TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Sho, Oct 21, 2012.

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Rate The Persistence of Memory.

  1. Outstanding

    71 vote(s)
    55.9%
  2. Above Average

    42 vote(s)
    33.1%
  3. Average

    12 vote(s)
    9.4%
  4. Below Average

    1 vote(s)
    0.8%
  5. Poor

    1 vote(s)
    0.8%
  1. Shikarnov

    Shikarnov Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

    This book kept me going straight through, page after page, from start to finish, non-stop. I can safely say it was the best Trek book I've read in at least ten years.

    Kudos to Mr. Mack. Well done, sir. Very well done, indeed. :techman:

    (Between this series, and the also well-done Temporal Investigations series, I'll be looking forward to new releases with much renewed enthusiasm. Thanks for that.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012
  2. Patrick O'Brien

    Patrick O'Brien Captain Captain

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    Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

    Just finished the Chronic Rift interview David did at NYC ComicCon. Very informative:bolian: Julio Angel Ortiz did a great job asking questions as a trek lit fan:techman:
     
  3. Eat-Da-Tribble

    Eat-Da-Tribble Ensign Newbie

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    Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

    Data is back and I can't be happier. But I have some unanswered questions:

    Will Data return to the fleet? How long until Data is promoted to commander? 20 years?

    Why is a death sentence be Worf's girlfriend?

    Is Data still fully funtional?

    And what will Spot do? Will she return with Data? Or will she stay with Worf :klingon:?
     
  4. j3067

    j3067 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

    Just finished the book today and I loved it. My take away was that this was about Worf putting the mission first in exactly the way he didn't with Jadzia. It is an event that may balance out Sisko's reprimand to some degree from a Starfleet standpoint.

    I liked Jasminder and will miss her character, but I overall liked the turn the story took. I was also glad that Chen was minimized, but I'd like to see Elfiki get more development at some point.
     
  5. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

    Gah! Mind = blown!

    (So many spoilers ahead.)

    Honestly, this book is such a downer in so freaking many ways, I’m not sure I like it. Destiny was destructive on a massive level, but at the very least was uplifting in some real ways.

    But this… this just felt evil.

    First, I should outline the few spoilers I knew going in:
    -I knew it was a sequel to Immortal Coil
    -I knew Soong made an appearance.
    -I knew the Breen appeared.
    -I knew Choudhury died.
    -I knew Data was brought back, sorta kinda, possibly as some sort of amalgamation of him and Soong.

    Where to begin?

    For no good reason, I’ll start with Choudhury’s death. Knew it was coming. Still shocked me. Casual brutality. Definitely the heir apparent for the “Most Pointless Death” award, held until recently by the late Tasha Yar. And Worf’s reaction afterward in the ready room really enhanced the effect. Of all the TrekLit only characters, I liked Choudhury the best, and her death was definitely affecting for me.

    (Minor quibble: I wish Worf had actually been forced to choose between Choudhury and the rest of the away team. I feel that would’ve fit better into the overall theme of the book. On the other hand, it would’ve eliminated the casual brutality of her death, and wouldn’t have set him on the trajectory he is currently on [which I’m sure will get followed up in Silent Weapons].)

    Not sure how well the extended Soong narrative worked as part II of the book. The conceit was that he was telling the away team all this in real time, which of course is unrealistic. Still, it was always in the back of my mind, which made the sub-story feel like it was going on much longer than it was supposed to. I enjoyed the story, once I got over the blatant retconning of “Brothers” and the almost Mary Sue-like aspects of his character. (That came out passively aggressive, and I don’t mean it like that. I really did enjoy the story after I got over the things that bothered me.)

    Soong comes across as an anti-hero, which seems consistent with the other interpretations of him that we’ve seen. Still, it makes the Data-Soong fusion at the end a bit more troubling than I wish it were.

    And for the elephant in the room: Data.

    As I said in the Brinkmanship thread, Picard, Data and Garak are my favorite Trek characters, and if I had to pick one from those three, I would probably choose Data. So, as I was with Picard’s characterization in Brinkmanship, I am probably a bit oversensitive to Data, too.

    Before getting to Data himself, though: I realized about halfway through the Soong narrative (before he learns of Data’s death in the Bassen Rift) how Data was going to be resurrected. I’m not sure I quite realized that Data was going to get a bit of a Soong-infusion as well, but I suddenly knew that Data was going to get Soong’s body. And, honestly, realizing that at that point, without even thinking about it, really disappointed me.

