TNG: Dark Mirror by Diane Duane Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by rfmcdpei, Feb 10, 2013.

?

Rate Dark Mirror.

  1. Outstanding

    24 vote(s)
    47.1%
  2. Above Average

    20 vote(s)
    39.2%
  3. Average

    5 vote(s)
    9.8%
  4. Below Average

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Poor

    2 vote(s)
    3.9%
  1. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Location:
    Andrew Timson
    Word of warning: the new versions (as far as I know) are only available as ebooks, and only from Duane's site. If you buy them from anywhere else (print or ebook), only the original is available.

    (I've only reread the first and third books in their updated versions; they're tweaked, but they're still the same books at heart.)
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    ^Yeah, I thought they were ebook-only, but I wasn't sure.
     
  3. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Thanks for the tip!

    Yes, yes I am.

    [​IMG]
    Shakespeare in bed, 29 October 2012 by randyfmcdonald, on Flickr

    Yeah, it was just a passing reference to Hwiii being from another planet, and it clashes with the character's portayal throughout the book. Which is why I'm convinced it was a change requested in the revision phase and that Duane's actual intent was for Hwiii to be a real Terran dolphin.[/QUOTE]Yeah. Why can't Preservers like cetaceans, too, anyway? Et cetera.
     
  4. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Location:
    #istandwithcbs
    Yep. IIRC, Duane described lots of muscle, somewhat at odds with the slightly portly-looking LaForge Prime from the TV series.

    Another little tidbit I just remembered was that some crew members had metal fillings. Something small that said so much about the differences in philosophy between the universes. They built an overpowered, oversized Enterprise that ours would be no match for in a fight, but their medical technology was far behind that of the Trek we know.
     
  5. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    While we're on the subject of non-human Terran sapience (and forgive me for taking this further off topic), have the elephants ever been confirmed in Trek works as standing alongside dolphins? On that count, have Trek works ever featured elephants at all? Given that the TNG episode "New Ground" established the extinction of the white rhinoceros, were the elephants equally wiped out?

    Would that mean the humans are considered to have a history of unwitting genocide?

    Titan: Orion's Hounds mentioned Betazoid pachyderms as a dolphin-equivalent, so apparently Betazed has elephants just as it has humanoids. I suppose the Betazoids would have a lot less difficulty recognizing sapience; they could just scan and say "hello".

    So, can anyone remember if the fate and intelligence of the elephants has ever been revealed in Trek?
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
  7. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

  8. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2012
    Location:
    Cork, Ireland
    This book is on my to-do list.

    Why should dolphins and elephants be sapient? They don't use technology, don't build cities. Even if they were sapient yet eschewing technology, what would prevent them from communicating with Humans and starting a civilisation of their own, or joining ours? :vulcan:
    The hard, unsentimental truth is: Humans are alone.

    Edit: Prompted by this thread - just bought the book.
     
  9. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Location:
    Andrew Timson
    "Communicating with humans" is easier said than done. Trek makes communication with alien races look extremely easy; in reality, it's going to be difficult if not impossible.
     
  10. zarkon

    zarkon Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2011
    If there ever will be, I like to think they'll look like this:

    [​IMG]

    If I could run after sausage rolls and sleep most everywhere, I can't imagine I would have to stretch myself much
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Non sequitur. The greatest human genius in the universe couldn't hold a hammer without opposable thumbs, or light a fire underwater. It's deeply species-centric to assume that the only way to be intelligent is to build things. Really, a science fiction fan should know better. Do Hortas build cities? Do incorporeal life forms carry iPods? Intelligence is about the mind, not the shape and capacity of the body.

    Science has discovered evidence of high intelligence (and yes, in some cases, tool use) among a variety of other life forms on Earth: great apes, cetaceans, elephants, corvid and other birds, octopus and squid. And many scientists now think that most higher animals are self-aware to a greater extent than we have traditionally believed.


    It's a conceit of science fiction that interspecies communication is easy, because it's convenient for storytelling. It would be deeply foolish to assume that a fictional convenience would be true in the real world. Fictional aliens can usually pronounce phonetic speech the same way humans can, or else have magic technology to do it for them. In real life, different species usually don't have the ability to produce the same sounds, which impairs communication. But we know for a fact that dolphins and great apes are able to understand human speech, and that apes can communicate with us intelligently through sign language. There's even documented evidence of dolphins and elephants mimicking human speech to the best of their abilities. Of course, certain birds can mimic human speech perfectly, and there's research suggesting that they understand what they're saying to some extent. If anything, the problem is on our end -- they can understand what we're saying while we still struggle to figure out what they're saying unless they have the ability to communicate in our terms. Which hardly argues that we're the more intelligent ones.

    Another conceit of fiction is that alien intelligences would think just like humans so that mutual comprehension would be easy. That's another convenience of fiction that no reasonable person should expect to be true in reality. Even among humans, we often have great difficulty understanding people whose worldviews and ways of thinking are different from our own. Different species could have radically different ways of thinking and perceiving that could create enormous barriers to communication and understanding. For instance, there's abundant evidence of advanced cognitive ability in octopus, but unlike most intelligent animals including us, they're more solitary than social. So the factors that drove the evolution of their intelligence would be different from ours, and the way their intelligence works could be very different. That could create quite a barrier to understanding how they think. But of course any SF fan should know better than to assume that just because something doesn't think like a human, that means it doesn't think at all.
     
  12. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    They went to the mirror universe and there wasn't an evil dolphin with a moustache and an eye-monocle?

    Lack of vision.
     
  13. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Location:
    New Therin Park, Andor (via Australia)
    Frikkin' laser beams.
     
  14. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2012
    Location:
    Cork, Ireland
    Does the Dark Mirror timeline mesh with the mirror timeline from Q&A?
     
  15. Csalem

    Csalem Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2006
    Location:
    Dublin, Ireland
    Really enjoyed this book and have reread it a number of times. Although you know by the end of the book everything will work out ok, there was a great sense of jeopardy and peril throughout and you really felt the crew were in a tough position.
     
  16. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    The visitor's bullpen
    No, because in the Dark Mirror version, Noonien Soong was killed in an Imperial purge before he could construct any androids. In Q&A, Lore exists.
     
  17. Stoek

    Stoek Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Stoek
    This is one of my favorite Next Gen books, My favorite Duane book after Spock's World, and My favorite Mirror Universe story. And best of all it's not the least bit incompatible with tv show continuity since there's no reason why there can't be two different mirror universes.
     
  18. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    The big problematic incompatibility I see between Dark Mirror and the rest of the canon is that in Dark Mirror, the Mirror Universe's existence was kept secret by the Federation, whereas in "Crossover" Bashir learned about the transporter accident at Starfleet Academy.
     
  19. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    I've actually had the book for probably over a decade and I've never actually read it. I might have to fix that in the very near future.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    But there are contradictions on the Prime-Universe side too. There's the difference in secrecy that rfmcdpei mentioned, and there's the problematical claim about a galactic-scale cataclysm resulting if matter from another timeline is permanently transferred across -- which has been definitively contradicted by "In a Mirror, Darkly" if nothing else. (And by Forgotten History, on a planetary scale.)

    But what does it matter? Continuity is nice when you can get it, but it's all just a bunch of made-up stuff anyway. All that matters is if the story is enjoyable.
     

Share This Page