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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

View Poll Results: Grade Lost Souls
Excellent 130 72.22%
Above Average 35 19.44%
Average 12 6.67%
Below Average 1 0.56%
Poor 2 1.11%
Voters: 180. You may not vote on this poll

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Old January 29 2009, 11:08 PM   #526
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Semah wrote: View Post
I may have to read your post-apocalyptic book you were talking about before.
I wouldn't call any of my upcoming work "post-apocalyptic." If you're referring to The Calling, it's a modern-day supernatural thriller set in New York City. Nothing apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic about it.
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Old January 30 2009, 12:55 AM   #527
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

plynch wrote: View Post
The evil of the Borg originally was that they/it was a hive mind pursuing perfection and assimilating everything because that was the proper thing to do. They didn't hate those they assimilated. Sort of like Moby Dick - impersonal, but dangerous. (Roddenberry is actually ambivalent about the Borg in the last interviews. Had to make them scary for tv, but thought some gestalt/group consciousness might be our next step, into SORG-dom (social organism).

The author of Destiny really changes the character of the Borg. Perhaps the damage was already done in First Contact. Nevertheless, in this trilogy, the Borg drones are slaves, not fully integrated, really. And, the mind/spirit guiding the whole thing is more "evil" by intent, rather than as a consequence of pursuing perfection.
Well, the first thing to keep in mind is that Destiny and Greater Than the Sum both establish -- and so does Before Dishonor, for that mater -- that while a portion of an individual drone's pre-assimilation personality remains intact, most of that individual's consciousness is re-shaped and altered by the assimilation process. You become, in essence, the victim of mind control and then your mind-controlled mind is linked to the others via the Collective. So the full integration thing is still intact.

The second thing to keep in mind is that, well, Mack didn't actually make the decision to make the Borg, in your words, "slaves, not fully integrated." Nor did he make the decision to make them "more 'evil' by intent, rather than as a consequence of pursuing perfection." The decision to reveal that Borg drones are actually slaves was made in "The Best of Both Worlds, Parts I & II" and in Star Trek: First Contact. The decision to make the Borg more evil by intent came from First Contact and VOY, as did the Borg's worship of the Omega Molecule. And I don't think that the Borg in Destiny are not pursuing perfection; they are. It's just that Mack made explicit what the writers of First Contact and VOY had made implicit: That the Borg Collective defined "perfection" as the possession of unlimited power.

Another example is emotion. The Borg were originally described in "Q Who?" as being creatures devoid of passion, acting only rationally in their own self-interest. It was never personal, as you note. What FC and VOY did, though, was reveal that the Borg do have emotion and that, for them, it is personal: The Borg take pleasure in assimilating new life-forms ("Dark Frontier"). The Queen can develop emotional attachments to certain drones ("Endgame"). The Borg experience religious impulses, such as the worship of the Omega Molecule ("The Omega Directive").

And the Queen feels lonely (First Contact).

What Mack has done in Destiny is take those elements of the Borg that VOY and First Contact established that contradicted what "Q Who?" had established and put them in a new context. Instead of seeking to ignore them or minimize them, Mack has taken them and put them into a new context that speaks directly to the larger themes of life, death, and community. We discover that all of these aspects of the Borg -- the desire for power, the constant desire to consume and assimilate, the feelings of emotion -- are all the result of the Borg originating from a desperately lonely, miserable creature that was in a great deal of pain, facing both the loss of its entire civilization and its own imminent demise, who could not accept her fate. Instead of allowing herself to die and to have lived by a moral code, she made the choice to lash out at the universe, desperately seeking to live, constantly driven by her own fear of death, violating everyone else's rights in the process, and eternally driven by an inconsolable sense of loss and loneliness and pain. Like Hegel's Master, who sought recognition for his achievements from his Slave but who could never truly receive genuine recognition because his Slave could never give him anything but, Sedin seeks companionship, but is condemned to eternal loneliness because the Queen, her avatar, leaves no one's minds intact.

In short, where the VOY writers -- and, let's be frank here, it's mostly the work of Brannon Braga, who wrote the Borg Queen sections of First Contact and wrote or co-wrote the majority of Borg episodes of VOY -- where Braga took an interesting, if impersonal, antagonist and turned them into very traditional, emotional villains, Mack takes those Braga elements and places them in a much deeper, much more philosophical context that owes more to Hegel or Camus than it does to Snidley Whiplash (who is, frankly, the Braga Borg's true antecedent).
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Old January 30 2009, 01:11 AM   #528
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Sci wrote: View Post
Another example is emotion. The Borg were originally described in "Q Who?" as being creatures devoid of passion, acting only rationally in their own self-interest. It was never personal, as you note. What FC and VOY did, though, was reveal that the Borg do have emotion and that, for them, it is personal: The Borg take pleasure in assimilating new life-forms ("Dark Frontier"). The Queen can develop emotional attachments to certain drones ("Endgame"). The Borg experience religious impulses, such as the worship of the Omega Molecule ("The Omega Directive").

