Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Thoughts After Re-Reading the Malloreon

June 26, 2017

So, I finished re-reading the Malloreon. As expected, as the quest shifted away from simply chasing Zandramas and instead trying to fulfill the necessary conditions for their “side” to win, things went a lot better. Unfortunately, though, a lot of the things that happened in that quest seemed a bit pointless. There were only a few real plot points to chase in the quest, and the rest seemed like doing things because Eddings wanted to do them, not so much because they were important overall. The “repetition of events” part particularly suffers from this, because often it seems like the events happen only to support the idea of repetition, and not because they fit into the story as a reasonable and necessary repetition.

It also suffers because Zandramas is an utterly uninteresting antagonist. Both Urvon and Agachak have more interesting backgrounds and a better link to the main characters and overall plot, and yet they only appear as hindrances to the main characters and as potential hindrances to Zandramas despite ultimately being no real threat to anyone. And Zandramas’ constant attempts to circumvent the choice just ended up being really annoying. She’s not particularly powerful, clever, or even has an interesting personality to play off of. They don’t really interact with her on any level until the end — there are a few short scenes before that — and she has no real history. Facing her at the end is utterly anti-climactic, and that could have worked if after the final skirmish she had accepted her role and waited for the choice — and so faded out of the story — but instead they are constantly defending against her schemes. This even hurts the final choice because it wasn’t established what the big choice was and it is implied that Zandramas attempts to influence Cyradis’ mind and thus make her doubt what the choice ought to be, which is a really shallow way to have the choice be in doubt. And given how much Zandramas cheats and how evil the Dark Spirit is supposed to be, there’s really no reason for Cyradis to be wondering about the choice, especially after traveling with Garion for so long. There is a hint that evil might pretend to be good, but the evil side is flat-out evil and Garion and Eriond are obviously good, so that doesn’t work. There’s a hint that the choice is a problem because Cyradis, for the first time, can’t rely on looking into the future to settle it, but that’s glossed over so quickly that it really doesn’t add to the choice at all.

That being said, I think the side characters and discussions are better here. Zakath is an interesting character and foil/companion for Garion, Sadi and Zith are interesting, and the Silk/Velvet interaction is interesting . Beldin and Belgarath get into some interesting banter, although at times it seems out of place since what they are really interested in is other things, and so it’s a distraction. But simply reading parts of it works really well.

At the end of the it all, despite the flaws, it’s better than pretty much all of the works I read in my Hugo Award analysis (parts of the Imperial Radch trilogy work as well as things in the series, but overall this one is still better). But the real question is: which of the Belgariad and the Malloreon do I now find to be the better work? There are definitely parts of the Malloreon that I like better, and it seemed less rushed at the end, but then again it seemed to use the extra length poorly, making things seem to drag and be irrelevant. I really like the lore parts of the Belgariad, which are missing in the Malloreon. At this point, my conclusion is … neither. I can see why someone might prefer one over the other, but it seems to me that they are both good and bad in different ways, mostly, despite having similar styles, the same characters, and similar stories. I’d re-read them both again, but they both have serious flaws.

Re-Reading the Malloreon

June 19, 2017

So, after re-reading the Belgariad, I have now moved on to re-reading the Malloreon. I was really interested in seeing what my impressions of the Malloreon were this time, because I remembered liking it better than the Belgariad — although, again, it wasn’t my favourite Eddings series — and I wanted to see if, this time, that impression would hold up.

The beginning was … disappointing. It started with the same kind of homey, simple life establishing the relationships and the basic story line like the Belgariad — focusing on Eriond for part and Belgarion’s being a king and his various issues around that — but a lot of the time that seemed dull and problems seemed to be invented for the sake of having some kind of problem to deal with, so they could explore the characters (like the incident in Arendia and the problems between Belgarion and Ce’Nedra). Admittedly, the early parts of the Belgariad weren’t particularly riveting either, but I think it had two main advantages. The first is that it was our introduction to the characters, and learning about them could be used to hold our interest. In the Malloreon, we pretty much already knew the characters except for Eriond, and Eriond is not a particularly interesting character, although he’s likable enough. The second reason is that the Belgariad was also filling us in on a lot of the lore of the world, which I personally found interesting and intriguing. Again, that’s already mostly been done for us in the Malloreon, and the new parts are part of the big mystery of the work, and so aren’t really explored early in the series. So the first part, up until they start on their big quest, seemed to drag for me.

