Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Christopher, Nov 2, 2012.
I thought that was resolved years ago.
Indeed. For example, A Singular Destiny deals with Alpha Centauri, a founding member of the Federation yet also Human colony.
I've always gone with the Earth-colony idea and I've never been given any reason to change my mind. The idea that the nearest star system to us in the whole universe just happens to have a civilization of beings virtually indistinguishable from us is so contrived a coincidence that I've always found it distasteful. And it's based on a ridiculously literal and erroneous interpretation of the "Zefram Cochrane of Alpha Centauri" line from "Metamorphosis" -- which requires ignoring the preponderance of other evidence from "Metamorphosis" proving unambiguously that Cochrane is an Earth human. (Cochrane asked if his visitors were "humans from Earth," he said his asteroid was "not Earth, but it's liveable," McCoy explicitly said he scanned as human, he was called human by Kirk, Spock, and Cochrane himself, he was initially distressed at the idea of a relationship with a nonhuman, etc.) So the idea was never anything more than an ill-considered mistake and I've never been the slightest bit inclined to believe it. And it hasn't been given any credence in the novels since the 1980s; even Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens, who were proponents of the native-Centaurian idea in Memory Prime, had given it up in favor of the Earth-colony interpretation by the time they wrote Federation.
And there's never been a trace of evidence for native Alpha Centaurians in canon. What little has been revealed about the system makes it pretty clear that it's a human colony. Obviously if Cochrane is an Earth human but "of Alpha Centauri," then humans must've colonized it in Cochrane's lifetime. ENT's depiction of Cochrane is consistent with this. "Twilight" also establishes that Alf Cen is a human colony (because it's one of the Xindi's targets in their campaign to exterminate humanity).
That said, in The Buried Age, based on the real-life evidence that the Alpha Centauri system is 2 billion years older than Sol, I posited that there had been native Centaurian civilizations in the remote past (at a time when the star was much more distant from Sol), but they hadn't survived long enough to reach the stars due to the frequent asteroid bombardments caused by Proxima Centauri's gravity disrupting the system's debris disk. Other than that, though, TBA makes it clear that Alf Cen is a human colony system through and through, so the question has already been answered within my own body of work.
ROTF:ACOF does contain a bit of discussion about the origins and history of the Alpha Centauri colony, and a few of its characters (though only one major one) are from there.
And Dave Stern's far more recent Rosetta!
Oh, yeah. That's a bit of an odd one, because it also has Hoshi's professor mention the Preservers, even though "The Paradise Syndrome" set well over a century later was evidently the Federation's first introduction to the Preservers. (Unless somehow Spock had managed to avoid hearing of any prior references to their existence, which seems unlikely if evidence had been around for that long.)
More in depth than I was looking for but thanks for the info. I do think that it could even be a mixed situation where the Preservers dropped some humans at Alpha Cent. but a full-fledged colony came later. It's also possible that the "Preservers" are more than one race or that the uncoordinated activities of multiple races have been lumped together under that umbrella term.
After all, the activities of the ENT-D in "Homeward" could lead in time to a "Preserver-type" myth amongst the inhabitants of that planet.
Certainly there could've been multiple groups that humans could've lumped under the "Preservers" label, but "The Paradise Syndrome" was the first time anyone in the Federation had heard that name, to all indications. So it's simply an error to have a professor in the 2140s use that name.
The Preserves feature in Star Trek Online. They are the sane people as the ancient humanoids from TNG: The Chase.
STO posits that their civilisation is long gone but there a lot of hibernating survivors, awakening now and then to explore the universe (most recently in 2409, when the Breen hoped to find an ancient weapon cache; now under the protection of the Deferi) and see what their descendant species have achieved.
Hmm... I'm usually quite vehemently opposed to the idea that the Preservers (a race or organization whose one known action occurred no earlier than the 17th century and is thus contemporary with ourselves rather than ancient) have anything to do with the Progenitors from "The Chase," who lived unimaginably farther back in time and had completely different methods from the Preservers (they didn't preserve existing species, they triggered the evolution of new ones billions of years down the road). But this explanation, while still a profound case of Small Universe Syndrome, at least acknowledges the immense gulf in time we're dealing with. And the hibernation idea reminds me a bit of what I did with the Manraloth in The Buried Age, though it would be presumptuous of me to assume any actual homage was involved.
If I recall, the relevant line in Rosetta mentions "the aliens from Alpha Centauri", which I suppose we could choose to be sly about if we wanted to. Maybe the humans encountered a survey ship at Alpha Cent and these people became known as "the aliens from Alpha Centauri" despite not being native to the system at all? Maybe they're one of the species humans later came to know better and the label fell from use once contact became more frequent? Maybe these aliens even had an outpost on Centauri III, IV or VII (I think those are the habitable ones) but made no claim to the system? Perhaps one of the many names for Centauri IV referenced in The Persistence of Memory is this race's name for it?
