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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Misc. Star Trek > Trek Literature

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

View Poll Results: Rate Immortal Coil.
Outstanding 28 46.67%
Above Average 29 48.33%
Average 2 3.33%
Below Average 1 1.67%
Poor 0 0%
Voters: 60. You may not vote on this poll

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Old October 28 2012, 04:59 PM   #1
Sho
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TNG: Immortal Coil by Jeffrey Lang Review Thread (Spoilers!)


Immortal Coil
by Jeffrey Lang: The first book mentioned when the question of a good Data novel comes up. Chock full of continuity references not just to TNG but also to TOS, however, drawing a line from Roger Korby to Noonian Soong and establishing a vast Star Trek android saga. A saga that David Mack appears to have penned the next chapter in, recently informing us that his Cold Equations trilogy commemorating TNG's 25th anniversary ties back to Lang's work in a major way. All this combines to making Immortal Coil a key entry in the TrekLit canon, and one that many of us are revisiting right now - with The Persistence of Memory en route - or will be revisiting in the future.

The official blurb:

He is perhaps the ultimate human achievement: a sentient artificial life-form -- self-aware, self-determining, possessing a mind and body far surpassing that of his makers, and imbued with the potential to evolve beyond the scope of his programming. Created by one of the most brilliant and eccentric intellects the Federation has ever known, the android Data has always believed he was unique, the one true fulfillment of a dream to create children of the mind.
But is he?
Investigating the mysterious destruction of a new android created by Starfleet, Data and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise™ uncover startling secrets stretching back to the galaxy's dim past. That knowledge is coveted by beings who will stop at nothing to control it, and will force Data to redefine himself as he learns the hidden history of artificial intelligence.
And the excerpt: Chapter 8.
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Old October 28 2012, 05:10 PM   #2
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Re: TNG: Immortal Coil by Jeffrey Lang Review Thread (Spoilers!)

LOVED it. I should dig this out and re-read it too.

There's even a cute anime reference....
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Old October 28 2012, 05:40 PM   #3
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Re: TNG: Immortal Coil by Jeffrey Lang Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Outstanding.

I haven't said that about a Trek book since the Destiny trilogy.
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Old October 28 2012, 06:22 PM   #4
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Re: TNG: Immortal Coil by Jeffrey Lang Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Thanks for opening the thread, Sho!

I've read Immortal Coil years earlier in German. Because I'm currently in Ireland I just downloaded the English original as E-book and started [re-]reading.

I remember the overall plot but not the details so it's almost as good as new. This time, I picture actress Chyler Leigh (Dr. Lexie Grey from Grey's Anatomy) as Lieutenant Rhea Adams. Both are petite and have dark hair.

For the Wikians among the readers, this is a good opportunity to expand articles around this 'old' book (I still went to school when it came out ).
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Old October 28 2012, 06:54 PM   #5
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Re: TNG: Immortal Coil by Jeffrey Lang Review Thread (Spoilers!)

What would be your summary of the plot of the book? and also any analysis (since Memory Beta often lacks that)?
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Old October 29 2012, 03:01 AM   #6
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Re: TNG: Immortal Coil by Jeffrey Lang Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I'm usully the opposite of critical, but I remember being disappointed with it back when I read it. I remember feeling that the plot felt like it was a long series of random dramatic revelations that didn't really lead anywhere. It was a long time ago, though, so take my words with a grain of salt.
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Old October 29 2012, 03:09 AM   #7
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Re: TNG: Immortal Coil by Jeffrey Lang Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Thanks, Sho! I was thinking about opening a Review Thread myself.

About half-way through it now. So far it's been excellent.
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Old October 29 2012, 03:18 AM   #8
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Re: TNG: Immortal Coil by Jeffrey Lang Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I really enjoyed it. I may have to dig it out and re-read.
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Old October 29 2012, 06:54 AM   #9
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Re: TNG: Immortal Coil by Jeffrey Lang Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I read this back in August of 2010 (thank you Shelfari) and I gave it a perfect 5/5 stars. It is a truly amazing book. One of the best Data/AI stories period.
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Old October 29 2012, 08:18 AM   #10
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Re: TNG: Immortal Coil by Jeffrey Lang Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Newspaper Taxi wrote: View Post
I remember feeling that the plot felt like it was a long series of random dramatic revelations that didn't really lead anywhere. It was a long time ago, though, so take my words with a grain of salt.
I absolutely loved "Immortal Coil" and, after "Nemesis" introduced the B-4, I even wrote to Jeffrey Lang and asked if he was considering a sequel to include him. By then, Marco had left Pocket and Jeffrey said that Marco had been his only point of contact with the publisher.

