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Old February 27 2013, 02:16 AM   #1
ZapBrannigan
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Is there any Sci-Fi in Star Trek?

Would they still have science fiction in the STAR TREK era, i.e., the 23rd and 24th centuries?

On VOYAGER, Tom Paris enjoys CAPTAIN PROTON stories, but he enjoys them ironically, as a comedy. It isn't science fiction to him.

After one of their own typical experiences, what kind of story would Kirk or Picard consider to be science fiction? Or will the genre have faded from existence?

Is sci-fi just a phase we're going through, one that can't survive its own prophesies?
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Old February 27 2013, 02:54 AM   #2
Shawnster
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Re: Is there any Sci-Fi in Star Trek?

No, science fiction isn't a phase. Science fiction, or scientific fiction, or speculative fiction will always exist. Technology will always grow and progress. We will always continue to move forward. 24th Century Starfleet was not the most scientifically advanced form of civilization.

I think the problem is in our storytelling viewpoint. How does a writer or author present a future further out from the future they're already writing about?

I look at the differences between Star Wars and Star Trek, for example Star Wars depicts FTL technology that allows an individual to travel from the Core World of Coruscant to distant Mustafar in mere minutes, whereas travel from one star to the nearest neighbor in Star Trek takes days. Star Wars presents a mystical "Force" and a cohesive galaxy spanning government. These are speculative aspects that the Star Trek universe doesn't have or hasn't developed yet.
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Old February 27 2013, 03:41 AM   #3
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Is there any Sci-Fi in Star Trek?

I tend to think scifi in Star Trek is what we might think of as 'hard scifi'. Something that applies big ethical questions to hypothetical science.

I would imagine escapist entertainment in the future looks more to the past, with fantasy and magic.
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Old February 27 2013, 11:56 AM   #4
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Is there any Sci-Fi in Star Trek?

In the novels, the Klingons have their Battlecruiser Vengeance holovids. It's basically Klingon Star Trek, but probably with a lot more killing.
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Old February 27 2013, 12:09 PM   #5
Ensign_Redshirt
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Re: Is there any Sci-Fi in Star Trek?

It's worth to point out that the people in Star Trek are seeing glimpses of possible futures all the time ("All Good Things...", "The Visitor", "Future's End", "Before and After", "Timeless", "Relativity", "Endgame", "Shockwave", "Future Tense", "Azati Prime").

At least some of these events have been recorded as log entries and so forth. So if people are writing stories about the future in the 22nd-24th centuries these could at least partially be based on facts rather than fiction. Or at least they know which future scenarios are plausible and which ones are less plausible.
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Old February 27 2013, 12:29 PM   #6
Metryq
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Re: Is there any Sci-Fi in Star Trek?

Wash: That sounds like something out of science fiction.
Zoe: We live in a spaceship, dear.
—FIREFLY, "Objects in Space"

"Science fiction" may continue into the future, no matter how advanced our technology gets. Although I prefer the harder brand of science fiction that sticks closer to physics as we know it, many fans accept time travel, alternate universes and other truly fantastic notions without blinking. Kepler wrote about visiting the Moon via mechanisms today's readers would call pure fantasy. Yet the point of his work was to educate the reader about the movement of the planets. Some "modern" science fiction (20th and early 21st century) is of this educational sort, sometimes as part of the suspension of disbelief. And there are stories whose aim is simple escapism, space opera. Myths and heroes of past ages may have been the "hard sci-fi" or space opera of those times. Yes, I am blurring the line between sci-fi and fantasy because most sci-fi is somewhat fantastical.

Whether "sci-fi" will continue into the future is more a reflection on society than any field of science or technology. Throughout history there have been those people who believed Mankind understood the workings of the universe. Galileo's problems in that regard were largely political, but also ideological. There is an apocryphal story that Lord William Thomson Kelvin said, "There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement." Whether or not he actually said this is irrelevant, as there were contemporaries of Kelvin who did express this belief, and there are those who believe it today.

A society with this mindset does not explore or dream. If you find recent sci-fi flatter than day-old soda, this may be why. But students of history know that these trends swing from one extreme to another, like a pendulum. "Good" sci-fi is only a matter of time.
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Old February 28 2013, 10:05 AM   #7
ZapBrannigan
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Re: Is there any Sci-Fi in Star Trek?

King Daniel wrote: View Post
In the novels, the Klingons have their Battlecruiser Vengeance holovids. It's basically Klingon Star Trek, but probably with a lot more killing.
But that's not sci-fi to them, for whom traveling the cosmos in a battlecruiser is a real thing people do. Surely the Klingons would file it under Action Adventure or Thrillers.
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Old February 28 2013, 10:23 AM   #8
ZapBrannigan
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Re: Is there any Sci-Fi in Star Trek?

Metryq wrote: View Post
"Science fiction" may continue into the future, no matter how advanced our technology gets. Although I prefer the harder brand of science fiction that sticks closer to physics as we know it, many fans accept time travel, alternate universes and other truly fantastic notions without blinking.
Agreed, but what about within STAR TREK? Stories about warp drive, time travel, alternate universes, transporter beams, etc., would not be that wild to Kirk and Picard, but more like another day at the office.

So there's a whole genre of ours that would be something else to them, the way 20,000 LEAGUES isn't sci-fi to us anymore.
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Old February 28 2013, 11:18 AM   #9
Robert Comsol
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Re: Is there any Sci-Fi in Star Trek?

@ Metryq

Very good and interesting observations.