Once the quest gets going, though, I still think I like it better than the Belgariad’s quest. It’s more focused, and doesn’t have anywhere near as many side issues as we had during the Belgariad. Also, for the most part it’s dealing with one overarching mystery and quest that’s already set out, unlike the Belgariad’s quest to find the Orb mixed in with finding the king and and his wife and then setting off again to find Torak. By the time the introduction stops dragging, we know that they have to find Geran and head off to another confrontation with a Child of Dark. Also, the main personalities of the characters are established and so Eddings adds a couple of new characters to the mix, which makes things different but still allows us to think of Silk as Silk, for example.

However, I’m just at the end of the third book and the quest really seems like it’s starting to drag itself. The problem is that the entire third book doesn’t really seem like it actually does anything, or anything interesting. If Eddings had really positioned it as “They’re hunting for Geran and get caught up in this demon thing because they need Zakath on their side and he can’t leave due to the plague”, then it might have worked, but as it is the plague seems to be mostly irrelevant at this point, a plot point introduced to move the plot along and add a minor inconvenience, and the demon sub-plot, while related to the main plot, is something they get dragged into rather than something they have to take on directly. Add to that that Ce’Nedra’s and Garion’s manipulation by Zandramas is old hat at this point and so doesn’t really add any drama, and I was really wondering what the point of all of this really was, other than to extend the work. On top of that, Zandramas faces off with Garion a couple of times in the quest but every time the confrontation is totally anti-climactic: a minor battle in dragon form, a confrontation that Cyradis heads off, and at the very end of the third book a confrontation that Poledra heads off. The confrontations seem to add little, and for the most part keep driving home that nothing can happen in those confrontations because at least Zandramas risks losing, as does Garion. So why keep having them face each other if nothing can come of it? At least the cat and mouse game where Zandramas tries to delay or mislead them and Belgarath and the others have to work around that would be interesting, if it actually focused on that. But even the thing that most angered Belgarath — cutting out the relevant sections of the book he needed to find out what was going — wasn’t actually Zandramas’ doing, but was instead Torak’s. Thus, the main villain of the work has really done little if anything to impede her enemies and to seem like an actual threat, other than her having Garion’s son.

That being said, up until the last quarter or so of the third book I was indeed enjoying the quest. It’s only there that I start feeling that we have artificial drama and problems, and that the chase seems to have gone on for far too long already. It might have been better if instead of having the Orb be able to track Zandramas, they instead had to try to chase her by finding clues and deciphering the prophecies that she was following. That way, the side events could be more easily woven into the story, and I wouldn’t feel like they’ve been chasing her specifically for far too long.

I’ll have to see what my feelings are on the work after reading the last two books.

Thoughts After Re-Reading “The Belgariad”

June 5, 2017

So, I recently finished re-reading “The Belgariad” by David Eddings. What I found was that the work was interesting and generally entertaining, but that the end seemed both rushed and to drag, which is a marvelous achievement for an author [grin].

The reason, I think, is that we had a relatively long, slow-paced, and lore-enriched opening quest, where Garion leaves the farm where he grew up and sets off with Polgara, Belgarath, and the rest to retrieve the Orb from Torak’s minions and return it to Riva, which then gets settled … and then almost immediately thereafter after some small plot events — the betrothal to Ce’Nedra, for example — Garion, Belgarath and Silk head out again for the final confrontation. Which is, as we all know, the main event driving the entire series, which means that it has the most importance of pretty much everything. Unfortunately, it can only involve a small number of characters and there isn’t really anything all that interesting to do in that quest; the whole point is for them to get to Torak as quickly and silently as possible, with as little fuss as they can. Throwing major obstacles at them would both pad out the length — and Eddings says in the intro to the Mallorean that there were length constraints on the Belgariad that were relaxed for the Mallorean — and start to get a little ridiculous given how few people they had; either Belgarath and Belgarion blast their way through all enemies, making the obstacles not obstacles, or else their problems would be ridiculously constrained to the non-magic skills that Silk, Belgarath and Garion happened to have.

