DTI: Watching the Clock by C. L. Bennett Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Thrawn, Apr 18, 2011.

?

Rate DTI: Watching The Clock

  1. Outstanding

    97 vote(s)
    59.5%
  2. Above Average

    44 vote(s)
    27.0%
  3. Average

    13 vote(s)
    8.0%
  4. Below Average

    3 vote(s)
    1.8%
  5. Poor

    6 vote(s)
    3.7%
  1. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    The visitor's bullpen
    Re: Star Trek: DTI: Watching The Clock Review Thread

    About The Entropy Effect: Since that novel relied so heavily on time travel anyway, couldn't any inconsistencies between it and the current Treklit continuity simply be explained away simply by that alone? Meaning: The reason why TEE's history was different is because of all the time travelling done in that novel. Retroactively speaking.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Re: Star Trek: DTI: Watching The Clock Review Thread

    As I said, it's not just the history that differs, it's the very laws of physics. Traveling through time wouldn't change the way time travel itself works.

    And it doesn't matter anyway. Different stories don't have to be in compatible realities to be enjoyable.
     
  3. Valin

    Valin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2003
    Location:
    Helium, Barsoom
    Re: Star Trek: DTI: Watching The Clock Review Thread

    A coworker from another department saw me reading this novel at lunch on Wednesday.
    He asked me if it was about the original Star Trek, which he is a fan off (well, who isn't?).

    I explained to him that the main characters weren't regulars from any of the shows, but that I found it to be a good read. I also mentioned that it featured time travel; it turns out he likes those types of SF stories.

    I lent him the book today. It should be interesting to find out what his thoughts on it are.

    I have the impression that he's never read a Trek book before. Also, I'm not sure how familiar he is with the 24th and 22nd centuries' shows . He and his wife and kids are from Russia, and only have been in the US about 4 years.

    I'll let you know what he says after he finishes it.
     
  4. MatthiasRussell

    MatthiasRussell Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    Location:
    Seattle
    Re: Star Trek: DTI: Watching The Clock Review Thread

    I think Pocket Books should appoint Christopher head of the DTI and all future time travel stories should be screened through him to ensure they make sense.
     
  5. Idran

    Idran Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    Re: Star Trek: DTI: Watching The Clock Review Thread

    If I didn't think he would hate being in that position, from what he's said about his opinions on most time travel stories, I'd agree. :D
     
  6. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2001
    Location:
    2010
    Re: Star Trek: DTI: Watching The Clock Review Thread

    Well, sure, because time travel's not real. I suspect people would figure something out. :)
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Re: Star Trek: DTI: Watching The Clock Review Thread

    As I've already explained, even if there were time travel, it would still be wrong. If the timeline were immutable, you couldn't prevent the crime anyway, so the very premise assumes that events can be altered. Therefore, you're not arresting someone for something they would certainly do, but only for something you believe they will do. That's presuming guilt, and it goes against every civilized principle of justice. If people did "figure something out," it would require abandoning the principle of the presumption of innocence, and if you abandon that, your society has become a tyranny.

    Also, see what I said above about the impossibility of obtaining a conviction.
     
  8. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2001
    Location:
    2010
    Re: Star Trek: DTI: Watching The Clock Review Thread

    I did indeed see that, but again, if you're really have a system where-- for the sake of argument-- you can predict a future crime with complete accuracy, then surely people would change the laws a bit to accommodate for that knowledge. 150 years ago, I'd assume that you couldn't convict people on the basis that you knew they touched something because of the ways their fingers left marks, but laws changed to adjust to the new technology. To imagine that laws and conceptions of justice would remain completely static in light of such advancements seems to ignore one of the fundamental points of sf. Sure, you think such a system is entirely unethical, but I don't see why our current system of ethics would even apply. It's a bit like arguing that the hearing in "Dax" couldn't happen because current law doesn't allow a person to be held accountable for the actions of the previous host of its symbiont.
     
  9. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    The visitor's bullpen
    Re: Star Trek: DTI: Watching The Clock Review Thread

    A crime that can be predicted is, by definition, a crime that can be prevented. Surely the latter would be a better choice to make?
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Re: Star Trek: DTI: Watching The Clock Review Thread

    For the third or fourth time, that very premise is self-contradictory and invalid. If it's even possible to intervene to prevent a future action, then the future is NOT absolutely predetermined. Therefore it is impossible -- or at least grossly dishonest -- to say that you can predict the future with absolute certainty. All you can do is project a likely future, but not an absolutely certain one.

    Besides -- for the second time -- if you know someone is (probably) going to commit a crime, then you PREVENT them from doing so. That's the ethical, right thing to do. Punishing someone for something you prevented them from doing at all is just sick and evil. And it sets a dangerous, corrupt precedent. If you can justify punishing someone for a crime you think they're likely to commit because you saw a possible future, then you can use that precedent to justify punishing an innocent person because their psychological profile suggests they'll commit a crime in the future, or because they belong to a race or social class that's statistically more likely to commit crimes.

    Remember Picard's words in "The Drumhead." Making what seem like reasonable ethical compromises is the beginning of a dangerous road. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. We must never assume ethical questions can be taken lightly. Institutions that have power over the freedom and lives of entire populations have a profound obligation to wield their power as judiciously as possible, because the potential for abuse is ever-present.


    An irrelevant example, because there was no ethical violation involved there. This is not a matter of technology. This is a matter of remembering what is right and wrong no matter how advanced your technology gets. I mean, come on, that's what Star Trek is all about!
     
  11. PathWithoutEnd

    PathWithoutEnd Ensign

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2011
    Re: Star Trek: DTI: Watching The Clock Review Thread

    Hi all!

    The moral dilemma being discussed has similarities to an attempted crime:
    A person tried to kill someone but was stopped due to external circumstances - a policeman disarmed him, for example. Just because the intended victim did not die does not mean that the attempted murder is not socially dangerous and should not be punished.

    Similarly, in a society with time travel, the policeman could see into the future and be certain that, in an unmodified time line, a murder will be comitted. Then, the policeman intervenes, making sure the attempted murder is stoped before the victim dies.
    In this case, the perpetrator is still guilty of attempted murder (without outside intervention, he would have killed - that's a certanty) - and, as said, just because the victim did not die does not mean the attempt is not socially dangerous.

    Indeed, today, criminal law all over the world punishes attempted murder/theft/etc. Justly so, in my opinion.
     
  12. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2001
    Location:
    2010
    Re: Star Trek: DTI: Watching The Clock Review Thread

    Right, yes, I agree. And part of not taking ethical questions lightly is considering alternatives. I don't know that I would like a society where time travel punished future murderers (or perhaps better, rehabilitated them), but to dismiss it out of hand is taking the question lightly as well.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Re: Star Trek: DTI: Watching The Clock Review Thread

    ^I'm not dismissing anything out of hand. I've already repeatedly offered the solution that PathWithoutEnd just mentioned, intercepting the attempted crime in progress and charging the perpetrator with the attempt, and I've also mentioned the possibility of a more humane approach, engaging with the aspiring criminal and offering rehabilitation or finding a way to talk them out of trying it. Suggesting more appropriate and constructive solutions is not dismissing the question out of hand. I'm not even remotely saying you should do nothing. I'm saying that the scenario of convicting someone of a crime that was never committed at all is untenable for ethical, legal, and logistical reasons that I've already explained in detail more than once.

    What I don't get is why nobody is paying attention to me. I keep having to repeat myself. It's damned frustrating.
     
  14. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    Re: Star Trek: DTI: Watching The Clock Review Thread


    It's a repeating theme here I'm afraid, something I've noticed in other topics where people have to repeat their original post several times because people don't seem to understand what someone is saying, and misinterpret it. Or give their own twist to a certain post and make it mean something completely different, making it look as of the original poster was saying something different. Like the poster above you saying you're dismissing something out of hand while you clearly were not.

    People tend to give their own meaning to words, so it suits their purpose better, I sometimes feel.
     
  15. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    The visitor's bullpen
    Re: Star Trek: DTI: Watching The Clock Review Thread

    Ducane put Braxton under arrest for crimes he's going to commit. But when the time came to actually put the captain on trial, maybe it really was only for the attempt, not the actual deed...
     
