THe Sorrows of Empire - Expanded version

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by JD, Jan 1, 2010.

  1. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    ^ Thanks, Sci. I'm glad you dig the slightly darker turn I chose for Spock. I felt that it helped make the story less black and white in its examination of tyranny and the corrupting effects of absolute power.

    And Braxton is correct about why Spock leaves his confession for the future. Whether it will be received as he intended ... that remains to be seen.
     
  2. Rowan Sjet

    Rowan Sjet Commodore Commodore

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    After reading the expanded version, I went back through the original and was surprised by how much was actually 'missing', which I guess goes to show how well a lot of the added material fit in to the story. I particularly liked seeing Spock tackle the M5 computer firsthand. Although having said that, I think I may have appreciated the Vanguard plot more if I was actually knowledgeable about that series. As it was, it left me feeling a bit indifferent in places.

    The thing is, his confession could work to undermine that goal. By admitting to all his sins, and appealing to those who will listen to his recording to not follow his lead, he's not portraying himself as a villain out for personal gain. He claims that his noble goals don't excuse his actions, but the fact that he acted anyway, despite hating himself for it, presents them as necessary evils. This will still most likely lead others to follow his example, doing what Spock has shown to be "necessary", and willing to take on the resulting guilt as he does.

    To me, Spock's recording comes across as self-indulgent, like Sisko's log from "In the Pale Moonlight". And that works for me. But if he wishes to be seen as a Villain, his confession isn't the right way IMO.
     
  3. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I finally finished it. I think that Mr Mack should write the final Alliance story, or perhaps the first Mirror Federation story.
     
  4. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    You know, this discussion about Spock's morality reminded me a bit of something. About two and a half years ago, I was watching the German film Der Untergang (released in English-speaking countries as Downfall), which is about the final days of the Third Reich as all of Germany was crumbling around Hitler and the senior leaders of the Nazi Party. And I remember feel so utterly disgusted with the society that the Germans had allowed Hitler to build that I thought to myself, "This society, this culture, is so utterly corrupt that they deserve this. They deserve to have the whole thing destroyed, gutted, completely torn down. It has to be destroyed because it's so evil it can't be allowed to go on, and then they can rebuild Germany into something decent."

    And I found myself really disturbed by the fact that I'd had that thought. I mean, that's an incredibly dangerous thing to think -- that an entire society can be so corrupt that it needs to be destroyed, that an entire culture needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. If taken to refer not just to political culture or the practice of social customs and values, but instead to refer to the people themselves, it's the sort of logic that can condone genocide. It's the sort of thought process that Naomi Klein rails against in her book The Shock Doctrine, where she associates it with a desire to destroy existing cultures in order to create pseudo-libertarian utopias in their wake.

    And yet, to this day, I still sometimes think to myself that maybe it was a good thing that Germany was smashed to the ground before being allowed to rebuild.

    So, at least for me, Spock's plan basically plays into a question I've wondered about before:

    Is it possible (from the perspective of somebody who values liberal democracy and human rights and liberty) that a society can be so fundamentally corrupt, so thoroughly tyrannical, so abusive, so violent, so evil, that the whole thing needs to be destroyed? That the whole slate needs to be wiped clean so that something decent can be built on top of it?

    Was the Terran Empire so fundamentally horrific that it needed to be destroyed, its people enslaved, its culture and values dismantled, before something good could rise from its ashes?
     
  5. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ I don't think it was quite *that* bad. This isn't Warhammer 40K, after all. The Terran Empire wasn't anywhere even close to as thoroughly cruel and bloodthirsty as W40K's Imperium was. No Trek race ever has been - not even the Klingons.
     
  6. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I don't have the slightest clue what Warhammer 40K is, so I can't comment on that.

    But I don't agree at all with the idea that the Terran Empire wasn't an incredibly brutal regime. By all accounts, the Terran Empire had a longstanding practice of expanding, enslaving local populations, and then gradually assimilating local elites into the Terran aristocracy before completely subsuming local cultures into their own political culture of violence and repression, then repeating the cycle over and over again -- and that's if they didn't just commit wholesale genocide. Agonizers and other instruments of torture seem to have been regularly, even casually, used. There seems to have been no hint of anything vaguely resembling democracy or human (or, if you will, sentient) rights. The Sorrows of Empire seems to imply that sexual assault and rape are common occurrences -- and makes it very clear that the Empire has engaged in multiple campaigns of genocide against any species with a hint of telepathy.

