TOS 80's Novel Continuity Read Through

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Desert Kris, Apr 30, 2018.

  1. Damian

    Damian Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    Now that I'm finished with the Bantam books in my collection I plan on re-reading my 80's Pocketbooks novels, most of which I haven't read in 20+ years (so they'll basically be new to me).

    I decided to start with #2, "The Entropy Effect". I don't think I'll read them in order though. I think I'll focus on reading author's novels in order (since some authors back then built a little bit on their prior novels and if nothing else they have the same feel). Though that may change but I'll start with the late Vonda McIntyre's books.
     
  2. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Location:
    Desert City
    Very cool! I look forward to reading your thoughts as you go through them again.

    I've thought that it might be fun to revisit the books farther down the road, after I've finished them in the reading order I've gone through them this time. There is something of a progression with any one individual author, and I can see it being satisfying in a different way to focus on one author at a time.

    This is how I started with the 80's continuity; I was just going to keep it simple with Diane Duane's books, with other highlight novels slotted between Duane's books. Thinking about it in retrospect, I think I would have enjoyed reading J.M. Dillard's books, and Jean Lorrah's much closer together. But most other authors, who I think are perfectly fine, I've felt the need to give space between their books. I think I'm afraid I might wear out their welcome, and would only have myself to blame. But that's just me.

    Happy reading!
     
    Damian likes this.
  3. Damian

    Damian Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    For me McIntyre just won because she had the first original Pocketbook novel. One advantage of reading them all these years later is you can read them in any order. And for Diane Duane that has definite advantages since she had a certain internal continuity with her novels. I don't recall if McIntyre did something similar with hers.

    And of course "Chain of Attack" is my favorite all time novel of that early era. I'll r-read that at some point and start off with "The Abode of Life" which "Chain of Attack" was loosely based off of (I think it was Christopher that noted that wasn't a strong book....I did read that years ago but I'll be damned if I can remember it at all).

    I expect in my re-reading I'll find some duds. And just like I'm one of 10 people that liked Star Trek: Nemesis, I think I'm also one of 10 people that didn't care for "The Final Reflection". However, that being said I will give that another chance at some point. I originally read that I think in the early years of TNG, perhaps a bit earlier, so maybe my opinion of it will change this go around.
     
  4. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Location:
    Desert City
    The Romulan Way by Diane Duane (Part I)

    Overview

    My old laptop computer died while I was writing a retrospective for My Enemy, My Ally; as a lead-in to The Romulan Way. I don't think I can go back to that. Some of the thoughts I was writing about ME, MA made their way into this reflection.

    A while ago I started out reading TOS novels released throughout the 80’s, at first with the modest goal of trying Diane Duane’s novels, with some other major highlights that are frequently flagged as “best of” or at least “noteable”. The Wounded Sky worked great, but My Enemy, My Ally didn’t agree with me. In the interest of not giving up on the idea I expanded the reading list. As time passed and I settled in for a much, much longer reading journey, I sometimes wondered if I would ever return to Diane Duane’s books, in particular her Rihannsu story. I read the ST comics she wrote, which were great, and kept her characters in mind. I pondered occasionally trying her Wizard series, in the long gap, as I moved towards a more publication order reading schedule. I came very close to trying the Wizard series but in the end The Romulan Way eventually became much closer in the schedule.

    This feels like reaching a major milestone, since the goal was to see how differently the Klingon and Rihannsu (Romulan) cultures are developed in these novels. There’s been a lot more of Vulcans and their home world, new Enterprise crewmembers have taken the spotlight, and the Federation has been doing a fair amount of research into improved FTL drive systems. The Klingon cultural ideas I’ve seen developed more in the books so far is actually Vonda McIntyre’s, much to my surprise.

    I was always hopeful I would eventually get to The Romulan Way. Originally it was going to be the sixth novel I was going to read, but ended up being the eighteenth. Factoring in that I’m a slow reader. It’s been a long time, getting from there to here.

