Spoilers TNG: Ship of the Line by Diane Carey Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Defcon, May 11, 2014.


Rate Ship of the Line

  1. Outstanding

    4 vote(s)
  2. Above Average

    7 vote(s)
  3. Average

    7 vote(s)
  4. Below Average

    9 vote(s)
  5. Poor

    16 vote(s)
  1. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    May 9, 2003
    TNG: Ship of the Line by Diane Carey


    The Starship Enterprise 1701-D has been destroyed, and Captain Jean-Luc Picard finds himself without a command. While waiting for his new ship, Captain Picard has gone with Lieutenant Worf on a delicate diplomatic mission to the Cardassian Empire.

    As Picard conducts high-level negotiations for the return of Federation prisoners of war, the Starship Enterprise 1701-E is being constructed under the supervision of Captain Morgan Bateson, a veteran of the twenty-third century who spent nearly ninety years in a pocket universe. Commanding this new Enterprise on what was supposed to be a short shakedown cruise, Captain Bateson has an idea of his own. In defiance of Starfleet Command, he will take Starfleet's newest, strongest starship and strike at the heart of the newly aggressive Klingon Empire.

    Captain Picard's negotiations proceed smoothly -- until he discovers that a hate-crazed Klingon commander -- Captain Bateson's archenemy from ninety years ago -- has taken the Enterprise from Bateson and launched a vicious attack on Cardassia Prime. To save the ship and preserve intergalactic peace, Picard must ally himself with his former Cardassian torturer, rely on the legendary skills of one Montgomery Scott, and draw new strength and inspiration from the memory of James T. Kirk...

    Ship of the Line reveals an unforgettable lost chapter in the ongoing saga of Star Trek that will thrill readers of every generation.


    My 10+ year old review:

    Ship of the Line isn't one of Diane Carey's better novel, quite the opposite to be honest. Of her non-novelizations only Ghostship is worse, and there she at least had the excuse of writing with little advance knowledge about the series.

    She wasn't able to capture my interest with either of her main plots. Neither the Bateson/Kozara plot, nor the story about Picard's crisis, which can only be solved with the help of holographic Kirk. The only part which was able to peak my interest at least a bit where Madred's camps, but was dealt with to swiftly to be able to salvage the novel for me.The whole novel was "solved" to easy, there were no advance signs for the resolution.

    The characterizations can't convince either, one of the few fitting ones is the one for the holographic Kirk. Most of the others don't fit, especially Picard and Riker. I can accept that Picard has a crisis of self-doubt after losing his second command and being unsure how to proceed, but the way Carey portrays this crisis and resolves it is unconvincing and extremely implausible.

    I haven't found many "good" guys in Star Trek novels who got on my nerves like Captain Morgan Bateson. If I had to work under or with him I either would push him out of an airlock or jump out of one myself. But even beyond that, his role in this novel is questionable and unconvincing. I can't believe that Starfleet would be stupid enough to give a guy who had only three years to get acclimated to this whole new time-frame the command of its new flagship(!), and allow him to take his equally 90 years behind crew with him. The admiral responsible for this decision should be demoted or fired.

    Another question I had was why Carey decided to include Worf in this novel. The novel takes place six month after Generations and after that Worf spend some time in a monastery, so at the time of this novel Worf hasn't been on DS9 too long. I doubt that Sisko would be too thrilled about Worf going on another mission with his old captain. As his commanding officer I would loose my confidence in him if he immediately jumps when his old Captain whistles for him. The best (worst?) part is that he doesn't even play an important role in the novel, he doesn't even have a line in it! Diane Carey lets make him this return for nothing.

    Overall a very disappointing novel with very few good scenes. As said above this is one of Carey's worst novels and a sure sign that she is more at home in TOS than in TNG.

    Last edited: May 11, 2014
  2. DGCatAniSiri

    DGCatAniSiri Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Aug 1, 2008
    My last read through, the massive continuity errors stood out like a sore thumb. Almost everything that comes from the actual episode 'Cause and Effect' is contradicted - the Typhon Expanse was supposed to have been unexplored when the Enterprise investigates it, not a well-patrolled route on the Klingon-Federation border, the Bozeman in the episode was calm and reasonably secure and undamaged, as well as having two visible female crewmen on the bridge, while the Bozeman in the novel was engaged in combat and exclusively male (which doesn't even make any sense from going off of TOS, it's just one of Diane Carey's narrative conceits to bludgeon the reader over the head with the metaphor 'starships = naval vessels IN SPACE!')... There's about a minute of footage to use, and she contradicts almost every last second of it.
  3. Mage

    Mage Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jun 17, 2007
    Diane Carrey has a huge Kirk-crush, that's all I know.
  4. Csalem

    Csalem Commodore Commodore

    Mar 28, 2006
    Dublin, Ireland
    I first read this book around late-1999, early 2000 just when I started to read Star Trek fiction. Although I considered myself a Trekkie at that time I had not seen every episode (that would happen when the DVDs came out) so I did not notice any continuity issues on my first reading. I did recall seeing "Cause and Effect" once before I read this book, but it was being a Frasier fan that initially attracted me to it.

    Back then I enjoyed the novel and thought it was a fun read. It was only when I started to watch the episode and join the forums did I notice the problems with it. And again recently I went back for a reread to see how it holds up and I find myself agreeing with a lot of the criticisms. The scenes set on the Bozeman I found annoying and Bateson did not come across as a likeable character. He improved somewhat when he was captain of the E-E but on the Bozeman I would find it very hard to work for him.
    Although others have pointed the mistakes between what the episode shows on the ship and what the book depicts, one line that struck me was when Bateson sat down on the centre seat on the bridge of the Bozeman. One of the characters noted that Bateson rarely sat down and looked uncomfortable in the seat. He certainly looked quite comfortable and used to sitting down on the aired-episode.

