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. Enterprise is Great

    Enterprise is Great Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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

    I just finished it...great read.
     
  2. Defcon

    Defcon Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  3. Sakrysta

    Sakrysta Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    I need to learn not to try to read the whole review thread before posting. I get bogged down in all the opposing points of view and end up no longer wanting to comment. :lol:

    Opening the doors to the warehouse and realizing what was inside - "Hoo boy. I think we might be in trouble..."

    Jasminder's demise - I literally closed my Kindle app for a few seconds and mentally screamed, "MAAAAAAAACK!!!!!" And then I shook my mental fist at the sky. David dude, you are evil sometimes.

    "Data"'s return - I'm excited to see where he goes from here, what he decides to do with his new lease on life and his new self.

    I was thrilled to see Lal being remembered and treated with such respect. I can't think of any character in Trek that made a more indellible impression on me in just one episode. Others perhaps equalled, but none exceeded.

    I have to say I was sad to see Julianna end up with Vaslovik. That creeped me out for some reason.

    Looking forward to reading the next installment. As usual, Mr. Mack may provoke me to exclamations of despair, but it's always so good when he does. ;) :techman:
     
  4. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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

    I loved this book from beginning to end. It was great (and so is the whole CE trilogy, which I finished a few weeks ago). This was the best of the three, and easily one of the best ST books I've read in awhile. I might even put it in my top 10.
     
  5. USS Firefly

    USS Firefly Commander Red Shirt

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

    Just finished the book and it was great, tonight I hope to start with part 2.
    And poor Worf, perhaps he can better try it with dating men ;)

    But I think that Data will be a Starfleet officer on the bridge at the end.
     
  6. Jakks

    Jakks Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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

    Been playing catch-up on my Star Trek reading. Have enjoyed everything I've read so far. (Plagues of Night, Raise the Dawn, Brinksmanship.)

    Just finished Persistence of Memory. Gotta say I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Especially the switch to first person writing for the Soong section.

    Picked up the two sequels and am diving in.

    Well done Mr. Mack. Thank You!
     
  7. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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

    I hope you'll all forgive this bit of thread necromancy, but I just wanted to let folks here know that I’ve just learned from my editors that the Kindle versions of all three books of my recent New York Times-bestselling Star Trek: The Next Generation trilogy Cold Equations will be offered this Friday for the special Kindle Daily Deal price of just $0.99 each!

    [​IMG]

    The offer is good for one day only — Friday, May 17, in celebration of the American premiere of the new blockbuster feature film Star Trek: Into Darkness.

    So, if you or someone you know has been wanting to pick up my Cold Equations trilogy in Kindle format, this will be a chance to do so at an amazing savings. This would also be a great time to buy it as a gift for the Star Trek fan in your life.

    That is all. You may all now salivate in fervent anticipation.
     
  8. Sakrysta

    Sakrysta Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    Yay for everyone who was patient.

    Wah for me, who was not. :( ;)
     
  9. Brendan Moody

    Brendan Moody Vice Admiral Admiral

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  10. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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

    Gracias!
     
  11. NurseChapel39

    NurseChapel39 Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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

    FYI: The trekmate podcast Ten-Forward recently posted a 90 minute review/ discussion about this book. The site is trekmate.org.uk Their book club discussions are entertaining and informative.
     
  12. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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

    Indeed, it is definitely worth a listen. You can find The Ten Forward Book Club’s podcast review of The Persistence of Memory here.

    As always, hosts Sina and Michael, and (for this episode) their guest Melissa, are all incisive and insightful commentators, and their discussion of the book’s story, themes, philosophies, and characters is lively and spot-on. They present some superb literary review and criticism, and I encourage everyone to settle in and listen to this podcast, because I think it's ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT.
     
  13. Sakrysta

    Sakrysta Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    ^Aw now David, tell us how you REALLY feel! ;)
     
  14. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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

    BTW, just picked up the trilogy and will be reading it all tomorrow for some more reviews myself. I'm not a podcast but I haven't been this excited in awhile.
     
  15. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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

    I absolutely loved this book.

    It's also discontinuity for me. It is exiled from my Trekverse, never happening in a way which even "Threshold" and "Profit and Lace" fail to occur ("Dear Doctor", of course, is still out). I am going to recommend it on my blog and to others, I may even re-read it but I have problems I can't reconcile.