    It’s worth saying that, while I try to avoid spoilers, if I see them, it can still be okay, because I want to find out how they came about. And if I see that too, I’ll want more details. So the book will be enjoyable no matter what. Except here, when it somehow became obvious much sooner than I wished. That is too bad.

    I must say that Data’s resurrection itself was well-done, and believable, too. It didn’t seem forced, and felt like a logical outgrowth of what had been previously established about all of the characters involved.

    (I also really liked Soong’s turning the Breen’s Lore’s into his own army; that was a great moment, although, again, it was rather obvious what he was planning.)

    But the resurrected Data… I dunno. First of all, I wish we had seen more of him. Not to start a nuclear war here on the BBS, but Janeway got much, much more treatment in her resurrection novel, and she was much less popular than Data (by virtue of appearing on a less-watched series), and, furthermore, her death was in a novel, not on screen.

    But more than that, Data 2.0 seems… well, he’s not Data anymore. He says that much, and I can deal with that. What I’m having a harder time dealing with: he doesn’t seem very likable. He says that he is reconsidering Starfleet in response to the deep offense that his original enlistment was to his father. That seems rather selfish to me. Almost everything Data accomplished in his life, he accomplished in spite of Soong, not because of him. And Starfleet, for all of its problematic treatments of AI, still gave him so much more than Soong did. To say nothing of Picard, Crusher, Worf and especially La Forge. He’s Geordi’s best friend, he’s just returned from the dead, and he can’t even hang around for a bit? I understand his desire to resurrect Lal, but this newfound obsession with controlling life and death seems more like Soong or Lore than like the Data we all know and love. (And anyway, he could stay out of Starfleet while still remaning on the Enterprise for a while.) His characterization makes sense in-universe, to be sure. I just personally don’t like it.

    Overall, I’m not sure how I feel about The Persistence of Memory. On the one (objective) hand, the novel itself is executed very well, with only a few minors flaws. (Unlike, for example, Seize the Fire or the last Romulan War novel.) It kept me turning the pages, it filled in some gaps in the Trek universe (Orion!) and it felt like I really was reading the characters I know from canon.

    On the other (totally subjective) hand, story-wise, and big-picture-wise (which I assume represents decisions made more by the editor than the writer), I am much more ambivalent. Unfortunately, I must say that, as much as I regret to say this, I found the ending to be such a downer that it really removed any enjoyment I had previously had from reading the book. :( (Not even RBoE bothered me this much, as Star Trek novels go.)

    To be sure: I respect and admire Mr. Mack’s story choices. I do not mean to criticize them at all. I am unhappy almost exclusively with the events that are depicted themselves, not the decision to depict them, and I recognize that that unhappiness stems almost entirely from my personal feelings. (And honestly, it seems to me that David Mack’s ability to draw me into the story so completely is nothing but a complement to him and his writing.)
    Final score: 3.5 stars out of 5 (voted Above Average in the poll)

    EDIT: Bumping this up to 4 stars out of 5 (see post below for explanation)

    P.S.:
    I’m saying it here and now (before having read the rest of this thread, or anything David Mack has said about the editorial decisions): I don’t think they are setting up the novelverse to overlap the Countdown continuity. And good for them for doing so!
    P.P.S.: Why is it impossible for me to write a short review? I really tried with this one...:shrug:
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
  6. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

    Oy. So instead of adding more to the mess that is the above, I'm just gonna add this here (more spoilers!):

    Something that is always in the back of my mind when reading TrekLit is that it's very possible that the novel I am reading will be the last one to tell such and such particular story. Editors change, authors move on, et cetera. (ie. Look at what happened to the original DS9-R.) So if a novel ends with particular, important elements unresolved, I'm less happy than I would be otherwise.

    (I think this was partly why so many people were upset by RBoE; for all we knew, Sisko's story was never going to be followed up on, and he would just be left in this awful place.)

    So, going into this novel, with the added knowledge that David Mack had said that each novel tells its own story, I figured that most of the important material therein would not be followed up on for quite some time, if ever.

    Flashforward to the end: Data is back, but he's going off to the great unknown. My first thought: aw crap, we'll probably never see him again.

    This no doubt colored my overall feelings about the book and not for the better.

    However, while going through this thread, I found a post by Mr. Mack saying that the whole trilogy is a sequel to Immortal Coil.