So, to avoid this and to keep everyone else in the mix, Eddings instead seems to take a page from “The Lord of the Rings” and has Polgara, Ce’Nedra and the Western kings muster a large army to distract the enemy from Belarion and the others. Which isn’t a bad idea, but we know that this army is nothing more than a distraction, but it takes up a lot of space in the book without us finding out all that much that’s interesting. There are moments of humour and characterization, but they are few and far between and the battle itself is a bit anti-climactic given what its nature was. And, again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing but it seems to take up too much time relative to the important quest, which then gets short-shrift. And then having Polgara, Errand, Ce’Nedra and Durnik arrive at the final confrontation for reasons of Prophecy seems to make the battle scene even more pointless. All the really important stuff happens in the final confrontation, and so the details of and lead up to the battle seems like padding, while the part where they travel to the final confrontation seems like it just happens with little build-up or attention.

However, as I said, the book is still enjoyable. What Eddings does really well is build lore around the world, which is why he managed to squeeze two five book series and two prequels out of that world and that lore. The characters are generally archetypical but interesting, and fit into the world well. Eddings does manage to fit a good bit of humour into the work, which is nice.

I’m now re-reading “The Mallorean”.

Re-reading the Belgariad …

June 2, 2017

So, this comment in this post from Shamus Young resonated with me:

It has been bugging me for years: maybe the problem isn’t the games. Maybe it’s me.

Now, I never really had this for games, because with games I was generally able to like some and dislike some of both old and new games, and also because with games I was usually able to figure out and outline exactly where I felt the new games were going wrong and where the old games had gone right, leading to the conclusion that a lot of modern games really weren’t as good as older games, for all of their technical wizardry. I felt the same way about TV shows and movies, although I was a bit concerned about the fact that I rarely laughed out loud anymore, even at comedies (this was clearly broken when it came to “WKRP in Cincinnati”).

But after doing the Hugo Award Assessment, , and noting that the only books I really read were movie and TV show tie-ins, it did get me wondering if it was just nostalgia, or if the older books really were better than the newer ones. That was a reason to re-read “The Status Civilization”, after having already re-read Zelazny’s Amber series because I needed to remind myself of what happened in it for an Amber Diceless game that I was running. But in David Eddings’ “The Belgariad”, I faced my greatest test yet. Of the three series that he had completed when I started reading them — along with all of my friends in high school — the “Elenium” was my favourite. I also recalled trying to re-read it a year or so ago and finding it a bit clunky. So I was prepared for frustration when I read it, but needed stuff to read and wanted to go through all of the Eddings books — including “Belgarath the Sorcerer” and “Polgara the Sorceress”, which I definitely liked — to both keep my reading time occupied and to, well, re-read those series that I recalled liking at some point. So with trepidation I started reading it and …

… came to the conclusion that it was just really entertaining.

I’m not sure what changed. Maybe it just was my mind having that comparison to works that were incredibly clunky and boring that the minor issues with the “Belgariad” faded away. But, at any rate, it was far more enjoyable and worked so much better than any of the “Hugo Award” nominees, including the ones that the anti-Puppies really liked. And as far as I can tell it didn’t actually win any awards.

And it’s not like the series is male-dominated. One of the most powerful beings in the world is a woman, Polgara, and she’s actually presented as being more competent than Belgarath, even if he’s more powerful and more tricky. There tends to be a bit of a give and take between men and women in the series, even if men often take more than they probably should. So it’s not really male power fantasy either. It seems like a series that even the Social Justice side in fantasy could enjoy, so it’s not like I enjoy it because it avoids or rejects those lines.

So what’s good about it? The characters are entertaining, and the history is detailed and told in an interesting way. The plot is a little shaky, but the links to that deep history make up for that. The plot, then, fades into the background and instead is replaced by interesting characters walking their way through the history and, in fact, creating history themselves by fulfilling the prophecy. The world is properly detailed and we find out things about it when we need to and in interesting and compelling ways rather than it being a complete info dump for no reason. Sure, the introductory prologues could be seen as that, but that’s why it’s a prologue: it gives you the information you need to know in an interesting format if you like history.

So, so far, I’m pleasantly surprised. I’m enjoying reading it much more than I expected. And since I liked “The Mallorean” better — or, at least, remember it more fondly — this bodes well for my reading of everything Eddings did that I liked.

Thoughts on “Mindswap”

May 22, 2017

So the last of Sheckley’s books that I have and will talk about is “Mindswap”. Unfortunately, here we’re going from one of Sheckley’s best to what may well be Sheckley’s worst.

