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. BritishSeaPower

    BritishSeaPower Captain Captain

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    Yes, that's not a mystery. My point is that at least two of the characters were inserted into the series just to be killed, and one in a very flagrant attempt to instill a male character with pathos with absolutely no regard to her character.
     
  2. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    As with yourself, I apologise if any of this comes across as "ranty".

    My first point would be: McAdams was killed in an attempt to complete the thematic purpose of the trilogy, by forcing the main character into a situation where he must knowingly leave someone he cares about to die in order to achieve an end that was judged to be - in terms of cold logic ambiguously shot through with emotional resonance - of greater importance to him. It's not about pathos for Data; it's about a theme consistent across the three books. And even if it were about pathos for Data, characters serve various purposes in stories; McAdams was always a character who was of relevance due to what she bought to our understanding of Data more than she was as a player in her own right. The general point of the character was to expand on and play to the themes of Data's family and his relationship to other AIs. Data is the lead character, and McAdams has never been a character who exists in stories that aren't centred on the life and experience of Data. Thematically, while she was indeed compelling, she was always an adjunct of Data from a story-telling perspective.

    So, I don't see this as an example of the "women in refrigerators" trope - though, I must note here, nor do I consider becoming agitated over that trope to be a valid criticism to begin with, in any circumstance. Acknowledging the fact of the trope is one thing, but I do not agree with the common interpretations or assumed implications, and do not view it as inherently a problem - and if I did, it would be for different reasons. Meaning no offence, I find it a tired complaint that stems from a culture fixated on certain assumptions and biased, selective perspectives - to the extent that comparable tendencies in fiction and reality are overlooked to service a pre-conceived ideological or emotional-sexual agenda.

    As a final point on the subject, Star Trek novels do not play women "as women", the great majority of the time - one of the few franchises that tends to achieve this, in my perspective, and which I appreciate immensely, though again for what I assume are different reasons than most. Characters like Choundhury, Piniero, and McAdams were never defined around their sex in any of the stories they appeared in; the fact that they were female was never of relevance to the characters, nor to the narrative.
     
  3. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I just thought of something. Was the Machine in this novel meant to be the cause of the ultimately canceled Kelvan invasion of the Milky Way Galaxy back in the TOS episode "By Any Other Name"?
     
  4. Idran

    Idran Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm not sure how it could be; if the rising levels of radiation were refering to the radiation wave released by the black hole collision it would've caused, then since they were working on a 10,000 year deadline, subspace would've already been fractured for 200,000 light-years around the Andromeda Galaxy by the same effect by the time they'd detected it, and so the Kelvans wouldn't have been able to get out of the Andromeda Galaxy and to the Milky Way in only a few centuries.
     
  5. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I finished this one early this week, and I really enjoyed it. I really liked the conclusion of Data's arc here and the inclusion of Wesley. I think I do remember hearing about The Machine's connection to TMP and V'Ger, but I still enjoyed it. I know one or two stories have connected
    V'ger's creators to the Borg, but I was never a big fan of that idea. I like this take on them alot better. I also really liked the way that The Machine story connected back to Data's arc that ran through the series. I'm a huge fan of Immortal Coil so I got a big kick out of all of the connections back to it. I especially loved seeing Rhea again. This leads me to my one complaint about the book, the death of Rhea. I knew about this and Lal's ressurection going into the book, but the death still annoyed me. I was thinking that it would have been a lot of fun to see Data as a family man with Rhea and Lal.
    I was really frustrated by the deaths in all three books. With so much controversy over the treatment of women in the media, I was honestly kind of shocked to see three women killed off in back to back books like this. I'm not trying to accuse David Mack and the editors of trying to do anything on purpose, but it's still hard not to notice it.
     
  6. Kilana2

    Kilana2 Commodore Commodore

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    I´m looking forward to this in German. The German title for it is Diabolus Ex Machina, by the way. It will be released this year, later on though.

    As to the deaths: I´m quite spoiler-resistant and well-prepared for it, though I don´t like it, either. Sady, people have to die. It would be unrealistic if everybody survived. But it is difficult with characters who have grown dear to your heart.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That's kind of fitting, given that Dave made sure to keep The Body Electric consistent with my portrayal of V'Ger in Ex Machina. Largely because I was staying with him while he was plotting the novel, so we were able to compare notes.
     
  8. Kilana2

    Kilana2 Commodore Commodore

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    German publisher Cross Cult asked on its Facebook page for suggestions for a fitting German title. There were several suggestions, and they chose this. I think it´s final.

    I couldn´t offer any suggestions for myself, as I haven´t read the original and the title was ill-suited to translate it literally (and I´m not a Facebook member on top of that). And it´s been a while since I have read Ex Machina. I didn´t know that there is a connection.

    Either way, I´m in for a surprise. :)
     
  9. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    Diabolus Ex Machina. That's a strangely fitting title. :-)
     
  10. Kilana2

    Kilana2 Commodore Commodore

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    Just want to add the other German titles of the Cold Equations novels:

    The Persistence of Memory = Die Beständigkeit der Erinnerung
    Silent Weapons = Lautlose Waffen

    I will vote for them when I´ve read them. ;)
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Are those literal translations? (I would imagine so, since I can see some hints of common Germanic roots there -- "Lautlose" sounds like "loudless," and "Beständigkeit" suggests standing or staying, i.e. persistence. And I've seen "Waffen" used in reference to German military units in WWII fiction, I think, so it makes sense that it would mean "weapons.")
     
  12. Kilana2

    Kilana2 Commodore Commodore

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    Silent Weapons is quite literal, although they could have chosen "Stille Waffen" instead.

    Persistence of Memory is literal, too. The Word "Persistenz" exists in German, but no one would use it.

    They translated Jeffrey Lang´s "The light fantastic" into "Das Licht der Fantasie". I can´t comment on that, as I haven´t read it yet. If I were the one to translate a title, I would read the original first to come up with a fitting solution in case the original can´t be translated literally.
     
  13. Kilana2

    Kilana2 Commodore Commodore

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    Markus Rohde from Cross Cult just posted this in the Cross Cult forum: for Persistence of Memory they chose the German translation of this.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Persistence_of_Memory
     
  14. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    ^ Entirely appropriate, as my book was titled at least partly in homage to that painting, which was one of my favorite works of art when I was a young art-and-film student.