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Old January 7 2013, 12:22 AM   #387
Paper Moon
Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

RPJOB wrote: View Post
Thrawn wrote: View Post
I mean, that'd be a fair point if Nemesis and Before Dishonor weren't both kind of terrible.
So you're OK with bringing back dead characters as long as the story they were killed in doesn't meet a certain standard? Death doesn't work that way.

Bringing back Spock should have been a one off. However, Genesis gave them an out. As Carol Marcus said "life from lifelessness". It was a totally impossible way doing it from a scientific point of view but Trek isn't and never has been a hard science series. For all of Roddenberry's claims that the science should be correct it's played fast and loose with scientific reality from the very first episode. In that context, the resurrection of Spock worked for the story.

Now we've got millions and billions of deaths with the Dominion War, Destiny and others. We still get characters coming back from the dead but just the "hero" characters. Kirk, Janeway, Data. Either death is reversible as long as you're a highly regarded Starfleet officer or there's been a lot more people coming back from the dead than we've seen. Either way, death is no longer The End. It's down to a case of deciding who's worthy. Are the 60 billion dead from Destiny less worthy than Janeway? Or Kirk? Or Data?

Star Trek may not be hard science but it shouldn't be a super-hero comic series either.
I'd like to respond to a couple of things in your post, RPJOB.

According to Memory Alpha, the following characters have been "resuscitated":
  1. Scotty ("The Changeling")
  2. McCoy ("Shore Leave")
  3. Spock (TSfS)
  4. Yareena ("Code of Honor")
  5. Lyndsay Ballard, kinda sorta ("Ashes to Ashes")
  6. Neeliz ("Mortal Coil")
  7. Rao Vantika, though I'm not sure I agree with their interpretation here ("The Passenger")

They omit, but frankly should also include Kai Opaka in "Battle Lines." (And, hell, even Kirk's first death, as recorded by history, in Generations wasn't so permanent after all. Though I grant that this case is rather different.)

I woud also add that Tasha Yar was brought back in a kinda, sorta way, in "Yesterday's Enterprise," enough that she left her mark on the prime timeline with Sela, and similarly, we had a version of Jennifer Sisko brought back in "Through The Looking Glass" and "Shattered Mirror," and a version of Bareil in "Resurrection," enough to have significant emotional effects on their prime universe loved ones.

Frankly, it seems clear that death just ain't what it used to be in the 24th century. Death hasn't been "The End," as you say, for quite some time in the Trekverse. Sure, most of the time it's shown to be as permanent as it ever has been, but we see numerous exceptions. (And the TrekLit authors have provided many fewer by comparison.)

You identified three hero characters who were brought back: Kirk, Janeway and Data.

Kirk: was brought back by the actor who played him. These stories are ignored entirely by the present authors and continuity. As far as I can tell, the current authors don't even stick in easter eggs about the Shatnerverse. The large majority of TrekLit treats Kirk as dead in the 24th century (save for a few minutes in 2371) and the stories reflect that.

Janeway: *sigh* I don't know what to feel about this. The story Beyer told with it was epic in scope and was quite moving in some ways. Her death was anything but conventional (assimilation by wacky Borg and then, apparently uniquely, going to live with Lady Q?) and so, arguably, should be treated differently than the 60 billion tragically conventional deaths from Destiny. On the other hand, I think the stories have greater potential with her existing in memory only, so I don't know what to feel about it. I agree with Thrawn in that the story was very nicely handled, though I'm not sure it needed to be told. But I digress.

Data: is not human. Never was. Never will be. He downloaded his freaking memories into another brain. That does not happen in real life, nor did happen for (presumably most of) the people who died in the Borg Invasion.

So, setting aside Kirk for the purposes of discussing stories from the current continuity, we're left with Janeway, whose death was never really quite a death for her (obviously it was for everyone else, but they were ignorant of her actual fate) and Data, whose death in Nemesis was never intended to be treated as a conventional death, thanks to the B-4 back door.

I agree that the "return" trope feels overused at this point. But I don't think it's fair to use these incredible examples (that were written to be incredible, ie unbelievable examples) to argue that the folks at Pocket have unilaterally and suddenly made Death ≠ The End.

(Also, I agree with Thrawn's point about emotional impact.)
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