Spoilers TOS: Living Memory by Christopher L. Bennett - Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Klingolaus, Jun 11, 2021.

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Rate Living Memory

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  1. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

    Loved the Uhura's story here. One of the best parts of the book. Excited that Literary Treks is out now as Chis and I break down the book!
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2021
  2. Elwro

    Elwro Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Well, close to the end, when there's a bigger part of the song to be sung, Mr. Petkoff decides to read it :-)

    Hope I'll finish this today! Amazing stuff!
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Ah. Doing it Shatner-style.
     
  4. Kertrats47

    Kertrats47 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Latest Positively Trek Book Club is out! Bruce and I discuss Living Memory by Christopher L. Bennett. Lots of interesting discussion about this one, as it definitely affected me in ways I wasn't expecting. Hope you enjoy it!

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I will have to wait until I finish reading it.
     
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  6. Elwro

    Elwro Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Finished! Great stuff!

    One thing I like about the book is that it makes TOS better; in fact, it makes the whole Star Trek experience a little bit more cohesive. It fixes the stupidity of The Changeling's handling of Uhura's memory loss: 'yup, she's been wiped out, but no biggie, we're retraining her', expanding on, well, how big a deal something like that would have to be.

    Throughout the book I expected the two plots to connect somehow. Now I don't know why :-) To be honest, when Uhura started examining the data, I, remembering the dedication of the book, thought 'well, *obviously* the situation will get worse and worse but finally Uhura will sing back'. That felt to me to be just the right homage to the actor. This is not a criticism; not every book needs to be The Vatican Cellars when it comes to unpredictability. What I liked most about the Uhura plot was how her meeting with her family went.

    But after finishing the book I think I'm finding the other plot to be the more memorable one. I enjoyed the discussions e.g. of the issue whether anyone can be created with a purpose; of course the creator might think of one, but should it be binding for the creation?

    As for the early-Universe creatures: it's interesting to me that they managed to fine-tune their, uh, tools so that their communication would be perceptible on the time-scale of humans; they must've reached out to their remote future and figured out what kind of beings would be there. However, here's the one bit that felt a bit jarring to me. In one place (not sure where, close to the end; I've listened to the fabulously narrated audiobook) some character (Scotty?) just states outright what the motivation of the creatures was: they wanted to make sure someone would know about them; they wanted to hear back from *someone*. I felt that was unwarranted: it's a hypothesis, alright, but I thought the characters would spend more time discussing this. [Maybe the creatures discovered something amazing, which is hidden in the data until somebody deciphers it, and wanted to make sure the future civilizations wouldn't have to learn it from scratch?]

    This has been great fun. I will buy the paperback once it's available to me. I really hope Christopher is contracted for more ST novels (if he wants to, of course) -- as said at the beginning, his work improves ST as a whole!
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Thanks!

    They did connect loosely --
    Portia's group of Warborn took advantage of the disruptions caused by the vacuum flares to stage their act of rebellion, and the danger to the public was part of what Kirk used to convince Portia to stand down.

    But I had the separate characters all involved in the same crisis in The Higher Frontier, so I didn't want to repeat myself by having the same thing happen this time. And Kirk's adjustment to not being involved in the Enterprise's missions out in space was part of the story I was telling.

    Ironically, you figured that out faster than I did. All I wrote in the outline was that Uhura finally managed to make contact. It was only when I got around to plotting the scene that I realized how she should do it.


    It was Uhura who realized that, and it was intended to resonate with her personal storyline, and with the book's theme of the importance of not forgetting our past. It wasn't so much about the plasma beings' motivation as about Uhura's motivation, why she identified with them and cared so much about her quest to connect to them. Whether her conclusion about their motivation is objectively true or not is beside the point. That's just the MacGuffin. What matters is her need and how it drives her.

    Any discovery about the nature of the universe will always be there to be rediscovered and will inevitably be found independently by countless civilizations over the course of billions of years. But a society's own culture and heritage and art and literature and music are unique to it, and once they're gone, they can never be recovered. So of course that's what they'd want to ensure was preserved.
     
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  8. Elwro

    Elwro Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Oh, alright. This makes perfect sense, thanks!
     
  9. Randall Wiggins

    Randall Wiggins Cadet Newbie

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    I'll be finished reading this one tomorrow. Great so far.
     
  10. mthompson1701

    mthompson1701 Commander Red Shirt

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    I just finished it, and I did enjoy the audio version very much. I have no complaints with the story, it was engaging, and tied into TOS very well.

    @Markonian and @Christopher just to let you know there was no singing toward the end of the audio. Mr. Petkoff recited the lyrics, but it didn't ruin my enjoyment of it at all.

