Vulcan's Noun Pentalogy?

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by bfollowell, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. bfollowell

    bfollowell Captain Captain

    Sep 10, 2010
    Evansville, IN, USA
    Or is it a duology and a trilogy? Or two stand-alones and a trilogy?

    Anyway, having completely caught up with the current continuity, I 've started to read some TOS novels. I've read everything published since about 2009 and have been reading the newer novels as they're published. Now I'm considering starting this series. From what I've heard, I think this series is more or less tied together and are thought quite highly of. I was just curious if there are any other novels that should be read in conjunction with these or if these five pretty much stand alone. For those of you that have read them, what is your opinion of them?


    - Byron
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    That comes closest. Although in the strictest sense, the word "trilogy" should only be used for three separate, complete individual stories that collectively form a larger arc or continuity, rather than a single story split into three volumes. So it could be argued that the five books in all form a trilogy, the third part of which was published in three installments. But that interpretation is unlikely to catch on. Maybe they should just be called a "series," though it's kind of a loose series.

    I'd say Forge and Heart are pretty much self-contained. Forge is largely a story about Spock's adolescence and how he came to decide to join Starfleet, with a frame story of Captain Spock (after Kirk's apparent death in the GEN prologue) being reunited with a character who played a crucial role in those events. It introduces a Romulan character who will figure in all five books (and a short story by the same authors in Tales of the Dominion War), but otherwise its ties to the other books -- or indeed any other books -- are minor.

    Heart is set decades later and fills in the backstory about Spock's marriage as referenced in TNG: "Sarek," as well as dealing with the Battle of Narendra III from "Yesterday's Enterprise" and featuring Picard and the Stargazer. It also establishes a lot about Romulan politics in what would later be called the Lost Era, and what it established about that has been built on in later books, notably The Lost Era: Serpents Among the Ruins.

    Soul is set decades after that, in the wake of the Dominion War, and involves a much older Ambassador Spock pursuing his Unification mission, as well as flashing back to the proto-Romulans' schism and departure from Vulcan, basically retelling the story of the Sundering that Diane Duane had earlier dealt with in The Romulan Way and Spock's World. The first book tells Surak's story on Vulcan rather differently than Duane did, but the second book's chronicle of the interstellar migration follows Duane's version very closely while expanding on it. There was a change in editors between books 1 and 2, as I recall, and I've always suspected that it led to a change in attitude about whether to acknowledge Duane's work, though that's just speculation. Anyway, the "present-day" story revisits the Romulan characters and political arcs established in the previous books. Despite the "Vulcan's" in the titles, it's the Romulan elements that provide the throughline for the series.
  3. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 21, 2011
    The Black Country, England
    Forge was poor, Heart was O.K. and the Exodus trilogy was sort of interesting but rather dull, which makes ploughing through three of them something of a chore.

    If I recall, you do see some 'old friends' in the 24th Century that you haven't seen before...
  4. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    King Daniel Beyond
    I thought Forge was really good, and Heart was lame. Haven't read the Soul trilogy yet, but I'll get to it one day.
  5. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 21, 2011
    The Black Country, England
    I read Heart years ago, so it might be rose tinted hindsight on my behalf. I read Forge this year and didn't like it much.

    I read the trilogy when they came out and I stand by my dull assessment.
  6. EliyahuQeoni

    EliyahuQeoni Commodore Commodore

    Dec 24, 2007
    Redmond, Oregon, United States of America
    I've only read Heart and liked it for the most part. The best parts are those involving the Enterprise 1701-C
  7. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 7, 2001
    I remember liking Vulcan's Forge, thinking Vulcan's Heart was okay, and not bothering to continue with Vulcan's Soul after the first book.
  8. DorkBoy [TM]

    DorkBoy [TM] Captain Captain

    Sep 28, 2001
    Yeah, Forge and Heart were great. It was like getting a new Spock's World every few years.

    Vulcan's Soul was a bit of a slog. I ended up enjoying it once I finished the third book. But it felt like it would have been better if it had been one book instead of 3. I read the first book, but put it away for several years before finally coming back to it, rereading the first book, and completing the trilogy.

    I liked the fact that they went back and tied in the Remans and explained them. They were something I thought was "weird" about Nemesis. But I really liked how that came about in the books.
  9. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Jun 30, 2004
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    Yep. The editor urged them to delay one of the books for a year, to enable the Remans to be added, and it really strengthened the story the trilogy was telling.

    I did find the historical chapters a hard slog. Other readers often said the opposite: that they only liked the history bits.
  10. zarkon

    zarkon Captain Captain

    Mar 24, 2011
    This about nails it
  11. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 28, 2011
    I picked up both Vulcan's Forge and Heart a few months back. I set Forge aside, but went ahead a read Heart because I'd heard that it ties well into Serpents Among The Ruins and especially The Art of the Impossible. Turns out that it definitely does! A couple of slightly different interpretations here and there, but overall, they mesh very very well.

    I wrote the following (spoiler-heavy) review right after finishing Heart, for my own reference.


    I picked this one up for cheap at a used book store. I’m working on catching up on my “classic” TrekLit.

    Spoilers ahead.

    I’d heard great things about this book going in, and I wasn’t disappointed. The world-building on Romulus and Vulcan is delicious, as is the fleshing out of Spock and Saavik’s betrothal.

    I loved all the little continuity nods, both to canon and to other TrekLit. (Of course, the order is backwards here; most of the “references” to other TrekLit are, in fact, other, later TrekLit referencing this book.) Sometimes it felt a little Small Universe-y (Tomalak’s cameo, especially), but overall, not bad.

    Fascinating glance into a young, impatient, headstrong Picard. I’ve yet to read the Stargazer novels (haven’t heard great things about them), but I might pick them up after this.

    I did feel I was missing a bit by not having read Vulcan’s Forge beforehand, mainly during the sequences with Ruanek. Wasn’t too bad though.

    Really loved the slang used by the Romulan children (“double-shine!”), along with all of the linguistic repercussions of multiple hells (“What the hells?”, etc).

    Sort of a shame that Spock’s first major trip to Romulus occurred when he was crazy. But I also loved the glimpses into his early works at Unification.

    Was nice to see Narendra III developed, along with the Enterprise-C and alt-Tasha, though I feel that it was a bit of a false climax for the book (of which there were a couple more). This was the only real shortcoming of the novel, I think; the rhythm sometimes felt a bit off.

    Overall, an excellent work. Fits into its niche very well, lines up seamlessly with the work that had existed beforehand, and fits extremely well with the work that came after, all while being very readable and attention-holding.

    4.5 stars out of 5.
  12. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Rear Admiral Moderator

    Jan 10, 2003
    I don't know about *only* liked, but I definitely enjoyed the historical chapters more than the 24th century ones. :)
  13. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

    May 10, 2005
    The visitor's bullpen
    I totally love that bit in Vulcan's Heart where the fine, upstanding Admiral Narviat admits that he watches that "Romulus Roars!" show, and when approached about it, he gets all stuffy and just says "...I like the music." :guffaw: