On "Ex Machina" & Crew

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Rush Limborg, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Good evening, Trekkers, Trekkies, Trecknecks, and Conversationalists all across the fruited plain!:techman: It is I, El Rushborg, with a semi-review of a certain book written by a truly AWESOME author!

    Hey Chris-- excellent book! Great story, great dialogue, thought-provoking and complex (just the way I love it)... WELL DONE!

    However, I have a... minor problem....

    Some of the new charachters behave, well, disrespectful to their superiors. Near the beginning, there's a Vulcan lieutenant who all but chews out Spock for being "without logic", because he chose to allow emotion into his life. Problem? Spock is her superior. She is being insubordinate. Is this logical? And why doesn't Spock seem to notice this?

    There's also that nurse who actually does chew out McCoy. Not to mention Zaand....

    So... why the insubordination? And why do their superiors ignore it?
     
  2. aaon80

    aaon80 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Ex Machina is my favorite Trek novel. I agree with Rush up there, Chris, excellent book! I felt totally immersed in the post-TMP world while I was reading it, and I have reread it may times since then.

    As to your point, Rush, I chalk this up to one of the differences between Starfleet and a true millitary organization. While discipline is required in Starfleet, there a certain amount of leeway given to it's members. The odd hybrid of a scientific/exploratory organization and a defense organization has always provided us with some unusual juxtaposition of rigid discipline and relaxed organization. Does this sound reasonable?
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Thanks!

    Logic is a religion to Vulcans, and people tend to be irrational when their doctrines are challenged. That's the paradox of the Vulcans.

    T'Hesh's reaction to Spock is consistent with the way we've seen Vulcans react to other Vulcans who accepted their emotions. The V'tosh katur from Enterprise were looked on with scorn and contempt. Sybok was disowned and exiled just for saying that emotion was okay.

    That's a matter of Starfleet discipline -- an alien thing. This was a matter between two Vulcans. He dealt with it in those terms rather than hiding behind his rank.

    Starfleet has never been a rigidly military organization -- more a pseudomilitary outfit like the Coast Guard. Anyway, McCoy isn't the type to pull rank on someone just because she had the courage to speak her mind; that would be downright hypocritical for him of all people. As for Zaand, it's been a long time since I read the book, but I don't think he criticized the captain to his face until Kirk invited him to do so. Permission to speak freely and all that.
     
  4. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Not to mention Uhura chewing him out with a glance and a cool remark in TMP-SLV and TMP-DE. ;)
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'm sure Vulcans would hold Vulcan philosophy above Starfleet regulations any day and most nights. However, I'm also rather convinced Spock would not be above using Starfleet regulations as a blunt weapon in case the opponent became too arrogant or intrusive...

    As for Starfleet being easygoing, it's probably that mainly in terms of camaderie between the participants of five-year exploration missions. Rank and discipline would be supremely important when integrating a newly assembled crew into a working whole, as in Ex Machina. But acerbic and regularly out-of-line medical personnel are of course a cliche of the classic war movie, and McCoy's underling could simply have been on her way to developing into another McCoy. The exchange happened in private; had it been out in the public, McCoy might have needed to impose discipline.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I think that would be petty of him, and it would make him seem defensive. It would've proven to T'Hesh that she was right about him. It is often better to turn the other cheek and not sink to the level of your opponents.
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But it would be good for the future of their relationship if T'Hesh knew her place. An outburst like that out in the public might jeopardize the ship or at least the discipline aboard, an issue Spock should be concerned with - perhaps even over winning the argument at hand.

    It's not merely due to the prevalence of certain personality types that people in leading positions tend to be assholes. It's actually a survival trait and a desirable feature in them - especially in strictly hierarchial organization. Approval just plain isn't required, just obedience.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. Trent Roman

    Trent Roman Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That may have been true in the past and today, but that's not how Starfleet works. Outside of a crisis situation, it goes against the grain of the organization's principles as peaceful explorers to shut down a discussion by an appeal to authoritarianism.

    Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    What future? She'd already transferred off and was packing to leave the ship for good within a few hours. And what relationship? They'd only been serving on the same ship for a couple of weeks at that point, and I doubt a lowly sensor technician would've had much interaction with the first officer of the ship. This was almost certainly the first non-work-related conversation the two of them had ever had, and it was almost certainly the last conversation they ever would have.

    What outburst? She made a couple of passive-aggressive observations in a condescending tone. Hell, that could describe half the lines we've ever heard uttered by Vulcans.
     
  10. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Don't I know it. You woudn't believe the "debates" I've gotten into lately.:rolleyes:

    By the way, I've often noticed how Spock tends to ignore insubordination, public or private. Remeber Boma? Or Stiles?

    Look, I'm all for "Turning The Other Cheek", but still.... Does Spock have some kind of personal problem? Perhaps he himself chewed out a superior some years back (Tuvok-style), and doesn't wanna be a hypocrite?

    Ahhhh... :confused: SLV? DE? Ya kinda lost me there....
     
  11. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    DE=Director's Edition
    SLV=?
     
  12. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Special Longer Version. You know, the one where you can see the soundstage when Kirk leaves in his spacesuit.
     
  13. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm... reasonably certain it stands for "Special Longer Version", now that I think about it....
     
  14. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks, y'all!

    And I'll say it again, Chris --I LOVED THAT BOOK!

    Soooooooo... any thoughts on a sequel? Some more Spock-exploring-humanity, perhaps? Or that nurse making amends for her attitude towards McCoy?

    Hmmm... did you, by any chance, intend to use those two Vulcans (T'Hesh and the ambassador) again?
     
  15. Trent Roman

    Trent Roman Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    They made a longer version of TMP? What, did somebody feel they weren't getting enough sleep as it was? Yikes.

    Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I'd be happy to return to that milieu and those characters. I did revisit the former briefly in Mere Anarchy Book 4: The Darkness Drops Again. But the sales figures haven't justified a novel sequel. I'm always open to other possibilities, such as short stories or comic books, if the opportunity presents itself.

    And what nurse? Reiko Onami is a xenopsychologist, a doctor in her own right. As for her attitude, she learned to appreciate him more in the course of the novel itself -- and let's not forget that McCoy himself learned that she had a point, and committed himself to correcting the deficiency she called his attention to. So there's nothing to make amends for.

    Not particularly. Certainly not T'Hesh. She was on just over 2 pages' worth of the entire book.

    You mean you don't know about the ABC-TV version from 1983? The movie was too long to fit into a 2-hour slot, so instead of cutting it down, they added enough cut footage to pad it out to fit in a 3-hour slot and billed it as a special event. TV networks sometimes do that with long movies; for instance, they added so much cut footage to David Lynch's Dune that it became a 4-hour miniseries (and he took his name off the TV edition in protest, so it ran with the credit "Directed by Alan Smithee"). Unfortunately, much of the restored footage doesn't quite fit the final film -- particularly the restored portions of the original spacewalk sequence where Kirk and Spock went into V'Ger together and the spacesuits were different. So we see shots of Kirk going out in one spacesuit (and you can see the scaffolding behind the segment of hull they built, since the cut scene never had its effects completed), and then, when Spock returns, he's in an entirely different spacesuit.
     
  17. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's the VHS version. Every video copy I've ever seen has fine print underneath the title that reads "Special Longer Version".

    Interestingly enough, the longer version has some good interaction between the characters --particularly, scenes in which Spock explains V'Ger's side to Kirk.

    That said, the Director's Edition is FAR superior to the older ones. Most of the clutter is either cut or tweaked to fit better.

    My compliments to Bob Wise --even if he did refuse to give Grace makeup....;)
     
  18. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    My bad.:brickwall:

    Noted. She still acted kinda cruel to him, though.... and in the end, no real apology....

    Frankly, I liked how in "Disaster", Ensign Ro said, "Commander, I was wrong.", to which Troi replied, "You could just as easily have been right."

    Well, maybe it was a pride issue. Maybe she still thinks McCoy unfairly took Chapel's job away...
     
  19. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hmmm... well, then, you wouldn't mind if I borrowed them for something, would ya? A story o' me own, perhaps?:D
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The characters belong to CBS/Paramount, not to me.