And the Queen feels lonely (First Contact).
I don't think you can take the Queen's professions of emotion as being genuine. I always perceived them as calculated and artificial, just tactics she employed in her efforts to manipulate and use other beings.

I also don't think the books portray the Borg as "evil by intent." People don't think of themselves as evil. Everyone's trying to do what they believe is the right thing, even if they define that purely in selfish terms. The Borg are simply goal-oriented, that goal being the assimilation of all life into the Collective. And they are ruthless toward anything that threatens that goal.

I mean, from the Borg's perspective, their actions in last year's TNG novels and Destiny were acts of self-defense. The offshoot Borg in Resistance et seq. were in a "kill first" mode because they were protecting their nascent Queen. And the main body of the Collective invaded the Alpha Quadrant in Destiny as retaliation for Voyager and Admiral Janeway's destruction of their transwarp hub and Unicomplex. That was the first time the Federation had caused destruction to the Borg on such a massive scale, and so that made the Borg see the UFP as an imminent threat they could no longer tolerate. All very logical and pragmatic.
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Old January 30 2009, 03:38 AM   #529
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Christopher wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
Another example is emotion. The Borg were originally described in "Q Who?" as being creatures devoid of passion, acting only rationally in their own self-interest. It was never personal, as you note. What FC and VOY did, though, was reveal that the Borg do have emotion and that, for them, it is personal: The Borg take pleasure in assimilating new life-forms ("Dark Frontier"). The Queen can develop emotional attachments to certain drones ("Endgame"). The Borg experience religious impulses, such as the worship of the Omega Molecule ("The Omega Directive").

And the Queen feels lonely (First Contact).
I don't think you can take the Queen's professions of emotion as being genuine. I always perceived them as calculated and artificial, just tactics she employed in her efforts to manipulate and use other beings.

I also don't think the books portray the Borg as "evil by intent." People don't think of themselves as evil. Everyone's trying to do what they believe is the right thing, even if they define that purely in selfish terms. The Borg are simply goal-oriented, that goal being the assimilation of all life into the Collective. And they are ruthless toward anything that threatens that goal.

I mean, from the Borg's perspective, their actions in last year's TNG novels and Destiny were acts of self-defense. The offshoot Borg in Resistance et seq. were in a "kill first" mode because they were protecting their nascent Queen. And the main body of the Collective invaded the Alpha Quadrant in Destiny as retaliation for Voyager and Admiral Janeway's destruction of their transwarp hub and Unicomplex. That was the first time the Federation had caused destruction to the Borg on such a massive scale, and so that made the Borg see the UFP as an imminent threat they could no longer tolerate. All very logical and pragmatic.
So ,you can take the drone from the Borg,but you can't take the Borg outta the drone,right?

In a different topic,look what Mack's books have created-40 pages of deep philisophical and idealogical exchange.I vote for a VH1 episode,'Behind the Epic', using this thread lol....
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Old January 30 2009, 04:08 AM   #530
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Well, where I wrote "evil by intent," please note that I had just the word evil in quotes. I am aware that evil can certainly be in the eyes of the beholder. It is the "intent" part, I guess, that is actually different from how the Borg were originally presented. They are more intentional or conscious now rather than just going about their business. Destroying rather than just assimilating whoever happens to be in the way with good skills or tech.

I would still argue that the drones' retaining some individual (trapped) consciousness does make them less than "fully integrated," but that is just how I see it, I guess. I would also argue that if they're pursuing Omega as a power source, that weakens the case that they are pursuing perfection for perfection's sake, which I liked about them, frankly.

Overall, I just prefer my Borg less personal. Somehow that is scarier - an enemy who is just doing what it does, which happens to be abhorrent to us. Now as to who started watering that down (e.g. Braga, etc.), I will bow to you other folks' historical expertise. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
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Old January 30 2009, 04:09 AM   #531
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Christopher wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
Another example is emotion. The Borg were originally described in "Q Who?" as being creatures devoid of passion, acting only rationally in their own self-interest. It was never personal, as you note. What FC and VOY did, though, was reveal that the Borg do have emotion and that, for them, it is personal: The Borg take pleasure in assimilating new life-forms ("Dark Frontier"). The Queen can develop emotional attachments to certain drones ("Endgame"). The Borg experience religious impulses, such as the worship of the Omega Molecule ("The Omega Directive").

