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. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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

    I mean, that'd be a fair point if Nemesis and Before Dishonor weren't both kind of terrible.
     
  2. zarkon

    zarkon Captain Captain

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

    I thought before dishonour was a pretty fun read.

    The very idea of trophy world cracked me up, and one of my favourite authors killed off one of my least favourite characters.

    Good times

    On the plus side, the baseball team got one of its regulars back
     
  3. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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

    I think between Before Dishonor and The Eternal Tide, Before Dishonor is actually the better novel.
     
  4. RonG

    RonG Captain Captain

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


    That's two statements I disagree with: While I like TET quite a lot (despite my original reservations on the return of You-Know-Who :cool:), I found Before Dishonor to be quite a fun romp - didn't hurt at all that it also revisit my very first Trek novel - Vendetta :techman:

    ant, On-Topic - I just finished TPoM and loved it! a great start to the trilogy and another winner from David Mack (though, let's face it - what else could it be? ;) ).

    Though not quite on the same level of Destiny IMO (and again, what could be? ;)), TPoM was a great page-turner and (though I'm against character resurrections as a plot device) a great way to continue the story of a character once thought lost..
     
  5. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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

    So you're OK with bringing back dead characters as long as the story they were killed in doesn't meet a certain standard? Death doesn't work that way.

    Bringing back Spock should have been a one off. However, Genesis gave them an out. As Carol Marcus said "life from lifelessness". It was a totally impossible way doing it from a scientific point of view but Trek isn't and never has been a hard science series. For all of Roddenberry's claims that the science should be correct it's played fast and loose with scientific reality from the very first episode. In that context, the resurrection of Spock worked for the story.

    Now we've got millions and billions of deaths with the Dominion War, Destiny and others. We still get characters coming back from the dead but just the "hero" characters. Kirk, Janeway, Data. Either death is reversible as long as you're a highly regarded Starfleet officer or there's been a lot more people coming back from the dead than we've seen. Either way, death is no longer The End. It's down to a case of deciding who's worthy. Are the 60 billion dead from Destiny less worthy than Janeway? Or Kirk? Or Data?

    Star Trek may not be hard science but it shouldn't be a super-hero comic series either.
     
  6. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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

    I don't actually disagree with anything you're saying, but in these particular stories I don't actually think any of those complaints apply.

    Data is obviously a special case, if Spock was then Data certainly must be, and
    Janeway is resurrected by characters that obviously have that ability, because *they* think that she's more worthy. The book doesn't present that as necessarily true, either.
    Again, weird for me because I generally agree with you, I just think these two particular stories were really nicely handled.

    And as for my point about Before Dishonor and Nemesis, you'd mentioned that it removes emotional impact from death if it's later reversed, and mentioned the shocking and profoundly affecting death of Duffy as your example. Which, again, I agree with. But I didn't feel any emotional impact from Data's death or Janeway's, in their particular works. So I don't think their resurrection is in any way making Nemesis or Before Dishonor worse. Really, BD was a preposterous comic book romp; I don't think anyone was getting to the end with a tear in their eye!

    Full Circle does a much better job at making Janeway's death Really Mean Something, but I've got enough faith in Kirsten MF Beyer to believe that all of that character growth won't be reversed just because she's back again. I could analyze that more deeply if you like but I don't think it'd make much sense if you hadn't read the story to see what I'm talking about. (Again not a judgement! Not trying to be snarky! Feel free to skip any book you don't want to read, it just makes it harder to talk about the specifics...)
     
  7. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

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

    I'd like to respond to a couple of things in your post, RPJOB.

    According to Memory Alpha, the following characters have been "resuscitated":
    1. Scotty ("The Changeling")
    2. McCoy ("Shore Leave")
    3. Spock (TSfS)
    4. Yareena ("Code of Honor")
    5. Lyndsay Ballard, kinda sorta ("Ashes to Ashes")
    6. Neeliz ("Mortal Coil")
    7. Rao Vantika, though I'm not sure I agree with their interpretation here ("The Passenger")

    They omit, but frankly should also include Kai Opaka in "Battle Lines." (And, hell, even Kirk's first death, as recorded by history, in Generations wasn't so permanent after all. Though I grant that this case is rather different.)

    I woud also add that Tasha Yar was brought back in a kinda, sorta way, in "Yesterday's Enterprise," enough that she left her mark on the prime timeline with Sela, and similarly, we had a version of Jennifer Sisko brought back in "Through The Looking Glass" and "Shattered Mirror," and a version of Bareil in "Resurrection," enough to have significant emotional effects on their prime universe loved ones.

