Reading Marathon: The Typhon Pact... and Beyond!

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Stevil2001, Jun 16, 2017.

  1. Kilana2

    Kilana2 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I also can't imagine La Forge being stuck between two women. Susan Gibney was also Captain Benteen.
    I'm wondering if Geordi ever met Erika Benteen.
    Leah Brahms lost her husband in the Genesis Wave novels if I remember it correctly. How convenient for Geordi.
     
  2. Damian

    Damian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Ha-ha, yeah. Taken on its face it just looks bad all around. I think we're a bit more forgiving because we've seen LaForge for years and know he's not really a creepy stalker. But Dr Brahm's wouldn't know about any of that and was justifiably angry about it. At the end of "Galaxy's Child", likely due to getting to know LaForge a bit better and the situation they had to solve she ended up being the bigger person and more or less forgave him and they left things as friends.

    As far as Indistinguishable from Magic though, it was a bit jarring at times. I agree with Stevil2001 in his assessment. It seems to want to be a standalone novel, but still fit in the relaunch continuity and it doesn't always seem to fit. But yes, Brahm's husband died in the Genesis Wave and I remember a brief mention of that incident in IFM to that (I mainly remember it because I believe it was the last time the Genesis Wave books have been mentioned to date).

    Still, I remember it as a decent story, in 2 parts. Some of the characters he brought on I agree with Stevil did not seem to match the current continuity. He made some brief mentions of how Barclay ended up on the ship, and something about Nog as well. But yeah, Ogawa felt like she didn't belong in the sense that I think she would have had to be 2 places at once.

    And back to the Brahms-Geordi romance, it didn't feel right. I believe the last time we saw her prior to IDM was The Genesis Wave books and it was my impression they left things as friends.
     
  3. TheAlmanac

    TheAlmanac Writer Captain

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    I don't think it's impossible for this to be overcome (I've certainly seen less plausible or advisable get-togethers in real life, and the characters have had over fifteen years to develop a different dynamic), but it behooves the tie-ins to depict/explain why Brahms would be interested later in light of these circumstances.

    As it stands, it feels more like the idea just originated from the two having a prior connection on TNG without taking the specifics of that connection into account.
     
  4. Damian

    Damian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That's probably how things were in a nutshell. It was a bit convenient, and with her husband killed during the Genesis incident she was essentially free to pursue a new romance.
     
  5. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It mentions the Genesis Wave incident as the last time they saw each other; it doesn't mention that Leah's husband died during it.

    Also it has its origins in the mention in "All Good Things..." that La Forge married (perhaps just a) Leah.
     
  6. Damian

    Damian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Oh, ok. I knew it was mentioned but I must have forgotten the exact details. I guess by the time of IFM the Genesis incident was already several years in the past so it was probably felt it was unnecessary to bring it up (though it might have helped to those that hadn't read the Genesis Wave--some might wonder what happened to her husband).

    I had forgotten about "All Good Things". The Almanac makes a good point though, it's certainly possible that they overcame his lapse in judgment and eventually developed something. Geordi is a good guy that made a mistake, he's not a serial stalker or anything, just a guy desperate for a relationship and he lost his way for a moment. It's possible as she got to know Geordi better, esp. after the events of the Genesis incident that she found Geordi is not really the creepy stalker she first thought and was angry about.
     
  7. Damian

    Damian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Maybe it would make for some amusing conversation years later

    Leah: Did I ever tell you about the first time Geordi fell in love with me, oh wait, that was my hologram

    Geordi: Ok, it's not funny anymore.
     
  8. David Weller

    David Weller Commander Red Shirt

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    Since IMF is my next read I’m finding this thread interesting.

    I’m looking forward to getting started on this book.
     
  9. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    As much as I love IFM, it's role in the novelverse is a bit odd. It takes a whole bunch of characters puts them in new roles and has them go on a big adventure, and then afterwards everyone just goes back to their old positions and it's like it never happened. For a while it seemed like it was not really part of the novelverse, but I think a few books have referred back to it recently.
     
  10. Damian

    Damian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah, technically it's part of the relaunches but it's sort of it's own story. I think it references Christopher Bennett's DTI book that came out the next month I believe or maybe it was vice versa (I remember the author gave Christopher an acknowledgement because I think he gave him some tips about his story so IFM didn't contradict anything from the DTI story, or something to that effect).

