Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by captcalhoun, Dec 22, 2011.
Gravity by Tess Gerritson
Jumping back into my re-read of the 1980’s Pocketverse, currently on The Abode of Life.
It’s better than I remembered, despite Kirk putting a planet (and all its inhabitants) at risk of obliteration by supernova.
- I hope it comes in soon for you. I found ST TMP: Inside the Art & Visual Effects a rather fascinating read (although I'd've liked a few more pictures). I had no idea of the time pressures and obstacles the production was up against, for a start.
Just reread the novelization of SHERLOCK IN NEW YORK, after stumbling onto it in a used bookstore. Haven't read this since I was a teen, many decades ago, but found I remembered many of the twists very well.
THE HIDDEN PALACE by Helene Wecker. The long-awaited sequel to THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI.
(Forgive the double post, but it's been more than 24 hours since I posted about the Sherlock Holmes book. Who knew nobody else was going to post something about what they're reading since then?)
It is because you are reading so fast
It takes me at least a week and a half to read a book with 350 pages
We just covered the latest omnibus of Star Trek: Year Five on the Positively Trek Book Club podcast: Weaker Than Man. Generally enjoyed this, with a few qualms and quibbles.
Currently reading John Green's The Anthropocene Reviewed and looking forward to The Original Series: Living Memory by Christopher L. Bennett.
Oh, it can take me that long or longer, too, depending on my schedule. The Holmes novelization was only a breezy 150 page read, though.
THE HIDDEN PALACE, which is nearly 500 pages, and a complex historical fantasy, is going to take a lot longer!
Finished reading ST:TLE: Catalyst of Sorrow by Margaret Wander Bonnano, which was great.
I've always liked the Romulans, and this handled them really well. Zetha was a nice way to explore some parts of their culture we haven't seen much of before. She really felt like the star of the book, and she was a really interesting character, so I was OK with that.
I really liked the combination of characters it focused on, they were all some of my favorite characters from their respective shows.
Spoiler: A character's motivation
The only problem I had was, that I wasn't real clear on why Koval released the Catalyst "seeds". I think there was a line about causing chaos in the neutral zone and the Federation, and the Romulans coming out of hiding, but I wasn't sure if there was more to it than that.
It did take me a little while sometimes to figure out if we were in a flashback, or just a scene change. It got even more confusing when we got several flashbacks inside of flashbacks. I kind of wish she had changed the text or added a note about how long ago the flashback was, so that it would be easier to tell what was a flashback and what wasn't.
After I finished that, I started The Power of The Dark Crystal, the comic book series based on the script for the unproduced sequel to The Dark Crystal movie. I'm up to #3 of 12, and it's been really good so far. It's written by Simon Spurrrier, with art by Kelly and Nichole Matthews.
That was pretty common in Margaret's books, to follow more of a stream-of-consciousness story order than a chronological one.
Oh, OK. I wasn't to bothered by it, it was just a minor thing that kinda bugged me.
I'm currently on TOS: Living Witness by Christopher L Bennett. Really good so far.
That's Living Memory, though "Living Witness" was a helluva good Voyager episode. (As it happens, "Living Memory" was originally my title for a Voyager pitch I never sold, though it was completely unrelated to this novel's plot.)
Lol wow I'm more tired than I thought. Thank you for the correction. Yes, Living Memory is what I meant. Between Ex Machina, The Higher Frontier and now Living Memory, I've loved this pocket of 23rd century Trek between TMP and TWoK you've fleshed out, Christopher. Sure I love all the 5YM books we've gotten. But these are my favorite. Seeing the crew in their more seasoned selves in the film era. Especially one characters like Chekov and Uhura got so little to do in the films.
Thanks! Mere Anarchy: The Darkness Drops Again and Department of Temporal Investigations: Forgotten History are also part of that sequence.
TOS: Living Memory (it popped on to my Kindle last night, and I managed to read a little during my lunch break), and The Flight of the Pterosaurs - a pop-up book by Keith Moseley (a charity shop find from my sister).
Finished up Power of the Dark Crystal a couple days ago, and started the first Hellboy miniseries, Seed of Destruction, which is written by John Byrne, with the story and art by Mike Mignola. I'm reading the individual digital issues and I'm up to #3, so I'll probably finish it tonight.
Thanks! I did get a bit of it in the Cushman These Are the Voyages book about the making of TMP, and also in Preston Neil Jones’s Return to Tomorrow: The Filming of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which I got a third of the way into but then got distracted by other books (ones with actual “return due dates” back to the public library). But I love this stuff so I still really hope to get to read that book, too. Disappointed to hear that it might not have very many cool pictures in it, though. That TMP Enterprise studio model is my all time favorite!
(Copy of post made to my personal Facebook page just now.) I just finished reading JSA: Ragnarok by Paul Kupperberg (2020*).
I put an asterisk by 2020 because this book had been in publishing limbo for fourteen years. Kupperberg wrote the book in 2005 for an intended 2006 publishing date by ibooks, the publisher that at that time had a license with DC Comics to publish a number of tie-in prose novels featuring the DC superheroes. ibooks publisher Byron Preiss tragically died in an automobile accident on July 9, 2005, right as Kupperberg was finished writing the book, and ibooks then declared bankruptcy on February 22, 2006, just as it was about to go to press. It then became stuck in the legal limbo until the author was finally able to self publish the book in 2020.
