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

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Old April 28 2008, 09:57 PM   #1
Sisko_is_my_captain
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Interesting quote

I thought this quote by Patrick O'Brian, the author of the sumptuous, glorious, addictive Aubrey-Maturin series, described good Star Trek in a nutshell. It's interesting that his description of an early 19th century series could equally describe a mid 24th (or 23rd, or 22nd) century series just as easily.

"Obviously, I have lived very much out of the world," he once wrote, ". . . and I cannot write with much conviction about the contemporary scene. Yet I do have some . . . observations to offer on the condition humaine . . . and it seems to me they are best made in the context of a world I know as well as the reader does, a valid world so long as it is inhabited by human beings rather than by lay figures in period clothing."
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Old April 28 2008, 10:43 PM   #2
Allyn Gibson
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Re: Interesting quote

I'm a firm believer that Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is the best Star Trek film since Star Trek II, surpassing even Galaxy Quest.

Patrick O'Brian knows of what he writes.
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Old April 29 2008, 03:08 AM   #3
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Re: Interesting quote

Well heck, if Master and Commander counts as Star Trek, then Firefly should, too.
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Old April 29 2008, 03:53 AM   #4
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Re: Interesting quote

RookieBatman wrote: View Post
Well heck, if Master and Commander counts as Star Trek, then Firefly should, too.
Eh? How does that follow? Allyn based his point on the naval similarties (not that I agree with the comparison; sorry Allyn); the argument being that Star Trek is Hornblower in space. Firefly is inspired by westerns. And I might be misquoting, but I do believe Whedon had a kind of 'anti-Star Trek' in mind when designing the series: dirty, low-tech, focused on the flawed characters who are opposed to the large interstellar government body (a Star Trek in the Firefly universe would probably feature the adventures of the Allliance Cruiser Magellan or some such).

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Old April 29 2008, 09:28 AM   #5
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Re: Interesting quote

Trent Roman wrote: View Post
RookieBatman wrote: View Post
Well heck, if Master and Commander counts as Star Trek, then Firefly should, too.
Eh? How does that follow? Allyn based his point on the naval similarties (not that I agree with the comparison; sorry Allyn); the argument being that Star Trek is Hornblower in space. Firefly is inspired by westerns.
I didn't agree with his comparison either; I was making the point facetiously. But if we wanted to follow the argument, Star Trek is supposed to be a wagon train to the stars, right?
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Old April 29 2008, 01:35 PM   #6
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Re: Interesting quote

No, ST was supposed to be Hornblower in space. "Wagon Train to the stars" was just how Roddenberry pitched it to the Western-happy executives. (It's imperative to remember that it wasn't "wagon train," it was "Wagon Train," the name of a popular TV Western in the 1960s. He was following the common Hollywood practice of pitching a show by comparing it to another well-known show as a convenient shorthand for the executives.)
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Old April 29 2008, 11:05 PM   #7
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Re: Interesting quote

Sisko_is_my_captain wrote: View Post
I thought this quote by Patrick O'Brian, the author of the sumptuous, glorious, addictive Aubrey-Maturin series, described good Star Trek in a nutshell. It's interesting that his description of an early 19th century series could equally describe a mid 24th (or 23rd, or 22nd) century series just as easily.

"Obviously, I have lived very much out of the world," he once wrote, ". . . and I cannot write with much conviction about the contemporary scene. Yet I do have some . . . observations to offer on the condition humaine . . . and it seems to me they are best made in the context of a world I know as well as the reader does, a valid world so long as it is inhabited by human beings rather than by lay figures in period clothing."
I think that quote could be valid for fiction written in any time period, past, present, or future. Sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction, or whatever.
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Old April 30 2008, 05:09 AM   #8
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Re: Interesting quote

Christopher wrote: View Post
No, ST was supposed to be Hornblower in space. "Wagon Train to the stars" was just how Roddenberry pitched it to the Western-happy executives. (It's imperative to remember that it wasn't "wagon train," it was "Wagon Train," the name of a popular TV Western in the 1960s. He was following the common Hollywood practice of pitching a show by comparing it to another well-known show as a convenient shorthand for the executives.)
...And, I was still making the point facetiously. Since wink emoticons apparently don't indicate sarcasm anymore, let me just say definitively that I don't think Star Trek and Firefly are similar. (Nor do I think Trek is similar to Master and Commander, which is the point I was trying to make with the Firefly sarcasm.) Fair enough?
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Old April 30 2008, 08:00 AM   #9
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Re: Interesting quote

I'm curious in what way Master and Commander could be considered to be a faux Star Trek film in the sense that Galaxy Quest was. What were the thematic similarities?

But, yeah, can't really say that there's any substantive similarity between Star Trek and Firefly. In a lot of ways, Firefly is almost a deconstruction of Star Trek -- it's M. Butterfly to Star Trek's Madama Butterfly. Star Trek is about the people who made history; Firefly is about the people that history stepped on. Star Trek is about a world without sin; Firefly is about the meaninglessness of the entire concept of sin. Star Trek is about building a new world where everything is better; Firefly is about losing your world and everything you ever loved.
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Old April 30 2008, 12:58 PM   #10
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Re: Interesting quote

RookieBatman wrote: View Post
(Nor do I think Trek is similar to Master and Commander, which is the point I was trying to make with the Firefly sarcasm.)
Half the reason I started reading O'Brian was that it seemed like the obvious thing to do for someone who was enjoying Sharpe and Hornblower. The other half was that a lot of the people praising O'Brian online were science fiction fans and Star Trek fans, and a lot of them found that Aubrey and Maturin's friendship reminded them a lot of Kirk and Spock's, and they were getting a lot of the same kind of enjoyment from O'Brian that they got from the best Star Trek. And they weren't wrong.

