Spoilers Star Trek - Picard: The Last Best Hope by Una McCormack Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Kill Anna, Feb 2, 2020.

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Rate Star Trek - Picard: The Last Best Hope

  1. Outstanding

    31 vote(s)
    39.7%
  2. Above Average

    35 vote(s)
    44.9%
  3. Average

    9 vote(s)
    11.5%
  4. Below Average

    2 vote(s)
    2.6%
  5. Poor

    1 vote(s)
    1.3%
  1. Happenstance

    Happenstance Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I really enjoyed the book. Kind of wish more of the information from it had made it into the series as I think it does a good job explaining why the evacuation was not as simple as fans seem to claim it should have been and helps show that the attack on Mars wasn't exactly the only reason the mission was cancelled.
     
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  2. RuthlessNate

    RuthlessNate Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Yeah, I recall one of the Enterprise novels, can't remember which, where "FUBAR" gets defined in Archer's internal thoughts and I remember being taken by surprise to see the word "Fuck" in a piece of Star Trek media.
     
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  3. Kill Anna

    Kill Anna Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The reason why the Androids attacked Mars remained unresolved. I guess it's something the show will uncover.....
     
  4. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    From the last episode, it looks like there's a pretty good chance the focus of the show is going to shift in that direction now.
    It was FUBAR? I thought it was WTF.
     
  5. Kill Anna

    Kill Anna Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I want another novel, filling some gaps and with backstories for other characters.
     
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  6. David Weller

    David Weller Commander Red Shirt

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    Probably happen
     
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  7. iarann

    iarann Lieutenant Commander Premium Member

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    Same here. We desperately need a novel about Rios, and several novels about the Fenris Rangers.
     
  8. Kill Anna

    Kill Anna Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ..... not to mention the Troi-Rikers and more about Raffi!
     
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  9. iarann

    iarann Lieutenant Commander Premium Member

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    As long as a Troi-Riker novel involves their problems with the Kzinti.
     
  10. DEWLine

    DEWLine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I wonder how a Niven/Chabon partnership would work out for that one.
     
  11. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Riker-Troi family, maybe. A whole novel on Rios orr Ferric rangers, nay.
     
  12. RuthlessNate

    RuthlessNate Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    This actually makes me really curious about the rights situation with the Kzinti. Does Niven own them, since they were in his Known Space books? I assume there's some weird technicality, like the Star Trek Kzinti are considered a different IP from the Known Space Kzinti.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yes, he does, and he's continued to publish fiction featuring them or license other writers to do so (there was a whole series of Man-Kzin Wars anthologies as a shared-universe project from 1988-2014). Of course he wouldn't lose the rights to his own creation just because he adapted them to a TV show one time. That would be insane. Nobody would ever agree to license an adaptation of their pre-existing works if it meant they lost the rights to them altogether.


    Just dropping their name isn't the same as actually featuring them in a story. It could be simply that the producers called up Niven and asked "Hey, is it okay if we mention the Kzinti?"
     
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  14. RuthlessNate

    RuthlessNate Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I'd guess you're probably 100% correct. I should have clarified about whether he had complete ownership of them in regards to how they can be used within Star Trek specifically. I know there was talk of using them for the "Kilkenny Cats" story in Enterprise's canceled fifth season. I'm curious whether they're on the hook to get approval from Niven for any mention/appearance in Trek.

    Edit: Michael Chabon answered my question for me:
    "I sent a fan email to Larry Niven - one of the writers whose work inspired me to want to become a writer, as a kid - and asked his permission to include a reference to his battle-and-honor obsessed Kzinti, who as you know crossed over in one episode of TAS - blowing my ten-year-old, Niven-and-Trek obsessed mind - and also, I've always suspected, helped inspire TNG's reinvention of the Klingons. Mr. Niven very graciously said that would be okay."

    So, yes, you're 100% correct.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2020
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  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I would assume they would need his approval, yes, just like anyone else would need CBS's approval to use Star Trek elements in another work.

