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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

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Old August 5 2015, 11:23 PM   #1
Phantom
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Looking for some obscure, early novels knowledge...

Starting with GR's novelization of TMP, the early Trek books made frequent references to and use of the so-called "New Human" movement.

I never quite got what that was, or why it was often used as such a threat. In some books it seemed like a social philosophy, but in other books it almost felt like "psychic Borg" with people being overtaken and subsumed into a hive-mind.

Anyone know of a good place to find more exact info about the New Human movement?
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Old August 5 2015, 11:33 PM   #2
Christopher
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Re: Looking for some obscure, early novels knowledge...

The TMP novelization and Triangle by Marshak & Culbreath are the only two books that mention the New Humans, as far as I'm aware (aside from maybe a brief nod in my Ex Machina). There's not much to say about the idea that wasn't in the TMP novel. There's a bit more about them in The Making of ST:TMP, in the Roddenberry memo about Willard Decker's character and backstory; Decker was supposed to be intrigued by the idea of humans developing a collective consciousness, which was why he was drawn to the idea of merging with V'Ger. But I think the novelization spells out Roddenberry's idea behind the New Humans as much as anything does. Triangle takes a different slant on the idea, of course, exaggerating them into a more powerful and threatening force, because everything in Marshak & Culbreath's books was exaggerated to the most melodramatic level possible. No other author has ever really picked up on the concept. It was probably just a mix of Roddenberry starting to buy into his own hype as a visionary futurist and the influence of the "higher consciousness" ideas that were popular in the '70s.
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Old August 5 2015, 11:43 PM   #3
DarrenTR1970
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Re: Looking for some obscure, early novels knowledge...

I'm in the midst of reading 'A Flag Full of Stars' and there's a passing reference to a school for New Humans, but that's about it.
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Old August 6 2015, 04:34 PM   #4
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Re: Looking for some obscure, early novels knowledge...

DarrenTR1970 wrote: View Post
I'm in the midst of reading 'A Flag Full of Stars' and there's a passing reference to a school for New Humans, but that's about it.
^Yes, I thought there was at least one other reference.

http://memory-beta.wikia.com/wiki/New_Human
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Old August 11 2015, 12:49 AM   #5
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Re: Looking for some obscure, early novels knowledge...

Marshak & Culbreath were not only rather melodramatic, but also a tad confusing at times (I probably read both of their "Phoenix" novels two or three times, and there were still passages I couldn't make head or tail of, and that make the most confusing moments of Ford's How Much for Just the Planet seem completely clear).

Then, of course, we had the decidedly libertarian-leaning Diane Carey pulling very strongly in the opposite direction from the collectivism of the "New Human" movement. (Not that Piper, Sarda, and Sandage weren't much more compelling characters than anything Marshak and Culbreath ever wrote, but she did tend to wear her politics on her characters' sleeves, especially in her early works.)
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Old August 11 2015, 02:26 AM   #6
Timewalker
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Re: Looking for some obscure, early novels knowledge...

hbquikcomjamesl wrote: View Post
Marshak & Culbreath were not only rather melodramatic, but also a tad confusing at times (I probably read both of their "Phoenix" novels two or three times, and there were still passages I couldn't make head or tail of, and that make the most confusing moments of Ford's How Much for Just the Planet seem completely clear).
Marshak & Culbreath's books aren't much better than the more melodramatic K/S-lite fanfic.

As for How Much For Just the Planet?... actually, I completely changed my mind on that one. When I first tried to read it, it was just so ridiculously confusing and I nearly took it back to the store. But later I realized that it's actually a prose version of a Star Trek-themed operetta, and the way to really enjoy it is to imagine that you (the reader) are sitting in the auditorium of a theatre, watching the novel being performed on stage as an operetta. It's like a novelized version of a Gilbert & Sullivan/TOS crossover piece of musical theatre.

When you approach it from that angle, this book is a hoot!

Then, of course, we had the decidedly libertarian-leaning Diane Carey pulling very strongly in the opposite direction from the collectivism of the "New Human" movement. (Not that Piper, Sarda, and Sandage weren't much more compelling characters than anything Marshak and Culbreath ever wrote, but she did tend to wear her politics on her characters' sleeves, especially in her early works.)
Diane Carey... Battlestations/Dreadnought are absolutely the worst cases of Mary Sue fiction that ever got published as pro novels. The rest of her books aren't any better.

In my opinion, of course. YKMV.
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Old August 18 2015, 12:29 AM   #7
ClayinCA
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Re: Looking for some obscure, early novels knowledge...

Timewalker wrote: View Post
Diane Carey... Battlestations/Dreadnought are absolutely the worst cases of Mary Sue fiction that ever got published as pro novels. The rest of her books aren't any better.

