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Old February 15 2013, 12:27 AM   #47
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Re: Why do so many people rag on "Dear doctor"

Mach5 wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote:
And one more time: whether it's ludicrous compared to reality is totally beside the point in evaluating a work of fiction.
So you're arguing that fiction does not need to be grounded in reality, not even a bit?
You know perfectly well I'm saying nothing of the kind. I'm saying fiction is allowed to make breaks from reality, and that Star Trek has already made many breaks from reality that are far more ludicrous than this particular one. I just don't understand how one can accept evolutionary impossibilities like humanoid aliens and interspecies hybrids yet be so adamantly unwilling to accept the questionable evolutionary theory of this episode. It's a contradiction in terms to object to the idea Phlox expresses as intolerably fanciful while treating the very existence of Phlox himself, an even more fanciful premise, as an acceptable break from reality.

Christopher wrote:
Humanoid aliens are ludicrous.
Are they? They're unlikely, but ludicrous? Those grey sons of bitches that crashed in New Mexico seemed pretty humanoid to me.
Because that was a pop-culture invention based on a '60s Time-Life book illustration speculating about what humans might evolve into in a million years. UFO reports have always shown a marked lack of imagination, with descriptions consistently copying whatever the dominant mass-media image of aliens was at the time -- little green men in the late '40s, scary monsters in the B-movie '50s, idealized humans in the early '60s when TV aliens were just actors in funny costumes, etc. By the '70s the "Grey" image had gotten into pop culture and movies like Close Encounters and reinforced it to the point that it became self-perpetuating.

(Just to clarify, the mythology of the "Roswell UFO crash" didn't arise until the late '70s and early '80s. When it actually happened in 1947, "flying disc" was just a term people used to mean "unknown round thing in the sky," and hadn't yet taken on the "alien spaceship" connotation, so there was no contradiction when the military said they recovered a "flying disc" one day and identified it as a weather balloon the next day. So it was a minor, forgotten incident. But decades later, a UFO researcher dug up the report and imposed her latter-day assumptions about what the term "flying disc" meant, and thus mistakenly concluded that the military had admitted finding an alien vessel and then covered it up. Hence a new myth was born.)

Telepathy is ludicrous? How so?
Seriously? You need to ask?

We'll see. NASA doesn't seem to think so. I'm a bit skeptical though, but what the hell do I know? I'm a different kind of engineer.
While there might be some possibility of a real form of effective transluminal propulsion analogous to warp drive, the particular way it's portrayed in Star Trek is a substantial departure from reality. I was using shorthand to convey that.

I can suspend my disbelief. But I can't suspend my ethical and moral standards.
But there's a difference between a story where you disagree with the characters' choices and a bad story. If anything, many of the best stories are the ones that challenge our morals, that face us with characters making choices that we feel are wrong or that make us uncomfortable. As I've said, I'm not crazy about the decision the characters make in "Dear Doctor," but I still think it's a good episode, partly because it dares to be challenging and take us out of our comfort zone.
Written Worlds -- Christopher L. Bennett's blog and webpage
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