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

View Poll Results: Rate The Body Electric.
Outstanding 36 33.64%
Above Average 40 37.38%
Average 25 23.36%
Below Average 5 4.67%
Poor 1 0.93%
Voters: 107. You may not vote on this poll

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Old May 30 2013, 03:17 PM   #256
Ben
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

datalogan wrote: View Post
Glad Data didn’t just immediately rejoin Starfleet.
I agree, but he really needs to be back on the Enterprise in some capacity. Maybe as a scientific consultant?
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Old June 22 2013, 06:57 AM   #257
Charles Phipps
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

My review (which is getting old hat I'm sure)

If no one minds me methodically going through the entirety of the Star Trek Expanded Universe, one novel at a time, here's my thoughts on "TBE"

1. I am a huge Wesley Crusher fan of Sheldon Cooper (pre-rivalry) levels, so it's nice to see him in a novel. I love his role as a "space wizard" and think D_M nicely defined the powers of a Traveler so they weren't overwhelmning like a Q creatures. I also felt his personality was nicely adjusted to being cocky in a likable way (probably because he can back it up with experience now).

2. I can't say I much cared for Doctor Crusher's role, I'm sorry to say. Mostly, it just seems she was overwhelmingly negative throughout the past three books. She dislikes Picard's saving her, dislike Picard's family first-career second attitude, dislikes her son's transformation into a godlike being, and actually doesn't think of getting Rene to safety. Some of these are very interesting and I can see them in character but OUCH.

3. I'm going to come off as an enormous hypocrite given how much I loved making peace with the Borg but **** the Machines. V'ger was a child in both mentality as well as desires but these guys aren't, yet annihilate uncounted trillions of sapients for their art. They're not ignorant, they're just [insert profanity]. It's much like my disquiet about the Dominion continuing onward repressing the Delta Quadrant. I'm not sure this was a "happy" ending.

4. By contrast, Gatt turning from evil genocidal wannabe to repentant sinner felt appropriate to me. He wanted desperately to be someone special and discovered he didn't have what it took either emotionally or morally. I felt Data showing him a better way was appropriate and it felt "real."

5. I'm still a fan of V'ger having a tie-in to the Borg but I think you and Christopher have created a really good character in the Machines. I don't LIKE THEM (indeed, am disgusted by their Skynet-like brutality) but they're alien and interesting.

6. I also disagree with Data's choice at the end but thought the scene was suitably dramatic. I would have preferred Data just use some of his Noonien Soong-level abilities to figure out how to do it himself. Then again, I still believe Noonien would have emerged as Flint's superior given enough time.

What a tragedy.

7. Yay for a certain character's return.
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Old March 18 2014, 09:46 AM   #258
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I enjoyed this one most from the whole trilogy. I thought the other two were okay, but I really loved this one.

In addition, there's a sub-plot in this novel that is almost a perfect reflection of something very personal and recent from my life. Rarely it happens to find something so close just at the right time.
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Old January 9 2015, 12:47 AM   #259
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Note: This is way rantier than I had intended it to be. But I came away with a strong feeling of needing to talk about this with others who read it and didn't want to cloud the "What Are We Reading Thread."

I just finished this one today. It certainly was a page turner and I did end up liking it upon completion. I think it's probably the second best of this trilogy, Persistence of Memory was amazing. Silent Weapons was a bit of a let down. I didn't really connect with the Breen's motivations. Still well written and I loved the Gorn but it was a big miss to me. Body Electric suffers a bit from too grand of a premise (the stakes are too high) and a villain that is almost comically bad (A goofy gang of Robot Pirates basically.) As others have said in this thread, everything was fine until the A & B plots converged and then the story suffered. Why would Picard allow Gatt to make contact before Wesley revived? That's not the Picard I know, even on a timetable. Why did the all robots continue fighting Data & Co. and show no desire for self-interest until we move to the shuttle bay and all the other ships are gone? We knew that not all of the robots followed Gatt, not a single one was like "Hey... maybe we can let the machine kill these people for us?" Even the sentient ship seemed to be oblivious to moving or trying to reassert itself. It felt like there should have been a little more in the book. Still, I enjoyed the book - the trilogy, even - but I just felt like a lot of little things didn't click for me.