    A Persistence of Memory is funny, interesting, easy to read, and enjoyable. So why, pray tell, is it out of the Phipps Trekverse? Well, it boils down to two factors. Not the resurrection plot. People come back from the dead all the time in Star Trek. Only novelists and nerds like me care whether Miles O'Brien is actually the same man as his past self or Harry Kim is on his sixth or seventh life. All I care about is Spock being alive and, as far as I'm concerned, Captain Kirk was taken by the Nexus to Iotia where he founded his own Starfleet. Only a Nexus-created copy died in Generations.

    No, my problem is the character of Emil Vaslovik and his relationship to Doctor Soong as well as the portrayal of the latter. They... rub me the wrong way in a manner which is hard to define. Vasilok demeans Doctor Soong's importance in the Trek canon not in any direct manner but in a subtler one which irritates my inner nerd. Doctor Vaslovik is the greatest cyberneticist ever, literally da Vinchi, and can do more with his left pinkie than Soong could with his entire brain. Soong was inspired by him and spends his entire life trying to catch up.

    And well, he doesn't.

    The best way to illustrate how this makes me feel is through analogy. Imagine you're reading a book about the Original Series and Captain Kirk comes up. You'd expect that. After all, Captain Kirk is the star of TOS period (as are the rest of the Enterprise's crew). He is the first starship captain in canon and all others flow from him, just like Superman and superheroes.

    Now imagine that this book is from Captain Kirk's perspective and that he's stated to be the second greatest captain in Starfleet. There's this other guy, Steve Armstrong, and he's the captain of the U.S.S Curbstomp. Captain Armstrong does everything Captain Kirk does only better. He has bigger adventures, prettier girls, and more respect from his crew.

    This isn't to set up a conflict where Kirk eventually proves himself better than Armstrong, it's just concrete fact that the U.S.S Curbstomp's crew is the Enterprise's superior in every way. Oh and Carol Marcus plays a role in the book too, she's Captain Armstrong's new wife.

    Finally, just to put the cherry on top, we discover Captain Kirk is motivated by a life-long envy of Captain Armstrong and his career. Captain Armstrong even taught Kirk everything he knows! The book ends acknowledging Captain Armstrong is someone Kirk will never be able to catch up to, but he needs to accept doesn't mean he's not awesome in his own (lesser) way.

    Yeah.

    To me, Noonien Soong is the greatest cyberneticist in the Star Trek universe. It's his thing. He's by no means as famous or popular a character as Captain Kirk but it's his hat. That Doctor Soong was a genius in robotics and was able to create an android no one in the world was able to replicate. His hat, on his head, says, "I am the best roboticist ever." Seeing him reduced to living in this other guy's shadow in such a ridiculously painful way is heartbreaking.

    My next problem is that David Mack's Noonien Soong is a character I simply don't associate with the one on TNG. The saintly Doctor Soong, who is a figure of inspiration to Data throughout the novels and left civilization to work on the pure science of creating an android brain (based on Isaac Asimov's works no less) is difficult to reconcile with a guy who makes his fortune with a holographic casino. Because, really, that's what I associate with Noonien Soong: blackjack and hookers.

    (I'm kidding, I just couldn't get that phrase out of my head. That was one of my favorite parts of the book)

    I would have had no problem with Doctor Soong having created a Doctor Soong android. In fact, I would have been surprised if he didn't given all of his androids bore his likeness. However, I can't imagine Doctor Soong faking his death after Lore "killed" him only to never visit Data again. Had this just been something programmed to activate post his death, I could have written off his bizarre behavior as a quirk of the memory trasfer process, but this is as close to scientific immortality as we're going to get. Doctor Soong is, and always has been apparently, a wild partyman who manipulates everything around him.

    That doesn't mean the character is badly written. I could easily imagine Brent Spinner playing this character but I find it difficult to take him seriously as Doctor Soong. It's a bit like discovering Doctor McCoy having spent his time in-between TOS and TMP as an agent of Section 31. No, actually, I'd find that easier to believe. They, presumably, gave him the disco outfit.