    Overall, outstanding. I'll probably be listening to it again in the future.
     
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  11. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

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    About 60 pages in, and it seems more slow in plots progression then other TOS novels.
    Christopher, is it becoming easier or harder to keep all your TOS and movie era novels consistent?
     
  12. Kertrats47

    Kertrats47 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I loved that aspect of the story. And the Federation president basically saying to Cartwright "You sidelined Kirk, and now we're all screwed because he won't pull off his famous last-minute save. Good job." was perfect.
     
  13. indianatrekker26

    indianatrekker26 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I didnt do my research but is that the same president from star trek 4 or a different character?
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It's before Hiram Roth's term. It's President Chab jav Lorg, whom I introduced in Forgotten History.
     
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  15. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    I got my copy yesterday, and started on it last night (jumping it ahead of Wonderlands, because the latter reputedly has a spoiler for DSC episodes I have yet to see [is anybody else having trouble glomming on to the DSCs3 DVD set?]). After all, I can't imagine that a novel set between TMP and TWOK could possibly contain a spoiler for something I haven't seen multiple times!

    Once again, CLB is managing to fill canonical plot holes and tie up canonical loose ends, in a most satisfying and even downright endearing way.
     
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  16. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    I'm now just over halfway through.

    I liked the return of Escherites (clearly a reference to C. Articulosus, from a number of M. C. Escher prints).

    Interesting, and entirely novel take on the aftereffects of Uhura's encounter with Nomad. Blish (and perhaps also the draft script he'd been working with, although I'm in no position to know) dealt with the encounter very differently, with Nomad explicitly stating that only her memories connected with communication in general and music in particular had been wiped. This of course is very convenient, as it absolves anybody from having to deal with lasting effects, and indeed, other authors, if they dealt with her past at all, assumed that there weren't any persistent gaps (this of course includes ADF's prologue to one of the Star Trek Log books, with "the mechanical lion incident"; there is no doubt in my mind that someone as broad-minded, well-read, and well-traveled as ADF undoubtedly considers this a youthful aberration, and if he had it to do all over again, would have done something much more authentic).

    At any rate, the scenes of Uhura reconnecting with her family, and all their varied reactions, were beautiful, and I look forward to seeing where they lead (just as I look forward to where the Warborn plot thread leads; it's amazing that a paragraph in the theatrical program for TMP would resurface, decades later, as a plot thread in a novel).
     
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  17. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Admiral Moderator

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    Thanks for pointing that out. I love how Living Memory resolves the continuity disconnect between the Arcturian "clone army" and their lack of deployment during the Dominion War.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I've had a poster of Escher's Trappenhuis on my wall since I was a teenager. (I don't redecorate much.) I originally created the Escherites (or Eschericians, as I was going to call them at first) for my original SF universe, but my plans changed and they were orphaned, so I worked one into Ex Machina.


    It's not entirely novel. As I mention in the book's acknowledgments, "See No Evil" in Star Trek: Constellations and "Communications Breakdown" in Star Trek: The Manga -- Kakan ni Shinkou both deal with the aftermath of Uhura's memory wipe, and Living Memory is consistent with both of them (though they're slightly inconsistent with each other). But they focused solely on Uhura's professional recovery, which left me free to explore the more personal side.


    I wasn't aware of the theatrical program. I got it from The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which reproduces Robert Fletcher's costume notes for various TMP aliens. I've used those notes as a source for my portrayals of those species since Ex Machina.


    Or, indeed, ever. There's no way the Federation would ethically tolerate the idea of a clone army -- not to mention that in retrospect it's way too similar to the Jem'Hadar and the Clone Troopers from Star Wars. So I tried to find a way to use Fletcher's concept as inspiration while still doing something distinct from it.
     
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  19. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    I've completely forgotten "See No Evil" (and Mβ is no help at all!), and was not even aware of Star Trek: The Manga.

    I wasn't able to snag a theatrical program at an actual theatrical showing of TMP (at the time, I was still in high school, and having put off driver's ed until my senior year, I was not yet driving, so I was in no position to haul myself down to a movie house that was showing it (much less showing it in a "roadshow" format, with programs for sale, and the "overture" [i.e., Ilia's Theme, with a starfield, before the main titles]), and spend the extra time and money to buy the program.

    When I saw a stack of them for sale, years later, in a Dealer's Room at a Creation convention (either at the Disneyland Hotel or at Pasadena Center), I of course snapped one up immediately. At any rate, so far as I'm aware, that theatrical program was the first publication of the alien costume notes. The pictures, on the other hand, were reprinted on the record jacket for at least the first edition of the soundtrack record on vinyl.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2021
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Which I have owned since 1979.