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

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Old September 25 2013, 08:16 AM   #1
Dr Van Gelder
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Are there any non-fiction books detailing the history of the Romulans?

I'm very interested in the history of the Romulans - which books, films, TV episodes are the best to look at to find out more about this species?

I am a newbie to Star Trek and this forum, so please be gentle with me!
My best friend used to be a massive fan though, so I picked up some of it from him.
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Old September 25 2013, 08:50 AM   #2
F. King Daniel
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Re: Are there any non-fiction books detailing the history of the Romul

The Romulan Way by Diane Duane alternates between the history of the Vulcan/Romulan schism and a story in the "present" about McCoy on Romulus. The "present" story is a sequel to Duane's earlier My Enemy, My Ally and kinda requires you read that to understand the ending. Duane repeated the formula in Spock's World, which combines the history of Vulcan with a story about the Vulcan people taking a vote on whether to leave the Federation.

Yeah it's fiction, but it's the closest I can think of to what you want. And the books are really good.
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Old September 25 2013, 10:35 AM   #3
Robert Comsol
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Re: Are there any non-fiction books detailing the history of the Romul

The history of the Romulan Star Empire is rather enigmatic and there is little non-fiction available (i.e. what the original producers had in mind).


The starting point should always be "Balance of Terror", IMHO:
  • Given their obvious resemblance to Vulcans Spock speculates they might have been colonists from the pre-Surak period of Vulcan civil war. Alternately, since they apparently live very far away from Vulcan, they could either be the descendants of exiles deported from Vulcan (in ancient "Rome" aristocrats that had fallen out of favor were usually not executed but sent into exile) or exiles that left Vulcan (the Romans liked to think they had been the descendants of the survivors of Troy).
  • IMHO, the impression of a pre-Surak colonizing period is emphasized by "The Savage Curtain". Spock knows quite a lot about Surak (how he looked and what he did), so it appears that from this moment in time on, Vulcan records got no longer lost.
  • Nevertheless, TNG's "Unification" and retroactive continuity suggested that the Romulans are Vulcans that did not agree with Surak's philosophy and/or policy and therefore left. If this were the case, I can't help but wonder why then it has not been recorded (see Spock's statement in "Balance of Terror"). Alternately it may just be a Romulan deception where in fact these want to avenge that their ancestors had been marooned on Romulus.
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Last edited by Robert Comsol; September 25 2013 at 10:46 AM.
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Old September 25 2013, 11:21 AM   #4
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Re: Are there any non-fiction books detailing the history of the Romul

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
I can't help but wonder why then it has not been recorded (see Spock's statement in "Balance of Terror"). Alternately it may just be a Romulan deception where in fact these want to avenge that their ancestors had been marooned on Romulus
First there can't be any "non-fiction" books on the Romulans, because they're a fictional race of peoples.

Spock not knowing anything about the Romulans right off hand could be because the Vulcans have been interstellar travelers for thousands of years. The Roumulan left Vulcan, but so did hundreds or thousands of other groups over the centuries. The Romulans departure might not have been considered anything special at the time and no important historical note was made of it.

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Old September 25 2013, 12:13 PM   #5
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Re: Are there any non-fiction books detailing the history of the Romul

You know there might be an opportunity for some fan of Star Trek to go through every episode, every TV writers handbook available, every real non-fiction background book on Star Trek and write a canonical (writer's handbook isn't canon but still...) on the history of the Romulans, Vulcans, Klingons, Tellarites, Andorians.

Wikipedia probably lists every TV appearance of the Romulans but it would probably be good to see the intentions behind the Romulan characters in the TV shows. Something that gels the TOS era with the TNG era with the nuTrek era.

If its already been done I wouldn't mind seeing it.
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Old September 25 2013, 12:42 PM   #6
Robert Comsol
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Re: Are there any non-fiction books detailing the history of the Romul

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Spock not knowing anything about the Romulans right off hand could be because the Vulcans have been interstellar travelers for thousands of years.
Assuming Earth and Vulcan are not that far away from each other in interstellar terms, we'd have to wonder then, why they didn't colonize Earth during their "aggressive" period (i.e. pre-Surak)

T'Girl wrote: View Post
The Romulans departure might not have been considered anything special at the time and no important historical note was made of it.
Though I would find it somewhat strange that such a departure would not be recorded, my main issue is that the Romulans inhabit what seems to be a very remote sector of the galaxy (it even takes a subspace message considerable time to get from there to Starfleet) for which they probably needed warp-capable spaceships to get there in the first place.

