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

View Poll Results: Rate The Body Electric.
Outstanding 33 32.67%
Above Average 38 37.62%
Average 25 24.75%
Below Average 4 3.96%
Poor 1 0.99%
Voters: 101. You may not vote on this poll

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Old January 20 2013, 03:21 PM   #181
Christopher
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Claudia wrote: View Post
How can it be selfish if a person wants to survive? It would have been different if Tuvix's death actually served some other purpose than to make the crew feel better - so, who's selfish there? IMO a crew who can't cope with two of its members gone isn't the most stable crew anyway.
As I said, it's not about who's there and who's gone. It's about trust, an absolutely vital commodity in any team. These people had to believe they could trust one another with their lives, had to know their crewmates would put their own lives on the line for their benefit. Tuvix's actions would've created doubt in the crew's minds about whether he was capable of that. It doesn't have to be a huge degree of doubt; it could be a very subtle, back-of-the-mind sort of thing. But in the exceptional circumstances of Voyager's situation, with a crew that might have to spend the rest of their lives together and didn't have the luxury of transfers and crew replacements to deal with interpersonal tensions, even such a subtle seed of mistrust could fester and grow over time.

And again, I'm not saying this is what I believe. I'm evaluating this objectively. I'm just saying that, in my attempts to reason out what Janeway's decision process must have been and why she made the choice she did, this is my best estimation.


I definitely don't agree there. There was no crisis situation when Janeway ordered Tuvix to die. The crew's livelihood wasn't threatened in any way.
I never said it was. I'm not talking about events, I'm talking about emotions. You could see it in the way the scene was written and directed, the way the actors played it -- when Tuvix refused to sacrifice himself, the rest of the crew turned against him. They'd liked him before, but now they soured on him. That's what I saw in the performances, in the onscreen action, and that's the basis for my hypothesis about what Janeway's decision-making process was.

They would have needed time to come to terms with reality but in the end they would have come to terms with it and let go.

Tuvix never would have hesitated to lay down his life if there had been a real threat to the crew. I don't think that the crew doubted that if they had taken a step back and actually thought about the situation.
You're approaching this as if the whole thing were a completely rational, surface-level decision process that everyone in the crew would be consciously aware of. People's minds don't work that way. They have subconscious reactions to things. One person's trust in another can be poisoned in ways they aren't even cognizant of. No matter how much they intellectually rationalize things and decide they're acceptable, they may still have underlying emotions that say just the opposite. Especially in a case like this, where we're talking about the life or death of their friends and coworkers. That's an incredibly traumatic thing. You can't just "get over" something like that by intellectually rationalizing it.


Honestly, I rather think that not so important crewmembers should consider the fact that they could be sacrificed needlessly, just to make the higher-ups happy. Talk about a boost of morale.
That's completely unfair. What I'm saying is that Janeway made the choice she felt was best for her entire crew, because that's what captains do. You just can't toss out pat caricatures and oversimplifications here. The moral dilemma of "Tuvix" is brilliantly complex and challenging, and you can't sum it up with sound bites.
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Old January 20 2013, 05:07 PM   #182
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Markonian wrote: View Post
Imho, there is to much fuss about the Tuvix issue. It is a matter of simple mathematics:

You toss one capable officer and get two capable officers in return. I'd call that a bargain. The needs of the many.
What was Picard's line in that episode? "I refuse to let arithmetic decide questions like that...."

Last edited by rahullak; January 20 2013 at 05:09 PM. Reason: It's an episode...
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Old January 20 2013, 05:20 PM   #183
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Again I wish you all would actually see what Christopher is saying because he is right. This whole argument has always been about emotion, not logic, emotion. That’s why it is so useless to argue about it. You cannot change anyone’s mind.

But it occurred to me this morning that we should be thanking some people no matter which side of the argument you are on.