And the Queen feels lonely (First Contact).
I don't think you can take the Queen's professions of emotion as being genuine. I always perceived them as calculated and artificial, just tactics she employed in her efforts to manipulate and use other beings.
I disagree.

1. The fact that the Queen allowed Voyager to survive instead of just neutralizing this pest makes no sense unless her profession to favor Seven is true.

2. Krige's performance in First Contact struck me as being far too angry at Picard for his having spurned her for it to be false. The Queen could easily have just had Picard killed before entering Engineering if she was coldly pragmatic. She obviously wanted to cause him harm in part because of his having spurned her. Plus, it was Picard's memory from having been Locutus and having touched her mind that let him know she wanted him.

3. We saw the Queen feeling emotions in her internal monologue in Destiny.

I also don't think the books portray the Borg as "evil by intent."
No, but they do portray them as being deliberately malicious, enjoying causing harm and desiring power.
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Old January 30 2009, 05:56 AM   #532
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

plynch wrote: View Post
Well, where I wrote "evil by intent," please note that I had just the word evil in quotes. I am aware that evil can certainly be in the eyes of the beholder. It is the "intent" part, I guess, that is actually different from how the Borg were originally presented. They are more intentional or conscious now rather than just going about their business. Destroying rather than just assimilating whoever happens to be in the way with good skills or tech.
As stated, that was a response to a specific need. If your survival is threatened, then taking action against the threat is "going about your business." Most animals behave differently when faced with a threat than they do under normal circumstances. So it's not a change in the way the nature of the Borg is being presented, just a change in the circumstances.

I would also argue that if they're pursuing Omega as a power source, that weakens the case that they are pursuing perfection for perfection's sake, which I liked about them, frankly.
Why can't it be both? The Borg are pragmatists. They value that which is functional. To them, perfection would require utility. Their idea of perfection wouldn't just be something elegant they can look at or think about -- it would be something that was perfectly useful, something that at once represented the perfection they aspired to and gave them the power to work more effectively toward achieving it.


Sci wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
I don't think you can take the Queen's professions of emotion as being genuine. I always perceived them as calculated and artificial, just tactics she employed in her efforts to manipulate and use other beings.
I disagree.

1. The fact that the Queen allowed Voyager to survive instead of just neutralizing this pest makes no sense unless her profession to favor Seven is true.
Not at all. As explained in "Dark Frontier," she arranged for Seven to be planted aboard Voyager so she could study humanity and learn its secret to resisting assimilation. The ship's survival was simply a means to that end, and her "favoring" of Seven was merely because of her value as a tool to the Queen. Besides, the Borg are secure enough in their power that they see no need to eliminate Voyager, any more than they see a need to attack intruders who aren't attacking them.

2. Krige's performance in First Contact struck me as being far too angry at Picard for his having spurned her for it to be false. The Queen could easily have just had Picard killed before entering Engineering if she was coldly pragmatic. She obviously wanted to cause him harm in part because of his having spurned her. Plus, it was Picard's memory from having been Locutus and having touched her mind that let him know she wanted him.

3. We saw the Queen feeling emotions in her internal monologue in Destiny.
Granted that the Queen is capable of responses that aren't entirely pragmatic. My point is that you can't assume she's being honest about what her feelings and motivations actually are. When she tried to seduce Data and Picard in FC, she was clearly working toward a goal, manipulating them with lies. There and elsewhere, whenever she's professed feelings toward anyone, she's always had an agenda, always been trying to get something out of them. So her claims cannot be taken at face value. What's motivating her is not sentiment toward others, but self-interest. Her claims of sentiment are tools of seduction, not insights into her true motives.


I also don't think the books portray the Borg as "evil by intent."
No, but they do portray them as being deliberately malicious, enjoying causing harm and desiring power.
I think that's anthropomorphizing them. They're being deliberately aggressive, but as I said, that's a response to a perceived threat. They're not "enjoying causing harm," but are satisfied when their goal of neutralizing a threat is achieved. And power isn't so much something they desire so much as something they assume they're entitled to. It's not so much a ruling passion as a guiding paradigm.
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Old January 30 2009, 07:07 AM   #533
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Christopher wrote: View Post
Granted that the Queen is capable of responses that aren't entirely pragmatic. My point is that you can't assume she's being honest about what her feelings and motivations actually are. When she tried to seduce Data and Picard in FC, she was clearly working toward a goal, manipulating them with lies.
The problem is that Picard's suppressed memory of the real reason the Queen wanted him as Locutus is revived. It's a memory formed when he was already Locutus, when there would have been no reason for the Queen to be dishonest about her goals towards Lotcutus since he was already a part of the Collective. He distinctly remembers that she wanted Locutus to be a partner, an equal -- which implies loneliness.

