TNG: Light Fantastic by Jeffrey Lang coming in June 2014

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Defcon, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. ClayinCA

    ClayinCA Commodore Commodore

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    As someone who's also been somewhat on the fence about Data since his return, can I ask, why do you say that? Just curious.
     
  2. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Jeffrey Lang also talked about the cover, and other ideas for it on his blog.
     
  3. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

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    To me, personally, just is strange to have this character out of Starfleet. Just not sure how he fits in the universe as much anymore. I am ready for Jeff to pull me in and make me a believer, but it just seems strange.
     
  4. Jeffrey_Lang

    Jeffrey_Lang Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Just so you know, we didn't approach the idea of Data being out of Starfleet casually. It felt like the right thing to do for now, especially given the changes in Data's circumstances AND the changes to Starfleet and the Federation since Data's "death." One of the items Margaret Clark kept pushing while I was developing the story is the idea that, for the first time in his life, Data is kind of coloring outside the lines, which makes Geordi very, very nervous. The friction between these two old friends is one of the main drivers of the story.
     
  5. Enterpriserules

    Enterpriserules Commodore Commodore

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    I really appreciate your response Jeff. I have an open mind for sure. I never judge or write something off till I've seen it or read it. I do actually hope to like the book!
     
  6. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    So does mean we will see more of the main TNG characters than just Data?
     
  7. Jeffrey_Lang

    Jeffrey_Lang Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Definitely, yes, though very little of the story is set on the Enterprise.
     
  8. ClayinCA

    ClayinCA Commodore Commodore

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    I also am grateful for your response, Jeff. Actually, it's not so much "Data-not-in-Starfleet" that rings weirdly in my mental ear, but the new Data with fully-integrated emotions; he seems at times to be so far away from the Data we knew (and I realize that's at least partially the point). I just occasionally have a difficult time reconciling this new Data with the old. But I see Geordi is having the same problem, so I guess I'm not alone...!
     
  9. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    ^ That was the whole point of his resurrection-and-transformation in the Cold Equations trilogy — to raise ontological questions about the nature of identity for a being with a synthetic soul. (And, for that matter, to wonder whether Data's soul exists at all, existed ab initio, was transferable or able to be duplicated, or if he's a being with his memories and his father's soul, etc.)
     
  10. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    In other words, no one's really sure if Data's back or not, and that includes Data himself. Which besides allowing for all those complex explorations of matters of self, also lets readers have Data back without playing this as a reset.
     
  11. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    ^ Precisely.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I prefer to think of this new Data more as a sort of offspring or clone of the original, a hybrid of Data's memories and the Noonien Soong android's operating system (which would probably translate as behaviors, emotions, inclinations of thought, etc.).
     
  13. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    But it could be argued that behaviour, reactions and emotional responses are also largely learned responses shaped by experience, which is after all, memory.

    I see the new Data as being Data. Slightly changed, but still Data.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But that argument would be objectively wrong. Science tells us that the human brain has many behaviors and responses that are instinctive and inbuilt, and different humans have different inclinations of thought and behavior that are functions of their basic neurology rather than life experience -- e.g. being attracted to one sex over another, or being autistic or schizophrenic, or having tone-deafness or perfect pitch. A great deal of behavior is a function of the brain's structure and anatomy rather than experience and learning. Certainly we can learn to adjust and moderate the potentials we start out with, but it's a complete fiction to claim the brain is an absolute blank slate where everything is shaped by nurture and nothing by nature.

    And it wouldn't work here either, because we're talking about the operating system vs. the software it runs, or even about the hardware vs. the software. We know that "Data Soong"'s brain is structured different from Data 1.0's, simply because it has emotions if nothing else. And we know that emotions are a hardware issue for Soong-type androids because they were made possible by the installation of a chip. There are bound to be other hardware/structural differences as well, because this android's brain was designed to emulate Noonien Soong's very human psychology and behavior, rather than being a from-scratch AI like Data -- and because it's a more advanced model with upgrades over the original. So there are bound to be inbuilt potentials and inclinations that differ from those within Data's brain. These brains can't be treated as empty containers that have no influence over the minds poured into them; they would have an effect on the resultant personality.
     
  15. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You may well be right, but for sake of argument, an androids brain may well be a blank state when manufactured, without the hard wired responses inherent in biological brains and DNA. The 'potentials and inclinations' you refer to might need to be downloaded too, and therefore would just be the first 'memory'.

    By implanting Data on the positronic brain, whatever characteristics the Soong android carried from the biological host of Soong may either have been overwritten or rewritten as Data.

    The fact that the Soong brain experienced emotion may not mean that it was functionally very different from Data's when the emotion chip was connected.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Again, we already know that is not the case here, because the book actually told us that. This isn't speculation I pulled out of my hat, it's right there in the actual book. Soong 2.0's brain is different in a number of ways from Data's -- it has emotions, it's more advanced and faster, it has functions he lacked, etc. That's why Data 2.0 and others are uncertain whether he's really the same person. At best, he's an altered version of the same person. Hell, it would be boring if he weren't. It would be just a cheap reset button to resurrect Data in a way that made him exactly the same person he was before, and I know for certain that that was the last thing Dave would've wanted.
     
  17. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Oh I'm cool with him having 'improvements' and therefore being an altered version of the same person - that's interesting.
     
  18. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    He is not identically the same. How close in mentation is up for debate, as well as does he have the same rights as for Data 1.0?
     
  19. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    Does that mean that Noonien Soong works for Google since Data runs Android?
     
  20. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    As far as the human brain goes, the brian can be "wired" differently. So take the person's memories from a brain that's wired differently and put them in a brain that's not wired differently, and that person (most likely) will then begin to think and behave differently.

    Given that Data is in a brain that's wired differently from his original brain and his software is also different and he has other memories that are not his to draw on, I would think that Data is never going to be the same. From here on out, he will always be different.