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Old 2014-11-07, 06:20 AM   #57
Likes Beast Wars toys. A lot.
Warcry's Avatar
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Originally Posted by Death's Head View Post
I wouldn't let me anywhere near a car's engine! But yeah, I see what you mean - though of course, the point of Shadowplay is to induce major behavioural change.
Major controlled behavioural change, though. I'd imagine that if they could get the same quality of results with physical surgery they'd just do that, since mnemosurgery poses serious risks not just to the patient but the surgeon as well. But I suspect that the results of physical surgery are (even if survivable) far less predictable than rewriting the patient's software.

Originally Posted by Death's Head View Post
This is something I'd like to see explored actually - what happens if the spark survives but not the brain, or vice-versa. Do they do transplants - attaching a new brain to a new spark? Would it create an entirely new person?
As an IDW-specific question I'm not sure it's one we can answer (though something very much like this happened in an old BotCon comic). They've never really told us what the spark and brain module do in this universe. Is the spark just their "life force", and the brain module the seat of their identity and consciousness? Or is the spark where their mind lives and the brain module is just the hardware it executes on and uses to interface with their body? Or is it some odd mix of the two? I'm not sure the even the Transformers themselves know the answer to that, and they might consider it a theological question more than a scientific one since neither part can survive or function without the other.

What I wonder is why they consider the transformation cog to be an equally vital part as the brain and spark. It seems like they can be swapped from person to person easily enough, and Triple-M are proof that you can survive without one pretty much indefinitely. I understand that transformation is the core of their identity as a race, but the whole "Rossum's Trinity" thing implies that damage to any of the three can kill you. Though I suppose that might just be a leftover Functionist thing -- if you can't transform, you no longer have a place in the Grand Cybertron Taxonomy and might as well be dead.

Originally Posted by Death's Head View Post
Admittedly, it's something of an assumption on my part, but I make it for several reasons:

One, when describing the 'constructed cold' they make a point of sparks being placed in 'pre-fab' bodies - they wouldn't make that distinction if the sparks from hot-spots were also placed in built bodies.

Two, because when Brainstorm harvests the spark it is said to come with 'sentio-metallico', which is a phrase James has used in his fanfics to describe the 'liquid metal' seen when the Transformers biomorphically replicate, as in G2 - and of course there, the sentio-metallico quickly forms into an entire Transformer.
That makes perfect sense! And that's actually how I'd assumed it happened too...that Forged Transformers sprung to life as complete protoforms sort of like what we saw in Beast Wars. I didn't get the G2 connection at all in Remain in Light, and the art doesn't really show it very well, but I think this is as good an explanation as we're likely to get.

Originally Posted by Death's Head View Post
(This also makes the relationship between the Functionists and the constructed cold quite interesting.)
I bet that's where "Ratioism" enters the picture. If Functionist ideology holds that there should be a certain proportion between the different classes of Cybertronian life, then it only makes sense that they'd cold-construct new Transformers to keep the number of available Disposable and Labour-class mechs up -- after all, they must have a much higher attrition rate than the higher castes, and everyone still seems to hate knock-offs so they certainly wouldn't unleash them on upper-crust society. Which essentially means that they're building made-to-order slaves.

Originally Posted by Dead Man Wade View Post
You're ascribing a human (specifically, western) code of ethics upon an alien species that, for all intents and purposes, doesn't necessarily follow the same rules. Yes, they have humanistic appearances, and they're written by humans, and everything they do is going to ultimately be shot through the prism of human experience.

BUT, from a storytelling standpoint, there is no good reason why a non-human species developing its society far from human influence would arrive at the same code of ethics that we would.

Add to this the possibility that a society of sentient robots who can be repaired from the brink of death, and for whom death is very rarely anything more than an inconvenience, could easily wind up with a society that views one's personal rights as slightly more disposable than ours does.
Well...yes, absolutely. I don't dispute that the pre-war Transformers have a very different idea of right and wrong than we do. But I don't think that's necessarily a reflection of their mechanical nature. Quite a few cultures in our own history have the exact same leanings -- look at the Antebellum US South, the caste system in India, Ancient Rome, the rise of fascism in the 1930s, or many, many other chapters in the history books. The modern idea that all people are equal has existed for the equivalent of an eyeblink compared to the societies that valued certain subgroups differently than others. And honestly, you could make a fair argument that we still do it today, only more subtly and with wealth as the main determinant of status rather than race or creed.

I don't think it's wrong of us to look back at what our ancestors did and see their mistakes for what they are. And equally, I don't think it's wrong to look at Cybertronian culture and point out what are (from our point of view) mistakes that they made as well. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that's part of the point, because when we see and acknowledge those mistakes in a fictional setting it makes it easier to see them in the real world as well.

Any judgments that we make are subjective and in the end sort of arbitrary, though. I suspect that if you gave this same book to a reader 100 or 200 years from now they'd take something totally different from it than we do. In fact, considering how human cultures seem to swing wildly from near-anarchic freedom to tightly-regimented control and back again, 200 years from now people might look at Roberts' Cybertron as some sort of utopia to be strived for and not the Orwellian horror it seems to readers of today.

Originally Posted by Auntie Slag View Post
Just noticed that First Aid identifies Vos as a new member of the DJD. So he may know them all by sight based on his time at Delphi, which would suggest the current Vos is perhaps a very new member.
Vos is fairly new, I think. In one of the previous issues the Autobots were trading stories about a previous Vos with hooks for hands and feet who seemed to have vexed a lot of them over the years.
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