    Intro

    Hovering in space, the visual of a strikingly red planet fills our view. A very quiet and subdued rendition of The Romulan Theme from Balance of Terror heralds the appearance of a collection of large multi-generational colony ships rising from the surface of the red planet, leaving forever. A forlorn second musical phrase of The Romulan Theme shows a very abbreviated sequence of images of the colony ships passing several worlds, transitioning by fade-aways between scenes. The first brief triumphant fanfare shows five surviving colony ships flying toward the twin worlds of ch’Rihan and ch’Havran; these are a Romulan parallel to the images that are the intro to TOS television episodes. A final bold rendition of The Romulan Theme heralds the image of the Romulan Bird-of-Prey soaring away from ch’Rihan, on the hunt.

    Bonus Alternative Intro

    Arrhae’s voice over of a collection of beautiful stellar imagery: “There are those who believe that life here began out there, far across the dark night of space, with tribes of Vulcans, who may have been the forefathers of the Mintakans, or the Rihannsu, or the Kinishae. Some believe there may even now be brother Vulcans struggling to survive...or on a rampaging conquest of worlds; far away among the stars.”

    The Need of the One

    Arrhae’s Story

    The main “present day” story focuses on Arrhae, the head servant of a somewhat fallen yet honored house in Rihannsu society. Arrhae also happens to be a deep cover agent named Terise, who has been placed within Rihannsu society in order to study their culture from within, and share her insights with the Federation so that the Federation can interact more effectively with the Rihannsu Empire. At least, that’s the impression I got. However, she seems so deeply buried in her role that Terise barely exists anymore. The arrival of Dr. McCoy at the home of her master reawakens the human side that she has hidden in order to survive among the Rihannsu without drawing suspicion.

    I spent a lot of time throughout Arrhae’s story wondering about some of the more particular details of Terise’s mission and how she communicated with Starfleet, and if she would ultimately decide to return home to the Federation. The opening of the book indicates that the History sections are in-universe material written by Terise and published for Starfleet/Federation use. I was really enjoying the book-within-a-book trend that The Final Reflection and Strangers From the Sky brought to the 80’s novels, and I thought that I was bidding farewell to that with the latter novel. So I was pleased to find that it isn’t over yet, seeing it return here. However, I was puzzled by the disconnect between the existence of Terise’s work being published, and the activities of Arrhae, shown completely buried in the work of her cover, but without any hint of her exploring Rihannsu culture in a proactive way, and out of contact with Starfleet Intelligence. One day after finishing the book I can only remember one mention of her watching or reading something. There are no moments showing her reacting to art, architecture, literature, or television produced in the Rihannsu culture, no in-the-moment analysis of how that fits in with the culture. Arrhae seems to be staying within her lane, without venturing outside it.

    Part of that is because Arrhae is shown to be having an off-day during the first introductory chapter, which is one of those “day-in-the-life” sequences. She wakes up late, throws herself together for the day, and is having to overcome that late start while leading the rest of the serving staff; but she is further wrong footed by an unscheduled dinner party which takes her away from her typical routine. I never got a sense of her regular routine, and whether that includes cultural research, and documentation (and hiding her work). The sequence could still have done a comparison: “normally Arrhae would be doing X activity at this time”.

    We get the opportunity to spend a lot of time in Arrhae’s head, and this was helpful in seeing how immersed she is in her identity, and when we see the cracks start to show. I guess maybe the point that I didn’t pick up on is that Terise is gone, partly to increase the odds of survival, partly to impress on me that Arrhae is her identity now. The main thing I picked up on throughout the rest of the book is how fearful Arrhae/Terise is.

    The book works great as a tension-filled thriller; with Terise constantly on edge about being contacted by people on either side of the intelligence networks, and the fear about the consequences of being discovered by the wrong people in Rihannsu society. It reminded me of stories about society behind the Iron Curtain that I heard while growing up in the 80’s; a sense of oppressive claustrophobia.