"Immortal Coil" did attract a lot of negativity from TNG-only fans when they realized that many characters referred to were from episodes of TOS (and even a namedrop from "The Questor Tapes") and were demanding that the book required extensive footnotes or a dramatis personae, but I really felt - and still feel - that such information is not a requirement for enjoyment of the story, and would perhaps scare off readers from sampling it. The call-backs to TOS - cameo mentions of every android and AI featured in the series - are a delight to those in the know, but not crucial to this excellent whodunnit.

Dr Juliana Tainer and the three unnamed Data/Lore prototypes she mentioned in "Inheritance" are also featured.

I love a whodunnit where I don't guess whodunnit until the author decides to reveal all. For Data fans, this book is a wonderful celebration of the character!

Sho wrote: View Post
one that many of us are revisiting right now - with The Persistence of Memory en route - or will be revisiting in the future.
Woohoo!
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Old October 29 2012, 09:32 AM   #11
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Re: TNG: Immortal Coil by Jeffrey Lang Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I loved, loved, LOVED Immortal Coil and thought it was an amazing character study of Data and androids in general. I must admit that when Data died in Nemesis I immediately lamented that Data would never join the underground group of androids that Data encountered in this story.

However, that being said, I'm thrilled to read that the Cold Equations will pick up some of the pieces left behind by Immortal Coil.
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Old October 29 2012, 10:36 AM   #12
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Re: TNG: Immortal Coil by Jeffrey Lang Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I'm seriously doubting wether or not I should pick this up. I can only find severly overpriced paperbacks for sale here in the Netherlands, and the decently priced ones in the US and UK all have high shippingcosts. I find 11 euros for a secondhand paperback a bit to much.
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Old October 29 2012, 10:45 AM   #13
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Re: TNG: Immortal Coil by Jeffrey Lang Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Have you checked amazon.de?

I think shipping cost to the Netherlands there aren't quite as steep as with .com and .co.uk.

http://www.amazon.de/gp/offer-listin...1503898&sr=8-6
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Old October 29 2012, 11:38 AM   #14
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Re: TNG: Immortal Coil by Jeffrey Lang Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I'm sort of struggling with my take on this one. During an earlier attempt I ended up enumerating the aspects I didn't like, and I still can't really find a way around that, even though overall I quite enjoyed the novel and ended up voting Above Average.

Here's what I didn't like:
  • Connecting Soong to Exo III sort of cheapens Soong's achievement in my book. Now, I realize this is sort of silly, because of course it makes sense that Soong's genius would not have developed in a vacuum. However it hit a sore point with me at the time because I felt like I could see a pattern of the franchise undermining its own legends by over-explaining them through continuity acrobatics. The major, most grating example of this for me is the Temporal Cold War on Enterprise during which Archer gets tipped off to the later creation of the Federation, thus emotionally cheapening the entire premise of the franchise of humanity managing to better itself under its own power. It's also just a big small universe syndrome thing ...
  • I have a thing for good locked room mysteries and Coil kind of tickles that in the beginning, but then unceremoniously sweeps it under the rug ...
  • Parts of it just felt a bit shaky and not very fleshed out, in particular some of the actiony bits were quite rough (e.g. that hand-to-hand combat scene with Riker) and the hideout towards the end.
Here's what I did like, though:
  • Well, I like Data . In particular, I like speculating about how Data functions and thinks, and while Coil doesn't go overly into detail on that either, it did generally feel more convincing than most other novel's treatment of his android-ness. The way Data manages his background processes, for example, felt well-done.
  • One of those actiony parts was magnificent, though: The space battle featuring Data's and Rhea's EVA is one for the ages.
  • I overall liked the prose. Lots of good scene-setting and atmosphere, especially on Galor IV and Exo III.
Overall, it's not a perfect book, but it mostly lives up to its newfound status in the ongoing narrative.

Last edited by Sho; October 29 2012 at 11:49 AM.
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Old October 29 2012, 12:09 PM   #15
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Re: TNG: Immortal Coil by Jeffrey Lang Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Sho wrote: View Post
[*]Connecting Soong to Exo III sort of cheapens Soong's achievement in my book. Now, I realize this is sort of silly, because of course it makes sense that Soong's genius would not have developed in a vacuum.
Maybe I misread the book, but to me it seemed like Soong came away with little in the way of usable information from Exo III. Vaslovik disappeared with the materials they got from there before anyone had a chance to study them in-depth.
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