Destiny: Lost Souls by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by nx1701g, Nov 16, 2008.

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Grade Lost Souls

  1. Excellent

    72.1%
  2. Above Average

    19.1%
  3. Average

    7.1%
  4. Below Average

    0.5%
  5. Poor

    1.1%
  1. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

    I never really thought about it before but after reading the posts I am finding that I agree with most of what Sci said. Especially about the Federation realizing that they was nothing to do about the Borg, and coming to realize that they needed help. Because IMO this is baisically what they had to do with the Borg, get help, and as someone who's had medical issue that have recquired me to get help from others I can tell you that there is nothing wrong with that, and IMO anyone who says that there is is insulting people with disabilities (I'm on medication now so I only need help when it comes to one or two things, as long as I stay on the meds). IMO everyone cannot do everything, and eventually you will have to realize it. Hell, we're the stongest country in the world, and we need help when it comes to alot of international situations.

    As for the Alpha/Beta quadrants being a worse place now, I have to dissagree again. Ok things might be worse in alot of ways right this moment, but they are already looking better for the Federation in the form of (since I don't know which of you guys have read ASD I'll put this in spoiler code)
    expanded Khitomer Accords now including the Cardassians, Ferengi, IRS, and Talarians
    . And they are also looking up for
    RSE, Tzenkethi, Breen, Gorn, and Tholians, who have now formed the Typhon Pact.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

    Of course you're right. There's a huge, huge difference between knowing your limits and not even trying. It's good to strive to achieve things, but if you run across something that you can't achieve no matter what, then it's just wasted energy to keep butting your head against that brick wall. And wasting energy on a futile goal is just as useless as wasting it by not trying in the first place. As with most things in life, the answer is not at the extremes but in the middle ground between them. Relentlessly directing all your energy at an unattainable goal is mere fanaticism. An effective use of energy includes an understanding of when not to exert it, when to save it for other, more constructive ends.

    Absolutely. Remember that the whole historical premise of Star Trek is that its idealistic future for Earth only came about in the wake of great suffering and despair. Things got so bad in the Eugenics Wars and WWIII that humans decided it was time to make a fundamental change in how they behaved. So things got better only after they got worse first. You can see a similar pattern in Vulcan history; it was the near-destruction of their civilization that led them to embrace logic and achieve two millennia of peace. Also, the Federation arose from the ashes of the Earth-Romulan War. ST is full of instances of optimistic futures arising in the wake of terrible destruction. It's woven into the tapestry of the Trek universe. Roddenberry believed we could build Utopia, but he was convinced we'd have to go through hell to get there (see also Genesis II/Planet Earth).



    She knows as much as a drone would know. Which is considerable compared to an outsider's knowledge, but hardly omniscient. And the events of Before Dishonor are not conjecture; within the context of the post-NEM TNG book line, they're historical fact. We know what can happen when Borg technology is deprived of its organic half, and we know it's potentially even worse than the intact Borg.

    Besides, who's to say Seven of Nine thinks more clearly about the Borg than Picard does? She was a victim of them for far longer than he was, and she's long since outgrown her Stockholm Syndrome. Individual opinions don't trump documented evidence, because individuals can have any number of reasons for holding biased or distorted opinions.
     
  3. Silversmok3

    Silversmok3 Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

    At somepoint in everyones life,we realize a proble
    that is beyond our innate ability to solve.The Caeliar intervening and having a greater technical ability than the Fed makes it deus ex machina no more than a motorist lending you jumper cables,though of course the stakes are different.The Federation had no means to ensure it's own survival in any case.
     
  4. ProtoAvatar

    ProtoAvatar Fleet Captain

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

    During Voyager, 7 of 9 was established several times as having the entire knowledge of the borg - in "Think Tank", for example. Even if this was a hyperbole - and nothing in the episode indicated it - she is an expert on the borg. Her opinion caries more weight than mine or yours - by far.

