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View Poll Results: Rate Raise the Dawn.
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Old July 29 2012, 10:52 PM   #316
Paper Moon
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Re: TP: Raise the Dawn by DRGIII Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Sci wrote: View Post
And had Spock simply mind-probed the captured Tomalek,wouldn't that have spared a lot of to-ing and fro-ing?
(And please,don't give me any guff about Spock being reluctant to use his gifts that way...ST6 puts the lie to that).
James Swallow's 2011 novel Cast No Shadow covers the question of what Spock did to Valeris in Star Trek VI. Suffice it to say that it's not something he'd do again.

Also, your question could just as easily be asked of any telepathic individual in the Federation. That the Federation Security Agency did not simply have another Vulcan, or a Betazoid, or an Ullian, or any other telepathic Federate, probe Tomalak's mind, strongly implies that such things are by the 24th Century considered a violation of Federation law.
It's interesting; J.M. Dillard's novelization of STVI plays that scene a bit differently, though not really in a way that reasonably consistent with the film. Spock is depicted as being much less forceful, and still getting what is needed. There is no indication, so far as I recall, that Spock was doing anything questionable, the way Dillard depicted it.

That novelization was an interesting ride...

Back on topic, though, it is a little surprising to me that Starfleet was not shown vetting, at least implicitly, the Romulans, with or without the use of telepaths. (Maybe I'm forgetting something?) Troi was shown doing that all the time, in a way that didn't seem to be perceived as any more privacy-violating than observing someone's body language.
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Old July 29 2012, 11:14 PM   #317
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Re: TP: Raise the Dawn by DRGIII Review Thread (Spoilers!)

But Deanna isn't a full telepath, just an empath -- essentially a very skilled people-reader. She senses what they're radiating -- she doesn't go into their heads and rummage around.

No doubt Dillard modified the Spock-Valeris scene in the novelization because she found it out of character for Spock and was adjusting it to make it work better -- like the way she added a recent Klingon raid that injured Carol Marcus in order to justify Kirk's out-of-nowhere, out-of-character bigotry in the film, or the way her ST V novelization added a passage about Sybok giving the crew special shield modifications to explain why it could just fly right through the seemingly impassable barrier (though she didn't address the half-hour trip to the center of the galaxy, alas). It's a long tradition in TOS movie novelizations for the authors to "fix" the films' plot and logic holes, going all the way back to TWOK and things like Vonda McIntyre using the correct Bayer designation Alpha Ceti instead of "Ceti Alpha."
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Old July 29 2012, 11:23 PM   #318
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Re: TP: Raise the Dawn by DRGIII Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Paper Moon wrote: View Post
Back on topic, though, it is a little surprising to me that Starfleet was not shown vetting, at least implicitly, the Romulans, with or without the use of telepaths. (Maybe I'm forgetting something?) Troi was shown doing that all the time, in a way that didn't seem to be perceived as any more privacy-violating than observing someone's body language.
It's a diplomatic mission involving a Romulan ship. That would be the equivalent of the United States requiring all foreign embassies to be opened up to random inspections by the FBI; it's just never gonna happen.

Christopher wrote: View Post
No doubt Dillard modified the Spock-Valeris scene in the novelization because she found it out of character for Spock and was adjusting it to make it work better
No doubt. Though I don't know if I agree with her assessment that it was out of character for Spock -- this is the same character who, after all, in "Where No Man Has Gone Before," almost immediately jumped to, "You have to kill Gary Mitchell now" long before Mitchell actually became violent or threatening. And who, for that matter, in the Abrams timeline, literally had Kirk marooned on an ice planet because he believed Kirk would raise a mutiny against him if he didn't.

Spock has a bit of a ruthless streak to him, I think. A history of morally questionable behavior in the service of his brand of logic and of the greater good.
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Old July 29 2012, 11:37 PM   #319
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Re: TP: Raise the Dawn by DRGIII Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Sci wrote: View Post
Though I don't know if I agree with her assessment that it was out of character for Spock -- this is the same character who, after all, in "Where No Man Has Gone Before," almost immediately jumped to, "You have to kill Gary Mitchell now" long before Mitchell actually became violent or threatening.
But that's not what Spock actually said. His actual recommendation was to strand Mitchell on Delta Vega. When Kirk balked at that, Spock pointed out that the only alternative was to kill him. Spock wasn't actually advocating that, he was trying to convince Kirk that stranding Mitchell, harsh though it seemed, was the most humane option available.


And who, for that matter, in the Abrams timeline, literally had Kirk marooned on an ice planet because he believed Kirk would raise a mutiny against him if he didn't.
Well, he was "emotionally compromised" at that point, by his (future alternate self's) own admission. And he did land Kirk close to a Starfleet outpost. I imagine that if Kirk had had the good sense to stay in the pod, Scott and Keenser would've picked up its locator signal and come to retrieve him in some sort of vehicle.
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Old July 30 2012, 12:53 AM   #320
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Re: TP: Raise the Dawn by DRGIII Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Christopher wrote: View Post
And who, for that matter, in the Abrams timeline, literally had Kirk marooned on an ice planet because he believed Kirk would raise a mutiny against him if he didn't.
Well, he was "emotionally compromised" at that point, by his (future alternate self's) own admission. And he did land Kirk close to a Starfleet outpost. I imagine that if Kirk had had the good sense to stay in the pod, Scott and Keenser would've picked up its locator signal and come to retrieve him in some sort of vehicle.
Ehn... emotionally compromised or not, Spock should have just locked him in the brig. Kirk was unconscious when he was ejected in a dinky pod that flew into a planet's atmosphere and crash landed. Spock must have been spectacularly emotionally compromised to do something so dangerous; it makes a little bit more sense to theorize that Spock is prone to occasional bouts of draconian logic during crises, and that he concluded that Kirk posed an extraordinary risk to the mission. That gives his actions a bit more nuance, and makes it more believable than Spock just going berserk.

