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. MatthiasRussell

    MatthiasRussell Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    IDIC does not mean Starfleet needs hot-headed captains whose rush to fire torpedoes could result in diplomatic crisis or galactic destruction. Worf has not grown into a character with an itch of diplomacy unless he is dealing with Klingons and this book demonstrated that well in the instances I cited. Worf would be good as commander of a frigate on the UFP border but not as the CO of the federation flagship in charge of diplomatic issues. IDIC doesn't mean every personality can do every job.
     
  2. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not talking about the novel plot designed for bringing the character back from the dead.

    I'm talking about altering the lives of billions possibly wiping many of the from history itself because she didn't like how everything turned out.

    My problem was the Janeway was the only one who could save the day thing, thats what exagerrates the importance of her existence

    Because its a crisis in the story that doesn't deal with any of the other crap that was a result of Endgame.

    When you're questioning the captain of the freaking federation flagship who's pretty knowledgeable about the Borg and threatening disciplinary action WHEN HE WAS RIGHT ABOUT THERE BEING A BORG SHIP yes she was.

    Actually she was during the first Christie Golden duology as part of her response to Starfleet's understandable paranoia about s Borg assimilation nano virus outbreak on Earth.

    Honestly the main reason I'm annoyed with Janeway is you made Eden more likable than Janeway and then had her go away as part of bringing Janeway back not to mention I just don't care for character resurrections.

    Plus it doesn't help that Janeway's last appearances before or set before her death involved her acting like she was better than characters I like more aka Picard and Martok.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But Kirsten's explained that. It wasn't about Janeway personally being extra-special. It was about the notion that altering history had unpredictable consequences. Admiral Janeway chose to change history to get her younger self home sooner, and that undid an event where Voyager happened to be in the right place at the right time to solve this cosmic crisis. So Q Junior decided that the only way to put it right was to put all the ingredients back in place where they'd been in the original timeine, and that included Kathryn Janeway. Everybody's gotta be somewhere, and it was just by luck that Janeway and Voyager were in a position to deal with the problem in the original timeline. But because Adm. Janeway undid that event, it created a problem that could only be solved by putting Capt. Janeway back where she'd been originally.

    So it's more than anyone's actions and choices could turn out to have a domino effect that's crucial to the shape of history, so changing the past of someone who doesn't seem all that exceptionally important to the cosmos could end up having far greater consequences than could've been foreseen.
     
  4. MatthiasRussell

    MatthiasRussell Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Q Jr felt that Janeway was the individual best qualified to solve the problem. His decision in the matter was by no means unanimous. It isn't like the entire continuum agreed with his decision or the universe would have ended if Janeway were not involved in that situation. Also, Janeway had other minds helping her shape the correct course of action with Q Jr being the one who saved the universe. So I would say Janeway was invaluable to the story but by no means vital. (Wow, what a hornet's nest I stirred up)
     
  5. Kirsten Beyer

    Kirsten Beyer Writer Red Shirt

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    And here, in a way, I agree with you. If we are talking about the Admiral Janeway who lived through 23 years in the Delta Quadrant and then chose to alter time and demand a re-do without considering all the good that might have been undone by such a choice...I have a problem with that too. There are so many implications in this I don't know if the writers of Endgame really thought through...the most significant to my mind being how much it weakens Kathryn Janeway as a character. I honestly don't see how the woman they spent 7 years writing became so selfish. She was many things over the years, but not so much that.

    But...and this is a big but...the woman who did those things, is not the character who was resurrected in TET and alive at the end of it. Vice Admiral Janeway experienced many versions of herself and her death while with the Q and seemed pretty clearly horrified by the results of her choices. She is, by definition, a different person now. You may still not like her, but you can't hold her accountable for things she didn't do/hasn't done/and now will never do. Unless I missed a meeting and we're all living in that Tom Cruise movie where you get punished for crimes before you commit them.

    You could argue that the Captain Janeway in Endgame who encountered her future self should have put the kibosh on the whole plan, and in a way, she did. Despite knowing she would lose Seven and eventually Chakotay and that Tuvok would lose his mind, her instinct wasn't to use the transwarp conduits to get home. Her choice was to eliminate as much of the Borg threat as she could by destroying the hub. Getting home early became gravy when Admiral Janeway chose to go up against the Borg Queen and give them that virus. But Captain Janeway and her crew were prepared to simply destroy the hub and stay in the DQ as long as it took, which to my mind, speaks well of them.

