Spoilers TNG: Pliable Truths by Dayton Ward - Review thread

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Crazy to think this potential storyline went untold for decades until now. Def want to pick it up at some point.
 
Crazy to think this potential storyline went untold for decades until now. Def want to pick it up at some point.
I presume you mean the opus under discussion, and not my own unfinished opus -- although in my case, I'm simply writing a book I want to read.
 
I presume you mean the opus under discussion, and not my own unfinished opus -- although in my case, I'm simply writing a book I want to read.
Yep, the book by Dayton Ward... no shade intended.

Granted, if this had been done during the Ordover era, it might have been "Ship of the Line"-ed...
 
It's not bad so far (though I don't think Picard and Nechayev were ever on first name terms) but this is the first sloppy thing that's taken me right out of it.

Granted I did not remember the "Battle Lines" line, I did remember Admiral Nechayev being distinctly cold to Picard about his actions in "I, Borg", which of course happened before the events of this book. She could've just gotten madder about it because of what happened in "Descent, Part 1", though.
 
Recounting. I get the whole treat the Book like its the readers first trek book, however Star Trek books are so niche, it'd better serve the story to just go and put a glossary at the end "for more information, check out the last 25 years of trek literature" section.

The best example of this I ever read was Indistinguishable From magic. The author just went for it and trust the reader to keep up.

I don't know. I still remember two diametrically opposed reviews I got for my Warehouse 13 novel. One reader scolded me for wasting time explaining stuff that any true WH13 fan already knew. Another reader praised me for making the book accessible to someone who had never watched the tv show before.

This is always going to a balancing act, and you don't want to lean too hard either way.

I mean, sure, at this late date it's probably not necessary to exposit that Vulcans have pointed ears and prefer logic to emotion. But if I bring back Gary Seven or Lenore Karidian or whoever, I'm certainly not going to assume that every reader remembers every episode in encyclopedic detail, so I am darn well going to re-explain who they are and what their history with Kirk is. I always try to keep one eye on the casual reader who may fondly remember watching TOS on TV at some point, or seeing a few of the movies, but isn't necessarily well-versed in nearly sixty years of Trek lore and literature.

Heck, I try not to even refer to my own books unnecessarily. :)
 
You shouldn't have to do homework to read any novel. Or to watch an episode.

Of course, there might be Easter eggs that might only be apparent if you look things up (and be careful looking things up on Memory Beta: lately, some ad on the site has been redirecting to "safesysdefender [dot] xyz," which is a fake virus scanner that appears to be fraudulent in its intentions). With the LD 4x01, at least half the Easter eggs were things I'd forgotten (and the mechanical versions of the "space salamanders" from "Threshold" were a particularly non-obvious one, even though I remember the salamanders).
 
Storytellers know how to do these things; we've been doing it for a long time.

Which doesn't come across in a condescending manner at all and dismissive of the reader experience.

Personally I stepped away from most Trek books a while ago, I just wasn't connecting and the Picard and Disco books just didn't do it for me, I dont want to read a novel about how Rios got his ship or how Seven joined the rangers, I've been craving planet of the week, such as the Strange New Worlds novels, and that's about the only Trek book I've picked up in the past four plus years, since Enterprise War I think. I'd hoped this book, free of the ongoing narrative, might be a return to that, set on Bajor as it might be, but it's sounding as if it's not going to be my sort of thing yet again. Which kinda sucks, but oh well, I'll hold put hope for Asylum later on the year.
 
Which doesn't come across in a condescending manner at all and dismissive of the reader experience.

Whaaaaaaa...???? On the contrary, it's all about being considerate of the reader experience, keeping in mind that you need to make a story accessible to all readers. Is it condescending for a carpenter to say they know how to install a door? No. It's a factual statement that they have learned the basic skills of their profession and are thus qualified to make a structure accessible to its users. Exposition is writing 101, one of the most elementary tools in the author's kit. "Never assume your audience knows something, make sure you explain it in the text" is something that was drilled into me in grade school English class. (Which confused me greatly at the time, because the only person who read my papers was the teacher, who did already know it. In retrospect, I see that it was training for writing for a larger audience in the future.)

You seem to be talking about whether a book is connected to some bit of onscreen continuity or tells an unrelated story, and my point is that that doesn't matter when it comes to how exposition works. "Never assume your audience knows something." Any story, even a sequel, may be a reader's first, so you have to write it to work entirely on its own, to be understandable and satisfying even to a reader who's never encountered its characters and continuity before. A reader who knows the backstory being referenced may get more out of it due to the resonances, but that's not "homework," because it's optional. Every story should work on its own; connections to other stories should be a bonus.

Some people might seek out a book about Rios getting his ship or Seven joining the Rangers because they're curious about those untold parts of the continuity -- but those stories are only worth telling if there's actually a good story there that deserves to be told and would be enjoyable even to a continuity novice. Which I guess might be what you're saying -- that the continuity ties shouldn't overwhelm the story, that they should only be discussed in the text to the extent that they're relevant to its own narrative, so that they feel like part of the story itself rather than a hyperlink to something else.
 
As an editor, outside of Trek, I've certainly asked authors to add a bit more recapping to a sequel, and not to assume that every reader has perfect recall of a previous book that may have come out a year or two ago.

Is this changing, though? In the last year, I've read at least two high-profile sequels (not TREK) in which it seemed to me that the author didn't bother with any real recapping and instead just dived right into what happened next, as though the reader had just put down the previous book and still vividly remembered everything that had already happened -- in a book published a few years earlier.

I don't get it. Are they assuming that readers will automatically reread the previous book before tackling the sequel, or that the readers will go on-line to find a detailed synopsis if necessary? Or is this just a function of my aging brain not having perfect recall of books I read a year or more ago? In one case, I literally had to put the sequel aside until I had time to reread the first book -- because the author wasn't making any effort to refresh my memory of who these people were or what exactly happened to them in the last book.

Has recapping become unfashionable for some reason?
 
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In one case, I literally had to put the sequel aside until I had time to reread the first book -- because the author wasn't making any effort to refresh my memory of who these people were or what exactly happened to them in the last book.
Indeed. And I've been known to sit on early installments of an announced multi-book arc, buying them immediately but not actually reading them, in order to avoid that, even when the installments are only spread out across a few months.

Which is the point of exposition. Or "Previously on...". Or the Chorus in a Greek drama or Shakespeare play. Storytellers know how to do these things; we've been doing it for a long time.

The hard part is doing it in a way that seems natural to the flow of the narrative, rather than being some big, obvious, info-dump. That's why people like CLB, GC, DW, DM, DD, KMFB, DC, UMcC, both JMFs, and others too numerous to mention get to write the ST novels, and the rest of us merely get to read them.
 
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In the "Mrs. Jeffries Mysteries" series (http://www.emilybrightwell.com/node/5), the author reminds us about how characters got their jobs, met, etc, every time they're re-introduced for the first time in a particular book, to the point of copying and pasting. (Which might go less noticed by me had I not read multiple stories from the series all at once to catch up) I wish all these details had been included in a separate section outside the story, as I doubt the characters themselves reflect on their own backstories that frequently.
 
Is Nechayev excessively pleasant in the book? At this point chronologically, she has only met Picard once. And to me she seems business-like in that first appearance. Due in no small part to the situation at hand.

Is this another byproduct of the crew acting like babies in Chain of Command ? ;)
 
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