    About "Before Dishonor" - in "Mere Mortals" it was established that the only way these standard borg could have the advanced nanite technology is by receiving the necessary information from the offshoot supercube borg. What happened with the superborg from "Before Dishonor" was a freak accident, something ridiculously improbable that won't happen again.
     
  5. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

    Um, no, the opinions of a fictional character on fictional matters are always going to carry less weight than the opinions of one of the authors who controls what she thinks and what happens with that fictional matter she thinks about. To try to claim that a fictional character is more knowledgeable about a subject than her own writers is just absurd. :rolleyes:

    I believe that what Christopher was saying was that the Borg Supercube from Resistance/Before Dishonor had developed that adaptation independently of the rest of the Collective, and that therefore even if it was unable to transmit that adaptation to the rest of the Collective, the rest of the Collective would have the same potential to undergo that adaptation that that cube had had.

    You are literally just making stuff up now. Nothing about that was a "freak accident." It was an adaptation that that cube developed and that, therefore, any other cube could potentially develop independently.
     
  6. jonnycarnahan

    jonnycarnahan Ensign Newbie

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny: Lost Souls - Discuss/Grade

    Ben, I loved your review. Thank you for sharing. I have one spoiler question...

    Does Dr. Bashir survive, where is he and who is he with by the end of the novel?

    - Sheri
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

    Indeed. As discussed on p. 100-101 of Before Dishonor, the circumstances that led the cube to adapt in this way were unprecedented, but the adaptation was a choice, not an accident. The technology of a Borg cube is sentient -- arguably more sentient than the drones, whose individual mental activity is suppressed. Starfleet's biases led them to assume that the deactivation of the Queen and the drones meant that the technology was inert, but that's not true. The Borg were as much technological as biological, and you don't defeat the Borg unless you defeat both halves. A thalaron weapon would neutralize the biological half of the Borg but leave the technology untouched, and that's not enough to make for a victory.

    And what was the unique, unprecedented circumstance that made the supercube in BD choose to adapt in this way? In the Janeway Queen's own words, it was humiliated by its continued defeat at human hands. Probably a melodramatic way of describing their state of mind, but perhaps a more objective term is desperation. The mindset that drove the main Borg Collective to launch its full-scale assault on the Federation was similar: they'd gone beyond seeing the Federation as an annoyance and had recognized it as a serious threat. If the Federation had been able to use a weapon that neutralized all the Borg drones on over 4000 cubes, then it's not unreasonable to think that the surviving technological sentience of those cubes would experience the same sense of desperation, humiliation, whatever, and would make the same choice. After all, the incentive would be much the same.
     
  8. ProtoAvatar

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

    If the borg had the capability to create grey goo that can eat planets in minuts, they would have used that capability before "before dishonor". They never used it - they don't know how to make it.

    You say that, in order for the borg to adapt this grey goo, they need to be desperate, humiliated. This happened many times to the borg before.
    Species 8472 destroyed far more than 4000 cubes - almost destroyed the entire collective - and the bord didn't create their grey goo, despite their desperation.
    "Destiny"'s own "children of the storm" destroyed hundreds of thousands of borg cubes - and the borg did't gain the superpowered ability from "before dishonor".
    And there were undoubtedly many other off-screen instances when the borg lost badly - and they never adapted their grey goo.

    You may say that another requirement for this adaptation is the death of all drones on a cube and the survival of the cube.
    Considering the borg's redundant tech and the many conflicts they fought (some of which they lost), it's extremely improbable that such a situation never occured before (in a losing battle). And yet, the borg never developed the unstoppable grey goo.

    What happened in "before dishonor" was practically impossible, it was a freak accident. It was like Enterprise D gaining sentience out of the blue and creating a space baby - something never before seen, that will never be seen again.
    Either that, or, in the entire borg history, there was never a situation that fulfilled the simple requirements necessary for the creation of "before dishonor"'s grey goo - which is ridiculously improbable.
     
  9. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

    Says who? You? I'll be sure to take your PhD in Borg Studies more seriously next time we talk.