Sci wrote: View Post
Paper Moon wrote: View Post
Back on topic, though, it is a little surprising to me that Starfleet was not shown vetting, at least implicitly, the Romulans, with or without the use of telepaths. (Maybe I'm forgetting something?) Troi was shown doing that all the time, in a way that didn't seem to be perceived as any more privacy-violating than observing someone's body language.
It's a diplomatic mission involving a Romulan ship. That would be the equivalent of the United States requiring all foreign embassies to be opened up to random inspections by the FBI; it's just never gonna happen.
Picard brought Troi on diplomatic missions all the time for these purposes all the time. The FBI analogy overstates Troi's invasiveness. Picard is a great people reader, but Troi, empathic abilities aside, is, as you said, a trained people reader, and is theoretically an expert in that field. I'm just surprised that Picard never had such an expert (obviously with a more opaque title) sit in a meeting with the Romulans. I know Hegol Den is not cleared for command decisions, but I believe he would have the training.

Christopher wrote: View Post
No doubt Dillard modified the Spock-Valeris scene in the novelization because she found it out of character for Spock and was adjusting it to make it work better
No doubt. Though I don't know if I agree with her assessment that it was out of character for Spock -- this is the same character who, after all, in "Where No Man Has Gone Before," almost immediately jumped to, "You have to kill Gary Mitchell now" long before Mitchell actually became violent or threatening. And who, for that matter, in the Abrams timeline, literally had Kirk marooned on an ice planet because he believed Kirk would raise a mutiny against him if he didn't.

Spock has a bit of a ruthless streak to him, I think. A history of morally questionable behavior in the service of his brand of logic and of the greater good.
Christopher wrote: View Post
But Deanna isn't a full telepath, just an empath -- essentially a very skilled people-reader. She senses what they're radiating -- she doesn't go into their heads and rummage around.

No doubt Dillard modified the Spock-Valeris scene in the novelization because she found it out of character for Spock and was adjusting it to make it work better -- like the way she added a recent Klingon raid that injured Carol Marcus in order to justify Kirk's out-of-nowhere, out-of-character bigotry in the film, or the way her ST V novelization added a passage about Sybok giving the crew special shield modifications to explain why it could just fly right through the seemingly impassable barrier (though she didn't address the half-hour trip to the center of the galaxy, alas). It's a long tradition in TOS movie novelizations for the authors to "fix" the films' plot and logic holes, going all the way back to TWOK and things like Vonda McIntyre using the correct Bayer designation Alpha Ceti instead of "Ceti Alpha."
I don't think Spock's actions in STVI were out of character. A different aspect of his character than we've seen much before, but he definitely serves the greater good, and definitely places a premium value on loyalty. To Pike ("The Menagerie"), to Kirk. I don't think anyone has ever betrayed Spock as much as Valeris did, and I think that his willingness, however hesitant, to meld with her, may have been tainted by anger from that betrayal. (Caveat: it's been a while since I read Cast No Shadow, so if Swallow came up with a different explanation, I apologize.)

Also, for what it's worth, I thought Kirk's hatred of Klingons was believable in the film. David came along at a very emotionally tender moment in Kirk's life (mainly due to Spock's death), and I would not be surprised if he was yet more sensitive to David's death because of that. Combine that with a lifetime of adversarial interactions and 8 years of what was obviously festering grief over David, I can understand Kirk's not-so-evolved attitude towards the Klingons.

But I appreciated Dillard's alternative interpretation of the film. It was, as I say, interesting.

On a completely unrelated note: who is stationed where on the Enterprise's bridge?

I have:
Big Chair: Picard
Riker's old chair: Worf
Troi's old chair: ???
Ops: Glinn Dygan (loved that!!)
Conn: is it still Faur?
Tactical: Choudhury

Do Elfiki, Hegol or Chen have particular stations on the bridge? And is there an established Engineering station on the E-E's bridge, like there was on the D?
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Old July 30 2012, 01:10 AM   #321
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Re: TP: Raise the Dawn by DRGIII Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Paper Moon wrote: View Post
Picard brought Troi on diplomatic missions all the time for these purposes all the time. The FBI analogy overstates Troi's invasiveness. Picard is a great people reader, but Troi, empathic abilities aside, is, as you said, a trained people reader, and is theoretically an expert in that field. I'm just surprised that Picard never had such an expert (obviously with a more opaque title) sit in a meeting with the Romulans. I know Hegol Den is not cleared for command decisions, but I believe he would have the training.
I'm not sure what you think they would have caught. "The Romulan commander is tense and is hiding something." Well, duh. They're from mutually suspicious cold war antagonists -- both sides are hiding something.

On a completely unrelated note: who is stationed where on the Enterprise's bridge?