    When it came time for Terise to decide if she wanted to be retrieved from her assignment, I felt skeptical about her choice. I didn’t believe her declaration that she had come to love Rihannsu society, given the fear she lived with. I felt uncomfortable about Arrhae’s disdain about Terise living an academic’s life back in Starfleet, with her head buried in books. As if Terise didn’t have any valuable insight she could give the Federation. I felt like the character of Arrhae killed and buried Terise in a way, and it’s a thankless murder of her buried inner-self. Arrhae still could be discovered in the future and suffer a needlessly cruel death for the crime of once having been Terise, and no Rihannsu who would judge her as a spy would care that Arrhae killed an aspect of herself to willingly embrace Rihannsu society.

    I was also skeptical of the sudden elevation of Arrhae’s status within Rihannsu society. It felt like a pretty big jump for a servant class to suddenly be declared a Senator. I was baffled by the fact that she is a Senator who still is in her daytime position as head servant of the house she has been in throughout the book. That dual role feels too strange for me. It felt like a consolation prize for readers such as myself, who felt uneasy with Arrhae’s decision to remain in a society who would want her dead if they knew the truth about her. The only other consolation is that there are some powerful Rihannsu families who believe in a more quality form of honor, who know what she is and do accept her, but that is something that isn’t concretely spelled out, more ambiguously hinted at.

    The Rock on a Hard Place, and the real McCoy

    I really like how this is one of those novels that ventures far afield from the traditional ST story of the Enterprise on another mission. There’s only one Enterprise crewmember who is strongly familiar: Dr. Leonard McCoy. Of all people to be sent in on a top secret spy mission! But the novels have increased my appreciation for the character, a lot of authors seem to capture his voice closely enough that it’s been easy hearing DeForest Kelly performing the dialogue in my head. Dr. McCoy is a major point of familiarity, but he isn’t the star of the book, but I hardly even noticed. I resented a moment early in the book where the story backtracks to show how McCoy gets pulled into the adventure, but it’s helped by the fact that it’s Dr. McCoy who is the focus of the chapter. McCoy is a nice bright spot in the book. The whole book is fun, generally, but there’s always that extra spark when it returns to the good old country Doctor.

    It’s great to see Naraht, a character concept I enjoyed from the previous Duane novel, even if I didn’t have strong feelings about the character per se. The Romulan Way uses Naraht in a way that I found fully satisfying; more so than the way he is used in My Enemy, My Ally. I didn’t like the feeling that ME, MA left me with, that Duane held back on allowing Naraht the full range of his capabilities. Mainly I was angry that Naraht had difficulty eating/burning his way through a door that should have been a cake walk for him. The Romulan Way gives him free rein to be interesting, and awesome; and inspiring a spiritual/religious terror in the Rihannsu when he is unleashed. It’s the perfect release after tension built up through the rest of the novel.

    Also exciting is the return of Ael from ME, MA. I knew to expect her, and she has a grand entrance. The history chapters pay off well there; without their context a reader wouldn’t appreciate how bold and blasphemous and shocking Ael’s actions would be to the Rihannsu senators and praetors. Given how members of an honorable Rihannsu house put their necks on the line to trust McCoy enough to fulfill his request, I wonder how they feel about the way they participated in bring Ael’s wrath down on the heart of the Rihannsu government. I’m not even sure I approve, but the scene was wickedly exciting all the same.

    Good Words?

    While reading this, and keeping in mind my failed history with My Enemy, My Ally, I thought a lot about how this work stands as a representation of Diane Duane’s work. I tried to keep in mind that the book was written in a rush, and it’s stands as pretty solid for a work that was written in a desperate hurry. I also tried to keep in mind that Duane had a co-author helping her out. But one aspect of the work that slowed me down was the prose. I noticed how often the style keeps relying on complex sentences. I wondered if this was an aspect of the writing that slowed me down through The Wounded Sky and ME, MA. There were a lot of sentences that could have been re-phrased or split up. It felt like too many sentences would have interjections and tangents within their structure, this slowed down the flow of my reading. I caught some sentences that have an incomplete thought because they’re trying to convey too much information within a single sentence.