    So I guess that means that this (probably) isn't the last we'll see of Data! That makes me more satisfied with the novel overall, enough to earn it back a half star.
     
  7. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

    I thought this too at first, but as Christopher remimded me...
    In Countdown, Data tells Spock...

    "A more apt description would be a simple "return," denoting the fact that my neural nets were successfully imprinted onto B-4's existing programming."

    ...something Persistence of Memory explicitly contradicts by saying B-4 wasn't advanced enough to support Data's programs and memories, and the download from Star Trek Nemesis actually eventually led to a slow-motion cascade faliure in B-4.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2012
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

    ^You mean The Persistence of Memory, not Paths of Disharmony. And the contradictions go beyond what you mention:
    The year of Data's return is different, and of course he returns in a separate body from B-4's rather than taking his over.

    And Paper Moon, I'm surprised it felt like a downer to you. I found it a rather optimistic book, aside from one character's fate.
     
  9. wizkid

    wizkid Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

    I thought the book was fantastic. When I checked in to see what new books were out and saw D Mack with a trilogy it was like Christmas. I preordered the next two through iBooks.

    Great job David. I loved the back story and it all tied together so well. I will have to reread Immortal Coil because of his book and that is a definite compliment to both authors.

    I'm glad Data is back! Data is back! I believe the door for Data to get Soong back alive is there as well. I think in the end we can have more Soong and Soong creations. Maybe that will sell more books so we can get more books.

    I long for the books that show Data wrapping it all up and returning to the Enterprise.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

    I'm not sure I want Data to return to the Enterprise. He's a being of immense potential; does it really serve him well as a character to keep him stuck in the same role in the same place for decades?
     
  11. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

    Christopher you should know by now that obsessive trek fans don't care about a character's potential. They just want to see them do the same thing over and over and over again so they can have to same group of characters together for all eternity even if it stopped making since decades before ;)
     
  12. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

    Yeah, I more meant in terms of big-picture stuff, mainly
    Data becoming captain of the Enterprise.
    (Nor do I think TPoM is
    setting Worf up to be a Klingon general.)

    This: ;)

    I mean, also, on reflection, I do realize that my misconception about the
    Data thread
    not being not continued in the rest of the trilogy really colored my perception of the overall book. I just read the first page, well, actually, the Historian's Note for Silent Weapons, so I know he continues to be a focus.

    As I said, it really sucks when you think that a particular plot element stands a real chance of never getting resolved, and you don't like where it's been left. (For example, see people's reactions to the Ascendant arc at the end of DS9-R, Sisko's position in RBoE or, heck, Janeway's death in Before Dishonor. With the [glaring] exception of the former, all of these caused quite a stir because it looked like they would never be followed up on.) I was worried that Mr. Mack
    resurrected Data
    to have him available for further, not-yet-contracted stories. So it was like,
    Oh yay! Data's back! Aaaaannd he's gone again. Great.

    And on some level, yeah, I want *The Character* back on the Enterprise. Even if he's still
    Data 2.0,
    I want to see him interacting with Picard, Worf, Crusher, La Forge, the newbies... it may not be as plausible in terms of character development, but there's a good chance it'll be a helluva lot more fun, at least, for me.

    So I would say my downer about *The Character* were more a result of his
    being different (sorry! his being different is still a reminder of his predecessor's death!)
    and of his brief appearance, which I misconceptualized as being his only appearance.

    As for Choudhury's death: it's a downer to lose her, but it's also a downer to lose Worf. We kinda had a Worf 2.0 thing going too, for a while. A well-adjusted, happy Worf. Looks like that's gone, too. Which probably means that the fantastic relationship he had with Picard is going to change, maybe for the worse, maybe not. So it's a downer to see that in the air, too.

    It's a downer to lose Soong, as ambiguous as he is. Data finally would get a chance to know his father, but no. His return requires his father's sacrifice. So that's a downer.

    It's a downer for Soong's original replacement body for Data to have been destroyed by the Borg. Reopening just a bit of the Destiny wound there. It's also a downer that Data (appears) to have permanently lost his mother. (Though I recognize that the door is left open for her to reappear later. However, the conceit is that we're supposed to belief she's dead-dead-dead [as opposed to just dead-dead].)

    (Heh, while I'm at it: it's a downer that Spot's getting old!)

