Literature: Star Trek: Immortal Coil

A novel in the Star Trek Novel Verse, written by Jeffery Lang.

He is perhaps the ultimate human achievement: a sentient artificial life-form — self-aware, self-determining, possessing a mind and body far surpassing that of his makers, and imbued with the potential to evolve beyond the scope of his programming. Created by one of the most brilliant and eccentric intellects the Federation has ever known, the android Data has always believed he was unique, the one true fulfilment of a dream to create children of the mind. But is he? Investigating the mysterious destruction of a new android created by Starfleet, Data and the crew of the USS Enterprise uncover startling secrets stretching back to the galaxy's dim past. That knowledge is coveted by beings who will stop at nothing to control it, and will force Data to redefine himself as he learns the hidden history of artificial intelligence.

The novel received a direct sequel (three of them, actually) with David Mack's Star Trek: Cold Equations series, which was in turn followed by Lang's Star Trek The Light Fantastic.

This book contains examples of:

  • Artificial Intelligence: Of every variety seen in the history of the franchise.
  • Back from the Dead: The Juliana Tainer android.
  • Continuity Porn: Pretty much every Artificial Intelligence in Star Trek history shows up or is mentioned in some way.
  • Creative Sterility: The motive for the villains is that they want to change so this is no longer true for them.
  • Deader Than Dead: Probably the only reason Lore was merely discussed, rather than appearing in person.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Flint is a nigh-immortal who frequently changes his appearance, travels around the universe for fun, and has a lot of problems with Killer Robots. And then there's that strange little silver device he carries, which makes an awful lot of noise...
  • Heroic BSOD: It turns out that Data's emotion chip actually has this built into it; in times of extreme grief, it just...shuts off.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: How do you disguise an advanced prototype android with a sophisticated AI that everyone and their brother is looking for? Why you just give it a fake Starfleet record and stick it on the Federation flagship as its Chief of Security, of course!
    • The same applies for Sam the bartender.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: Ruk spent most of his time alone on the planet picking up two rocks of similar structure, one in each hand, and seeing which hand would successfully crush the rock first. Thousands of times...
  • Killed Off for Real: Lore's body was destroyed in the crash of the Enterprise-D, because Data had set up a security system designed to prevent anyone from stealing it, and the crash set it off.
  • Ludicrous Precision: ...which he has been keeping a very precise count of.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: Rhea McAdams.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: The Enterprise and a space station owned by the immortal Flint come under attack by rogue androids trying to capture a sophisticated prototype android. Luckily for Picard and company, Flint has spent the last century or so collecting other artificial life-forms and AIs, including Richard Daystrom's M-5 computer. Data plugs the M-5 into the station's weapons array, and turns it loose to engage in its primary objective - survival. It mops the floor with the android fleet.
    Data: Under the circumstances, it seemed like our best chance to stop the androids.
    McAdams: Yeah, not to mention our best chance to get killed in the process. You know that M-5 is crazy, don't you?
    Data: Crazy is an imprecise term. It is...single-minded.
  • The Bus Came Back: Bruce Maddox reappears, and he's gotten slightly nicer in the interim.
  • You Are Not Alone: Barclay's justification for working with Maddox on this project, despite Maddox being kind of a jerk, is that if they could create another Soong-type android, Data wouldn't have to be alone any more.

Alternative Title(s):

Star Trek Immortal Coil