TOS: The More Things Change by Scott Pearson Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Defcon, Jul 2, 2014.

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Rate The More Things Change

  1. Outstanding

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  2. Above Average

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    40.0%
  3. Average

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    50.0%
  4. Below Average

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  1. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    TOS: The More Things Change by Scott Pearson

    [​IMG]
    Blurb:

    A thrilling e-novella based on Star Trek: The Original Series!

    Six months after the events of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Doctor Christine Chapel and Spock must save the life of an ailing Audrid Dax, her true nature as a Trill having remained a mystery until now. But after an unknown vessel attacks their shuttle, a risky game of cat-and-mouse may be the only way to save all their lives.


     
  2. Csalem

    Csalem Commodore Commodore

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    Re: TOS: The More Things Change by Scott Pearson Review Thread (Spoile

    I enjoyed this. Was a much better character piece than the Dr. McCoy ebook and this time around there actually was a story to be told.
     
  3. Markonian

    Markonian Commodore Commodore

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    Re: TOS: The More Things Change by Scott Pearson Review Thread (Spoile

    It was more of a character piece than an actual story. In regards of plot, I consider the McCoy story better.

    Actually, the story in TMTC was rather bland - being chased by Orion pirates. I liked the new Spock however, and think his character during this period could be explored more.

    Do we know whether the ship Chapel transfers to is the Exclesior, where she'll be serving later on?

    Does the story vibe with "Infinity" from The Lives of Dax, where Chapel met Torias?
     
  4. Sto-Vo-Kory

    Sto-Vo-Kory Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: TOS: The More Things Change by Scott Pearson Review Thread (Spoile

    Definitely agree this story was a character piece but not entirely successful in that regard. The audience doesn't learn anything about Chapel that wasn't obvious previously.

    I liked the analogy she made about McCoy being like an older brother to her. It's apt and that may be the problem with her whole character in a nutshell. Even though she's an experienced doctor and (briefly) CMO of the Enterprise, she still acts like a kid sister infatuated with her older brother's cute friend. Even in this story, despite her claims otherwise, Chapel still comes across as hung up on Spock. Throughout the novella, the lady doth protest too much that her feelings for Spock have changed.

    The author does attempt to break Chapel out of her default settings by putting her in charge of the mission due to medical concerns. Unfortunately there's no dramatic tension to her decisions due to limited options and alternatives.

    Spock: "We can hide or get captured."

    Chapel: "I order you to hide us, Mr. Spock."

    Spock: "A most logical decision, Doctor."

    Obvious decisions with no surprising choices. It felt like Spock put Chapel in charge out of polite courtesy and a bit of patronization. Every choice Chapel made, Spock would have made whether she was present or not.

    The author managed to wring a bit of tension out of Chapel multi-tasking and her focus being split between her ship and her patient but that only extended so far because of the characters involved. The audience already knows that Chapel, Spock and Dax are bulletproof and entirely safe. We already know the Trill secret. A little suspense came from the unknown identity of their attackers but as soon as they were revealed (Orion pirates) that suspense evaporated into a big ol' yawn.

    This story ends where a better story should've began: Chapel becoming CMO of a different ship, breaking the cycles of her past and moving on with her life.
     
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  5. Kertrats47

    Kertrats47 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: TOS: The More Things Change by Scott Pearson Review Thread (Spoile

    I liked this one! It's nice to get some story for Chapel, and why she decided to leave the Enterprise after TMP.

    Here's my review.
     
  6. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

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    Re: TOS: The More Things Change by Scott Pearson Review Thread (Spoile

    We talked all about it on Literary Treks last week.
     
  7. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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    Re: TOS: The More Things Change by Scott Pearson Review Thread (Spoile

    I liked it, but I voted average. It was fairly entertaining but not a great, notable work.

    It felt like a separate episode a bit - a separate, closed story. A bit slow episode, though. Sometimes it felt like pages had to be there and forcefully filled in with text. Near the end, after the Orion ship was taken, and before the final dialogue it felt like a summary of a story, as if there was more but the space was limited, so it had to be shortened. A striking contrast after stretching the events in the shuttle.

    It was interesting to see a different character, non-senior staff. Especially Chapel, because there was a lot of tiny info about her but nothing was explored in a deeper manner in the film or in the series. It's nice to know her a bit better :)
     
  8. Daddy Todd

    Daddy Todd Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    Re: TOS: The More Things Change by Scott Pearson Review Thread (Spoile

    A pleasant enough read, but nothing particularly memorable. Lots of running around -- plot for the sake of plot -- that distracted from the stuff I cared about (Dax & Chapel).

