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Literary Parallel Evolution - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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December 6th, 2008


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01:27 pm - Literary Parallel Evolution
I've been reading a number of older Star Trek novels of late, and just finished Diane Duane's excellent novel Spock's World. I read most of her TOS novels back in the 1980s, but missed this one. I very much enjoyed it, but was also deeply amused. Years ago, when amberite found out that I wrote portions of the Vulcan sourcebook The Way of Kolinahr for Last Unicorn Games Star Trek Rpg (as well as the unpublished material on Rigel V & the Vulcan-derived Rigelians), she asked if I'd used Spock's World as a source of inspiration. I said that I hadn't read it.

Well, while I clearly didn't use that book for inspiration, I derived my inspiration for Vulcan from the same source as Diane Duane did - In both Duane's novel and my work, before Surak and the Vulcan "Time of Awakening", Vulcan was a war-like world of psychics who had advanced psychic technology, used both conventional and psychic weapons and bred for psychic powers. Yes, – we both looked to Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series for inspiration. I'm both amused and pleased. I'm also once again struck by the amount of influence both Marion Zimmer Bradley & Andre Norton had on much modern fantasy & SF (I can also see the influence of Norton's early Witch World novels and Bradley's early Darkover novels on one another). The essence of culture is borrowing and adapting those borrowings, and I dearly love being part of that process.

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Comments:


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From:writerspleasure
Date:December 6th, 2008 11:09 pm (UTC)
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have you read the marshak/culbreath ST novels? some interesting stuff in there!
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From:heron61
Date:December 7th, 2008 12:59 am (UTC)
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Indeed I have, definitely fun stuff.
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From:mindstalk
Date:December 7th, 2008 06:29 pm (UTC)
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What, Price/Fate of the Phoenix? rec.arts.sf.written generally hates them.

For me, the Duane books were an interesting read, but there's a strong disconnect. In _My Enemy, My Ally_, it seems clear that the mental disciplines were developed after the proto-Rihannsu (Romulans) left, and that the mental discipline of Surak is necessary for cultivating the touch- or limited-range (if you're very strong) telepathy they have. But in _The Romulan Way_, this has changed to mondo pre-Surak powers, including not-quite-FTL jump adepts and I think mention of a planetary internet, and then in Spock's World, unless I'm confusing it with one of the later movie novelizations, there's major materially effective psychic powers, with mining and moon-scarring and WMDs. Or maybe that was in tRW. But same continuity as MEMA!
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From:heron61
Date:December 7th, 2008 09:39 pm (UTC)
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Agreed. I've only read the first of her Romulan novels, but I remember the distinct lack of Romulan psi, which makes no sense with pretty much any version of the ST continuity. In Spock's World, there was a psychic internet and a whole range of mind-affecting powers, but I don't remember any physically affecting psi. I'm planning on reading The Romulan Way soon, so I'll keep an eye out for that. Physically affecting psi seems exceedingly rare in the ST universe and is mostly the purview of energy beings and other weakly godlike entities (to borrow a truly lovely term Stross coined), and so I wouldn't buy Vulcans having it.
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From:mindstalk
Date:December 7th, 2008 10:31 pm (UTC)
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Are the Romulans ever shown on screen as having psychic powers? Seems not, online, or at least not much.

MEMA I think has the abilities being cultivate after the Romulans left -- genetic potential might be there, but not the knowledge. tRW has the disciplines and maybe genes getting lost in the Exodus (which IIRC was 5000 years before present, not the 2000 of Enterprise). tRW I know had "jump adepts", who could boost a ship up to high velocity. Psi used for mining and warfare and such I'm less sure of -- tRW, SW, or ST:V novelization.
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From:writerspleasure
Date:December 7th, 2008 11:13 pm (UTC)
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i have a lasting affection for triangle - they got polyamory into the ST universe. ;)
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From:amberite
Date:December 17th, 2008 02:59 am (UTC)

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I re-read both books in short order recently, and also some others - J.M. Dillard's The Lost Years bridged the continuity with the simple statement that no psi masters had gone with the Rihannsu colonists, so the genes and training they'd gotten were limited compared to what Vulcan still had - which is reasonably consistent with My Enemy, My Ally.

But then, I've been plowing through the old Star Trek novels with great force and have noticed that there are a freakin' zillion different interpretations of the Romulans, including some pretty cringeable stuff (Killing Time, which is well-written in some other regards, has dialog that doesn't acknowledge any hereditary connection with Vulcans at all!) I think that even with some continuity errors there's more consistency and sense in Duane's version than in much of the surrounding sub-canon.

Edited at 2008-12-17 03:02 am (UTC)
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From:kadath
Date:December 7th, 2008 02:34 pm (UTC)
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I love Duane's Star Trek novels. They're undemanding escapism, but they're smart undemanding escapism.
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From:dduane
Date:December 8th, 2008 06:51 pm (UTC)
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There is possibly no higher praise. :)

Even *writers* like undemanding escapism. (momentary disconnect) Except we have to write it. Which is demanding.

Oh fooey.

:)
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From:heron61
Date:December 8th, 2008 08:30 pm (UTC)
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It is also well deserved praise. Those books are definitely escapism that is simultaneously smart, humane, and fun.

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