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

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Old January 1 2013, 04:54 PM   #1
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Threats to the galaxy

After a couple of recent threats to the galaxy in The Eternal Tide and The Body Electric, and after having read a few times over the years that it's an overused trope, I'm curious just how many times the galaxy or universe has been at risk of obliteration in Trek literature. Off the top of my head I can think of DS9's Millenium trilogy and I know it's happened a few times in TOS novels too although the speifics elude me. Can anyone name the very first instance of the galaxy or universe coming under threat in Trek lit?

Also, do people here think it's overused? I was a little suprised that the galaxy would come under threat again just a few months after The Eternal Tide was published - although I am enjoying TBE (I'm half way through)
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Old January 1 2013, 05:07 PM   #2
Zedferret
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Re: Threats to the galaxy

You wonder how many times thr Romulans have saved the galaxy. The last five novels I read had galaxy saving in, Q&A, Destiny Omnibus, The Buried Age, and the two you mentioned. It happens way too much in my opinion.
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Old January 1 2013, 05:37 PM   #3
Christopher
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Re: Threats to the galaxy

King Daniel Into Darkness wrote: View Post
Can anyone name the very first instance of the galaxy or universe coming under threat in Trek lit?
Well, if we leave out things like potential galactic conquerors (e.g. the Irapina in Planet of Judgment) or threats to the stability of galactic civilization (e.g. Omne's resurrection tech in Fate of the Phoenix) and leave it to existential threats, things that could physically destroy the galaxy or the universe, then the first was in Pocket's very first original novel, The Entropy Effect. Professor Mordreaux's time experiments were accelerating entropy and threatening to bring about the end of the universe in less than a century. A few years later in The Wounded Sky, the incursion of an alien universe threatened to destroy a huge portion of our universe, including our galaxy.

The Romulans' alteration to history in Killing Time destabilized the universe and threatened to destroy all life, though the book referred to it interchangeably as a threat to the galaxy and to the universe. The breakdown of the Guardian of Forever in Time For Yesterday threatened the end of the universe, as did the incursion of yet another newborn universe in The Three-Minute Universe.

So in general, it seems that threats to the whole universe were more common in '80s novels than threats to just our galaxy -- unless you count threats that could potentially spread to encompass much of the galaxy, like conquering races, epidemics, ancient unleashed evil forces, etc. But for the most part those would usually be subgalactic-scale threats.
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Old January 1 2013, 05:54 PM   #4
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Re: Threats to the galaxy

More unbelievable than that the entire galaxy or universe falls under imminent threat so often is that the people who end up saving the day are always our beloved heroes.
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Old January 1 2013, 06:17 PM   #5
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Threats to the galaxy

Thanks so far everybody, I can't believe I forgot Q+A and that The Entropy Effect was about more than saving Kirk! Thanks Christopher for pointing out the first few
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Old January 1 2013, 10:33 PM   #6
Cap'n Crunch
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Re: Threats to the galaxy

I, Q and the Maximum Warp duology also featured threats to the universe.
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Old January 1 2013, 11:36 PM   #7
Elias Vaughn
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Re: Threats to the galaxy

There was also the Totality from Shatner's books.
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Old January 1 2013, 11:41 PM   #8
Snaploud
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Re: Threats to the galaxy

I can see Starfleet officers arguing over who has saved the Galaxy more times.

"I've saved the Galaxy five times and saved Earth alone another 10 times!"

"That's nothing. I've saved the Galaxy twenty times and the Earth another 15!"

"Are you adding in that time you saved an alternate reality? Those don't count."
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Old January 1 2013, 11:58 PM   #9
Christopher
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Re: Threats to the galaxy

The ironic thing is, the only time in TOS that there was ever a threat to the entire universe was in the absymal "The Alternative Factor." The closest thing to a threat to the entire galaxy as a whole was the planned Kelvan invasion. And there was never a threat to Earth until TMP.

In fact, dangers to the whole universe are extremely rare in canonical Trek. Time-travel events that threaten to transform the universe are fairly common, but when it comes to threats that could destroy the universe, all I can think of is DS9's "Playing God," yet another iteration of the "baby universe threatening to expand into and destroy our own" trope. Threats to the galaxy as a whole are pretty rare in canon as well. It was implied that the Q Civil War in "The Q and the Gray" would've devastated much of the galaxy if it had gone on for much longer, and in ENT season 3, the Sphere-Builders' transformation of space would presumably have gradually engulfed the galaxy or beyond if it hadn't been stopped.

So really, the "save the galaxy/universe" trope is quite rare in canonical Trek. It's much more common in tie-ins.
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Old January 2 2013, 12:20 AM   #10
vorador33
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Re: Threats to the galaxy

What about the borg? While i don't remember them being referred to as a threat to the whole galaxy didn't Watching the Clock establish that they would go on to assimilate the galaxy if not for the events of endgame?
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Old January 2 2013, 12:26 AM   #11
Christopher
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Re: Threats to the galaxy

^Well, that's still from the novels. It wasn't stated onscreen. And sure, there have been a number of threats that could've gone on to conquer or devastate much or most of the galaxy eventually if not stopped, but that's not quite the same as something that actually threatens to physically destroy, or entirely depopulate, the galaxy as a whole.
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Old January 2 2013, 01:14 AM   #12
Dantheman
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Re: Threats to the galaxy

I remember seeing online Pocket Books' guidelines for submissions for Star Trek books from some point in the 1990s, and in it it says they will not accept any story that deals with a rip in the fabric of space/time and only the Enterprise can stop it. Was this because it was a story idea they got pitched too much, and were like, "No no no! No more!", and/or a remnant from Richard Arnold's time as overseer of Trek tie-ins?
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Old January 2 2013, 01:30 AM   #13
Christopher
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Re: Threats to the galaxy

^Most likely the former. Pitch guidelines like that often contain cautions against pitching overdone ideas.
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Old January 2 2013, 08:11 AM   #14
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Re: Threats to the galaxy

Corona by Greg Bear is another one; it featured an entity that wanted to unleash a new big bang to remake the universe.
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Old January 2 2013, 02:57 PM   #15
Christopher
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Re: Threats to the galaxy

^Oh, I forgot about that one. Wow, threats to the universe were surprisingly common in early Trek Lit.
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