    Average.
     
  9. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: TOS: The More Things Change by Scott Pearson Review Thread (Spoile

    Finally read this, but in hindsight I wouldn't have missed much if I hadn't.

    Unnecessarily slow story, only partially interesting character stuff and no suspense at all equaled a rather disappointing read for me, so I voted below average.
     
  10. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: TOS: The More Things Change by Scott Pearson Review Thread (Spoile

    I've been reading through the recent enovellas and have been less than impressed. However, the last two (Christophers DTI story and Love's Latinum Lost) have both been extremely enjoyable, and I'm pleased to say that I liked this one too. It's not exactly fast moving but it's a nice character piece and seems to fill a gap I hadn't really noticed was there !

    Does it fit with the DS9 Tribble episode ? I don't think there's a problem between them...
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Pardon the bump... I finally got around to obtaining this one, which I've been curious about since I know it referenced my Ex Machina continuity. It does pick up on the changed Spock-Chapel relationship as I briefly defined it in ExM and explores it in more depth, which is nice. It doesn't fit quite perfectly with my later TMP-continuity books, since it would have to be set shortly after I had Spock take leave for a year to raise Saavik, per Forgotten History -- and Chapel is still on board during that part of FH. Still, the timing's only a little bit off and can be finessed, and Chapel did say in TMTC that she didn't plan to leave immediately.


    I didn't get that impression at all. I saw it as the kind of warm friendship that unrequited love can evolve into once you move past it.


    I don't think it was about dramatic tension, it was about character development. The point was not to make us wonder what choice Chapel would make about the immediate crisis -- the point was to get Chapel to realize that she was stuck in the habit of acting like a subordinate and needed to get out of that way of thinking. Which helped lead to her decision at the end of the story. This was more a character piece than a plot-driven piece.


    We know that about most stories. The viewers of TOS back in the '60s knew that none of the lead characters would actually die, because that almost never happened in '60s TV. But they knew that they were really actors on a set too, but they chose to pretend otherwise. They voluntarily played along with the illusion that the characters were real and that the perils they faced were real.

    The purpose of fiction is to make us identify with the characters and the emotions they experience when facing challenges. If the characters feel the stakes are real, and if the story immerses us, then we can identify with their fear even when we objectively know there's no real threat.


    Chapel said in the final scene that she didn't think being a starship CMO was what she wanted anymore, that she wanted to advance her career in some other way.
     
  12. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I always approach these kind of situations from the perspective of "how are they going to get out of trouble this time?", rather than "are they going to die?".
     
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  13. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular (Boston HMCo, 1987), Rust Hills devotes an entire major section to "Techniques of Suspense," and delineates three distinct ways to build suspense: "Mystery and Curiosity" (i.e., deliberately keeping the reader in the dark about what is really going on) is the most primitive, and if one depends entirely on it, one's fiction is unlikely to withstand repeated re-readings. The next level up is "Conflict and Uncertainty." The highest level is "Tension and Anticipation," in which, even if the reader (or audience, in the case of drama) knows how it ends, remains drawn into the story, and still cheers on the protagonist(s). Consider Ron Howard's Apollo 13, and the book on which it was based, Lovell and Kluger's Lost Moon: Anybody reading it already knows, either from history, or from having lived through the mission, that Lovell, Haise, and Swigert make it back alive (making Lovell the only human being to have visited the Moon twice without actually setting foot upon it). And yet because of skilled use of tension and anticipation, we still find the story riveting. Or consider how well-written detective stories (e.g., any canonical Sherlock Holmes opus) can withstand repeated re-readings. (Or still sticking with detective stories, how we can enjoy a Columbo movie, or any other well-written "howcatchem" piece, knowing "whodunit" from the very beginning.)

    "How are they going to get out of trouble this time" indeed.

    BTW, I've never read the present opus (nor even heard of it until I saw this thread), and I see that's because it's an e-novella. Is it still available as such, or (even better) has it ever been issued in print form?
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Sure. Indeed, it used to be quite standard to present novels as first-person chronicles narrated after the fact by their main characters (see Gulliver's Travels or The Time Machine or Dracula), so it was a given that they lived to tell the tale; the appeal of the story was learning of the wonders they experienced and how they managed to survive the dangers they faced. The purpose of an adventure story is to experience the adventure, not just to find out who survived.