Roddenberry consciously molded Kirk on Hornblower, but as his friendship with Spock grew, they became more of a double act of a kind that has no echo in Hornblower but is the heart of O'Brian's work. Add the fact that Trek-style space opera has a tension between the missions of exploration and combat, and the sense of wonder at new discoveries and the problems ship captains face when they're too far from home to get orders or backup from the people in command of the fleet, and there are a lot of resonances.
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Old April 30 2008, 10:06 PM   #11
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Re: Interesting quote

Steve Roby wrote: View Post
RookieBatman wrote: View Post
(Nor do I think Trek is similar to Master and Commander, which is the point I was trying to make with the Firefly sarcasm.)
Half the reason I started reading O'Brian was that it seemed like the obvious thing to do for someone who was enjoying Sharpe and Hornblower. The other half was that a lot of the people praising O'Brian online were science fiction fans and Star Trek fans, and a lot of them found that Aubrey and Maturin's friendship reminded them a lot of Kirk and Spock's, and they were getting a lot of the same kind of enjoyment from O'Brian that they got from the best Star Trek. And they weren't wrong.

Roddenberry consciously molded Kirk on Hornblower, but as his friendship with Spock grew, they became more of a double act of a kind that has no echo in Hornblower but is the heart of O'Brian's work. Add the fact that Trek-style space opera has a tension between the missions of exploration and combat, and the sense of wonder at new discoveries and the problems ship captains face when they're too far from home to get orders or backup from the people in command of the fleet, and there are a lot of resonances.
Don't get me wrong, I understand where your coming from. I'm not challenging the legitimacy of your statement, but I never found it so myself. I've never read any Aubrey stories, but I do read Hornblower. I can definitely see some similarities in the brilliant uniqueness with which both characters solve very sticky problems, but I still don't think the stories (or the characters) are similar. They just share a couple pretty key qualities.
It's kinda like Forbidden Planet. I definitely see how this had a lot of inspiration for Star Trek, but if I had some craving some Trek (and don't we all, at times? ), I couldn't watch Forbidden Planet to "get my fix," as similar as they are. Trek is Trek, and Forbidden Planet is Forbidden Planet.
But it's all a matter of perception, specific to the individual. If you can watch Master and Commander and feel like you're enjoying a Trek story, then good for you.
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Old May 4 2008, 04:35 AM   #12
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Re: Interesting quote

Sci wrote: View Post
I'm curious in what way Master and Commander could be considered to be a faux Star Trek film in the sense that Galaxy Quest was. What were the thematic similarities?
I was struck by many similarities, and it also reminded me of "Forbidden Planet". (And even "The Hunt for Red October" a bit.)

The captain, first officer and doctor all had interesting, often feisty, relationships with each other, and there was that frustration (for the characters) of the exploration vs defense aspect to their mission. Lots of nautical terminology. Also, they were far from their home base and unable to get immediate direction from superiors when the mission wasn't turning out as expected, so the captain had to think on his feet.
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Old May 4 2008, 10:48 PM   #13
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Re: Interesting quote

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
I'm curious in what way Master and Commander could be considered to be a faux Star Trek film in the sense that Galaxy Quest was. What were the thematic similarities?
I was struck by many similarities, and it also reminded me of "Forbidden Planet". (And even "The Hunt for Red October" a bit.)

The captain, first officer and doctor all had interesting, often feisty, relationships with each other, and there was that frustration (for the characters) of the exploration vs defense aspect to their mission. Lots of nautical terminology. Also, they were far from their home base and unable to get immediate direction from superiors when the mission wasn't turning out as expected, so the captain had to think on his feet.
In that case, add Crimson Tide as well.
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Old May 5 2008, 11:09 PM   #14
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Re: Interesting quote

^And "Captain Horatio Hornblower" with Gregory Peck. One onscreen case where it was demonstrated that competant captains don't always make the right choice when they're forced to make on-the-spot decisions.
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Old May 7 2008, 09:20 PM   #15
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Re: Interesting quote

Steve Roby wrote: View Post
RookieBatman wrote: View Post
(Nor do I think Trek is similar to Master and Commander, which is the point I was trying to make with the Firefly sarcasm.)
Half the reason I started reading O'Brian was that it seemed like the obvious thing to do for someone who was enjoying Sharpe and Hornblower. The other half was that a lot of the people praising O'Brian online were science fiction fans and Star Trek fans, and a lot of them found that Aubrey and Maturin's friendship reminded them a lot of Kirk and Spock's, and they were getting a lot of the same kind of enjoyment from O'Brian that they got from the best Star Trek. And they weren't wrong.

Roddenberry consciously molded Kirk on Hornblower, but as his friendship with Spock grew, they became more of a double act of a kind that has no echo in Hornblower but is the heart of O'Brian's work. Add the fact that Trek-style space opera has a tension between the missions of exploration and combat, and the sense of wonder at new discoveries and the problems ship captains face when they're too far from home to get orders or backup from the people in command of the fleet, and there are a lot of resonances.

I've not read any Hornblower yet, but I have read the entire Aubrey-Maturin series (all 20+ novels and 6500 pages) and I agree completely with you.

I might add that I would love to hear Mr. Spock gripe to Capt. Kirk,
"Jim! You've debauched my sloth!"
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