    Right now, I have the capability to alter my body's metabolism so that I become very, very muscular, if I so choose. Heck, if I chose, I could become a body builder -- physically adapting my body in a way I never have before.

    Or, alternately, I'm interested in Spanish history and literature. I've never done it before, but, in theory, I could choose to learn Spanish to such proficiency that I could read Cervantes's Don Quixote in the original Spanish. After all, it's just a matter of developing a new mental adaptation (learning Spanish).

    It's true, I don't have the ability to do enter a body building competition or to read Cervantes now. But it's only a matter of realizing the potential that I have and developing the adaptations needed to accomplish those goals.

    By your logic, the fact that I have not done so must mean I am physically incapable of it. After all, the Borg have never tried to assimilate by absorbing physical matter before; therefore the Borg must be incapable of it.

    It's an incredibly irrational syllogism based upon false premises, though. The Borg are by nature a force that adapts all the time. Therefore, they should logically often be developing capabilities they never possessed before. It does not stand to reason therefore that those capabilities were never potential capabilities beforehand -- just that they had not adapted themselves to accomplish those tasks beforehand.

    Yes. And I've had trouble lifting things before without choosing to become a body builder. By your logic, I must therefore be physically incapable of becoming a body builder.

    There's no accounting for innovation and creativity. When it happens, it just happens. And canon has implied that the Borg have trouble being creative (Janeway believed that they just don't do it); it's not unreasonable to think that they don't tend to use sentient creativity because its appearance is unreliable, but that they still have moments of innovation or insight ungleaned from other species. And certainly if there's one thing that Destiny should teach us, it's that the Borg cannot be relied upon to follow previous behavior patterns on all situations; they are, like any other sentient intelligence, capable of altering their behavior.

    In any event:

    The point is not that the cubes, denuded of their drones, will certainly develop the absorption adaptation. The point is that it is a very real, and very serious risk, and the negative potential consequences would be of such severity that they would outweigh the positive potential consequences.
     
  10. Trent Roman

    Trent Roman Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

    You and I read this story very differently. I think the religious allusions were amply clear, and the positions into which the characters were slotted put the Caeliar in the role of the deity--albeit a Miltonic deity, as I've said, assholes. I also think you vastly overestimate the impact the Federation had on the Caeliar. Hernandez convinced a slight majority of of the gestalt to reach out and touch someone for a change. The rest was, in their own way, the Borg, who served as a dark mirror for their own entropy and dubious morality.

    Not saying I disagree, but one of the first things the 'awakened' Borg cube did was seek out organic components (Janeway and her team) to incorporate into itself and eventually turn Janeway into a queen. The Borg may be able to survive for a time without their organic components, but they are clearly compelled to seek such nonetheless.

    Picard never did propose it as a means of victory; he was well aware of the possibility that it was something they had already assimilated and wouldn't work, and must have known that even if he managed to cripple this invasion fleet, the Borg would have adapted the next time they showed up. The thalaron weapon was a tactic, like duplicating the queen, useful mainly because this was a circumstance where there would actually be so many Borg at one place at one time. If, as you say, Picard had just wanted to hurt them, then he would have been eager to develop the weapon; yet he was relunctant, doing so only because he felt compelled by necessity, and he looked at it as a failsafe should the Caeliar fail or worse, the Borg assimilate the Caeliar. Not the attitude of the raging maniac you paint him out to be. As for La Forge--if that's what he thought, then perhaps he should have said it instead of whining about Data's memory.

    Ah, true; you make a valid point. There is a strain of passivity present in Vulcan culture, a take it slow attitude, a tendency not to fight back when they think the odds of winning aren't good. We saw it in ENT, where T'Pol and other Vulcans had not just accepted their limitations when it came to things like time travel, they had elevated such to the level of dogma and took offence when others proposed that those limits were, in fact, not so insurmountable as others had proposedd. Since T'Lana was, in many ways, a retro-Vulcan, a throwback to the ENT-era, I suppose it is appropriate that she shares some of their fatalism and 'you can't change it so don't even try' attitude.