  16. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Location:
    California
    Re: Star Trek: DTI: Watching The Clock Review Thread

    IIRC, he hadn't even attempted anything yet. He was interdicted so early that the crime hadn't even been conceived, which is where the jurisprudence gets really complicated. When it's something like the scene at the beginning of Minority Report, where the crime is prevented while it's in-progress, that's simple enough to deal with in the current system. The question is, how do you address something like Jean Valjean stealing a loaf of bread when he hasn't even lost his job yet? Or Captain Braxton deciding that Janeway and Voyager is the root of all evil and must be destroyed before he suffers the mental breakdown that leads to that? You can't just do nothing, because then the crime's still going to happen, but anything you do could be framed as a violation of due process. Even if Braxton isn't locked up, being reassigned to a desk job that keeps him far away from Janeway's shenanigans, or mandatory counseling to help him keep in mind that blowing things up in the past isn't a valid solution to any problem can still be viewed as a punishment without a cause. He might protest, for instance, losing his post or being given psychiatric treatment because of a mental illness he might develop in the future, and view that as being just as prejudicial as being incarcerated.

    The trick probably is to make pre-sentencing nothing so onerous as jail-time or worse, without just throwing up your hands and letting bad things happen. If you get to that level of zen detachment about the nature of events, then why be dickering around with time in the first place?
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Re: Star Trek: DTI: Watching The Clock Review Thread

    That's right. They didn't just arrest the future Braxton who was attempting the crime -- they also took a years-younger Braxton into custody, a Braxton who hadn't yet developed the mental illness of his older self and had absolutely no mens rea, no desire to commit any crime. There is no way that can be justified -- especially when you consider that the only reason his future self committed the crime in the first place was because of that mental illness, an illness caused by his job!! Far from arresting his perfectly innocent younger self, they should've been paying him worker's comp!


    Right. In any ethical judicial system, jail would be seen as a last resort when better options fail. Prevention, not punishment, should be the preferred option. Find out what makes someone turn to crime in the future and help direct them onto a different path before it's too late. The TIC should've put the younger Braxton under medical observation, or reassigned him to less strenuous duties, rather than integrating him with his future criminal self and sending him to trial. Hell, the TIC itself is to blame for failing to protect Braxton from the psychological hazards of his work, and failing to recognize the danger signs in time.

    Which fits with the mentality I gave them in WTC, their all-too-casual willingness to micromanage the timeline. They don't bother to exercise foresight or caution because they believe that if anything goes wrong, they can just pop back in time and fix it. A cautionary tale about the dangers of approaching time travel too casually. If you see it as a magic reset button, there's no incentive to make responsible choices ahead of time.
     
  18. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2001
    Location:
    2010
    Re: Star Trek: DTI: Watching The Clock Review Thread

    Or, you know, maybe the original writer wasn't as "clear" as he thought. Or perhaps it's that a result of the way that message board discussions stretch a few paragraphs over several days is that one often misremembers the specifics of an earlier post.

    In the end, I think Christopher and I were more in accord than our wordings implied.
     
  19. xortex

    xortex Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2006
    Location:
    Staten Island, NY
    Re: Star Trek: DTI: Watching The Clock Review Thread

    Haven't read the thread yet, but isn't it the future crime preventers that cause the future criminal to commit the crime, according to serling? If in the future time of the sphere builders, say, from Enterpise, they knew Earth was going to destroy Xindi, then either their attempt to destroy Earth to prevent that from happening caused Earth to destroy them or since Earth destroyed their weapon, the sphere builders future is different and is an altered future as their history has changed but can history ever be changed and it is inevitable that Earth has to and will destroy Xindi?
     
  20. xortex

    xortex Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2006
    Location:
    Staten Island, NY
    Re: Star Trek: DTI: Watching The Clock Review Thread

    It reminds me of the joke of the time travellor who locked his keys inside his time machine. It was later towed away by the NYPD and he had to get a job sweeping floors to pay all the tickets and fines. Hopefully nobody stole his flux capacator.