    Bottom line, Endgame is an episode that has a lot of problems in it for me, but there is a lot more to the Kathryn Janeway we followed for seven years and are continuing to follow now than the actions of one version of herself in one timeline that I find disturbing.

    Okay, but she wasn't. And didn't. As Chris pointed out, she had solved the problem once so Junior trusted that if he sent her back she could do it again. It got complicated later when he realized that her first resolution hadn't been as tidy as he'd hoped. And while I'm not minimizing Janeway's actions at the end of TET, she was instrumental in particular in helping Eden to make the right choice, ultimately it was Eden and Junior who saved the day. So again, your focus on Janeway and her exagerrated importance feels like a reading comprehension issue more than an intentional or unintentional attempt to elevate Janeway to some level you feel she does not deserve.

    And all I can say to this is that we had a lot of ground to cover in TET. But you might want to give us time...

    And while the "he was right so leave him alone" thing speaks to our desire in stories to always have our heroes do the right thing and be celebrated for their victories, that's not how Starfleet works. She gave him an order...not ignoring his fears or telling him he was wrong...she told him to wait until Seven got there so someone else with a great deal of perspective on the Borg could also weigh in before pursuing any action. Picard felt there wasn't time. The story suggests he was right and that if he hadn't acted when he did, the Queen would have been born and started doing bad Borg things before Seven had a chance to arrive. But there is a case to be made that his choices here....to have himself turned into a Borg again, albeit with tech that made him not completely Borg and able to hopefully destroy the Queen...was also not the best choice. He was assimilated again. It was his crew, particularly his wife and Worf who saved him.

    And it's also worth noting that at the end of the day, Janeway chose not to take formal action against Picard for ignoring her direct orders. She wanted to because really, an organization that is based upon a chain of command except when you don't like your orders has problems. There are exceptions, and ultimately Janeway thought this was one of them, but it wasn't wrong or arrogant of her to be disturbed by Picard's choice to ignore orders. Particularly when he only survived his own fairly reckless decisions by the skin of his teeth.

    No, actually, she wasn't. And I say this as someone who re-read Homecoming within the last several weeks. She was concerned. Starfleet was right to be concerned. Where she had a problem was in Starfleet's insistence that a group of people...her crew...who were uniquely qualified to assist in handling that threat...were tortured (Seven - I know...I was surprised to see that scene when I re-read it too...I must have blocked it out) and imprisoned rather than used as the valuable resources they proved to be when she forced the issue.

    And here, I can't help you because I liked Eden too and I was also sad to see her go. And your general views on character resurrections are not without merit. Like who you like. Read what you enjoy reading. Just don't try to justify those feelings based on innacurate depictions of the text. Recognize that your feelings are simply that...subjective reactions to stories to which you are absolutely entitled. There doesn't have to be any more to it than that.

    Best,
    Kirsten Beyer
     
  6. Fer

    Fer Commander Red Shirt

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    I really enjoyed it! I loved seeing the older, more matured Wesley, and the story was a real page-turner. Persistence of Memory is still my favorite of the trilogy, but The Body Electric was a very close second. Thanks for a great read!
     
  7. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I realize this thread is well on the way to being truly derailed, but Kirsten's last couple of posts have been highly interesting.

    In particular, I hadn't thought of Endgame that way. Instead of being annoyed, all of a sudden I'm thinking "I wonder WHY Janeway changed so much? That sounds like a hell of a story! Maybe we'll get it someday!"
     
  8. Paris

    Paris Commodore Commodore

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    THAT is a story I would like to see explored as well. What happened in the original timeline where voyager took 16 more years? How did everyone differ? How many times did they save all of creation?

    I know that the Full Circle mission is only supposed to last until 2384, but maybe it will just be continuous instead. We may see some of those events still pan out.
     
  9. zarkon

    zarkon Captain Captain

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    Just watch Tuvix, you can see her make that journey in the space of forty five minutes
     
  10. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I have a perhaps unusual opinion of Janeway; I thought the character was by far at her most interesting on occasions like Tuvix when she made a potentially morally questionable call, but stuck to it with all the force she could, damn the subtlety. It was a character beat most of the other captains, Picard especially, didn't really have.

    My personal favorite, I forget the episode title, was the one where aliens were abducting people into holodeck recreations and stealing their ships. Janeway basically ruined their entire method of sustaining themselves because they pissed her off; I loved it.

    I contend that Endgame is different though. That wasn't a questionable moral stand - it wasn't a moral stand at all. It was entirely selfish.
     
  11. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I liked that one where she turned into a lizard and had lizard babies with Tom - is there a spin-off book series with the lizard kids?