I have:
Big Chair: Picard
Riker's old chair: Worf
Troi's old chair: ???
For the duration of this mission, Spock, as Federation liaison to the I.R.W. Eletrix, was sitting in Troi's old chair.

Ops: Glinn Dygan (loved that!!)
Conn: is it still Faur?
Tactical: Choudhury

Do Elfiki, Hegol or Chen have particular stations on the bridge? And is there an established Engineering station on the E-E's bridge, like there was on the D?
Elfiki sits at a science station on the bridge. Hegol, so far as I can recall, is not a bridge officer. Chen usually mans the conn.
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Old July 30 2012, 02:24 AM   #322
Paper Moon
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Re: TP: Raise the Dawn by DRGIII Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Sci wrote: View Post
Paper Moon wrote: View Post
Picard brought Troi on diplomatic missions all the time for these purposes all the time. The FBI analogy overstates Troi's invasiveness. Picard is a great people reader, but Troi, empathic abilities aside, is, as you said, a trained people reader, and is theoretically an expert in that field. I'm just surprised that Picard never had such an expert (obviously with a more opaque title) sit in a meeting with the Romulans. I know Hegol Den is not cleared for command decisions, but I believe he would have the training.
I'm not sure what you think they would have caught. "The Romulan commander is tense and is hiding something." Well, duh. They're from mutually suspicious cold war antagonists -- both sides are hiding something.
True, but they might have caught that T'Jul and Tomalak were lying about different things. Though I suppose that wouldn't have ended up changing much... I concede the practicality of the point, but I'm still surprised that Picard didn't try to use all the resources at his disposal.

On a completely unrelated note: who is stationed where on the Enterprise's bridge?

I have:
Big Chair: Picard
Riker's old chair: Worf
Troi's old chair: ???
For the duration of this mission, Spock, as Federation liaison to the I.R.W. Eletrix, was sitting in Troi's old chair.
Do we know who sat in Troi's place before PoN?

Ops: Glinn Dygan (loved that!!)
Conn: is it still Faur?
Tactical: Choudhury

Do Elfiki, Hegol or Chen have particular stations on the bridge? And is there an established Engineering station on the E-E's bridge, like there was on the D?
Elfiki sits at a science station on the bridge. Hegol, so far as I can recall, is not a bridge officer. Chen usually mans the conn.
Where did Chen sit before she manned the conn (ie. in Destiny,ASD and PoD? I'm rereading Greater Than The Sum, and it seems like Christopher implies that she will be sitting in Deanna's seat, fulfilling Troi's bridge officer role as de facto contact specialist.
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Old July 30 2012, 03:19 AM   #323
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Re: TP: Raise the Dawn by DRGIII Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Paper Moon wrote: View Post
Ehn... emotionally compromised or not, Spock should have just locked him in the brig. Kirk was unconscious when he was ejected in a dinky pod that flew into a planet's atmosphere and crash landed. Spock must have been spectacularly emotionally compromised to do something so dangerous; it makes a little bit more sense to theorize that Spock is prone to occasional bouts of draconian logic during crises, and that he concluded that Kirk posed an extraordinary risk to the mission. That gives his actions a bit more nuance, and makes it more believable than Spock just going berserk.
I didn't say he went berserk. I said that one can't assume that his judgment as an officer in his late 20s after having seen his homeworld and his mother die in front of him cannot be taken as predictive of his judgment as a far more experienced officer in his early 60s upon being betrayed by his protegee. The situations are so radically dissimilar that it's facile to treat them as analogous. Even aside from all the rest, I'd say that just in general it's a bad idea to assume that someone's behavior in their 20s is a good model for projecting their behavior in their 60s.


I don't think Spock's actions in STVI were out of character. A different aspect of his character than we've seen much before, but he definitely serves the greater good, and definitely places a premium value on loyalty. To Pike ("The Menagerie"), to Kirk. I don't think anyone has ever betrayed Spock as much as Valeris did, and I think that his willingness, however hesitant, to meld with her, may have been tainted by anger from that betrayal.
I guess it depends on whether you perceive forced mental invasion as analogous to rape. A number of Trek novelists over the decades have written tales which asserted that Vulcans and telepaths in general considered it a shocking breach of ethics to force oneself into someone's mind. The TNG episode "Violations" was built around that very premise, that mental invasion equals rape and is a heinous taboo in a telepathic society. I've seen the same idea used in other science fiction beyond ST. And there was a definite sexual subtext to the Spock/Valeris relationship and to that scene in particular -- to the point that I once read a story about some boor in the audience at a showing of the film shouting something like "Yeah, do it to her!" as if cheering on a rape scene.

So if you take it that way, then hell yes, it was out of character. Being angry doesn't justify that, ever.


Also, for what it's worth, I thought Kirk's hatred of Klingons was believable in the film. David came along at a very emotionally tender moment in Kirk's life (mainly due to Spock's death), and I would not be surprised if he was yet more sensitive to David's death because of that. Combine that with a lifetime of adversarial interactions and 8 years of what was obviously festering grief over David, I can understand Kirk's not-so-evolved attitude towards the Klingons.
I think it's entirely out of character, because Kirk is not so stupid as to blame an entire race for the actions of specific individuals within it. He would hate Kruge for ordering David's death, he would hate the specific soldier (was it Torg?) who delivered the killing blow, maybe at most he would hate the Klingon military establishment or government for the policies that caused so much death and suffering. But he would not blame the rank-and-file populace or wish the entire species extinct because of the actions of its military, because he's not a complete and utter moron. We know from many episodes that he sees what a lie that kind of race hatred is, that he always strives for more understanding. This is the man who was furious at Kang's men for the violence inflicted on his crew, yet still was willing to reach out to Mara and try to build a bridge of trust. That's who he is, because he's intelligent and perceptive. He gets angry at the actions of individuals, not at their genes.


