on August 23, 2013
I understand why so many reviewers have decided to give this book a five star review, and I mostly agree that it deserves it. However, there is one small issue I have with this book, but before I speak to that issue let me give a short synopsis of what you'll find within it and what I liked about it.
Diplomatic Implausibility is the story of Worf and his new position as an ambassador for the Federation. On a distant planet, a planet held by the Klingons, a race of citizens attempt to rebuff the rule of the Klingons. Taking the tactic of terrorism to shrug off their oppressors, the planets inhabitants face being wiped out by the Klingons if a resolution can not be reached. In comes Worf.
Escorting Worf to the planet in question is a new ship and a new crew. This ship is a Klingon vessel and not one of those aboard are particularly pleased that Worf, a Federation lapdog, is in charge of the mission. As the story continues Worf must face trouble on many fronts, and must find a way to both end the conflict on the planet and to end the ill advised treatment given to him by the ships crew.
Although the main character of this book is Worf it should also be said that this book treats all characters evenly, giving each their own stage to stand on. For me, however, this book has very little to do with actual diplomacy like the title would suggest. Rather, the book focuses much of its time on the Klingon crew and their interaction with each other. This isn't a bad thing, but the diplomatic aspects of the book left me wanting. And at only 240 pages, this book could have included much more political drama or story dealing with the rebels and their struggle.
This was a great read and one I will probably read again in the future, however, you should know that what you read on the cover is not really what you'll read on the pages.
on February 16, 2004
This novel is great for a couple of reasons. First is Worf's great portrayal. I liked his discomfort with the Ambassador title and him dealing with his diplomatic responsibility. Second, the wonderful crew and captain of the IKS Gorkon. This crew, especially Cpt. Klag, grew on me, and as a result I became a sucker and went out to buy the other adventures of the IKS Gorkon in the Brave and the Bold Book 2 and the other two Gorkon books.
DeCandido is a great author. I first read Demons of Air and Darkness by him, and then a couple SCE stories, and then went back to his first book to check out where Worf had gone after the DS9 finale. In fact I read this book knowing it was, in sorts, a continuation of DS9 in the Relaunch form. Having read up to the Gamma books, it was a welcome change to see another DS9 crewmember that had gone a different way. (Now where's my Rom story!)
The plot deals with Worf having to confront his allegiance between the Federation and Martok and the Klingon Empire. My only confusion is why Worf would have overall command of the mission being a Federation, not Klingon, representative.
So Captain Klag is an awesome character that prompted me to wanna read the rest of his adventures. His crew is interesting, and the Klingon characterizations are fitting. Worf is particularly spot-on, especially with some of his classic one-word responses.
The story and characters flow naturally; nothing is forced. The battles are good; the story is decent when compared to awesome plots like in the DS9 "Millennium" Trilogy. The conclusion sort of came on me too fast to appreciate it, and the lack of twists or climax is what made me rate this a 4 and not a 5. Keith should have written another 30-50 pages to create a totally unique, intriguing conclusion.
Characters from the Romulan prison that Worf rescued are on board the Gorkon... as well is Worf's mind-altered brother Kurn, now Rodek. His pathetic character makes one want to know wtf is bugging him, which is another reason to buy the other Gorkon books. It was great seeing Worf in his holosuite program from Season 1 TNG, seeing Beverly with an old Klingon radical doctor, and Riker reunited with Klag getting hammered despite taking an alcohol-suppressant. Passed TNG and DS9 characters are well integrated and feel natural and not forced or over-the-top like in other novels. Oh, and then there's Martok's pathetic son who Worf beat up on DS9... his character is intriguing. I also liked the continuity with the Emperor of the al'Hmatti and how he didn't just have a miraculous change-of-heart, but fit in with his character until his end.
The good thing is the tension between the crew, just as I would expect from a unique Klingon vessel with distinctive people. Most evocative is Klag's distrust of Worf due to his perception that Worf got his position only for being in Martok's house. It's also good to see Worf still mourns Jadzia's loss. The thing about DeCandido that I've come to realize is you really get into the heads of his characters, and for those we have seen on the screen, you will have no problem visualizing the different people speaking (in their unique voices) the words Keith has written. Kudos to the author indeed!