    To be continued.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2020
    Stevil2001 likes this.
  5. Damian

    Damian Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2017
    Location:
    United States
    I have to hit up my Diane Duane novels again next summer as part of my summer camper re-read program :) . I read her last 3 Rihannsu novels soon after they came out, but I haven't read the first couple in years, probably since I first got them in the late 1980s. It'll be very interesting to read her 'alternate' take on the Romulans. The latter Rihannsu novels by her brought in some things from what we learned about the Romulans in later shows like TNG (at least where it was consistent with her previous novels), so it will be interesting to read her early works before we had TNG and later shows.

    I'm also looking forward to re-reading Diane Carey's "Dreadnought"-"Battlestations" duology. My very first original Star Trek novel was "Battlestations" and I haven't read them since that came out. Sometimes Carey's novels can be challenging to read, but I recall enjoying both novels and her unique way of 1st person storytelling through Lt. Piper (and how she expertly avoided any Mary Sue issues, which could be an easy trap to fall into writing from 1st person I imagine). And this time I'll read them in the proper order :lol:

    So I think that will be my goal for next summer. And maybe I'll throw in a book or two from authors that only wrote a single book if I have time.
     
    Desert Kris likes this.
  6. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Location:
    Desert City
    Very nice! There's a lot of unexpected aspects to her novels, the emphasis has always been a surprise. Maybe there's something to be said for revisiting ME, MA with a little more familiarity and less expectation of how I thought things were going to go. I can definitely see myself re-visiting the history chapters in TRW frequently. More on those in the next part of my reflection.

    Finishing TRW renewed my awareness of the later Rihannsu book, given where TRW leave some of the characters and situations. The historical chapters highlighted the existence of the Vulcan Noun trilogy of books in a similar way. I wonder how the experience would have been different if I had read TRW when it first came out? I wouldn't have a list of books to regard, and see that Diane Duane goes in a different direction with her books, with Spock's World as her next entry. No way to know that the affairs of the Rihannsu will have a long wait before returning.

    Dreadnought was such great fun. And Battlestations was incredible the way it expanded what seemed a definitively ended storyline from Dreadnought smoothly and organically. I love how Piper basically has her own crew (within the larger crew).
     
    Damian likes this.
  7. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Location:
    Desert City
    The Romulan Way by Diane Duane (Part II)

    The Need of the One

    History

    There’s an amazing moment of synchronicity when the history chapters align well with the back-and-forth of Arrhae’s story. At the end of Arrhae’s off-day and late evening anxiety, the novel shifts to the long night of the Declared’s perilous journey from Vulcan to the double planets they eventually settle on. Almost as if all the characters in the “current day” story go to sleep after a hellish day and dream through the long night about the Rihannsu’s terrible journey. And wake to a new day weighed down by the events of what came before. A new day, a new start; but there’s no escaping the past.

    I couldn’t really find a lot of other thematic or aesthetic resonance with the back-and-forth between history and “current” chapters, but this isn’t really a big deal. I thought it was impressive that they lined up that particular transition at least. I’m sure if the book hadn’t been written in as much of a rush a little more time could have been devoted to making the back-and-forth more interconnected. It does still provide excellent context for the significance of Ael’s actions in the Senate chamber.

    I really enjoyed the history chapters. They weren’t easy reading, but it was great seeing a book do something that novels don’t usually do. It’s like reading an author’s backstory notes, or the historical appendices in The Lord of the Rings, or entries from the Dune Encyclopedia, or a roleplaying game sourcebook’s setting information. I love how there’s a massive space opera setting here in a version of Star Trek’s distant past. I experienced this book in the wake of having read a novel called The Fifth Season, as well as reading setting information about a roleplaying game called Numenera, so the patterns of the rising and falling of advanced civilizations was fresh in my mind; it made the rapid advance of colonial space travel, settling on ch’Rihan and ch’Havran, and the subsequent degeneration of Rihannsu space technology work better than it would have otherwise.

