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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

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

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Old October 29 2013, 12:45 AM   #1
MarsWeeps
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The Trouble With.....Flat Cats!!

I just finished reading Robert Heinlein's "The Rolling Stones" and was a bit surprised to see "Tribbles" in the story. In "The Rolling Stones" they are called Flat Cats. The physical description is the same, the hypnotic purring is the same, even the massive reproducing is the same along with them threatening the ship's food supply!

I've read where David Gerrold swears he didn't steal the idea from Heinlein but I have trouble believing that he came up with the same idea that just happened to have been thought of by someone else first. I think he probably read Heinlein's work and the Flat Cat idea stuck in his subconscious mind only to re-appear as tribbles later.
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Old October 29 2013, 12:56 AM   #2
Sir Rhosis
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Re: The Trouble With.....Flat Cats!!

That is indeed his assertion.

http://www.orionpressfanzines.com/ar...t_tribbles.htm
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Last edited by Sir Rhosis; October 29 2013 at 12:58 AM. Reason: added link to my article
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Old October 29 2013, 01:02 AM   #3
MarsWeeps
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Re: The Trouble With.....Flat Cats!!

Sir Rhosis wrote: View Post
Yes, I know. I just don't buy it. I don't think he deliberately stole the idea but I think he read the book and it was planted in his head.
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Old October 29 2013, 01:04 AM   #4
Sir Rhosis
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Re: The Trouble With.....Flat Cats!!

That's what I meant. He asserts that the idea must have stuck in his head from his reading of the book, and he subconsciously copied it to some extent. I don't know Mister Gerrold, so I can't say. I read the book long long ago and it has stayed with me, in my conscious mind, ever since.

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Old October 29 2013, 01:09 AM   #5
MarsWeeps
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Re: The Trouble With.....Flat Cats!!

Sir Rhosis wrote: View Post
That's what I meant. He asserts that the idea must have stuck in his head from his reading of the book, and he subconsciously copied it to some extent.
Yes, I just read your link where he states that. I think that's what probably happened.
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Old October 29 2013, 01:14 AM   #6
Sir Rhosis
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Re: The Trouble With.....Flat Cats!!

We are agreed.

OT: Nice avatar. But I find that every time I look away I forget what it is. Strange...
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Old October 29 2013, 01:22 AM   #7
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Re: The Trouble With.....Flat Cats!!

This one line from the linked article made me laugh: "It is one of the most fondly remembered of his 'juveniles,' perhaps today because of the connection to tribbles"

And George Washington is famous because I wrote a biography on him. (Actually, I haven't, but you get the point.)
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Old October 29 2013, 01:40 AM   #8
Olive, the Other Reindeer
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Re: The Trouble With.....Flat Cats!!

Metryq wrote: View Post
This one line from the linked article made me laugh: "It is one of the most fondly remembered of his 'juveniles,' perhaps today because of the connection to tribbles"

And George Washington is famous because I wrote a biography on him. (Actually, I haven't, but you get the point.)
Actually, though, the Heinlein story probably is better known today because it inspired, consciously or otherwise, one of the most popular Star Trek episodes. Same with Frederic Brown's "Arena."

I mean, how many people would know of Arthur Clarke's short story "The Sentinel" if it hadn't been the basis for 2001: A Space Odyssey?
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Old October 29 2013, 01:56 AM   #9
Sir Rhosis
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Re: The Trouble With.....Flat Cats!!

I think I read "The Rolling Stones" before I saw "Tribbles," but I can definitely say that, yes, indeed, I read "Arena" after learning that it was (or wasn't really, as Robert Justman pointed out) the inspiration for the Trek episode. I began reading Ellison and Spinrad after hearing of them through their Trek connections as well.

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Old October 29 2013, 02:03 AM   #10
ZapBrannigan
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Re: The Trouble With.....Flat Cats!!

If Gerrold was being completely honest, the name for this subconscious memory effect is cryptomnesia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptomnesia
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Old October 29 2013, 02:53 AM   #11
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Re: The Trouble With.....Flat Cats!!

Hollywood Werewolf wrote: View Post
Actually, though, the Heinlein story probably is better known today because it inspired, consciously or otherwise, one of the most popular Star Trek episodes.
I understand your arguments, but still do not find them applicable to the quote. The relevant portion is "most fondly remembered of his 'juveniles.'" Other people, perhaps like myself, favorite STONES over Heinlein's other juveniles for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with tribbles' likeness to flat cats.

Granted, many people may have read "The Sentinel" and "Arena" for their association to better known works. Although I would say CHILDHOOD'S END was more of an inspiration to the subject matter of 2001 than "The Sentinel."
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Old October 29 2013, 07:30 AM   #12
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Re: The Trouble With.....Flat Cats!!

So did Mick and the boys have cryptomnesia when they named their band?
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Old October 29 2013, 03:28 PM   #13
CaptainDave1701
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Re: The Trouble With.....Flat Cats!!

I love posts like this one as we tackled this subject back in the 60's after Tribbles first aired. This was of course waaaay back when our forums were smoke filled college dorm rooms and there was no internet or other such tech....just books. (Such as Heinlein's)
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Old October 29 2013, 03:37 PM   #14
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Re: The Trouble With.....Flat Cats!!

Sir Rhosis wrote: View Post
I think I read "The Rolling Stones" before I saw "Tribbles," but I can definitely say that, yes, indeed, I read "Arena" after learning that it was (or wasn't really, as Robert Justman pointed out) the inspiration for the Trek episode. I began reading Ellison and Spinrad after hearing of them through their Trek connections as well.

Sir Rhosis
When I read "The Arena" short story by Brown in a science fiction collection I immediately thought it was the basis for the episode. I had no doubt. It was virtually the same story as the second half of Arena. I'm very surprised when its denied. I must have read the story 10 years after seeing the episode but still made the connection.
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Old October 29 2013, 09:16 PM   #15
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Re: The Trouble With.....Flat Cats!!

The Umbrella Corporation wrote: View Post
I'm very surprised when its denied.
And I thought "The Doomsday Machine" was based on Saberhagen's original BERSERKER anthology, but Spinrad says he was thinking MOBY DICK.

Likewise, I thought "Operation: Annihilate!" was based on THE PUPPET MASTERS, and "For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky" inspired by ORPHANS OF THE SKY (serialized as "Universe" and "Common Sense")—to say nothing of "Balance of Terror" and THE ENEMY BELOW. Did THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE inspire the (brilliant) variation on the theme in "The Enemy Within"?

TREK is popular because it doesn't exist in a vacuum—figuratively speaking.
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