For what it's worth, SCE: Foundations features a Centaurian character who is, if not out and out called a non-human, clearly supposed to be one - but that's the only other modern reference to Alpha Centaurians that I recall. I guess I have to personally interpret her as being from some Centaurian colony that is non-human (that same colony I just invented for Rosetta?)
There's no inconsistancy that the Deranged mind cannot overcome!
EDIT: In The Left Hand of Destiny, Gothmara's bioweapon is designed to affect "humans and Alpha Centaurians". Hmm. Are Alpha Centaurians merely humans who have slightly altered biologies due to generations of dealing with certain environmental factors? J'Lenn, the Alpha Centaurian from Foundations, had some issues with breathing or gas intake or something of the sort (I must go and look it up). Are "Alpha Centaurians" merely a small group within the human colonial population at Alpha Cent who have habituated to a certain environment to the degree that they've began to subtly deviate from "standard" humanity?
Reposting from my blog:
Just a little while ago, I e-mailed the manuscript for Rise of the Federation: A Choice of Futures to my editor at Pocket. And a great sense of relief descended upon me.
I do wish I’d had a few more days to consider and refine things. But I was able to make some major improvements in the two revision passes I had time to get through. For instance, I realized that one character I introduced kind of disappeared afterward, but I didn’t have room to add another scene with him; but it occurred to me that if I put him in place of an associated character in a certain scene, it would actually make that scene work better in several ways, in addition to giving that character more “screen” time. Also, I realized I’d forgotten to make clear how one key decision in the story was a reaction to an earlier event, so I put in a bit of dialogue to tie them together better. And so on. I also had to trim some extraneous material to make room for all that, but I didn’t find much I could remove. I knew going in that I was under a tight word limit (80,000), so I was pretty concise throughout. Still, I managed to nibble away enough to make it fit, give or take a few hundred words.
And the timing is good, because my Star Trek complete soundtrack box set is out for delivery from my local post office, according to the tracking information, so it should be here within hours! Between that and finally being free from deadlines (at least for now), this is looking like a good day for me.
^Congrats. Here's hoping your delivery arrives.
Out of curiousity, as regards the issues with the novel you mentioned there (the characters who disappeared for example) - is that the final word on it? I mean, can you now e-mail your editor or publisher and say 'wait, I need to make the following amendments'? Or now that you've e-mailed it, is that it.
I'll be getting notes back from the editor eventually and probably be asked for some revisions; if I come up with any more changes I think are important to make, that would be when I could do it. Plus there are opportunities to make further tweaks in copyediting months down the road.
And just to be clear, I was listing issues I did resolve in my revision passes over the weekend.
^Oh yes, I see that now, I missed the second sentence in the second paragraph first time ('But I was able to...).
Interesting to know just how the revision and editing process works - as a non-writer, I have basically no idea (but have a better one now, thanks).
Well, lower printing costs are certainly one way to combat low sales of Enterprise novels...
^It's not just Enterprise, and I'm not aware that they're selling any more poorly than the rest. The entire ST line is being kept to a lower word count these days.
I'd thought (though I can't cite anything) that was why the Romulan War books were contracted from three to two, and from TPB to MMPB. It's certainly what killed the German translations of the series, though.
Could be. I just went and ran the numbers for 5 of the last 7 books. Plagues of Night and The Eternal Tide fell into the 115-130K range (as should Raise the Dawn), while Fallen Gods and the first two Cold Equations books were in the 80K-90K range.
(I don't own Brinksmanship so I don't know where it fits.)
So half of the books are an exception to the general word count for the line, it's just a question of which half. I'd assumed the shorter books, but apparently I'm wrong. Unfortunately.
I don't think that was the reason for the change, though I don't know for sure. But think about it: If the ENT novels were doing so poorly, why not just end them with The Romulan War? It seems a natural stopping point. Instead, they pretty promptly solicited me to continue the series, and are putting it out under the Enterprise banner even though the ship of that name isn't even featured in it. That suggests they still believe there's a robust market for ENT books, don't you think?
This reassuring to know! After the Romulan War I was sure Enterprise was over. I'm glad that is not the case.
Enterprise was the first Trek series that I saw from its first screening in TV on (even Voyager was already running when I was still a child).
Or they could be trying to light a fire under a series that's lagging behind by turning it over to an author that moves more books?
Separate names with a comma.