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Old April 11 2012, 03:59 AM   #211
RPJOB
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Re: Star Trek Voyager: The Eternal Tide by Kirsten Beyer

While I love what Kristen's done with VOY I'd much rather that Janeway stay dead. She's much more interesting as a tragic, lost figure from the crews past that the character as she was portrayed on the show. At this point I'm going to wait and check out some spoilers to see if she's back. If she is, I'll reluctantly give it a pass.

How many characters have already died and come back? Scotty & McCoy in TOS. Spock in TWOK. Kirk in Generations. And that's just from the shortest series. It's too much like the comic books but it works in comics. Trek should feel more grounded.

I'd hate to get to the point where even the characters don't believe death is final. When they killed the Martian Manhunter, Superman said "Let's hope for a resurrection soon." Is that how we want Trek characters to react to the death of a friend?
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Old April 11 2012, 03:11 PM   #212
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Re: Star Trek Voyager: The Eternal Tide by Kirsten Beyer

RPJOB wrote: View Post

How many characters have already died and come back? Scotty & McCoy in TOS.
When? I don't think you can say that their appearances in the TNG era count as resurrections, as no one ever said a word about whether they were dead prior to this.
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Old April 11 2012, 03:17 PM   #213
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Re: Star Trek Voyager: The Eternal Tide by Kirsten Beyer

^No, he's referring to McCoy's revival from death by the amusement-park planet's machinery in "Shore Leave" and Scotty's revival from death by Nomad in "The Changeling."
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Old April 11 2012, 03:38 PM   #214
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Re: Star Trek Voyager: The Eternal Tide by Kirsten Beyer

Huh. That's a pretty crazy way to think in terms of "bringing back" a character, if you are counting when it happens in the same episode they die in.
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Old April 11 2012, 03:50 PM   #215
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Re: Star Trek Voyager: The Eternal Tide by Kirsten Beyer

I don't think it's crazy, since it's a variation on the same habit of genre-fiction authors to use temporary death as a plot device. I recall reading essays decades ago complaining about episodes like that which killed off characters and brought them back by the end of the episode as a cheap and superficial way of generating a sense of danger or emotional impact. I'm pretty sure it was one of the tropes David Gerrold complained about in The World of Star Trek way back in 1973. So there's nothing new or recent about this issue. The main difference is that storytelling now tends to be more serialized so these arcs get spread out over multiple works, while in the '60s everything was more episodic and got resolved within a single hour.
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Old April 11 2012, 06:20 PM   #216
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Re: Star Trek Voyager: The Eternal Tide by Kirsten Beyer

In "By Any Other Name" the entire crew was reduced to rice cakes containing all the data needed to reconstruct them. That was pretty dead.
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Old April 12 2012, 03:19 AM   #217
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Re: Star Trek Voyager: The Eternal Tide by Kirsten Beyer

MatthiasRussell wrote: View Post
In "By Any Other Name" the entire crew was reduced to rice cakes containing all the data needed to reconstruct them. That was pretty dead.
This Andorian bath bomb at "Lush" always gives me a chuckle:

http://therinofandor.blogspot.com.au...g-at-lush.html


Andorian bath bomb by Therin of Andor, on Flickr
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Old April 12 2012, 04:16 AM   #218
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Re: Star Trek Voyager: The Eternal Tide by Kirsten Beyer

ToddCam wrote: View Post
Huh. That's a pretty crazy way to think in terms of "bringing back" a character, if you are counting when it happens in the same episode they die in.
There's a difference between doing a story where a character is only assumed to be dead and one in which they are claimed to be and we have no reason to doubt it. I would argue that the death of Worf in Ethics is a valid way for a character to "die" and be resurrected because it is due to a natural effect of alien physiology. McCoy getting run through by a lance isn't. Do that to a human and they're dead. Same with Scotty being killed by Nomad. McCoy pronounced him dead and didn't seem surprised by it. The idea that Nomad could repair a dead human with a beam of light is just silly. Aliens can survice situations that could kill a human. The reverse may also be true but you would have to remember that in future appearances of that species.

In "By Any Other Name" the process was done by alien technology and was show to be reversible as long as the "rice cake" is undamaged. Again, valid.
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Old April 12 2012, 04:58 AM   #219
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Re: Star Trek Voyager: The Eternal Tide by Kirsten Beyer

RPJOB wrote: View Post
The idea that Nomad could repair a dead human with a beam of light is just silly.
But how do you define "dead?" Even today, it's possible to revive a clinically dead patient without permanent brain damage if they're treated promptly, within a matter of 3-5 minutes at normal body temperature, up to twice that if the body temperature is reduced by several degrees. Both McCoy in "Shore Leave" and Scott in "The Changeling" were clinically dead for only minutes before their revival, so it's not that implausible even by today's standards. The main obstacle to recovery from clinical death is the rapid accumulation of ischemic injury in the brain; otherwise, most parts of the body can survive hours without blood circulation. If advanced medical science had a way to minimize or reverse that damage to the brain, it could certainly be possible to revive people who had been clinically dead for a longer period of time.

