Spoilers TNG: Headlong Flight by Dayton Ward Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Defcon, Jan 14, 2017.

?

Rate Headlong Flight

  1. Outstanding

    11 vote(s)
    26.8%
  2. Above Average

    19 vote(s)
    46.3%
  3. Average

    8 vote(s)
    19.5%
  4. Below Average

    2 vote(s)
    4.9%
  5. Poor

    1 vote(s)
    2.4%
  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    I think there's something to be said for the idea of the Borg having multiple origins that all converged. After all, their whole deal is to assimilate civilizations and homogenize them into a uniform mass. So it follows that if various different humanoid cyborg civilizations with collective consciousnesses arose independently, then later came into contact and assimilated each other, then the overall whole would converge toward some homogeneous, "average" type of cyborg collective. So even if you took away one of those founding cyborg collectives, the combination of the others might still converge toward essentially the same average.

    I'm not saying that's actually what I believe to be the case, but I can see the logic by which one might deem it a valid possibility if one were so inclined. I do count the Strange New Worlds VI Borg Queen origin story "The Beginning" as part of my personal continuity along with Destiny, but my assumption to reconcile them is that the nanotech supposedly invented by the species in "The Beginning" was actually reverse-engineered from a crashed Borg ship or something. Given how limited a reach the Borg were claimed to have in the Vaadwaur's era in "Dragon's Teeth," even though they were said to be much older than that elsewhere, I assume there were times when the Borg were beaten back or nearly defeated and had to regrow from new seeds, which opens the door for alternate "origin" stories that are really more like resurgence stories. Not the same thing I suggested in the previous paragraph, but similar.
     
  2. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2014
    Location:
    Sol III, Sector 001, 2017 C.E.
    Well when does "The Beginning" take place?

    I said novel. I'm well aware of where the name comes from.

    I thought so as well. Starfleet can blow up all the Borg shisp they want, but if just 1 idiot recovers some intact nanoprobes, the Borg Collective would be unleashed all over again. Why not point Riker to the guys who can neutralize every single nanoprobe across the galaxy?
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    It doesn't specify. It's set entirely on an alien planet in the past, so there's no way to correlate it with any Earth chronological referents. You can pretty much put it whenever you want. I put it a century or two after the "Dragon's Teeth" teaser, under the assumption that the Borg had been weakened at the time and subsequently re-emerged as a result of the story's events -- which lets the title still work, because it's "The Beginning" of their resurgence.
     
  4. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    Location:
    On the USS Sovereign
    There is something not satisfying about the story, about half way through. I cannot say what it is, though.
     
  5. Jinn

    Jinn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2015
    Location:
    Europe
    According to Voyages of Imagination in 200,000 BC.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Actually it says c. 2000 BC, with the caveat that the date is "entirely speculative." The story itself does not specify. The 200,000 BC date is from Memory Alpha, which is based on Guinan's line in "Q Who" that the Borg had been developing for "thousands of centuries" -- with Memory Alpha arbitrarily going with the smallest possible plural amount of thousands, perhaps because all other references suggest the Borg are much younger.
     
  7. jaime

    jaime Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Location:
    London
    The caeliar planet moved in Destiny didn't it? Ginormous city thing or something. They may not be where we looked basically. Or the Columbia didn't end up there, so no human to become the first Borg queen. In terms of narrative logic...there's already at least one separate strand for the Borg origin etc over in the Shatnerverse.
     
  8. jaime

    jaime Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Location:
    London
    For me it's that the events exist to create the story, the justification for the crossover and the nice cover. The sense that none of the characters or ramifications will be dealt with in time (there's an epilogue that helps a little.). The focus is on the events, but the events only serve to give us the character interactions...which aren't served well enough or for long enough before we have to back to events which only exist to make the character moments to happen. There's no weight to either. It's enjoyable, and a nice idea, but it's a bit like having Cause and Effect with the Bozeman side being shown...or just a bit like Cauae and Effect really. The time loop is just not as interesting a story as seeing the time displaced crew interact, but we have to keep going back t the time loop that is the 'story' rather than the interesting things happening because of it. In a series episode, that's kind of par, but in a book, I kept getting the feeling the character stuff needed way more meat to it. A consequence even just within the book. Pocards crew may need to go back to status quo, but that's not true for the other crews at all.
     
    Ronald Held likes this.
  9. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    Right, but the name "Borg" came from humans. And if the Columbia never ended up there, then the Caeliar's subspace passages never would've been adjusted for time travel in addition to space travel, so no portion of the Caeliar would've ended up in the past. Even further, the great work never would've been disrupted as the time loop wouldn't have existed in the first place as there would only have been time travel involved with the Columbia's disruption.

    @Christopher makes some good points about the Borg possibly being from multiple convergent cyborg species, but I don't think that the final composite would've been Borg in the novelmultiverse without the Columbia. Or at least it would beggar belief from me that random chance led to the resulting composite still calling itself "Borg".