In my opinion, of course. YKMV.
I know this is off-topic, but I do have to defend Diane Carey's Final Frontier (and to a lesser extent, its follow-up Best Destiny). Final Frontier is a great yarn, functioning as well as a Tom Clancy-type thriller as it does a Star Trek novel, and wonderfully evoking the dangers of those early days of Starfleet and space exploration. I always wished they'd done a movie version.

Apart from those two Diane Carey books, though, I pretty much agree with you. Ghost Ship, the first Next Generation novel, was so bad I almost quite reading the books.
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Old August 18 2015, 12:34 AM   #8
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Re: Looking for some obscure, early novels knowledge...

ClayinCA wrote: View Post
Ghost Ship, the first Next Generation novel, was so bad I almost quite reading the books.
To be fair, Carey wrote that under the handicap of knowing nothing about the show beyond the series bible and the pilot script, since it was written well before the premiere in order to come out in a timely fashion. And a lot about the bible fell by the wayside in the actual show, so the book's inconsistencies with the show's details and style were through no fault of Carey's. I recall finding it a somewhat intriguing novel posing its characters with a very challenging moral dilemma.
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Old August 18 2015, 12:41 AM   #9
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Re: Looking for some obscure, early novels knowledge...

Whatever happened to the 'New Human' movement, it evidently happened before TNG...
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Old August 18 2015, 01:33 AM   #10
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Re: Looking for some obscure, early novels knowledge...

It never existed outside the TMP novelization and one or two novels that referenced it. No surprise that it never showed up in canon, any more than other TMP-novel concepts like the sensceiver brain impants and the dammed/drained Mediterranean basin.
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Old August 18 2015, 02:39 AM   #11
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Re: Looking for some obscure, early novels knowledge...

Christopher wrote: View Post

To be fair, Carey wrote that under the handicap of knowing nothing about the show beyond the series bible and the pilot script, since it was written well before the premiere in order to come out in a timely fashion. And a lot about the bible fell by the wayside in the actual show, so the book's inconsistencies with the show's details and style were through no fault of Carey's. I recall finding it a somewhat intriguing novel posing its characters with a very challenging moral dilemma.

It's funny how Ghost Ship, when you look at the copyright date, didn't come out till nearly a year after the novelization of Encounter At Farpoint (Farpoint hit shelves in October 1987, Ghost didn't hit till July 1988, unlike the later series like DS9, Voyager and Enterprise where the first regular novel was out within 3 to 4 months of the pilot episode novelization). In other words, there was an 8 month gap between the release of the two books.
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Old August 19 2015, 12:06 AM   #12
ClayinCA
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Re: Looking for some obscure, early novels knowledge...

Christopher wrote: View Post
ClayinCA wrote: View Post
Ghost Ship, the first Next Generation novel, was so bad I almost quite reading the books.
To be fair, Carey wrote that under the handicap of knowing nothing about the show beyond the series bible and the pilot script, since it was written well before the premiere in order to come out in a timely fashion. And a lot about the bible fell by the wayside in the actual show, so the book's inconsistencies with the show's details and style were through no fault of Carey's. I recall finding it a somewhat intriguing novel posing its characters with a very challenging moral dilemma.
True, and I do bear that in mind when discussing the book. Regardless of the reason, though, I just can't reconcile that book with the TNG stories I watched on television. But you're quite right that most of the things I really dislike about the book are not Diane Carey's fault.
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Old August 19 2015, 12:50 AM   #13
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Re: Looking for some obscure, early novels knowledge...

Christopher wrote: View Post
It never existed outside the TMP novelization and one or two novels that referenced it. No surprise that it never showed up in canon, any more than other TMP-novel concepts like the sensceiver brain impants and the dammed/drained Mediterranean basin.
I don't know. I wouldn't have been surprised to see it in early TNG.
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Old August 19 2015, 01:01 AM   #14
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Re: Looking for some obscure, early novels knowledge...

I sometimes wonder if Roddenberry intended the perfected, conflict-free humans of TNG to be the New Humans, or at least something similar -- without the group-consciousness element, of course, but in the sense of being more evolved than the wild 'n' wooly "throwback" humans represented by Kirk-era Starfleet.
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Old August 20 2015, 07:55 PM   #15
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Re: Looking for some obscure, early novels knowledge...

Christopher wrote: View Post
I sometimes wonder if Roddenberry intended the perfected, conflict-free humans of TNG to be the New Humans, or at least something similar -- without the group-consciousness element, of course, but in the sense of being more evolved than the wild 'n' wooly "throwback" humans represented by Kirk-era Starfleet.
Exactly. The humanity represented by the crew in TNG's first season seemed to be somewhat different to earlier and later versions...
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