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Old November 17 2012, 04:56 PM   #16
Christopher
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

Donald Draper wrote: View Post
It always amazes me how a significant segment of fandom expects a huge level of consistency in details. Visual details, facts, etc. They notice the perceived inconsistencies in new productions. Which shows they have an eye or ear for details. But if that is true, why are they so dismissive or ignoring of older inconsistencies?
Because that's the way the human mind works. Over time, as we review our memories over and over, they're subtly rewritten every time we think of them, and they merge together into a fairly uniform model of how we perceive the past. The brain is adapted to extrapolate patterns from data, and to an extent that includes ignoring data that don't fit the patterns we're building. So over time we create a unified view of the fictional canon that glosses over the inconsistencies. But when a new installment comes along, we notice the inconsistencies more because they're more immediate, and because we haven't yet had time to rationalize them into our overall construct of the canon as we have with older inconsistencies.

It's the same neurological mechanism that produces the nostalgia illusion, the false perception that the past was better than the present. Our memories gloss over the bad things, the cognitive dissonances, the speed bumps, and smooth out the past into a constructed narrative of what we believe it to have been. But in the present, the things that don't work or don't fit are right there in front of us so they stand out more.
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Old November 19 2012, 01:21 AM   #17
jayrath
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

I don't mind change and new generations having their own take. As the Reeves-Stevenses have pointed out, GR was even open to having an opera based on TOS.

However, I want whatever change there is to be thoughtful change. Once the various series decided they no longer needed scientific advisors, I started to get the willies more and more.

Not that the TOS movies were slaves to science after TMP. If you love new Trek, great. As for myself, it's very difficult to respect a new Enterprise that was explicitly redesigned to suggest a "hot rod." Oh, and the best way to drill on a planet is to dangle the thing all the way from orbit? And so on, and so on.
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Old November 19 2012, 01:39 AM   #18
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

jayrath wrote: View Post
Oh, and the best way to drill on a planet is to dangle the thing all the way from orbit?
Nothing to scoff at there. Orbital tethers are an idea that many scientists and engineers take very seriously. Things dangling from orbit may one day be of immense value to human achievement in space.

Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are actually quite science-savvy; they do their homework, and it's clear from interviews with Orci that he knows what he's talking about science-wise. But it's Abrams's prerogative as director to choose to disregard the science if he thinks it serves the story, just as Roddenberry himself often disregarded the advice of the technical advisors he consulted for TOS if he felt something less scientific would be more dramatic or reach the audience better. Because Roddenberry knew that he was making a work of fiction, not a dissertation. The appearance of credibility could help sell the drama, but the science should never be allowed to undermine the drama.

And how is Abrams's decision to make the Enterprise look like a hot rod any less valid than the TMP production designers' decision to make it look Art Deco? Or ILM's decision to base the Klingon Bird of Prey's forward silhouette on a football linebacker? None of those are practical engineering decisions; they're just different aesthetic choices.
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Old November 20 2012, 01:19 AM   #19
jayrath
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

Christopher wrote: View Post
jayrath wrote: View Post
Oh, and the best way to drill on a planet is to dangle the thing all the way from orbit?
Nothing to scoff at there. Orbital tethers are an idea that many scientists and engineers take very seriously. Things dangling from orbit may one day be of immense value to human achievement in space.

Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are actually quite science-savvy; they do their homework, and it's clear from interviews with Orci that he knows what he's talking about science-wise. But it's Abrams's prerogative as director to choose to disregard the science if he thinks it serves the story, just as Roddenberry himself often disregarded the advice of the technical advisors he consulted for TOS if he felt something less scientific would be more dramatic or reach the audience better. Because Roddenberry knew that he was making a work of fiction, not a dissertation. The appearance of credibility could help sell the drama, but the science should never be allowed to undermine the drama.

And how is Abrams's decision to make the Enterprise look like a hot rod any less valid than the TMP production designers' decision to make it look Art Deco? Or ILM's decision to base the Klingon Bird of Prey's forward silhouette on a football linebacker? None of those are practical engineering decisions; they're just different aesthetic choices.
Puh-LEASE! Hey, I'm all for orbital tethers. It's a great possible way to gather energy. But to drill on an exactly specific site? Heck, we saw it swing wildly. Give me two 49ers with pick axes and a mule any old day, rather than drilling a vertical shaft from space. And do think that veins of valuable ore run perpendicular to a planet's surface? Apologists aside, that seems to defy everything I learned in geology 101. I welcome your new theory of plate tectonics.

Sure, GR disregarded science fact when it got in the way of good storytelling. Problem is, the recent wildness gets very much in the way of good storytelling -- for me, at least.

