It seemed like people appreciated this last week, so I'm doing it again. I will skip certain questions, such as ones essentially answered with a "wait and see next week" and others at my discretion but if there's a notable one that I missed I'm happy to add any that you like that I have omitted.
I will try to transcribe accurate to what is written, even if there are errors. There is also a chance that I will accidentally add errors myself. Questions have a character limit and as such may use abbreviations. I will attempt to put the questions roughly in order but my method may cause them to be out of order. As before, questions will be bolded
and Chabon's answers will be in regular text.
As last time, I will point out that Chabon's answers occasionally had what I'd personally consider light spoilers, such as occasionally seemingly deconfirming theories, so be aware of this if you are particularly spoiler-averse.
Now, for the questions (as of now, anyway): Beyond physical combat, how is ElnoQM any match for Tal Shiar deception & subterfuge?
Do you feel deception and subterfuge trump a stout and faithful heart? Is soong human?
If he weren't, why would he need to make himself a golem? What do Laris and Zhaban do with their time off?
Running a working vineyard, even a partly-automated one, takes up a lot of their time, but Zhaban is a long-distance runner and has become interested in the traditional cuisine of Bourgogne, and Laris's earliest intellectual passion, for natural history, had made her something of an expert on the local flora and fauna. Is there a reason behind Picard not being able to contact Starfleet? Jammed transmision
Everything at Coppelius Station has been structured with a goal precisely opposite to that of "contacting Starfleet." Free will/future unwritten (Picard). Fate/fulfilling prophecy (Sisko). Chabon?
I think both arguments sound kind of far-fetched. Holding out for a third option. How did the idea of having Brent Spiner play a new Soong come to be?
It just seemed... logical? How did you come up with the names of the characters in Picard? The Data relatives especially.
It became clear that at a certain point in the history of Coppelius Station, coincident with the moment when synths first began to create synths, they began also to regard Data as a kind of quasi-legendary ancestor. Synth-made synths took their own names--named themselves, unlike Dahj, Jana, Soji and other Soong/Maddox models--and many elected to honor that "ancestor" and his heritage by choosing names that alluded to the principle established by the names "Data" and "Lore", ie, bodies of text or information, such as Arcana, Saga, Codex, Mythos, Epic, etc. Sutra and the late Beautiful Flower were among the first-gen synths who chose to rename themselves, Sutra in honor of Data/Lore. Beautiful Flower, self-designated First Ambassador Plenipotentiary of Coppelius, followed his own muse, as always. Did Elnor have to go through a earn-your-sword type ritual with Qowat Milat?
Oh, yes. Earn and *deserve*. As showrunner, how often were you on set? Every day?
Pretty much! How did you become a trek writer & producer?
In spring 2018, I was working with writer, producer, director and old dear friend @ajgoldsman1629 on a film project. At that time he and @alexkurtzmanofficial were just beginning work on the first round of #startrekshorttreks, and Akiva, knowing I was a deep-dyed #Trek fan, asked if I would be interested in writing one. That became #calypso, and the experience went well enough for everyone that they asked me to come on as a writer and executive producer for a new series they were working on. After that, through a series of chance circumstances, I got lucky, and kind of fell into the showrunner job. Of course, when I say "lucky," what I'm mostly talking about is privilege. I get that. Any hints with Soong's initials, AI (Cheeky)
That was actually a(n instantly welcomed) suggestion of Mr. Spiner's. I hope Rios had a Sex Phasers album in his tickle trunk? Lol.
Those were Alonzo Vandermeer's records (and "Walkman"), actually. Do we need to have finished Next Generation to see Picard?
If so, then we really failed. Did you name "Copellius" after the ballet "Copellia" about a doll that comes to life?
