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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old February 16 2013, 01:51 PM   #1
Ketrick
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"The Slaver Weapon"

In this episode which brings elements of Larry Niven's Known Space universe into the Star Trek universe, there is mention of four wars having taken place in the mid-to-late 21st century between the feline Kzinti and humankind apparently sometime after first contact with the Vulcans. From what else is known of Trek history of this period, it seems almost impossible for four wars to have occured.

I have a theory that because Earth is not yet united that four wars can be fought in a very short amount of time if they are being fought between different nations or coalitions and the Kzinti. In fact, some of these wars may be occuring simultaneously. What do you think?

Last edited by Ketrick; February 16 2013 at 03:08 PM.
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Old February 16 2013, 02:09 PM   #2
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

I honestly have no idea how "The Slaver Weapon" and the current version of Trek history can be reconciled without massive retcons.

Enterprise planned to tackle the Kzinti in a season five episode entitled "Kilkenny Cats". I'd love to see how they planned to do it - my guess would be those wars would have been been downgraded to battles (in a similar fashion to the Earth/Romulan war being turned into a three-day battle in Earth orbit in the unmade movie Star Trek: The Beginning), and the era moved to ENT's "present", the mid 2150's.
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Old February 16 2013, 02:39 PM   #3
Ketrick
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

King Daniel wrote: View Post
I honestly have no idea how "The Slaver Weapon" and the current version of Trek history can be reconciled without massive retcons.
Why do you say that? What problems are there other than the four wars?
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Old February 16 2013, 02:55 PM   #4
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

According to ENT, humanity barely ventured into space prior to 2151. There were a few interstellar colony expeditions, the first one in 2078, and the low-warp Earth Cargo Service ships populated by the "Space Boomers" and travelling out only a couple of dozen light-years. Humanity hadn't even made contact yet with Andorians or Tellarites. And interstellar war was something they had no experience with; NX-01 was launched as a pure research vessel, and the crew had no idea when they started out that the galaxy was as full of dangerous aliens as it turned out to be. I just don't see any way of reconciling that with an episode claiming that humanity had four wars with a race as relentlessly warlike as the Kzinti before 2070.

Even accepting the animated series as a whole as canonical (and Trek producers have been implicitly doing so ever since "Unification" referenced events from "Yesteryear"), later canon has ignored or contradicted specific episodes or events from earlier canon on several occasions. "The Alternative Factor"'s interpretation of antimatter (which itself contradicted what "The Naked Time" had previously established) has been completely ignored by all subsequent Trek, and the episode has never been referenced. DS9 and VGR ignored how easy travel to the galactic center was shown to be in The Final Frontier, not to mention "The Magicks of Megas-tu." VGR's "Threshold" has not only been ignored and contradicted, but explicitly disowned by its own writer. VGR's "Fury" made claims about the difficulty of changing course at warp that have been completely ignored since then.

So contrary to the myth in fandom, canon doesn't mean every last detail, or even every episode, undeniably happened as shown. A canon pretends to be a consistent reality, but it's really a work of fiction that's being made up as it goes, and sometimes things get rethought, bad ideas get abandoned, new creators disagree with old creators' choices, and new ideas supersede old ones. So there could be entire episodes of Trek that are no longer counted as "real," or that are treated as inaccurate in their details. "The Slaver Weapon" occupies, at best, a tenuous position within canon. If ENT had dealt with the Kzinti, it's certain that any backstory elements from "The Slaver Weapon" -- which were actually taken nearly verbatim from the original "The Soft Weapon" novella and the history of Niven's Known Space universe -- would've been altered or disregarded and a new interpretation presented.
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Old February 16 2013, 03:58 PM   #5
Ketrick
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Christopher wrote: View Post
According to ENT, humanity barely ventured into space prior to 2151. There were a few interstellar colony expeditions, the first one in 2078, and the low-warp Earth Cargo Service ships populated by the "Space Boomers" and travelling out only a couple of dozen light-years. Humanity hadn't even made contact yet with Andorians or Tellarites. And interstellar war was something they had no experience with; NX-01 was launched as a pure research vessel, and the crew had no idea when they started out that the galaxy was as full of dangerous aliens as it turned out to be. I just don't see any way of reconciling that with an episode claiming that humanity had four wars with a race as relentlessly warlike as the Kzinti before 2070.

Even accepting the animated series as a whole as canonical (and Trek producers have been implicitly doing so ever since "Unification" referenced events from "Yesteryear"), later canon has ignored or contradicted specific episodes or events from earlier canon on several occasions. "The Alternative Factor"'s interpretation of antimatter (which itself contradicted what "The Naked Time" had previously established) has been completely ignored by all subsequent Trek, and the episode has never been referenced. DS9 and VGR ignored how easy travel to the galactic center was shown to be in The Final Frontier, not to mention "The Magicks of Megas-tu." VGR's "Threshold" has not only been ignored and contradicted, but explicitly disowned by its own writer. VGR's "Fury" made claims about the difficulty of changing course at warp that have been completely ignored since then.