Where did Chen sit before she manned the conn (ie. in Destiny,ASD and PoD? I'm rereading Greater Than The Sum, and it seems like Christopher implies that she will be sitting in Deanna's seat, fulfilling Troi's bridge officer role as de facto contact specialist.
That's correct. I intended her to fill the role of Picard's advisor on contact and diplomatic situations, much as Deanna did.
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Old July 30 2012, 04:04 AM   #324
Paper Moon
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Re: TP: Raise the Dawn by DRGIII Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Christopher wrote: View Post
Paper Moon wrote: View Post
Ehn... emotionally compromised or not, Spock should have just locked him in the brig. Kirk was unconscious when he was ejected in a dinky pod that flew into a planet's atmosphere and crash landed. Spock must have been spectacularly emotionally compromised to do something so dangerous; it makes a little bit more sense to theorize that Spock is prone to occasional bouts of draconian logic during crises, and that he concluded that Kirk posed an extraordinary risk to the mission. That gives his actions a bit more nuance, and makes it more believable than Spock just going berserk.
I didn't say he went berserk. I said that one can't assume that his judgment as an officer in his late 20s after having seen his homeworld and his mother die in front of him cannot be taken as predictive of his judgment as a far more experienced officer in his early 60s upon being betrayed by his protegee. The situations are so radically dissimilar that it's facile to treat them as analogous. Even aside from all the rest, I'd say that just in general it's a bad idea to assume that someone's behavior in their 20s is a good model for projecting their behavior in their 60s.
Sorry, I never meant to suggest that you said that he went berserk. I was speaking to the more general point that Spock's actions in that situation were totally ridiculous, and that they are made somewhat more plausible by suggesting that Spock has a particular streak of ruthless logic within him (ie. he had it when he was 20, he had it when he was 60, he'll have it the day he dies).

I don't think Spock's actions in STVI were out of character. A different aspect of his character than we've seen much before, but he definitely serves the greater good, and definitely places a premium value on loyalty. To Pike ("The Menagerie"), to Kirk. I don't think anyone has ever betrayed Spock as much as Valeris did, and I think that his willingness, however hesitant, to meld with her, may have been tainted by anger from that betrayal.
I guess it depends on whether you perceive forced mental invasion as analogous to rape. A number of Trek novelists over the decades have written tales which asserted that Vulcans and telepaths in general considered it a shocking breach of ethics to force oneself into someone's mind. The TNG episode "Violations" was built around that very premise, that mental invasion equals rape and is a heinous taboo in a telepathic society. I've seen the same idea used in other science fiction beyond ST. And there was a definite sexual subtext to the Spock/Valeris relationship and to that scene in particular -- to the point that I once read a story about some boor in the audience at a showing of the film shouting something like "Yeah, do it to her!" as if cheering on a rape scene.

So if you take it that way, then hell yes, it was out of character. Being angry doesn't justify that, ever.
Oh, don't get me wrong. I don't think it was out of character, but I don't think it was an ethical thing to do, either. Notice that I never said it was justified, merely believable.

Personally, I've never really seen a sexual subtext to Spock/Valeris; a father-daughter dynamic, maybe (more so than Spock/Saavik), but beyond the scene in question, nothing sexual. I am curious: are there particular scenes/lines that you would cite supporting that?

I know I'm verging into sticky territory here, so let me just state the obvious: I do not believe that rape, torture or murder are ever morally justifiable.

Having said that: I think that the moral calculus for what Spock did is complicated by the fact that it was done in order to obtain critical pieces of information regarding an impending attack that, if not stopped, would trigger a war that would kill billions. Rape, as we use the word, can never be used for such ultimately well-intentioned purposes.

For comparison, Garak's killing of Grathon Tolar to keep the secret of the Vreenak Affair from escaping: obviously it was immoral, but is it immoral in the same ways that the murders Joran Dax committed were immoral?

Moral people can do immoral things for moral reasons, and I think that was what Spock was doing. And I find that believable. Not admirable, but believable.