    Frankly, it seems clear that death just ain't what it used to be in the 24th century. Death hasn't been "The End," as you say, for quite some time in the Trekverse. Sure, most of the time it's shown to be as permanent as it ever has been, but we see numerous exceptions. (And the TrekLit authors have provided many fewer by comparison.)

    Honestly, I'd love to see a story that examines the effects that these incredible exception to deaths have on characters. Impermanent death is a two-edged sword emotionally; great for those around the resuscitated at the time, but bad for everyone else, who are given false hope for their deceased loved ones, and then ultimately problematic for the resuscitated's loved ones, when permanent death really does arrive. (Is it real this time? I'll never know.) David Mack touched on this in his discussion of Geordi's emotions about the returned Data (particularly his anger at the "wasted grief").

    You identified three hero characters who were brought back: Kirk, Janeway and Data.

    Kirk: was brought back by the actor who played him. These stories are ignored entirely by the present authors and continuity. As far as I can tell, the current authors don't even stick in easter eggs about the Shatnerverse. The large majority of TrekLit treats Kirk as dead in the 24th century (save for a few minutes in 2371) and the stories reflect that.

    Janeway: *sigh* I don't know what to feel about this. The story Beyer told with it was epic in scope and was quite moving in some ways. Her death was anything but conventional (assimilation by wacky Borg and then, apparently uniquely, going to live with Lady Q?) and so, arguably, should be treated differently than the 60 billion tragically conventional deaths from Destiny. On the other hand, I think the stories have greater potential with her existing in memory only, so I don't know what to feel about it. I agree with Thrawn in that the story was very nicely handled, though I'm not sure it needed to be told. But I digress.

    Data: is not human. Never was. Never will be. He downloaded his freaking memories into another brain. That does not happen in real life, nor did happen for (presumably most of) the people who died in the Borg Invasion.

    So, setting aside Kirk for the purposes of discussing stories from the current continuity, we're left with Janeway, whose death was never really quite a death for her (obviously it was for everyone else, but they were ignorant of her actual fate) and Data, whose death in Nemesis was never intended to be treated as a conventional death, thanks to the B-4 back door.

    I agree that the "return" trope feels overused at this point. But I don't think it's fair to use these incredible examples (that were written to be incredible, ie unbelievable examples) to argue that the folks at Pocket have unilaterally and suddenly made Death ≠ The End.

    (Also, I agree with Thrawn's point about emotional impact.)
     
  8. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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

    A lot of people keep talking about whether or not the characters who've been brought back are "more worthy" of being brought back than all of nameless faceless numbers who we've been told were killed in the wars and invasions of the last few decades worth of Trek stories, and if you approach it from a real world perspective they certainly are. They are very popular characters, who a lot of people were upset to be see killed off, so it makes sense that they would be brought back.
    Even if you look at it from an in universe perspective you could make an argument that they are more worthy. These people are fairly prominent members of Starfleet, serving on top of the line Starships who've saved the world and the galaxy several times. IMO that makes them pretty worthy. Now, that's not to say that they are the only ones who are worthy, there are probably a lot of other people who've done the same thing, and for all we know some of them could have been resurrected too.
    I really don't have a problem with resurrections as long as the reasons and methods make sense in-universe.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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

    That's misunderstanding the intentions behind that "back door." The filmmakers did intend Data's death to be permanent. The whole reason Brent Spiner proposed the story was because he felt he was too old to keep playing Data and had decided this would be the last time, period. The movie went to considerable lengths to establish that B-4 couldn't become like Data, that the memory download failed because B-4's brain was just too simple. They gave Data that big speech about how B-4, like Shinzon, was incapable of learning or growing beyond his limits. The bit of song B-4 remembered at the end was just meant to offer hope that maybe Data had given him the ability to grow a little after all.

    Sure, at the studio's behest, the download had the secondary purpose of being an "escape hatch," a way to bring Data back just in case the film did well enough and the studio offered Spiner enough money to convince him to change his mind. But that doesn't mean it was the intent all along. Putting airbags in a car doesn't mean you intend it to crash. Building an escape tunnel in your castle doesn't mean you intend it to be occupied by raiders. The backup plan is what you resort to when things don't work out as you intended.



    It would help make it more credible if we got occasional resurrections for the Third Redshirt on the Left or somebody -- if methods of cheating death were just established to be something that's part of the universe and can happen to anybody, rather than something reserved only for the core cast. (Although Mr. Leslie seems to have been resurrected at least once, since he was declared dead in "Obsession" but was fine the next week.)
     
  10. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

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

    Well, yeah, it was the studio who intended that Data's death have a backdoor and therefore not be a conventional death. I know it wasn't the writers' original intent. That doesn't change the fact that, in its final form, Data's death was not intended to be a conventional one, nor should it be treated as one subsequently. (I concede that that wasn't "always" the intent; mea culpa.)