#etahoffman FTW! Why is Elnor so precious baby boy? He's so pure
Don't you just want to squoosh him? Why introduce another Soong instead of the cloning being just Maddox's achievement
Why sing? Why dance? Why bother to get up in the morning at all? Who exactly are the Fenris Rangers? They seem like the Maquis of which Chakotay was
Not really. They aren't fighting to protect and defend what belongs to them, their homes, their families, their way of life. They are volunteers from everywhere, pledged to each other in the case of protecting the vulnerable from the strong, irrespective of boundaries, alliances, cosmo-politics. Does La Sirena have a dedication plaque? (thinking emoji)
It did--noting its manufacture at the famed Kaplan Shifbau on Hatzeplatz colony world--bit it disappeared long before it was acquired by Rios (and thereby hangs a tale). What's the difference between the synthetic Spot and a clone of Spot?
One is made from organic, biological, cat-derived cellular material (clone); the other is wholly synthesized What are Laris and Zhaban's favourite Earth dishes and places to visit?
They have tended to confine their travels to the region around Labarre. Zhaban is particularly proud of his gougeres and his matelote d'anguille a la bourguignonne. re: the line "it must've taken appalling brutality to turn such a gentle soul to violence"...Hugh was a victim but we never see him fight. How did he "turn" to violence?
He never got the chance that would likely have been not too different from what Seven did, in the end. I know you won't tell me, but I feel like I'm a flake if I don't ask, is this Lore?
Is *what* Lore? Am *I* Lore? All previous episodes started with a flashback or dream of the past. Why not this one?
This is the end, beautiful friend. Were the space orchids sentient like Tin Man?
That is such a good, interesting question. I think I could argue either side. Makes me think of my all-time favorite BSG episode, "Scar" (s02e15). Are the (beautiful) Orchids just purely weapons or can they be used as ships?
They were designed to serve a purely defensive function. Every desk at the Daystrom Inst. has 2 chairs, red+black ones. Why? Deleted scene? Red for androids?
Are you sure you have clearance to know the answer to that question? What are the Fenris Rangers exactly?
A decentralized, non-hierarchical, quasi-anarchist affiliation of independent operators working in and around the former Neutral Zone, pledged to defend the weak and vulnerable from the predations of the strong and unscrupulous. "Altan" means "golden", "Inigo" means "my little love" ("Lal" means beloved). Just saying...;-)
Altan also means "red dawn," and is an anagram of "atlan" and "natal". Inigo is a clear reference to the great #inigojones, but then who can forget Senor Montoya? #foodforthought What's located in the room under La Sirena's bridge? Deflector contorl? Two Forward? The loo? ;-)
Nothing is located under *La Sirena*'s flight deck! I was unclear about Brent Spiner's character. Was he another synth created by BM?
Dr. Altan Inigo Soong is a natural son of Dr. #NoonienSoong. Where/Who is "beautiful flower" that showed up with Jana in the Ibn Majid?
He was killed by Alonzo Vandermeer, remember? He was the first and perhaps the most singular of the male-presenting androids created by AI Soong and Bruce Maddox after their arrival on Coppelius. Was Soji's outfit in this episode an homage to Boomer from BSG?
You would have to ask our Costume Designer, #ChristineCLark, but my memory is that the intention was to keep our beloved @isacamillebriones looking good while being cool and comfortable on an *extremely* hot location. Beautiful Flower sounds wonderfully larger than life. Will we learn more of him?
Alas, poor Flower... Write the story yourself! Is Starfleet still headed to the planet?
Duh-duh-DUM! Because Sutra and Dahj both lost a sister, will they become closer now because of that?
Soji (!) and Sutra are sisters of a kind, and their relationship has sisterly complications. Are are looking at a half-Romulan bun in the over for Soji a la Hera on BSG?
Mmm, Romulan buns. (picture of Homer Simpson with hand on chin, positioned beneath answer) did laris and zhaban,as romulans, ever face discrimination on earth?
I would say prejudice, more than outright discrimination in any legal sense. What percentage of backstory asked about here is created on the spot vs during preproductio
You mean, backstory provided in this forum? Less that you might think, more than I will ever let on. What happened to Data's "mom" Dr. Tainer?
