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. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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

    I know, the future in Trek is not set in stone. However, the potential futures we've seen, in the cases where they weren't completely averted, are a suitable roadmap. Although it doesn't equal 'destiny', it is likely that the characters, based on circumstances, make the same decisions for the future.

    Therefore, unless these aspects of future development are unequivocally averted, I like to think that:
    * Beverly will become captain of the Pasteur
    * Worf joins the KDF, becomes General and later member of the High Council
    * Geordi marries Leah
    etc.

    I like to think this is going to happen but I will not be upset if it doesn't. It's like a glimpse beyond the horizon but we may change our direction. That okay?

    Concerning the TPoM: Part 2 was the most fascninating part, Imho, while Part 3 featured the thrilling resolution. Soong's return seems logical in hindsight now and not in any way contrived. Data's reincarnation pushed the benchmark into "Outstanding" and I like to ponder his future: Resurrection of Lal, an army of Lores, (full) Commander Data as Worf's/Picard's XO, captain of the Enterprise with La Forge as XO, special asset (like Seven of Nine in the 2380s)? The possibilities are almost endless.

    In addition, with Data 2.0 having all the knowledge of Dr. Soong, Myriad Universe's Brave New World-like possibilities come to mind.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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

    Sorry, I thought you were saying that you thought it was the original Data returned. I guess I misread you.

    But while I agree with your interpretation that it's not really the same person, I certainly can see how other people could interpret it differently, depending on their beliefs about what constitutes identity and their preferences about having the original character back. They could feel that a person with the same memories is the same person, even if he's gained some new abilities or quirks, because they want it to be the same person. And if that's what they want to believe, the book allows for that interpretation. After all, the nature of identity is a complicated philosophical question, too unclear to make pat assumptions about.


    Except that the characters don't make any decisions because they don't exist. The writers make the decisions about what happens to the characters, based on what they think will make the best story. That's the whole underlying reason why the future is treated as mutable in Trek: so that writers won't feel any pressure to have the characters act out the same futures that past episodes have shown, so that they'll be free to take the characters in whatever directions best suit the stories they have to tell. So any theories about roadmaps or probable futures or whatever fall apart the minute a writer or editor decides a character's future has to play out differently.
     
  3. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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

    Fair enough. Maybe I wasn't quite clear in my original post. :techman:
     
  4. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    Picked this up on a whim - pretty good and I cheered as the offensively bland Choudhury bit the dust, hopefully in the next book T'Ryssa Chen gets to take a phaser to the back of the head. I very much enjoyed the middle section and it was nice to see more of a universe outside of Starfleet.

    As for "Is he Data or not?" question - that read to me to be set up for the next two books and a character arc.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012
  5. Tom Riker

    Tom Riker Lieutenant

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

    A Phaser would be too quick for "EVERYBODY'S FAVORITE QUIRKY VULCAN." :klingon: She should have gone with Choudury and her hippee peace loving ways on the away team.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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

    ^Hindu, not hippie. It's the third-largest religion in the world, with close to a billion adherents.

    And I don't see what's so "hippie" about Choudhury making avoidance of violence her top priority. That's simply a realistic portrayal of how security and law-enforcement personnel should operate. Security is better served by avoiding conflict than engaging it, which is why cops, hostage negotiators, etc. try to talk suspects down as their first preference rather than just going in guns blazing. ST has historically been too quick to portray security personnel as soldiers and cannon fodder, but my view is that they should be more like cops, responsible for keeping the peace and avoiding conflict if at all possible. The best way to keep the crew safe is to keep weapons from being fired at all. Choudhury was never averse to using force when it was necessary, but she was skilled at finding alternative resolutions that kept it from becoming necessary. Which realistically should be the first resort of any security chief. After all, no chief would want to risk his or her security guards' lives unnecessarily, let alone the lives of the others they're there to protect. So avoiding a firefight is always going to be the preferable course, foremost in the mind of any security chief. But Trek has done a really crappy job of showing that in the past.
     
  7. FatherRob

    FatherRob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

  8. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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

    Only for her to come back before the end of the book so we don't lose any more TNG characters.
     
  9. Stoek

    Stoek Commander Red Shirt

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

    I'm somewhere in the neighborhood of half done. I wanted to take a moment to thank David Mack for putting the whole "emotions" thing in proper perspective. Ages ago when I was watching The Most Toys and I heard the palpable sorrow in Data's voice as he made the very logical decision to use lethal force against Kivas Fajo the man who had kidnapped him and murdered the woman who was helping him to escape, I came to the realization that Data did indeed have emotions. But they were android emotions and therefore of a sort that while not completely dissimilar from the emotions of organic beings, were not identical. It pleased me no end to have my intuitive understanding so perfectly enunciated by Mr. Mack through the person of Noonien Soong.
     