    I found it really intriguing that these history chapters cover ground that has become myth and legend and ancient history. Yet Ancient Vulcan is still highly modernized and futuristic, as we would recognize it. The set up with the S’harien swords, and the one sword that always rests on the Empty Chair really worked well for me as a cultural point of reverence for the Rihannsu. Ael’s actions at the end of the book would not have been shocking without this background understanding. I wonder if the Rihannsu actually understand themselves the meaning of the Empty Chair holding that chosen S’harien.

    The story of the swordsmith S’harien helped me to understand a small point about the sword that Spock keeps in his quarters, as shown in ME, MA. The scene that features Spock letting Ael handle his family’s S’harien sword was one of my favorite moments in ME, MA. It’s also one of those moments that brought out a minutia-obsessed questions in me, as happens with many ST fans. I wondered about the ultimate fate of Spock’s S’harien, given it’s status as a relic that both Vulcans and Rihannsu recognize as a point of shared cultural significance from before their divergence. I felt anxiety about the possibility that the sword was lost when the Enterprise was destroyed over the Genesis planet. I suppose that’s a silly question to be preoccupied with, but it was the early days of my reading of the 80’s novels. My mentality was that if it’s a continuity, I wanted to take it as a continuity; very, very seriously.

    The Romulan Way suggests there are tiers of quality for the S’harien swords. The Rihannsu took three of the highest quality, while a lot of the other, more “basic” S’harien’s were being destroyed by the very swordsmith who made them after he embraced Surak’s philosphy. The lower-tier swords are still given credit as high-quality swords, and it’s still significant that Spock has a 2,000 year old sword that dates all the way back to just before the Rihannsu Schism. It sounds like Spock’s family inherited one of the lower-tier swords that survived S’harien’s attempts to destroy his works. As of writing this moment, it occurred to me to wonder if Ael might have gotten the bold idea to seize the S’harien from The Empty Chair after Spock permitted her to handle his family’s heirloom. Did holding that S’harien make her reflect on the joint history of the Vulcans and the Rihannsu, and make her think that she could get an entire Empire to reflect on it’s Ways by making the Empire reflect on the significance of the S’harien that rested on The Empty Chair? I love the shades of The Sword in the Stone legend that this Rihannsu legend seems to echo.

    The emphasis on the S’harien swords made me wish that this book had a cover done by Boris Vallejo, I think it would have complemented the sense of ancient history and new traditions becoming sacred mystery. He could have blended the fantasy atmosphere with the technological trapping of the Rihannsu past really well. It would have been better than the Colonial Viper fighters from a totally different sci-fi setting.

    To be concluded.
     
    Leto_II and Stevil2001 like this.
  8. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Location:
    Desert City
    The Romulan Way by Diane Duane (Part III)

    The Needs of the Many

    Between My Enemy, My Ally and The Romulan way, the only novel that I can recall off the top of my head that makes use of the Romulans as Rihannsu is Dwellers in the Crucible. I’ve enjoyed other ST novels where they are “just” Romulans, but I have felt regret at not seeing the Rihannsu explored as a culture sooner.

    Diane Duane seems to mostly stick with her own continuity ideas, although one small detail felt like it might have come from Margaret Wander Bonanno’s Dwellers. There’s an early reference to hostage-taking with the goal of promoting peace between tribes or nations; in the glossary at the end of the book is the term rrh-thanai for hostage fostering. This sounds so much like the Warrantor of Peace idea the Vulcans promoted from their history to the Federation in Dwellers in the Crucible.

    Anedotally and completely irreverently, there is a very minor detail of Rihannsu culture from one of the other books. Just for fun. In Diane Carey’s Final Frontier, there’s an aspect of Rihannsu culture that gives away the game for a character at a key point in the story. Final Frontier has it that Romulans are picky about how they take their meals: they don’t like the different portions of food touching or mixing together. This is a funny detail because I’m picky about my food in the same way; I don’t like the moist food coming into contact with the dry food, I hate certain sauces mixing together, ect. After I read Final Frontier it became a fun tidbit that I shared with the rest of my Trek-friendly family. They all know that I “eat like a Romulan.” This was years before this reading project. Anyway, I didn’t really expect this to be a thing in The Romulan Way, so it’s not a crushing blow to know that this isn’t a thing in TRW. On the other hand, TRW doesn’t rule out the possibility in it’s cultural vision.