Also, for what it's worth, I thought Kirk's hatred of Klingons was believable in the film. David came along at a very emotionally tender moment in Kirk's life (mainly due to Spock's death), and I would not be surprised if he was yet more sensitive to David's death because of that. Combine that with a lifetime of adversarial interactions and 8 years of what was obviously festering grief over David, I can understand Kirk's not-so-evolved attitude towards the Klingons.
I think it's entirely out of character, because Kirk is not so stupid as to blame an entire race for the actions of specific individuals within it. He would hate Kruge for ordering David's death, he would hate the specific soldier (was it Torg?) who delivered the killing blow, maybe at most he would hate the Klingon military establishment or government for the policies that caused so much death and suffering. But he would not blame the rank-and-file populace or wish the entire species extinct because of the actions of its military, because he's not a complete and utter moron. We know from many episodes that he sees what a lie that kind of race hatred is, that he always strives for more understanding. This is the man who was furious at Kang's men for the violence inflicted on his crew, yet still was willing to reach out to Mara and try to build a bridge of trust. That's who he is, because he's intelligent and perceptive. He gets angry at the actions of individuals, not at their genes.
I believe Dillard touched on this indirectly, but I think Kirk believed that all Klingons were part of that conservative, warmongering military establishment. (The novel establishes that Azetbur and Gorkon were not part of the military caste.) And how many Klingons would Kirk, indeed, any Federate, have met who were not warriors? Again, not saying that it was justified, but people do engage in logical fallacies, particularly when they are clouded by grief, and particularly when they have decades of experience being removed from the objects of their prejudices, with no one-on-one interactions to force them to confront their prejudices ( la Mara).

Where did Chen sit before she manned the conn (ie. in Destiny,ASD and PoD? I'm rereading Greater Than The Sum, and it seems like Christopher implies that she will be sitting in Deanna's seat, fulfilling Troi's bridge officer role as de facto contact specialist.
That's correct. I intended her to fill the role of Picard's advisor on contact and diplomatic situations, much as Deanna did.
Heh, I was afraid you were going to say that. I really like the character of T'Ryssa, but the thought of her sitting at Picard's left hand... hmm, rubs me the wrong way. Slightly.
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Old July 30 2012, 04:42 AM   #325
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Re: TP: Raise the Dawn by DRGIII Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Paper Moon wrote: View Post
Personally, I've never really seen a sexual subtext to Spock/Valeris; a father-daughter dynamic, maybe (more so than Spock/Saavik), but beyond the scene in question, nothing sexual. I am curious: are there particular scenes/lines that you would cite supporting that?
It's more a matter of subtext and performance, I think.


Moral people can do immoral things for moral reasons, and I think that was what Spock was doing. And I find that believable. Not admirable, but believable.
To me, the issue is not about whether it was right for Spock to make that choice, because Spock doesn't actually exist and made no choice at all. The issue is whether it was right for the writers and director to choose to portray him getting the information in that way. I think they could've found a less disquieting way to address that plot point. And that's what Dillard tried to do in her adaptation.


I believe Dillard touched on this indirectly, but I think Kirk believed that all Klingons were part of that conservative, warmongering military establishment. (The novel establishes that Azetbur and Gorkon were not part of the military caste.) And how many Klingons would Kirk, indeed, any Federate, have met who were not warriors? Again, not saying that it was justified, but people do engage in logical fallacies, particularly when they are clouded by grief, and particularly when they have decades of experience being removed from the objects of their prejudices, with no one-on-one interactions to force them to confront their prejudices ( la Mara).
But there you are. Kirk has had such one-on-one interactions. Not only was there Mara, but we saw him getting along decently enough with the Klingons at the end of the previous movie.

Besides, he's not "people," he's James T. Kirk, a man of great intelligence, thoughtfulness, and principle. Yes, of course some people do react that way, but I don't find it credible that he would be one of them. It just doesn't track with what we know of him. Hell, Shatner himself felt it was out of character and didn't want to play the scene that way at all. Who would know better than he?
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Old July 30 2012, 05:19 AM   #326
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Re: TP: Raise the Dawn by DRGIII Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Christopher wrote: View Post
Paper Moon wrote: View Post
Personally, I've never really seen a sexual subtext to Spock/Valeris; a father-daughter dynamic, maybe (more so than Spock/Saavik), but beyond the scene in question, nothing sexual. I am curious: are there particular scenes/lines that you would cite supporting that?
It's more a matter of subtext and performance, I think.
Still, are there particular scenes that you would cite as having such subtexts or performances? The closest thing I can think of is their scene together in Spock's cabin (heh, I guess that setting itself could count), and I just don't see it there.

Moral people can do immoral things for moral reasons, and I think that was what Spock was doing. And I find that believable. Not admirable, but believable.
To me, the issue is not about whether it was right for Spock to make that choice, because Spock doesn't actually exist and made no choice at all. The issue is whether it was right for the writers and director to choose to portray him getting the information in that way. I think they could've found a less disquieting way to address that plot point. And that's what Dillard tried to do in her adaptation.
I see your point; you've moved the goal posts slightly, but I digress. I think the writers made a good thematic point, though: even Spock, one of the architects of this great peace, had to make a sacrifice. In his case, it was a bit of his moral integrity. That scene, as awful and disquieting as it is, is a key dramatic point in the course of the film.

That all said, going back to the original point, I think that Spock's actions clearly affected him (look at his face as he says, "She does not know.") sufficiently enough that he would not ever do such a thing again, even under orders. So he would have never done it to Tomalak. (And anyway, doing so would've been a major diplomatic incident in any case, with Picard so clearly not taking the Romulans at their word.)

I believe Dillard touched on this indirectly, but I think Kirk believed that all Klingons were part of that conservative, warmongering military establishment. (The novel establishes that Azetbur and Gorkon were not part of the military caste.) And how many Klingons would Kirk, indeed, any Federate, have met who were not warriors? Again, not saying that it was justified, but people do engage in logical fallacies, particularly when they are clouded by grief, and particularly when they have decades of experience being removed from the objects of their prejudices, with no one-on-one interactions to force them to confront their prejudices ( la Mara).
But there you are. Kirk has had such one-on-one interactions. Not only was there Mara, but we saw him getting along decently enough with the Klingons at the end of the previous movie.