The problem here is that there’s just too much packed into it to make Sheckley’s normal quick pacing work. The book starts from the idea of people using “mind swaps” to travel, by getting their minds transferred into the bodies of other beings. And those are definitely other beings, because the galaxy, at least, has been explored and we’ve run into a number of alien species, including Martians. These two ideas, in and of themselves, offer a wealth of avenues to explore. But Sheckley doesn’t stop there. He adds in a plot where a young person — of around 30 years — wants to explore, and ends up getting swindled and losing his body, and so needed to find some other body within 6 days, which he does by offering to work for it, which is another idea that’s worthy of exploration. So the main character has to try to find a way back to Earth and recover his body, while exploring a number of different planets, cultures, and alien bodies, with the help of an eccentric detective who pops in every so often to remind us that he’s there. Oh, and there’s a bit of a twist ending that needs to be set-up, on top of that. Along with a semi-romance.

There’s just way too much here for this to work. Because there’s so much, the little details can’t all pay off like they did in “Immortality, Inc”, and so most of them are merely interesting asides. But there’s so much plot and drama and strange cultural explorations happening that we can’t just follow the main character’s life like we could in “The Status Civilization”. You can argue that this was meant to be more a humourous exploration of those different cultures, but that could have been achieved easily just by using the main character’s wanderlust instead of adding on the “Recover my own body!” plot.

In the end, reading the book made me feel that things were unfocused. The exploration parts seemed extraneous while he was supposed to be looking for a way home, the main plot gets resolved in a very shallow manner, the twist ending comes out of nowhere (even though it was foreshadowed), and the romance goes nowhere. There’s really nothing in the book that’s worth paying attention to or watching. It both drags and moves too quickly. There are some interesting scenes, but beyond that every other book of Sheckley’s that I’ve talked about is far, far better than this one.

Thoughts on “The Status Civilization”

May 15, 2017

This is the book that I remembered and which got me to read the other Sheckley works that I’ve looked at. Will it hold up on re-reading? There may be spoilers, so I’ll continue below the fold:

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Thoughts on “Crompton Divided”

May 8, 2017

So, the second book of Sheckley’s that I had bought and never read was “Crompton Divided”. Spoilers: This book does not work anywhere near as well as “Immortality, Inc” did.

The main plot here is about a man named Alistair Crompton who, as a child, developed a viral form of schizophrenia. As he was station out in the boonies of Antarctica, this wasn’t picked up in time, and so it developed to dangerous and lethal levels before he could be properly treated for it. The treatment for this is to split up the personalities by placing the other minds into temporary bodies and letting them live out their lives to a certain age, when all of the personalities are reintegrated into a complete and whole person again. Because the treatment was so late, it’s not recommended that Crompton attempt the procedure, but he decides that he dislikes his incomplete life and sets out to reintegrate himself.

Again, Sheckley’s development seems rushed here, and this really hurts the work. Unlike in “Immortality, Inc” where the details of the world carry the novel, here all we have to focus on for the most part is Crompton’s quest. While that takes us to different worlds and is set in the future, for the most part all of those details are background to Crompton’s quest. Thus, if he skims over details or resolves things too quickly that impacts our impression of the main thrust of the work and main point of interest. In short, the world building isn’t interesting enough to carry us through when the main plot stutters.

Other than that, though, it was a relatively interesting read. I might not read it again, but it was good enough to get through and, fortunately, short enough that what when it started to bug me I didn’t have much left to go.

Thoughts on Immortality, Inc

May 1, 2017

So, I was browsing through the books on my bookshelf looking for something to read, and came across my old copy — I had it when I was a kid, so over thirty years ago — of Robert Sheckley’s “The Status Civilization”, which I had loved. But I seemed to recall that it seemed fragile the last time I had read it, and so instead of reading it I instead decided to look for a new copy of it, which I managed to find … and even some collections that contained the short stories that he had done in it that I had loved (and I don’t normally like short stories). But then I was browsing again after re-reading some Starcraft novels and found a couple of novels of his that I had bought at some point and had never read. The first one I decided to read was “Immortality, Inc”. And after doing the Hugo Award Assessment I thought it would be a good idea to talk about it and see how it compares to modern science-fiction.

