Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Book 81: Star Trek Section 31 Rogue

I’m not a fan of Rogue by Andy Mangels and Micahel A Martin. Rogue takes place in the Section 31 series. It utterly failed for me. I don’t really say that all too often. But this book is really starting to make me think that I can’t ever really enjoy fictional intelligence related books (yet there was Zero Sum Game that was good).

Admittedly I’m tough on intelligence books. My focus for my master’s degree was intelligence. So I know a couple things about the field. I heard from a couple of the professors that after learning a lot about the intelligence field, it gets harder to enjoy the fictional forms of intelligence. At first, I didn’t believe them but books like Rogue make me think they were right.

There was horrible spycraft. First there was the recruitment of Sean Hawk was crazy. It was basically a cold call. I mean seriously. Who would want to trust or want to work for a secret agency when you just met someone? You don’t just start sharing secrets and working for shadow organization without a basis of trust. If you think about it, do you tell your secrets to a friend or to a stranger. Besides that, there was no re-recruitment of Hawk to ensure that he doesn’t get flaky. A good spy knows that you have to reassure a person that they are doing right by drawing on their triggers (money, ideology, ego, and etc) cause quite frankly if you don’t do that, they will turn and not remain loyal and could expose the agency completely. Not to mention it seems crazy that the Romulan intelligence agency would be more familiar with Section 31 then Starfleet intelligence. It’s hard to hide an intelligence agency from another agency when they are under the same government. Yet Rogue wants me to believe the Romulans know more than Starfleet Intel. That’s crazy. Especially when Corey was such a braggart and just saying, “you can’t stop me.” Sorry nobody and no agency is untouchable. For the supposed covert nature of Section 31, he definitely made it rather overt.

On top of the horrible spycraft, there are serious issues with the rest of the book. The characters, the plot, and the formatting of the book all had problems in my eyes.

While the book does a great job of showing a homosexual relationship, it did a horrible job at showing the Next Generation characters in a realistic light. Sometimes it’s tough to show already made characters in a strong light. I can’t count how many times I raised my eyebrow in disbelief at a thought or a statement from a character. It seemed a bit unrealistic at times. I liked how the book tried to rejoin three academy friends many years later. But it was hard to see everything really congeal. Plus calling Jean-Luc, Johnny was just distracting.

I hated the plot of the book. It just felt like it was trying to be grander then it was. It was trying so hard to create the layers of covert actions while at the same time trying to bring them all to light. It just struggled in tying all the pieces together in a coherent fashion. It drove me nuts when they made a big deal that Picard had to go a mission but he did nothing to contribute to the mission. It felt like they just wanted to include him for the sake of including him and then realized that they had to justify his presence (since Starfleet does try to prohibit captains on going on away missions), so they added a discussion between Picard and Riker to make it fit into the canon. If they didn’t have that discussion that Picard must be there, it would have set better with me.

Plus I had a lot of formatting issues with this book. This may not be the fault of the book itself but rather the fact I read it on an eReader. I was just getting confused with the perspective changes between paragraphs. Often it just felt unnecessary in the space the authors were giving themselves. Plus there were times in the tail-end of the book I was just getting lost in the action since it lacked the necessary white space to separate out the different set of actions.

So yeah, I definitely hated this book. There was nothing appealing to the book and it was unbelievable the amount of times I said, “this is horrid” or “really?” or “this is awful.”

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