All in all an excellent cast of new and old characters, with a decent plot and some fun solid action. Reading it definitely makes one want to keep reading the adventures of the crew of the IKS Gorkon, especially with its one-armed Captain!
One missed opportunity: More involvement from the Enterprise crew with Worf. They were pushed to the background, but seeing as this is a Worf novel it was somewhat suitable. However, it is excellent to see that Worf, alone, solves the crisis on taD, and that no one from the Enterprise comes to his rescue. Chalk one up for Worf the Diplomat.
Oh, and those claiming this should be a DS9 book and that it was labeled TNG cause it sells better are mistaken. DS9 is hardly in this novel; TNG is. And in all fairness Worf was aboard TNG longer and keeps joining the TNG crew in the movies. So shutupa yer face about marketing ploys.
In conclusion, I recommend this book for TNG, DS9, Klingon and Worf fans. But also, surprisingly, for non-Trek fans, since the author does a good job recounting the crucial parts of Worf's history in a continuity that is quite suiting for the novel.
This work, though easily read as a standalone, does feel like a pilot book introducing the IKS Gorkon. But for me, that's okay, because it makes me want to read more about them. I'm glad characters weren't fully developed and resolutions didn't just appear out of thin air. I can hardly wait to read more from Keith in the future. I do agree the Rodek-Kurn/Worf relationship needed to have some conclusion, even if not complete, because it does beg one to ask what Worf felt about the whole situation. I sincerely hope it is resolved, or at least addressed in future novels.
Worf is definitely one of the most interesting Trek characters, yet in reflection I find myself comparing this novel to Garak's, "A Stitch in Time", and I find that as standalone novels basing itself mainly on one main character, Garak's novel is vastly supreme. Then again it is much longer. Thus, it is with great difficulty that I rate this novel a 4 and not a 5. Had it been slightly longer, I know it would have given me reason to rate it perfect.
PS, the glossary of Klingon terms is reason enough to buy it!
on July 27, 2003
After a long string a reading mediocre books (like Do Comets Dream?), I find myself looking at one that is truly a pleasure to read. Keith R.A. DeCandido has certainly outdone himself here. This was the first time I've had the experience to enjoy his work, but I will definitely be getting more of his titles, namely the upcoming I.K.S. Gorkon duology and Gateways - 4 of 7 - Demons Of Air And Darkness.
Now, there are two main things this book is about. One is to introduce (I think anyway) the I.K.S Gorkon crew, which is a new ship in the Klingon fleet. The other is to show some of Worf's new challenges as Federation Ambassador to the Klingon Empire. For the former point, Keith goes past the typical Klingon archetypes and really makes this crew come to life. In fact, the Captain (Klag) reminisces about how strange and unique his crew is compared to typical Klingon vessels. The crew is very likeable and is engineered so that interesting and natural conflicts arise throughout the story (and, no doubt, future stories). For the later point, we get to see how Worf deals with the losses of the Dominion War and accepts the new challenges that await him as ambassador, which provides a lot of rich character development throughout the story. Even in diplomacy, his honor and his ability to remain a warrior are constantly tested. It's interesting that a quote from season 4 (spoken by Curzon) says, "The only people who can really handle the Klingons are Klingons". That is very true in this book, making Worf a very logical and natural choice to handle the intense diplomatic situation that unfolds.
What makes this book really special is not just the plot (which is very good), but that it's true to the characters (old and new). When you read the words of Worf, Martok, Riker or any of the other characters, you can really hear the actors speaking the dialog in your mind. Keith goes much further than that, though. While the story remains in the 3rd person, Keith does a great job letting you know how the characters think and reflect on the situations around him. Even Riker's experiences aboard a Klingon vessel in TNG's season 2 are of key importance to his actions in the story. Most of the time, I couldn't help but smile as I was completely absorbed and convinced that these characters were exactly as I remembered them from TNG and DS9.
