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. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    Wouldn't that actually consist of his captain's logs? Mind you, no way to talk about "In the Pale Moonlight."
     
  2. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That was one of my biggest issues with the Kirk biography. Would Starfleet let it be known there was a planet with a magic time portal on it that could rewrite the timeline in a flash? Imagine the chaos that would cause. I was hoping for a more hardcore read, where Kirk would speak vaguely of classified missions and you'd be able to decipher some stuff from reading between the lines.
     
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  3. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    Depends on if it still works or came out some other way. Presumably they'd blockade the planet Talos IV style.

    You don't want that thing unguarded.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I just had a new idea for how the Red Matter was supposed to help save Romulus. A supernova happens when a stellar core burns hot and fast enough that it uses up all its fusion fuel and cools down, causing the star to collapse in on itself and rebound explosively. And the more mass is pressing down on the core, the hotter and faster it burns. So maybe the idea was for the RM black hole to suck up enough of the star’s atmosphere to relieve the pressure on the core and prevent, or at least delay, the supernova.

    I also had a new idea for why Spock went ahead and activated the Red Matter anyway. Maybe he started the release process mere moments before the supernova, but then it happened while the process was underway but before it was completed. You’d have to assume that what we were shown in the mind meld sequence was presented in nonlinear order, but that’s reasonable enough given how memory works.
     
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  5. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    There are always ways for a creative mind to come up with an explanation. :beer:

    I seemed to infer from the film that the Supernova was some sort of runaway threat to the galaxy, or at least to their part of the galaxy and the whole Red Matter thing was to prevent that from happening once the effort to save Romulus failed.

    But there are probably other ways to explain the events that are still mostly consistent but offer up an alternative explanations.

    I noted previously another option is maybe it just failed. He set it off and it just didn't work, though it still created a singularity that sent Spock and Nero back in time.

    But your option, that it just started and the red matter didn't work in time works as well. And still allows for the creation of the singularity.

    I haven't seen Picard yet, but did the show ever address Spock and Nero at all?
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    And I've explained time and time again why that makes no sense at all. You can't prevent a supernova that already happened. You can't magically suck back in the radiation that's already expanding out at the speed of light. So that part has to be ignored.


    No, not at all. They made sense of the parts they did address, but they didn't address that, which is why it's still an open question.
     
  7. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    Well, yeah. I just don't think the writers of Star Trek (2009) were thinking about the reality of it all. But it's probably ambiguous enough that alternate explanations can be provided that are still consistent with what was shown, at least to a large extent.

    I'm just making an inference from what was shown in the film, not what was actually possible.

    I wonder if that will come up. Though from what I have heard about the show we're years past the nova at this point and what happened to Spock and Nero isn't really part of the story so it may never come up.

    But it does leave the door open possibly for an author to cover that part of the story in a future novel at some point. Perhaps if the show goes into more detail about the nova itself (i.e. was it some sort of attack, were there minds in the Federation working on trying to contain it, etc.) maybe that will give some background to work off of for someone in the future.

    Or maybe they won't do that at all, and a novel writer can fill in those details at a later date.
     
  8. Tuskin38

    Tuskin38 Admiral Admiral

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    I think even Chabon and the Picard writers realized it's a giant can of worms which is why they haven't gone into detail.
     
  9. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    A failure on Spock's part but still a game effort. Bravo for your latest continuity patch!
     
  10. DS9forever

    DS9forever Commodore Commodore

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    Sisko's pre-DS9 life would offer a lot of material: his experiences with Curzon; his engineering days on the Livingston and the Okinawa; the Tzenkethi War with Leyton (Leyton was in the Picard autobiography) and his time on the Saratoga.
     
  11. Tuskin38

    Tuskin38 Admiral Admiral

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    Wrong thread?
     
  12. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I would assume somebody probably thought a Janeway book would sell better than a Sisko.
     