    In a way I look at it like sort of like I do that Enterprise episode during the Xindi crisis where they discover humans living on an alien planet living like the Old West (was it North Star maybe, I can't recall). It's still part of the overall narrative but it's a story that takes a sort of break from the regular storylines. Almost taking us back to when TNG was episodic in nature and everything gets cleaned up for the most part at the end of the episode.
     
  11. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, like I said, it feels like the set-up for a new ongoing series-- but it's not even that the other books undermine that, it undermines itself with the big resets at the end. I'm curious to see how it all fits together (to the extent that it does) going forward.

    In Indistinguishable from Magic there's no big ties to the DTI books, but it does use the same "closed timelike curve" terminology as the DTI books (though that's a real term, introduced to Star Trek by the Millennium trilogy). I've only read the first chapter of Forgotten History so I can't speak to any other connections yet.
     
  12. Damian

    Damian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's been a few years since I read either book, it was just something I remember in the acknowledgments in IFM. I don't recall what it was, but if I remember correctly, it was more McIntee wanting to make sure he didn't do anything that would contradict Christopher's book that came out the following month. And there was some linkage between the two that I don't recall, maybe Christopher will help us out if he reads this thread. I mean, I don't recall it being a major plot point or anything like that, it may be something as simple as the reference you noted about the closed timelike curve.

    But IFM otherwise did not have a major impact on the novelverse afterwards. Something may have been referenced about IFM once or twice afterwards, but since everything largely reset at the end of the novel it wasn't major.
     
  13. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The main connection I recall between DTI and IFM is that I borrowed David's explanation for why starships don't use slingshot effects all the time (if anyone with a warp drive could change history, the timeline would be in utter chaos) -- namely, that it's a very difficult and dangerous thing to do successfully and there must've been something special about the Enterprise to allow it to do the maneuver repeatedly. Beyond that, it was mainly just a case of avoiding contradictions.
     
  15. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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  16. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It was pretty clearly written to be part of the Novelverse, it was just that the books after it ignored it for a while. We did eventually get a few references to it, but there was a short time where there was some question about whether or not it was still considered part of the Novelverse.
     
  17. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

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    With Magic, at the time it was published, it was also set about a year or two after all the other novels, since the recent “Typhon Pact” novels were set in like 2381-82, whereas Magic was in 2383-84.

    But I remember finding that it needed more editing done and that it should’ve been 2 books rather than the one.
     
  18. Damian

    Damian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's sort of why I almost see it as a standalone story that takes place within the relaunch novelverse. It's part of the overall narrative but really didn't have much impact on future stories. McIntee largely put everything back where he found it at the end of his story so it wasn't really necessary for future books to consider it except as anecdotal more or less.
     
  19. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Department of Temporal Investigations: Forgotten History by Christopher L. Bennett
    Published:
    May 2012
    Time Span: 2266-75 / 2383

    My complaint about the first Department of Temporal Investigations novel (review here) was that despite a strong beginning and a strong ending, the middle of the book became bogged down in the format of "DTI turns up the aftereffects of a Next Generation episode; exposition is delivered to massage the details into the novel's Unified Theory of Star Trek Time Travel," without a strong story of its own. At first blush, you might think Forgotten History was going to do the same thing, just with episodes of the original series, and though it does swerve into this on occasion (I'm not convinced the retcon of "Whom Gods Destroy" added much to the book), on the whole it's much more focused and much more of a story.

    The reason for this is Commodore Antonio Delgado, first mentioned in this readthrough in From History's Shadow. An flag officer in Starfleet's Science Ops, Delgado sees the possibilities of time travel when presented to him after the events of "Tomorrow Is Yesterday," and so he keeps tabs on the Enterprise's various temporal shenanigans as he attempts to make time travel a viable avenue for Starfleet, sometimes working against the fledgling Department of Temporal Investigations, sometimes with it. Delgado is a surprisingly interesting "villain," and I wish we'd seen more of him. It would be easy to make him a hypocrite or out for personal gain, but he's genuinely principled, believing that perfecting time travel is for the greater good of the Federation, and not willing to use it for personal reasons. He's sometimes quite reckless, but often thoughtful, such as when he realizes sending his Federation timeships into the futures of parallel timelines is the safest option, as it means the Federation can gain technological and even political knowledge from the future, without endangering its own future with paradoxes. Delgado's ongoing attempts to use the Enterprise's adventures to develop time travel give the otherwise unconnected incidents of the original series a throughline that the first book largely lacked; with each episode, you the reader wonder how this will contribute to his machinations. (Incorporated episodes include "Tomorrow Is Yesterday," "The City on the Edge of Forever," "Assignment: Earth," and "Yesteryear.")

