Voyager is finally able to make real-time communications with Earth, and The Doctor has exciting plans for it – he intends to publish his first holonovel. The Doctor’s work is a dramatisation of his own life, and his friends are disappointed to learn of its less than flattering portrayal of the crew.
Author, Author is essentially two episodes in one – one good, and one with its heart in the right place. The first half of the episode focuses on the content of The Doctor’s holonovel, in which his attempt to highlight the oppressed life of the hologram manages to rub all of his friends up the wrong way. Seeing an alternate version of Voyager is as entertaining as it was in Worst Case Scenario and Living Witness.
But then the episode changes tack, when The Doctor’s intellectual property is deemed not be his own, because the Federation does not recognise holograms as people. Given that we end the episode seeing many of The Doctor’s fellow EMH Mark I’s toiling away in deuterium mines, it is clear that this is an important topic for the Federation to address. Holographic rights, and the sentience or not of various holograms, is a topic worth a blog post on its own – and if anything, I feel very uneasy that somewhere as supposedly selfless and enlightened as the Federation has ended up with this holographic slave class.
All that being said, this episode doesn’t really do the topic justice. In a franchise that brought us the excellent The Measure of A Man, Author, Author feels like a half-hearted attempt to argue for the sentience of an artificial intelligence. It’s a good thing that there isn’t a completely happy ending here, but all this part of the episode amounts to is everyone gushing about how amazing The Doctor is.
Points of Note
- This season’s running joke of Harry not getting promoted is continued here, with his mother promising to write to Janeway to tell him about all the hard work he’s been doing. Aw, bless.
- Irene Hansen says she looked after Seven when she was six years old. I thought the Hansens left on their long voyager when Seven was three, and that she spent the intervening time living on The Raven, until her assimilation. Maybe Irene is a Changeling impostor.
- John Torres finally makes contact with B’Elanna in this episode, after running away all those years ago. Also, it seems like Miral actually is dead, as she is referred to in the past tense.
- Ensign Kymble appears to be a Trill. I wonder if he’s joined.
- Paris considers publishing the Captain Proton holonovels, even though he presumably doesn’t own the rights to the original work. I guess they’ve probably expired by now, although given the whole Disney and Mickey Mouse copyright issue, we can’t be sure.
- Broht and Forrester’s publications include the Dixon Hill holonovels, as enjoyed by Captain Picard.
Lost, crashed or destroyed shuttlecraft running total: 17
Destroyed Delta Flyer running total: 1
Possibly salvageable shuttlecraft running total: 10
Number of times the entire crew gets enslaved or kicked off the ship: 4.5
Number of times a version of Voyager gets destroyed: 5
Summary – Author, Author: Doesn’t measure up to The Measure of a Man.