  13. jotap

    jotap Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    That's because Janeway at the end of the day wasn t with her butt seated in a desk on some space station.. She was a ship captain.
    Ahahah
     
  14. Turtletrekker

    Turtletrekker Admiral Admiral

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    :guffaw:
     
  15. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Commodore Commodore

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    As I recall, Voyager was significantly more popular and watched than DS9.

    DS9 is greatly beloved but by a smaller number of people.
     
  16. Csalem

    Csalem Commodore Commodore

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    This book was actually my first Trek audiobook. Having listened to a number of Doctor Who audio plays I decided to use my Audible credit on this to see how it compares. I knew going in that it would be different as it had one narrator instead of a full cast, and that it was written as a book first and not a play, but overall I enjoyed it. I found the narrator very good, with the characters feeling distinct and recognisable (his Picard was very good I thought). The story was good but not great. I felt it suffered a lot of the problems prequels suffer from - parts of the story would only be resolved in the TV show, so it couldn't really tell its own distinct story. As was pointed out elsewhere, the story strand with Dr Jurati was probably the weakest. The age difference between her and Maddox, along with their professional status did not sit comfortably with me., but not enough to put me off the book.
     
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  17. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    I just wanted to say I'm glad I read this novel. I got Picard on Blu-Ray for Christmas and am about halfway through now. I found reading this novel before seeing the show helped with some of the background.

    For instance, the novel gives a clearer picture about Picard's ultimatum to Starfleet...and how he became so singularly focused on his mission. And when Raffi meets her son in the show I already knew she had a family and how that broke down for her. Also it gives more background on what happened to Maddox and how he was involved.

    It's not necessary to read the book to grasp the show by any means. But I found it helpful in that I already had some foundation to the story and why some things are in Picard.

    So I'd recommend it for any fan of the show (even if you haven't read it yet but seen the show it probably still could be helpful).
     
  18. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Finally finished The Last Best Hope earlier today. This must be the longest time it’s ever taken me to finish a Trek novel. At times I thought about giving up on it, but I would nibble a bit, and kept nibbling, until I finally got hooked enough to finish.

    Now that it’s done, I think it turned out to be a better set up for PIC’s first season than I initially thought it would be. I found the second half of the book, especially the last third, “The Last” to be the strongest and I’m glad I toughed it out to get there.

    My issues with the book weren’t the writing. More so the pacing and the lack of action, many memorable/likable new characters, and Picard and especially Geordi acting out of character. Arguably McCormack is the best when it comes to handling Trek politics. I enjoyed Brinksmanship a lot and her post-Dominion War Cardassian novel wasn’t bad either. One of the standout characters in Hope was the opportunistic Councilor Quest. It would be nice to see this character in live-action or to see her resurface in future PIC novels or comics. What I liked best about Quest was she wasn’t an outright villain, certainly she was antagonistic and opportunistic, and with an edge of xenophobia, but she also had some legit, or legit enough arguments, concerning the Federation neglecting its smaller member worlds, especially the ones along the Romulan Neutral Zone. I also liked that book provided more grist for why Clancy and Raffi both had issues with Picard.

    I thought the depiction of Geordi, early in the book, didn’t feel right. He didn’t talk like that on TNG/movies, and I also felt that Picard also felt too at times, not sure how to describe it, too gooey and romanticizing when it came to Zani and his Verity crew. I had to keep in mind that this book isn’t a TNG novel but one that sets up PIC and the changed circumstances and characters for that series. So, the idea that Picard would seek out Zani as opposed to Dr. Crusher, or even that they wouldn't have him seek Troi out more for counseling (I’m guessing they didn’t want to tip their hand her about the PIC episode “Nepenthe”) didn’t sit right with me but seeing the first season it works better for PIC and the immense disappointment some had endured at Picard’s hand. I still find it hard to buy that Picard would not reach out to Zani or others in 14 years (even the end of the book, which just dump in Laris, Zhaban, and Number One, who is a gift from unnamed friends, undercuts that Picard was such a hermit, sulking over his colossal failure). I wish we had gotten more of Laris and Zhaban and that the novel had lined up with the Countdown comic better.