  10. rafterman1701

    rafterman1701 Commodore Commodore

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

    Loved the book. I thought the resurrection was well done and much better than what you see in Countdown, which was just an obvious and lazy way to undo the sacrifice. I felt Soong's criticism of the sacrifice was a bit meta, which was cool. Data is not human and the movie clearly left a resurrection method for his return. It just never got a sequel. This was a great way to handle things. And it's not a reset since the outcome of the story isn't a return to the previous status quo at all.
     
  11. Dsven43

    Dsven43 Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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

    Great Book David. I really enjoyed it. Annoyed that I have to wait a few more weeks to read the next one...but that's my impatience and not a fault of yours :-).
     
  12. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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

    Countdown doesn't go into how Data was brought back at all. Data is simply there.
     
  13. dispatcher812

    dispatcher812 Commander Red Shirt

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

    Finished it today and LOVED it. I was looking forward to this Trilogy of my favorite crew and was not disappointed.

    I am not sure what to make of the whole Soong mono-log. While it provided much needed and interesting info, I was not a fan of the setup. maybe its just that I don't recall any other book having a section like that. I guess in the end though I accepted it.

    I was in total shock when Chaundry was killed. A WTF moment. Prior to this I just read the signature edition of IMZADI Forever so I do feel rather sorry for Worf. He just can't catch a with his love life.

    As far a Chen, I like her. Don't kill her. My 2 cents.

    Now to Data. I was very happy to see him comeback in whatever form he did. I myself have accepted that fact that this is, and yet, is not my favorite character of all time in the Trek universe. I think that if he would have survived Nemisis that this may have been a normal upgrade for him. I certainly understand his decision not to return to SF as of know. Hopefully he will find what he needs and decide to later down the road.
    Mr Mack: You did an excellent job in explaining how Data was brought back. NOT a cheap cop-out as what has been said here. The entire time I read it I was thinking to myself, "yeah I see that". This resurrection is entire plausible unlike another resurrection a recently read about. I am waiting ever so patiently for the next book
     
  14. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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

    I'm trying to hold off until all three volumes are out so I can go through the whole thing in one go, and it all sounds great so far!
     
  15. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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

    At least in Star Trek Online, Worf marries Lady Grilka and he even gets a grandson: Admiral D'Vak, son of Alexander. :klingon:

    I liked the way Lt. Šmrhová was introduced as a new major character and replacement for the lamented late Choudhury. I could relate to her, that she tries to do her job in the best possible fashion while still feeling the need to impress her superior.

    Poor Risa! I hoped the Borg-ravaged worlds would begin to regenerate after a few years. Damn Tuvok! Genesis device, anyone?
     
  16. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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

    Damn.... I always have my book delivered at work, since they are ALWAYS delivered during weekdays. This one got delivered today, on my day off. Crap.... :(
     
  17. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    The other thing that occurs to me about this book, if the Data storyline continues - are we going to find out that they only *thought* that Lore's brain was destroyed when the D went down and actually in a cunning plan it was swapped out earlier without Data's knowledge?
     
  18. Julio Angel Ortiz

    Julio Angel Ortiz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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

    Still excited to finally dig in and read this trilogy. Might wait until it's all out before diving in.

    But it seems that the current editorial regime loves those resurrections. :shrug: /flameon
     
  19. Markonian

    Markonian Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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

    The brain-swap is unnecessary - the Borg-Soongs are already based on Lore. If somebody activates their personality, there will be an army of Lores. :eek:
     
  20. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    I finished it an hour ago, and it was overall a very good read. I'm impressed by how seamlessly the Noonien Soong portion folds into the framing plot. I've essentially just read two distinct Trek stories written in two different ways which sit alongside and partially within each other so comfortably that they easily add up to a single reading experience. Soong and the trace-the-androids plot just coalesced comfortably into a single novel that was all the richer for the two narrative styles.