The overall plot is about a man called Thomas Blaine, who gets into a car accident in 1958 … and wakes up in another body in 2110. It turns out that the future has solved the problems of both time travel and of mind/body separation, and so this big corporation has decided to bring him from the past into the future as a marketing gimmick. And then they get cold feet. The novel focuses on Blaine’s attempts to adjust to his new body and his new future, with the complications of a zombie, a ghost, and the fact that he’s seen as an embarrassment to a major corporation and, potentially, a legal liability.

The novel focuses on describing and outlining the world of 2110 and the consequences this sort of technology would or could have, and does that reasonably well. There’s a lot of exposition, but it’s all directed at Blaine and done through conversations, and so stays interesting, unlike “Seveneves”. However, this does mean that the development of the plot and characters tends to be pretty shallow, as events and characters crop up and friendships and relationships are started without all that much preamble; things just, well, kinda happen for most of the work. As such, the pacing is quite good, but the relationships and events often seem to come up … well, not out of nowhere — because the hints are always dropped long before the things happen — but at least in the sense of them just, again, kinda happening because they should happen now and not due to overt development through the novel.

However, I’m going to forgive him for this because, at the end of it all, all of this pays off. Every one of those moves really adds to the work, either by adding a great scene or an interesting insight or something. We always look back on those scenes that looked like they might add something later but didn’t really have to and note that, yes, they really did add to the work … including to the ending.

At the end of the day, the plot seems rushed to me … or, at least, like it is rushing. But that keeps things moving, and what development is done turns out to pay off really well down the line. So my only complaint about the work is that I wish he’d spent more time developing the world and plot more and letting us see more of how this stuff all works and worked out. But at the end of the day, it was still a good read.

And This Is Why I Don’t Buy Science Fiction Anymore …

March 31, 2017

So, again, there’s a new controversy — which by the time you read this will probably have settled — in science fiction that is drawing commentary from both P.Z. Myers and Vox Day. Here’s my understanding of what’s going on:

John Scalzi has a new book out, called “The Collapsing Empire”. Vox Day and Scalzi have had a minor feud going on for a while, over things like site hits and the like. Some claim that Day sees this as being more of a feud/rivalry than Scalzi does, but it’s not like Scalzi ignores Day either. At any rate, at some point in time Day and his publishing company “Castalia House” decided to publish a “parody” of “The Collapsing Empire” called “The Corroding Empire” authored by “Johan Kalsi”, with a nearly identical cover. Since Scalzi’s book, obviously, wasn’t out when they started it, the parody is not a page-by-page parody of the work itself, but seems to be a parody in the sense of taking what they knew about the underlying plot and the Scalzi’s explicit attempt to make a Foundation-style story. Then, right around the release date of Scalzi’s work, Amazon pulled “The Corroding Empire”. In response, Day redid the title and the cover to be different in an attempt to get it reinstated. Much bureaucracy ensued, but eventually Amazon has reinstated the book in its original form.

But, of course, the controversy doesn’t end there. The people on Day’s side insist that this was an invalid banning of the book done by the behest of a specific SJW at Amazon. This impression is buttressed by the fact that every time a manager at Amazon reinstated it the book went off again until things finally settled down, suggesting some kind of difference in opinion, at least, between management and some employees. On the other side, the idea is that Day did this deliberately to try to generate sales for his book by having people confuse his book for Scalzi’s and buying that one instead, with the main evidence being the similarities and the fact that Day said that he wanted his book to outsell Scalzi’s, thus leading to the argument that Day had a similar Foundation-inspired book on tap and used this as a way to artificially increase its sales.

Now, I wouldn’t put it past Day to try to do that, but in this case I’m inclined to believe Day here. In the lead-up to this, much was made over how bad Scalzi’s book was from the look ahead previews and about how bad the pre-order sales were, following on from comments that Tor was going to doom themselves by giving Scalzi such a huge advance when he wasn’t that great a writer. So the story they tell of cobbling something together quickly that could give Scalzi a run for his money is one that would appeal to them. Also, I can’t imagine that even with the similarities enough people would be fooled to really raise Day’s rank and lower Scalzi’s. That being said, I would actually have understood if Amazon had merely say “Hey, these are too similar, people are getting confused, please change it”, even as I’m not convinced that as many people who say in the reviews that they were confused really were.

