Spoilers TNG: Before Dishonor by Peter David Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Defcon, Aug 31, 2014.


Rate Before Dishonor

  1. Outstanding

    7 vote(s)
  2. Above Average

    14 vote(s)
  3. Average

    13 vote(s)
  4. Below Average

    16 vote(s)
  5. Poor

    22 vote(s)
  1. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    May 9, 2003
    TNG: Before Dishonor by Peter David


    An enemy so intractable that it cannot be reasoned with. The entire race thinks with one mind and strives toward one purpose: to add our biological distinctiveness to their own and wipe out individuality, to make every living thing Borg.

    In over two centuries, the Federation has never encountered a greater threat. Twice Starfleet assembled and threw countless starships to stand against them. The Borg were stopped, the price paid in blood. Humanity breathed a sigh of relief, assuming it was safe. And with the destruction of the transwarp conduits, the Federation believed that the killing blow had finally been struck against the Borg.

    Driven to the point of extinction, the Borg continue to fight for their very existence, for their culture. They will not be denied. They must not be stopped. The old rules and assumptions regarding how the Collective should act have been dismissed. Now the Borg kill first, assimilate later.

    When the Enterprise manages to thwart them once again, the Borg turn inward. The dark places that even the drones never realized existed are turned outward against the enemy they have never been able to defeat. What is revealed is the thing that no one believed the Borg could do.


    I don't have an old review for this one, but I guess I'm one of the minority who thoroughly enjoyed the book. Actually I think it's the strongest of the pre-Destiny TNG novels, only rivaled by Q&A. It's a typical Peter David novel with all that this entails, and yes that includes some weird, out-there scenes.

    Is Peter David the best author to hire to be part of an ongoing series that is written in a more serious tone? Probably not, but hey on its own it is definitely a very entertaining novel IMHO.
  2. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I read this book twice. The first time was years ago, and at that time it was one of the first Trek books I read. I don't remember much from my impressions back then.

    On the re-read several months ago my first thought was "I didn't remember it as being so ridiculous". Some things just seem completely silly, and I'd rather expect that from a very young fan fiction writer rather than official Treklit. "Some weird, out-there scenes" is a very good description, Defcon, although I think I interpret these word a lot differently ;) - in a very negative sense.

    That said, the books reads fast, and is full of events, so I wasn't bored when reading it. Just... surprised but its slight... lack of common sense ;)
  3. Tarheel

    Tarheel Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 29, 2014
    This is actually next on my reading list, as soon as I finish The Red King. I'll be back soon with my thoughts. I used to love PAD's books 20 years ago, but I've heard mixed reviews about this one. I believe this was his only non-New Frontier book in quite some time.
  4. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    I'm afraid to say that I consider this the weakest novel in the Lit 'Verse continuity. It's okay in places, but it relies on spectacle and the wow factor in place of sense or sensitivity. It's just too over-the-top and frivolous.

    It doesn't do well with character either. T'Lana is rendered unusable after this. Every other character is reduced to a single trait that renders them a caricature. Seven of Nine = cold, despite earlier novels (and the final season of Voyager itself) showing her to have become far warmer and more Human. Worf = berserker warrior, as though he's reverted to his behaviour in the first couple of TNG seasons. Worf has matured considerably since then and recently spent four years as a diplomat. To the Klingons, yes, but a diplomat. His berserker aggression here is just uncalled for. Admiral Nechayev = (if you'll excuse me) bitch, despite other books and, once again, later episodes of the TV shows, going out of their way to thaw her out and humanize her, and establish a difficult but mutually respectful relationship with Picard (as one book puts it, each knows that Starfleet is better with the other involved than it would be without them). All these characters just throw their development and humanization away, which would be bad enough at the best of times and is even worse when they're living through the sort of event that people will still be talking about ten years down the line (that is, not a forgettable, throwaway chapter in their lives).

    The whole thing is treated as a joke, punctuated by out-of-character-moments that are used to throw in other jokes. As someone who really likes the New Frontier series (until recently) and many of Peter David's other books (Q-In-Law, etc.), I often say that there are two Davids; one is a skilled and sensitive writer who wants to craft a good story with engaging character work, the other tries to derail it with a refusal to take any of it seriously and prefers to tell jokes. Often these two Davids work in concert to produce intriguing and satisfying stories - again, see New Frontier or Q-In-Law. The Lit 'Verse is richer for his unique style. But here the second David hit the first over the head with something heavy and wrote the whole thing while cackling insanely, ignoring its counterpart's weak and disjointed cries about respecting character or reigning in the fun to ensure the book fits the established flavour of the communal setting.

    And while I didn't mind the Big Event in itself (any big development engages me, I like it when things change and there are ongoing consequences), it really should have happened in a Voyager book, and not one where a joke about Calhoun pushes its way in front of her funeral arrangements. Annoyingly, it actually was an amusing joke. Just very inappropriate.
    Hey Missy likes this.
  5. Paris

    Paris Commodore Commodore

    Dec 29, 2008
    In the future's past
    I remember not hating this when I first read it, but then after going through what has come since...it really doesn't come close to the best we've seen from Treklit. Often goofy with characterizations that don't match up in any other TNG books, this one was pretty shitty. Voted below average :(
  6. TheUsualSuspect

    TheUsualSuspect Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 28, 2011
    Pueblo, CO
    I almost voted "below average" on this one, but the more I thought about it, the more things I remembered that I disliked about the book, so I wound up voting "poor."

    I remember looking forward to this one, since I had really enjoyed PD's previous Borg novel, Vendetta. But, as others have said, the zany, over-the-top silly side of him took over what should have been a tense, dramatic action/thriller with just occasional moments of comic relief.