    The only thing I didn't like was his attitude toward women, which just seems to be in the novel to make us boo and hiss at him, like when a bad guy in a movie kicks a puppy, just so you know he's the bad guy.

    The other thing that makes this novel work is that is allows the 24th-century Department of Temporal Investigations to come face-to-face with their long-standing boogeyman, James T. Kirk. While the first three-quarters of the novel has Dulmur and Lucsly in a frame story reading about the original Enterprises's temporal shenanigans, in the last quarter, the Enterprise crew and the DTI characters all end up in the same time and place, a temporal confluence between past and future. The result of this is that Dulmur and Lucsly-- especially Lucsly-- actually have to interact with Captain Kirk, and this part of the book is just delightful, Lucsly's indignation at what is unfolding oozing off the page in hilarious fashion. Like in the first DTI book, the temporal shenanigans got a tad convoluted for me to follow, but I enjoyed it anyway, mostly thanks to the role Lucsly and Dulmur end up playing in Kirk's history of temporal interference.

    On the other hand, I don't think Mejan Gray was sufficiently built up as a paragon of temporal noninterference to make the revelations about her at the climax really stick like they ought to have.

    The one part of the novel that didn't really fit for me was the long section where the refit Enterprise travels to an alternate timeline, one where Earth vanished in the 20th century (this is where the book posits the duplicate Earth of "Miri" originated), and so the Vulcans remained more militaristic (because no NX-01 means no Kir'Shara rediscovery), in a galaxy where they're opposed by a Klingon/Andorian alliance. A little bit of this would have been fine, and it does set up some elements of the story that become significant at the climax, but it goes on longer than is interesting, and its relevance isn't altogether clear for most of it. Part of the issue, I think, is that the one-particular-species-is-missing-from-22nd-century-politics concept was also done in two Myriad Universe stories, and this permutation doesn't feel a whole lot different from those.

    But on the whole, this is an engaging, interesting novel-- I zipped through it in about two days-- and shows the promise of the Department of Temporal Investigations premise better than does its predecessor. I look forward to seeing the series further developed in the transition to e-novellas.


    Continuity Notes:
    • This novel actually slots between parts 1 and 2 of Indistinguishable from Magic (one of the DTI characters leaves partway through to go debrief the Challenger crew on the events involving the Split Infinite, which happens at the climax of part 1). I guess I could have read the book then... but no. (I reserve insanity like that for rereads only.)
    • I liked the touch that when novel depicts the slingshot maneuver that preceded "Assignment: Earth," Kirk hears snatches of dialogue from the episode in reverse chronological order, as was he also did during the slingshot in The Voyage Home.
    • I also liked the incorporation of a number of elements of the 1970s cartoon. "Yesteryear" is expanded and rearticulated, and one of its minor characters turns out to be a DTI founder, but also the mysterious Vedala from "The Jihad" play a significant role in the novel's proceedings, and some of the cartoon's Enterprise crew reappear as well.
    • There are some very slight references to The Rings of Time here, which is the whole reason I read Rings of Time at the beginning of this. Blink and you'd miss them, though.
    • I don't think the details surrounding Kirk's promotion to admiral here quite line up with what we saw in Allegiance in Exile.

    Other Notes:
    • I liked the joke about how "chronal" wasn't even a real word. I don't think Star Trek has ever used this on screen, but it has appeared in a few of the tie-ins.
    • Bennett writes a pretty good "Kirk speech" when Kirk speaks in defense of his supposed violations of the Prime Directive at the end of the five-year mission. Actually, the whole mission to Pelos is a pretty good pastiche of an original series episode.
    • Bennett might know more about real temporal science and Star Trek time travel than anyone else alive, but he still doesn't know the correct usage of the word "table" in parliamentary procedure (see p. 69). Meijan should have made a motion to postpone indefinitely.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Glad you mostly liked it!