Persistence of Memory – Book Review

This is an excerpt of my full review that can be found over at Trek.fm

BRAVE NEW UNIVERSE

In October 2008, David Mack changed the face of the entire 24th century with the release of his book “Gods of Night.” This was the first book in the Star Trek: Destiny series, and this final showdown with the Borg not only wreaked on the galaxy, but it sent the novels on a new course.
Now in November 2012, David Mack has a new Trek release that is the beginning of a trilogy. Like his previous trilogy, it is again shaking up the 24th century like a Boggle board. What comes next is anyone’s guess.

COLD EQUATIONS

This novel is bookended by events in the current Prime timeline. The majority of the book is a flashback to the life of Dr. Noonien Soong, who tells the Enterprise away team the incredible tale of how and why he is not dead, as well as his involvement in the plot to steal all of the Soong androids from The Daystrom Institute.

The story he weaves leads to many “ultimate questions” about life; the first is “what do we live for?” A younger Soong was driven by the will to be the best cyberneticist in the galaxy and to outlive death. In his creation of androids, he has done it not only for the enjoyment of creation, but because he would like to become an android himself. He desires to cast off this mortal coil and live forever in a body that will not rust or die. He even confesses that this is the reason why all of his androids look like him. His goal for immortality is to become powerful enough, behind the scenes, so he can influence the future for sentient artificial life in the galaxy, as well as furthering the advancement of those lifeforms.

But what happens when you find out that you are not the best at your work, that all you live for pales in comparison with another’s work? What do you do when all that you have lived for comes crashing down and you are left realizing it’s not enough? Do you keep fighting, knowing you will never ellipse others or do you find a new dream, something new worth living for? What has been driving Soong all his life are these cold equations. He has been preoccupied with self and accomplishment, making these the pinnacle of his life, and when they fall short, he is left with nothing. He confesses to himself,

“If only I could have died rather that live to see this day… I could have met my end believing that my genius was without equal, that my son was immortal, that my legacy would live on. Instead I’ve seen my greatest works made obsolete. My sons are dead. My only true love lies in the arms of another. I am forgotten. Everything I’ve done has been for nothing. And it’s all my own fault.”

Soong finds out that immortality and greatness are fleeting things. Without the companionship of others and the legacy of family or friends, greatness is always surpassed. The big change for him comes when he turns his attention from living for himself to living for others. Soong realizes that he can save his sons, B4 and Data. He sees the error he has made and the pain that he has caused to his sons. In all his striving to be the greatest, he has sacrificed his creations on the altar of science and discovery, but “…the universe punished me for my hubris.” Soong lets all of those “dreams” go. His dedicates his life to being the father he never was and finding a way of salvation for his sons; “It’s time I was more to my son than a creator figure, distant in time and memory; it’s time I started acting like his father.” Click here to continue.

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