Reviews

Links to and quotes from reviews of my work by others.

ST.Section.31.Disavowed.CvrEric Cone has posted his review of my latest Star Trek novel, Section 31: Disavowed, over at Visionary Trek. (Spoiler Alert: He liked it.)

A few choice quotes:

“David Mack has hit another one out of the park with Disavowed, as he takes us on a roller-coaster ride from beginning to end. There’s plenty of action and intrigue, and twists and turns abound….”

“The stakes have never been higher, and Dr. Bashir is front and center as he walks a tightrope over a minefield. … David Mack has won me over, again.”

“My score: A+! Section 31: Disavowed is fantastic!”

Not too shabby.

Over at Trek Lit Reviews, Dan Gunther had this (and much more) to say about the book:

“Another incredible tale from David Mack … action, suspense, and superb writing.”

“I will have my work cut out for me in naming the best Star Trek novel of 2014. … One thing is apparent, however: Section 31: Disavowed is certainly in contention!”

All right, then.

 

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In what is generally a favorable write-up of Star Trek: Seekers #1 – Second Nature, reviewer Steve Donoghue of Open Letters Monthly makes an observation I find troubling:

“In this first volume in the Star Trek Seekers series, Second Nature, Captain Terrell heads a somewhat predictably multi-racial crew — there’s a Vulcan, a Trill, an Arkenite, a Denobulan, etc. — and, unfortunately, Mack tends to lean on these race-implications just as so many Star Trek fiction writers have done before him. (It lends itself to an egregious laziness that would be condemned as simple racism if it were being applied to people from Lithuania instead of Alpha Centauri; countless times, Mack designates these characters by their races – “the Vulcan” this, or “the Trill” that).”

seekers1Considering how eagerly I and other Star Trek authors of recent years have strived to create a more inclusive portrait of humanity and of diverse ideologies and lifestyles in the novels, this note of his gave me great pause.

Have we been guilty of perpetrating a “lazy” and “casual” form of racism by using species identifiers in our prose? I know that I and some other authors do it to avoid pronoun confusion in scenes where several characters are of the same sex, and to avoid resorting to physical attributes (“the blonde,” “the tall man,” etc), or overusing the proper names to the point of distraction.

But now I’m curious. Does Mr. Donoghue have a point? Are writers of speculative fiction (including but not limited to Star Trek) committing a sin against the inclusive philosophy many of us consider important by using species identification as a form of literary short-hand? Or is this reviewer overreacting to an innocuous trope of the speculative fiction genre?

I’m not looking to pick a fight or incite people to pile onto Mr. Donoghue. This is a serious inquiry: How can we improve this aspect of SF and Star Trek fiction without creating clunky prose problems in the process? Or is this not even really a problem at all?

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silentweapons_coverAnother month brings another terrific critical discussion of my work over at the trekmate.org.uk site’s Ten Forward Book Club. This month, regular book club host Sina is joined by Delta Quadrant Podcast host Melissa to review and talk about Silent Weapons, the second book in my recent Cold Equations trilogy.

Once again, it’s an in-depth and very astute analysis of what does and doesn’t work in the novel. As with their review of The Persistence of Memory, it’s interesting to see how Melissa reacts to many of the book’s elements, as she has not read much of recent Star Trek fiction. The contrast of her viewpoint with Sina’s is especially interesting.

Give it a listen, leave them some comments on their Forum, and tell them Mack sent ya.

 

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