TNG: The Body Electric by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Sho, Dec 16, 2012.

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Rate The Body Electric.

  1. Outstanding

    36 vote(s)
    33.6%
  2. Above Average

    39 vote(s)
    36.4%
  3. Average

    26 vote(s)
    24.3%
  4. Below Average

    5 vote(s)
    4.7%
  5. Poor

    1 vote(s)
    0.9%
  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    As I've said, I do not accept the validity of this statement at all. Consider that there is a very clear Trek-universe precedent for the situation in "Tuvix": namely, Trill joining. In that case, as with Tuvix, two personalities and two bodies are blended into a single composite entity. Would you claim that, for instance, Jadzia and the Dax symbiont both died when they were joined into Jadzia Dax? That's impossible, since there was at least one subsequent occasion where they were separated and Jadzia's original personality re-emerged; and of course the Dax symbiont lived on as a distinct entity after Jadzia's actual death. And we know that previous hosts' personalities live on in the symbiont and can "live again" through the zhian'tara ritual.

    For that matter, when the Companion merged with Nancy Hedford and they became a single personality, that didn't kill Nancy; on the contrary, it saved her life. She continued to live on, as did the Companion, but they were a single blended personality. And what about the blended Spock/Kollos entity that existed for a few minutes during "Is There in Truth No Beauty?" It wasn't just Kollos taking over Spock's body, it was a blend of both their personalities. Was Spock "dead" for that period of time? Of course not.

    So if Tuvok and Neelix were dead when they were combined into Tuvix, that would mean every Trill joining in history would've been a double murder. But Federation law clearly did not define it that way, since Starfleet doctors are known to have assisted or participated in Trill joinings (for instance, the emergency joining of the Dax symbiont and Ezri Tigan). Therefore, Tuvok and Neelix would not have been considered dead by Federation law -- simply joined.
     
  2. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But you also said that letting Tuvix live would kill them even though its only keeping the current status quo.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^You know, that's a fair point. I hadn't thought of it that way. I don't buy the argument that they should've let Tuvix stay because the other two were already dead, but there is something to be said for the argument that if they'd let him stay, nobody would've died. Although one could argue that neither of them consented to the joining, so there's still an ethical question about forcing them to remain joined forever. Like I said, not a simple issue.
     
  4. Lord Lunacy

    Lord Lunacy Commander Red Shirt

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    It was the quintessential no win scenario I think no one would want to face. After watching the episode, you could see Janeway struggle with the decision she was forced with. The final straw was Kes breaking down in her ready-room, it would seem her maternal instincts kicked in and she decided to restore Tuvok and Neelix. Not only did she decide Tuvix's fate, but she spared anyone else of having to carry out the execution. I would definitely love to see this guilt creep into Janeway in a future novel...especially now that she is in a more emotionally compromised state after all she's discovered.

    Now, the writers could have come up with some techno-solution to keep all three of them alive, but that would have cheapened the episode; Data saving his love and her father would have done the same thing.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yeah, it would've been a copout. What I love about VGR's first couple of seasons was the producers' fondness for forcing Janeway to face hard ethical choices. "Death Wish" was another great example.
     
  6. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In the episode it's pretty much directly stated that Tuvok and Neelix are alive somewhere inside Tuvix - AKA they can be recovered 'alive' if you kill another person.

    Also - there's a chance that another donor will be found within a month for the patients?
    Well, there's a chance that a way will be found to recreate Tuvok and Neelix without killing Tuvix - during the rest of Tuvix's natural life.
    If anything - considering the trek tech and the large time span - this chance is far larger than finding a donor (AKA person who just dies and has compatible organs; plus, there is the so-called 'waiting list') within a month.

    Straw-man - the person killed will, of course, be compatible with both patients - AKA his/her murder would save the life of both patients.
    As is made pretty clear in my previous post.

    And the 'legal implications' are present because law-makers, unlike trek fans vis-a vis their fictional hero, actually see the moral of the situation for what it is, as opposed to grotesquely distorting it.

    Baseless rhetoric and obfuscation attempts won't change anything to the two examples being all but equivalent.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
  7. Claudia

    Claudia Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I don't buy that comparison. A Trill enters the joining voluntarily, he's aware of both parts prior to the joining and the composite entity, so in a sense both Trill and host continue to exist. Tuvix didn't. His was a real composite personality. And he wasn't just a combination of those 2 characters, he became a character of his own, made his own experiences. And the decision to let him make his own experiences IMO precludes any right to deny him life afterwards.

    Kes being the deciding factor... I got that impression as well. And honestly, while I really like Kes, that makes Janeway's decision even more random and selfish. Why not just help her deal with the situation - shouldn't someone with maternal instincts have done that? And it's a shame that we don't get to see the aftermath. I'd have loved to see Kes deal with what happened...
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    First of all, that doesn't make sense; why should consent or its absence have any bearing on the outcome of joining? That's a complete non sequitur. Besides, we have seen at least one coerced Trill joining, when Verad stole the Dax symbiont in "Invasive Procedures." And the merged Verad Dax entity was no different from any other composite being we've seen in Trek.

