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

View Poll Results: Rate The Persistence of Memory.
Outstanding 71 56.35%
Above Average 41 32.54%
Average 12 9.52%
Below Average 1 0.79%
Poor 1 0.79%
Voters: 126. You may not vote on this poll

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Old June 19 2013, 12:55 AM   #421
Charles Phipps
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

Re: Data resurrection subject

I am firmly of the subject that copying a person's memories does not make a person the subject. The best analogy I can make is the Voyager episode "Living Witness." The Doctor's backup is, basically, a clone of the Doctor. He has an idential personality, obviously, but he's in two separate places and they will gradually become different people. The equivalent of Thomas and Will Riker, for example.

I don't consider this "resurrection" in the same way as Q snapping his fingers and bringing someone back from the dead or Spock on Genesis. However, since Data is an electronic being, I think we tend to assume he's restored to life the way Soleta said holograms could be in "Blind Man's Bluff." The new Soong entity isn't Data but he's pretty damn close, enough that I can easily see him filling the role in fan's hearts, but I like how it's not really just Data returned. Sort of like someone recreating Captain Kirk from a pattern in the transporter, some existential angst is to be expected.

Re: Choudhury's death

I was actually really upset by her death, almost as much as Tasha Yar's own from way back when I was a wee little tot. I am of the school that the novels are a place where original characters can become as important and plot centric as the main universe character. Much to everyone's horror, I'm sure, I'm a fan of Star Wars' EU as well with original characters marrying Skywalkers and getting their own books.

While I haven't read much of her, I really enjoyed her in Destiny and was actually rather saddened Worf didn't want his relationship with Choudhury to get too serious. Seeing her causally killed by the Breen made me want to have the whole lot of them blown to atoms. What a tragedy.
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Old June 19 2013, 01:36 AM   #422
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

Relayer1 wrote: View Post
David -

Are Data 2.0's saved memories of Soong similar or more than B4's of Data ? If he built a new body would it be Soong or Soong 2.0 ?

'Mind your own business' is, in this instance, an acceptable reply...

Odd thought, it's actually symbolically similar to Spock's katra in Bones' head.
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Old June 19 2013, 01:48 AM   #423
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

Charles Phipps wrote: View Post
I don't consider this "resurrection" in the same way as Q snapping his fingers and bringing someone back from the dead or Spock on Genesis.
Actually, I think its exactly the same as Spock. But I don't think post-Genesis Spock is the same being as the one who died saving the Enterprise. He made a copy of his katra/soul and uploaded it to McCoy's brain (he obviously didn't do a live transfer as he was still functional after the meld. The original katra died in the Enterprise's Engine Room. The copy was transferred to a cloned body. And even then the copy couldn't have been that good because Spock 2.0 was missing knowledge and had to have his mind "retrained" on Vulcan. Sure, all of his friends viewed him as the same person (as did I when I first saw TSFS), but I now have doubts.
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Old June 19 2013, 01:58 AM   #424
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

I get where Charles Phipps is coming from. In fact, he gave voice to a basic uneasiness that I had about Vaslovik, especially his relationship with the Julianna Soong android. That plot turn just rubbed me wrong for some reason.

I'm really looking forward to any and all future stories about Lal's development. In a way, she could become our surrogate "Data," now that he is Soong-amalgam-super-droid.
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Old June 19 2013, 02:02 AM   #425
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

I would love to see more Lal.
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Old June 19 2013, 02:06 AM   #426
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