    Edit: Just thought, they could interact with their half-sister - that Klingon kid and have adventures in the airlock.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2013
  12. zarkon

    zarkon Captain Captain

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    truly the final frontier

    I dunno, they were both pretty selfish. Janeway doesn't like it when someone takes away her Tuvok

    Only difference to me is that Tuvix is murder while endgame is beyond any crime that has a name - it reminds me of the end dialogue between Picard/Uxbridge in that fantastic TNG episode. Really, the writers have her character go here there and everywhere. Current Janeway should have never bought anything that future Janeway was selling. I guess she only embodies the principals of the federation when it suits her interests
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That's not fair. It was hardly a selfish decision. Janeway had to think about the morale of the entire crew, and the fact that they all had to live together for an indefinite length of time. When Tuvix refused to undergo the procedure, he basically condemned two other people, Neelix and Tuvok, to death in order to save himself, and in so doing he alienated the rest of the crew. If Janeway had let him stay, there would've been a lot of resentment toward him, and that would've had a dangerous effect on crew morale and cohesion, something they simply couldn't afford when the crew were stuck with each other and had to work together to survive. It was a harsh decision, but it was the only pragmatic one the commander of a starship in such a situation could've made. And yes, you could argue it was murder, but by that definition, letting Tuvix live would've constituted a double murder. The whole point of the story was that there was no right answer, that it was an agonizing, impossible choice to have to make.
     
  14. zarkon

    zarkon Captain Captain

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    I don't accept that for Janeway. Destroying the array surely (should have) had a much more dangerous effect on crew morale and cohesion, but she did it. So her criterion wouldn't involve that kind of thinking.

    I don't see that, failure to act isn't murder. I don't disagree about it being an incredibly hard choice, but at the end of the day if you have an innocent person who says they don't want to die...
     
  15. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    How can someone who doesn't exist commit murder?

    You are trying to explain something but it cannot be murder. Even if we overlook the fact that someone who does not exist at the point of their 'death' cannot commit murder, the law permits you to kill others in self-defence. If those were three random chracters and Tuvix was walking the street and was confronted by Tuvok and Neelix and if he did not kill them, then they would kill him - then he would be able to lawfully kill them.
     
  16. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Not a spin-off book seres , but .... http://memory-beta.wikia.com/wiki/On_the_Rocks
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That's not a valid analogy, because the circumstances were far from equivalent. For one thing, in "Caretaker" she made that decision for the good of the Ocampa; Starfleet captains are always ready to sacrifice themselves and their crews for the good of others. But in "Tuvix" it was only her own crew's well-being that was at stake, so the parameters of the decision were totally different. For another thing, naturally she wouldn't think exactly the same way at the very beginning of Voyager's time in the Delta Quadrant, when the idea of survival there was merely an abstraction and when she barely knew most of her crew, as she'd think months later, after having had time to live with the realities of their situation and gotten to know her crew so much better.


    As I said, it's not about the law. It's pointless to talk about it as though there's anything remotely resembling a "right" answer. Either choice was wrong; either choice would kill someone who deserved to live. That's what made it such a compelling and wrenching story. Janeway's decision wasn't about law or morality, because the factors cancelled out either way. It was about being the commander of a starship crew in desperate straits and having to make the choice that best served their chances of long-term survival -- even though it was a ruthless choice. That's the sort of decision that a captain in that kind of situation would have to make from time to time. Voyager too often glossed over the harsh compromises their situation would demand, but this was one time the show confronted the issue outright. We weren't supposed to like Janeway's decision. We were supposed to understand that there was no good decision in that situation.
     
  18. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Commodore Commodore

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    Hmm... it's been a long while since I watched it, but if I remember the ep correctly, letting Tuvix live would not be a double murder. Tuvok and Neelix had already been "killed" in an accident... Tuvix's death was premeditated murder in order to "resurrect" the original two.
     
  19. zarkon

    zarkon Captain Captain

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    Fine, then just turn it around - they got over that quick enough, they'll get over this.


    No, I actually fundamentally disagree here. What she did was murder. Tuvok & Neelix were already dead. This is the equivalent of sacrificing someone to bring them back to life.

    That he only came to be because of their deaths is irrelevant, since it was no doing, or fault of his.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013
  20. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    To bring the topic back full circle - isn't that what David Mack did in this trilogy? Sacrificing Soong sen. for Soong jun. (why doesn't Data carry the surname, anyway?), sacrificing Data's inamorata for his daughter.
     

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