Spoilers TNG: Diplomatic Implausibility by Keith R.A. DeCandido Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Charles Phipps, Oct 7, 2017.

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Rate Diplomatic Implausibility

  1. Outstanding

    4 vote(s)
    40.0%
  2. Above Average

    6 vote(s)
    60.0%
  3. Average

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Below Average

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Poor

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    [​IMG]

    I originally created the UNITED FEDERATION OF CHARLES review site to talk about nothing but the Star Trek: Expanded Universe but like SF Debris, it just sort of wandered in every which way but the one I intended to review. But I do love the Star Trek Expanded Universe and while I'll never be able to review a hundred of the books I want to review, I still have time to read some of them.

    I've decided, since I fell behind on the Typhon Pact books, I would read the Klingon Empire series by Keith R.A. DeDandido. Ironically, that meant I couldn't start with book one because the series ACTUALLY starts with this book as they were originally guest stars of a ST:TNG novel. It's a bit like how you need to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation to understand who the Marquis are and why they hate the Federation.

    The premise of this book is Worf has been promoted to ambassador of the Federation to the Klingon Empire. Given he straight up murdered the people who killed his wife, his career to Captain of the Enterprise was derailed anyway. It was a good trade-off anyway. Assigned an impossible mission by both the Federation and Empire (specifically, make everyone happy in a disputed planet where the locals are raging an insurgency against the Klingon government), he is sent on a klingon vessel to serve as mediator. Worf, a mediator? Wow, that would be so very funny if not for the fact it was actually a fairly good choice since he's Ghandi dompared to most Klingons.

    Worf episodes were always my favorite of the TNG series with the Duras plot, his ill-fated romance, and the fact he was a horrible parent. I love the Klingons and he's my favorite Klingon of them all. Watching him work as a statesman actually "works" in a way you wouldn't associate with him. I especially liked how he played off of his much more rough and tumble Klingon companions.

    The real stars of the book are the crew of the I.K.S Gorkon. Following Captain Klag and his oddball crew, it has a lot of interesting characters ranging from two technicians in the otherwise anti-intellectual Klingon culture but who hate each other (one hating innovation due to not wanting to be here from the beginning and half-assing her job, the other being the innovator) to Martok's bully of a son to a completely normal Klingon woman suffering hero worship of Worf.

    I was fond of the aliens here as they're basically a planet of polar bears who walk on four legs almost all of the time. The novels have always done a good job of being more inventive with alien species since they don't have to deal with a show's budget. The situation with them and their resistance is resolved a bit too easily but Star Trek isn't the kind of show (or novel series) which should ever get too much into the chaos of real life. It's space fantasy as well as science fiction for a reason.

    I will say this novel does deal with one thing I've always had a bit of a problem with: specifically, the fact the Klingons act like ancient Romans with slavery, mass executions, torture, and all the other things which despotic regimes like their inspirations do in real life. The thing is, they're close allies with the Federation and that doesn't make much sense. I mean, in real life, the United States is allied with Saudi Arabia at the harsher side of things and China at the softer side of things but the Federation is supposed to be above that sort of realpolitic. I mean, you'd think the Klingons would be required to give up slave planets as part of the Khitomer Treaty.

    Overall, I found the book to be extremely entertaining but a bit on the short side. It basically reminded me of a TNG episode and that's not a bad thing. Certainly, it caused me to want to purchase the Klingon Empire novels which continue following the adventures of the crew. Plus, I'll read or watch virtually anything with Klingons on it.

    8.5/10

    So what did you guys think?
     
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  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yeah, that always bothered me about the TNG-era portrayal of Klingons. At first, with "Heart of Glory," it was asserted that the Klingons as a whole had outgrown their old ways and it was just renegades like Korris who still wanted to be warriors and conquerors. But then later episodes depicted them as still being warriors and conquerors, and it just didn't make sense that the UFP would be so close to them.
     
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  3. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It's been ages since I read this, so all I remember is that I enjoyed it.
     
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  4. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's part of my decision to read the Klingon Empire books and review them on Goodreads. Gotta start somewhere.
     
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  5. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    If you do threads for the other books you should use the title format of the other review threads and include a poll so they can included on this site.
     
  6. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  7. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I was actually trying to do my review in that context and screwed up. I plan to post in the existing review threads but this one didn't have one.

    If a moderator could add a poll to this one, it'd be appreciated.
     
  8. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This was just a theory of mine and is obviously not supported by the Expanded Universe but my idea was there was a "Warring States vs. Shogunate" difference between the Klingons. The Klingons during the TOS were professional soldiers and while battle as well as glory were ideological matters--they didn't feel the need to talk about it the same way farmers didn't feel the need to talk about hoeing. It was just who they were.

    My view of the TNG Klingons was they talked about war, honor, and prestige because of the same reason Bushido and dueling had become such a huge deal in the Tokugawa Shogunate. They weren't able to wage war despite it being central to their identity so they dramatically overcompensated.

    It's a bit like the theory re: Worf being the most honorable Klingon whoever lived because he learned it from a textbook and lived in the Federation (which is insanely idealistic) so he overcompensates. Whereas, in the Klingon Empire itself, the vast majority of people are much more flexible about it all and don't take it quite so seriously (or are willing to bend the rules whenever it benefits them).

    Familiarity breeds contempt.

    Obviously, the fact they're TNG Klingons in the ENT era plays with that.
     
  9. trampledamage

    trampledamage Clone Admiral

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    I will do.


    Also, thank you for investigating the previous review threads to try and find one for this book. Obviously, everyone's entitled to make threads how they choose but it is nice to keep all the reviews and discussion for a book in one thread.
     