So contrary to the myth in fandom, canon doesn't mean every last detail, or even every episode, undeniably happened as shown. A canon pretends to be a consistent reality, but it's really a work of fiction that's being made up as it goes, and sometimes things get rethought, bad ideas get abandoned, new creators disagree with old creators' choices, and new ideas supersede old ones. So there could be entire episodes of Trek that are no longer counted as "real," or that are treated as inaccurate in their details. "The Slaver Weapon" occupies, at best, a tenuous position within canon. If ENT had dealt with the Kzinti, it's certain that any backstory elements from "The Slaver Weapon" -- which were actually taken nearly verbatim from the original "The Soft Weapon" novella and the history of Niven's Known Space universe -- would've been altered or disregarded and a new interpretation presented.
I get what you're saying about canon, but in the case of "The Slaver Weapon", I don't think it's hard to reconcile it with Trek continuity and history, as long as you focus only on what's revealed in this episode and not how the Kzinti or Slavers are presented in the Known Space universe.


The way I see it during the 2060s and 2070s, both the Kzinti and humans are new to interstellar travel and fight with primitive weapons by future standards. Here's a scenario of how I think this could work:

A few Earth nations start building and subsequently launch warp-capable spacecraft. In a relatively short time some of these vessels are attacked by the Kzinti who eat the humans on board leaving only bones in the vessels which are discovered by the Vulcans who report what happened to the Earth nations. These nations, still antagonistic toward each of other as a result of World War 3, declare war separately on the Kzinti resulting in two or three simultaneous wars which each nation wins. A few years later, the Kzinti start attacking Human vessels again. This time, the warp-capable nations form a loose coalition which, with minor Vulcan assistance, forces the Kzinti to demilitarize.

In this scenario, humans don't have to be that advanced or have many ships or go deep into space because the Kzinti aren't anymore advanced than we. In other words, this scenario doesn't contradict things as painted by Enterprise. In fact, the Man-Kzinti Wars, along with WW3 and the post atomic horror, could partly explain why the Vulcans acted the way they did towards humans in the 22nd century.
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Old February 16 2013, 04:19 PM   #6
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

^I just don't buy it. As I said, in that context, humanity would certainly know how many violent and dangerous aliens are out there, and the naive optimism of Archer's crew when they started out would make no sense.
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Old February 16 2013, 05:24 PM   #7
Ketrick
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Christopher wrote: View Post
^I just don't buy it. As I said, in that context, humanity would certainly know how many violent and dangerous aliens are out there, and the naive optimism of Archer's crew when they started out would make no sense.
I disagree. Just because humanity came into contact with the violent, carnivorous Kzinti early on doesn't mean they would automatically assume all or even most aliens were dangerous. Also, "boomers" came into contact with several hostile alien species and surely some reports reached the general population of Earth so I don't see the problem you do. Not only that, Enterprise had weapons and an armory officer so humanity wasn't totally na´ve from the time they launched (despite not having the phase cannons online because of leaving Earth early).

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Old February 16 2013, 05:46 PM   #8
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Keep the Kzinti, modify the backstory, and ignore Spock's line about the four wars.
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Old February 16 2013, 05:52 PM   #9
Ketrick
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Forbin wrote: View Post
Keep the Kzinti, modify the backstory, and ignore Spock's line about the four wars.
I believe it was Sulu who said there were four wars.
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Old February 16 2013, 06:19 PM   #10
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

The idea of four Man-Kzin wars comes from the Known Space series, and they occur at a much later period of fictional history in that universe, in the 25th and 26th centuries. "The Soft Weapon" takes place in the 27th century.

I like The Slaver Weapon a lot, but I recognize that it basically shoehorned Known Space into the Trekverse, so I don't demand that it seamlessly meld with it.
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Old February 16 2013, 07:03 PM   #11
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

I.would have liked.to see enterprise bring the kzinti to Tv again but would have required some real retcon work. I liked enterprise but not the way it made humans sit around basically doing nothing for 90 years after inventing warp. Should have been set in the 2090's instead
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Old February 16 2013, 08:03 PM   #12
Christopher
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Ketrick wrote: View Post
I disagree. Just because humanity came into contact with the violent, carnivorous Kzinti early on doesn't mean they would automatically assume all or even most aliens were dangerous. Also, "boomers" came into contact with several hostile alien species and surely some reports reached the general population of Earth so I don't see the problem you do. Not only that, Enterprise had weapons and an armory officer so humanity wasn't totally na´ve from the time they launched (despite not having the phase cannons online because of leaving Earth early).
Well... maybe, but I still think it's a reach. You'd think somebody would've mentioned any such Kzinti conflicts -- or that somebody, upon hearing of the Xindi attack, would've mistaken the name for "Kzinti." Maybe it's not an impossible fit, but it's an awkward one. Clearly the people who created ENT had no intention of making it compatible with "The Slaver Weapon," and if -- if -- they had done a Kzinti episode in a hypothetical season 5, it most likely would've reinterpreted the specifics.


