STAR TREK: PICARD - ROGUE ELEMENTS by John Jackson Miller

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by JJMiller, Feb 20, 2021.

  1. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    I have to wonder how much of Star Trek is defined by someone programming out holodeck characters/simulations like video games as we see with Zimmerman versus the seeming ability of the Enterprise to create them on command. The handcrafted versions vs. the procedurally generated ones that are able to make a being like Moriarty on command. I suppose both could easily be true but might also be a case of the rules changing as the concept is developed more.
     
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  2. JJMiller

    JJMiller Writer Red Shirt

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    I did go a bit into this, with the parts about famous holo-characters who are likely not just pre-generated and part of the holodeck's starting package, but who also are fortified with the experiences that the characters have had in other holodecks over the years. Google's algorithm learns from countless browser interactions, and I would bet at some point a holodeck does check in with some master database somewhere, both to get new characters, and to share data to about past interactions. I figured the really popular characters by the 2390s could probably answer some fairly nuanced questions, just because they've heard it all before.

    The self-scan business seemed like a puzzling option until I realized it's a probably a way of leaping over many hours of on-the-job customization. Emil arrives in life a mostly-formed individual — and one already familiar with his captain's moods (to a degree).
     
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  3. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    I find it funny that Picard killed 10K Federation officers as Loctus but Jurati is murder girl. Apparently, mind control as a defense only works with Captain or above.

    :)
     
  4. DEWLine

    DEWLine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Mind control should be a long-established defence against murder charges in Federation courts. Jurati would - I expect - be prepared to consent to examination by relevant experts re: Vulcan/Romulan-style mind-meld practices.

    Anyway...
     
  5. JJMiller

    JJMiller Writer Red Shirt

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    This is not the review thread -- please keep reviews there. This is my thread for answering questions about specific events within, not how it met individual reader expectations. (A great editor once said the author's job isn't to write the books readers want, anyway; it's to write the books readers need and may not know that they need.)

    And that's already more than I wanted to say. I've mentioned my policy before in this thread; I appreciate your purchase, but I also appreciate having a place at TrekBBS to just discuss the details within the book with those who have specific questions. If that works for everyone, I'm happy to continue.
     
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  6. JJMiller

    JJMiller Writer Red Shirt

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    This is in fact something we dealt with in Takedown: the whole framing sequence with the Mira Romaine Center for Rehabilitation and Reintegration came from John Van Citters' observation that there had to be some mechanism for getting mind-controlled people back into circulation for the next week's episode. (So I had already written that book, in a sense!)
     
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  7. thribs

    thribs Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Apologies. I moved it over to the review thread.
     
  8. JJMiller

    JJMiller Writer Red Shirt

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    Thanks. I have a plenty thick skin at this point, but as time has gone on, I increasingly feel like once the sale is made, the books themselves should make their case, not me. This is the best way for me to avoid the temptation to try!
     
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  9. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    @JJMiller

    I was very interested in the discussion of Iotian feminism in the book, JJM. Which is a fairly rare sentence if you can imagine. The whole idea of prostitution and gun molling as they were in RL being absent from Iotian culture seemed a strange concept when it was first introduced but was part of a larger theme as you talk about them defacing the Great Book.

    Ledger also realizing that some people really don't care about a fairer society vs. being on top of it was a nice way of illustrating the difference between those Iotians born "before" and "after" Kirk tried to reign in the kleptocracy. At least that was my assumption that she was more Federation than she thought.

    I am curious why you decided to have pretty much everyone have a happy ending, though. Even Fajo seems set up only to spend a short time in prison.
     
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  10. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You can Listen to to the podcast interview about the book at Trek fm JJ Miller discuses it in detail of certain story elements you're wondering about..Also Kertrats 47 has another interview with JJ Miller that are really good discussions of the book too.
     
  11. JJMiller

    JJMiller Writer Red Shirt

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    That's true. But the afterword also tells you: during COVID, it was just the kind of book I wanted to write.

    (And this is why — and I guess I am responding to an earlier comment here — I deliberately did not choose to write an ibn Majid book. That's a story that we already know ends unhappily, and whether I show that or not, it would always be looming. Here, the unhappy thing has already happened.)

    As to the Iotians... in my Russian history studies, I saw that a lot of dynamics remain the same even when political structures change. Many people will still look for ways to use influence and to reward themselves, and some of them will also seek to wield power over others. I wanted Rios to have a fellow traveler who was fine with the former, but open to questioning the latter.
     
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  12. DEWLine

    DEWLine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm good with that, and with your addressing my thought via the Romaine Institute in Takedown...which I am going to have to re-read at some point.
     
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  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I'm nearly finished with the book now, and I'm wondering, John, if you had specific dates worked out for when all the parts of the story take place. It spans a surprising length of time, over a year, but the passage of time between sections is often unclear, just an unspecified number of weeks or months. So I'm not sure how to enter it into my chronology. There is that one part that gives the date quite explicitly, Christmas Eve 2392 to New Year's Day 2393, but a lot of the rest is harder to work out. I always keep notes of when the scenes take place in my own books so I can be sure I have the timing straight, so I'm hoping you do something similar.
     
  14. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    Fajo became irredeemable (well, more than he usually was) when he didn't give Rios a finder's fee for the art piece. Death was too good for him.