Besides, he's not "people," he's James T. Kirk, a man of great intelligence, thoughtfulness, and principle. Yes, of course some people do react that way, but I don't find it credible that he would be one of them. It just doesn't track with what we know of him. Hell, Shatner himself felt it was out of character and didn't want to play the scene that way at all. Who would know better than he?
True, but those interactions were about 30 years and 6 years ago, respectively. Plenty of time for them to be eclipsed emotionally.

And I'm not as convinced of Kirk's infallibility as you are. Picard, who is of equal intelligence, thoughtfulness and principle, allowed his feelings to affect his command judgements regarding the Borg on multiple occasions. (As did his feelings about children in Greater Than The Sum.) Why is it so implausible that Kirk makes the same mistake regarding what may be the most traumatic incident of his life?

It surprised me, though, that, while Dillard provided a further explanation for Kirk's hatred, she did not do so for the other crew of the Enterprise; in fact, if anything, she intensified their bigotry (with the exception of Uhura). Chekov was particularly bad, as I recall. I didn't like that at all. Not that they're perfect in the film, but still.
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Old July 30 2012, 07:14 AM   #327
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Re: TP: Raise the Dawn by DRGIII Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Spock quite often used a mind meld with an unwilling person. In ST09 He melded with NuKirk without a word of explanation except "it will be easier."

Please, allow me.


- It will be easier.

- Whoa, whoa, what are you doing?

- Our minds, one and together.

In Dagger of the Mind he melds with Van Gelder who is in condition to give permission.

Perhaps the worst offence, outside of TUC, is Requiem for Methuselah. He melds with an unknowing Kirk and erases at least part of his memory. Based on Kirk's reaction to Sybok doing something similar in TFF I wonder how Kirk would react to someone who is supposedly his best friend doing something similar and keeping it a secret.

"I don't want my pain taken away. I need my pain!"

I don;t think that Spock's action with Valaris are really that far out of character for him. Perhaps a little more blunt in execution due to his feelings of betrayal but not that far removed from what he's done in the past.

You can try to explain away his actions in Requiem for Methuselah by saying he was acting to help his griend but in that case why wouldn't he also do it in the case of the deat of his brother or his son? In David's case he wasn't there when it happened but that's the thing about memory, you can erase it at any time down the road and it's the same as if you did it right at the time the event happened. As we saw in TUC, Kirk's pain over David's death lasted a long, long time.
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Old July 30 2012, 03:07 PM   #328
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Re: TP: Raise the Dawn by DRGIII Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Paper Moon wrote: View Post
Still, are there particular scenes that you would cite as having such subtexts or performances? The closest thing I can think of is their scene together in Spock's cabin (heh, I guess that setting itself could count), and I just don't see it there.
Don't ask me, I haven't seen the film in years. But some would say that any scene Kim Cattrall plays is going to have sexual subtext.


I see your point; you've moved the goal posts slightly, but I digress.
No, I'm clarifying where my goalposts were set all along, which is different from where yours were. We were talking past each other a bit, so I made it clearer how I'm defining the problem. As a writer, I tend to think about stories more in terms of the creators' decision processes than the characters'. I can't blame characters for what I consider to be the writers' or directors' bad decisions. I blame Nicholas Meyer and the people working with him for choosing to put in that mind-meld scene and play it in that particular way. I think they were making the character of Spock do something that I don't believe Spock would do, just as I think they made Kirk exhibit racism that I (and Shatner) don't believe he would feel, and made Uhura and McCoy far more incompetent when it came to Klingon language and medicine, respectively, than I believe they would be.


I think the writers made a good thematic point, though: even Spock, one of the architects of this great peace, had to make a sacrifice. In his case, it was a bit of his moral integrity. That scene, as awful and disquieting as it is, is a key dramatic point in the course of the film.
And if I thought that was how the scene was actually directed, I'd agree. But it didn't feel like that to me. There was no sense that Spock regretted what he did or that any other character in the scene perceived it as a moral compromise. It can be retconned in that way, as Cast No Shadow did, but Meyer's own choices in directing that scene don't convey the impression that he thought of it in those terms.


That all said, going back to the original point, I think that Spock's actions clearly affected him (look at his face as he says, "She does not know.") sufficiently enough that he would not ever do such a thing again, even under orders.
I grant that that's a valid way of interpreting the scene, but I don't feel it was the original intent. I read his dismay as simply being "Oh no, we still don't know where the peace conference is so we can't stop the bad guys."

Except that immediately afterward they contact Excelsior so Sulu can give them the coordinates, which means they could've done that in the first damn place and the whole invasive mind meld was completely unnecessary! I just now realized that.


But there you are. Kirk has had such one-on-one interactions. Not only was there Mara, but we saw him getting along decently enough with the Klingons at the end of the previous movie.

Besides, he's not "people," he's James T. Kirk, a man of great intelligence, thoughtfulness, and principle. Yes, of course some people do react that way, but I don't find it credible that he would be one of them. It just doesn't track with what we know of him. Hell, Shatner himself felt it was out of character and didn't want to play the scene that way at all. Who would know better than he?
True, but those interactions were about 30 years and 6 years ago, respectively. Plenty of time for them to be eclipsed emotionally.
But David's death was 7 years earlier. So that sounds like a contradictory position to me.