If you think about it, there was never any other way for the episode to end. Tim Russ and Ethan Phillips had contracts, Tom Wright did not, but it is the writer’s job to make the audience blind to that fact. In this case we are talking about Andrew Shepard Price and Mark Gaberman for the original story and to Kenneth Biller for rewriting their story into the episode we saw. It is a remarkable achievement to not only have blinded the original audience, but to continue to blind people years after it was televised.

Ken Biller then aimed to dramatize Janeway's dilemma at the episode's climax as much as he could. He explained, "I hoped to create tension at the end where it would be difficult for anyone watching to know what the right thing to do was [....] I wanted to keep asking the audience, just keep poking at the audience. There isn't an answer [....] It was an opportunity to show [Janeway] making the really tough decisions which captains are faced with." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5)
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Old January 21 2013, 06:07 AM   #184
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Christopher wrote: View Post
Let me make this very clear: I am not talking about my own opinion on the matter. I am evaluating what I believe the crew of Voyager would think about the matter. It is possible to discuss other people's beliefs and motivations without holding those beliefs or motivations oneself. As a writer, I routinely evaluate the behavior and choices of a variety of characters, many of whose actions and beliefs I personally do not share. And that's what I'm doing here -- thinking about the motivations of the characters in the episode the same way I'd think about them if I were writing the story myself. I'm analyzing the characters' actions and choices, not judging or endorsing them.
OK, fair enough.

Markonian wrote: View Post
Imho, there is to much fuss about the Tuvix issue. It is a matter of simple mathematics:

You toss one capable officer and get two capable officers in return. I'd call that a bargain. The needs of the many.
I know it's hard to tell online... but this is a joke, right?

Brit wrote: View Post
If you think about it, there was never any other way for the episode to end. Tim Russ and Ethan Phillips had contracts, Tom Wright did not, but it is the writer’s job to make the audience blind to that fact.
Well, it would have been nice if they had found a way to write it that didn't depict a Starfleet captain as a murderer.

Mage wrote: View Post
rahullak wrote: View Post
So all this about Tuvix started out because of Janeway's morally questionable decisions, which in turn came up because Q told Wesley to "go bother Picard" rather than Janeway. Right?
Yes, it does seem some people forgot this topic is about a David Mack TNG novel, not about Voyager. I know topics can be derailed sometimes, but c'mon guys.....
Sorry. I quite enjoyed The Body Electric, although I did have a bit of a problem with the conclusion to the crisis. And unlike some other posters upthread, I really enjoyed the prologue/epilogue structure. Sure, I would like to know what Data's doing next, but presenting Lal's resurrection as a mirror image of her death was damn near perfect, and I found the ending very emotionally satisfying.
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Old January 21 2013, 02:44 PM   #185
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Markonian wrote: View Post
Imho, there is to much fuss about the Tuvix issue. It is a matter of simple mathematics:

You toss one capable officer and get two capable officers in return. I'd call that a bargain. The needs of the many.
Joke, right? Just so I'm clear before I bother responding.

Christopher wrote: View Post
That's completely unfair. What I'm saying is that Janeway made the choice she felt was best for her entire crew, because that's what captains do. You just can't toss out pat caricatures and oversimplifications here. The moral dilemma of "Tuvix" is brilliantly complex and challenging, and you can't sum it up with sound bites.
The dilemma is brilliant, but I can't say the decision was. What happened to upholding federation principals?

Try as I might, I can't see Picard having done the same thing in the same situation. Hell, I couldn't see Janeway doing it from how she was earlier portrayed. But as I said, her decision here makes future admiral janeway totally believable to me
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Old January 21 2013, 04:58 PM   #186
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

zarkon wrote: View Post
The dilemma is brilliant, but I can't say the decision was. What happened to upholding federation principals?
Okay, then tell me this: What would you have done instead? If you're going to to shoot down someone else's decisions, you really should have a better alternative to offer, or else it's just empty kibitzing.