    But honestly, I'd read an entire series about Rios' adventures as a tramp freighter captain on the fringe.
     
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  15. JJMiller

    JJMiller Writer Red Shirt

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    I'm afraid I followed a process I learned in The Other Franchise, which is that detailed chronologies ultimately cause more problems than they create, and that specific dates should only appear on page when there is a plot-related reason for them. In Enterprise War it was necessary because we had to mirror several specific DSC season 1 events; in this novel we just needed to know that we would be dropping in and out on him across a two-year period. As my first tie-in editor told me, "When you define, you confine."

    It may be presumed that several months take place in the section gaps between the second and third parts and the third and fourth parts and before the epilogue, and that a minimum the book took about a year and a half (giving Rios his time to sit around doing nothing in 2291, and then getting us to 2293 with time for the epilogues). His time "on screen" is actually fairly limited, so it really doesn't absorb all that time — you could cram a lot more stories into the section gaps and indeed some of the chapter breaks.

    So while you're welcome to nail those section breaks down to six months each or whatever, the honest answer for when the third and fourth sections begin relative to the previous sections is "whenever the next story needs them to," whether that next story is a novel or a TV episode. Vagueness for victory!
     
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  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I get that, but sometimes it helps for the writer to work out details that are left off the page. My habit of keeping careful chronologies is a reaction to a huge mistake I barely averted in Ex Machina, when I belatedly realized that I'd written two scenes in one subplot as consecutive even though they had to bracket scenes in another plot that spanned two days. So I always make sure I keep track of the exact intervals in my story notes even when I don't tell the audience, just to make sure I avoid contradictions. I was hoping you might have done something similar.
     
  17. JJMiller

    JJMiller Writer Red Shirt

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    And I do that sometimes. But then I find I get tempted to actually use that fact — “three months later” — and suddenly I’ve gone ahead and defined and confined something. Timing things behind the scenes also wasn’t really needed in this book because, unlike all my others, practically the whole book is in one character’s POV.

    (In a lot of cases I wouldn’t release the internal timeline anyway, for reasons that even my word wouldn’t be official.)
     
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  18. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    Started reading this book the other day and it's nice to follow up with another civilization first seen from the original series, this time the Gangsters of Iotia ;) . It was interesting to see that Miller had kept them gangsters in the future. I don't recall where I saw it, but I recall seeing something about how when they found McCoy's communicator that they imitated Starfleet based on that and all became Starfleet mini-me's (I don't think that was a novel but I can't remember where I heard that).

    Anyway, I think Miller handled that well. I was never a fan of that idea, it just seemed to abrupt a change for any society. Maybe over several hundred years I could see that, but not in a few decades. And I liked his little added twist that the Iotians already had a bit of a propensity for gangster, or tribal, behavior in their history. They didn't just adopt gangster behavior based on the 'book' alone. I also liked that it wasn't a perfect recreation. For instance the cigars are basically useless props, and the women were never sexually subservient because the book didn't get into those elements in that much detail, and they adapted things to their own unique culture.

    Anyway, curious to see where we go from here with that.

    Rios is one of my favorite new characters from Picard. At times I liked Raffi, but sometimes characters like that irritate me. But Rios has a more complicated history.

    I kept thinking he reminded me of someone and now that I'm reading the novel I realized he reminded me a bit of Captain Calhoun of the Excalibur from the NF novels just a bit. They both have a nonchalant attitude and never say die attitude about them. Yet at the same time that's a bit of a cover because deep down they do have a firm sense of morality and ethics. They also are both quite the maverick (though in Rios' case that started more or less after he left Starfleet, whereas Calhoun never left Starfleet and has been a maverick basically since adulthood).
     
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  19. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    This was actually in the show as if you pay attention, its clear that Okmyx has no idea how to play pool and just hits the balls randomly.
     
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  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I finally skimmed through the text for date references and worked it out as best I could. I was surprised to find that the largest breaks were often within sections rather than between them. There are two cases -- Part 1-2 and Part 4-5 -- where one part begins immediately after the previous part ends.

    The clearest date reference is in Chapters 55-59, which are explicitly Christmas Eve 2292 to New Year's Day 2293, with the climactic Part 5 picking up right after and taking about the first week or so of '93. So it was a matter of backtracking from there. That was "weeks" after Ch. 51-54, which were in turn "months" after Ch. 35; and the big auction in Ch. 41-47 is more than a year after Fajo's first visit in Ch. 21. So it seemed reasonable to put Ch. 21 around September '91, and Part 1 seemed to span about 4 months or so prior to that (3 months between Ch 6 & 7 and "weeks" between Ch 11 & 12), which led me to put the start of the book in May '91. It would certainly be possible to start it earlier than that, but putting it in May would put the ibn Majid incident (said to be nearly a year earlier in the text) in maybe June '90, which I figure is about 9 years, 3 months before "Broken Pieces" where we learn about it (since episode 2 of PIC is a month before the grape harvest, which in that part of France is usually in September). I don't have a transcript, but I assume they said "nine years ago" in the episode, so it's probably best not to stray too far from that.

    So allowing for maybe a month for the epilogues, at a guess, I've got a total span of May '91 to February '93, or a year and nine months. Give or take a few.
     
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