    Hollow and meaningless.



    Submitting, yes. Never working to improve oneself, probably not--accepting a limitation is saying that it is unsurmountable, but there are plenty of things which mustn't seem insurmountable and thus fair game for improvement, no? Heck, sometimes that happens without even our meaning to do so. But I do think that the ideal ought to be working for betterment, and not allowing oneself to be cowed by difficulty.

    Depends on the circumstances. Murder is one of those which should never be accepted.

    Yes. Otherwise they are not heroes.

    Not never, just unlikely. There certainly have been anecdotal instances of people who experience suffering, rebel against it and go own to better themselves and their surroundings in reaction to it. We like to believe that these things are 'character building experiences', as every asshole who exercise cruelty for its own sake will claim. But the truth of the matter is people exposed to suffering and trauma as victims are simply more likely to carry on that suffering and trauma themselves when they become actors; violence begets violence.

    Piffle. I understand myself quite well. And it seems to me that a person who challenges themselves despite thinking they will fail is likelier to develop--sometimes in unexpected ways--than one who merely seeks such where they already know they can find it.

    There appears to be some confusion. I am not an optimist. I defend it here because I believe it was something integral to the setting, something which is lost in the transformation of Trek into a universe of darkness and devastation. I, myself, tend to be more of a cynic. I do like to think that humanity gradually--slowly, painfully--improves itself, but I don't see a society of the kind that Trek shows us humanity as having achieved to be particularly likely. But I don't need to believe that to enjoy the setting, because it is a work of fiction; a better humanity, an admirable Federation, is surely as much part of the Trek mythos as warp drives and transporters. This is something I think those who insist on strict realism miss, on their instance that anything other than twentieth-century humans transposed into a futuristic setting as a falsehood; that science-fiction can be social as well as technological. The Federation's near-utopia was a fascinating exercise, because elsewhere the future is dystopian, or else what one thought was utopia is inevitably revealed to be terrible reality concealed under a superficiality pleasant cloak. The Federation was bright and working, and the Trek setting generally like a shiny bauble amidst grittier speculations. Now that bauble has been swept from the shelf and made to shatter; you might try to glue it together again, but I can't see it regaining its former glory.

    I've talked about this before, but I'd like to point out something else: Europe (and Japan) post-WWII developed the way it did in no small part because of the massive cash infusion of the Marshal Plan and because of the ideology of the Cold War, circumstances not easily duplicable. You are correct that conflict can produce a better society, but I would say that is the exception rather than the rule; most wars simply bring about more suffering, trauma, resentment and violence in their wake. Most devastated areas will not have a wealthy patron to build them back up, and while they may spawn individual acts of courage will more likely bring about widespread poverty, misery, sickness and death. We like to believe that everything we've gone through, including our wars, have been for the better (just look at how many alt. history stories there is about something we 'thought' was bad turning out to be worse if it hadn't happened), because we don't want to admit that all that suffering and loss has been in vain. Yet, most of the time, it is. Conflict itself does not bring about better societies, and most of the time not even the opportunity for such (if it did, places like Somalia should be paradise on Earth by this point).

    Quite possibly.

    With all due respect, but isn't that most every other sci-fi universe out there? Why wreck this one, too, for what is readily available elsewhere? Genuine utopian fiction (or rather, near-utopian) is a rarer breed of animal, and for those of us who like to watch it, another specimen has just died to fadish realism and darkness. It was the unique setting that had drawn me to Trek, bright and humanistic, and now, with Destiny and Abrams' Product, it's... just like everybody else.

    Well then, why stop here? Why not have Earth destroyed too? Why not have more of the crew die, the Enterprise lanced by weapons which wipe out half their number, including the main characters? Why not more worlds devastated, until the Federation itself collapses? Why not have failure on such a scope that the characters become a ragtag band of rebels on the lam from the massive power that is the Borg? Why not Picard alone, crushed, kept in a cage by the Queen for her own amusement, the last non-Borg in the galaxy? That's problems for you. I wonder, would you actually like to see this, or do you find some of these extreme? If you do find it extreme, then it implies a tipping point, and to understand my perspective, you need only understand that my tipping point has been reached and passed.

