It' fun to speculate about fictional scientific concepts but to be honest, to me they are just the icing of the cake.
That's why I regard conflicting continuities (TrekLit vs. STO, 80s continuity vs. current, 7 ends to the 5YM, etc.) as part of one multiverse - because alternate timelines are sooo much cooler than seeing it from a real-world-perspective. Am I making sense?
Each iteration is more or less enjoyable entertainment in itself but it can have the spacy extra of being interpreted as an answer to "What if?".
, I agree that the most
important thing is that the story is enjoyable, but I also think there is a value in furthering the work of creating a very largely-consistent tapestry of continuity. I mean, really: we have over 700 hours of film and now dozens, if not hundreds of novels that have been published to be internally consistent. Among that body? There are maybe a dozen inconsistencies that are just totally irreconcilable with the rest of the established work ("The Alternative Factor," some things from TAS, the Tobin Dax short story having warp-incapable Romulans, other things I can't think of, maybe "Threshold"). Everything else, with a touch of imagination or squinting, is basically consistent. (You could probably explain even explain "Threshold" and Tobin's Romulans this way.) There are some things that don't necessarily support
established continuity, but few things that actually contradict it. (Which is actually very realistic, since the real world is extraordinarily complicated, as any high schooler who has taken AP Euro History will know.)
Isn't that actually pretty incredible? I think that represents something of artistic and creative value. And I think it's very easy to be extremely creative within that framework, so I don't think it's really a threat to good story-telling.