As for the "art deco" look of the previous Enterprise, there is nothing art deco about it at all, unless you count the original curves (which vanished from the nacelles). I assume you mean art moderne, and even then I think you mean the "Aztecing" of the hull plates. I chalk that up to a higher resolution view of what must have been there all along. If we had gotten a better view of the TOS Enterprise, we would have seen the same hull finish. Anyway, there's nothing about the plate finish that is art deco or moderne in any way at all. You seriously want to argue surface niceties of design art as a very necessary element of storytelling? If so, let's talk about the Budweiser engine room.

The point is: gather the science. Listen to the advice. Then if, as a filmmaker, you choose to ignore it? Fine by me! But first maybe go out of your way to take advantage of all the real-world rocket scientists who are fans and who want to help.

I kind of think that the advice previously gathered from NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory might still have been worthwhile in the new effort. Or do you think that the contributions of Harvey Lynn of the Rand Corporation were so worthless to TOS? He essentially invented the fictitious transporter. He changed "laser" to "phaser." He replaced impossible star systems with real ones. And he had a tremendous grasp of, and appreciation of, the necessities of drama.

Yeah, Orci and Kurtzman are "quite science-savvy." Giant robots that defy gravity, mass and impetus, and become cars. Red matter. Vulcan gyro ships. Vulcan now mere minutes away (gee, that sure increases suspense). And let's not even get into their grasp of characterization.

Why is it so wrong to ask for the help of real-world science advisers? Who have helped so much before?
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Old November 20 2012, 02:17 AM   #20
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

jayrath wrote: View Post
And do think that veins of valuable ore run perpendicular to a planet's surface? Apologists aside, that seems to defy everything I learned in geology 101. I welcome your new theory of plate tectonics.
Come on. Star Trek has always been full of science holes and other continuity errors. Consider all the TOS episodes where ships' orbits decayed when they lost power. Or Psi 2000 somehow changing its mass as it disintegrated in "The Naked Time." You want to object to scientific inaccuracies in Star Trek, you're nearly half a century too late.


As for the "art deco" look of the previous Enterprise, there is nothing art deco about it at all, unless you count the original curves (which vanished from the nacelles). I assume you mean art moderne, and even then I think you mean the "Aztecing" of the hull plates.
An irrelevant nitpick. The point is that they're all stylistic decisions by the art directors of different works of fiction. Objecting to the stylistic choices of the latest version is just an excuse you're making up to justify your hostility toward its novelty. Fans like you have been condemning the newest incarnation of Trek as a corruption and a betrayal for the past three or four decades. Sadly, even though Star Trek is about approaching the new and different with openness and fascination, there are always fans like you who face it with hatred and condemnation.


Why is it so wrong to ask for the help of real-world science advisers? Who have helped so much before?
See above about TOS's humongous science errors. What you need to understand about science advisors is that they're advisors. As I already told you, the producers aren't required to listen to their advice. You're deluded if you think that this is anything new for Trek.
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Old November 20 2012, 02:57 AM   #21
jayrath
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

Christopher wrote: View Post
Objecting to the stylistic choices of the latest version is just an excuse you're making up to justify your hostility toward its novelty.
Please do not ascribe emotions to me that I do not feel.

Christopher wrote: View Post
Fans like you have been condemning the newest incarnation of Trek as a corruption and a betrayal for the past three or four decades.
While I'm honored by your assessment of my views as part of a rich legacy of (hopefully thoughtful) criticism, still, I do not welcome your attack. Nor do I have any any serious problems with any Trek incarnation except for Nu-Trek.

Christopher wrote: View Post
Sadly, even though Star Trek is about approaching the new and different with openness and fascination, there are always fans like you who face it with hatred and condemnation.
Yes. When you no longer are able to intelligently debate, call me names. I feel no hatred. If new fans are excited by the latest incarnation, I'm very pleased. Must we all be 100 percent for all that is Star Trek? We must all be toadying fans? Personally, I'm not a big fan of the phaser squirt guns from the defunct Las Vegas ST Experience, so I guess I am not a true fan. Love the ViewMaster reels, though.

I ask again: Why is it so wrong to ask JPL or NASA to take a look at a script? Even give them a few bucks to do so? Apparently this is some great artistic sin?

Or is this about your own novels and your own insecurity?
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Old November 20 2012, 12:32 PM   #22
F. King Daniel
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

jayrath wrote: View Post
Vulcan gyro ships.
What about Federation ships that split into three parts which can be remote-controlled? Or future-ships with Batmobile armour? Or Klingon ships with kewl but utterly pointless moving wings?
Vulcan now mere minutes away (gee, that sure increases suspense).
You mean like when Romulan Neutral Zone was a tiny warp-hop from Earth in First Contact?
Nor do I have any any serious problems
with any Trek incarnation except for Nu-Trek.
It's fine not to like the new version, but I think you're looking at "old" Trek through a vasalene lens of scientific plausability and smooth continuity.
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Old November 24 2012, 03:30 AM   #23
jayrath
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

KingDaniel wrote: View Post
jayrath wrote: View Post
Vulcan gyro ships.
What about Federation ships that split into three parts which can be remote-controlled? Or future-ships with Batmobile armour? Or Klingon ships with kewl but utterly pointless moving wings?
Vulcan now mere minutes away (gee, that sure increases suspense).
You mean like when Romulan Neutral Zone was a tiny warp-hop from Earth in First Contact?
Nor do I have any any serious problems
with any Trek incarnation except for Nu-Trek.
It's fine not to like the new version, but I think you're looking at "old" Trek through a vasalene lens of scientific plausability and smooth continuity.
It's spelled Vaseline (a trade name), and I entirely agree that every instance you cite is #&$#%, too.