But when the Enterprise encounters their "flagship" it only has "impulse power". This always stroke me as Vulcan offshoot that had to reclimb the technological ladder to re-acquire these skills.

There are different and interesting points of view how to interpret the "impulse power" of the Romulan flagship and the meaning of "Romulan Star Empire" in the Tech thread about the Romulan Bird of Prey (from "Balance of Terror").

Bob
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Old September 25 2013, 12:42 PM   #7
F. King Daniel
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Re: Are there any non-fiction books detailing the history of the Romul

^^That's what Memory Alpha and Memory Beta are for. Unfortunately, many Trekkies being so extremely opinionated colours what should be the best resource ever in the case of the former, and a teminal lack of updates taints the latter
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Old September 25 2013, 12:53 PM   #8
Robert Comsol
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Re: Are there any non-fiction books detailing the history of the Romul

^^ Well said, IIRC there was a writer back in the 1980's and she thought of herself to be the ultimate expert on Romulans, insisting these would refer to themselves as "Rihannsu" and if I'm not mistaken this whole "they left because they didn't agree with Surak" business was one of her ideas.

I think first and foremost we can should draw conclusions from whatever little information we got from "Balance of Terror". But we can't even agree how to interpret "impulse power" for the Romulan flagship.

Bob
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Old September 26 2013, 03:57 AM   #9
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Re: Are there any non-fiction books detailing the history of the Romul

Well - technically any such books would still be fiction anyway - since Romulans do not actually exist
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Old September 27 2013, 10:32 AM   #10
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Re: Are there any non-fiction books detailing the history of the Romul

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
Assuming Earth and Vulcan are not that far away from each other in interstellar terms, we'd have to wonder then, why they didn't colonize Earth during their "aggressive" period (i.e. pre-Surak)
They landed on the Atlantic coast of Brazil thousands of years ago, and my ancestors ate them.

T'Girl wrote: View Post
The Romulans departure might not have been considered anything special at the time and no important historical note was made of it.
Though I would find it somewhat strange that such a departure would not be recorded ...
I wasn't suggesting that there would be no record at all, but it might be a case that such departures of large colonization groups was so common that the "Romulan Expedition" was simply buried in the records.

And if they didn't start using the name/term Romulan to describe themselves until after they left, finding the record of them thousands of years later could border on the impossible.

my main issue is that the Romulans inhabit what seems to be a very remote sector of the galaxy
The easiest explaination might be that the large separation was deliberate. From the start of their journey the intent wasn't just to travel to the next nearest star system with a suitable planet, but to get as far from Vulcan as their technology would allow them.

But when the Enterprise encounters their "flagship" it only has "impulse power".
Like more than a few fans, I take Scotty's description to mean the ship's warp drive was powered by fusion reactors, and not matter/antimatter reactors.

The Romulans during the Earth/Romulan war could not have been a credible enemy without a FTL propulsion of some kind.

King Daniel Into Darkness wrote: View Post
^^That's what Memory Alpha and Memory Beta are for.
While a good place to begin research, the ongoing problem with memory alpha is the people who write the article there like to mix factual information from the shows with their own interpretations and creative ideas.

In other words, some of the articles are basically fan fiction.


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Old September 27 2013, 11:11 AM   #11
Robert Comsol
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Re: Are there any non-fiction books detailing the history of the Romul

T'Girl wrote: View Post
The easiest explaination might be that the large separation was deliberate. From the start of their journey the intent wasn't just to travel to the next nearest star system with a suitable planet, but to get as far from Vulcan as their technology would allow them.
While undoubtedly possible, I wonder if this is a realistic scenario. The protagonists in BSG were forced to leave their home because it had been devastated and rendered uninhabitable. Here we'd have irrational and, IMHO, aristocratic Vulcans that were boxed up in a spaceship for a probably considerable amount of time. Would they have embarked voluntarily on such a long spaceflight and given up their home that easily? And they probably weren't forced to do so at gunpoint as that would have been somewhat incompatible with the teachings of Surak.