    Please. The story of Christ isn't popular because it's somehow humane (it isn't), it's popular because it's a get out of death and guilt free card, a fable that promises complete happiness in the passivity of an afterlife, attainable simply through submission.

    Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
     
  11. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

    If that's really what you think, Trent, then I can assure you that you do not understand Christians or their beliefs one bit. You are well describing fundamentalists, extremists, people who exploit their religion to justify cruelty. You are not well describing the majority of Christians -- and certainly not my family, who are mostly Christian.

    And I say that as an Atheist who's gotten into more than a few arguments with Christians, including family, about the validity of their faith. Whatever I may think of it, though, most of them hold their religion on the basis of a fundamental altruism -- ETA: and a fundamental sense of responsibility (often manifested as guilt and a desire to somehow right the wrongs they have committed) for their actions, end edit -- you aren't accounting for, and many who hold it are motivated by it to try to change the world for the better -- a behavioral paradigm far gone from your claim it promotes passivity. To claim that the story is popular because it promotes, in essence, irresponsibility and passivity is demonstrably false.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

    Not really. The Borg don't anticipate new problems. They can only react to those problems and invent solutions as the need arises. There are any number of potentials the Borg had that they failed to utilize because the possibility never occurred to them. This is something we've known about them since the very beginning, so it shouldn't be that hard to recognize.


    Indeed. The point, more fundamentally, is that it's naive to assume that a thalaron weapon would undoubtedly be successful at defeating the Borg. Even if the "denuded" cubes didn't develop that particular adaptation a second time, they would still be sentient technology driven by an imperative to destroy the Federation, so it is illogical to assume they would be rendered harmless. They might develop a different adaptation that would enable them to continue attacking the Federation.

    If there's one thing the books leading up to (and including) Destiny demonstrated, it's that you can't assume you know the Borg's limits. Every time it was believed they were defeated, they came back. Assuming that finding another thing to shoot at them would magically solve the problem forevermore is failing to learn the lesson of the prior sequence of events: that you can't beat the Borg with weapons. No matter what weapon you throw at them, they will always adapt. That's what they do. The only way to achieve a meaningful victory over the Borg was to change the very nature of the Borg.

    So the thalaron weapon was not a magic bullet. It was just another false hope. Santayana said that the definition of insanity is repeating the same action and expecting different results. By acknowledging the failure of brute force and finding a better option, the heroes of Destiny took the sane course. They rose above repeating the same endless conflict with the Borg and found a whole new paradigm for dealing with them, one that finally resolved the problem once and for all. I don't see how that can be seen as an undesirable outcome.
     
  13. Trent Roman

    Trent Roman Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

    I spent years under the thumb of Christianity, attempted indoctrinations into local communities of the faithful, received religious 'education' until I graduated high school (which they weren't legally supposed to do, not that they care), and I know more about the faith than the average adherent per those knowledge-testing polls they run from time to time. I've had the insider's perspective (no choice there), as well as sociological and anthropological study later on. The attitude you describe is one I find often amongst theologians, poverty activists (or similar causes), some clergy (particularly the younger ones) or just believers who have given it much thought--the intellectual part of the community--but it isn't the attitude of the average butt in the pew. They want, simply, relief from the fear of death, and deliverance from their 'sins'. (EDIT: Well, there's also in-group psychology and desire for community, but that doesn't relate to the theology, as it works for any belief system and even secular counterparts). If that's an 'extremist' position, then there sure are a lot of extremists out there.

    (And, er... this is getting somewhat off-topic...)

    Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
     
  14. ProtoAvatar

    ProtoAvatar Fleet Captain

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

    Christopher
    I never said the thalaron weapon would certainly work against the borg. I said it had a good chance of working - of delaying or stopping the borg.