What's wrong with scientific plausability? I thought it was science fiction? I have no problems with fantasy. And again, a lot of current science has to be set aside just to get warp travel, besides other gadgetry.

But I still don't get to resistance to actual science. What, Picard (if we ever see him again) may say, "Data, creationism is yet another theory, and it could be that fossils were placed upon earth by our creator to confound us even now"?

I take back my calling it Nu-Trek. It's Tea Party Trek. Got a wacky vision divorced from all science? Plug it in! It's all good!
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Old November 24 2012, 06:46 PM   #24
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

jayrath wrote: View Post
What's wrong with scientific plausability?
Other than the fact that Star Trek has all the scientific plausibility of a comic book?

Which, actually, is a pretty apt comparison. Peter Parker gets spider powers after being bitten by a radioactive spider; Reginald Barclay gets spider powers (and the entire crew "de-evolves") after being injected with a technobabble vaccine. Really, Star Trek is one cosmic ray storm or one homicidal demigod away from a Fantastic Four crossover.

But I still don't get to resistance to actual science.
There's no RESISTANCE to it at all. Writers use science -- or at least, a reasonable facsimile -- as convenient plot devices and scene dressing. But Star Trek is not and has never been hard science fiction; its writers are not actual scientists, its background science is not remarkably (or in some cases even slightly) realistic.

Is STXI in any way less realistic than, say, Wrath of Khan, with its inexplicable lighting storm/fogbank nebula and the McGuffin incarnate that IS the Genesis device? I don't think so, personally, and yet Wrath of Khan, along with STXI, is widely regarded as one of the best of all of the Trek movies.
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Old November 24 2012, 09:51 PM   #25
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

KingDaniel wrote: View Post
Klingon ships with kewl but utterly pointless moving wings?
The hero ship in Voyager having basically the same thing. If they needed to be up for warp, okay. Why ever put them down?

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Old November 24 2012, 10:02 PM   #26
Mytran
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

They get tired.
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Old November 26 2012, 03:47 PM   #27
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

jayrath wrote: View Post

Christopher wrote: View Post
Fans like you have been condemning the newest incarnation of Trek as a corruption and a betrayal for the past three or four decades.
While I'm honored by your assessment of my views as part of a rich legacy of (hopefully thoughtful) criticism, still, I do not welcome your attack. Nor do I have any any serious problems with any Trek incarnation except for Nu-Trek.
Just like the fans in '79 who had no problem with any Trek except the new movie... or those who had no problem with any Trek except ST V... or those who loved every minute of Trek, but hated TNG.. or those who loved Trek except DS9, because it wasn't really Star Trek (it didn't have a Starship).. or... well, you get the point. Every time there is a new Trek, somebody thinks its not "real Trek" and/or has ruined the whole franchise. Nothing new here.

I ask again: Why is it so wrong to ask JPL or NASA to take a look at a script? Even give them a few bucks to do so? Apparently this is some great artistic sin?
Nothing wrong with it, but as Christopher pointed out, several times, just because a scientific advisor advises, nobody is required to heed such advice when it conflicts with the story they wish to tell. Trek has been scientifically inaccurate since day 1. So, if anything, the last Trek movie was holding with tradition.

As a side note, Christopher's trek novels are ones that, more likely than not ,try to give the Trek universe a feel of scientific accuracy and/or retroactively explain some of those scientific errors (and some mere logical errors) in the past. Its one of the many reasons I love his Trek Lit.
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Old November 27 2012, 03:19 AM   #28
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

I think the OP is basically correct...but I also think that the changes in the timeline went both ways (whould *have* to have gone both ways, if you stop and think about it.)

So anyway...it's a bit of both.
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Old January 15 2013, 03:41 PM   #29
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

I think a big part of the reason why on-screen evidence is taken as literal gospel in Star Trek, is that several publications, such as the 'Star Trek Encyclopedia' and 'Star Trek Chronology' advocated this strict interpretation of canon.



People, like me, grew up reading those reference sources, and therefore, the idea of a strict visual canon became embedded in the community. Websites like Ex Astris Scientia further reinforce this, by using the same standards outlined.

So blame the Okudas
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Old January 15 2013, 03:51 PM   #30
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Re: Visual continuity/Same future, different eyes

T'Girl wrote: View Post
If they needed to be up for warp, okay. Why ever put them down?
Why do girls always ask that question?
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