    Which is exactly how Trill joining works. If you think that a joined Trill is two distinct personalities sharing a body, then you're astonishingly wrong, and I have to wonder if you even watched DS9. The two minds in a Trill joining become one inseparable whole. There was no more distinction between the Jadzia part and the Dax part of Jadzia Dax than there was between the Tuvok part and the Neelix part of Tuvix. They only became distinct again when they were separated.
     
  9. Claudia

    Claudia Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Christopher, I'd rather say you didn't understand what I meant. And rather than accusing someone of not knowing even the basics of what they're talking about you should probably start by giving people the benefit of the doubt and ask for clarification. Not everyone here is a native English speaker after all and/or has a similar succinct way of putting their thoughts down, either.

    On to the matter at hand:

    If you say Tuvix was similar to a joined Trill... shouldn't that also imply that Tuvix should hold the same regard as a joined Trill? That no matter how he came to be this new and now joined life is just as precious as the two individuals he came from?

    Biologically, Jadzia and the symbiont never ceased to exist - they were still 2 different entities, not a new 3rd entity. The joining doesn't change one's personality, it just influences it, it gives experience and a new perspective on things due to the collected experience of prior hosts - and that perhaps appears as though it changes the host's (not joined Trill's) personality. IMO you could see that quite well with Ezri.

    Not so with Tuvix. He was a new person, made up of the DNA of Tuvok and Neelix with both their sets of memories. But that's it. Tuvok and Neelix were just a thought in his mind.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I addressed that several posts ago in response to Hartzilla2007.


    I disagree completely with your interpretation. The physical aspects don't matter to a definition of a person's mental identity. What matters is that the two minds are completely merged into a single personality. The joined Trill is a complete and equal merger of both host and symbiont -- it is absolutely not just the host with some kind of minor "influence" from the symbiont.


    I think what we saw with Ezri Dax proves just the opposite of what you're claiming. She wasn't just Ezri Tigan with some new "influences." She was a fledgling composite personality who was struggling to figure out just who she was, and at first was often confused by the conflicting memories in her head, to the point of almost forgetting who she was.


    I'm just a thought in my own mind. The distinction you're drawing is meaningless.
     
  11. Lord Lunacy

    Lord Lunacy Commander Red Shirt

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    For all its flaws, that's what kept me watching Voyager, to see what moral dilemma they'd slap Janeway with from one week to the next.
     
  12. RonG

    RonG Captain Captain

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    Thrawn summed it best for me too :) Not the first time.. probably won't be the last time either :)
     
  13. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Mine came late, unusually, so it took me a while.

    Overall, I'd say fun. The sheer scope of the problem--hundreds of millions of galaxies--and the exceptional risk if the worst happened made this a book that had a preordained sort of ending for me. The path to the ending, though was enjoyable.

    "The Offspring" was one of the first episodes of TNG I watched. The fate of Lal was very sad--"Thank you for my life" has a terrible pathos to it. I'm very pleased that, aided by Akharin, Data managed to bring his daughter back.

     
  14. shanejayell

    shanejayell Captain Captain

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    Good but not great. I'm hoping this gets followed up on... will Data return to Starfleet? Will Lal start dating nd Data become the scariest Dad ever? Will Worf take a promotion? Will Picard finally retire?
     
  15. Reanok

    Reanok Commodore Commodore

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    I definitely would like to see books that continue Data's adventures .I certainly liked this miniseries bravo.I was so glad David Mack brought Data back in this series of books.:techman:
     
  16. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    You know, I for one really hopes that Data doesn't return to Starfleet. Considering the ending of this book, I can't see Data just going back to Starfleet life now. I can see him wanting to explore this new life he has, instead of going back to his old life.
     
  17. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I doubt that this will be the last we see of Data. I haven't gotten to the CE books yet, so I don't know his exact situation at the end, but I find it hard they would bring back a character as popular as Data, and not continue to use him. I could see him being downgraded to a recurring character, but I don't see him disappearing entirely.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Well, sure, but whether they use him and whether he comes back to Starfleet are two separate questions. We've had quite a few civilian characters in ongoing roles in various Trek novel series.
     
  19. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    For now it is bettter to have Data as a civilian. Later on if Picard and Worf move on, then maybe.
     
  20. Ood Sigma

    Ood Sigma Commander Red Shirt

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    Right. I'd have been disappointed if he'd just gone back to being on the Enterprise. I'm looking forward to seeing him pop up every now and then when the plot requires it (but not just for gratuitous reasons.) I'd expect him to appear in 1-2 of the upcoming The Fall novels, but if he doesn't, I'm OK with that too.
     

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