    In most other respects Duane develops her vision of ST differently from other novelists. In The Romulan Way the stolen cloaking technology is used mainly by a small handful of Starfleet Intelligence ships, as opposed to how JM Dillard establishes that the Enterprise herself has a cloaking device (suggesting that the technology is being distributed much more widely throughout the Fleet).

    I hadn’t read ahead in The Spaceflight Chronology to first contact and the war with the Romulans that is the backstory for Balance of Terror, but I did skim ahead a little to get an impression. SFC and TRW go in vastly different directions, as the SFC has the Federation-Romulan (or Earth-Romulan War I guess) as a three-year war, while TRW goes big and says it lasted something like 25 years! The details of the start and end are different, as are the major ships named as being involved in the start of the conflict. I get the impression the SFC establishes Vulcan as having joined with the other founding races in forming the United Federation of Planets before the war started; however TRW indicated that the Vulcans join the Federation towards the end of the war and prod the Federation to make peace with the mysterious aggressors.

    I had fallen behind in reading forward through segments of time in the SFC. I wish I had, but it was enough to peak ahead and get a feel for how these two books have a different vision of the Earth-Romulan war. I wasn’t bothered by drastic differences like the 3 years versus 25 years alternatives. One thing that I wasn’t keen on though was how TRW has Vulcan join the Federation and send their first emissary, Ambassador Sarek; the very diplomat who gets the peace process rolling. I really don’t feel like Sarek had to be the first ambassador; given how he is still the ambassador all the way into TNG’s era. Might as well make him Ambassador-Eternal. I don’t know why I didn’t feel forgiving about this idea of Sarek’s role in Vulcan’s history within the early Federation.

    As far as placement of TRW with the television series, the movies, and the other books, there are some useful contextual indicators. The book has the events of The Ultimate Computer and The Enterprise Incident as 8 years prior. Those episodes are the end of the television series’ second year/beginning of the third year. TRW also takes place about a year after ME, MA. I didn’t over-analyze these details while reading, I’m just bad with math. Mr. Christopher Bennett outlined it very well somewhere earlier in this thread. My generic preference is that this is toward the end of the Enterprise’s tour before she returns for her TMP-refit, although while reading it I thought there might be a case to be made for TRW being set during the refit, assuming all the senior staff have a gradual transition period rather than scatter overnight after returning home. Kirk and Spock are present during a Starfleet Intelligence meeting that recruits McCoy for the mission, and Kirk’s rank isn’t mentioned. There are no details about the Enterprise on patrol or being deployed at all. It doesn’t work if one applies a strict interpretation of TMP novelization which has Spock and McCoy resign from Starfleet very soon after the Enterprise returns to Spacedock. I’m inclined to stick with my preference that the Enterprise is still on her mission, but it’s almost over.

    The Dimensions of Creation Make Our Future Choices Limitless

    From The Romulan Way to Time For Yesterday

    I found the ending of The Romulan Way to be somewhat open ended in a fascinating way, as if there’s a lot of elements left up in the air. I could jump ship from my 80’s novel train, and forge ahead with the other Rihannsu books.

    But no, I want to see how the early Rihannsu history chapters spin out and are developed in Spock’s World...but not right away. No, I don’t want to jump into another Duane novel, not even with a single other ST novel in between. Publication(ish) order is still best, for giving space between Duane novels, so that I will look forward to Spock’s World.

    Another avenue that tempted me to throw caution to the wind is the idea of seeing how the Vulcan Noun trilogy draws inspiration from the Rihannsu history sequences and expands them or differs from them (do they draw on Spock’s World, too?). I felt a vague curiosity about the Intellivore encounter and seeing how TNG deals with it or something similar in the Intellivore novel.