    All the Trek e-novellas are still on sale; that's how I got mine. To date, there are no print collections of any Trek e-books more recent than 2006.
     
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  15. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, no print collections in English. In the thread about the German Trek books, someone posted a list of their upcoming books and it included a print collection of several of the e-book novellas. I can't remember if this was one of them though.
     
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  16. Jinn

    Jinn Mistress of the Chaotic Energies Premium Member

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    The reprinted e-novellas are "Absent Enemies", "The Stuff of Dreams" and "Miasma", so "The More Things Change" isn't one of them. In fact, there is no German translation of this at all, since TOS stories don't sell at Cross Cult, so not a whole lot of stuff has been translated.
     
  17. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Once again, Mr. Bennett and I are in complete agreement with each other.

    Be afraid. Be very afraid. (And there I go again, alluding to a movie I've never actually seen.)
     
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  18. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    I believe the only Star Trek novels (at least that I recall) that ever used first person in that fashion was "Dreadnought" and "Battlestations!".

    "Battlestations!" was the first original Star Trek novel I ever read, but it was interesting to read it from the perspective of a single officer. It was quite a bit different than other Star Trek novels. Most Star Trek novels are written like episodes (or movies) where you are reading it as a viewer. Carey's two novels put you in the mind of a character. Almost akin to being a character on the holodeck instead.

    It'd be interesting to see a future novel written in that fashion. I wonder how readers would react today to a Star Trek novel written in first person, where you become the character (I imagine there would be some challenges to that as well--since unless you're character is telepathic you couldn't get in the minds of other characters in the story, only your own).

    As for this novella, I read it a few years back after it came out. I enjoyed it being a post-TMP story and yeah, it was nice to read a story that tied at least somewhat into Ex Machina and explained some of the changes we would see years later in TWOK.

    I love movie era stories. Miasma was another great movie-era story....after TFF...a great under told period of Star Trek history (at least among novels).
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yes. It's sad to me that so many people use their superficial resemblance to the "Mary Sue" trope as an excuse to dismiss them and overlook how innovative they were. Telling a Star Trek prose story in the first person was as unprecedented as telling one from the perspective of characters other than the TV leads. It wasn't just more of the same, it was something wholly new in professional Trek publishing.

    Although that's not quite what I'm talking about, because while the Piper books were first-person, they weren't specifically the kind of first-person narrative that's presented as an actual published memoir by a person involved in the events. Indeed, that's basically what Star Trek as a whole was originally imagined to be; the intent of framing it with captain's and junior officers' log entries was to suggest an epistolary narrative, that the tale was being told to us through the log accounts and we were seeing them dramatized, similarly to how Dragnet (where Roddenberry got his first taste of TV writing) was a dramatization of police case reports. So in a way, ST was always being told in first person onscreen, though the books never reflected that until Dreadnought! and Battlestations!, and occasional later things like The Captain's Table.
     
  20. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah, I'd highly recommend those books. In fact, those were two of the better Diane Carey Star Trek novels IMO. I wasn't as familiar with the "Mary Sue" idea until reading some of the comments here (it sounds like the novel "Vulcan!" is a good example of a 'Mary Sue' type character).

    Now it's been years since I read those novels but I think people mistaken the fact that the book was written through the eyes of a specific officer as a Mary Sue situation. Piper didn't outshine the original characters and make them look bad (a key element of Mary Sue I believe). Piper was part of a team and made important contributions but I think the key was she didn't do it at the expense of Kirk, Spock, etc. From what I remember the regular characters seemed true enough to their normal characterizations, Kirk was still very much in command, Spock was his normal self, etc.

    But I liked the different focus. Though I'm the wrong gender it was really like reading a story as if I were Piper, like a holodeck adventure. I'll be re-reading some of the older Pocketbook novels once I'm done the last few Bantam books and those two novels will definitely be on my list (though this time I'll read them in the proper order ;) ). I had forgotten the Captain's Table was written from first person perspective as well, at least partly.

    Someone should try something like that today maybe. Write a Star Trek novel from a first person perspective. I imagine it's probably a bit harder to write such a book. You'd have to keep remembering to say "I" instead of "he/she"...or "h/she" if you're a Hermat :P . And use the proper pronouns in interactions with other characters. It might be a challenge. But I'd love to see someone tackle a novel like that again.