TOS 80's Novel Continuity Read Through

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

  1. jaime

    jaime Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You’re making an era of Trek books..not to mention Klingons...sound more interesting than I imagined. I find Rihanna’s impenetrable, but maybe I should give this stuff another shot. I like Diane’s TNg books after all.
     
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  2. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Commander Red Shirt

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    Thanks! Final Reflection has such an interesting alternative presentation of Klingon culture; it's interesting to see a book extrapolate with only TOS episodes and TMP and nothing else. I don't mind that later television shows take it in a different direction, it gives two alternatives that we can look at.

    For what it's worth, the novel that kicks off the Rihannsu cultural concept was the most challenging read for me, out of all the 80's books I've read so far. Others have been...uh, maybe less good, but easy breezy reads by comparison. I say challenging; My Enemy, My Ally was a bit of a struggle, actually.

    I ended up getting Diane Duane's TNG books after reading The Wounded Sky and ME, MA for after I've finished this sequence of novels. Should be interesting to read Intellivore, as a follow up to the Romulan Way after seeing it hinted at in the latter book.

    I think Diane Duane does really well in the comic storytelling medium, actually. There's a handful of stories she wrote for the Star Trek DC Volume 1 series that are really quite charming or thoughtful, and her sense of humor worked better for me in those issues. I plan to write about those stories, because of their inclusion of characters from her Rihannsu novels.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The tendency to define Diane Duane's books as "the Rihannsu novels" has the unfortunate effect of excluding the two non-Rihannsu novels that are just as integral to her continuity, The Wounded Sky and Spock's World.
     
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  4. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Commander Red Shirt

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    I think I understand the tendency as a shorthand. I don't know if I've fallen into that trap, if I have it's unintentional. Right now The Wounded Sky and ME, MA have equal weight because they are the only ones I've read so far, in my mind. And The Romulan Way, while I look forward to what it develops about the Romulans, I am also just as much interested in what it says about Vulcans, as a lead in to Spock's World. I am in favor of being inclusive of all Diane Duane's books. My Enemy, My Ally is more satisfying when The Wounded Sky has been read before it.

    Swordhunt and The Empty Chair are a long way down the road for me; after the end of the 80's novel continuity books.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Those are my least favorite Duane books. They're all politics and war, which don't interest me as much as the other things she's written about in her career.
     
  6. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    This conversation reminds me of a question I've been meaning to ask. Are Diane Duane's Young Wizards books any good? The ebook version of the first one is only $3.99 and I've been curious to check the series out for a while now.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Oh, yes. Terrific stuff. A very distinctive approach to the idea of young people learning to be magicians, liberally blending fantasy with science fiction and magic with computers, and featuring a diverse, representative cast of characters. Plus there's an older-skewing side series about cat wizards!
     
  8. DrCorby

    DrCorby Commander Red Shirt

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    My two favorite Diane Duane ST novels are Spock's World and Doctor's Orders. I love the world-building (both historical and current Star Trek era) in the first, and McCoy's frustration at being stuck in a command role and then his creativity in using his medical knowledge to solve problems in the second. I read her first few Rihannsu novels years ago. I have the omnibus, and need to read the whole series at a single go.
     
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  9. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^^^^
    All of Duane's stuff is good. She captures the voices of the TOS characters as well as, if not better than, any other author (IMO, YMMV).

    For me, the top of her heap is The Wounded Sky. This book really captures the sort of "sense of wonder" feeling Trek provides in it's best moments.
     
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  10. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Commander Red Shirt

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    Klin Zha, The Game

    It occurred to me after I finished my comments on The Final Reflection novel that throughout the whole review I didn't even talk about the game that is such a major part of the story. I looked in the roleplaying game supplement, Klingons, that was written/contributed to by John Ford, and was surprised to find that I couldn't find details in that supplement about the game, and I kind of ended up forgetting about it. So, here is an appendix entry to The Final Reflection.

    The idea of the Klingon's game appealed to me, as something of a casual fan of Chess. I like Chess a lot, and so Klin zha's similarity drew me into the story even more. I read in a couple places that other readers identified the opening chapter as thematic echo of what the rest of the book is about. And I think I read into that a little too much the first time I read The Final Reflection. I don't think it's a beat for beat, move for move thematic parallel, but in the overall sense it does fit. Vrenn who becomes Krenn fights to higher levels, and seizes control of the goal.

    For added fun, I looked it up on Memory Beta, which sums it up very well. I contemplated the variants and wondered which variant the overall novel's story is? Blind or clouded? We can only see opponents when they are in contact with Krenn; yet there are aspects of the Klingon empire which I felt were impenetrable when trying to figure them out. Obviously the novel's story is a form of the game played with living pieces.

    What about the Ablative version? Throughout much of the narrative, people move into new roles and new relationships among themselves, so when the characters leave a space in most cases that space is removed from the game. Except in one case where someone has Krenn trusted for a long time turns out to be other than who Krenn thought he was. After the resolution to that conflict, another person kind of takes his place. Also, one might observe that the pieces all return to another Babel conference, but the circumstances have changed so drastically by that point; are they really returning to a space that has previously been occupied?

    Of course, because it is a game with living pieces, all the people in the game can at one time or another find themselves being moved by a hidden Klin zha Master-player in a high place, so it's also naturally the most complicated version of the game, the Reflective variant.

    I suppose that it isn't particularly original to just conclude that Krenn's story is all the variants of Klin zha, being played all at the same time. No wonder life seems so challenging sometimes, both in the Klingon culture depicted in The Final Reflection, but also here on our own planet Earth.

    The game really makes me think of what seemed like building up of gaming culture in the 1980's, but it's just an impression from my childhood remembrance. Video games, computer games, roleplaying games, and Tron. It seems fitting that The Final Reflection gave us a look at this fascinating game, that helps us understand that version of the Klingon culture, as well giving us insight into the character of Krenn himself. He's obsessed with the game, but he does he think life is a massive game of some sort? Did he eventually become a Klin zha master, or where did he disappear to in history, after the events of this story?
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018 at 5:44 AM
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