After all, you agree it was a dilemma. Let's look at what that word truly means. It doesn't just mean a problem or a puzzle. It literally means:

1. a situation necessitating a choice between two equal, esp equally undesirable, alternatives
2. a problem that seems incapable of a solution
So it's kind of contradictory for you to acknowledge that it's a dilemma but then say that the solution they went with was bad. The whole thing that defines a dilemma is that either solution is equally bad.


Try as I might, I can't see Picard having done the same thing in the same situation.
Let's be honest here, shall we? We're not talking about real people. We're talking about fictional characters from a weekly television show. Given a choice between keeping two actors who were under contract to appear in the show for several more years and firing them in favor of a guest star hired for one week, there was no choice. Of course the story would end with the regulars restored; that was a given from the very start of the writing process. So of course Picard, or Kirk or Sisko or Archer, would've made the same decision -- or rather, the writers would've made them make the same decision, because realistically it was the only way the story could possibly have been resolved.
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Old January 21 2013, 05:58 PM   #187
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Christopher wrote: View Post
Okay, then tell me this: What would you have done instead? If you're going to to shoot down someone else's decisions, you really should have a better alternative to offer, or else it's just empty kibitzing.

After all, you agree it was a dilemma. Let's look at what that word truly means. It doesn't just mean a problem or a puzzle. It literally means:

1. a situation necessitating a choice between two equal, esp equally undesirable, alternatives
2. a problem that seems incapable of a solution
So it's kind of contradictory for you to acknowledge that it's a dilemma but then say that the solution they went with was bad. The whole thing that defines a dilemma is that either solution is equally bad.
Well I can't access oed till I'm at home, but if dilemma does implicity require equality then I renounce my usage of it, since while they're both terrible choices I see murder as worse.

And as for what I would have done, I'd have thought that was obvious - let Tuvix live. It'd feel terrible knowing I couldn't have brought back 2 friends, but not as bad as knowing I'd murdered someone.

Christopher wrote: View Post
Let's be honest here, shall we? We're not talking about real people. We're talking about fictional characters from a weekly television show. Given a choice between keeping two actors who were under contract to appear in the show for several more years and firing them in favor of a guest star hired for one week, there was no choice. Of course the story would end with the regulars restored; that was a given from the very start of the writing process. So of course Picard, or Kirk or Sisko or Archer, would've made the same decision -- or rather, the writers would've made them make the same decision, because realistically it was the only way the story could possibly have been resolved.
There's plenty of ways they could have ended it, the most obvious being everyone accepting him staying, but friends of Kes & Tuvok acting sad whenever they talk to him since he reminds them of tuvok/neelix, leading him to decide to do the process himself. Wouldn't have the power of Janeway murdering someone, but then I wouldn't have to be contemptous of Janeway & the majority of the senior staff(the doc is the only person I recall standing up for Tuvix, but again, it's been a while).
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Old January 21 2013, 06:43 PM   #188
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Christopher wrote: View Post
Okay, then tell me this: What would you have done instead?
Do you mean, had he been a VOY writer, or do you mean, had he been Voyager's commanding officer?

Speaking in-universe, were I in Janeway's shoes, I would have held a memorial service for Tuvok and Neelix, filled out their death certificates, and then filed a birth certificate for Tuvix.

And then I would have offered Tuvix the opportunity to serve under a Starfleet field commission if he so chose, or to inherit Neelix's shuttle and go off exploring if he so chose.

In my view, there wasn't anything to be done.
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Old January 21 2013, 07:10 PM   #189
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I just think it's a gross oversimplification to think that Tuvok and Neelix were in any way "dead." Tuvix was not a completely separate person; he was both of them at once. Think of it like a mind meld, when two personalities are so blended they function as one being. The melders aren't "dead" once that happens, just blended. It's just that in this case they were blended physically as well.

I mean, let's turn it around. Will Riker was one individual who was then split into two by a transporter accident. The two separate Rikers developed distinct personalities and lives. But does that mean that neither Riker was "alive" before the transporter split? No -- in a sense, they were both there in potential within a single individual.

