Wednesday, June 09, 2010

When It's Right It's Sooooo Good

My current at work book is Star Trek Online: The Needs of the Many, by Michael A Martin. (My mom bought it and didn't enjoy it so I adopted it. Besides, if I'd seen it at the grocery store I probably would have picked it up since the cover claims it was co-written by Jake Sisko.)

For the most part, the books done in an interview style. Jake asks a question and the person responds. Obviously, it's aimed to be a science fiction Studs Terkel sort of thing (to whom the book is dedicated), the thing is that Mr. Terkel always seemed to try to take himself out of the prose of his books. Yes, you can tell that Mr. Terkel asked questions, but he didn't include, or rarely included, his questions (at least in the books that I've read/perused).

The Star Trek book would have been better if it left most of Jake's questions out and let the interviewee's words read like a long thought. More like what World War Z did. That book was a great example of the Terkel style used in horror.

So, what do I mean by the title of this post then? Mr. Martin has, so far, consistently nailed the characterizations of the people Jake interviews. His Janeway was so exceedingly sharp I didn't want her section to end. Vic Fontaine, who many other writers don't really capture, had all his swagger and understanding. The best, again so far, was Garak, another hard characters for writers to nail, except for the one who played him on TV.

Here's where I knew he'd nailed Garak:

"Nuclear Winter." With the human propensity for such elegant turns of phrase, one would expect Earth to have produced a great deal more interesting literature than it has. Forgive me -- I'm digressing again.
There's a backhanded compliment and an insult and an apology, but not for the insult, all coiled up in in delicious language.

It's much easier to read when I just think of it as an extended character piece.

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