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Old June 18 2013, 07:00 PM   #416
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

Charles Phipps wrote: View Post
No, my problem is the character of Emil Vasilok and his relationship to Doctor Soong as well as the portrayal of the latter.
The character's name is Emil Vaslovik, not Vasilok. This is a nod to Roddenberry's 1973 pilot movie The Questor Tapes, about an android searching to discover his origins and understand humanity. Questor's designer in the movie was a man named Dr. Emil Vaslovik. Roddenberry recycled the Questor character into Data when he developed TNG, so when Jeffrey Lang wrote the classic Data-centric novel Immortal Coil -- to which the Cold Equations trilogy is a direct sequel -- he gave Flint (from TOS: "Requiem for Methuselah") the alias of Emil Vaslovik as an homage to TQT -- and perhaps an indirect suggestion that TQT may have been part of Trek history, with Flint naming himself after the real Vaslovik. Since Flint had been an android-maker in "Requiem," and since his creation Rayna Kapec had "died" in a manner almost identical to how Lal died in TNG: "The Offspring," it was reasonable to conclude that his androids were positronic and that Soong learned from him. (And, just possibly, that he learned from Questor, though no licensed Trek novel could ever state that outright since Questor's copyrighted by Universal.)

So the way Dave portrayed the Soong-"Vaslovik" relationship wasn't anything new. It was previously established in Immortal Coil and grew out of canon evidence.


To me, Noonien Soong is the greatest cyberneticist in the Star Trek universe. It's his thing. He's by no means as famous or popular a character as Captain Kirk but it's his hat. That Doctor Soong was a genius in robotics and was able to create an android no one in the world was able to replicate. His hat, on his head, says, "I am the best roboticist ever." Seeing him reduced to living in this other guy's shadow in such a ridiculously painful way is heartbreaking.
Except we already know that Flint, aka Vaslovik, had created a sentient android a full century before Soong did.


My next problem is that David Mack's Noonien Soong is a character I simply don't associate with the one on TNG. The saintly Doctor Soong, who is a figure of inspiration to Data throughout the novels and left civilization to work on the pure science of creating an android brain (based on Isaac Asimov's works no less) is difficult to reconcile with a guy who makes his fortune with a holographic casino.
Since when was Soong portrayed as "saintly?" He always came off as an eccentric scoundrel with fringe theories and paranoid tendencies. This is a guy who fled from civilization to do his work on a remote colony in order to prove that Those Fools At The Institute were wrong, who got married in secret, who fled the colony at its moment of destruction because he always had an escape route handy (a surprisingly paranoid habit for someone in the enlightened, peaceful Federation), and who then Let The World Think He Was Dead for decades while he worked in seclusion in a jungle lair. Does that sound like a saintly genius? More like a borderline mad scientist.

Data had affection for Soong as his father, but he was obviously biased, however unemotional he claimed to be. One can be a loving and supportive father and still be a scoundrel or kind of unstable.


However, I can't imagine Doctor Soong faking his death after Lore "killed" him only to never visit Data again.
Why? That's exactly what he canonically did after Omicron Theta was destroyed. He said he'd managed to "keep track of" Data from time to time, so we know that he was aware of Data's existence, yet he still made no effort to contact Data or let him know he was alive until he completed the emotion chip. On second thought, forget what I said about being loving and supportive. Soong was an absentee father, period.
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