Add to that her absolute fury at Data for betraying her, and we have what is clearly an emotional being.

I also don't think the books portray the Borg as "evil by intent."
No, but they do portray them as being deliberately malicious, enjoying causing harm and desiring power.
I think that's anthropomorphizing them.
It's really not. Even if we didn't have the Queen's urging Seven to take pleasure in the assimilation of others, as she does, in "Dark Frontier," there are these passages from Destiny that clearly depict an emotional Queen experiencing pleasure at harming others, and experiencing anger when that harm is disrupted (I'm afraid I'm referencing the eBook edition and so have no stable page numbers to give you):

From Chapter 13 of Book III:
The Queen had emerged from her chrysalis with two mandates coded into her being: Destroy Earth, and crush the Federation.

For too long, we have obsessed over Earth, she had directed her trillions of drones, attuning the Collective's will to her own. It has lured us, tempted us, thwarted us. No longer.

She had projected her murderous fury to the drones and adapted them to the lightning pace that she and the Collective now demanded of them. We offered them union. Perfection. They responded with feeble attempts at genocide. Earth and its Federation are not worthy of assimilation. They would add only imperfection. Since they offer nothing and obstruct our quest for perfection, they will be exterminated.

It was all coldly logical and mechanically precise, but none of that mattered to the drones. They would follow the will of the Collective and execute the Queen's dictates without question or hesitation. No justification had to be given to the drones. The Queen, however... she made different demands.
From Chapter 19:

She [Hernandez] had expected it to be more like the gestalt, but its similarity was only superficial. Many voices had been fused into a single consciousness, but not willingly. Unlike the Caeliar, who had united their minds for the elevation of their society as a whole, the Borg Collective subjugated sentient minds and then yoked their hijacked bodies to serve its own aims.

The deeper she delved into the Collective, the more she realized that it was nothing like the gestalt. It was darker, almost primordial in its aggression, brutally authoritarian, and utterly domineering.....
From Chapter 29:
She [Hernandez] felt the Caeliar gestalt reassert its primacy in her mind and body, and then it landed its own first blow against the Collective, dredging up fragments of an ancient memory--bitter cold and empty darkness, loneliness and despair, fading strength and dwindling numbers. And, above all, hunger.

Paroxysms of rage shook the Collective, and Hernandez knew, intuitively, that the Borg armada was firing en masse at Axion, unleashing every bit of destructive power it could marshal. All of the Collective's hatred and aggression was erupting, and the Caeliar had become its sole focus. As the bombardment hammered Axion's shields, however, there wasn't a glimmer of distress or even concern in the gestalt. At best, the Caeliar reacted to the fusillade with equal parts curiosity and pity.

So much sorrow and anger, opined the gestalt. Such a desperate yearning... but it doesn't know what it seeks, so it consumes everything and is never satisfied.

<SNIP>

The Caeliar gestalt beheld its savage reflection.

The Collective looked back, hostile and bewildered, like a wild thing that had never seen a mirror nor caught sight of itself in still waters. ....

The gestalt was overwhelmed with pity for the primitive and autocratic posturing of the Collective. Like a child that had never been disciplined, it laid claim to all it surveyed, seized everything within reach in rapacious flurries of action, and never once questioned if it had the right to do so.
If the evidence from the canon wasn't conclusive enough, the evidence from Destiny is: The Borg experience emotion and lust for power. It's more than just a guiding paradigm -- it's an emotional act when the Borg seek power.
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Old January 30 2009, 03:34 PM   #534
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

You're still not listening. I'm not saying the Queen is incapable of emotion. I'm saying that just because she professes a certain emotion, you can't assume she's telling the truth about what her real motivation is. That goes for any person in any context, regardless of whether they're Borg, human, anything. If someone has an agenda, if he or she is trying to manipulate someone or achieve a goal, you can't just blindly assume that they're telling the truth when they express a certain feeling. People lie to manipulate other people. And I think the Borg Queen is a very skilled liar and manipulator.
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Old January 30 2009, 05:55 PM   #535
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

David Mack wrote: View Post
Semah wrote: View Post
I may have to read your post-apocalyptic book you were talking about before.
I wouldn't call any of my upcoming work "post-apocalyptic." If you're referring to The Calling, it's a modern-day supernatural thriller set in New York City. Nothing apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic about it.

Huh. I have no idea why I thought that it was. Guess you'll just have to write one. I hate being wrong.
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Old January 30 2009, 08:01 PM   #536
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Semah wrote: View Post
Huh. I have no idea why I thought that it was.