However, I really couldn't believe this was the third book in a row in which a female character of some importance was offed more or less capriciously. While Jasminder's death was built towards and had emotional weight, I couldn't help but feel that it was done to be done. Book 2 of this series even lampoons the idea of Worf being a bad omen because all the women he loved were murdered. (Black Widow Sam Carter anyone?) I was disappointed with that death, but in the way that any character death bothers a reader.

In book 2 I was really annoyed with the way Esperanza was offed. I can't say it bothered me, as I never much liked the character, but I found it incredibly random and almost like an afterthought. Considering that I can't recall Piniero having any character in the book nor even recall an sequence where she talked to Bacco more than once, I just found it incredibly callous. I understand that death and murder are random, violent acts that can happen but it just didn't seem logical to the story.

Finally we come to Rhea's death in the third installment. My Spidey-sense was pretty strong about Rhea's prospects of surviving the book, especially the way she was dangled as a plot device carrot for much of the book. There was really no build up or nuance to her death, it was very simply a death to give Data pathos. A classic example of fridging and something I thought we wouldn't see in a modern Trek novel. To bring the character back just to remove her was incredibly frustrating, especially as her presence in the novel added nothing. The same story could have been told regardless. (Why not Juliana who was present across the series and would have given Data an even harder choice?) Indeed, Rhea really doesn't have any character other than pining over Data and spouting "Don't hurt my father"s. It didn't even register an emotional impact; I guessed it was coming, it happened and even the other characters treat it as a perfunctory event. I was incredibly disturbed to see this trend develop and it really damped my feelings on the book.

Of course, I'm aware of Mr. Mack's reputation for mercilessness but something about these three books really touched a nerve in that regard. I still liked the books it wasn't enough to destroy but I just came away really disappointed.
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Last edited by BritishSeaPower; January 9 2015 at 01:01 AM. Reason: Added the note
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Old January 9 2015, 01:27 AM   #260
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

^ Well, that trend is the point of the title. The deaths aren't thematically meaningless. I agree that by book three you're thinking "so, who is going to be offed in this one", and there's not a long list of obvious losses, but that's built into the very idea of the trilogy.
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Old January 9 2015, 01:51 AM   #261
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Yes, that's not a mystery. My point is that at least two of the characters were inserted into the series just to be killed, and one in a very flagrant attempt to instill a male character with pathos with absolutely no regard to her character.
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Old January 9 2015, 02:18 AM   #262
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

BritishSeaPower wrote: View Post
Yes, that's not a mystery. My point is that at least two of the characters were inserted into the series just to be killed, and one in a very flagrant attempt to instill a male character with pathos with absolutely no regard to her character.
As with yourself, I apologise if any of this comes across as "ranty".

My first point would be: McAdams was killed in an attempt to complete the thematic purpose of the trilogy, by forcing the main character into a situation where he must knowingly leave someone he cares about to die in order to achieve an end that was judged to be - in terms of cold logic ambiguously shot through with emotional resonance - of greater importance to him. It's not about pathos for Data; it's about a theme consistent across the three books. And even if it were about pathos for Data, characters serve various purposes in stories; McAdams was always a character who was of relevance due to what she bought to our understanding of Data more than she was as a player in her own right. The general point of the character was to expand on and play to the themes of Data's family and his relationship to other AIs. Data is the lead character, and McAdams has never been a character who exists in stories that aren't centred on the life and experience of Data. Thematically, while she was indeed compelling, she was always an adjunct of Data from a story-telling perspective.

So, I don't see this as an example of the "women in refrigerators" trope - though, I must note here, nor do I consider becoming agitated over that trope to be a valid criticism to begin with, in any circumstance. Acknowledging the fact of the trope is one thing, but I do not agree with the common interpretations or assumed implications, and do not view it as inherently a problem - and if I did, it would be for different reasons. Meaning no offence, I find it a tired complaint that stems from a culture fixated on certain assumptions and biased, selective perspectives - to the extent that comparable tendencies in fiction and reality are overlooked to service a pre-conceived ideological or emotional-sexual agenda.