Besides, we haven't seen every event in Kirk's life. If he had those interactions with the Klingons, it's likely he had others. Since we're in the Trek Literature forum, presumably we accept that at least a percentage of the novels and comics "really" happened, and a lot of those have Kirk interacting with Klingons. And the usual way Kirk has been portrayed in fiction is as a tolerant man who opposes the Klingons' military actions but does not feel bigotry or hate toward them, because that's just not the kind of person he is. There have been multiple novels and comics, at least before TUC and sometimes afterward, that have shown him as willing to work with Klingons and strive for peace with them when he had the opportunity.


And I'm not as convinced of Kirk's infallibility as you are.
Oh, Kirk is very fallible. TOS gave us abundant evidence of that. But that's just it. I'm assessing who Kirk is as a character based on all the evidence that TOS gave us. And TUC is a data point that doesn't fit with the rest of the evidence. It's an outlier. It's not consistent with the way James T. Kirk was portrayed in TOS or any of the tie-ins. Yes, Kirk is fallible, but not in that particular way. Kirk can be arrogant, Kirk can be impulsive, Kirk can sometimes let his immediate outrage at an atrocity drive him to overly aggressive responses -- but even despite that, he still has enough innate compassion and enough commitment to peace that, when given an opportunity, he won't hesitate to set his anger aside and look for a better way. "Arena" shows that. "The Devil in the Dark" shows that. "Day of the Dove" shows that. Kirk abhors violence and cruelty, but he doesn't believe the way to respond to them is with more violence and hate. He's a soldier, so he'll use force to defend the innocent if he must, but he believes and understands that the best way to respond to violence and the suffering it causes is to stop the violence, not to contribute to it.

I think people today don't realize just what a huge retcon it was when TUC came along and suddenly painted Kirk as this virulent racist. He'd never, ever been interpreted that way before, not in over a quarter of a century. (Okay, there was his "You Klingon bastard" line in TSFS, but that doesn't prove a pattern.) The movies have a disproportionate influence on people's perception of TOS and Kirk in particular. The simple fact is, TUC changed his character for the convenience of its glasnost allegory. They added this big abiding hatred toward Klingons that had never been part of his character before, so that he'd need to overcome that hatred and thereby have an arc through the story that would symbolize the topical message of letting go of past enmities. And yet everyone since then has forgotten what a massive retcon it was and accepted this single work, this exception to the rule, as the authoritative word on Kirk's feelings toward Klingons. And that's just weird, to embrace the outlier and ignore the otherwise consistent pattern.


Picard, who is of equal intelligence, thoughtfulness and principle, allowed his feelings to affect his command judgements regarding the Borg on multiple occasions. (As did his feelings about children in Greater Than The Sum.) Why is it so implausible that Kirk makes the same mistake regarding what may be the most traumatic incident of his life?
Because it's not the same mistake. It's a specific type of mistake that just doesn't fit the pattern of how James T. Kirk thinks and what kinds of mistakes he's prone to. And the idea that he's been nursing this hatred for seven years doesn't fit either, because Kirk is a relentlessly self-critical individual who's always questioning his motivations and drives. Even if he felt hatred toward the Klingons as a race because of what one of them did to David, he would recognize that for the character flaw that it was and be wary of giving into it.

This is not about hagiography. This is about me, as a professional writer whose job is to understand characters and their motivations, considering everything I know about how a given character behaves and thinks and whether a given action is in character for him or not. That has nothing to do with whether he's flawed or not; flaws are part of what make any character interesting, so as a writer I want them to be fallible and make mistakes. The things I've written about Kirk have tended to focus on his mistakes and poor decisions, because it's his fallibility that makes him interesting. But I only want characters to make mistakes that arise logically from their established character flaws. And my judgment as a lifelong observer of James Tiberius Kirk -- including 17 years of getting to know him before TUC came out -- tells me that TUC had him behave in a way that wasn't consistent with his characterization. It gave him a flaw that isn't the kind of flaw he would have.


It surprised me, though, that, while Dillard provided a further explanation for Kirk's hatred, she did not do so for the other crew of the Enterprise; in fact, if anything, she intensified their bigotry (with the exception of Uhura). Chekov was particularly bad, as I recall. I didn't like that at all. Not that they're perfect in the film, but still.
I don't think that came from her. My understanding is that the original script showed the whole crew reacting with stronger bigotry, but the actors pushed for it to be toned down. Since novelizations are generally not based on the final draft of the script or the final edit of the film, her source material wouldn't have reflected those changes made on the set.
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Old July 30 2012, 05:25 PM   #329
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Re: TP: Raise the Dawn by DRGIII Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Christopher wrote: View Post
I see your point; you've moved the goal posts slightly, but I digress.
No, I'm clarifying where my goalposts were set all along, which is different from where yours were. We were talking past each other a bit, so I made it clearer how I'm defining the problem. As a writer, I tend to think about stories more in terms of the creators' decision processes than the characters'. I can't blame characters for what I consider to be the writers' or directors' bad decisions. I blame Nicholas Meyer and the people working with him for choosing to put in that mind-meld scene and play it in that particular way. I think they were making the character of Spock do something that I don't believe Spock would do, just as I think they made Kirk exhibit racism that I (and Shatner) don't believe he would feel, and made Uhura and McCoy far more incompetent when it came to Klingon language and medicine, respectively, than I believe they would be.
Fair points. (Well, I find McCoy's ignorance of Klingon anatomy more believable than Uhura's ignorance of Klingonese, but those are beside the point.)