    And I didn't say that the intent was that Data would return; I said that his death was not intended to be treated as a "conventional" one– simply by virtue of the existence of a back door. Any death that leaves a back door is not a conventional death. That's all I meant. To use your analogies, usually deaths don't have escape tunnels or air bags.

    Lyndsay Ballard, Yareena, Vantika.

    But really, Spock, Data and Janeway are in a category of their own in terms of returns (the latter two in particular), due to the extraordinary circumstances involved. Data's case is unique in-universe; basically no one else had a back-up set of memories around, along with the ability to transfer them to a new body. Janeway's return was only made possible by the actions of multiple superpowerful beings, and then it was only in a situation where the entire universe was at stake.

    I know it seems like I'm arguing both sides of the coin here, but my point is that, while incredible returns/resurrections/resuscitations have been part of Star Trek since the beginning (and are not the result of lazy or death-cheapening TrekLit writers or editors), the examples of Data and Janeway are clearly presented as extraordinary exceptions to a rule that, even 350 years in the future, is still active 99.99% of the time.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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

    Okay. I'll grant the first and third, but Yareena doesn't really count, since she was only dead by the standards of Ligonian medicine; she was easily revivable by the standards of Federation medicine. Plenty of people today in real life can be revived within minutes of clinical death, so it doesn't count as something extraordinary or science-fictional. Resuscitation is not resurrection.


    But isn't that essentially what Spock did in TWOK? Transfer a backup of his consciousness into McCoy?

    Not to mention Voyager's EMH; we saw in "Living Witness" that he has a sentient backup, though the absence of another backup in later episodes is hard to reconcile.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  12. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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

    The point is, regardless off the "quality" of someone's death, when it is later reversed it chips away at the emotional impact of the other character deaths that follow, particularly for the "hero" characters. Why should I care if Picard or Kira or Paris or Hoshi die when it's more than likely that they;ll be back in a book or two or six? And when you stop caring about what happens to the main characters it just makes it that much easier to brush off something like Destiny. Really, when you compare the number or resurrections among the canon characters you'd think that there'd have to be a few thousand if not millions of people coming back from that.

    Strangely, it's sort of the reverse of a disagreement I had with the latest DTI novel by CRB where it's revealed that...

    The Enterprise-Nil was uniquely suited for time travel because of what happened in The Naked Time. Seeing the ease of time travel we've been presented with (even Quark time travelled totally by accident and managed to get back) it's making these characters (including the ship) as drastically different from everyone else.
     
  13. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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

    I guess I can see what you're saying there.
     
  14. ronny

    ronny Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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

    Sort of conflicted here. I'm really not into resurrections and we've had 2 in a 3 month span but each one was handled so well I'm not objecting as much as I normally would. And I don't think there's anyone else to bring back so I guess we're good.

    The death of Choudhury was by far the biggest shock in the book. I had to re-read that paragraph to make sure I read it correctly. Then when Data came back for a minute I was thinking with Choudury dead was Worf going back to security and Data going to be 1st officer, so we're almost back to the TV series, how much of a reset was this going to be? Only that didn't happen. I'm really glad David Mack has better ideas than me. :) The Breen also continue to be my favorite Typhone Pact race to read about.

    I'm so looking forward to where this story is going to lead to I've already started the next book.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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

    "Typhone?" Is that what Typhon Pact members call their communicators? ;)
     
  16. ICW

    ICW Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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

    Just finished this novel and...wow.

    I have never teared up when reading a Star Trek novel BUT, I have to admit, I did so with this one. I could not put the novel down for a second. I found the Noonien Soong part of the book so fascinating and entertaining. It was so fascinating to see how he reacted to Lore's "death" and, eventually, to Data's. His character was explored so deeply and profoundly...just great stuff.

    I voted "outstanding." Might even be my favorite Star Trek novel ever, definitely in my top 5.
     
  17. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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

    Dammit. Just wrote a review - and it vanished!

    Thoroughly enjoyed this great follow-up to Jeff Lang's excellent "Immortal Coil", looping in lots of elements I would have suggested myself! It's been my in-flight reading for my still-ongoing US trip. Thanks David!

    And now... Book 2!
     
  18. datalogan

    datalogan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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

    And Galloway was vaporized in "The Omega Glory", but still showed up again in "Turnabout Intruder".
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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

    Only according to the credits. He was never actually named in dialogue, so I choose to believe that was Mr. Johnson from "Day of the Dove" instead.
     
  20. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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

    Same here. I was very pleased when I noted that. Would have been a fun thing for them to fix when they were doing the HD/Blu-Ray set.