    The TNG characters did not feel in character and Picard did not seem like the Picard we know from the series. I find it odd he needs a holographic Kirk to convince him to take command of the Enterprise when the real Kirk had told him to stay in the centre seat previously.

    Overall I gave the book an Average.
  5. VDCNI

    VDCNI Captain Captain

    May 26, 2009
    London UK
    Horrible book - probably the worst Star Trek book I've ever read.

    I just don't understand why Carey was given the assignment to write the first mission of the E-E when she seems to have no interest in or respect for the TNG characters.
    CDP likes this.
  6. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    King Daniel Beyond
    I remember liking Bateson, his crew and their backstory (whether compatible with canon or not) quite a bit. But Picard watching "Balance of Terror" on the holodeck was horrible word count padding.

    A mixed bag.
  7. Reanok

    Reanok Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Dec 26, 2002
    I read this book a long time ago it was okay . I liked the story Batesman's crew living in the 24th century and rescuing imprisioned Starfleet crewmembers with Picard's help.
  8. Smellincoffee

    Smellincoffee Commodore Commodore

    May 20, 2005
    Heart of Dixie
    I read this while working my way through the Horatio Hornblower series, and seeing a lot of "age of sail" influence in Carey's writing.
  9. Cap'n Crunch

    Cap'n Crunch Captain Captain

    Jul 3, 2008
    Knoxville, TN
    I've also noticed a lot "age of sail" references in Carey's Star Trek writing. I never had much of a problem with it in her TOS stories, but found it really out of place in TNG.
  10. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Aug 19, 2008
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Carey can write well when she writes about things that are her strength, like TOS. When she writes about other things, well.
  11. Tirius

    Tirius Captain Captain

    Mar 27, 2003
    The Netherlands
    Not my cup of tea either. I loved Carey's work on New Earth, so when I picked this up at a used books store, I had high expectations. Don't recall much from the story at this point, as it's one of the few books on my shelf that I've never read for a second time...
  12. Destructor

    Destructor Commodore Commodore

    Feb 19, 2003
    Melbourne, VIC
    First Trek novel I ever hated. Gave up about 3/4ths of the way through. Sucked. A lot.
  13. Kilana2

    Kilana2 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jan 31, 2015
    Erlangen, Germany
    Crossovers (between TOS and TNG characters) are definitely not her strong suit.
  14. Kilana2

    Kilana2 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jan 31, 2015
    Erlangen, Germany
    Years ago I fought myself likewise through Red Sector. I finally finished it and I hated this Stiles person - he sucked endlessly. I kept myself pleading: kill him off :devil:.
  15. borgboy

    borgboy Commodore Commodore

    Sep 3, 2005
    I've not been a big fan of any of Carey's novel outside of her Invasion! TOS novel - I liked the concept of the Furies a lot, which helped the novel along.
    But her style grates on me a lot, and this one doesn't sound very promising. I have the book in my to be read stack soon and am dreading it. I'm giving myself permission not to finish it if it gets too bad, and from what I'm reading it sounds like there's a lot I'm going to hate, such as dragging down Picard to pimp out how great Kirk is. Other things I'm aware of and annoyed by, like the persistent sailing metaphors. Ignoring established female bridge crew to make the whole bridge crew male is offensive and goes against the diversity that is a big part of Trek. There's no excuse for that as even TOS had female bridge crew members.

    But before I get to that I've got Carey's First Frontier to read. It's got dinosaurs, so it's got to be better, right?
  16. Kilana2

    Kilana2 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jan 31, 2015
    Erlangen, Germany
    I prefer ship of the line over red sector. At least there is no unnerving Stiles character in it. But Bateson with a male first officer? I felt sympathy with him. And Diane Carey wrote better stuff, that´s for sure!
  17. ronny

    ronny Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Mar 21, 2006
    San Francisco, CA
    Red Sector vs. Ship of the Line? I really have no one to root for in that match up. As much as I dislike Red Sector, Ship of the Line is just so wrong on so many levels.
  18. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

    Jun 9, 2013
    The Captain's Table
    I read this book two years ago but wish I hadn't. Carey goes out of her way to make the Enterprise crew (Kirk and company) seem like living legends, even amongst their colleagues. I doubt that a group of officers merely hearing Kirk's voice over a loudspeaker would have drawn the attention it did in this novel, much as I find it hard to accept that every other first officer in Starfleet would measure himself against Spock.

  19. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

    Dec 19, 2011

    I always figured that Carey meant to put a line in there saying that the first officer was a cross-dresser. Or else those two women we saw on the screen were not part of Bateson's bridge crew, but were the heads of other departments who were talking to Bateson when the events occurred, and thus ended up on screen with him when he was talking to Picard.
  20. Kilana2

    Kilana2 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jan 31, 2015
    Erlangen, Germany
    Batesons first officer´s name was Gabriel Bush. Bush???????????? And he had a fiancée that got killed. I symply couldn´t wrap my mind around Starfleet submitting to Bateson. He got the Enterprise E for shakedown. He bustet Troi to nurse und rejected Counselors. In the 24th it is buisiness as usual for Captains to undergo evaluation (physically and psychologically) regarding their fitness for command.

    Mr. Bennetts approach of the handling of temporally displaced people is more likely and credible. Despite the quoted issues Batesons experience as Captain is still valuable for Starfleet.

    Nonetheless I didn´t vote poor, but avarage. The book had its moments. Too many nautical terms bothered me, but I could deal with it. When Carey focus lies on a single series , she is a good storyteller.

    But she definitely botched Red Sector!