And if I thought that was how the scene was actually directed, I'd agree. But it didn't feel like that to me. There was no sense that Spock regretted what he did or that any other character in the scene perceived it as a moral compromise. It can be retconned in that way, as Cast No Shadow did, but Meyer's own choices in directing that scene don't convey the impression that he thought of it in those terms.



I grant that that's a valid way of interpreting the scene, but I don't feel it was the original intent. I read his dismay as simply being "Oh no, we still don't know where the peace conference is so we can't stop the bad guys."
I recall significant shots of both Scotty and Uhura, suggesting that they were horrified at this terrible thing that was happening in front of them. Combine that with Spock's own horrified look (which could be both dismay at the potential failure of the mission, and dismay at what he's done), and I think you've got the sense that the characters perceive this as a moral compromise.

But I can see your point. There were probably better, but still equally dramatic, ways to move the story along there.

Except that immediately afterward they contact Excelsior so Sulu can give them the coordinates, which means they could've done that in the first damn place and the whole invasive mind meld was completely unnecessary! I just now realized that.
Except that the meld was done to get the names of the conspirators (which Excelsior would not have had), and it was only once they were in that Kirk decided to go for broke, and try to extract the location of the peace conference.


But David's death was 7 years earlier. So that sounds like a contradictory position to me.
I figured that the death of the son he never knew he had and was clearly looking forward to getting to know was a bigger emotional event than most anything else, affecting his interactions with Klingons both retroactively and going forward. And his grief over David might reasonably have taken time to crystallize.

Besides, we haven't seen every event in Kirk's life. If he had those interactions with the Klingons, it's likely he had others. Since we're in the Trek Literature forum, presumably we accept that at least a percentage of the novels and comics "really" happened, and a lot of those have Kirk interacting with Klingons. And the usual way Kirk has been portrayed in fiction is as a tolerant man who opposes the Klingons' military actions but does not feel bigotry or hate toward them, because that's just not the kind of person he is. There have been multiple novels and comics, at least before TUC and sometimes afterward, that have shown him as willing to work with Klingons and strive for peace with them when he had the opportunity.
Mm, that's a fair point. To be honest, I've never read any of the movie era comics, so I'll have to take your word about that. Thanks for mentioning that comic DVD earlier, by the way. Definitely gonna get that.

Oh, Kirk is very fallible. TOS gave us abundant evidence of that. But that's just it. I'm assessing who Kirk is as a character based on all the evidence that TOS gave us. And TUC is a data point that doesn't fit with the rest of the evidence.

I think people today don't realize just what a huge retcon it was when TUC came along and suddenly painted Kirk as this virulent racist. He'd never, ever been interpreted that way before, not in over a quarter of a century. (Okay, there was his "You Klingon bastard" line in TSFS, but that doesn't prove a pattern.) The movies have a disproportionate influence on people's perception of TOS and Kirk in particular. The simple fact is, TUC changed his character for the convenience of its glasnost allegory. They added this big abiding hatred toward Klingons that had never been part of his character before, so that he'd need to overcome that hatred and thereby have an arc through the story that would symbolize the topical message of letting go of past enmities. And yet everyone since then has forgotten what a massive retcon it was and accepted this single work, this exception to the rule, as the authoritative word on Kirk's feelings toward Klingons. And that's just weird, to embrace the outlier and ignore the otherwise consistent pattern.
You've convinced me that it was out of character. As to why people embrace the outlier, I would say because it shows Kirk the furthest along in the development of his character. We assume that the latest iteration of the character is the most fully developed. Not necessarily the best policy, but I think it's understandable.


It surprised me, though, that, while Dillard provided a further explanation for Kirk's hatred, she did not do so for the other crew of the Enterprise; in fact, if anything, she intensified their bigotry (with the exception of Uhura). Chekov was particularly bad, as I recall. I didn't like that at all. Not that they're perfect in the film, but still.
I don't think that came from her. My understanding is that the original script showed the whole crew reacting with stronger bigotry, but the actors pushed for it to be toned down. Since novelizations are generally not based on the final draft of the script or the final edit of the film, her source material wouldn't have reflected those changes made on the set.
I agree that it's probably due to her writing from an earlier draft of the script. Other things, including the inclusion of the munitions salesperson, and the exclusion of Colonel West, support that theory. Still, it is surprising that she didn't end up doing the same thing the actors did (tone it down) independently.
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Old July 30 2012, 07:14 PM   #330
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Re: TP: Raise the Dawn by DRGIII Review Thread (Spoilers!)

In an earlier post I can't find now someone mentioned Kirk seeming to not have a problem hanging out with them in The Final Frontier, and then hating them with passion in The Undiscovered Country. I think this is the thing that bugged me the most, the sudden change in attitude between the movies. I understand a bit of time passed, but it still seemed like a drastic change. I understand people's feeling can change over time, but if these feelings are supposed to be brought on by David's death, then I would think they would be stronger closer to the event (TFF) than farther away (TUC).
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