Fascinating to speculate. I have heard reports of a young, male Romulan agent of the Tal Shiar, one with rumored links to the Zhat Vash, trained as a Romulan "cyberneticist" (i.e., android hunter) and setn out with a "hit list" of Soong androids, but have so far been unable to confirm. The synths remind me a bit of the space hippies in "The Way to Eden." Was that intentional?
We reach. How did you manage to write anything when you kids were toddlers?
50-50 parenting + hired childcare + preschool. *Kinda* worked. Those giant Orchids reminded me of my slim, tall Kelpien (tears running down face emoji)
Hmm. I don't see it, but I'll take another look! What about Beautiful Flower's twin? Will we meet him?
He named himself Mythos, but alas he did not make it onto the screen (or beyond the first several drafts of the scripts for 109-110). For people who know of you through Trek, which of your novels should we start with?
It depends on what kind of stuff you typically enjoy. A lot of people say *Kavalier & Clay* or *The Yiddish Policemen's Union* is their favorite. I think *Moonglow* is my best. But what do I know? How can an android mind-meld? Wasn't this something tied to Vulcan physiology?
So Vulcans have always led us to believe. As a physiological effect, it can be synthesized, or rather the physio-anatomical basis can be synthetically reproduced. Was the title of the episode meant to evoke a memento mori for the synths
The sense of memento mori is intended, applied wherever it feels appropriate, as well the notion that ultimately any Arcadia (or utopia) falls under the universal shadow of mortality and our consciousness of it. Vegetation-based spacefaring, Arcana's sister, "landfall"...am I right to sense a BKV not? :)
I would nod, wink, wave, and/or blow a kiss at @briankvaughan (and his aces writing), but, no, I don't think so, in the case. I loved the last two episodes! I know the Jewish Prague story, What is a Golem for Soong?
A "golem" for Soong, Maddox and Jurati is a synthetic human body considered to be a potential vessel for a consciousness, especially a "downloaded" one. Can these androids use contractions?
Apparently so! Robot Soji aka Sutra is hot! I never thought androids could be so sensual?
Just BARELY a question, my friend. Question mark is doing all the work. Anyway, @isacamillebriones crafted and designed that performance--none of that sensuality was on the page. She just showed up and out slinked Sutra. She blew our *minds*. I think part of it was that she absolutely loved her costume. If Soji is remnants of data's neurons, is Sutra lore's essence? He's conspicuously absent.
Nope. Sutra just evolved that way. Was similarities between Arik Soong and Alten soong intentional?
Surely you know by now that EVERYTHING we don on PIC is intentional, my friend! ;) Who is your favorite of the Dahj/Soji/Sutra triumvirate?
Soji has nobility and strength of character and conscience and a questing heart. Picard's son Batai plays a Ressikan flute in Inner Light, is it the STP theme?
It's in there! Are the synths with more Data-like coloring and eyes earlier models?
No, they are the ones who have modified themselves to emphasize a sense of ancestral connection to Data. What led Altan Inigo Soong to continue his father's work?
That would be a novel or series in itself. But his somewhat bitter joke about not being the "made" son, coupled with his choice to follow in his father's footsteps, suggests a certain amount of conflictedness. Why did Maddox leave the colony?
To execute his plan! So are we just pretending Lore doesn't exist? Considering the whole theme of creating twins
No, we're just not telling a story about Lore. That tale has been so much more than adequately told. Why did it take so long for federation starships to get seatbelts?
Some mysteries may never be elucidated. The Picard/Raffi scene - when they say "I love you" - what kind of love are they sharing?
Love between old colleagues and comrades who never quite found the chance or time to become friends, but whose sense of a bond is real and has, after all, endured. What's your process to writing? Do you like outlines or are you anti-outlines?
In screenwriting, outlines are a necessary evil. necessary to the process of development-required-and indispensable when it's time to write. When I write novels, I just feel my way along, groping in the dark. Wonderful, true for me as a novelist, #ELDoctorow quote: "Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." Last week: "When I'm hungry". A superman reference? Do I get the trophy sticker?