    The mutiny plot was unbelievable, and, in my opinion, should have ended the careers of Leyton, T'Lana, and Miranda Kadohata with their immediate courtmartials. I know CLB tried to clean this up in the next novel, but the willingness of Starfleet to overlook things like this is one of my pet peeves about the show.

    I was impressed at the time that a major character from one of the series would be killed off in one of the books, but, again as others have said, it seems more appropriate to do it that series line, not a different line of books.

    All-in-all, a pretty big disappointment.
  7. Masiral

    Masiral Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Aug 30, 2013
    Everywhere, and nowhere
    I voted Average. I liked it, and it had some funny points, but there were quite a few flaws - especially Janeway's motivations at the beginning. Why on Earth did she think she would live, no matter what, so she could go back in time and help get Voyager home? That Admiral Janeway is obviously from a different timeline now that she changed the past.
  8. Mage

    Mage Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jun 17, 2007

    I've read it three times. First time I couldn't believe what I had just read. Second time, I needed to confirm if it was really that bad or just me having a bad day or something. Third time around, I hoped that my love for Star Trek would make me love it.

    No. It's basicly one weird, idiotic event after another. I mean, c'mon...... the entire Pluto thing? No. Just....... No.
    Nyotarules likes this.
  9. Elias Vaughn

    Elias Vaughn Captain Captain

    Why would Starfleet overlook three officers who did what Command told them to do? From where they were sitting, Picard was disobeying direct orders from his superiors, so he was in the wrong. Why would Starfleet be against them on this one?

    We as readers have the benefit of seeing the characters' inner dialogue, but Kadohata and company surely did not.
  10. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jul 22, 2004
    Arizona, USA
    I've tried to read the book twice, but I've never made it past the second chapter.
  11. Admiral Rex

    Admiral Rex Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Feb 5, 2012
    Atlanta, GA
    I'm a big fan of Peter's Star Trek novels, and although I enjoyed the story and the characters, this is one of his weakest. I saw him yesterday at a DragonCon panel and he talked briefly about the ending of this book.

    Peter said that Pocket Books asked him if he would agree to kill off Janeway. After he agreed (since they will pay him), Pocket surveyed a group of female fans about the possibility of killing off Janeway in the novels. The answer was resounding NO! Pocket went back to Peter telling him that Janeway has to die without dying. Therefore, the novel concludes with Janeway dying while ending up in the Q continuum.

    On the panel, Keith R.A. DeCandido said to Peter, "You know they brought her back." Peter exclaimed, "Of course, they did!" :p
  12. Mage

    Mage Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jun 17, 2007

    Thing is, for me, it's not JUST the ending. It's the entire novel that's horrible.
  13. Dimesdan

    Dimesdan Living the Irish dream. Premium Member

    Oct 12, 2007
    The Republic of Ireland
    I rather liked it. It was fun and a nice easy read.
  14. Technobuilder

    Technobuilder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Oct 5, 1999
    Nashville, TN
    Poor. A major disappointment when I was really enjoying the roller coaster of a cohesive narrative featuring many various characters.

    The book itself was nothing special, but what really irks are the discontinuity and character errors. Took me right out of the story and was just a disappointment.
  15. zarkon

    zarkon Captain Captain

    Mar 24, 2011
    It was a super fun book that showed that PAD hadn't read many recent trek books (and the editors hadn't sent him krad's book which introduced the new characters).

    I took it as it is, and enjoyed it. Not his best work but it was a fun ride. 4/5
  16. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    King Daniel Beyond
    It was goofy in parts, and feels much more like NF than TNG, but it entertained me throughout and wasn't forgettable in the way the other pre-Destiny TNG books were. I was thrilled to get a sequel to Vendetta!
  17. Tirius

    Tirius Captain Captain

    Mar 27, 2003
    The Netherlands
    I voted Poor. For such an established Trek writer to so misjudge his characters -especially canon main characters - is inexcusable to me. I liked most of Peter David's work on New Frontier and some of the older TNG novels well enough, but this one doesn't approach any of them quality-wise.

    I could have accepted the goofy and over-the-top parts of the story (the Pluto incident among them), but the whole mutiny storyline ruined the book for me. The Enterprise crew comes across as so two-dimensional, and the new characters are treated very poorly. Even if we assume that PAD did not read the preceding novel, for a character like Kadohata - who is mentioned several times as having been part of the crew since Farpoint and a close friend to several of the main cast - to suddenly turn on the rest of the command crew is just plain ridiculous. The us-vs-them theme severely undermined the already weak integration of new main characters in post-Nemesis TNG (and in doing so destroyed all the good Q&A had built). Take a look at the DS9 relaunch and compare...

    The whole Janeway incident - I'm more or less OK with. It ultimately led to some of the finest works in post-finale Voyager, so no issues there. Still, for me this is easily the worst Trek novel I've read.
  18. TheUsualSuspect

    TheUsualSuspect Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 28, 2011
    Pueblo, CO
    I haven't read it since it first came out. I guess I didn't remember that Command ordered them to arrest Picard and the other officers (at least that's what I remember them doing). In that case, you're right -- they shouldn't be courtmartialed if they were following orders of someone who outranked Picard.

    Doesn't do much to redeem the book in my mind, though.
  19. Ben

    Ben Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 10, 2005
    I love this book.
  20. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

    Aug 11, 2005
    On an Andorian Atlire-class escort cruisers, the
    To me this is very average. I remember being completely disappointed with the way the borg were being handled in the books to this point and the lackluster death of Janeway just left me cold.