Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by F. King Daniel, Jul 3, 2021.
He oversaw the enslavement, torture, and execution of millions. That's going pretty dang far.
OK, that's a fair point.
Yeah, considering everything he was responsible for with Bajor in particular, plus the fact that there was that one officer who spoke about Dukat’s seduction of Kira’s mother in a way that said it was habit... Frankly, I’m more surprised that Dukat didn’t have more bastard children out there. And the “comfort women” were, by definition, there under duress and not in a position to consent.
So him keeping a personal sex slave? Particularly of someone who had already been surgically altered to look like Kira, who he had a canonical interest in for years? Yeah, I can so easily see that, in my mind, Fearful Symmetry only made that text, rather than just letting it be subtext or implied.
I was pretty shocked at that whole situation when I read it, but it breathed very true to the character. I felt like we were being shown straight up all the things the show had implied he had been doing.
But I'd also like to throw Kira's boring time-displaced boyfriend into the mix, and raise the subsequent love triangle. BLECH. I'm not sure if it qualifies as the worst decision in the litverse, but damn he was really boring.
While I was thinking more universe-shaping choices when making this thread, since we've gone this way I'd like to bring up for the umpteenth time the Voyager Homecoming/Farther Shore duology. Specifically their treatment of a child sexual abuse victim who grew up to be irredeemably evil and twisted and is killed by the heroes.
It gets me angry just writing that. Give me some Star Trek where people who have suffered horrors like that can be helped and rehabilitated, not treated like inhuman monsters.
I would really have to dwell more on it to say 'the worst' but some creative decisions I thought were not great:
-Sisko leaving his family in "Rough Beasts of Empire", and then afterward taking command of the Robinson. I thought that was character regression, not growth, and though later books ameliorated it, it still has left a stench. I also thought the Robinson crew was boring, undercutting what could've been a fun and new way to explore Sisko's character. I think Trek Lit. didn't know what to do with Sisko after "Unity", and looking back I wish they had just had him go back with the Prophets.
-Elias Vaughn's end. Waste of a great character; also I thought ch' Thane could've been handled better as well. Also thought the new DS9 crew, outside of Ro, were pretty boring as well.
-The Typhon Pact: I hate to say it because I love the idea in theory, but execution left quite a bit to be desired and I never felt it lived up to its promise. Typhon Pact turned out to be my breaking point because I started losing interest in Trek novels and they became much harder to read, less interesting afterward.
-Before Dishonor: All of it.
-The Good That Men Do: I liked the novel and it felt right, in the moment, and was a good rejoinder to TATV, but afterward I felt the stories had to contort to keep Trip alive and involved in the stories and that became too much of a stretch.
-Indistinguishable From Magic: There was so much potential goodness here. I finally got to see Captain Geordi LaForge (something I've wanted to see again since VOY's "Timeless" episode) and learn the fate of the Starship Hera, but by the end of it it came off like a tease and Geordi was right back where he started.
Yeah. I think what might cause some confusion sometimes is that Dukat thought he himself was not really that bad of a guy. Just a victim of circumstances outside his control and he tried to 'help' the Bajorans as much as he could. And for a time on DS9 it seemed maybe, just maybe he was turning a tiny little corner--that maybe he was trying to make some small atonement for his past sins. Then he allied with the Dominion and all bets were off. But even then it wasn't always so simple. There was the one scene where he is talking to Kira in the captain's office (I loathe to call it Dukat's office) where he lets out a little hint of self-reflection that Cardassia was dying and he saw this as the only way to save Cardassia, and that it was a heavy price to pay. But he was totally lacking in insight in his own past sins. Occasionally he might show a slight mea culpa, but not true atonement.
But that was the beauty of Dukat, and Marc Alaimo's portrayal. He really was a complex individual. A sadist, rotten, but not so simple as that either. It made him unpredictable. Dukat was an excellent villain, and much of that is Alaimo himself. (And while I'm at it I'll give a huge kudos to Andrew Robinson as Garak--another equally complex individual who is hard to pin down---I still love his line to Bashir about everything he told him being the truth and Bashir says, "even the lies?" and Garak replied "especially the lies"--that is Garak through and through).
I agree in principle...but just to play devil's advocate....we all handle trauma in different ways. Some people retreat into themselves. Some overcome the trauma and some even use what they went through to help others, be a force for positive change.
But there are also some that do turn to darkness and evil. That use it as an excuse to do bad things to other people. That is just as much of a realistic possibility as any other. I would have preferred a feel good type story where she overcame her abuse, or maybe had an about face and realized she was wrong and then helped out heroes. But it's equally possible that she would take a darker path from which she never returned.