    While I appreciated how McCormack handled the politics and provided some balance to the pro-relief mission and anti-relief mission sides of the argument, I thought the book was too lacking in world building. I don’t blame McCormack there. Not sure how much the show creators/CBS would allow her to explore, or even if they had fleshed it out themselves.

    I was left wondering what happened with the Remans or any of the other subject species (I’m glad the Countdown comic touched on that)? I also wish we had gotten more info on how the other powers were reacting. I was happy that Picard mentioned suggesting reaching out to the Klingons and Cardassians toward the end of the book. It was a bone, but a welcome one.

    The Maddox/Jurati scenes were a chore often, but by the end, I grew to better appreciate Maddox’s obsession. I do wish the option to use holograms had been discussed, at least once in the novel or on the show. I also thought the Dr. Safadi scenes were mostly superfluous; the Nokim Vritet scenes felt more germane to the story. I wasn’t a fan of Estella Mackenzie who was too abrasive. I wouldn’t have minded seeing a familiar Trek engineer like Torres, O’Brien, or one of the several that were on the Enterprise-D in this role, that is until the end. I thought McCormack did a good job having Geordi’s grief for those lost on Mars, as best symbolized by his friendship with Mackenzie.

    I will never care for Raffi calling Picard “JL”, and while I liked the relationship that McCormack developed between the two, the informality still feels artificial to me.

    I am glad we got a bit with Spock, I was wondering what had happened to him. I do wish we had gotten another scene with him working on the Jellyfish (hopefully they will keep the Countdown idea that Geordi built it).

    I did like the peek at Romulan culture we got. I had read Chabon’s notes on Romulan culture a while back and I wasn’t expecting that the some of that would be in the novel so that was neat.

    Overall, I felt the novel lacked some much needed action. I also wish there had been more physical descriptions. The ‘northerner’ label is used but that’s not even described. I’ve read the Countdown comic, but I wish we had gotten a better description of the Verity in the novel. I also wish more of the Verity crew had been introduced/fleshed out.

    In the third of the book as I inched toward the conclusion, I started to grasp that Last Best Hope was a major tragedy (rare for a Trek novel). I thought the resignation scene was handled quite well. Picard was too self-righteous, too arrogant, too idealistic, and too out of touch, but his compassion for the Romulans was also noble and to abandon them was an abdication of Federation values. I don’t know if the tragedy could’ve been prevented, but if Picard had had a defter touch at politics or diplomacy along the way perhaps there would’ve been fewer people opposed to scrapping the mission, then again, perhaps the winds of change (which don’t always blow in a positive direction) were against him and there was little he could do about it. And he also had every right to be upset that he was the mission was being shut down after Starfleet Command had asked him to leave the Enterprise-E, to upend his life, for it.
     
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  19. mastadge

    mastadge Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Hm. I thought DS9 always had the viewership edge and the Nielsens seem to bear that out. My recollection is that people became disenchanted with VOY very quickly.
     
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  20. youngtrek

    youngtrek Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Voyager, however, had the advantage of being on a television network (even if it was UPN) because that meant it was on in prime time everywhere and the same night of the week. Deep Space Nine was syndicated, which, for one thing, I believe is measured with a different set of Nielsens ratings (so I think it would be a bit difficult to actually compare DS9’s and Voyager’s ratings directly against each other), and it aired on whichever local stations decided to carry it in your market and whenever they wanted to air it. (Which I believe is also the reason they never had actual crossover stories between TNG/DS9/VOY because they had no way of knowing what order the episodes would air in various locations.)

    Voyager definitely got the bigger push internally. I’ve seen it said by many that Deep Space Nine was almost always the “second” series. At first it was overshadowed by the still very successful TNG, then, when TNG went off the air and DS9 was finally the only Trek show on the air, they were already working on Voyager.
     
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