    It's possible that the borg assimilated the weapon previously. It's possible that they will adapt in some way - although, between 7 of 9's reccomendation and the many opportunities the borg wasted, the risk of them developing grey goo is minimal.
    But there is also a very good chance that the weapon will work.

    What Santayana/Picard/La Forge did was give up without even trying - it's possible the weapon won't work, so we won't use it. A defeatist attitude - one justified by a moral argument with holls so big that the entire borg fleet could fly through.

    What Santayana/Picard/La Forge did was start praying to some gods for deliverance - because they lacked the will and the creativity to even try to solve the problem themselves. That contradicts star trek's spirit - its fundamental humanism.

    P.S.
    So you're admitting that the specs for the grey goo were not in the collective's data banks.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2009
  15. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

    Because, apparently, the main characters of a story should never ask for help, because then they aren't "heroes."

    And if they get help, then that renders them subservient to the people who help them.

    No, it's actually more like a return to the Star Trek of the TOS era: A more realistic universe, but with an underlying optimism lacking in most every other sci-fi universe out there.

    Because it's not wrecking it. Trek was actually wrecked when Roddenberry tried to Utopianize it in TNG; this is more a restoration of Trek to its best and strongest form, the completion of a task undertaken, arguably, by DS9.

    Because Utopia is a lie. It's a fundamentally dishonest portrayal of humanity and its potential; for Utopia to function, it would have to be a dictatorship. There is no Utopia and never will be, and the pseudo-Utopian elements of Trek always gave the Federation a very sinister and dishonest edge.

    No one was claiming that the specs were in the Collective's database. The claim that Christopher and I made was that if one cube, denuded of drones, could adapt to its situation by inventing the absorptive technology, all cubes have the potential to adapt in that manner.

    Christopher then went on to point out that even if that particular adaptation is not utilized, the controlling artificial intelligence of the cubes remain, and the cubes remain capable of operating and of exterminating the Federation as they had previously been doing whilst crewed, which I hadn't considered. The thalaron weapon would quite literally be useless -- it wouldn't even delay the extermination of the Federation.

    From pages 405-407 of Lost Souls:

    By spreading to the Caeliar the values of diversity, of sharing knowledge, of equality, of mutual partnership -- by spreading to the Caeliar Federation values -- Hernandez saved the Caeliar from extinction.
     
  16. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

    Yes. This.

    This was not a story about Picard saving the universe; it was a story about the ideals of the Federation saving the universe. A ton of characters were caught up in it, and were affected by it, but this was ultimately a story about the value of morals more than characters.

    Hernandez was the hero, if you want one.

    I admit it was an unexpected creative choice to remove the agency of most of the main characters in the conclusion, one that at first did put me off a bit, but I don't think that lessens the force of the message or the heroism of the characters, as many get chances to show that heroism in other circumstances throughout the trilogy.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

    Indeed. It's rather naive to argue that they needed the "specs for grey goo," because given what's been established about Borg nanotechnology, the potential for a "grey goo scenario" is intrinsic in their nature. If anything, it's implausible that they haven't been depicted that way all along (although of course their use of nanotech was a retcon introduced in FC). All the Borg technology really had to do in order to achieve its "absorption" ability was to stop holding back. If Borg nanites could transform humans into drones all by themselves, or create a whole Borg drone from the Doctor's holo-emitter and a crewman's blood (as seen in "One"), then they already have the potential to convert any matter into Borg tech, and it's a wonder it took them as long as it did to start.


    Well, that's an overstatement. We know that the default mode of the Borg is for the technology to lie dormant without the organic half, and that it took unusual circumstances for the remaining tech to adopt a new strategy. My point is that the thalaron weapon couldn't be assumed to be a magic bullet, that depending on weapons at all is a failure to understand the big picture. All this quibbling over the technical questions is missing the point that Destiny wasn't about weapons and technology. It was about ideas, and one of the core ideas of the whole post-NEM Borg sequence is that the Borg couldn't be defeated by weapons, that a paradigm shift was needed if the cycle of attacks was to be broken once and for all.
     