As for using a beam of light to perform a medical procedure, we do that today with lasers, and there is research underway into other potential techniques employing light to activate or regulate chemical processes inside neurons or other cells. Or it could be that the "light beams" used by Trekverse medical devices (like those seen in the 24th-century shows) are some kind of array of micro-tractor beams doing fine manipulation of cells.


In "By Any Other Name" the process was done by alien technology and was show to be reversible as long as the "rice cake" is undamaged. Again, valid.
And that was more a form of stasis than a form of death, as with Scotty's transporter trick in "Relics." Both of those were intrinsically reversible in a way that literal, biological death is not. That is, the data defining the living, intact person was stored or transformed by a mechanism that retained that full information and was able to restore the person exactly as they were beforehand. Whereas in death, the body undergoes irreversible changes due to cellular decay, cumulative ischemic damage to the brain, etc. -- not to mention whatever gross traumas may be sustained if death is due to violence, toxins, radiation, etc.
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Old April 12 2012, 04:36 PM   #220
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Re: Star Trek Voyager: The Eternal Tide by Kirsten Beyer

At least in Scotty's transporter scenario he was in an operating electro-mechanical system. In the case of the "rice cakes" (what were they called, BTW), there was no mechanical process going on, everything about that person was simply recorded in an inert data package.

In the case of the transporter, I can understand where the "spark of life" is being kept "alive" in the operating computer. In the "rice cakes" all activity had ceased. I could be wrong this understanding of Kelvin technology; evertime I watch that episode I do get side-tracked oggling Kelinda.
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Old April 12 2012, 05:24 PM   #221
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Re: Star Trek Voyager: The Eternal Tide by Kirsten Beyer

Christopher wrote: View Post
RPJOB wrote: View Post
The idea that Nomad could repair a dead human with a beam of light is just silly.
But how do you define "dead?" Even today, it's possible to revive a clinically dead patient without permanent brain damage if they're treated promptly, within a matter of 3-5 minutes at normal body temperature, up to twice that if the body temperature is reduced by several degrees. Both McCoy in "Shore Leave" and Scott in "The Changeling" were clinically dead for only minutes before their revival, so it's not that implausible even by today's standards. The main obstacle to recovery from clinical death is the rapid accumulation of ischemic injury in the brain; otherwise, most parts of the body can survive hours without blood circulation. If advanced medical science had a way to minimize or reverse that damage to the brain, it could certainly be possible to revive people who had been clinically dead for a longer period of time.

As for using a beam of light to perform a medical procedure, we do that today with lasers, and there is research underway into other potential techniques employing light to activate or regulate chemical processes inside neurons or other cells. Or it could be that the "light beams" used by Trekverse medical devices (like those seen in the 24th-century shows) are some kind of array of micro-tractor beams doing fine manipulation of cells.

My definition of dead is when McCoy says "He's dead Jim". At that point I'm convinced that the person is actually dead and that McCoy isn't simply being lazy.

Of course, that doesn't work when it was McCoy that was the dead one.

I see your point about Nomad but Nomad has always bothered me. He could do too much from firing energy equivalent of 90 photon torpedos to reading (and emptying) minds as well as raising the dead. But, if we put that down to advanced alien technology then it works. However, it's still part of the idea that death in the Trek universe isn't permanent.

Would it be possible to being back Duffy after Wildfire? Sure, just bring in Q. However, it would cheapen his sacrifice and risk turning Trek into a soap opera.

Could you find a way to restore all the people killed in Destiny? Same answer.

Once that particular genie is out of the bottle it's very hard to get it to go back in. The fact that Janeway was last seen in the company of a Q just reinforces the point. Why should we care when a character dies?
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Old April 12 2012, 06:25 PM   #222
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Re: Star Trek Voyager: The Eternal Tide by Kirsten Beyer

My point is that it's a matter of degree. Reviving someone within a few minutes of clinical death, which is what happens to McCoy and Scotty in those respective episodes, is within the realm of modern medical science, so it's entirely plausible when it happens in science fiction. Maybe SF characters can be revived after being clinically dead for a longer period of time, but that's just an extrapolation from current possibilities, so it's still pretty believable. If anything, what's implausible and outdated about those scenarios is the way McCoy simply gives up upon declaring death, rather than making every effort to revive the patient as is now standard medical procedure. Tasha's death scene in "Skin of Evil" was much closer to how it's really done in modern times. (The death scene in "Shore Leave" is more forgivable, since the medical officer was the one who died and they had no way of getting back to the ship for treatment.)

