|Reviews for Symphony of Infinities|
| TolkienScholar chapter 1 . 2/22
Whew! That was quite the journey! I have limited familiarity with Star Trek, enough to know what the Borg are, but not enough to know any of the characters in this story. I love the way you wrote this, though. Your portrayal of the Borg queen is so complex, so multifaceted. She essentially describes it when she thinks, "/She/ will be his goddess now, his mother, his daughter, his lover..." She has the power and command of a goddess, and the love of a mother - it's so complicated, because I can actually believe she does care for "her children," in a really twisted way. The way she tries to soothe them and protect them, it's believable, but I also know it's really perverted. And then, of course, she plays up the "lover" part when they bring Kashyk before her. I found your portrayal of her as "half beautiful, half repulsive" intriguing. I also loved seeing her from her own eyes and then his. Your description and characterization are very skillful.
I love this line: "She is perfect, but she adds to her perfection." It shows the kind of self-deception they have to use to maintain their ideas.
A quick note: I think you meant Kashyk "retched," not "wretched." You were saying he threw up, right?
The ending definitely wasn't what I expected, with him actually being assimilated. I love how you show the slow progression, though; we actually get to watch it happen as you tell the story. And then finishing it with a kiss gives the whole interaction, with his being sexually attracted to her, a nice sense of closure. And ending on the note of beauty, while still reminding us that it's actually not true beauty, is perfect in light of the title and the beginning.
Very well done. This was a great idea very skillfully executed.
| The Cheshire Cheese chapter 1 . 4/29/2015
THIS IS AMAZING!
Borg Queen/Kashyk-via-Janeway...It takes a tremendously talented writer to get a reader to take a bizarre concept seriously. I've read maybe one or two other fics that accomplish this so well. This was well written, "quality fan fiction," and it was a short but amazing read. (One shots are usually the best.)
I'll be recommending this fic in my next author's note!
| Lung Tien Lien chapter 1 . 1/26/2015
Hello! Mostly canon/fandom-myopic, but here goes!
I love those beginning sentences. "She is many. She is one..." really communicates the complex existence of the Borg (one ST character I actually know) through a very deft description of what it's like to have a hive-mind. Very creepy!
"...a song that shames the so-called symphonies of lesser life forms...": Here and in the rest of the paragraph, you move from the realm of a mere complex hive-mind to the realm of the mystic, the realm of essential godhood. This revelation is set up perfectly, and it adds a whole new layer of depth to the Borg's state of existence.
"...she did not appreciate these jarring ripples for the enlightening gifts they can offer...": I love hive-mind characters that can appreciate the uniqueness of individual thought, to add it to the collective. This shows that not only does the Borg exist infinitely, but her existence understands and evolves at an impressive level. That she compares said "enlightening gifts" to flavors, like how one would describe a good steak dinner, also helps communicate just what kind of threat she presents to a free mind.
The Borg children in their uniformity and certainty of their Queen just makes me shudder inside. "Borg" is a very apt term to describe them, and your mastery of the dialogue between the "children" and the Queen makes the feeling almost tangible.
"...suckling the last free thoughts from her most adamant dissenter like an infant at her bionic breasts.": Love the juxtaposition here between the Borg and the state of classical motherhood.
That "STOP" moment and the following paragraphs that deal with it give me a sense of a great, looming, yet curious presence. It really feels like a great goddess has stopped to take note of an ultimately infinitesimal being.
The paragraph that begins the POV switch is very emotional. The descriptions of what this non-Borg character has just experienced really gets across just how much of a formidable opponent the Borg can be, like going up against a swarm of human-sized soldier ants.
"They will all burn...": Somehow, this line is always powerful to me, and you use it to great effect. Kashyk's hatred for the Borg would be a terrible thing to act out, I think.
You paint a striking image o the Borg's female body; I think that the way Kashyk describes her is quite apt in conveying just how powerful and unnatural she is. Honestly, I'd be intimidated at having to go up against something like that.
"Though icy, her laughter scalds.": Beautiful juxtaposition of imagery here.
The bit where Kashyk discovers he's been in the process of assimilation all along kind of reminds be of 'The Thing'. That sort of creeping, horrifying realization of just what the poor victims have become just before their last bit of consciousness is gone...
The sexual imagery you use between Kashyk and the Borg is very appropriate. It's not treated without respect or overdone to the point of absurdity; the two share a very real, dreadful chemistry, and it makes the Borg seem so much more predatory!