Last week... last week...? Nope, sorry, it's gone! How emotionally aware are the Synths? Some appear more aware of their emotions than others.
Rather like human beings in that regard, no? I didn't quite understand the relationship between Oh and Clancy. Ds she knw abt Zhat...?
Clancy was fooled right along with everyone else by the Zhat Vash #KimPhilby. A lot of people online think Soong is Lore. Please debunk then.
I debunk them thus. Where was Bruce's lab that was destroyed by Romulans? (OMG I loved this ep. everyone is (heart emoji))
On Freecloud, which was his base in launching the intelligence-gathering operation that led to the embedding of Dahj on Earth and Soji on the Arrifact. What's required for non-Vulcans to do mind melds?
Brain function that mimics, or can be modified to mimic, that of Vulcans. For one. Soong mentioned Maddox being "deceptive" - is that a reference to Bjayzl's loan?
Yes and his general preference for secrecy and clandestine operation, his tendency, as Juratiy said way back in 101, to get a little "secret planny." Has there been discussions about ds9 still existing? Replaced with a fed station?
No such discussions have included me, at any rate. Of the current batch of Trek creators, I am, I believe, the most avid admirer of DS9. Aside from the obvious, do the credits have any hidden meaning? We're you involved in their creation?
Yes, I was, and no, no "hidden" meaning, per se. They were meant to refelct the mood and to a degree the thematics of the show. Loved the orchids. What's your favorite crazy thing we've seen off the bow of a ship in Trek?
There is only one correct answer to your question. (in the background is "Abraham Lincoln" on the viewscreen of the TOS Enterprise) How has this season been impacted by your background as a novel writer vs tv only?
That's a question for other people to answer, not me. Is Picard's willingness to express love to Raffi a sign of his growth or impending decline? Both?
You know what? I think it's both. For many men, especially, I think, that is one of the poignant if not tragic things about getting old. You've said before that Voy isn't a favorite of yours, but do you have favorite episodes or moments?
I dont' think that's actually something I said. It's not my favorite series, but I still dig it! They can't all be my favorite. I will always be most loyal in my innermost being to TOS. I love TNG, without that same soul-deep connection. I think DS9 is, simply, great television. As television, the best. Voyager has more ups and downs for me--and as I've said here before, "Timeless," is my favorite episode. I read that Santiago speaks a few languages- any chance we could have more holos? (please (>_< emoji))
*La Sirena* has just the basic install package--navigation, medical, tactical, engineering and hospitality. Did the Admonition simply affect Sutra in a different way, or was this always her plan?
She had not the faintest notion of the Admonition until the moment she heard about it, on Soji's return. No one did! Why didn't you have Lore be the dr creating all the evil androids?
What evil androids? When I explained the title to my 15yr, he wanted me to tell you, quote, "That's a brilliant title!"
What an intelligent and noble-natured lad. You've said before you didn't like the Janeway and 7 relationship, could you you elaborate?
No, I said that it didn't interest me as much as it clearly does other people. That's not the same thing at all. Did Noonien Soong create the synths?
Noonien Soong has been dead since 2367! 33 years before the present action, and around 18 years before his son and Maddox arrived on Coppelius. I'm curious why you didn't have Dahj do the head tilt in S1E1 Remembrance. Too obvious?
The head tilt only works once we aren't trying to hide the Twins' synthness from the audience (and Picard) anymore. Then it becomes something they're in on with us. Vandermeer=from the sea (German, lake if Dutch). Loving ALL the names. Is this one intentional?
I liked the way it sounded with "Alonzo," and I dig the work of sf writer @jeff_vandermeer123. are you/the PIC team surprised at how LGBTQ+ folks/trekkies identified/related with the xBs?
Actually I was not aware of that, as a common response, though I've seen a few comments here and there, I guess. I'd like to know more! Was it difficult to inlist Brent Spiner to come back as a son of Soong?