But a scenario where a character who's outright dead and buried -- or completely disintegrated, as Janeway was -- is subsequently resurrected after days or weeks or months or years is orders of magnitude more implausible. That's not merely a small extrapolation from current medical reality, it's a leap into far more fanciful territory. So it's not really comparable.


As for the Q, sure, theoretically they would have the power to bring back the dead, but it's pretty clearly not something they're inclined to do as a rule. They seem to have their own set of noninterference policies (which "our" Q has gleefully violated), and on the whole they wouldn't much care about individual mortals. We're mayflies to them anyway; from their perspective, living 40 years and living 140 years are effectively indistinguishable, so why waste their effort resurrecting someone who's just going to drop dead in the proportional blink of an eye anyway? Even if the Q could bring back any dead character, there are a lot of cultural, character-based, and story-based reasons why they wouldn't. So if a story were to go that route and use Q to resurrect someone, there would have to be a very, very good story and character reason why Q would do it, or else it's just a lazy cheat. It's not the simple way out that a lot of commentators treat it as.
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Old April 12 2012, 07:52 PM   #223
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Re: Star Trek Voyager: The Eternal Tide by Kirsten Beyer

In Voy's "Mortal Coil," Neelix is revived through Borg nanoprobes after having been dead for several hours. In "Relics," Scotty is kept alive for years in a transporter buffer and brought back to life. In both cases, they were presumed dead by the rest of the world and returned an implausible time later. The precedent is there.

Bodies can be transported, basically disintegrated and reintegrated, and we can accept that the person hasn't died in the process. So it's pretty clear that death doesn't necessarily occur just because the body is gone (I won't bring up Spock's mantra simply because he is Vulcan, not human). A person is not the body, but the spirit--the very part of Janeway that the Q have taken with them. The Borg can bring someone back to life with their nanoprobes, but only if they want to do so (apparently Joe Carey wasn't worthy ). The Q are also capable of recreating Janeway's body if they wish, and I suppose that they are capricious enough to do so even if it messes with our concept of death. Whether we like it or not, Lady Q has salvaged Janeway from permanent death and opened a very viable route for her return.

The question that is really being debated here is whether or not it is worthwhile to bring back a character who has been declared dead and therefore tamper with all the events between the death and the return. There is a writer's answer and the publisher's answer. The writer might find that bringing back a character who has been declared dead damages the story line. The publisher is more interested in selling books. If bringing back a "dead" character is going to sell more books, then I'd say chances are good the publisher will make it happen and our concept of death will just have to make room for it.
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Old April 12 2012, 09:06 PM   #224
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Re: Star Trek Voyager: The Eternal Tide by Kirsten Beyer

AuntKate wrote: View Post
A person is not the body, but the spirit
Um, no, there's no such thing as "spirits." There's a consciousness which emerges when neurons interact with each-other, and apparently in the Trekverse such a consciousness can be preserved and transferred into other mediums. But there's no "spirit" involved.
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Old April 12 2012, 09:15 PM   #225
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Re: Star Trek Voyager: The Eternal Tide by Kirsten Beyer

^Well, that's a matter of semantics, given that in the Trek universe, it's established that a consciousness can exist in an incorporeal state, as in "Lonely Among Us," or preserved upon departing a deceased or near-deceased body, as in "Coda." That's similar enough to traditional beliefs in the spirit that the label is not unreasonable -- within the fictional context of the Trek universe, at least. At the very least, it's a convenient analogy.

After all, "spirit" is a word that already has multiple definitions, not just the one you seem to be reacting to, which is as a synonym for "soul" in the religious sense. Here are some others:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/spirit?s=t
1. the principle of conscious life; the vital principle in humans, animating the body or mediating between body and soul.
2. the incorporeal part of humans: present in spirit though absent in body.
...
4. conscious, incorporeal being, as opposed to matter: the world of spirit.
Definitions 2 and 4 can certainly apply to the Trek-universe portrayal of consciousness, independent of any religious connotations. Etymologically speaking, "spirit" literally means "breath," and has long been metaphorically used to mean the animating essence of life.


Now, as to the notion that a person is the spirit rather than the body, in reality, modern science suggests otherwise -- the old Western notion of a fundamental duality between the mind and the body is a myth, and in fact the two are inextricably linked. Who we are, how we feel and perceive and react, is intimately connected to our physical senses and hormones and bodily state, and if you took a person's brain out of their body and into some radically different receptacle like a computer, or no receptacle at all, it could substantially change the way they thought, felt, perceived, or remembered; essentially they wouldn't be the same person, or wouldn't be the complete person they were before.

But of course, we must keep in mind that Star Trek is not reality, just a bunch of stories some folks made up. And those stories have generally been based in that conventional Western view of the mind as something complete and separable from the body. While that's untrue in reality, it is true in the Trek universe: a person's complete mind and personality can be separated from the body or placed intact within a different body or storage medium.
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