As a final point on the subject, Star Trek novels do not play women "as women", the great majority of the time - one of the few franchises that tends to achieve this, in my perspective, and which I appreciate immensely, though again for what I assume are different reasons than most. Characters like Choundhury, Piniero, and McAdams were never defined around their sex in any of the stories they appeared in; the fact that they were female was never of relevance to the characters, nor to the narrative.
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Old February 13 2015, 06:09 AM   #263
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I just thought of something. Was the Machine in this novel meant to be the cause of the ultimately canceled Kelvan invasion of the Milky Way Galaxy back in the TOS episode "By Any Other Name"?
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Old February 13 2015, 06:38 AM   #264
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Enterprise1701 wrote: View Post
I just thought of something. Was the Machine in this novel meant to be the cause of the ultimately canceled Kelvan invasion of the Milky Way Galaxy back in the TOS episode "By Any Other Name"?
I'm not sure how it could be; if the rising levels of radiation were refering to the radiation wave released by the black hole collision it would've caused, then since they were working on a 10,000 year deadline, subspace would've already been fractured for 200,000 light-years around the Andromeda Galaxy by the same effect by the time they'd detected it, and so the Kelvans wouldn't have been able to get out of the Andromeda Galaxy and to the Milky Way in only a few centuries.
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Old April 26 2015, 10:00 PM   #265
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I finished this one early this week, and I really enjoyed it. I really liked the conclusion of Data's arc here and the inclusion of Wesley. I think I do remember hearing about The Machine's connection to TMP and V'Ger, but I still enjoyed it. I know one or two stories have connected
V'ger's creators to the Borg, but I was never a big fan of that idea. I like this take on them alot better. I also really liked the way that The Machine story connected back to Data's arc that ran through the series. I'm a huge fan of Immortal Coil so I got a big kick out of all of the connections back to it. I especially loved seeing Rhea again. This leads me to my one complaint about the book, the death of Rhea. I knew about this and Lal's ressurection going into the book, but the death still annoyed me. I was thinking that it would have been a lot of fun to see Data as a family man with Rhea and Lal.
I was really frustrated by the deaths in all three books. With so much controversy over the treatment of women in the media, I was honestly kind of shocked to see three women killed off in back to back books like this. I'm not trying to accuse David Mack and the editors of trying to do anything on purpose, but it's still hard not to notice it.
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Old April 26 2015, 10:07 PM   #266
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I´m looking forward to this in German. The German title for it is Diabolus Ex Machina, by the way. It will be released this year, later on though.

As to the deaths: I´m quite spoiler-resistant and well-prepared for it, though I don´t like it, either. Sady, people have to die. It would be unrealistic if everybody survived. But it is difficult with characters who have grown dear to your heart.
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Old April 26 2015, 10:10 PM   #267
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Kilana2 wrote: View Post
I´m looking forward to this in German. The German title for it is Diabolus Ex Machina, by the way. It will be released this year, later on though.
That's kind of fitting, given that Dave made sure to keep The Body Electric consistent with my portrayal of V'Ger in Ex Machina. Largely because I was staying with him while he was plotting the novel, so we were able to compare notes.
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Old April 26 2015, 10:24 PM   #268
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Christopher wrote: View Post
Kilana2 wrote: View Post
I´m looking forward to this in German. The German title for it is Diabolus Ex Machina, by the way. It will be released this year, later on though.
That's kind of fitting, given that Dave made sure to keep The Body Electric consistent with my portrayal of V'Ger in Ex Machina. Largely because I was staying with him while he was plotting the novel, so we were able to compare notes.
German publisher Cross Cult asked on its Facebook page for suggestions for a fitting German title. There were several suggestions, and they chose this. I think it´s final.

I couldn´t offer any suggestions for myself, as I haven´t read the original and the title was ill-suited to translate it literally (and I´m not a Facebook member on top of that). And it´s been a while since I have read Ex Machina. I didn´t know that there is a connection.

Either way, I´m in for a surprise.
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Old April 27 2015, 12:02 AM   #269
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Diabolus Ex Machina. That's a strangely fitting title. :-)
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Old April 27 2015, 07:23 PM   #270
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Just want to add the other German titles of the Cold Equations novels:

The Persistence of Memory = Die Beständigkeit der Erinnerung
Silent Weapons = Lautlose Waffen

I will vote for them when I´ve read them.
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