EliyahuQeoni wrote: View Post
Actually, I think its exactly the same as Spock. But I don't think post-Genesis Spock is the same being as the one who died saving the Enterprise. He made a copy of his katra/soul and uploaded it to McCoy's brain (he obviously didn't do a live transfer as he was still functional after the meld. The original katra died in the Enterprise's Engine Room. The copy was transferred to a cloned body. And even then the copy couldn't have been that good because Spock 2.0 was missing knowledge and had to have his mind "retrained" on Vulcan. Sure, all of his friends viewed him as the same person (as did I when I first saw TSFS), but I now have doubts.
My take on it is that what defines continous existence/personhood is quantum entanglement. When you think about it, our own brains are just ensembles of subatomic particles; what makes them constitute a single continuous unit in the first place is their mutual interaction, which in quantum terms creates a correlation or entanglement among them. So if you transfer a person's consciousness in a way that involves a quantum entanglement between the original and the recreation, e.g. quantum teleportation, then it can be argued that there's just as much continuity of self through that transfer as there is between one side of your brain and the other side. This is why I'm able to accept that a person is still the same continuous individual after going through a transporter -- assuming, as I have done in my Trek fiction, that transporters use quantum entanglement the same way theoretical quantum teleportation does.

So if, as I've also assumed in my fiction, telepathy is also a form of quantum entanglement between minds, then a telepathic transfer of consciousness from one mind to another could indeed constitute a transfer of the same original being rather than the creation of a copy. The problem with applying this to Spock's katra, though, is that such a quantum transfer would require destroying the original information (or effectively "moving" it to a new location) and wouldn't allow a copy to exist. As we know, Spock continued to retain his consciousness within his own brain and body for several minutes after he melded with McCoy. Although there is the hypothesis that his meld simply created an "open channel" with McCoy's mind and that the actual transfer didn't occur until the moment of death.

In Data's case, however, it was pretty explicit that what Data downloaded into B-4 was just a copy of his knowledge and memories, not a working simulation of his entire mind. The new Data is an amalgam of those knowledge and memories with the "operating system" of the Soong android, making him a composite being, a hybrid of Data and Soong. He has Data's memories and mostly his personality, but also has aspects of Soong's personality -- including emotion and a greater ease with contractions and informal speech, but maybe including other tendencies as well.
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Old June 19 2013, 02:07 AM   #427
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

EliyahuQeoni wrote: View Post
Actually, I think its exactly the same as Spock. But I don't think post-Genesis Spock is the same being as the one who died saving the Enterprise. He made a copy of his katra/soul and uploaded it to McCoy's brain (he obviously didn't do a live transfer as he was still functional after the meld. The original katra died in the Enterprise's Engine Room. The copy was transferred to a cloned body. And even then the copy couldn't have been that good because Spock 2.0 was missing knowledge and had to have his mind "retrained" on Vulcan. Sure, all of his friends viewed him as the same person (as did I when I first saw TSFS), but I now have doubts.
I don't try and hard science Trek too much. For me, Trek is about the "soft science" of examining social issues as well as morality. I may be in the minority there, however.

For me, Spock is a psychic being who transferred his katra before his death. Part of his soul, which is a literal thing in Star Trek. His soul was returned to his body, which has been physically rejuvenated. So I think there's a definite difference between the two situations.

But yes, you could make an argument Data 2.0 is also kind of Tuvix-ey. He's less Data than a Composite Entity.
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Old June 19 2013, 02:28 AM   #428
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

Charles Phipps wrote: View Post
Part of his soul, which is a literal thing in Star Trek.
When has this been stated? Yes, there's such a thing as a disembodied consciousness maintained in the form of an energy matrix of one sort or another, but even theologians wouldn't agree on whether a sentient consciousness was the same thing as a soul. We've heard characters expressing their belief in a soul, but that doesn't constitute proof that it's treated as something that literally exists. ST has always been far more agnostic on theological questions.
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Old June 19 2013, 02:33 AM   #429
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

Christopher wrote: View Post
When has this been stated? Yes, there's such a thing as a disembodied consciousness maintained in the form of an energy matrix of one sort or another, but even theologians wouldn't agree on whether a sentient consciousness was the same thing as a soul. We've heard characters expressing their belief in a soul, but that doesn't constitute proof that it's treated as something that literally exists. ST has always been far more agnostic on theological questions.
This would just be semantics on my part, but my view is it's less semantics than dealing with theological issues in a secular and humanist manner. Apollo is a god from ancient Greek myth, alien or not, but the Enterprise crew doesn't need him because they've outgrown Greek-style divinities. The katra isn't a soul in the Christian manner but one could certainly argue it's a soul in the "Ka" and "Ba" manner of Ancient Egypt.