  18. Trent Roman

    Trent Roman Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

    Now you're simply making gross oversimplifications. I've never said people shouldn't ask for help, nor that we are subservient (indebted, perhaps) if such help is extended. But this was not one of those situations. The Caeliar swooped in, waved their wand, and fixed the intractible problem with little effort (except for Hernandez). Taking what Christopher said, the problem is that the characters didn't find a better option, that they didn't find a new paradigm. Somebody else stepped in at the end, did that for them, then left. Compare to "All Good Things...": Q helps Picard by doing the temporal shifting thing, and Picard does thank him at the end, but that doesn't really change the underlying narrative, in that the risks and discoveries were still Picard's to make. Q didn't solve the problem for him.

    I've never liked TOS. TNG was the Trek that drew me in. I can't say I've much interest in seeing the TNG era turned into another version of TOS; that's what the TOS era is for.

    Nonsense; TNG demonstrate that it was possible to tell entertaining and engrossing stories without having to rely on darkness or on having your central characters acting like assholes; that discovery alone was enough to engage the mind. It's a feat unequaled since, at least in the visual medium (a lot of literary science-fiction still manages to thrill mainly on the joys of exploration...)

    I disagree. I have never found the Federation sinister or dishonest, and while, as I said, I do not believe in utopia, I enjoyed the exercise of the Federation as a near-utopia in no different a fashion from the 'dishonest' portrayal of physics or biology on the show. (And a distinction you seem to be glossing over is that the Federation was near-utopia; no one's ever said there weren't problems, just that the big ones--war, poverty, pollution, etc.--had been resolved. You find this dishonest? Can only a world of warfare, misery and callousness be true?)

    The Caeliar had endured for ages, and likely would have still. Unless your suggestion is that the Caeliar are now immortal, for constantly bringing in new people, but that would seem to run counter this idea about the joys of surrendering to death, wouldn't it?

    As for Federation values... You know who had Federation values? The Federation. Didn't save them. In Mere Mortals, Bacco organizes an interstellar alliance including most of the local powers in known space, a mutual effort constructed along Federation values of partnership and diversity. Didn't save them. Federation values spent the entire trilogy getting its ass kicked, because the Borg were more powerful. And in the end, it was because the Caeliar were even more powerful, with near-magical levels of technology, that the situation was resolved. Might ruled the day.

    Certainly she is. I said as much in my initial review: this was, in the end, Hernandez' day to shine, and I thought that the whole story would have been much better had it just been the story of the Columbia, the Caeliar and the Borg. Then there wouldn't have been all these other characters taking up space without giving anything back.

    Agency, yes; that's a good word for what ails me (not what you were getting at, I know, but I like it nonetheless). I suppose one could say that the Federation was the swooning, weepy, helpless damsel in distress, the Borg the many-headed hydra seeking to devour her, the Caeliar the arrogant, hard-hearted wizard, and Hernadez the moral sidekick who finally convinces him get his wizardly tuchus into gear and take responsibility. A retrograde scenario, in my opinion, one I find to be unsatisfying.

    Ficititiously yours, Trent Roman
     
  19. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Montgomery County, State of Maryland
    Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

    Well, of course they didn't find a better option. The only options are to attempt to defeat the Collective militarily, which is doomed to failure, or to persuade a more powerful civilization to intervene on the Federation's behalf. Really, that's always been the only real option.

    The Borg, as established canonically, are simply too powerful to defeat otherwise. In the canon, a single cube consistently proved nearly impossible to defeat even by fleets of ships. Even the supposedly Borg-defeating Voyager really never managed to destroy a single Borg cube on its own efforts -- the only Borg vessels it ever managed to destroy (prior to the future tech in "Endgame") were the small support ships at the beginning and end of "Dark Frontier." When Voyager tried to go one-on-one with a cube in "Unimatrix Zero," it got its ass handed to it.