Kashyk's sense of despair really resonates with my sympathy; the pure tragedy of his ultimate fate is very well-written. And the ending to this is wonderful, very bleak and horrifyingly simple.
Nitpicks - The Grammar Nazi Strikes (SPaG):
- "...and Kashyk hurled out...": This sentence reads like a run-on, and it took me a couple of tries to see and understand the different elements to it.
- "...and wretched out his...": I'm not sure what you mean by "wretched" here. Did you mean "retched"?
- "...the old gods helps him...": Shouldn't this be "the old gods help him"?
A wonderful one-shot that I greatly enjoyed! Excellent work!
| rhinosgirl chapter 1 . 9/20/2014
I cannot believe that I not only read this story but I actually enjoyed it immensely! (It is not my usual genre by any stretch of the imagination!)
The short, sharp sentences (She is many. She is one.) mixed in with the compound sentences (He can hardly feel his body any more, can barely even remember what he is fighting against when her ravenous tongue snakes into his graying, smoldering mouth.) form an extremely powerful sense of mystery and evil, but also love and caring, that pulled me in and wouldn't let me go.
There were a few words and sentences that I would spell or punctuate differently (For instance, in the the long sentence above, I would have written "anymore" instead of "any more.") But there was nothing so distracting that I couldn't get past it.
Thanks very much for an extremely enjoyable story )
| zanganito chapter 1 . 8/23/2014
It’s so hard to find good Borg fanfiction – thanks so much for writing this!
/They are her hands, her eyes and ears. Though she possesses her own organic appendages, she sees with the eyes of many. […] Infinite thoughts are available to her, a constant stream of consciousness, an eternity of ideas, perceptions, truths. / I think these two sentence do an amazing job of describing the hive mind/superorganism that is the Borg. She’s connected to all her workers, their minds are all joined, and they act together as a cohesive whole, almost like body parts or cells in an organism or bees in a colony.
I think you’ve done an excellent job of characterizing the Borg Queen. / She is perfect, but she adds to her perfection. She adapts. She learns. / Modesty isn’t one of her strong points, but even though she’s egotistical it doesn’t stop her from learning or adapting.
/ We are the Borg. Your biological and technical distinctiveness will be added to our own. They do not speak to the creatures they are elevating, honoring with their tubules; they speak to her, / I liked your interpretation that the “you will be assimilated” Borg speech was spoken to the Queen, not the people they are assimilating. It makes a lot of sense in a way,
/it had never occurred to her that Seven would actually prefer humanity, having experienced all of the perfection the Borg had to offer her. / I like how you connect this to cannon. The Borg Queen’s only weaknesses are her egotistical view of the Borg and not being able to understand why anyone would think differently from the Borg.
/ "Janeway is irrelevant," she reminds her children, who are always listening. / Janeway might be “irrelevant” but she certainly has an obsession with her. Janeway and Seven are a mystery to her, since they acted in ways she doesn’t understand, and she wants to find out anything she can about them, but at the same time, they are “irrelevant” to the rest of the hive, since the reasons anyone would prefer to be an individual is probably not thoughts that she’d want to project around the Borg Hive.
I haven’t seen the episode(s) with Kashyk, but I quickly figured out what kind of person he is from your characterization of him. / In that short span, he has seen more horrendous butchery, more terror-inspiring, unconcerned cruelty than he has been responsible for over his entire career – and that is saying something. / / They had sawed off his screaming lieutenant's arm while Kashyk stood and watched / He’s not exactly altruistic, is he? I like how you sort of draw parallels between him and the Borg Queen; they’re both very egotistical and destructive in their own ways as you show. The Borg Queen clearly has the upper hand in this encounter though.
/ "you brought me here to negotiate."
Though icy, her laughter scalds. "No." / lol, I love how she shuts him down. He might try to scheme and negotiate, but she won’t even hear of it. He’s going to give her what she wants and then be assimilated. No room for backtalking.
/ There is nothing left for him now but to be taken, consumed, as he has consumed so many others. In an uncharacteristic burst of sentiment, it occurs to him that this may be akin to what the telepath girl must have felt the moment she realized his "kindness" had been her death. / I like how you continue the parallel between the Queen and Kashyk. He’s consumed and destroyed people in a similar way that the Borg are assimilating him now. It’s almost like he’s getting what’s coming to him in a way.
/ Everything he is, was, is dying, extinguished by the imposition of an overwhelming collective will. […]The worst part may just be that she is right. In a way, it's beautiful. Once the pain fades. / I really enjoyed your description of how he was assimilated, and I loved your working throughout the story.
