The purpose of this blog is to have a little fun. It is NOT to start arguments. I don't profess to be an expert on Sci-fi, nor do I aspire to become an expert. You are welcome to comment on any and all content you find here. If my opinion differs from yours, as far as I am concerned, it's all okay. I will never say that you are wrong because you disagree with me, and I expect the same from those that comment here. Also, my audience on the blog will include some young people. Please govern your language when posting comments.

Posts will hopefully be regular based on the movies I see, the television shows I watch, and the books I read as well as what ever strikes me as noteworthy.

Spoilers will appear here and are welcome.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Androids DO Dream - Book Review: STTNG: Cold Equations: The Persistence of Memory by David Alan Mack

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Cold Equations: The Persistence of Memory by David Alan Mack (2012)

I have read a number of Star Trek novels as you can see by looking through this blog and by the lists on the right side of the page.  Most of them have been very good incorporating characters that I know and introducing new characters, but this one has been a very unique reading experience for me in the main character, or at least what I would think of as the main character was written in the first person.

Persistence of Memory is broken into three parts with the first and third parts taking place a little over four years after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis; while the second part spans seventeen years following events that took place on TNG 3rd season episode “Brothers.”  The third part of the book brings story lines from the first part of the book together.

Geordi LaForge is contacted and asked to come to the Daystom Annex on Galore IV by Dr. Bruce Maddox to assist with the discovered Soong type android B4 (Nemesis).  One might recall that Maddox appeared in the TNG episode “Measure of a Man” in which he attempted to requisition Data from the Enterprise to be studied so Maddox could try to duplicate Soong’s work.  At any rate, B4 was in danger of a fatal cascade failure of his positronic net which would result in the loss of not only B4, but the memories that Data had uploaded into B4 before his demise in Nemesis.

As the Enterprise arrives at Galore, Maddox’s lab, where B4 and other Soong type androids are being kept for study, is broken into and the androids are taken.  Worf leads an away team to investigate the break in and a mysterious character is chased through the streets and underground passages of Galore, but this person escapes.  Knowing that the androids must still be on Galore, Picard blockades the planet to prevent an escape while the investigation continues.

The outcomes of the investigation are fruitless, so Picard lifts the blockade and soon a mysterious ship leaves Galore and rendezvous with a Breen vessel, and transfers the androids to the Breen.  Picard decides to follow the Breen to see what they are up to and what they plan to do with the androids.  And so ends part one of this tale.

Part two begins with the death of Noonien Soong, as depicted in the TNG Episode Brothers mentioned earlier.  While the episode ended with Soong sending Data back to the ship, we assume from the end of the television episode that after Data departs from Soong, he dies alone in his laboratory.  However this is not the case, as according to the David Mack, Soong drags himself into another lab underneath the dwelling that Soong lives in and promptly transfers his consciousness into an android body with abilities that were extraordinary, even by Soong standards we previously were aware of.

In part two of the novel, we get a narrative of the activities of Soong in his new android body over the next seventeen years.  He spends his time amassing vast wealth and working on a way to win back his one and only love; that being his former wife, Juliana.  Soon manages, with the help of his ship’s artificial intelligent computer, to keep track of any and all news that pertains to Data, Lore, and Juliana.  He learns of how Lore is finally deactivated by Data, how Juliana dies and is brought back to “life” by Emil Vaslovik (who turns out to be Flint from the TOS episode “Requiem for Mathusala), and of the discovery of B4 and the death of Data.

In part three, everything comes together as the Breen are found to be attempting to make thousands of Soong type androids to act as cannon fodder as part of their plan to become the dominant power in the Alpha Quadrant.

Soong makes the ultimate sacrifice at the end of the story as his focus shifts from reuniting with Juliana to saving “his boys.”

I found this story unique among the ones I have read so far because David Mack displays a very detailed knowledge of the Star Trek world and is clever enough to bring elements of many various stories together to make one hell of a good story.  His writing made vivid pictures in my mind as I read the story and I could hear the voices of the characters as I turned the pages.  I gained an appreciation of Noonien Soong as he grew from an old frail man, to a self-serving android, and finally discovering what really mattered to him in the end, and what he was willing to let go of.  The best part for me was how Mack took characters that appeared as guest stars in the series and gave them life, not to mention giving life to new character we hadn’t seen before.

This is a work of genius for fans of Star Trek and I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys a good read.

Well, there it is