The book is also true to established continuity as well. There are many times where Worf reflects on the death of Jadzia or Kah'lar, as they have a direct and significant impact on the story itself. Worf's history in Starfleet and the aftermath of the Dominion War are also big events that this story has drawn from. It makes everything fit into place very nicely as you get the feeling that the story is a logical consequence of these events, yet interesting enough that you'll want to read about it.
Commander Riker and Dr. Crusher also make appearances, as they do have a history with several of the crew members of the I.K.S Gorkon. Rather than some books just putting them in for the sake of familiarity, or perhaps for marketing reasons, Keith takes a different approach. Since this is a book about Worf and the I.K.S. Gorkon, the author makes sure he develops the *right* characters. In each case, Crusher helps bring out the passions of B'Oraq, the Chief Medical Officer aboard the ship, and likewise, Riker helps make Klag into more than just a one-dimensional character (which seems like a one-purpose adversary to Worf at the beginning of the book).
Another aspect that I really like the book is that every paragraph is important to the plot or its characters. I'm not a big fan of books that use so much description that you could just remove it from the book and it wouldn't change a thing. I think the English language can be somewhat clumsy if it's used incorrectly, trying to describe every detail as if you were really trying to show a picture or a movie. But no, Keith doesn't do that. Every paragraph is relative to the plot or explains why the characters are reacting or thinking the way they do. Every plot point is intelligently graphed into the whole. I guess the best to describe it is that it's efficient yet emotional and captivating at the same time, which is typically the writing style I enjoy best.
So if you haven't read Diplomatic Implausibility now, you should definitely pick it up. While I'm not sure if the plots in this novel correlate to the Left Hand of Destiny (which I'm reading that now), there is lot to like here and it's an excellent addendum to the shows. This could have been very well been a real episode, as there was no indication that it was a case of bad fan fiction or contrived storytelling at all. This is one is great.
on February 27, 2002
I had bought this book a year ago and packed it away when I moved, but I am glad to have been reunited with it. Keith R.A. DeCandido has a unique writing style, one that makes the character jump out and talk, a style that you can picture in your mind. I have read other stories by this author in the SCE series and wasn't disappointed when reading this book.
Worf is a dynamic character in the STNG and DS-9 series for television and the transfer of what Michael Dorn brought to the character is evidenced in this book. Worf is promoted to ambassador to the Klingon Empire from the Federation. His first assignment is to the ice world of taD where a force of rebels on this world are wanting the Klingons off their planet. They have appealed to the Federation for recognition. Now, in lies the rub, how does Worf handle this situation?
Worf's loyalties to the Federation, yet keep the fragile peace with the Klingon Empire, and the inhabitants of taD all working toward a peaceful settlement. This book is filled with Klingon intrigue as both sides are working toward their respected ends. The Klingon Empire wants control and the rebels wanting the Klingon gone. Now, Worf has to weave a tenuous peace or the two sides will go to war.
In the book we get some of the characters background as to how they play with respect to Worf and how they think Worf got his position. But, with true Worf character, we see him carry out the ambassador roll and with honor. This is a well written story with good character rolls and a plot that along the way can be treacherous with pitfalls.
This was an enjoyable well thought out book and the characters are true to what we know. A fast read with plausibility.
Buy and enjoy it.
on September 14, 2001
If you're eagerly awaiting J.G. Hertzler's "Left Hand of Destiny" duology, this should onnly further wet your appetite. This is the first DeCandido book I've read, and I'm glad to see that he shows a thorough knowledge of the continuity. Characters that you may not even remember (Klag ["A Matter of Honor", TNG], Leskit ["Soldiers of the Empire", DS9], Rodek [AKA Kurn, "Sons of Mogh", DS9], Drex ["The Way of the Warrior", DS9], Kurak ["Suspicions", TNG]) make return appearances, more fleshed out than before, along with returning old favorites (Martok, Ezri, the TNG cast) and a few New Frontier cameos (Mark McHenry and Soleta -- Worf's classmates from Peter David's ST:TNG Starfleet Academy #1-3). It even seems to hint at events from the DS9 relaunch (although I'm not sure whether the surprising new security officer is supposed to be Ro or Nog). This is backed up by a fast-paced story where Worf first cuts his teeth as ambassador. We also get to see a lot of Worf's feelings about the job, making some great connections to TNG with Tasha Yar and K'Ehleyr. Good story, great characterization, interesting aliens, and all of the "continuity porn" you can handle. A great, fun read.
