale books, but its storylines aren't dependent on those events.
  10. indianatrekker26

    indianatrekker26 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Oct 8, 2006
    awesome. I plan to dive into this series. Between that and all the other trek reading i'm doing. I've sporadically read the Post-Nemesis books over the years, but never all of them. I started with the "A Time to,,," series, and have been chugging forward from that point.
  11. Mage

    Mage Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jun 17, 2007
    I didn't read the Romulan War novels, and between Christopher's explaining and Memory Beta, I don't feel I missed anything. Martin's Romulan War novels have gotten so many bad reviews, and that coupled with my own experience with Martin's solo-work have made me decide not to invest my hard earned euros into them. If I can ever pick them up second hand for a few bucks somewhere, maybe I will. But right now, gimme Christopher's work with Enterprise any day.
  12. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

    Aug 19, 2008
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    I liked this book. I appreciated the way Bennett created a complex multispecies Rigelian community out of the multiple conflicting references to Rigelians (Chelons, Vulcanoids, and others, to say nothing of the Colonies). It was nice world-building.
  13. voyager1

    voyager1 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    May 20, 2014
    I just wanted to let you know I really enjoyed this book. I think some of the amazon reviews are a little harsh about the book being hard to follow. It was no harder then any of the other Enterprise relaunch books.
  14. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jun 24, 2007
    Sunshine cottage,Lollipop lane,Latveria
    A dealer of narcotics named Charlemagne?

    Get along,kid.:techman:
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    Sorry, what? I don't understand the connection. I just wanted a flamboyant name in the vein of Cyrano Jones or Cervantes Quinn.
  16. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jun 24, 2007
    Sunshine cottage,Lollipop lane,Latveria
    There is a Steely Dan song called "Kid Charlemagne".
    The songs meaning is as usual with SD,a little ambiguous,but it seems to me that he(kid c) is a dealer.

    Some coincidence.:cool:
  17. Braxton

    Braxton Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Mar 9, 2004
    Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA
    I have very much enjoyed the two Rise of the Federation novels but I feel the endings are a bit rushed in closing the main story. Wouldn't it be better to have more debate about Rigel joining the Federation? It seems that everything has ended far too neatly. What's done is done, but I do feel that maybe there could have been more exploration in to it? What I do like is showing the Federation wants to expand and add new members, and they are pursuing that agenda quickly. It is a good avenue to go down. The growing pains will be real, but perhaps it should be slowed down a little bit? Personally, I don't think that Rigel should have joined so quickly. Yes, the Federation helped expose all this scheming but it seems that there should still be some hesitation and more cooperation before actually joining. It all seems to be a little too fast, but perhaps the future novels in this series will help explain this.

    One piece I did enjoy quite a bit was the Rigelians having the same experience as that of the Vulcans in regards to interfering in other races, particularly less advanced races. More humans are starting to see this as well. I have a feeling they will be a stronger voice for such a non-interference policy than the Vulcans.

    Overall this was a good book, I'd say it was Average though, mainly because of some of the pacing and conclusion to parts of the story. Maybe the books need to be a little longer? I'm not sure, I am not an author, simply being curious.
  18. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    I hadn't considered that; very good point, Braxton. The eventual implementation of the Prime Directive is one of those things we're perhaps getting little preludes to. In general, the way the Federation builds itself and how each of its early members contributes to that is something I'd be very interested in seeing. I hope Rigel's contributions are followed up on in later books.

    I pretty much agree - there's so much to explore here, it can feel a little "rushed" and so slightly disappointing.
  19. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Dec 26, 2002
    Ditto I think the books work better when they more time to wrap up certain story arcs.Christopher mentioned in an interview Uncertain Logic will be a longer length book and will be dealing with the planet Vulcan.:) There's a interview at Trekcore where he mentions the next few Enterprise books.
  20. Odona Kirk

    Odona Kirk Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Feb 8, 2005
    Sweet Home Alabama
    I just finished reading Tower of Babel, and I thought it was very engaging. I look forward to Christopher's next work.