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Reviewer: Enterprise1981 Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 25 Aug 2011 20:40 Title: Chapter 1

^ What Ln X said about how engaging the story. Some of the underrated Trek episodes addressed these kinds of cultural and moral dilemmas. And it ties in well with the kinds of situations addressed "Dear Doctor" and "Cogenitor".

The ending was what really put it all in perspective. While the crews of Starfleet ships are expected to keep an open about all the different alien cultures who do not share the same values, one cannot help but pass judgment on the Daranaeans.

Author's Response:

Thank you for your kind review! :)

Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 22 Aug 2011 18:45 Title: Chapter 1

I enjoyed this relevant, thought-provoking story very much, jespah. It’s something you can be very proud of, and for a long time.

Nothing of my review is intended as criticism of your story and I’m not suggesting that any of it be changed. It is an excellent story, valid and believable in every respect and full of humanity.

While most everyone is aware of the social commentary Star Trek has made upon our own society, told disguisedly from the POV of alien cultures, I believe your story can be rightly included alongside the very best of these episodes. In ENT the best of these commentary episodes, IMHO, are Dear Doctor, Chosen Realm and Cogenitor.

In Cogenitor we meet an advanced race known as the Vissians (whom you mention), and are introduced to a member of that race’s third gender, whom Trip tries to ‘save’ from a life of unjust and inequitable subjugation. But Trip’s involvement, as well-intended as it may be, ultimately results in the death of this being and as a result Trip receives a thorough tongue lashing and stern warning from Captain Archer.

Both your story and Cogenitor, as fascinating and thought-provoking as they may be, are equally disturbing tragedies precisely because they end with the door to liberation and social equity slammed shut in the faces of those that need it most.

While there are many excellent examples of where the Prime Directive (or its informal equivalents)* provide a necessary and positive influence, in matters of social development it’s hard to imagine how a line can be so easily drawn between help and contamination. As Picard said in the episode Justice, justice is “an exercise in exceptions” and “can’t come from a rulebook” (to paraphrase Riker). Picard convinced the Edo ‘god’ with this argument and Wesley’s life was saved. Without Picard’s powerful argument, Wesley would have been required to sacrifice his life to appease the Prime Directive.

You mentioned a sequel and I would love to read that. If I can shine a light in a certain direction for it, I would suggest a future Daranaean with the courage of a Rosa Parks or perhaps the intelligence of a Gloria Steinem, or some blend between the two. It has to start with one person; one idea.

Thank you again for a most enjoyable read!

~ Sam.

* Although your story, and Cogenitor, take place prior to the formation of the Federation (2161) and the Prime Directive, it’s clear that similar although probably informal guidelines are in place, re cultural contamination.

Author's Response:

Wow. I am truly humbled by your review. Thank you so much.

The sequel is absolutely in my head these days. I get the feeling it'll be something written in a blast of typing in a day or so, then held onto for a while as it's shaped, which is what happened with this one.

Thank you - speechless, typeless, don't know what to write but to thank you.

Reviewer: Lil black dog Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 21 Aug 2011 20:53 Title: Chapter 1

Wow jespah – a very harsh, painful look at a society which we find deeply disturbing, but on the flip side, do we really have the right with which to interfere; to impose our morals and values on another species?

It reminded me very much of the first Trek episode I ever saw – ‘A Private Little War.’  As an eleven-year-old, I’ll admit that the ‘hook’ that kept me watching that day was the dire straits in which Spock found himself in the opening sequence, but by the end it did have me thinking long and hard about the moral dilemma it presented – do we arm a peaceful race in order to prevent their genocide, knowing a great number of them will be killed in the fighting that ensues?  Knowing that peace is always preferable to war, but in this case, peace would also lead to their ultimate annihilation?  Definitely a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation, very much like the one Libba and Cama were living with on a daily basis, and one that put Dr. Nguyen in the difficult position of having to decide if ethically, he should breach the Prime Directive.  A very thought-provoking, if hard to read (in the best way imaginable) piece.

Author's Response:

Thank you.

I seem to be evoking revulsion (I suppose that's a good thing in this instance).

Nerys has given me an idea for a potential sequel but I have to really work the kinks out.

PS I checked out the episode you referred to. I suppose I had forgotten about it. Interesting. That Prime Directive can be a bit of a PITA at times, but it's probably, on balance, a good idea.

Reviewer: Miranda Fave Signed [Report This]
Date: 21 Aug 2011 14:00 Title: Chapter 1

That was a thoroughly depressing and horrible read - but because it was supposed to be that way. You painted a truly horrific and dire picture of caste life. Reading the plight of the women in these castes I was reminded of the biography Wild Swans by Jung Chang. Rarely does a fanfic evoke such a memory. Really well done.

