COTEOF - Question

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Commishsleer, Oct 13, 2013.

  1. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    If you really want to be sensible and avoid all thrilling (read terrifying) adventures, as real people would, then when McCoy beams himself down, Kirk should just lock onto the lifeform reading down there and beam McCoy right back up. And then Kirk could say, "Going somewhere?" :)
     
  2. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    ^ But didn't Sulu in the teaser say something like "Scanners are blanked, Captain. I'm getting a mass of readings I've never seen before."

    Or is that a different episode?
     
  3. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I always assumed the Guardian was putting out so much interference as to make a transporter lock ineffective.
     
  4. Green Shirt

    Green Shirt Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Not as bad as FTWIHAIHTTS. Maybe that's why most simply call it "City".
     
  5. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Oy. That is a bad acronym. And I thought "TANSTAAFL" was lame... :lol:
     
  6. Ryan Thomas Riddle

    Ryan Thomas Riddle Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Still think you should because it'd be great to have an online source to cite as a means of combating these myths. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to see Engineer Scott about some drugs.
     
  7. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hey, leave my dealer alone!

    Anyway, I agree that Harvey should tackle the City issue because not everyone is going to have access to the book, let alone read Ellison's (overlong by about 8 times) debunking of the popular and oft-repeated myths.
     
  8. Green Shirt

    Green Shirt Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Not COTEOF, maybe The Galileo Seven (TGS).
     
  9. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well, the main reason seemed to be that Kirk was actually considering taking McCoy back a day in time and avoiding the hypo accident, so I suppose you could say he was taking care of McCoy.

    On the other hand, I don't know how Kirk was planning on doing this. It makes sense, in that Kirk was one to be able to utilize available resources on the fly. That was part of his nature. But how would they go back in time and replace themselves? :confused:
     
  10. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Bingo. Again, we run up against the nonsense of time paradoxes. Depending on which church of physics you belong to, time travel may not even be possible. (Not that we simply don't know how to do it, but actually impossible.) Since no one has time traveled, or at least documented their account of such, sci-fi stories must fall back on logic. Invoking paradoxes chucks out logic, meaning the writer can do anything he wants, and the reader must simply accept it.

    Some writers try to BS their way around the problem with quantum explanations—the root of "magic" in real physics. (Theoreticians can declare anything they want because they have math that "proves" it.) For example, Orson Scott Card's PASTWATCH depicted time as quantized, like the frames of a film. Thus, when the traveler was displaced backward in time to alter history, his own existence became an effect without a cause. History, right up to the moment he was displaced, was altered, along with his stepping into the time machine. But the "frames" of his existence after displacement continued to exist without a cause. Ergo, magic.

    This approach is fatally flawed. It completely nullifies causality because the traveler can exist without a cause. Yet the whole point of altering history is to create a desired chain of causality. The writer can't have it both ways. If he nixes causality, one could rightly expect all of existence to be random flashes of entirely discontinuous things every "instant" of time.

    Another problem with the a-causal time travel is that time becomes both directional and non-directional. By time traveling, the writer is showing that effects can precede causes. Yet for some reason—just because the writer wants it that way—the chain of causality runs only forward into the future, but not backward to eliminate the time traveler.

    "City" never gets into such explanations, it merely invokes several paradoxes. Ellison could have kept logic on an even keel by invoking alternate universes. In which case, McCoy would have disappeared into an alternate time, with Kirk and Spock having to chase him down. But the Enterprise would still exist and the landing party would not be abandoned in time. Also, Kirk might have stayed in the alternate history with Keeler. The others would then have to appeal to his sense of duty to return, to not abandon his command. (That's not as emotionally compelling as the "saving millions of lives from Hitler" argument used in the episode.)

    Logic destroys the schmaltzy, star-crossed lovers appeal of "City." I enjoy the episode for its atmosphere, but it is a "check your brain at the door and just emote" tale. That is why I do not rate the episode among TREK's best. Ellison could have crafted a tale where the characters were truly and logically trapped by time and fate, but settled for "good enough," the hallmark of most television writing.

    "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" actually puts the "replacing themselves" idea on screen, with the beaming of the pilot and the air sergeant directly into themselves. Explain that one, and why it is that both suddenly forget everything.

    While I'm on a roll, let me comment on SEVEN DAYS, a time travel series where a special agent can be sent back in time just seven days to alter catastrophic events in the world. I haven't seen every episode, but if I remember correctly, the time travel missions were chosen carefully, as the amount of exotic fuel was limited. However, if the writers had really thought about it, the fuel would never run out. Each time the agent time traveled, he erased the need for his trip in the first place—weekly paradoxes. This means that he would never have traveled, and thus the fuel would never run out. Perpetual motion.

    Again, take any time travel story that invokes paradoxes with a grain of salt. Compare "City" to "Assignment Earth," which is a reflexive causality, but not a paradox.
     
  11. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The best I could ever come up with was that Christopher and the Sergeant were beamed down at the instant in time they were originally beamed up...which doesn't really work for the Sergeant, since he was beamed up when he opened Sulu's communicator.:confused:

    But I have not a clue why their memories would disappear. :wtf:
     
  12. Push The Button

    Push The Button Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Spock had the collector's edition Blu-Ray set with alternate endings and commentary track featuring The Guardian of Forever.
     
  13. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Give it up. You're trying to explain something that can't be explained. Forget what you saw on the screen and think about what happened.

    The Enterprise has the pilot and the sergeant on board. They slingshot around the Sun and travel backwards the day or two to when they first arrived. If they try to beam the pilot into the cockpit before they tractor the plane, it will get real crowded in there with two pilots, one of them a day or two older than the other. If they beam him in after he had been beamed up, then the pilot—a day or two older and unluckier—ends up in a plane that is breaking up. How does any of this erase the Enterprise's arrival?

    If we assume the paradox worked, then there'd be no reason to beam the sergeant back, because he never would have met Kirk and Sulu. So what happens to the guy they have on board?

    Again, it is all nonsense. There is no logic to explain. The classic example is called the "grandfather paradox." Imagine you build a time machine, travel back to before your own father is conceived and kill your grandfather. What happens? None of this could happen because if you kill your granddad before your own father is conceived, you will never be born to grow old enough to build a time machine and commit suicide in this bizarre fashion.

    Forget all notions of changing history (paradox) or time "happening again." Traveling back to a time you had already experienced does not make any of it "happen again," and your older double would have been there "the first time around" anyway. That's why I mentioned "Assignment Earth." The Enterprise crew didn't know that they were part of the history they were observing.