    I’ve come this far, though. 18 books since I started this, more Star Trek novels than I ever thought I would read. Between this milestone and what I consider the next major milestone, Time For Yesterday, are four novels I want to have gone through. How Much Just For the Planet?, Bloodthirst, and the IDIC Epidemic, with the novelization for The Voyage Home somewhere in the mix (and it will be a mix).

    I’m skipping Diane Carey’s Final Frontier, on the grounds that I’ve already read it at least twice. Maybe I’ll skim through it for a refresher, but I’ll re-read it properly later; maybe.

    The three numbered books I’m re-ordering. I want to get to Bloodthirst to see how JM Dillard’s trio of novels finish off; I want to see how Tomson and the rest of her security staff are doing after the events of Demons, and I want to see if Bloodthirst will serve as a remedy to the disappointment I felt after Demons, given that I liked Mindshadow so much.

    I’ve slated The ICID Epidemic next to round off Jean Lorrah’s duo of TOS novels. It’s already been a fair amount of time since I read The Vulcan Academy Murders, so delaying in favor of one more (Dillard’s) isn’t going to make much difference. I figured I would prioritize JM Dillard’s books because there’s still a little bit of momentum. I’m positioning How Much For Just the Planet? Last in this line-up because as far as I understand it, there isn’t really much connection between it and The Final Reflection.

    Somewhere between these books I plan to read The Voyage Home novelization, if nothing else to at least have McIntyre’s trilogy of movie novelizations finished before reaching Time For Yesterday. I don’t know if it is “necessary” to have read The Voyage Home before Time For Yesterday, but I would at least like to “complete the set” of those movie novelizations. I also want to give some space between TVH and the novelization for The Final Frontier. I want to pace myself with the movie novelizations; I skipped TVH earlier because I wanted to get further ahead with more fully original novel content: specifically I wanted to get to all of Deep Domain, Strangers From the Sky, and The Romulan Way more quickly. After all, given the company we are in here, it’s easy to imagine how many times some of us have seen the actual movie TVH over the last 30 years.

    So that’s my planned reading path from The Romulan Way to Time For Yesterday. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all comes together in Time For Yesterday.

    “Fleeing the tyranny of a more logical, rationally ordered society, Rea’s Helm leads a self-exiled fleet of colonial ships on a lonely quest for two shining twin planets, new homes for The Declared and The Travelers.”
     
    Markonian, Reanok, Odo and 1 other person like this.
  9. Odo

    Odo Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2011
    Location:
    Earth
    I'm really loving this read through - looking forward to more.
     
    Desert Kris likes this.
  10. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Location:
    Desert City
    Thanks! :) It's been great fun making my way through these stories. I noticed that you mention starting with the Bloodwing Voyages collection in the What are you Reading? thread, happy reading and look forward to your thoughts on the series.
     
    Odo and trampledamage like this.
  11. Odo

    Odo Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2011
    Location:
    Earth
    Thanks @Desert Kris ! The first thing that's really stuck out to me so far (I'm about 20 or so pages in) is how Duane embraces the fact that she can easily include many non-humanoid aliens as part of the Federation crew. No TV show budget limitations here!
     
    Sci, Desert Kris and Smiley like this.
  12. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Location:
    Desert City
    The diversity that she develops is really impressive, definitely. It makes the Federation seem less homogenous than DS9 tends to suggest, although I am finding that I am enjoying that take as an alternative while I'm watching through DS9.

    I also enjoyed how we have chapters going back and forth between Starfleet and Romulan crews, comparing and contrasting their situations.

    It's always fun to ease into a new story with Kirk and company relaxing on the rec deck, and just enjoy the simple pleasure of revisiting the Star Trek setting.