One could certainly be an atheist in Star Trek (and many characters are confirmably so--it's also how Roddenberry envisioned future humans) but I think something approximating a soul exists in Vulcans (not necessarily humans).

Still, you're right, my statement was premature and misleading. "Spock's psychic presence" was transferred to "Young Spock" and that "rebooted his harddrive" so to speak if that sounds better.

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Old June 19 2013, 02:49 AM   #430
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

Charles Phipps wrote: View Post
The katra isn't a soul in the Christian manner but one could certainly argue it's a soul in the "Ka" and "Ba" manner of Ancient Egypt.
I don't know/remember enough about Egyptian religion to understand what you're referring to here. Could you elaborate?
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Old June 19 2013, 03:34 AM   #431
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

The Egyptians had the idea the soul was made of multiple parts as opposed to a singular entity which was "you." You weren't your soul, you were a composite entity of your body, your body's spirit, your higher spirit, and probably some other parts I'm missing. So the idea of Spock passing on "part" of his soul would seem insane to us Westerners but would seem perfectly natural to Ancient Egyptians.

It's relevant to Data because he's not just Data, he's Data, Soon's body, and the "higher selves" of Lal, Lore, and others.

So, yeah, I have no problem with Data is a "new man."
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Old June 19 2013, 09:46 AM   #432
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

My review after reading the book a second time and letting it all sink in. I hope you guys enjoy.

http://unitedfederationofcharles.blo...stance-of.html



Does an android have a soul?

This question was asked on February 13, 1989 when "The Measure of a Man" premiered on Fox, Channel 11 as watched my yours truly at the tender age of nine. The question is an easy enough one to answer when the robots are indistinguishable from humans, less so when they're more machine-like.

If there is a God and he is good, I wouldn't imagine him to deny such a thing to intelligent machines just because they were made by his children than him. However, Star Trek is inherently agnostic because it reflects our world and the question of God is as up in the air today as it will undoubtedly be in the 24th century (and has been since time memorial).

The question of whether Data has a soul is actually a question of whether he has value as a person but, there's a hitch, machines can be repaired where humans can't. If you erase a computer program, you can reboot it if you have the data saved. If you were able to copy a person's memories and upload them to a new body, you would be able to have an exact replica of that person. It wouldn't be that person in literal terms, but it would be indistinguishable.

Or would it?

Lieutenant Commander Data was killed in Star Trek: Nemesis, sacrificing his life to destroy Shinzon's Thalaron super-weapon. His body was killed and, presumably, his soul went on to whatever afterlife (or lack thereof) which awaits us all. However, Data backed up his memories before he died. What are the ethics of using this Data to clone Data or reincarnate him in a new body?

In Star Trek Online: The Needs of the Many, B4 chose to voluntarily sacrifice his life to resurrect Data. In Star Trek Countdown, B4 was killed by accidentally uploading Data into his brain. In my tabletop RPG, I had Geordi upload Data into a holographic matrix. Plenty of Star Trek fans have thought of raising Data from the dead using his backups without really questioning whether this is Data or if it reflected his wishes.

To help you understand the ethics if they're elusive to you, how would you feel if (after your death) your friends or family commissioned someone to create an exact copy of you.

The Persistence of Memory examines the question in a surprisingly easy and light manner. An android duplicate of Doctor Noonien Soong, creator of Data and other androids, intends to recreate his deceased son. Doctor Noonien Soong is a figure who believes, perhaps erroneously, he's a transfer of his consciousness rather than just a mental clone in a android's body. For him, the question of whether or not Data is dead is largely irrelevant. For others, they don't want to examine the question, merely have their lost friend back.