    Still, though, this is more time than I wanted to spend on whether it works in-universe rather than my thematic objections, which were far more why it bothered me than the former. With enough discussion maybe the in-universe aspect could be patched up enough that it wouldn't be so odd to me on that front, but it wasn't whether the events made sense in-universe that bothered me (even though I did have some objections/questions there), it was how it felt almost bloodthirsty a resolution to be written, and seemed to clash with the message and themes of Destiny's joyful conclusion. How it presented a Picard who seemed to care more about destroying Riker's Borg than saving them. The Picard of First Contact, sure, but our Picard has moved past that hatred and fear of the Borg ever since the euphoria that was brought with their end. It just left a bad taste in my mouth.

    (Again, though, I should say that on the whole I loved the book, this was just a slight down-note for me in the wrap up. I don't want to give the impression that I'm harping on this, or that I disliked the book for it or anything.)
     
    jaime likes this.
  10. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    I give so many "Above Average" votes, it makes one wonder what "Average" would be like.

    But then again, I still remember the Bantam era, when some pretty decent stuff alternated with Marshak & Culbreath's nearly incomprehensible "phoenix" books, and with The Starless World, World Without End, and the ever-popular Devil World. And I also remember the early-Pocket era, with a lot of stuff that didn't measure up to the good Bantam stuff (or to ADF's "Log" books based on TAS). Richard Arnold may have been an autocratic yutz who stifled an awful lot of good stuff, but he did help somewhat in raising the proverbial bar on TrekLit.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2017
    TheAlmanac likes this.
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    I don't see that. I'd say that Pocket Trek started to get really interesting around 1983 and had a lot of its most memorable and innovative stuff in the 5 or so years that followed. Once Arnold's influence really started to be felt around '89-90 (there was a delay due to the long lead time in developing novels), the books became a lot more homogeneous and, on the whole, less memorable. Even the weaker books of the pre-Arnold era were often noteworthy for just trying something different or being interestingly bizarre.

    Besides, it's not like Arnold was actually the editor. He was just the guy at Paramount who was in charge of continuity and tie-in approval. He could say "No, you can't do that, you have to do this instead," but it was the editors' job to commission authors and see to the quality of the storytelling. So I don't see how Arnold can be considered responsible for any kind of quality improvement.
     
  12. jaime

    jaime Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Location:
    London
    I actually love the first few TNG novels, part out of sentimentality, but also because they really did things in those books. (Ghost Ship and Children of Hamlyn stick so well in my memory....and Metamorphosis was awesome.) Especially if you didn't have access to TV Trek, these and the old James Blish TOS novels really kept the flame.
     
  13. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    No, Arnold wasn't an editor. He was (to coin a phrase) an irritant. And he had an exaggerated sense of his own importance, and of his own grasp of Roddenberry's mind. I'd hardly call him "responsible" for much of anything, other than weeding out stuff (good, bad, and indifferent) that wasn't Star Trek. Sadly, he also weeded out a lot of stuff that was Star Trek. He threw out more than a few babies with the bathwater. But thankfully, his good influences seem to have outlived his bad ones, because TrekLit is, on the whole, better than it's ever been.

    He wasn't the giant he thought he was. But even standing on the shoulders of an ill-tempered gnome will buy you some altitude.
     
    TheAlmanac likes this.
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    See, I just don't think there's a causal connection there. Trek Lit entered a decline under his influence, and it didn't recover until years after he was gone. It's not even like the improvements were in direct response to anything he did. They were the result of editors who came in years after he was gone being willing to try things he never would've permitted if he'd still had any say at all.
     
    Jinn, Idran and Daddy Todd like this.
  15. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    Location:
    On the USS Sovereign
    Does the Prime Directive hold when meeting younger versions of yourselves from another universe?
     
  16. jaime

    jaime Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Location:
    London
    Spock says not.
     
    Avro Arrow, T'Ressa Dax and Jinn like this.
  17. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    Location:
    On the USS Sovereign
    who taught Chen how to master the Vulcan nerve pinch?
     
  18. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    The visitor's bullpen
    In an infinite multiverse, literally anything is possible. :shrug:
     
  19. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    Location:
    On the USS Sovereign
    In an infinite multiverse where only the histories change, yes.
     
  20. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    Not necessarily. "Infinite" doesn't equal "Everything".

    The set of all prime numbers is infinitely big, but that doesn't mean that the number 6 is hiding in it somewhere if you look long enough.

    Edit: Plus, a branching multiverse wouldn't be infinite anyway. It would be the set of all possible configurations of the observable universe that could be reached from some possible path of branches starting at t=0. That's huge, but as the observable universe is finite, so's the number of possible paths. (And since anything outside the observable universe by definition couldn't have any impact on anything within the observable universe (or else it would itself be observable and thus part of the observable universe), you don't even need to worry about the question of the finititude of the universe as a whole.)