    The book also gave me a weird feeling of nostalgia for the 1980's era Cold War. I suppose that sounds a little twisted, but it's what I was familiar with when I was really young. Don't get me wrong, I'm in favor of improved diplomatic circumstances for the world.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2020
    Markonian and Odo like this.
  13. Odo

    Odo Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2011
    Location:
    Earth
    Some thoughts:
    - It feels very much like Cold War fiction from the West, reminds me a bit of The Hunt for Red October
    - Kirk states he doesn't like to lose - this came out in '84 - I wonder how much TWoK influenced her writing
    - The Romulans here can read as transitioning from their more honorable TOS appearances to the duplicitous commanders we see in the TNG era
    - One thing that was off putting for me was the description of someone as a "Terran Oriental"
    - Are there any descriptions of uniforms here? I haven't seen any yet Isn't the timeframe a bit fuzzy as to when this takes place?

    Interested to see where it goes!
     
    Desert Kris likes this.
  14. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Location:
    Desert City
    I love 1980's era cold war stuff, and THFRO is a favorite, both book and movie.
    I get the impression Diane Duane was really enthusiastic about the movies coming out, and incorporated aspects or the spirit of them in her books. The Wounded Sky is like her answer to TMP, while My Enemy, My Ally is more action/adventure like TWoK.
    The edition I read was an earlier individual printing, not the Bloodwing Voyages collection. The one I read mentions security in orange colored tunics. The opening scene with Kirk and Spock playing chess felt implied to take place on the massive rec deck seen in TMP, but later in the book a sister ship to the Enterprise is said to have newer engine nacelles (hinting at movie era designs) implying that Enterprise hasn't been upgraded with some newer systems yet.

    As I understand it, Diane Duane shifted the implied time period for her books with each new book she wrote and published, and reconceptualized and edited the four books republished in the Bloodwing Voyages collection to make them more consistent.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2020
    Odo likes this.
  15. Odo

    Odo Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2011
    Location:
    Earth
    Do you (or anyone else) happen to know what the implied time frame is for the Bloodwing Voyages edition?
     
  16. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Location:
    King Daniel Beyond
    The post-TMP 5-year mission.
     
    Leto_II, Odo and Desert Kris like this.
  17. Odo

    Odo Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2011
    Location:
    Earth
    Thanks - I'm going to go ahead and imagine them in the TWoK uniforms instead of TMP uniforms...

    I could have sworn Kirk's referred to as captain at some point, but how would that make sense if he's supposed to be an admiral now? Although I guess they can still call him captain, since he's captain of the ship, even though he's an admiral.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    In TMP, he took a grade reduction to captain. It wasn't just being called captain -- after he ditched the admiral whites, his duty uniform had captain's stripes on the sleeves. He didn't get re-promoted to admiral until sometime between TMP and TWOK, we don't know when.

    Most of the post-TMP novels over the years have followed TMP's precedent and called him Captain, though there have been a couple that called him Admiral even while he was still commanding the Enterprise -- Dwellers in the Crucible and Deep Domain are the two I know of. But those were both set later in the inter-movie period -- DD at the end of the post-TMP Enterprise mission, DitC in some vaguely defined pre-TWOK period where Kirk's still commanding the ship but Saavik is a cadet and somehow already a lieutenant.
     
    Leto_II and Odo like this.
  19. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Location:
    Desert City
    I came across a couple lines of dialogue when flipping through the copy of Rules of Engagement that I ended up buying, a novel which I got the impression is also kind of in the same time frame.

    It seemed to imply an interpretation that Kirk had remained an admiral overall, but that there is an etiquette for Kirk's circumstance where it is more proper to refer to Kirk as Captain while he is commanding officer of the Enterprise.

    Dwellers in the Crucible and Deep Domain just stick with Admiral, and I enjoyed the pre-TWoK idea. There's a scene in Dwellers where Kirk leverages that he "technically" outranks another officer even though he is in the role of starship commander, which read to me that Kirk was toeing the line on rank etiquette.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2020
    Leto_II and Odo like this.
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    As I said, that requires ignoring the actual captain's stripes on Kirk's uniform sleeves for most of TMP. Unless you assume he was just wearing Decker's spare uniforms because the clothing synthesizers wouldn't be delivered until Tuesday. And that they somehow fit him despite Decker being taller and thinner.
     
    Desert Kris likes this.