    And apparently I was right. Though Memory Alpha doesn't source the quote, it relays the following from Chabon:

    https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Kzinti#Background_information
     
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  16. iarann

    iarann Lieutenant Commander Premium Member

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    It's actually still going. Man-Kzin Wars XV came out last year and a new Man-Kzin Wars novel, Freedom by Hal Colebatch and Jessica Q. Fox just came out about 3 weeks ago.

    It's from Chabon's Instagram story.

    I spoke to Larry Niven at a signing yesterday in Los Angeles. He seemed fairly amused about the whole situation. I don't want to repeat what he said because he was a bit tired and I would hate to misquote him and have someone throw that back at him someday, but he did confirm he gave permission.
     
  17. Kill Anna

    Kill Anna Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Brian Brophy was not in this book..............:wah:
     
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  18. Jinn

    Jinn Mistress of the Chaotic Energies Rear Admiral

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    But he is in all of us, so, in a way, he was also in the book!
     
  19. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    I'm actually... really surprised at all the negative comments in here. I thought this would be nerd high-fives all around. For my money, this is one of the best Trek novels in years, maybe ever.

    I only have one complaint here: I think that Picard is less curious about what causes the uprising than he ought to be, and that the fact that the book both does this and doesn’t spend any time on Geordi’s quest for answers must only be because those answers are the domain of the TV show and they didn’t even want to hint at them. But amazingly: that’s the only time that the obvious hand of the necessity of prequel logic comes into play here; this book is outstanding, top to bottom, so close to the Picard scripts that it feels like a novel written well after the show had aired and so full of fascinating characters, plotlines, and details that it could’ve been a trilogy in the hands of an author less succinct and pointed. This is a magnificent achievement, almost impossibly good considering the timeline of its creation.

    The character work is remarkable – everyone in the large cast of characters in the book is well-sketched, with the conflicting views of Picard, Raffi, Tajuth, and Jocan making the core of the narrative full of complexity while the similarly conflicting views of Clancy, Picard, and Quest draw the larger arguments well. Geordi’s drive and passion make him more than just a placeholder in the story, too, and the connection with Bruce allows this to be a prequel to that entire part of the story as well which is unexpected. (Jurati is definitely older in canon than she feels in the show, partially because of the choice of actress, and so that’s a little weird but this is literally the only mismatch between the book and the show and canon is allowed to be different from the actors’ details anyway so it’s hardly worth mentioning.) And Raffi, individually, is a revelation – the scene where she describes Romulan indeterminate polyphony, and Picard is like “that's interesting”, and she's like “it's fucking awful” made me laugh so hard I thought I might get in a car accident. Literal tears in my eyes. We see the seeds of her professional / personal disconnect and it’s all so poignant and believable.

    McCormack writes real people in a way that a lot of the other authors don’t quite; she can ground their opinions in sensory experiences, feelings and preferences, in a way most other authors miss. There’s plenty to be said about career officers being career officers with the mental structures that affords, but the novels miss the episodes like Family too often, only defining the Starfleet characters by their Starfleet roles, preferences, and interests, and missing out on the human beings (or aliens) at the core and an awareness of how the rest of their lives and societies have shaped them. McCormack writes at small and large scales about all of that – the societies too – and in doing so her Cardassia has been incredibly memorable for years. Bringing that same focus to the frontier worlds and to the Romulan penchant for secrecy make this book sing, and make it feel like something much more than the sum of its parts (a frequent compliment for her writing).

    I can’t believe this exists – it’s so, so good. A monumental accomplishment.

    People are really this cranky about a few swear words?!
     
  20. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    I'm not really "cranky" about this. I simply made a conscious decision to recuse myself from the poll, because this is a tragedy in the classic sense, i.e., a work in which the doomed expend a futile effort in a no-win scenario, and ultimately fail to avoid unmitigated disaster. I know some people get catharsis out of tragedy, and I would imagine that a few even get some kind of S&M pleasure out of it, but I tend to avoid it, myself.
     
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