Thanks again for writing this awesome story. :) You did an amazing job characterizing the Borg and how they assimilated, and this was a really well-written story that was very enjoyable to read.
| JanaTearce chapter 1 . 8/18/2014
Wow, that was fascinating, I've watched maybe a fourth, maybe a third of Voyager so I'm more or less familiar with the characters. No idea who Kashyk is though, but I like his name both in sound and how it's written. I will memorise that one, might make use of it, heh :D
I would have never thought I would read a fanfic from the perspective of the Borg and find it interesting, but here I am. I have to say I like how you kept the collective alive, how it appears to be one huge being, like a computer - though they sometimes reminded me rather of a large insect with the many eyes [laughs]. In a way you gave them depth, that was not plain mind controlling evil... that was cool and calculated and yet there was something human about the queen. Like there would be something human about Hannibal Lecter, it's only a veil, it's pretence. It's not actually there and it's definitely not heartfelt, but there can be a momentary flicker that makes you wonder. Kashyk saw that.
The way she communicates with her children, it's like one of those old tv shows trying to explain how a computer works with people running around to represent tasks. She is definitely different though, the way she talks to them speaks of a more present consciousness than what her drones have. In a way that makes one wonder if he is right and if it's beautiful to the borg after all. Not because they are forced to think that, but some might actually believe that with all their heart.
The last sentence... you know I really enjoy when the bad guys get to pull through some of their attacks, when they don't waste time talking and just go for it. Kashyk was not miraculously rescued by someone, moments like this bring me inner joy because I think it's important for both sides to take losses and it also adds to the suspense. So about the last sentence, I am really thrilled that he actually agrees with her. You would expect him to go against her till the last minutes and sometimes that might be the most in-character response, but when that always happens it's a bit dull.
Great story :)!
| Ersatz Einstein chapter 1 . 8/18/2014
The skip straight from thousands to billions in the second paragraph was an interesting decision, given the usual technique of thousands - millions.
The symphony motif, while clever, was stated outright a bit too soon for my taste (third paragraph), considering that it's in the title. On a more general note, you tend to ignore the simple past and past progressive tenses, switching straight from various present forms to the past perfect ("he is finally grasped... where he'd just watched," for example). There are a few other errors ("He has little to say that," "We are the Borg, sounds in his head," etc.), but nothing very distracting.
That said, your perspective was beautiful. The cold wisdom of the Borg queen and her desire to consume even (especially) the strongest emotions and personalities that confront her make her a typical villain, but her "gentle" attention to the deathly murmurs of their minds makes her a character. You portrayed her as both strangely sentimental and inhumanly terrifying. The canon references were more interesting from being approached from an unusual angle.
| MissScorp chapter 1 . 8/3/2014
Hi there, I am the RLt mod who will be giving your story a review today! For starters, I should be completely honest: absolutely fandom blind. I know the original Star Trek, but any of the reboots and new Trek shows I never really watched so I don’t know much about the canon or the characters. That said, on with the review!
Despite not completely understanding who and what The Borg are (I likened them to Collector’s basically), I find this piece to be highly evocative and interesting. I loved the way you started the story with this line: ((She is many. She is one.)). It was an attention grabber that snared my attention and drew me into the narrative. I especially like how you start this off ambiguously in order to lead us into the piece before defining what you mean by her being (many) and (one) with this line here: ((She is every queen that has ever come before her and she is every queen that ever shall.))
Again, you leave things just ambiguous enough until this line: ((She is Borg, and the Borg are perfection.)) Being fandom blind, I don’t know if the definition she places upon herself as being perfection is accurate, but the fact that she says ((She is perfection.)) says to me that it’s something she believes. It also manages to come across as deliciously slick and egotistical, like a really good villain should sound.
The definition of those she assimilates here: ((They are her hands, her eyes and ears.)) as being her appendages is just a fabulous way of representing how she views her ‘children.’ They are her spies essentially; they are her envoys, her representatives, her servants, her loves. They are many. And the reason they are many is because they are (the Borg).
I find that this line here: ((It is a song that shames the so-called symphonies of lesser life forms, music of such infinite, cohesive complexity that her superior senses vibrate with ecstasy to hear it.)) really is striking because of how it likens the voices of those she assimilates into music. Their memories, their voices, thoughts, feelings, sounds are like music to her and she reveals in them, in being in possession of them.