Indeed, Kepler's moon story fell under the category of edutainment, because he wanted to give readers an idea how the earth would look from the moon. To get there, however, he used a supernatural element that got his poor mother (witch?) into some trouble (the rewrite contained more clarifying footnotes than the actual story text).

I'd say with Jules Verne it was the same. There's definitely less story but more in-depth education for the younger readers.

With a TV show like Star Trek it's the same, but here the edutainment element used to be reflections on the human condition. Since Roddenberry wanted to address social issues and avoid censorship obstacles, he transplanted the stories into the far future or exotic contexts (not to dissimilar what Rod Serling did for "The Twilight Zone" earlier).

Frankly, I don't see that much "science" in Star Trek (technology is rather supernatural) but a positive invitation to explore the unknown (which I'd consider a vital ingredient of good science fiction which has become rather scarce - IMHO, contemporary science fiction is rather science "action" with the focus on conflict, vengeance and war ).

I can't help but regard the depiction of society in TNG as rather utopian and close to perfect. If science fiction's obligation is to improve our living conditions, one may ask what purpose it should still be good for in a utopian society other than to provide escapism (i.e. Barcley's holodeck addiction).
And - to quote Bones from TMP - "What is there more than the Universe?"

Of course, higher levels of existence. Curiously, I was always amazed how Picard reacted to Q. Now, Q provided the opportunity of exploring this realm but Picard said no to the invitation (admittedly, he's more the archaeologist type of guy and "physical" explorer). Just my 0.02 $, of course.

Bob
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Old February 28 2013, 11:36 AM   #10
Captain Nebula
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Re: Is there any Sci-Fi in Star Trek?

Starfleet: Hey! Let's go to space!
Starfleet crew: Space is boring. Hey! Let's go to the holodeck and recreate stuff that happened centuries ago!



Well, there's always Vulcan Love Slave.
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Old February 28 2013, 11:52 AM   #11
Ensign_Redshirt
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Re: Is there any Sci-Fi in Star Trek?

This raises the question: did they ever do a movie about Capt. Kirk and his crew's adventures in the Star Trek universe? And if you were a film director in the 23rd century, which Enterprise mission would you choose as a basis?

And more importantly... which actor would play the actor who would play Capt. Kirk?
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Old February 28 2013, 11:54 AM   #12
Metryq
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Re: Is there any Sci-Fi in Star Trek?

Captain Nebula wrote: View Post
Starfleet: Hey! Let's go to space!
Starfleet crew: Space is boring. Hey! Let's go to the holodeck and recreate stuff that happened centuries ago!

That was my reaction to TNG after seeing episodes from the first few seasons. What happened to "boldly go"? The show was about 24th century couch potatoes. The episode where the crew debate the moral ramifications of "shutting off" a fictional character was groan-inducing. (Moral? No, those are just ads. "Don't touch that dial!")
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Old February 28 2013, 12:00 PM   #13
Robert Comsol
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Re: Is there any Sci-Fi in Star Trek?

Captain Nebula wrote: View Post
Starfleet: Hey! Let's go to space!
Starfleet crew: Space is boring. Hey! Let's go to the holodeck and recreate stuff that happened centuries ago!

Well, it depends on how you convey a sense of wonder and interest to explore to the next generation.

Maybe, I'm too pessimistic but after a certain amount of interstellar discoveries the whole exploration idea might become repetitive and boring.

While the depths of our oceans are still undiscovered countries, I don't see that much public interest in deep sea exploration after the bulk of our planet's lands have been abundantly charted and explored.

As we've seen with Picard in TNG he really likes to solve riddles (e.g. Dixon Hill) and probably to form theories based on conclusions, hence his unwavering interest in archaeology which usually is to large extents an "undiscovered country", too.

It really depends on which kind of exploration you personally prefer the most and what kind of exploration scenarios our society feels should be offered or popularized the most.

Bob
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Old February 28 2013, 12:16 PM   #14
Robert Comsol
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Re: Is there any Sci-Fi in Star Trek?

Ensign_Redshirt wrote: View Post
This raises the question: did they ever do a movie about Capt. Kirk and his crew's adventures in the Star Trek universe? And if you were a film director in the 23rd century, which Enterprise mission would you choose as a basis?

And more importantly... which actor would play the actor who would play Capt. Kirk?
The first story idea coming to my mind is "The Doomsday-Machine". Watch two brave starship commanders fight a planet killer that threatens all of us and see how one sacrifices his life in the line of duty that eventually saves us all. Politically correct as no intelligent alien life is harmed during the story.

I presume the actor playing Captain Kirk would be Pavel Chekov. In ST VII he didn't seem to have a starfleet assignment (Scotty is too old) and could boast that he knews Captain Kirk better than other actors.

During the re-enactement of the story, Chekov could probably apply many anecdotes of Russia (e.g. "an explosion twice the power of the Tsar H bomb test could destroy the planet killer").

Help me out here, please: I vaguely remember a scene where Chekov snaps out of unconsciousness and states his rank as "Admiral" with a grin on his face. Yep, I think he'd qualify.

Bob
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Old February 28 2013, 12:19 PM   #15
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Is there any Sci-Fi in Star Trek?

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
King Daniel wrote: View Post
In the novels, the Klingons have their Battlecruiser Vengeance holovids. It's basically Klingon Star Trek, but probably with a lot more killing.
But that's not sci-fi to them, for whom traveling the cosmos in a battlecruiser is a real thing people do. Surely the Klingons would file it under Action Adventure or Thrillers.
Yes of course! My bad.
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