Because of who the author is?
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Old January 30 2009, 08:28 PM   #537
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Christopher wrote: View Post
You're still not listening. I'm not saying the Queen is incapable of emotion.
I misunderstood that, and apologize for that misunderstanding. In particular, your argument that it was anthropomorphizing the Borg to attribute malice to them was one that I had thought was arguing that they weren't experiencing emotion (and in particular emotions such as sadism and malice); in quoting the passages above, my intent was to demonstrate that the Borg do experience pleasure from causing harm to other beings.

I'm saying that just because she professes a certain emotion, you can't assume she's telling the truth about what her real motivation is. That goes for any person in any context, regardless of whether they're Borg, human, anything.
In certain contexts I would agree that the possibility that she is lying is greatly increased -- such as when she's trying to persuade Data to join the Collective and give them the Enterprise computer codes in First Contact, or when she's trying to persuade Seven of Nine into rejoining the Collective in "Dark Frontier."

In other contexts, I'm of the opinion that the possibility that she is lying is negligible. There is no reason whatsoever to think that she was lying to Locutus about wanting him as an equal -- Locutus was already part of the Collective and absolutely loyal to her. She would have had no reason to lie to him. In addition, the amount of spite that she displayed towards Picard upon his entry into Engineering at the finale of First Contact is something that makes no sense -- she had nothing to try to take from him, no need to manipulate him in any way. The Queen's behavior only makes sense if she wished to cause him emotional harm by displaying Data's apparent betrayal in response to his refusal to willingly submit to her and become Locutus.
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Old January 30 2009, 08:55 PM   #538
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

I will say that I do agree somewhat; the version of the Borg as, basically, a really successful hive of insects on a galactic scale was terrifying in a very impersonal way.

But, for the record, that was already starting to be eroded when Locutus happened; there was already some amount of empathy projected there ("the species will come easier if we speak to them more personally"), regardless of the existence of a queen.

Either way, once the queen was introduced, the Borg had a personality; they weren't truly alien to our way of understanding. There was a sentience there that could relate to and communicate with people in real terms. Everything since, including Destiny, I feel has been necessary extrapolation from that fact.
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Old January 30 2009, 09:13 PM   #539
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

Sci wrote: View Post
I misunderstood that, and apologize for that misunderstanding. In particular, your argument that it was anthropomorphizing the Borg to attribute malice to them was one that I had thought was arguing that they weren't experiencing emotion (and in particular emotions such as sadism and malice); in quoting the passages above, my intent was to demonstrate that the Borg do experience pleasure from causing harm to other beings.
Well, there's a middle ground. Maybe the Borg aren't completely dispassionate (at least when sufficiently provoked), but neither does that mean it's valid to interpret their motivations in purely human emotional terms. I still think it's an exaggeration to use words like "pleasure" and "malevolence" for them. I don't think they're sadists. Yes, the Queen was described as having "murderous fury," but not just out of the arbitrary desire to do harm for its own sake. That fury was a response to the specific threat that the Federation had proven to pose. The Borg adapt when faced with an obstacle, and this was a problem that required an aggressive response; therefore, this new Queen adapted by embracing an aggressive mentality. It's not the gratuitous evil of a B-movie villain, it's a response to a specific stimulus. As Dave said, it was a mandate built into her consciousness. Aggression is a fundamental drive which serves a purpose -- it motivates life forms to pursue prey or to compete for territory or to defend against predators. Of course it's an emotion, but it's also a drive that serves a function. If a tiger kills a wildebeest, you can't anthropomorphize that as an act of malevolence or cruelty.

And I didn't see anything in the passages you quoted about the Queen taking pleasure in others' suffering. I saw descriptions of homicidal fury, aggression, hatred -- all of which are responses provoked by the damage Voyager did to the Collective. "Endgame" was the Borg's Pearl Harbor. It's natural they'd respond to that with aggression, and with an intense desire to see that enemy destroyed, a desire that could be characterized as "hate." But that doesn't mean they were always driven by hate; it was a reaction to the specific context.

So just because I'm saying you can't anthropomorphize the Borg doesn't mean they're incapable of some form of emotion. Animals have emotion, after all. I'm just saying that you can't assume their motives can be described purely in human terms, or explained in terms of innate malevolence or sadism.
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Old January 31 2009, 11:20 AM   #540
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Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

I keep trying to find time to write something about the trilogy, but can just never find the time.

So for now, very good, but really uneven in Book 2.
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The Crimson Shadow: ***
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aventine, borg, destiny, destiny trilogy

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