    I realize these reactions are highly personalized ones to valid editorial and story-telling decisions. And I can see how the book is, in many ways, optimistic. (For Chrissake,
    Data's effing back!!)
    And it makes me very happy that Mr. Mack decided to tell a bold new story. It just struck some of the wrong chords with me. (And I know that that is totally, "it's not you, it's me." :p)
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

    This deep into the review thread, I don't think we need to use spoiler boxes anymore. There is a spoiler warning in the thread title, after all. And these subjects have been discussed in the clear earlier in the thread.

    But he has his father's memories within him now. That's a heck of a way to get to know someone.


    Why? His new one is better.


    Huh? You really, really need to reread the last page of the book.
     
  14. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

    Heh, yeah, that's true. Looking back at that post, I did get a touch spoiler tag-happy. :lol:

    A fair point, but still, as this novel went to great lengths to point out, a person is more than the collection of their memories.

    Also, I know this is a bit selfish of me, but I wouldn't mind seeing Data get to know his father, through interaction and conversation. Maybe we'll get peeks into Data's thought processes, see him consult his father's memories, but I'm not optimistic.

    Still, I definitely grant your point.

    Sorry, it's a downer that it happened in the first place, because it meant that Soong had to give up his own body. All-in-all, everyone would've been happier if the original Data 2.0 body hadn't been destroyed.

    Done. Yeah, I realize that Data believes that Vaslovik is still alive, and that he's gonna go looking for him, with the goal of learning how to revive Lal. But all Data says about his mother is that she was revived by Vaslovik sometime around '75. He says nothing about going to look for her, and if he thinks she is alive, he doesn't seem to care. (Which seems out of character for both Data and Soong, leading me to think he doesn't think she's alive.)

    I just reread chapter 22 (where Soong visits the former location of Vaslovik's mansion). The way I'm reading it, Soong is deluding himself by not considering the possibility that either or both of them are dead. It's unclear if there is a limit to what Vaslovik/Flint/Akharin can actually withstand (could survive in a vacuum? As the target of a nuclear weapon? A direct shot with a quantum torpedo?), but let's assume he could survive anything, including the shockwaves of a quantum torpedo's impact. (Hey, he survived WWIII.)

    Juliana may not be so lucky. As we have seen time and again (most obviously in Nemesis), android bodies are highly durable but are not indestructible. It seems very plausible to me that Vaslovik could've survived the wholesale destruction of his mansion at the hands of the Borg, but that Juliana['s body] could not.

    (As for Soong's relief at not finding bodies, very simple: being so close to the epicenter of a Borg energy bolt, Juliana simply vaporized into all that much more dust. Akharin, on the other hand, being able to survive anything, survives and leaves.)

    What am I missing, Christopher?
     
  15. zarkon

    zarkon Captain Captain

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    Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

    For myself I assumed that Flint burned all evidence of his existence there and left, and on rereading and seeing the words "abandoned", "where they might have gone" and "They've left me nothing to follow", I'm puzzled as to how you came to a different conclusion.
     
  16. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

    Congratulations! Happy to help get you to NYT bestselling status. It's been too long since a Trek book was on the list.
     
  17. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

    Given that the thread title contains (spoilers), you don't actually need a spoiler tag. It's up to the readers to decide if they want to risk being spoiled or not.
     
  18. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

    A little nitpick: Given that you are a reader of eBooks and as it is the mass market paperback fiction bestseller list you didn't do anything to "help get him bestseller status". (Neither did I, since I also bought the eBook.)
     
  19. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

    Well, first of all, I don't trust Soong as being a 100% reliable narrator, particularly at this highly volatile nexus of his jealousy for Vaslovik and his unrequited love for Juliana. His use of the terms you noted strike me as deliberately not including the possibility that they may have been targeted by the Borg. That seems to me to reflect an unconscious refusal to consider that possibility, which would color his account of what he saw.

    That said, Soong does note that some "blackened timbers remained upright," and that is harder (though not impossible) to reconcile with my theory of a Borg attack.

    I concede that Mack is more ambiguous regarding Juliana's fate than I initially perceived, and that it is probably more likely that she survived than not.

    Still, though, if that is the case, I am still puzzled why Data does not put more emphasis on finding his mother as well as Vaslovik. But I figure that will be addressed in the next two books.
     
  20. JWolf

    JWolf Commodore Commodore

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    Re: TNG: The Persistence of Memory by David Mack Review Thread (Spoile

    The NYT Bestseller list does include eBooks and combined eBooks and print.
     

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