Voyager’s Continuing Missions: Acts of Contrition Review

This week the crew gladly take down Kirsten Beyer’s Acts of Contrition.


Author: Melissa

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  1. Oh, dear… I was looking forward to seeing this pathetic, insulting straw man argument against perceived conservatism ripped to shreds as the absurdist, pointless, out-of-touch caricature that it is… but 15 minutes in, I am sensing that is not going to be the direction this is going in…

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  2. That said, we do share a point of commonality on the aggravation of the Paris storyline, and this idea that Starfleet just lets you file a ‘steal-someone’s-children’ petition, rather than any kind of realistic evaluator or review process; any kind of Starfleet CPS officer reviewing the case, or anything like that- just “Someone has issued a challenge, come defend yourselves or Starfleet will take your children.” As a parent, I found the notion especially repellent and terrifying; about as far as you can get from ‘enlightened’ as Starfleet is supposed to be. It comes across more as a Vulcan pon-far ritual (‘Now we will fight, winner gets the bride’- or in this case, baby) rather than anything designed to protect families or children. And from Julia, it just comes from a place of pettiness; the idea that the law backs her snit up for any reason whatsoever confounds me. It smacks of nepotism and corruption and total abuse of power.

    So at least we’re on the same page there. This (and some other issues in the forthcoming books involving children and the barbaric policies that Kristen Beyer puts in Starfleet’s mouths), is what’s put me off the ongoing Voyager series despite Beyer’s excellent skills at creating characters and involving me in their ongoing affairs. This book sadly started a three-book series of the these stories- for all of the ways that they engaged me- making me progressively more angry at the worldviews and policies being given to the ‘good guys’ (for instance, some of the stuff Cambridge was thinking during the reception in this book about human nature was so much nonsense, he just came off as a pretentious git that didn’t understand human nature at all, and was thinking self-righteous, idealized high-horse notions just to support the political crusade against the Confederacy metaphor), that by the most recent book, I was literally up to ‘throw the book against the wall and start shouting at it’ territory. Which, after hundreds of Trek books read, is a first for me.

    So, much as it pained me to give up the ongoing character plot-lines of this series, I had to step away from it; entertainment isn’t worthwhile if it causes more aggravation than amusement. It’s frustrating, because there’s so much I love about these books… but this legal and ethical nonsense around Tom’s children being taken away is emblematic of the unfortunate nonsense that accompanies it often enough to ruin the experience for me. (Though to Beyer’s credit, I really liked how the Julia Paris plotline resolved).

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  3. Also, based on your comments about ‘gendered bullshit,’ I am assuming that none of you are parents? Because honestly, I am as baffled by your bafflement as you are baffled by the concept. Hoping for a child (or grandchild) of a certain gender is a thing that… literally millions of people feel. There are just naturally different relationships in the way boys and girls act and think and focus in their youth (for instance, little girls tend to focus more on people and relationships, little boys more on things and toys); not universally, but by far and large. There are very different relationships between a little boy and daddy and a little boy and mommy, and likewise (I assume, with a little girl. I have always wanted one, but at present, only have two boys. And I love them both with all my heart… but I’ve still always wanted the experience of raising a little girl, as well).

    It’s not a ‘no-difference difference.’ There are different flavors of relationship, different ways of relating, different focuses and ways of seeing the world and experiences inherent in raising and relating to either gender of child- not unfailingly, but in a majority of cases To really hope to experience such a relationship (or in Julia’s case, re-experience one, in the way she related to her little son and how it differed from her equally-valued-but-different relationships with her little daughters) is a pretty understandable, common perspective in parenting and grandparenting. Now, that doesn’t many any love lost or lessened for the child or grandchild that *isn’t* the hoped-for gender… but it also means that the hope will always be there that you might get to experience that *other* relationship, as well (in this case, having a grandson as well as a grand-daughter). It’s not about ‘the value of a penis,’ but about the desire to experience a certain kind of relationship that currently doesn’t exist in your parenting or grandparenting world; to add that to the cornucopia of one’s life experiences.

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