Much of the book deals with the life, history, and doings of Doctor Soong. The books take on him is somewhat darker than I expected. I've always viewed Doctor Soong as a harmless eccentric, more Doc Brown than Sivana, possessed of overwhelming arrogance as well as callous disregard for other people's feelings. An example of his almost Howard Hughes-like antics includes building an entirely automated casino on Orion.

Doctor Soong's misanthropy never approaches the level where he's a villain but David Mack illustrates Doctor Soong's flaws run deep as well as wide. Watching his newly immortal android self waste his life accumulating wealth and influence in order to rival an equally immortal associate (TOS Episode "Requiem for Methuselah" character Flint) is sad, especially when we discover someone Doctor Soong cares about more than anyone has gone over to join his side.

The book lacks a confrontation between these figures and I feel kind of bad about this. I really wanted Doctor Soong to show why he was a better inventor than his rival, a better husband, and a better father. Unfortunately, the book prefers to leave Flint in his position as unchallenged master of robotics, which saddens me. Of course, given the book's ending, a form of this confrontation may yet take place.

While the book primarily deals with the immortal Soong android's doings as well as his plot to restore Data, the crew of the Enterprise-E plays a central role. Sadly, this book kills one of my favorite novel-only characters in a manner I felt diminished her character. I'm aware authors have more freedom to kill non-television characters but that doesn't mean it should be done. It seemed a terrible waste to destroy such a promising character to illustrate our heroes' danger.

I won't spoil whether or not Doctor Soong succeeds in his quest to resurrect Data. There's been a lot of controversy over whether or not the book would do it. Personally, I think that ship has sailed. Not only was Spock returned from the dead and many excellent stories done with him thereafter but there have been quite a personal character studies done about death (VOY's "Mortal Coil", "Barge of the Dead", and "Coda" for example). A good story is a good story whether or not it involves resurrection. A hack story is a hack story whether it returns a well-loved character or not.

This is not a hack story.

8/10
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Old June 19 2013, 05:24 PM   #433
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

Christopher wrote: View Post
EliyahuQeoni wrote: View Post
Actually, I think its exactly the same as Spock. But I don't think post-Genesis Spock is the same being as the one who died saving the Enterprise. He made a copy of his katra/soul and uploaded it to McCoy's brain (he obviously didn't do a live transfer as he was still functional after the meld. The original katra died in the Enterprise's Engine Room. The copy was transferred to a cloned body. And even then the copy couldn't have been that good because Spock 2.0 was missing knowledge and had to have his mind "retrained" on Vulcan. Sure, all of his friends viewed him as the same person (as did I when I first saw TSFS), but I now have doubts.
My take on it is that what defines continous existence/personhood is quantum entanglement. ...
Christopher - Thank you for the well thought out response. I have to admit, I'm not sure I understand all of it, but it sounds fascinating. I'll give myself a change to reread the link to your blog-post you provided and let it all sink in before I respond in full or just agree with you.

Thanks for giving me a lot to think about.
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Old July 18 2013, 04:18 PM   #434
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

Just starting to read this book. Seems like the timeline's been pushed forward to 2389 or 2390 in this book, since since page 8 mentions that its been nearly 25 years since "Measure Of A Man" in 2365.

I'm trying to remember, aside from B-4, Lore, Data, Juliana Tanner and Lal, when did we ever meet three other Soong androids, since there's a scene where there are six holders, but I only recall those five androids, and with Data dead and Juliana Tanner elsewhere, why did the Daystrom Institute need three additional containers?
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Old July 19 2013, 08:36 AM   #435
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Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

tomswift2002 wrote: View Post
Just starting to read this book. Seems like the timeline's been pushed forward to 2389 or 2390 in this book, since since page 8 mentions that its been nearly 25 years since "Measure Of A Man" in 2365.
No, Cold Equations takes place in 2384. That's just an erroneous statement.
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