The Borg are one of my favourite science-fiction antagonists, and also a perfect example of diminishing returns. Their first appearance in the second season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Q Who?” is a show highlight. Their ship, a cube many times larger than the Enterprise, is something truly alien in a fictional universe positively chock-full of aliens. It looked nothing at all like any of the other ships up to that point, even though it makes perfect sense in reality – a space vessel has no need for streamlining or even notions of “front” and “back”. It could repair itself through sheer effort of will. A race of cybernetic organisms who have no sense of individuality and continuously adapt to threats, they killed eighteen Enterprise crewmembers before Q spirited the ship to safety. It was an unsettling encounter, and the Borg were truly disturbing.
How can you possibly write a foe that is vastly more powerful than our heroes, has no individual voice, no leader, and no interest other than the acquisition of technology? By their second appearance they had already changed their goals – to assimilate lifeforms – and took a human hostage to provide a face and a voice for dramatic effect. By necessity they also had to become weaker with each appearance, following the “Too Many Ninjas” trope. I would have been happy if their last appearance had been in “I, Borg”, with Picard sending isolated drone Hugh back to the collective, their final fate a mystery. But, like the Daleks in Doctor Who (who were originally only meant for one serial only), they were simply too popular. By First Contact they were basically zombie cannon-fodder and the introduction of the Borg Queen ultimately proved to be the end of my interest in them. I think they might have appeared again once or twice in later shows? I don’t know, they weren’t really for me.
I am now on Instagram! Where I’m putting up my illustrations, as well as posting other art stuff and junk. It would be super duper nice of you to check it out – I’m @craigwardscott – and do whatever you do on Instagram. I’ll be your friend!
Have a great day and take care of yourselves, everyone!