on March 4, 2001
Many years ago, Trek novels were rolled out, with fan driven fantasy stories, produced to fill a need; that being, the lack of Trek on TV. Then, for a short time, there was what I call the Golden Era of Trek fiction. Diane Duane, Vonda McIntyre, John Ford, Margaret Bonanno. Great Trek stories told in novel form. In recent times, the Trek line has become a mass market glutton with a string of the same writers who are churning out mudane stories that are clearly written to fill a need rather than to tell a good story. It was great to see that Keith DeCandido is getting his shot at being a Trek writer. I will say I am a friend of Keith's and have followed his progress as a writer and this is his best work to date. You can clearly tell that Keith is a fan of Worf in the way he writes without it reading like a "fanboy" product. You can clearly see his influences in the Golden Age I spoke of. My only complaint with the book, as it is with much of his writings in media genre pieces, is his need to rely so heavily on the history of his subject to the point where it makes for a less credible story. It is hard to beleive that so many facets of modern Trek Klingon history would converge at one point. This might be the only aspect of the novel I would consider "fanboyish." Thankfully, it doesn't deter from the story which I highly recommend.
on February 17, 2001
I found DIPLOMATIC IMPLAUSIBILITY an enjoyable read. The writing style was good, the characters and their relationships were engaging, and Worf's debut as a diplomat was an important story to tell. Also, it was good to get a rare insight into one of the subject races of the Klingon Empire. As a history major, I found DeCandido's depiction of the various forms of resistance, both overt and subtle, employed by a subject people to be credible and effective. The aliens themselves were refreshingly nonhumanoid, though they were basically just a variant on polar bears rather than truly alien.
But when I was done with the book, I realized it was lacking in depth. Too much potential went unrealized. Worf should've had more difficulty adjusting to thinking like a diplomat instead of a soldier. His aide needed a lot more character development. The character arcs of the Gorkon crewmembers never quite got as far as I'd expected -- there was some movement and growth, but it didn't feel like anything really major happened, that any real resolutions occurred. This book felt more like a pilot, introducing character arcs without giving them closure, than a self-contained work. The most disappointing thing was the use of Kurn/Rodek. He wasn't as completely wasted here as he was in Dafydd ab Hugh's DS9 novel VENGEANCE, but he was wasted nonetheless. DeCandido set up a promising tension with Rodek's attitude toward Worf and Worf's reaction to who Rodek had become, but it never really went anywhere.
So this book had real potential, and was reasonably fun to read, but it never transcended the superficiality that's become the norm in Star Trek novels these days. Which is a shame, since these books set after the end of TNG/DS9 should be freer to tell stories with real growth and substance, rather than just placeholders that give the illusion of stuff happening while maintaining the strict status quo. I'm hoping that the upcoming DS9 Relaunch series will succeed in breaking free of that tie-in mentality and give us stories with real substance and character growth. And hopefully DeCandido will write a sequel which will allow the interesting characters and relationships he featured here -- especially the Worf/Rodek situation -- to be more fully developed.
on February 6, 2001
Do you enjoy reading novels about Klingons? Do you enjoy the character of LT/LCDR and now Ambassador Worf? If so, then _Diplomatic Implausibility_ comes about as recommended as it gets. With his first Star Trek novel, Keith DeCandido has scored a major hit, creating a compelling story that also demonstrates a wonderful enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, the Trek Universe.