    I'm fine with Data returning, I just can't think of this as "my" vision of Soong.

    Thanks still for writing it!
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2013
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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

    The character's name is Emil Vaslovik, not Vasilok. This is a nod to Roddenberry's 1973 pilot movie The Questor Tapes, about an android searching to discover his origins and understand humanity. Questor's designer in the movie was a man named Dr. Emil Vaslovik. Roddenberry recycled the Questor character into Data when he developed TNG, so when Jeffrey Lang wrote the classic Data-centric novel Immortal Coil -- to which the Cold Equations trilogy is a direct sequel -- he gave Flint (from TOS: "Requiem for Methuselah") the alias of Emil Vaslovik as an homage to TQT -- and perhaps an indirect suggestion that TQT may have been part of Trek history, with Flint naming himself after the real Vaslovik. Since Flint had been an android-maker in "Requiem," and since his creation Rayna Kapec had "died" in a manner almost identical to how Lal died in TNG: "The Offspring," it was reasonable to conclude that his androids were positronic and that Soong learned from him. (And, just possibly, that he learned from Questor, though no licensed Trek novel could ever state that outright since Questor's copyrighted by Universal.)

    So the way Dave portrayed the Soong-"Vaslovik" relationship wasn't anything new. It was previously established in Immortal Coil and grew out of canon evidence.


    Except we already know that Flint, aka Vaslovik, had created a sentient android a full century before Soong did.


    Since when was Soong portrayed as "saintly?" He always came off as an eccentric scoundrel with fringe theories and paranoid tendencies. This is a guy who fled from civilization to do his work on a remote colony in order to prove that Those Fools At The Institute were wrong, who got married in secret, who fled the colony at its moment of destruction because he always had an escape route handy (a surprisingly paranoid habit for someone in the enlightened, peaceful Federation), and who then Let The World Think He Was Dead for decades while he worked in seclusion in a jungle lair. Does that sound like a saintly genius? More like a borderline mad scientist.

    Data had affection for Soong as his father, but he was obviously biased, however unemotional he claimed to be. One can be a loving and supportive father and still be a scoundrel or kind of unstable.


    Why? That's exactly what he canonically did after Omicron Theta was destroyed. He said he'd managed to "keep track of" Data from time to time, so we know that he was aware of Data's existence, yet he still made no effort to contact Data or let him know he was alive until he completed the emotion chip. On second thought, forget what I said about being loving and supportive. Soong was an absentee father, period.
     
  17. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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

    ^ This. 'Nuff said. ;)
     
  18. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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

    David -

    Are Data 2.0's saved memories of Soong similar or more than B4's of Data ? If he built a new body would it be Soong or Soong 2.0 ?

    'Mind your own business' is, in this instance, an acceptable reply...

    ;)
     
  19. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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

    Sorry about the misspelling. I'm usually much more thorough. How embarrassing! Thank you for the information about the characters and their place in the greater Star Trek canon. It certainly provides a wider context for my ideas. Don't think I didn't enjoy the book, either. I'm actively looking forward to the next.

    If your'e not entirely put out...

    I actually appreciated how the novel incorporated evidence from previous Trek canon regarding androids. I laughed outloud about how Doctor Soong commented that his variation on the "upload" device doesn't spin. I don't have anything against ancient immortals in Star Trek either, including Flint. "The Survivors" is a favorite episode of mine. I guess I just felt that Soong's accomplishment was kind of diminished by the book despite the fact he created Data, who did so much good. Seeing him so insecure was kind of depressing.

    A valid interpretation. I guess I just viewed what happened as more that Doctor Soong was a respected robotocist whose fringe (but entirely right) theories lead him to seek work in private. I saw him as Doctor Brown more than Doctor Sivana. More eccentric than paranoid and manipulative. I suppose I also assumed there was some guilt regarding Lore's actions at the colony.

    A good counterpoint, I guess I was more forgiving of Doctor Soong because I figured he was spending that time in work on the Emotion Chip. Seeing him spending decades devoted to gathering money is less sympathetic than tinkering in a lab trying to perfect his sciences. But, of course, even Federation scientists need money.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2013
  20. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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

    Wow, I can't believe I never put Rayna and Lal's "deaths" together like that. Very interesting.