Frankly I would consider Janeway a horrible commander if she treated the question as simplistically as you folks are. That would be a criminally irresponsible way of reacting to a situation as unprecedented and unique as this one, one that raised so many difficult questions and issues. Just trying to force a totally new situation into some pat, conventional set of definitions is anathema to the open mind a Starfleet captain needs in order to cope with the new and unknown. The only responsible thing for her to do would be to consider all the possibilities and not just glibly assume she was qualified to define life and death in this unique situation.
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Old January 21 2013, 07:49 PM   #190
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Christopher wrote: View Post
I mean, let's turn it around. Will Riker was one individual who was then split into two by a transporter accident. The two separate Rikers developed distinct personalities and lives. But does that mean that neither Riker was "alive" before the transporter split? No -- in a sense, they were both there in potential within a single individual.
Well we're shaped by our enviroment and experiences, yes. There's an infinity of potentia.

Christopher wrote: View Post
Frankly I would consider Janeway a horrible commander if she treated the question as simplistically as you folks are. That would be a criminally irresponsible way of reacting to a situation as unprecedented and unique as this one, one that raised so many difficult questions and issues. Just trying to force a totally new situation into some pat, conventional set of definitions is anathema to the open mind a Starfleet captain needs in order to cope with the new and unknown. The only responsible thing for her to do would be to consider all the possibilities and not just glibly assume she was qualified to define life and death in this unique situation.
Well sorry, but we're going to have to agree to disagree here because for me life was sitting right in front of her asking not to be killed.

I do wish you'd stop dismissing these points as simplistic though - all I'm doing is getting to the core of it - she had to kill someone to recover two people. You can stack various addendums on top of it, but at the end of the day it's murder. I mean, you've talked a lot about how the crew felt and such, so what would be their reaction if she sat them down one by one and said, "are you really ok with murdering tuvix to get our buddies back?"
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Old January 21 2013, 08:26 PM   #191
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

And you're still deliberately refusing to acknowledge the other side of the coin: that Tuvok and Neelix were still alive in a very real sense, that they were retreivable, and letting Tuvix endure would've also been "murder" by that definition. So yes, I think it is simplistic to reduce this unprecedented situation to something as clear-cut as you're trying to pretend it is. I think you're ignoring everything that makes the episode so brilliant and compelling by trying to reduce it to a black-and-white issue.

Anyway, we're not going to agree on this, so we should really just drop it.
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Old January 21 2013, 09:44 PM   #192
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Sure. Just to answer your point though, it's not that I'm refusing to acknowledge the other side, I don't see failure to act as murder.
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Old January 21 2013, 10:16 PM   #193
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Hey guys, it would be better to keep the discussion on the book and off the Tuvix controversy. That's more VOY forum territory.
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Old January 22 2013, 05:29 AM   #194
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Have to thank you guys for the Tuvix debate. I watched the episode again and can certainly see why Janeway's decision is so controversial; also how it relates to Data's decision. On the Tuvix decision, just want to say...it's all Kes' fault.
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Old January 22 2013, 06:30 AM   #195
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Re: TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

I didn't like this book as much as the other two. For starters, I'm just not that as into stories where the entire universe or galaxy is at stake. But I can deal with tropes I don't care about as long as they are done well but I just didn't feel any sense of urgency at the end of the story. I mean, you have this device that's sucking up whole solar systems, wiping out entire species and Data just doesn't seem to give a shit. He's on that ship to try to save a guy to save his daughter and when he finds out he's needed to save the galaxy I didn't see him stepping up the pace on his issue. I liked the Data part of the novels until the A and B stories merged. I liked the Wesley part of the story more than I thought I would.

I rated this above average because, hey, it's still a David Mack novel and apparently he just can't write something that's not a page turner for most of the book, it just fell apart for me near the end.
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