People would have to be very confused to think they're supposed to believe his self-rationalizations. I mean, whoever heard of a villain who didn't think they were justified?
But then, unfortunately, we live in a society that has a long history of siding with the abuser rather than the victims.
That is why, even now, so many rapes go unpunished.
The author is equally disappointed on that front, believe me...
Maybe It's just me, but I really felt like they should have broken up the band with the Enterprise E crew. We got 1 book that finally got Geordi out of the engine room, but then just threw him right back in there, that was frustrating. And I wish they would have given Worf his own command quite a ways back. I know they justified the Worf thing with his decisions during the Dominion war, but here was a guy that was a successful ambassador, led multiple successful combat missions during the war, and helped pave the way for the Klingon empire and turn the tide of the war by overthrowing Gowron. For him to just then just get stuck as first officer seemed to be a waste of talent.
In universe it might be a good idea, but from a real world perspective if you want to draw people to a TNG book, you want to make sure you have at least a few characters people saw onscreen in the books.
When I had originally read Fearful Symmetry I hadn't watched the show in a while and all I had really remembered of Dukat was that midpoint of the show, where it almost seemed like they were possibly going to be trying to redeem him a bit. But after these posts, I do remember seeing and hearing about all of the horrible stuff he did before and after that point in my recent rewatching, and thinking that maybe FS wasn't as out of character as I was thinking when I first read it.
I remember the occasional complaint that the TNG books had too many new cast members for people who were just hopping in, even though they had the maximum amount of the TV crew left to them by Nemesis moving off Riker and Troi and killing Data.
Part of it was probably, at least for a time on DS9, it seemed that Dukat maybe was turning a bit of a corner to someone that helped Sisko and DS9 from time to time. I'll admit even I myself started wondering if the writers were maybe trying to reform Dukat a bit during the 4th and early 5th seasons. But then we learned how that all turned out.
And as I said, a lot of that had to do with Alaimo himself. He really brought that character to life and Dukat wasn't just your one dimensional villain. To be honest he's probably one of the best villains in Star Trek. He wasn't a once and done character and both the actor and the writers did a lot to bring Dukat to life during DS9's run.
It seemed with Indistinguishable From Magic that was basically designed as a standalone story. I don't know if it was designed but it's part of the TNG relaunch, yet it really didn't add anything to the relaunch. I recall Christopher made some reference to it in his DTI novel that came out I believe the following month, but otherwise it seemed to mostly be forgotten by later books. So basically at the end of IFM everything had to be put back in order at the end of the novel (I don't know if that was an editorial decision or an author decision, but it meant it really had no staying power). I do recall that was the last time I saw any reference to The Genesis Wave novels, which was several years prior and generally where I see TNG relaunch storyline largely starting (though occasionally earlier novels have been references). It's been a while since I read IFM but I think it might have even been at least somewhat consistent with Scotty's appearance in the New Frontier novels. I've always seen NF as part of the relaunch universe, yet separate at the same time. At least I've never seen major contradictions with the rest of the relaunch universe (not saying there aren't some what I would call minor inconsistencies). Now, of course, the NF novels take place in a remote sector so it makes it a bit easier to reconcile it with the rest of the relaunch universe, since there's little overlap (Admiral Jellico is probably one of the few areas where there is some overlap).
Re: Worf I think that was largely to bring things in line with his appearance as a Starfleet Officer in Nemesis. I sort of thought the novels handled that as well as could be expected. Turns out being an ambassador just wasn't his cup of tea, while it was Alexander's. But he appeared as an officer again in a canon source, Nemesis, so I imagine the novels had to reflect that.
There's a short story in the IDW Waypoint comic book that addresses his career change.
It can be like that in real life. Superiors remember your one big mistake rather than your successes.
Editorial, Long story, which I've told before.
Indeed. And the actor was still under contract. IIRC, he had not been given a sense that he would not be in the main cast for the next season, planning for which (ie. story pitches, the kzinti involvement, etc) had already been underway.
TATV was set six years in the future, though. I never heard anything about Season 5 continuing on from that time-jump, and in any event, TATV was written as a series finale. I don't know how seriously they would've been considering some sort of reprieve or continuation for the show.
Yeah... I think the cancellation notice came down fairly late, and they reworked their plans to make TATV a series finale when it wasn't initially planned as one, which is why it has some odd features like the crew supposedly being 6 years older but nobody being higher in rank.
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