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  10. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

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    Well this book is more like the pilot for the DS9 Season 8 novels to be published (its from February 2001, while “Avatar” wouldn’t be out till May), and it takes place between “The Left Hand Of Destiny” and “Avatar”. But it was also the pilot for the Klingon Empire series.
     
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  11. Damian

    Damian Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I just completed this book and found this review thread (I always try to find a previous thread on a book before creating a new one).

    It's #62 of the numbered novels, released in 2001 and it focuses on Worf, newly appointed Federation Ambassador to the Klingon Empire just after the final DS9 episode and sometime after Star Trek: Insurrection. Worf is sent to a Klingon planet to mediate a dispute between the Klingons and the planet's inhabitants (the cover depicts their appearance). The planet had fought off the Klingons once before and then the Empire reconquered them. While the Khitomer Accords were suspended during the 'cold war' between the Empire and the Federation (during the Klingon-Cardassian conflict) they had appealed to the Federation for help. Then the Dominion War started and they were put on the back burner. Now the rebel attacks have become more serious and the Klingon governor requested help and Worf is sent to find a solution (he is told on the one hand by Martok that the Empire cannot allow them to leave the Empire while the Federation wants a peaceful resolution).

    I've had this book for a while and decided to read it while waiting for the new Discovery book to come, and I'm glad I did. I recently added the Gorkon books to my collection to read down the line and this is actually an introductory book as it features Captain Klag, newly made commander of the Gorkon. Drex, Martok's son seen on DS9 is the first officer, and Rodek is the gunner, who was Kurn, Worf's brother. It also features Leskit, the snide talking pilot from the Rotarran from DS9 also. And of course Klag was the 2nd officer on the Klingon ship Riker served on during his stint there as first officer. So a who's who of Klingons in a way.

    The Enterprise-E crew appears sort of as a cameo, to transport Worf to Kronos. Otherwise it is a Worf centered story as far as TNG goes.

    I enjoyed the novel, I'd rate it above average. It has a lot of political intrigue, as is normal for KRAD novels. Klag is almost dismissive of Worf because he believes Worf obtained his position only by nepotism. But Klag is depicted as an honorable Klingon nonetheless. He does gain a grudging respect for Worf and does come around in the end. And at times he finds himself agreeing with Worf at times. Drex is depicted much like he was in DS9, someone who got his position due to Martok being his father. While not incompetent, he doesn't really set himself apart on the ship. But it is learned he does have some skills when it comes to administrative type duties and perhaps he will find his own honor in that respect. Worf is frustrated by the resistance he finds on the Gorkon by Klag, but ultimately the crew cooperates.

    The only complaint I have about the novel, and I admit it's nitpicky, is the long chapters. The novel is 240 pages with 9 chapters, a Prologue and Epilogue. The chapters average more than 20 pages. I'd prefer 5 to 6 page chapters. BUT, it was a really good story, so it's a small nit-pick for me. I didn't find it a slog.

    I also liked that it was an "Ambassador Worf" story. I sometimes forget he served for what, 2 to 3 years as ambassador. It was nice to read a story that covered that now forgotten era of Worf's career.

    I agree with much of what the original poster, Charlesphipps stated in his review, particulary about the characters. However he noted he felt it was a bit short whereas I felt the length was fine. Everything was tied up nicely and I didn't feel anything was rushed. It felt just right to me.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
  12. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    You missed a Klingon who has appeared before, Kurak, the Gorkon's chief engineer, was in the TNG episode Suspicions.

    I'm actually the complete opposite when it comes to chapters, I actually like them right around that length. Anything less than 10-20 pages per chapter just feels way to choppy to me. That was one of the main reasons I never made it very far in the old Star Wars EU novle Rogue Planet, a lot of the chapters were really short, some were just a page or two, and some were a handful of paragraphs. It felt like every time something actually started to happen, the chapter would end.
     
  13. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    Thanks for the review! This was my first-ever work of Star Trek fiction that I wrote (while Perchance to Dream and Fatal Error both came out first, I wrote DI before either of them).

    Well, remember, when I wrote this book in 1999, it was Worf's present status quo, and remained so until Nemesis came out in 2002, which put him back in Starfleet. And when that happened, I very loudly petitioned to be the one to write the story of him going from diplomat to Starfleet officer again, which I did in A Time for War, a Time for Peace.
     
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  14. Mysterion

    Mysterion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I've always wondered: why this was a "TNG" book when Worf being an ambassador was a follow-on from the storyline of DS9?
     
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  15. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    Several reasons:

    Because Deep Space 9 appears nowhere in the story, because no other DS9 characters appear, and because the Enterprise and the other TNG characters do appear.

    Because TNG novels have always sold waaaaaaaaaay better than DS9 novels.

    Because Marco Palmieri was gearing up to do the post-finale books with Avatar just a couple months after my book, and we wanted to keep DS9 books focused on the "relaunch."
     
  16. Mysterion

    Mysterion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^^
    Ok, that all makes sense.
     
  17. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    Also, the line was still a bit conservative at that time. Had we done the book as little as two years later, we probably would've just gone with "Star Trek: Ambassador Worf" or some such, but this was still when the books were in the death throes of being numbered and everything had to fit into a box......
     
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  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yeah, like how Susan Wright's The Best and the Brightest was released under the TNG label. Later on, it probably would've been published under Starfleet Academy instead. (Indeed, I sometimes forget that it wasn't.)
     
  19. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

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    Just like “The Laertian Gamble” by Robert Sheckley?
     
  20. Damian

    Damian Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I have to admit I had that thought initially myself. But it made sense for the reasons KRAD noted. Really Worf was the only character featured that was on DS9 and as you noted his job followed the show but everything else was TNG.