Now, for those not familiar with the Justice Society of America (the “JSA”), they were DC Comics very first superhero team. Introduced in the pages of All Star Comics #3 (cover dated Winter 1940-41), it initially featured the then current versions of the Flash, Green Lantern, the Spectre, Hawkman, Dr. Fate, Hourman (then sometimes dubbed “the Hour-Man”), the Sandman, the Atom, and Johnny Thunder. These were all characters that had their own solo features in other titles published by DC (then two separate but linked publishing companies called Detective Comics Inc. and All-American Publications). Superman and Batman were said to be “honorary” Justice Society members, as well, but were rarely ever present.
Originally only published until 1951, the Justice Society returned in 1961 (I won’t go into all of the specific details here; suffice it to say that 1) it was due to the popularity of the then recently launched Justice League of America book, the spiritual successor of the Justice Society, and 2) that it introduced the concept of “parallel Earths” and “the multiverse” to DC and their readers).
By 2005 (when Kupperberg wrote this book, which he had intended to be book one of a trilogy of JSA novels), the Justice Society was enjoying a bit of a renaissance in its own title, JSA, written by James Robinson, David S. Goyer, and Geoff Johns, that ran from 1999 to 2006. It is this version of the Justice Society (a mixture of older original members and younger “legacy” successors) that Kupperberg’s novel features (although it also jumps back several times to 1945 and the original team).
(Well, the original team as rewritten over the course of decades of newly written comics. One thing that might seem quite strange to some, for instance, is the presence of Wonder Woman in the 1945 scenes. But not Diana, the version of Wonder Woman most are familiar with, but instead her mother Queen Hippolyta, who briefly took her daughter’s place and traveled back in time to serve as the World War II era Wonder Woman. Yes, it’s convoluted but that’s what oftentimes happens when you are dealing with characters written by many authors over a long period of time.)
Kupperberg addesses who all of the various characters are and their histories as each are introduced to the reader and does a generally good job doing so. However, it does mean for a *lot* of exposition (kind of like this book review so far), which in turn prevents the plot from progressing at a comfortable flow. Instead, many chapters (which are all very short, only a few pages long) start with one character who reflects on his or her situation and life up to that point before tossing that character into some sort of cliffhanger only to jump to a different character at the start if the next chapter.
The overall plot takes place over two main time periods, the “present” (presumably 2006 or thereabouts) and 1945, and during both time periods the Justice Society is having to deal with their usual foes in the Injustice Society of America (a group of supervillains) and the ISA’s attempts to use the mystical Spear of Destiny and two other powerful relics to become supreme rulers of the entire world.
That’s all I want to give away about the plot here. I think I can safely sum up JSA: Ragnarok as a book that fans of the source material (the DC Justice Society comics) will probably enjoy a lot more than those not already familiar with these characters who will likely find themselves having difficulty keeping track of who everyone is.
A few observations. One, I have to wonder if Kupperberg experimented any with the order of how he tell this story. Instead of starting in the present, then jumping back to 1945, then back to the present, etc., I kind of think that the story might have worked a bit better if he had started the novel with the primary 1945 sequence first (introducing us to the World War II versions of the JSA and ISA) and then skipped ahead to the present time frame with its newer versions of the two groups of characters.
Two, Kupperberg does not work ignore one of the Justice Society’s most memorable and status changing stories from the comics (one that proved to be rather controversial with the fans), that of the Justice Society becoming trapped in Asgard, the realm of the Norse gods, fighting, dying, and being reborn again only to go through the same never ending cycle over and over again as a way to keep “Ragnarok” from coming to Earth. This happened in a special one-shot comic book titled The Last Days of the Justice Society of America (1986, written by Roy and Dann Thomas). This story was told because, at that time, DC wanted the older superheroes of the Justice Society to be written out of then present DC continuity as DC had just rewritten its overall continuity with the Crisis on Infinite Earths and no longer saw a place for the JSA in it. They instructed the Roy Thomas, who along with his wife Dann had been writing the JSA comics stories for most of the 1980s, to come up with a story doing so. Thomas did not want to kill the characters outright so he instead came up with the trapped fighting in Ragnarok instead which would allow DC to bring back the characters later on if they chose to do so (which they eventually did).
Again, Kupperberg uses this as backstory here. However, he doesn’t touch upon it until very late in the story which I would imagine would make it feel like something coming out of nowhere to a new reader not already familiar with the characters’ history. Something so life changing as having spent what felt like an eternity in an endless cycle of war, death, and rebirth, a nightmare existence in several of these character’s pasts which is only brought up very late in the story (when faced by the same powers and demons once again) seemed a bit off to me.
Lastly, though, ironically enough, the release now of JSA: Ragnarok in 2020 actually might benefit from one thing entirely outside of the author’s control, which is the release of the “Stargirl” (a.k.a., “DC’s Stargirl”) television series on the DC Universe streaming service and also on the CW television network in 2020 as “Stargirl” is one of the modern era Justice Society members in the novel, and the “Stargirl” television series is based largely on the 1999-2006 JSA comic book series as well as Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E., the comic book series that ran from 1999-2000 written by Geoff Johns that introduced the Courtney Whitmore character to readers.
Again, I enjoyed the book because I am a fan of the source material (especially the Justice Society stories of the 1980s but also the later “JSA” run), and I’m very glad that Kupperberg was finally able to see his book come out in print for the rest of us to read. I’m sorry that we will most likely never get to read his intended second and third books in the trilogy. I gave this three out of five stars on GoodReads.
- Perhaps I should have been more specific as there are loads of cool pictures, it's just that many of them are quite small (in order to fit them in, I should think, otherwise the book would be the size of a car ), and I would like to see even more photos of the V'Ger model (because I'd recently found some that I hadn't seen before online somewhere, so I had my expectations up).
All that being said, there are some gorgeous full & two-page spreads of photos and artwork that I'm sure won't disappoint
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