No, not at all! What a lovely man. (red heart emoji) What is it like to work with the one and only Brent Spiner? (smiling emoji) I feel like he is hilarious on set!
He is a delight, on set. He is witty and cheerful and fun. It was joyful to see him and SPS together, because they were joyful together. And Brent is such a thoughtful and nuanced actor, with such control. Is Romulan Star Empire gone completely? What type of gov. is the Romulan Free State?
Yes, it is (for now, at least). The RFS is the largest and most powerful of a number of fragmented successor states vying for control of the former Empire, strongest probably because it retains the support of the entity we still refer to as the Tal Shiar, though it may now be calling itself something else. Is anyone ever going to mention that Spock disappeared trying to save Romulus?
I am not sure why anyone would, other than to tick a box on a fan checklist. Will we ever get Josh Tillman (aka Father John Misty) as a guest cameo?
What a curious notion! Picard melded with Sarek. Is he aware of Discovery's survival?
Ooh. That is a GOOD one! Was the poorly named Cortez in "Far Beyond the Stars" the inspiration for the Ibn Majid?
No, I just thought it would be cool if Starfleet honored some great non-European navigators/explorers/sailors. You had said Hugh wasn't in the original script. What as the impetus to add him? (yellow LLAP emoji)
I don't htink that's quite what I said. He was definitely *always* in the script of the first episode in which he appears. And sorry if you felt this was Too Critical, I've heard you don't like any Criticism
My friend, I live for intelligent, insightful and charitable criticism: it improves my work. What I don't "like" is rudeness and unkindness. I'm also not wild about opining that mistakes itself for criticism. In my entire fifty-six years on earth I've probably met about fifteen people whose opinions were one of their best features. I will finish out this Season. Hopefully the writers change the Politicial Agenda next Seaso Cheers.
Because of the Story format, nobody but me can see the string of brief fragments leading to this final bit. I'll tryt o paraphrase briefly but honestly: as a fan of TNG, you were looking forward to PIC, but have been mostly disappointed, particularly by what you percieve as a political agenda being imposed on Star Trek and on the character of Picard, whom you view as having been "neutered." Is that fair? I can't find an actual question, but there's a ghost question, sullen and aggrieved, peering out, and that question is, why did you have to go and fuck up my Trek? To this question, as when it is asked by any fan, of any modern fandom, regardless of political affiliation--and we've all been there, with some franchise, at some point--there can be only one honest answer, and it sucks: It *isn't* yours. It belongs to a big corporation, and they can do whatever they want with it, including hiring creators who you see as fools. Every time we come up against that, it feels shitty (And with Trek it's worse, because for a while we fans actually did "own" it, back when nobody else wanted it anymore. We kept it alive.) All I can tell you is that I hear you, and I can sympathize, but obviously I don't agree with you. if you see regret, remorse, self-doubt, self-examination, recognition of ones limitations and shortcomings as "neutering", unmanly, then you aren't very far along on your journey toward being what I at least would recognize as "the Measure of a Man." With s1 wrapping up, how far along is the writing staff on s2? Will you be as involved?
We are in the writing stage on the first half + of season 2. I continue as writer and executive producer, helped shape the new season, and will be writing two episodes. Dahj's Mission: protect Agnes? Soji's mission: Find the Admonition?
Dahj's mission: find out the truth behind the synth ban by infiltrating Starfleet (Daystrom). Soji's mission: find out the truth behind the synth ban by infiltrating a Romulan outpost. A pincer movement on the secret. Of all the characters, synth or otherwise, the one most "like" Data is Elnor. Agree?
In the purity, the innocense, the curiosity, the sweetness... Yep. So... There is still a Borg Cube on that planet. Seems like something that can regenerate?
It happened once, but... "Old school medical tricorder" - TOS era, perhaps?
It was directly modeled, I believe, on TNG-era designs Where did Bruce get that neuron from anyway?
It had come into the possession of the Daystrom Institute. Why were Soji and Dahj created in Jana and Sutra's image?