Ketrick wrote: View Post
I believe it was Sulu who said there were four wars.
Well, technically it was Jason Papandreou's line which was assigned to Sulu in the adaptation.


CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
I like The Slaver Weapon a lot, but I recognize that it basically shoehorned Known Space into the Trekverse, so I don't demand that it seamlessly meld with it.
I'm happier letting Known Space be Known Space and Trek be Trek. It doesn't feel right to me to try to fit a story from one into the other. I mean, there's been one other Trek episode that was an adaptation of an earlier, non-Trek science fiction work: TNG's "Tin Man," which was adapted by Dennis Bailey & David Bischoff from their own novel Tin Woodman. But it wasn't anywhere near a close retelling; it took the basic premise of the novel, a telepath making contact with an organic ship and running off with it, and built a very different story around it, one that fit better with the Trek universe and characters. But "The Slaver Weapon" is very nearly a beat-for-beat retelling of "The Soft Weapon" that fudges the Trek setting to fit the existing story -- we just get three characters in a shuttle instead of the whole starship and crew, and Known Space species like Kzinti and Slavers and their respective histories are thrown in virtually unaltered (although the Slaver history is greatly simplified, and the fact that the weapon was actually built by their slave species the Tnuctipun to be used against them is cut out). So it's not so much a Star Trek story as a Known Space story with Trek characters acting out the roles of the protagonists. Thus, I don't feel it really belongs in the Trek universe. It feels like a weird sort of fanfic mash-up to me, like those pieces of fan art you see that depict characters from one franchise in the roles of the leads from a different franchise.


SiddFinch1 wrote: View Post
I liked enterprise but not the way it made humans sit around basically doing nothing for 90 years after inventing warp. Should have been set in the 2090's instead
But an important part of the story was that the Vulcans had deliberately held us back that long, not trusting us to handle interstellar contacts responsibly, and we were finally breaking free of their resistance.
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Old February 16 2013, 09:58 PM   #13
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Christopher wrote: View Post
^I just don't buy it. As I said, in that context, humanity would certainly know how many violent and dangerous aliens are out there, and the naive optimism of Archer's crew when they started out would make no sense.
I got no problem with that...since I completely ignore ENT in regard to TOS anyway.

The series' world building was completely flawed from the beginning.
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Old February 16 2013, 10:03 PM   #14
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Well, if some Kzinti from the Known Space universe were caught in a rift to the Trek universe, you could reconcile the two histories--with Sulu talking about an alternate timeline. A stretch yes, but it keeps the Archer era intact. Which is good, in that the FASA history even had the Connie as having nuclear weapons as part of the FAC
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Old February 17 2013, 12:32 AM   #15
Ketrick
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Re: "The Slaver Weapon"

Christopher wrote: View Post
Ketrick wrote: View Post
I disagree. Just because humanity came into contact with the violent, carnivorous Kzinti early on doesn't mean they would automatically assume all or even most aliens were dangerous. Also, "boomers" came into contact with several hostile alien species and surely some reports reached the general population of Earth so I don't see the problem you do. Not only that, Enterprise had weapons and an armory officer so humanity wasn't totally na´ve from the time they launched (despite not having the phase cannons online because of leaving Earth early).
Well... maybe, but I still think it's a reach. You'd think somebody would've mentioned any such Kzinti conflicts -- or that somebody, upon hearing of the Xindi attack, would've mistaken the name for "Kzinti." Maybe it's not an impossible fit, but it's an awkward one. Clearly the people who created ENT had no intention of making it compatible with "The Slaver Weapon," and if -- if -- they had done a Kzinti episode in a hypothetical season 5, it most likely would've reinterpreted the specifics.
I really don't think its much of a reach. Yes, you would think there would be, but considering there wasn't even a mention of the Eugenics War until Season 3 or World War 3 or the post atomic horror until Season 4, I don't think it's much of a problem especially if you also consider how little those major events are mentioned in the other series. A Xindi/Kzinti mixup would have been funny, but unnecessary ultimately. Honestly though, I think part of why I don't see much of a problem is because I've never read any Known Space story and I see the Trek version as being very much separate and distinct despite the close adaptation of "The Soft Weapon".
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