    One thing I loved in the Noonien section was the sense of the Federation as a large and diverse place; not merely diverse in terms of culture or species but divided into unofficial but clearly evident regions - distinct economic and social areas. The differences between the core worlds and the outer worlds, the subtle distinctions regarding what a character can accomplish in each place and the degree of oversight...it was a welcome new look at life in the UFP that fleshed out the expanse of Federation space in a way I haven't really seen before. The Federation isn't a homogenous mass but instead is presented as a collection of distinct pockets with flavours and local character, with trends that link some of them and enough differences in lifestyle and opportunity that it brings a sense of relief to the increasingly "top-heavy" Trek lit view of the UFP. One of the few downsides of making "the Galactic West Wing" a major part of the novels is that it can "shrink" the Federation a bit in a reader's perspective, make it feel tighter and more controlled than it is. A sense of heady freedom and comforting scope is conveyed through Soong's journey around UFP space. That feels far more in keeping with the reality of 1000 pockets of civilization huddled around little pinpricks than how the Federation often comes across in these books (not that I'm complaining; I love the GWW plots, I just think this was a nice balance).

    Basically, the Soong portion is interesting because it's an intimate portrait of a character with a very wide backdrop; there's a real sense of scope to his travels yet the focus on that one character (achieved in part of course by the first-person narrative) makes each point we touch seem distinct and pleasantly isolated.

    On a similar note, fleshing out the UFP in ways that we don't often see, I also enjoyed seeing the corporate side of things. The idea that Soong took pains to link the Ferengi economy to the Federation's and tie the two nation's destinys together without the Ferengi realizing (until it was too late to reverse it) is one of those reinterpretations that should perhaps feel a bit uncomfortable but managed to be convincing thanks to the way Soong is presented to us. I could buy that he's planning that deep and that long-term.

    Writing from Soong's point of view was very successful - he was an engaging character and he truly came across as a man from whom Data and Lore both could have taken some of their traits. I identified with him in many ways myself. So much of his character was familiar to me that I'm forced to conclude that either

    a) I am in fact a genius beyond all precedent and should really be off making android bodies myself

    or

    b) David Mack really knows how to make characters relatable, sympathetic and comfortably human.

    I'm guessing it's b).

    I particularly loved his description of Data's basic "package" of traits and needs as a functioning person: "Curiosity, loyalty, a need to be useful, a desire to live in harmony with other beings". That's a wonderful summary of the basic impulses and motives that define the emotions of sapient social beings, and as other posters have said upthread, provides a great argument for Data as an inherently emotional being - even if those emotions aren't human.

    Another thing common to David Mack novels that was evident here: seeing Starfleet use their ingenuity to work through problems, e.g. the various stealth issues. I also appreciated how this characterization was extended to other spacefaring powers - the crew of the Breen ship were equally allowed to come across as competent.

    Poor Choudhury! I very much liked her, and I'll miss her.

    Like several other posters, I can't help but feel that the novels are carefully laying groundwork for a possible merge into the scenario established in Countdown. I'm not saying that's what's being planned as a future direction for the novels, only that Trek lit seems to be hedging its bets, making it plausible as an option. Between the hints over the last few TNG books that Picard might getting ready to settle down and leave the service, some form of Data returning, and now Worf suffering a loss that could conceivably prompt him to move on again...Once more, I'm not saying this is written to set up Countdown; I'm merely observing that the pieces seem to be in place so that such an eventual direction is now an option.

    Overall, I loved this book. But now for my problem. As I suspected, the Data-resurrection was handled in such a way as to carefully avoid any reset button, set up new possibilities that don't undermine the emotional arcs we've already seen, and satisfy most of my concerns regarding general resurrection plots. I thought Janeway's resurrection was well-handled, and I think Data's what-for-convenience's-sake-we'll-call-a-resurrection was well handled too. And that's my problem. I don't like characters returning from the dead or getting another chance at life. If it were up to me and me alone, I would have left Janeway dead and I would have left Data dead. Now both the most prominant main characters to die are back in some fashion, and this doesn't sit well with me. And yet, I think that both resurrection storys were handled with skill, competence and respect, and I don't feel it's fair or indeed valid to complain. It's not a reset button. It doesn't undermine what's come before. Both returns will please those readers who wanted the characters back while, on the whole, not offending or annoying those who wanted (unofficially at least) a no-resurrection policy. They're good compromises that don't sacrifice any of the plots' capacity to be strong and worthwhile stories. Data's return isn't a reset.

    And I'm a little bummed by that, to be honest. I sort of feel, on some irrational level, that I've been led to happily give a thumbs up to something that I wouldn't usually support. Janeway's back and now Data's...well, not dead. That makes me want to sigh, but I'm okay with it because both "return" novels were handled so well.

    Do you see my dilemma?
     

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