Pure expediency. What can you tease about the finale? I'm so excited but I also don't want it to end!!!!
Tuvan throat singing, a freestyle Klingon limerick cipher, and an unexpected cameo appearance by the #MrsBeasleydoll from #FamilyAffair. But you didn't hear it from me! Will we see more Seven? These little moments are SO GOOD but so SHORT!
I want to tell you, but I can't! Late to the party but! What was your favorite troi-riker family detail to write?
Creating Ardani. Also, Kestra. Do you have a favorite starfleet uniform? I'm a sucker for the TNG uniforms form s3-7
(no text respons from Chabon, but in the background is this uniform
. What's the runtime of next week's episode?
Can't recall offhand... I think around 52-55? Brent always said Spot was his worst ever co-star. Was Spot 2 better behaved on set?
He was a good boy. So if Alton was the son of Juliana and Noonien Soong, why did she say she never had children?
Oh, Altan's too old to ahve been the son of Juliana! No, no, no. Before Juliana. Does the Federation still uphold the "no cloak development" legislation of the Treaty of Algeron?
As far as I know. So this is a kind of explosion from Eden? This would make Sutra's actions interesting.
"Explosion from Eden"? The actress who played Saga was as pretty as a peach! Can I ask her out for dinner? ;) ;)
The #Ramseytwins, Jade (Arcana) and Nikita (Saga), are as talented and sweet as they are lovely. And they definitely have that "twin thing" (finishing each other's sentences, etc.) We all enjoyed having them around. Was Sutra created by Soong using Lore's positrons?
Why would anyone ever do that? Orchids fall into atmosphere on purpose to damage the ships? Wasn't sure why that happened.
Drag down. Force to land. Love the show! What are your scifi inspirations outside Star Trek?
#UrsalaKLeGuin #SamuelRDelany #JamesTiptreeJr #IanMBanks #CordwainerSmith #FrankHerbert #LarryNiven #JackVance #AlfredBester "Dying of the Light" by #georgerrmartin Is this episode a refleciton of your passion for French ballets from the 1870s?
"The Sandman," ETA Hoffman, 1816. Maybe I missed something, why are Sutra and other synths gold in complexion?
Maybe you did! If we won't see Beautiful Flower's twin, can we pretend he was in BG onscreen in Ep9?
Please do! He was gorgeous. Why did Jana and Flower reach out to the Ibn Majid if they were hiding from the Federation post-ban?
It was, in hindsight, very foolish. In prospect it waz innocent and hopeful. what would you say to your 20 y/o self given the opportunity?
Be kinder. Please tell us you wraped post on the finale :)
Um, yes. Is the timeline of The Yiddish Policemen's Union, the Mirror Universe back in the 20th century?
That's a meshugge idea. Was Narek ever abused by his sister in any manner? He seems to resent and fear her.
She is the person who loves and cares for him most in the world, his sole champion when they were young orphans, and she protected him from all harm, except the harm she herself inflicted. What happened to Data's "mom" Dr. Tainer?
Unclear. So if Noonien is the father, is Juliana(the actual human Juliana)the mother of AI Soong?
Nope. Juliana was hardly the first of Soong's loves. Was use of the word "golem" a callback to Kavalier & Clay?
Oh, probably, sort of. What kind of playlist were you listening to when working on Picard?
So much Eluvium, "Copia" and Susumo Yokota, "Artifact." Why did Picard switch back to pistol like phasers rather than the tool like on es from TNG?
Question for Props Master #JeffLombardi Why were there four Isa Briones synths when it seems like there are only 2 of the rest?
Last two were rather hastily thrown together. Is the Golem just a android Body for Soong to place his Conscience in?
Yep! Can you tell us if Seven/Annika will be in the second season...?
It is forbidden. Update: This post is currently up to date as of 3/20/2020 at 6:45 PM EST. It's been quite a while since Chabon has added an answer so I don't anticipate any further questions, but will add more answers if they appear.