What’s really interesting, though, is how this impacts reviews and views of the works themselves. There are believed to be a number of false “1 star” reviews of both books, where people who have not read either book are commenting on them saying how bad they are. This, then, skews the review scores which, well, makes them useless. But even more interesting is that if you read the comments on the book from people on either side — there’s more comments from the pro-Scalzi side on this post from file770 — they come down on the side that they politically favour. Those on Scalzi’s side love his book and hate the one Day is promoting. Those on Day’s side hate Scalzi’s book and love the one Day is promoting. So, how is someone who really doesn’t give a damn about all of this political crap supposed to filter through this?

As it turns out, I’ve glanced at the previews from both sides. After reading the prologue for Scalzi’s, I was tempted to get all three preview chapters and tear them apart because, well, the prologue was just plain bad, and what I’ve read of the next chapter was not any better (it involves someone holding a conversation with someone else while having sex). For Day’s, my impression was … meh. It wasn’t terrible, but it didn’t stand out much either. So I’m not inclined to think that those on Scalzi’s side are assessing the works fairly — and I disagree over how bad the big example on file770 is. They seem to be definitely letting their political views influence their assessment of the works. But while at least for now the pro-Day side seem to be, at least, saying that about a work where it’s debatable how good or bad it is, I can’t trust them to keep doing that — especially since their reactions here and during the Hugo Awards discussions certainly don’t match mine — just because in this case — and in the case of some of the Hugo Award pieces — they happened to be right. If the purportedly “SJW” side of the debate are as bad at judging the quality of works as I have reason to think they are, pointing out that those works are bad isn’t exactly a sign of fairness or deep insight.

I’d get these two works and analyze them myself except that a) at least for now, Day’s version isn’t available in paperback and b) I’m to lazy busy to do that, and really don’t care enough about it to put that much effort and pain in again. But I really wish these political wars would get out of the way so that we can trust works and reviews again.

Ah, well. I just bought new copies of all of the X-Wing series, so at least I still have that … and they can’t take that away from me.

Star Trek Memories

February 20, 2017

So, I ended up exchanging all of my Hugo Award nominee books for, essentially, the “Star Trek Memories” books by William Shatner. I enjoyed the Star Trek books far, far more than the Hugo Award nominees.

I found the second book — which discussed the Star Trek movies — to be far more engaging than the one covering the series for some reason. However, both of them were quite entertaining reads. Shatner mixes the memories parts with a number of jokes, and often jokes at his own expense. It’s hard to say how arrogant and self-centered he really was on the show, because Shatner admits to it in discussing Nichelle Nichols’ calling him out on it, but from his own recollections he denies that it was an intent to grab the limelight and more an attempt to push for the scene to be done in a way that he thought made sense, which he says that Leonard Nimoy was also pretty insistent on. He admits, though, that often those comments didn’t take into account the other actors and their positions. Which is also a bit refreshing, as Shatner doesn’t spend as much time as you might expect justifying himself and claiming that he didn’t really do or act like that; he essentially cops to it and his big defense is that he didn’t mean it the way it was taken. He’s also pretty effusive in his comments that Nichols, Koenig and Takei, for all of the problems they had with him — only Nichols and Koenig actually told him about that in their interviews — are very, very nice people … at least in part because they were generally at least polite in telling him what they were unhappy about (and Takei didn’t mention it in the interview for that book).

Shatner was also upset that Doohan didn’t even meet with him for the book.

On Star Trek V, the one that he helmed, Shatner isn’t as dismissive of the issues with the movie nor does he blame as much of the movie on the suits as I had expected from watching SF Debris’ comments on it. Yes, he laments the thin budget and that he couldn’t do what he wanted, but for the most part he recognizes changes that made sense and his discussion of how the movie could have turned out with his original idea isn’t entirely implausible. I don’t know if his idea could have worked — the explicit God/Satan angle — but from what he says and from my own viewing of the movie his ideas weren’t terrible. I think that Nimoy and Kelley were right that them abandoning him — at least permanently — didn’t make sense, but I can kinda see what he was going for. At any rate, he blames most of the issues on the various disasters, and less on, merely, the interference from the executives. And he seems rightly bothered by Bennett seemingly accepting the ideas in the hopes of talking him out of them later.

Overall, it’s an interesting read if you are in any way a fan of Star Trek.