T'Girl wrote: View Post
But when the Enterprise encounters their "flagship" it only has "impulse power".
Like more than a few fans, I take Scotty's description to mean the ship's warp drive was powered by fusion reactors, and not matter/antimatter reactors.
Admittedly, most tech fans that participated in the Romulan BoP felt that way, but how does the majority of fans think about the issue as "impulse power" was usually presented as a synonym for "sublight speed" throughout the various incarnations of Star Trek.

If the producers just intended "impulse power" (sublight speed), which I think is the case, we'd have to invoke the "burning bridges" or "burning ships" scenario on behalf of the Romulan "exodus" and open another can of worms.

For the mutineers of HMS Bounty the main reason for burning their ship was to get rid of evidence that could have attracted unwanted attention from other ships passing Pitcairn island.

Other than that I find these scenarios, as presented in nuBSG or WALL-E rather unrealistic, especially since you seem to have plenty of asteroids and comets in the Romulan star system.

T'Girl wrote: View Post
The Romulans during the Earth/Romulan war could not have been a credible enemy without a FTL propulsion of some kind.
Admittedly, that's the suggestion of "Elaan of Troyius" but that takes place 100 years in the future. Whether Earth and its allies (including Vulcans?) used or could have used FTL vessels (asteroids and comets?) is inconclusive from a strictly TOS point-of-view.

Spock: As you may recall from your histories, this conflict was fought, by our standards today, with primitive atomic weapons and in primitive space vessels.

And as an analogy I'd like to mention the practical use of the first jet fighter during WW II, the Messerschmitt ME 262. While it was faster it usually overshoot the allied bomber formations or enemy fighters. And it bought speed at the expense of fuel and range limitations, not exactly an advantage for Earth ships operating far from home in the enemy's territory.

In the Romulan BoP thread, it had been mentioned that the "impulse powered" BoP may have been launched from an FTL carrier ship (though admittedly somewhat odd for their "flagship"). What had not been mentioned is the possibility that it was actually Earth that used FTL carrier ships (WW II aircraft carrier analogy) to deploy smaller ships during the Earth-Romulan War, "primitive space vessels which allowed no quarter, no captives."

Bob
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Last edited by Robert Comsol; September 27 2013 at 11:27 AM.
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Old September 27 2013, 04:40 PM   #12
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Re: Are there any non-fiction books detailing the history of the Romul

Dr Van Gelder wrote: View Post
I'm very interested in the history of the Romulans - which books, films, TV episodes are the best to look at to find out more about this species?

I am a newbie to Star Trek and this forum, so please be gentle with me!
My best friend used to be a massive fan though, so I picked up some of it from him.
You might find this of interest: http://www.library.sfi-sfmc.org/downloads/xsr_2007.pdf
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Old September 28 2013, 12:13 PM   #13
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Re: Are there any non-fiction books detailing the history of the Romul

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
Spock: As you may recall from your histories, this conflict was fought, by our standards today, with primitive atomic weapons and in primitive space vessels.
The NX-01 Enterprise likely would have been described by Spock as a "primitive space vessel."

And compared to a 23rd century "modern" photon torpedoe's warhead, any fission/fusion device would be considered a primitive weapon.

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Old October 1 2013, 11:57 AM   #14
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Re: Are there any non-fiction books detailing the history of the Romul

Dr Van Gelder wrote: View Post
I'm very interested in the history of the Romulans - which books, films, TV episodes are the best to look at to find out more about this species?
Some of the roleplay game companies did manuals on the Romulans, but there is little overlap with the novels.

http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/The_Way_of_D%27era
http://memory-beta.wikia.com/wiki/Th...an_Star_Empire
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Old October 2 2013, 06:13 PM   #15
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Re: Are there any non-fiction books detailing the history of the Romul

There are the source books for the FASA role playing games too, pretty good stuff.

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