Telling the first story of Worf's journeys as Federation Ambassador to the Klingon Empire, _Diplomatic Implausibility_ moves the character of Worf forward from where he was last seen in the "Deep Space Nine" finale. Even better, it is done with style and grace, and reads as highly true to the Worf character. Worf's fans will not be disappointed. Many times, while reading, I could hear Michael Dorn's voice in my head, delivering those lines. The story itself poses challenges for Worf that compel him to be both resourceful and creative, and does so very effectively.
Worf, however, is not the only reason to buy _Diplomatic Implausibility_. Mr. DeCandido's use of a myriad of characters from "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" firmly anchors this story in the well-known Trek Universe, but equally, never comes off as forced or contrived. The characters fit naturally into their environment, and one never gets the sense that someone was shoehorned into a spot just for the sake of being there. The crew of the IKS Gorkon are a unique and fun bunch of Klingons, and a large chunk of the fun of this book is heavily tied to reading about *them*. Cardboard cutouts these are not, nor are they a bunch of stereotypical Klingons. In fact, one of the real successes of this book is in portraying the variety of personalities among these characters.
Continuity is also quite strong here, with character and situation references going back to "Encounter at Farpoint". Clearly, Mr. DeCandido has done his homework, and the result is a richer world within this novel. Going even further, there are several subtle-but-noticeable references to other Trek novels. It's not at all necessary to have read the books referenced to fully appreciate the storytelling here, but if you are familiar with those stories, it gives a nice sense of verisimilitude.
Overall, _Diplomatic Implausibility_ scores on multiple levels, and the combination results in a book that's well worth reading. I recommend it highly.
on February 5, 2001
First of all, let me say that I'd award this novel 3 and a half stars, not just three.
I picked up this book for a variety of reasons. One was there was definite on-line buzz about the story. The second was that the premise intrigued me--exploring Ambassador Worf's first mission beyond his time on Deep Space Nine. The third was that upon first glance, it brought up a lot of familiar characters from the history of TNG and DS9, which was very welcome. It was these final two reasons for picking up this book that made me enjoy it so much. As DeCandido says in his afterward, Worf was one of the most intriguing characters introduced by the modern Trek. And his story-arch through two series and the movies has been intriguing to watch. To see him accept the role of ambassador was interesting and that's why this book intrigued me so.
And on many levels, Worf's work as ambassador is interesting. Worf becomes caught between two worlds--he must satisfy the needs of the Klingon Empire while not betraying the ideals and beliefs he has learned in his time with Starfleet. That kind of conflict within a character can make for excellent drama and a compelling novel. And for the most part, DeCandido succeeds in spades. One of the biggest compliments you can pay a novel based on a TV show is that you can hear the actors delivering the lines in the novel. You can definitely hear Michael Dorn's Worf throughout this book.
And it's also nice to see a Trek writer bring in a lot of older characters and give us a chance to catch up on them. It's a bit hard to believe they'd all come toghether on board one ship, but I can easily put that aside simply because DeCandido explores them so well.
But the part of this book that really took it down was the main plotine. Worf's being sent to a planet conquered by the Klingons but petitioning the Federation to help free them. Certainly, we've seen this done before and there's not really anything new here. There are rebels and there is the puppet governement run by the Klingons who are trying to supress the uprising. We've seen this before and better done in the underrated TNG episode, "The Hunted." That episode gave us three-dimensional characters who interacted with each other and the crew to be interesting and believable. Not so here. Instead we get aliens who are tall and furry. There is little to distinguish them and the only one that comes off even remotely interesting is the puppet governor who resist the Klingons in his own way.
The other part that bothered me is the ending. It seems to come out of left field. Given another 50 or so pages, DeCandido could have done wonders with this story. He certainly made the story compelling and page-turning up until it comes abrubtly to a halt. I won't give away any plot details here. Suffice it to say the ending is too quick and pat for my liking.