A brave story to tell and braver still for the fact you did not seek to try and find a resolution to it. Life is rarely easily fixed, especially in such circumstances. Trek often tried to explore such difficult and morally complex issues in its Prime Directive episodes that illustrated just how unsatisfactory our responses in the real world to real world problems/situations can be. It leaves a hollow feeling after reading and exploring this tale - which shows how effective it was. Well done.

Author's Response:

Thank you. I'm glad I depressed you.

Wait, that doesn't sound right. ;)

I'll have to look up that book. One thing I was thinking of when I was writing it was Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.

Reviewer: Gul Rejal Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 21 Aug 2011 10:08 Title: Chapter 1

Daranaeans reminded me strongly of old Chinese customs: keep women at home, have boys, otherwise you are useless. Young women weren't even allowed to move in with their husbands until they got pregnant not to eat the new family's food.

I read the story clentching my jaw in anger at the injustice of such a system. What's worse--those two women didn't even understand that it didn't have to be like that. For them it was the only way...who knows, maybe it's even better, since they didn't dream about a 'better' situation. One cannot miss what one doesn't know.

This is a very good story. I'd like to say that I read it with pleasure, but I don't think 'pleasure' is the right word for such a grim subject. I "read it with interest," then.

Author's Response:

Many thanks. I'm glad it got you thinkin'. And I like the analogy of them being like traditional Chinese. What happens when things are taken to an extreme? That's often a jumping off point for me.

Reviewer: Nerys Ghemor Signed [Report This]
Date: 20 Aug 2011 23:33 Title: Chapter 1

Man...if you were aiming to capture the sick feeling that a lot of the series' Prime Directive stories in TNG, VOY, and ENT gave me, then boy, you pulled it off beautifully.

I really felt sorry for these women, being treated as property in that way.  And by extension, their babies are treated as commodities.  A society that results in voluntary miscarriage...I guess there's a good reason I write Cardassians and not Starfleet, because I can't help judging that society as being sick in the worst way.  It reminds me of how the Cardassians put their orphans out on the streets to die, essentially only valuing their lives if their parents were alive.

I find myself wondering what this species would look like in a flash-forward...if eventually their self-cannibalizing ways (which is what it really is, ultimately) will destroy them.

Even the Ferengi--who scarily enough are better-off, I think, in that I did not hear anything to suggest that Ishka or Prinadora were forced to have insane numbers of children eventually had reform when they realized that it was not pragmatically sound to straitjacket half of their potential pool of ingenuity and latinum-making?

I wonder what the impetus would be for the Daranaeans or if one could be found?  If the Daranaeans do not have a value that could eventually come into conflict with slavery (such as how Christians went against the US slave trade, or Ferengi libertarians went against the oppression of women), who knows how long this could last?

Author's Response:

Thank you - I was aiming for - no one comes out looking good, when the story is done. I suppose the only Daranaean who is at all sympathetic is Libba, who at least is trying on some level, and promises to care for Cama's own. But she's not very bright, even she knows this is going to mean her end at some point.

I think (and I will probably revisit them eventually)  that the self-cannibalizing (I like the way you put that) situation may have, in part, caused some of this, that they have fewer children because of voluntarily miscarrying by the bottom caste, and probably the top caste are rare (and they can refuse relations, and are better educated so they're going to have fewer young anyway) so you're left with a middle caste required to do all the reproductive heavy lifting and it's killing them.

Perhaps there will be a revolution, a kind of alien Take Back the Night? What Cama does is, in a way, rebellious. If she and her kind can ever get out of the house (I was thinking of ancient Rome, where upper class women were often locked away, allegedly for their own safety), they might be dangerous.

Thank you for the germ of an idea -- and for reminding me of the role of Ferengi women before I believe the episode was called "Profit and Lace".

Reviewer: trekfan Signed [Report This]
Date: 20 Aug 2011 17:00 Title: Chapter 1

Ethical questions abound in this one and a good story that makes one think. Like the species you developed here and like the society you had spring up around them. Good stuff.

Author's Response:

Thank you so much!

Reviewer: Ln X Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 20 Aug 2011 00:09 Title: Chapter 1

Wow that was amazing! Out of all the eight responses this story was the best. Primarily because it dealt with the caste system and sexual discrimination. You developed a very intriguing race, Daranaeans, and explained out all the interesting facts in just one story.

This was also the most engaging story out of the eight, because you combined that Enterprise feel of humanity tentatively exploring the unknown with the classic Star Trek feature of examining morality and societal conditions.

Very impressed.

Author's Response:

Thank you! You are very, very kind!

I kinda had the idea of what would happen if a wolf pack became sentient and was motivated by capitalism, spiked with what if choice is taken away in the extreme.

You made my week.

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