This line here: ((She is perfect, but she adds to her perfection. She adapts. She learns.)) just shows me why this woman is such a dangerous foe for anybody to have. She’s perfect because she’s willing to add to her knowledge base, she’s willing to become something more, she recognizes that progress happens and that for her to be perfect, so must she accept and adapt to these changes.
Her total control here with this statement: (("Give me your eyes, Eleven of Twelve," she commands softly. "Show me what you see.")) and the way that ((Eleven obeys instantly, helping her tune her perceptions to the narrow band of what his organic and bionic eyes observe.)) showcases just how interconnected and complete her connection is with them. There is no refusal, they are part of her and she is their Queen.
This right here: ((There was nothing in Prax's eyes but a vapid stare.)) just goes to show how humanity, and things like free will are lost once one becomes part of the assimilation.
As a woman, I loved this line: ((A woman's shape, the outline all sex and sleek and coiled power.)) and the way that it represents how strong we are. We are sexy, fierce, intelligent and strong. It’s a great way to represent that women are not just frail little creatures that need men to rescue them. Here, in this story, this Borg Queen is a Boss and she has the walk to prove it.
I have to admit that I got a chuckle out of this line: ((What are you?" he demands of this creature, the snarl sounding positively polite to his own ringing ears.)) because it just reeks of arrogance and male superciliousness. Of course he thinks that he’s being downright friendly and polite to his capturer, but the opposite is actually true. His comment comes off as hostile, as threatening, as being full of the outraged aggression streaking through him.
Again, this here: ((She does not move with the jerky, stunted mechanical movements of all the others; she moves like a woman. More, like a woman who knows her seductive capability,)) is a vivid reminder about how women are not machines, we are not cyborgs that can be programmed to cook, clean and service their partners. Here, this line works to showcase that the Borg is both a machine and human. She absorbs information like a computer, but her movements are human. And she knows that she is both and uses both to her advantage because she’s perfection and that is what perfection demands.
Fantastic closing here: ((In a way, it's beautiful. Once the pain fades.)) that showcases that while he’s against his assimilation with every part of what remains of his humanity, what’s been injected into him (the nanotechnology) is already adapting to the Borg way. He’s seeing how giving up his will and becoming one with the Borg makes the hurt stop and allows him to enjoy only the things that she wants to share with him. And he’s realizing that there’s only peace and beauty once the pain of assimilation passes and slowly starts to embrace it even as the last bits of himself reject it.
In all, this was a really great piece and I enjoyed reading it (despite being fandom blind). Absolutely fantastic job!
| EwigeStudentin chapter 1 . 11/12/2013
Wheee, I love the BQ almost as much as I love Kashyk :D
So awesome of you to arrange a meeting. This is also why writing for a TV show beats writing for a movie anytime: the possibilities are truly endless.
They both were so deliciously in character here. The BQ part was very insightful too, while Kashyk's part provided a lot of emotionally satisfying moments. "We share an... interest." Mwah. Great dialogue throughout.
| Cerulean.Phoenix7 chapter 1 . 8/1/2012
Wow, you've got another winner here, QS. Both Kashyk and the Queen's characterizations are perfection and represent everything that they are. The Queen was especially chilling, speaking out to her 'children' with the icy calm that she possesses.
I absolutely LOVE that Janeway is the one thing that brings them together. They both hate and (in a strange sort of way) love her. It's really interesting too, knowing that the Queen wanted to see Kashyk in person, as if she could see something of Janeway there with him. And even though their conversation was short, the Queen got what she wanted from Kashyk: compliance. I think that it was more than enough for her to know that Kashyk would give her the information for his own sake.
The ending is chilling, and very true about the dark spiral into the collective mind of the Borg.
I also have to say that your imagery in this is absolutely fantastic and gorgeous beyond description. I can't pick a favorite line because I would probably end up quoting the entire thing. Every little word felt like it was perfectly chosen for its designated place.
| Cheile chapter 1 . 6/17/2012
now that's one hell of a scary Borg Queen-she's almost seductive. freaky! and frigging Kashyk-he just doesn't give up, does he? LOL. very nicely done, my dear ;)
| pennyd chapter 1 . 8/10/2011
What a great story! I'm happy to know how Kashyk met his end.
| Runawaymetaphor chapter 1 . 7/25/2011
Breathtakingly relentless. Just like the Queen herself.
| MaryFrakkingMcDonnell chapter 1 . 7/25/2011
I've never before envisioned the Queen as being so sensual! Fabulously written, as always.
| Alpha Flyer chapter 1 . 7/25/2011
Brilliantly written, and brilliantly conceived in beautiful, cruel symmetry.