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Old March 5 2008, 12:00 AM   #60
Warp Coil
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Re: Destiny trilogy - pretty heavy spoilers

Sci wrote: View Post
I think the reaction against the Borg stems from a rather long-standing creative process with regards to the Borg that people don't like.

When the Borg first appeared, they were scary. They were scary because they were not characters, they were not people, they were things. They were a force of nature, they were monsters that wanted to eat you and that was all they wanted. Not literally eat you, obviously, but the psychological concept is the same -- a threat with whom one cannot empathize and which seeks solely to do something that will harm you. And a monster who just wants to eat you is scary because it's not something that we can truly understand. As Stephen King once said, it's that which we do not know or do not understand that is truly frightening. The shadow in your closet is far scarier when you think it might be a 15-foot tall lizard monster than a 15-foot tall lizard monster actually is.

Then they assimilated Picard into Locutus. In a way, that was okay, although they were no longer just out for our technology, because they were still monsters who wanted to eat us. Only now, their method of eating us was almost literal -- they wanted to take us, harm us, rob us of ourselves, make us their slaves.

Then came Hugh, and we learned that a Borg separated from the Collective could become an individual. Then came the Borg Queen, and suddenly the Borg were no longer monsters who wanted to eat you -- now they had a personality in the form of the Queen. Now they were characters, not just monsters, and so they now had a psychology. That meant we could now categorize them, analyze them. Understand them. On top of that, VOY was giving us technobabble explaining how the Collective and its assimilation technology functioned, and showing us Borg ships that were incapacitated or that could be harmed -- showing situations where the Borg were no longer decidedly more powerful than Our Heroes in all situations. Suddenly, they were the 15-foot tall lizard monster instead of the shadow in the closet.

And I think that when it comes to the Borg, people don't want the 15-foot tall lizard monster; they want the shadow in the closet, the creak in the night. They want the mindless force of nature, the monster that wants to eat you -- not the sociopathic megalomaniac with bad skin that the Borg became in the form of the Queen.
Wow - that was a very amusing post, and also a fairly accurate one IMO

My feeling is that the Borg have also become a gimmick within the franchise, or a "ratings stunt" type of thing - and one that has been overused. The Borg started off as a rarely-utilized "scary" villain on TNG. But the Borg became popular so TPTB started to use them more frequently (see VOY). The Borg became weak, sloppy and much less scary. Then TNG jump-started its literary relaunch with some really weak Borg stories ("Resistance" and "Before Dishonor"). All you have to do is take a peek in the "Before Dishonor" threads to see all the negative reaction.

Could "Greater Than the Sum" and "Destiny" utilize the Borg in a way that's creative and interesting again? Sure. And I'm keeping an open mind. I'm definitely curious to see where these novels go. But you can't blame some of us for feeling a little bummed about the Borg right now.
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