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The Last Best Hope (Star Trek: Picard #1) de…
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The Last Best Hope (Star Trek: Picard #1) (original: 2020; edição: 2020)

de Una McCormack

Séries: Star Trek: Picard (1), Star Trek (2020.02)

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1105191,244 (3.91)5
"An original novel based on the new Star Trek TV series! A thrilling novel leading into the new CBS series, Una McCormack's The Last Best Hope introduces you to brand new characters featured in the life of beloved Star Trek captain Jean-Luc Picard-widely considered to be one of the most popular and recognizable characters in all of science fiction"--… (mais)
Membro:rjcrunden
Título:The Last Best Hope (Star Trek: Picard #1)
Autores:Una McCormack
Informação:Pocket Books, Kindle Edition, 326 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:to-read, sci-fi

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The Last Best Hope de Una McCormack (2020)

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Exibindo 5 de 5
This almost surprisingly good book is a prequel to the TV series is about the Romulan rescue mission until the Mars catastrophe all with it`s cultural and political consequences. ( )
  TheCrow2 | Jan 26, 2021 |
I am actually thinking this is not really one of the stronger Star Trek books. I think there was a lot more that could have been said and explained. Why were the Romulans acting like this? What happened to several other characters mentioned in this book? Who is telling the truth? Something else is going on here and while I am sure some will be fixed in the second season, what about the rest of these things though? ( )
  melsmarsh | Jan 22, 2021 |
This prequel novel to Star Trek: Picard sets up the basic premise: that Picard undertook a massive effort to do the right thing, and lost. It covers about five years, from when Picard learns about the need to evacuate a massive number of Romulans because of an imminent supernova, up to when the renegade synth attack on Mars utterly destroys his plans. It's a quick, strong read, as you might imagine of Una McCormack. She has a good handle on Picard: one he sees what the right thing to do is, he pursues it utterly. What distinguishes Picard from The Next Generation is that every time Picard stands up for what's right in TNG, it works out for him. Picard is a tragedy, the story of the time Picard's moral convictions lead to his downfall. McCormack does a good job taking the base attributes of Picard from TNG and transposing them into a new situation, and also surrounds him with a strong cast of characters, a mix of ones from the show and ones original to this book. I really liked how she wove in and out of them: Raffi, Clancy, Tajuth, and Koli were my favorites aside from Picard. There are a number of good scenes, but I liked Raffi talking about Romulan music and the scene in Paris between Jurati and Maddox after the attack the most.

(Two objections: I don't buy the novel's revelation that Jurati is Starfleet, and I wish we had seen where Laris and Zhaban came from.)

McCormack is a top-tier tie-in novelist, and that's partially because she has a voice: almost every Star Trek novel (my own included) is told in a bland third-person limited format. McCormack The Last Best Hope has a neat retroactive, omnipotent voice that occasionally intrudes, telling us what happened to character years later. It adds to the sense of tragedy, and helps deepen the sense of character. To be honest, I feel like her talents are wasted on tie-in novels. Where's her original sf novel?

This novel kind of makes me mad, though, because I found that Picard abandoned its potentially interesting premise as it went on. The idea of Picard dealing with and confronting his great failure was downplayed in favor of a really dumb story about an ancient Romulan conspiracy and rogue androids that had no character weight at all. The Last Best Hope does a good job showing how the Federation could pretty justifiably let down the Romulans so badly. It does such a good job setting up Picard's failure that it made me mad about the show's direction all over again. Why wasn't it working with this material instead of doing... whatever the hell it decided to do?
  Stevil2001 | Aug 28, 2020 |
My record with tie-in novels has not been exactly stellar, so far: most of the stories I read gave me the impression that the authors were not overly familiar with the universe and the characters they were dealing with, or that they were doing a paint-by-the-numbers job with little motivation to deliver a gratifying story. For this reason I approached this novel, that acts as a prequel to the new Trek series Picard, with some hesitation, but to my great relief and appreciation I encountered a solid story whose characters - especially the central one - felt both substantial, well-researched and consistent with their on-screen versions.

The core premise in Gene Roddenberry’s vision of his future was that of a utopian society where greed, bias and bigotry had been erased; a post-scarcity civilization that had relegated poverty and hunger to its remote past; a political association where dialogue and diplomacy could solve the most bitter conflicts. As every utopian vision it was a worthy, inspiring one - even a model to strive for - but as such it did not take into account the darker side of our nature. The original Trek, and TNG, were the product of times when optimism made us think we could start reaching for that goal, but as society and politics changed over time, the following series started incorporating more and more or this transitioning reality into their background, showing a not-so-perfect Federation, one prone to very human (and I’m using this term broadly speaking) flaws.

This prequel novel moves from the discovery that the greater part of the Romulan Star Empire is destined to be obliterated by a supernova and that Starfleet launches a massive rescue mission to relocate the endangered population to safety. The huge effort is fraught with technical and political difficulties from the very start, and when an act of sabotage destroys the Mars shipyard, Starfleet choses to pull out of the mission, causing Picard to resign his commission in anger and frustration. This less than flattering view of Starfleet and the Federation has been at the root of many objections moved by a number of fans, so I will start by addressing this narrative angle first.

Roddenberry’s perception of the Federation as a cohesive whole in which everyone worked for the common good always looked more like wishful thinking, and while remaining as a basic guideline for the shaping of mankind’s future society it was not free from exceptions even in the original series, so that we saw several examples of humanity’s worst at play. In this novel, this kind of reality check is brought to the fore on several levels: the widespread reaction at the announcement of the rescue mission for example, with people wondering why so many resources need to be employed to the benefit of a long-standing adversary; scientists dragging their feet at having to put their projects on hold to work on new and more efficient ways to relocate, house and feed so many refugees; politicians using the emergency as a leverage for their own agendas, and so forth. Does all of this sound quite familiar? Of course it does, because science fiction is often - if not always - a mirror of our present times and issues and it reflects them back at us through the lens of an imagined future. This might not look like the Federation his creator envisioned, but it’s a possible look into what we might become one day, and a prediction that our present “baggages” might still follow us into the centuries to come.