    When faced with an armada of over 7,000 cubes, it's simply not realistic to depict a military solution as being a viable option. To do so would to be an absurdity, and the Borg have been firmly established to be so much more technologically advanced -- and now, so much more careful about internal security aboard their ships -- as to render attempts to use Federation resources to hack into the Collective again ineffective.

    There simply wasn't any way to defeat them with the means at the Federation's disposal, and for Starfleet to keep trying to do the job itself would be fundamentally irresponsible -- an act of hubris rather than a responsible action taken to defend the Federation, which is what asking the Caeliar for help was.

    And they did find a new paradigm. Hernandez fundamentally changed the nature of the Borg and the Caeliar. That's not nothing.

    I suppose this is my second problem with your criticism of the trilogy: I reject the idea that the Caeliar are "someone else." The Caeliar are as much the main characters of this story as the Federation, and for a reader to alienate themselves from them as the "other" who aren't as legitimate of protagonists as the Federation, I think, is unfair. Destiny is as much about how the Caeliar as the Federation. They're the main characters, too.

    Totally disagree. TOS is what real Trek is, and it was TNG that was a perversion of what Trek is supposed to be.

    And no one is asking for a reliance upon darkness or characters being assholes. But TNG under Roddenberry didn't do that -- TNG under Roddenberry, with rare exceptions, provided shallow, two-dimensional characters spouting ethnocentric propaganda and using mindless technobabble to solve their problems.

    Something like TOS managed to tell entertaining and engrossing stories without relying on darkness or asshole central characters, and did so with real characters that weren't perfect but were still admirable.

    How on Earth can you watch "The Last Outpost," in which the smug Federates pass judgment against the foreign society of "primitive" Ferengi that they have only just encountered, declaring them to reflect an earlier, inferior period in Human evolution that needs to be kept alive so as to spread Federation culture to them ("If you kill them, then they will learn nothing!") and thereby civilize them, and not get a sinister vibe off the Federation? How on Earth can you listen to Picard spouting self-serving propaganda about how much more evolved Federation Humans are than, say, 21st Century Humans even as he's engaging in an obsessive revenge quest that only one of those "primitive" 21st Century Humans can shake him out of, and not realize how fundamentally dishonest the Federation is about its own supposed enlightenment? How can you watch the TNG-era Federation condemn entire civilizations to war, isolation, or extinction in the name of "non-interference" (while conveniently preserving Federation technological and military dominance over its neighbors) and not notice how self-serving the UFP can be in spite of its propaganda?

    The Federation of Roddenberry-TNG (Michael Piller-TNG was much better, but still disturbingly prone to goodthink and doublethink) was little better than colonial Europe, gazing up the nations of Africa and declaring them primitive and unevolved and in need of European culture and European dominance. It's certainly not a society that has any respect for cultures that differ from its own.

    Not immortal. Just that if they learn to bring new people in, to unite in diversity, that they're no longer doomed to certain extinction. And it was only by recognizing that they were NOT immortal and that they would inevitably go extinct if they refused to start creating a polyglot society comprised of Caeliar and non-Caeliar -- by accepting their own mortality, in other words -- that they created an actual future for themselves.

    I never said anything about the joy of surrendering to death. As I noted above, acceptance is not submission. And as I just said, it was only by accepting their own mortality that the Caeliar managed to prolong their civilization's life.

    And they only did so after being persuaded to by someone representing Federation values.

    Might used for Right saved the day. No one has ever argued that Right will always win and that Might never has a role. But Federation values ensured that Might was used for Right. Federation values saved the Caeliar, and saved the Federation.

    It may not be the kind of agency you want your "heroes" to have, but that doesn't make it less legitimate.
     
  20. Trent Roman

    Trent Roman Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    The Palace of Pernicious Pleasures
    Re: Star Trek: Destiny Book 3: Lost Souls - (SPOILERS)

    TNG was a perversion. Right. Thanks for the chat, Sci.
     

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