    I'm honestly having trouble thinking of anything good about the Terran Empire. The comparison to the Third Reich seems quite apt to me.

    Which, again, leads to the question:

    Can there be a such thing as a society that is so tyrannical that it needs to be dismantled, a culture so barbarous that it needs to be destroyed?
     
  7. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Here you go.

    Well, yeah, of course the Empire was brutal, but the Imperium (from W40K) was a lot WORSE.
     
  8. Braxton

    Braxton Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Let's not forget that Spock predicted the demise of the Terran Empire, if left unchanged, to actually be 200 some years from circa 2280. In that time, the Empire may get more brutal than it already was. Spock even stated that such a fall would usher in a dark age that would be unlike anything seen before. Spock decided to take action after his encounter with their Federation counterparts. He already felt the way he did but upon meeting them he made a choice. This encounter made him realize just how evil the Empire was. Spock is taking a huge gamble with his confession. Did he anticipate another crossover? Did this crossover move things up in his 'grand plan'? There's a lot that needs explaining and I hope Mack gets to write his proposed novel.
     
  9. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Reading that article, I'm afraid I don't see what it is, exactly, that makes the Imperium of Man more oppressive than the Terran Empire. The only thing the Imperium does that struck me as having no analogue in the Terran Empire is the bit about millions of people needing to be sacrificed to keep the Emperor's life-support machine working.
     
  10. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    the earliest concrete reference to the MU being divergent is from 'Age of the Empress' when Trip thinks back on how Emperor Woodrow Wilson's wife poisoned him and ruled in his stead. Any references to Shakespeare and the Iliad as being different are suspect since some one could be doing some historical revisionism to make the books 'fit' the moral values of the Empire.

    http://startrekspecops.t35.com/muchronology.html

    MU timeline I compiled. As yet, I've not updated it with Shards and Shadows, the expanded TSOE or The Soul Key. Or the second NF comic.

    i really enjoyed the expanded edition. I liked that we got to see more of Memory Omega's genesis (har) and the incidents involving the M5 and Garth.
     
  11. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    About that bit where Saavik is put through her paces at the (Imperial) Starfleet Academy: I'm just going to hazard a guess that the Academy in the RU is not like that. ;)
     
  12. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    It might actually be closer than you think. Subtract the agonizers and physical assaults, and you have a fairly accurate description of the modern-day U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, whose practices inspired that chapter.
     
  13. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    i thought it was inspired by the Marine Academy...
     
  14. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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  15. Dayton Ward

    Dayton Ward Word Pusher Rear Admiral

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    Pansies.


    ;)
     
  16. DarthPipes

    DarthPipes Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There's an expanded version of The Sorrows of Empire?
     
  17. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But Starfleet isn't supposed to be like that. Not the Starfleet from the real universe. Everyone keeps harping on how it's not a military organization, blah blah blah. I thought RU Starfleet was supposed to be all nice and politically correct and all that?

    There is no 'Marine' Academy that I'm aware of. The Naval Academy serves both the Navy and the Marines.
     
  18. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I think it's safe to say that the Federation Starfleet Academy doesn't practice institutionalized torture and sexual assault. But I see no reason to think that there wouldn't be drill sergeants and extremely difficult physical training and the like, along the lines of the practices at present-day military academies.

    What was it Dayton Ward had posted once?

    "What's your name, scumbag?"

    "Sir! James T. Kirk, sir!"

    "T? What's the T stand for? Thumbdick?"

    "Sir! No, sir! Tiberius, sir!"

    "Tiberius? Well, holy shit. We've got ourselves a fucking Roman emperor here. You know the Romans were only good for two things: orgies and the second finest military force the fucking civilized world has ever seen. You best learn how to fight, Tiberius, because you don't look like you could get laid in a fucking whorehouse with gold-pressed latinum strung around your pencil neck."

    "Sir. Yes, sir!"

    Oh bull. Of course Starfleet is the military. They're the people the government lets fire the guns in war.
     
  19. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    Quantico may not call itself 'Academy' but it's the same basic thing.
     
  20. Dayton Ward

    Dayton Ward Word Pusher Rear Admiral

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    ^ Actually, it's not the same thing. OCS is a compressed, much more focused, entry-level interval of training than the Naval Academy. Whereas the Academy is essentially the military's version of college, OCS is strictly boot camp for officer candidates. Graduates from the Academy who choose to become Marine officers still go to The Basic School at Quantico, alongside OCS graduates.

    That is a copyrighted bit, sir. PM me for directions to deposit royalties for its use to my PayPal account.

    ;)