In this rude awakening from the dream of a perfect future, the most excellent victim is Jean-Luc Picard, the very symbol of Roddenberry’s vision: from the very start he’s forced to walk an uphill road, battling against short-sightedness, reluctance to fully commit to the task and political expediency, and despite these difficulties, added to the monumental task of moving 900 million people out of harm’s way, he struggles to keep the optimistic outlook that drove his past missions so far, although day by day that optimism is corroded by the mounting awareness of the hopelessness of it all. Many chapters of this novel start with excerpts from his log, and we can see the slow, inexorable way in which that hope keeps dwindling and is ultimately ground into dust by what he perceives as the ultimate betrayal from the organization he gave his life to. The ominous quality of the storytelling goes hand in hand with the deconstruction of Picard’s noble, dignified figure as he comes face to face with his powerlessness and starts to turn into the bitter, discouraged person we meet at the start of the TV series, someone whose gaze has turned inward where once he used to look out to the stars.

Picard’s second in command, Raffi Musiker, suffers a similar fate even though she comes from a different outlook: she holds little faith in humanity’s virtue and yet her cynical approach to the obstacles on their path does not save her from the crushing disillusionment they are destined to endure. More than that, she pays a terrible personal price for her dedication to the mission (something we see more clearly on screen), and what we see of her in this novel explains a great deal her attitude in the TV series, because she is forsaken both by Starfleet and by a commanding officer who choses to sever all ties with his past in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Picard: The Last Best Hope is not an easy read, because it will subvert many of the beliefs we held about Starfleet and the Federation; it will lead us to confront some unpleasant realities under the utopian surface we thought we knew; and it will force us to see how complete failure can affect even the most steadfast of personalities. There is a grimness of perspective in this novel that we are not used to seeing in Star Trek, and yet this story is a compelling one - not just because of the background it builds for the TV series, but because it makes us understand that sometimes we need to reach bottom before starting to swim back up to the surface. Grimdark might have reached its proverbial tentacles into one of the most optimistic franchises in speculative fiction, but I am convinced that redemption will not be out of the characters’ grasp, and I’m waiting to see if I’m right. ( )
  SpaceandSorcery | Apr 3, 2020 |
Una McCormack’s Star Trek: Picard: The Last Best Hope chronicles the period 2381 – 2385, fourteen years before the events of Picard begin in 2399. The story begins with the discovery that the Romulan star will go supernova, its blast destroying several neighboring systems. Starfleet asks Picard to run the refugee resettlement, but it means giving up the Enterprise as Starfleet’s flagship could be seen as hostile to the paranoid Romulans. Picard advances to Admiral and fundamentally reshapes Starfleet policy toward the crisis, while Worf becomes captain of the Enterprise and Geordi La Forge moves to the Utopia Planitia shipyards on Mars to oversee construction of a resettlement fleet. Unfortunately, Picard faces several obstacles, but his new XO Raffi Musiker helps him manage as best as possible. Initially, the Romulan government limits him to the border settlements, though he chooses to resettle the Qowat Milat on the Federation side of the Neutral Zone. It also appears that the Romulans are covering up how bad the nova will be. Meanwhile Geordi realizes he has a labor shortage and convinces Bruce Maddox to create the synths, machines that are not sentient. Maddox, however, resents this work as his goal was to create sentient life like Data, so his focus wanes even as his new colleague Agnes Jurati encourages him. As this provides backstory to the events of Star Trek: Picard, all of the optimism is not to last.

Over the course of the novel, McCormack uses the Romulan crisis to investigate the political rhetoric surrounding refugee crises in our own time, with some claiming they’re better off where they are despite the conditions they may face and that we have no responsibility to help (pgs. 133, 239). She further helps to explain the status of Nimbus III from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (pgs. 188-199), though its presence near the Neutral Zone and its lawless nature makes it one of the failures of the relocation project. Unlike Star Trek: Countdown, which served as a prequel to J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek (2009), McCormack’s story doesn’t go into much detail about Ambassador Spock, the red matter, and the failed attempt to prevent the supernova resulting in an alternate timeline. In fact, Ambassador Spock only appears once as he works to save as many of the common folk as he can while the Romulan government preserves itself and its secrets (pg. 250). Unfortunately, his efforts are limited as most Romulans rejected his reunification hopes. While this works for a story centered on Picard, I would have liked to see some plot element helping to bridge the timelines since the entire destruction of Romulus is due to the 2009 film. In an interesting aside, McCormack portrays Picard condemning the unnecessary complications of Romulan secrets as a puzzle box and one cannot help but to recall J.J. Abrams’ film philosophy, which temporarily dominated the Star Trek canon and which continues to shape the events of Picard (pg. 271). Some may complain about the use of profanity in this novel, but the new series is very much an adult drama and the tone of McCormack’s book matches it, with occasional situationally-appropriate language. Overall, McCormack’s novel provides good backstory to the new CBS All Access series, though it may contain some spoilers for those who have not yet watched the show. ( )
2 vote DarthDeverell | Mar 30, 2020 |
Exibindo 5 de 5
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"An original novel based on the new Star Trek TV series! A thrilling novel leading into the new CBS series, Una McCormack's The Last Best Hope introduces you to brand new characters featured in the life of beloved Star Trek captain Jean-Luc Picard-widely considered to be one of the most popular and recognizable characters in all of science fiction"--

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