All in all, this novel has a lot of potential. If you love Klingons, I recommend it. If you liked Worf, again I recommend it. If you're looking for a truly great Klingon Trek story, I recommend you look to the underrated classic, "The Final Reflection."
on January 28, 2001
Keith R.A. DeCandido's first Star Trek: The Next Generation novel satisfies everything I want from a Star Trek novel: a solid story, a well-written novel, and value for the money. While 2001 may be young, I venture that there will be few Star Trek novels this year to match Diplomatic Implausibility (hereafter DI). Quite simply, DeCandido has crafted an excellent novel, one that tells a sound story and captures well the essence of the Star Trek characters and their universe.
Immediately, DI sets itself apart from Trek-as-usual; the main character of the novel is Worf, but a Worf no longer in Starfleet and in the service of the Federation's Diplomatic Corps. At the conclusion of Deep Space Nine's final episode, "What You Leave Behind," Worf left Starfleet to become the Federation's Ambassador to the Klingon Empire, and DI relates Worf's first assignment as Federation Ambassador. Thus, we have a Star Trek novel is which one of the usual hallmarks of Star Trek storytelling, namely Starfleet, is barely present and has little bearing upon the events of the novel. While the Enterprise does appear, her role in the story is minimal, amounting to a cameo appearance that conveys some important character moments for Worf. Instead, the Enterprise's usual role is filled by the IKS Gorkon, a Klingon Defense Force ship assigned to ferry newly-minted Ambassador Worf to the planet taD.
Here is where DI shines. Not only does DeCandido convey effectively Worf's efforts to find a solution to the taD crisis while bridging his Klingon heritage and his Federation upbringing, he also introduces us to the crew of the IKS Gorkon, bringing these characters vividly to life. While most of these characters have appeared in The Next Generation or Deep Space Nine before, they were largely unknown, disposable characters. Given life here they come across well on the printed page with histories and personality quirks. Klag, the one-armed hero of Marcan, saddled with a crew not of his liking for his first command. Drex, the son of Martok, unable to conceal his distaste for being second-in-command of the Gorkon and his hatred for Worf. Vall, the engineering genius, ill-suited by disposition to serve on a Klingon ship. B'oraq, the ship's doctor, wanting to bring Federation medicine to an Empire badly in need of it. These characters and others come to life, each with his or her own motivations, their own role in the unfolding drama. I was intrigued by these characters. I could understand their motives, whether they assisted Worf in his mission or hindered his progress. I would welcome a return engagement of the Gorkon and her crew. To some extent the novel stands as a study in characterization. Worf faces hostility from the Klingons and the al'Hamatti while at the same time dealing with the realization that he might be ill-suited for his new role as Ambassador. Klag must confront his prejudice against medicine and his distrust of those who gained their positions through familial connections. In the end these characters learn something about who they are and why their beliefs, while not necessarily wrong, might require reappraisal. DI uses characterization to further the plot; events happen because of who the characters are and what they believe, and in the end to rise above who they are.
Nothing comes across more clearly in DI than the fact that DeCandido is clearly a fan of Star Trek. Continuity references are unobtrusive, but provide an extra level of shading for the long-time fan. Additionally, references are made to two of Peter David's works, his first Next Generation novel Strike Zone and to the New Frontier series. A mention of The Captain's Table, setting of the crossover novel series of the same title from 1998, is so unobtrusive that a non-fan would pay it no mind while to the long-time fan would find a welcome smile crossing his face. As a fan who would like to think that the television shows, films, novels, and comics all occur within the same universe, the acknowledgement of other novels contributes to the sense that these other novels "matter."
Those passing up on Diplomatic Implausibility are passing up on an excellent novel. DeCandido has written a well-crafted novel that carries forward Worf's life while also introducing us to a group of characters that I hope to see more of in the future. I look forward to more from Keith R.A. DeCandido's pen. But for now, I have Diplomatic Implausibility, and this book fulfills what I want in a Star Trek novel: a story well-told and worth every penny. While some might quibble with the designation of this novel as a Next Generation novel when the Enterprise-E and crew appear but barely, they would be missing out on what may well be one of the best Star Trek novels published this year, and what is certainly the best debut Star Trek novel in some time.